Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Reading

The librarians responsible for the awful library books blog are trying to weed out obsolete books from the public stacks in the US
classic books like the seminal
Crafts for the Retarded
Dee Snider's Teenage Survival Guide
Vans, The Personality Vehicles

If not in public libraries, then where? Museums?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation: Lubbock

It's been a summer of nothing. Doing nothing, just as I wanted. The day starts with watching and dodging squirrels jump around the road and yards on an early morning bike ride to the coffee shop where I can read and go online. The coffee shop is nice and relaxing, situated in a residential area near Tech. Nothing really special happening. Oh, you might have someone bringing a bale of hay in their pickup truck or a .44 magnum-toting Wiccan who refuses to leave her car to talk to people: drive 5 feet, idle, talk, move forward 5 feet to the next table and start over. Usually, though, the regulars all have their routine and assigned spots. After bottoming out the bottomless cup of coffee I'm off on another ride.

Often times I'll end up at Mesquites, a restaurant/bar across from Tech. Aside from mediocre barbecue they offer daily $1.75 schooners. Note to Soho Street proprietors: that is $57.5 NT. I sit upstairs on the patio warming up for my next stop, the Oyster Bar.

Oyster Bar
The O-Bar hasn't changed, except they no longer have bras hanging from the ceiling - have to ask about that. They also have daily $1.75 schooners ( Soho Street beermen, please refer to above note ). After a month's observation I have noticed an unofficial hair code at the O-Bar. There are 3 types: shaved to buzz cut; regulation C.A. hair cut - above the ears, back is an inch above the collar; and Ted Nugent ponytail with work cap. Most patrons are blue collar guys with their gals and bikers. It also functions as a sort of clearing house for produce. They bring in their chiles, squash, tomatoes...and swap them and their growing secrets while drinking beer and watching sports and guy-themed programs, such as the Hooter's Bikini Pageant, which took precedence over the All-Star game. We joined the game in the 2nd inning. Gotta have priorities. Sometimes there are anomalies in the O-Bar routine. Like yesterday when I saw a Hispanic biker pointing and jabbing his finger at a painter and use the words "Hittite" and "Baal" in the same sentence. I wish I could have heard the entire discussion, or better yet, recorded it.

I wind up my day back at the house for dinner and usually some TV. Oh me, oh my. Let me say this very clearly - TV is spectacularly horrible. There is more stinking, nauseating crap on TV than there is on the ground after a Phish concert. The death of the-singer-that-will-not-be-named-by-me was covered incessantly by every -EVERY - channel, even PBS. For 14 days, Jerry Springer Productions assumed control of every network's production and content and administered his version of the Ludovico technique. Quite effective. See? I couldn't even type his name ( even this tangential thought of him is making me sick ). Then there is reality TV to fill the gaps between celebrity death, child acquisition and cellulite relocation.

There were a couple of exceptions. One is the infomercial for the Dean Martin Variety Show. If I ever have a kid - male or female - or another dog, I'm naming it Dean Martin. The other is a type of religious news show. This one gets a must-see recommendation not for content (for that is near impossible to discern) but for style. It's hosted by Jack Van Impe and his wife, Rexella. Rexella, Rexella. She lobs Jack the headlines in the voice of a failed lisper. I watch and watch and still can't figure out how she talks like that. Then Jack takes the pitch to add his commentary. His take is it's either good or bad. The details are lost in his delivery. Give him a talking point and he goes after it with no pauses or breaks, citing Biblical passages for nearly every word. He could order a 4 course meal and cite chapter and verse for every word. He's like the Rainman of Bible School. This is TV for me. Dean is like a wonderful song and Jack is the acoustic version.

Friday, July 24, 2009

LBJ Air Force One playing cards

I'm in Medina, on a vacation from my vacation, at my Aunt and Uncle's ranch. After a family session of Hold 'Em, I saw this box on the counter and asked my uncle about it. It is one box of five from LBJ's Air Force One given to him by one of JFK's Secret Service detail. More later but I'm off to Bandera after lunch. See yall back in Taichung the 31st. Anyone up for an afternoon refreshment?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Microbrew is back

Look familiar?
Found these at Carrefoure yesterday. I had a Schrimshaw it was "Just ok". These are being sold as part of the America Fair carrefoure celebrations.

The only sticker Red-A will read this week.

I like dogs, Don't you?

Puppy jogging strollers and diapers. The diapers are 330 nt and are really similar to regular diapers found in stores, for people that buy diapers for children.

Transporter 8

Indonesia style....


The Tonka XX issue, vol 19

nite bobcat......


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Danforth Me.

We spent a rainy morning in Danforth Me.
- run down little town of less than 1000 across the lake.

We missed the parade but got some yummy snacks at the grocery.

Reportedly hurting since the timber industry went tits up.

Danforth was named for a former judge in the Salem Witch Trials.

Eclipse and Tsunami coming Wednesday

On my way to buy some welding goggles, a life jacket and a ticket to the top of Taipei 101. According to the Taiwan university web, our best view comes in
around 9:39am Wednesday July 22.
Wiki link to the Tsunami that will follow the eclispe.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Testing testing....

Can any1 read me?

Had this been an actual message......


Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Summer!

I came across this link and I really needed to share it with everyone.

Things are about the same here. Summer is cool though.

Head over to Fubar or Pj's and have a drink with IJ! I miss that guy!

Football season is around the corner!

Beer and Bugs

A. Beer: I have never been a fan of Widmer, but their Drifter Pale Ale is awesome. The hops are so citrus-like, it feels like grapefruit juice going down. Grapefruit juice is healthy. So I am drinking a lot of this beer.

I also bought a 30 pack of Coors banquet for Karl's sake - man cannot subsist on microbrew alone. 30-packs! This is what America is about - invent the six pack and then multiply as needed. Apparently 5 is a good multiple - perhaps consensus dosage for a work week?

B. Bugs: I thought I would leave the realm of household insect pests back in Taiwan. Insted we got wasps, ants, and spiders (including black widows.) I asked the bug guy which kind he liked to kill best, and he said killing wasps gave the best job satisfaction.

Temperature: 104F

Number of languages spoken in Costco: 5 (English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, French, and Mandarin)

Sky: Blue (but a "smog day" according to the paper...)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Letter to Red A

Dear Red A,

I hope this letter finds you and the family doing well ( Always proofread. I originally had the last 4 words of the opening sentence as the family dong well. Well, that too, I guess. ) - Yes, I know you are now domiciled in California, but as I said, "I hope." As for myself, I have set a strict vacation regimen and have stuck to it: Coffee shop; newspapers; crosswords; Vista willing, go online; ride bike 4 miles; find a watering hole; watch sports; go home.

I changed it up a bit this last weekend when my mother decided to have a garage sale. Not a lot of fun, but not too bad either. While sitting guard outside in the delightful 107 degree heat and fending off bids on the lawn guy's lawnmower (while he was using it), I entertained myself by saying things like " I don't know. Ask my mother," and "Please don't go inside the house."

It wasn't enough to fully engage me, though, so I took a quick break to go to the store in search of a newspaper that wasn't the USA Today or the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (yes, Avalanche). These two rags hide news-like items amid half-page ads and teasers for upcoming news-like items. Sorta like a 30-page Word Search. I was offered two choices: a $6 NY Times or a $2 Wall Street Journal. I took the WSJ.

Stay with me, Red A. I'm getting to my point. Before you left Taiwan, I remember you saying something about looking to set up some sort of business in Sacramento while continuing with the Taiwan one. My first question is this: Do you know that Sacramento is part of California? I ask this because I recall you always replying that you were from Sacramento, not California, when asked. Wikipedia confirms this: you are living in the 31st state known as California (hard C). Why bother with this piece of arcane trivia? Because you are a businessman, and I feel that you should be aware of some items I came across reading the paper. If you are already aware of them, maybe you can help me to understand. If you aren't, well, then good luck.

The first news item said that the state government is asking 2,000 of its vendors to cut their contracted rates by as much as 15%. Question: How many mulligans is the state government awarded? Furthermore, the government is paying many vendors in IOUs that are not being accepted by a lot of the vendors' banks. Question: Could we organize a group to buy up the IOUs for pennies on the dollar and then become owners of California when the government is unable to pay? Or would they claim another mulligan (again, the number of constitutionally allotted mulligans is crucial to this plan)?

Item Two concerns a business called Creators Syndicate, based in Los Angeles ( Wikipedia says this place is also part of California. What are the chances?). Rick Newcombe, owner/founder or CS, and the city had a dispute in 1994 over the tax classification of his business. CS won a ruling for a much lower rate than the city wanted and everything was okey-dokey until 2007. Then, Mr. Newcombe explains,

"Everything was fine until the city started running out of money in 2007. Suddenly, the city announced that it was going to ignore its own ruling and reclassify us in the higher tax category. Even more incredible is the fact that the new classification was to be imposed retroactively to 2004 with interest and penalties. No explanation was given for the new classification, or for the city's decision to ignore its 1994 ruling.
Their official position is that the city is not bound by past rulings -- only taxpayers are."

Wow! Another mulligan and this time they get to change the scorecard too! Question: Is it too late to change the far western route of the border fence?

As a businessman extraordinaire, I am sure that you will find a way to confront and overcome these shenanigans (U-Haul is nationwide). Well, that's all for now. I'm off to establish First Contact with my friends after only 2 weeks.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

King's Landing

Historical recreation of 18th-19th century Loyalist village in the Saint John River Valley -

Good ol' George III.

Pint for 2 pence

Stone home

Friday, July 10, 2009

House Hunting

This one needs a little work.

Monday, July 06, 2009

B o r a c a y

Private pick up in Caticlan and drop off.... Under the boardwalk..

Down by the seeeeaaaa ......... Sunset from the room......

Private dock and view

BIP ......

Sunday, July 05, 2009

C a t i c l a n

Island hoping to Boracay..........

Sgt. Schultz

Saturday, July 04, 2009

How tough calendar

I had a conversation the other day with my brother wherein he indicated that he had a calendar up in his apartment devoted to the toughness of Chuck Norris (hey, at least it's not livestock, right?).

He described some of them to me and we had some laughs.

For instance,

"Chuck Norris is so tough that he sleeps with a pillow under his gun."


"There are no doors in Chuck Norris' house. He just walks through walls."


There's a pretty exhaustive list here - HowToughIsChuckNorris

I like #3, #14 etc. Some are better than others of course - I'll leave you with this -

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Happy America day fellers! -

D o n g g u a n II

Labor Day & Dragon Boat Festival......


Friday, July 03, 2009

Ya'll come back now hear

The Beverly Hillbillies.....


I have to be quick and take advantage of this Internet time my computer is gracing me with. I've been back home in Lubbock for about 9 days and it only took 3 of them for me to bar myself from my computer and disable all Internet connections. It's taken 5 days of throwing chicken bones, clicking on anything that looked clickable while wading through Chinese computer gobbledygook to somehow restore a connection. Gotta be fast. Like driving with a broken fuel gauge, you never know when time is up.

  • Saw my president speak live for the first time. He seems to be making a very conscious effort to limit his "uhs" and "ums." That, well, uh, good. At times he was well-spoken, pleasant, mandatory politically vague and a tad condescending with a hint of smarmy. A combination of Buddy Christ and high school quarterback class president - equal parts. Sometimes shaken, sometimes a bit stirred, but mostly enjoyed. Especially by those wanting to enjoy. I give his press conference performance a very solid "Whatever."
  • News: Wal-Mart backs an employer mandate for health care - Okay, sorta interesting, though it becomes more interesting after reading short posts about this from The New Republic and National Review Online. The former suggests and the latter flat-out states that this is not just altruistic good citizenship. TNR states "On the other hand, politics is all about channeling self-interest so that it serves the public good. And the timing of this is pretty telling." NRO has this to say "It makes perfect sense for Wal-Mart to back a regulatory initiative that hurts its bottom line as long as it hurts its competitors more." This interested me because of the similarities to the companion measure to the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Meat Inspection Act, which supposedly was a response to the unhygienic conditions in meat packing plants brought to light by Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Sinclair's intended focus was the working conditions and not the meat itself. One source, Gabriel Kolko's Meat Inspection: Theory and Reality, states clearly what I've seen before - "The reality of the matter, of course, is that the big packers were warm friends of regulation, especially when it primarily affected their innumerable small competitors." According to Kolko, regulation was initiated by the big meat packers some 20 years before Sinclair to increase competitiveness ( i.e., profits). No real point. Find your own. I just like the parallels.
  • As bi-political (conservative/libertarian) I feel it necessary to end with a quote from C.S. Lewis.
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may
    be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under
    omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his
    cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own
    good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own

Thursday, July 02, 2009

M N L N i n o y A q u i n o

Terminal 1

Terminal 2

Terminal 3

Take the mini bus between'em......

Did You Know?

  • The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of MNL is a EQV with 0 seats.
  • There are over 1,345 domestic flights per week from MNL.
  • There are 244 nonstop flights out of MNL per week that have over 300 seats per aircraft
  • MNL has 617 medium sized aircraft departing each week.
  • Over 276,632 passengers can travel out of MNL every week.
  • There are over 593 international flights per week from MNL.
  • MNL has 1,194 flights departing per week for short haul destinations.
  • There are 78 nonstop flights per week departing from MNL.

Iron Eagle

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

M a n i l a

Gotta like that... Smokee's No Problem

Clean Air.

And Pink Public Urinals........