Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I am all for Taiwan, Youth, Anti-Communism, and of course Corps. Who is not?

But I am confused that the leader of the Taiwan Youth Anti-Communist Corps 台灣青年反共救國團is an old guy with grey hair. And the people next to him are not exactly spring chickens.

Probably the actual youth members didn't make it in time because they were still preening over their hair

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lighting trees for the Christmas Season

Last day of work... All trees not sold by December 9th are lit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

internet supervision

You leave your kids unsupervised with a star wars thread for 5 minutes...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


It started to snow today.

clan of the kevlar

Kev and fam stopped by 2 weeks ago today.

A fine time had by all.

This was when Kev was a tree.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On-line Advertisement

Taiwan political parties To learn about Taiwan politics from reliable, official sources!


1) Why is a democratic government doing advertising this on the internet?

2) Who in their right mind considers "official sources" reliable for political information.

I did not even click the link.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blast from the past

It's been a while since I've been on here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hopefully everyone is well. Not sure how often people check things out here. Is Frenchie still around?

Anyways, I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Jim. We were able to get caught up this past Thanksgiving weekend. Great turkey feast out at my father's place. Just like old times, we recorded the Eagles- 49ers game and came back home to watch late night. We managed to avoid the score in the early evening, fast forward all the commercials and made it to bed just before sunrise. Excellent game! I won't ruin it for those of you heading over to PJ's later.

Just wanted to send a shout out to everyone. We both miss the late night card games, early morning Superbowl's and random evenings spent tipping back bottles of Qing Dao. No need to worry as we caught up on a few missed beers over the years and shared what we had to share about the writers of this blog.

Hope all is well for those left in the ROC and for those who have moved on!

Monday, October 11, 2010

China will increase minimum wages

I just read an article in the Taipei Times that says China is planning to raise their minimum wage substantially. The analyst said this was as good as a revaluation of the Yuan.

I just googled around and it seems this has already been happening. (Its also interesting that China allows cities and regions to set their own minimum wages.)

Does this mean they are going to raise the minimums again? I know Vietnam did that for a while, which angered people who invested based on certain labor cost assumptions.

My big question is if raising minimum wages is really as good as revaluing the Yuan.

If it is, then I can see China doing this instead of revaluing. You get the same effect (supposedly) but your US treasuries still come due at the original amount in Yuan terms, and your working populace feels richer, too.

Of course, its comical that the same article says that revaluing the Yuan by 20-40% would destroy the export industries...but raising labor costs by 20-30% is fine?

May have to start closing down my RMB accounts if this is the new plan in China. If they export less due to higher wages, the Yuan might depreciate even. Still, I have to wonder if this is really the same as a revaluation.

Damn Straight

Work in Taichung City - - Cheaper Living Than Taipei Convenient and Laid Back Lifestyle

Friday, October 01, 2010

Yahoo Headlines

Caterpillar to raise prices up to 2 percent

Prediction: The price increases will mainly be in China for their Chinese made product line as cost of labor and other raw materials have gone up. China may get their currency appreciated via localized inflation if they aren't be careful.

Just imagine if China had bought made in the USA Caterpillar products with their export earnings in past years instead of US Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. China wouldn't have to worry about losing money on the mountain of financial assets. They would have a bunch of earth-movers they need and the USA would have more jobs and consumers for Chinese products.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trade War with China Looms

My modest suggestion if we were to have a trade war is not to slap any tariffs on their products - that would violate the WTO agreement. Instead devise a tax on the purchase of treasuries or other US government bonds made by foreign central banks, government institutions etc. The way China keeps its currency low is not just through controlling the exchange rate, but by using all the US dollar funds from exports to buy US financial instruments to "sterilize" their trade surplus from causing a strengthening of their currency.

This would also affect Japan, Taiwan, and Korea who also play the sterilization game to some extent or another. This is important not just because they too should not be manipulating their currencies so much, but also because China has in the past bought Yen with their US dollars. This made the Yen strong which forced Japan to step in and do China's work for them, so to speak.

Now, China could buy private bonds, but those have default risk, which makes their game far more riskier. Also, I am not sure they could find enough bonds to purchase. I would also explicitly remove US government backing from Fannie and Freddie bonds. Let China take some risk of losing money on their US dollar holdings. One reason China is afraid to allow their currency to appreciate normally, is because their mountain of US treasuries and bonds will immediately lose value. Well, adding some risk on the other side might make it more palatable for China to change their position. Personally, I think we should have given them a haircut on their Fannie and Freddie holdings back during the crisis instead of making them whole.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I will arrive in Taichung on Wednesday.

Supposedly only there for a couple of weeks before I go to China for a long stay.

Is anybody left in Taichung now?

I will poor a Kirin down a 7-11 sewer grate in memory of my homies: Bread, Frenchie, Hannibal, Kevlar, Pimp, and Stony. (alphabetically)

Did I miss anyone?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer's Over, Slackers

The governor of California is in China, and is keen on Chinese high speed rail system.

"We want China, for instance, to invest in our high-speed rail, to build high-speed rail, to be part of this bidding process we are going to go through," Schwarzenegger said in a speech in Shanghai.
"Many countries will be bidding to build high-speed rail. And we are also looking for financing from China," he said, lauding the "great potential" for increasing trade between China and California.

This is causing a hoopla in California for various reasons, but let's break this down carefully, because The Terminator was not clear what Cali is looking for:

1) China is part of the bidding process = China SELLING us some or all of a high speed rail system

2)China investing in the system = China actually OWNING some or all of the high speed rail system.

3) China financing the system = China LENDING us money to buy their rail system.

Now, some people in California are worried about China "owning" the rail system - that would be option 2. Personally, since I am not sure if high-speed rail even makes money in Europe or Asia, which have higher population density, more public transport links, and shorter distances between cities, I have to wonder if letting the Chinese put some skin in the game isn't a good idea. The problem will be that if the system fails - will it be bailed out? Of course it will! But that will happen in any case. Maybe it would be better to get at least some Chinese money in there.

The most likely is option 1 & 3: the Chinese lend us the money, probably conditional on buying their equipment. If they are smart, the money they lend will not be tied to the success of the project. So, if it fails to make money, they still get paid back. I think the governor probably "misspoke" when he used the word "invest" and meant lending the money to buy their system.


1) Demand that all of the materials and equipment used in this project be built in California by Joint Ventures with California firms, where the California firms own 51% of the JV. Of course, technology transfer is part of that, including a waiver for any accidental IP infringement that happens along the way.

2) Make sure to invite lots and lots of Chinese provincial officials over and explain to them about Environmental Impact Reports. The Chinese officials should eventually figure out that you can hold up anything with these, and while CA officials cannot reap any economic rents from this, Chinese could. Make sure to offer some technology transfer of our own in this way, by training up thousands of Chinese students to become lawyers. Nothing like lawsuit after lawsuit in China to make America look better.

3) The entire deal must be financed using State of California IOU's, which will be exchanged to the RMB at a rate set by the State of California, subject to change as the State sees fit.

4) As per the bankruptcy of GITIC in 1999, all State backed bonds and State guarantees can be considered worthless. You foreigners pays your money and takes your chances.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where's Waldo?

I went to Pj's twice. I went by the farm three times. I'm thinking he has moved, but people say he is around, Petra went to Texas and John did not move into a Tao-Feng.

CELL PHONE, Not yer number, My number: Kevin 0923289890

"Don't make me no never mind"

Ever have that feeling your shouting, but all your going to get is an ECHO!

I'm the guy catching the 11:53 Wednesday to Maple Land, and I doubt I will be near Lubbock anytime.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Globalization means...

The most wanted person in my hometown is Amandeep Singh Dhami, who is apparently part of a Punjabi gang in Sacramento.


photo 1
Sex: Male
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 200 lbs
Date of birth: 9/17/1984
Tattoos: On forearms:"Loyalty" "916" "Soorma" "Punjabi"
Bail Amount: No Bail Amount
Wanted For: Murder. Attempted Murder. Discharge of a firearm in grossly negligent fashion.


They have their own youtube channel.


Glad to see they are assimilating correctly.

Friday, August 13, 2010


2.5 cups of Rhubard to 1 cup of cherries and 1 cup of sugar, with a little extra pectin to make up for the lack of sugar yields a phenomenal cherry rhubarb jam.

How to Make a Poker Table 2004

I just found this on a disc and uploaded it to youtube.

It is just a little creepy how thing we once were.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Typical Astros Fan?

Fridge great shape 220L paid 11500 will sell for 5000, will help you carry it. Rough dimensions 160 * 55 * 52 cm.

Motorcycle all legal, all yours 5000 or best offer. Works fine, fun to drive, but older. I did pay 7000 to have the engine rebuilt last year.

Kevin's cell number 0923289890 texting is better. leaving ASAP or August 18.

5000 for wheels is CHEAP!
5000 for an excellent beer fridge is a STEAL!

I long ago completed the contract on my Taiwan DA KA DA SIM card, Can I sell it? Just change the address the bill is sent to??? Use it, pay the bill, and use it some more. I guess I could if the convenience was worth anything.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bus Trip

The wife made me do this, claiming that Taiwanese run tour buses are the best way to travel. I thought it would suck, and it did.

It was your basic "checklist" tour - you know, the kind where the Asian tourists flood out to get their picture taken in front of certain specific "classic" landmarks to show their friends. I am sure westerners do this too - maybe low budget tour groups of Italy? God forbid you didn't hit the classic place or went off the beaten path...and multiple tour groups were on literally the exact same route. We were racing about 7-12 buses full of other Chinese/Taiwanese tourists. They even stop at the exact same Flying J truck stops. Maybe that company should put in a Panda Express because they already sell kitschy tourist stuff to these folks..

The bus portion of this trip thus was prodigious. 8:00 a.m. departure and arriving at the next Best Western chosen for its low cost at about 10:00 p.m. or later. Meals taken on the bus annoyed the wife, but it got me some Subway sandwiches instead of the normal greasy Chinese buffet. The wife ended up hating the Chinese Buffets, which universally sucked. (OK, one Vietnamese-Chinese place was good, but it was not a buffet.)

Locations we visited:

Arches National Park - Utah
Crazy Horse Monument - S. Dakota
Mount Rushmore - S. Dakota
some animal park
Yellowstone - 5 places each for about 30-45 minutes
Grand Teton - stopped at a lodge for a photo op, then left...
SLC - Copper mine, Salt Lake, Mormon Temple, State capitol.

Oh, and Vegas, which was where we started and finished up the trip. Ended up so exhausted that we did nothing in Vegas. I don't like casinos anyways.

The wife decided on day 2 that bus tours suck. Or at least this one did. Not much comfort for me as I knew we had many more days of hell.

Oh, and as a bonus, the guide spent a few hours on the bus discussing which vitamins should be taken, and how Chinese people in America should be like the Jews and Unions and keep close and collude to keep profits for themselves. Like the Koreans, who supposedly collude to keep the price of tofu-hot pot at 8.99. Also, don't drink coca-cola. Cola is bad for you. The same thing I have heard from every Taiwanese for 10 years. (The cola thing.)

He was a good guide, though. I did remind him that not just Chinese people built the railroads - the Irish did too, and he incorporated that factoid into one of his speeches.

Oh, when we visited the Mormons, they brought out their international hotties to show us around. We had a Taiwanese Mormon who had a huge flag of Taiwan button. (All the hotties had their countries' flag as a button.) I was interested in that these tour groups are now 50%-90% Chinese now. I was going to be a smart-ass about this and ask some "innocent" question about her flag, but I shut up. I wonder if China would allow missionaries in if they dropped the Taiwan flag? I also did not ask my Bin Lang question.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Updates, Updates and more Updates

What a week it has been for phone calling here in Montana. I have spoken with Red A, Kevlar, Stoney/Rye, and Hannibal. Hell, I called up J-Ho just to see if he would answer his phone (word to the wise, he still doesn't). Here are the relevant news topics covered:

Hannibal is coming up for a weekend of camping and hiking over labor day. He is concerned about reserving a campsite. (note, it's Monfuckingtana! we got woods, plenty of 'em!).

Kevlar is moving home to a Halifax pier. He is concerned about reserving a plane ticket. (note, they fly daily).

Stoney is working in a town that boasts the world's longest covered bridge. He is concerned about reserving dinner at the fair.
Red A is in Yellowstone on a Taiwanese bus tour of the American west (two thousand miles, four parks, five days). He is concerned about reserving a spot up front to see Old Faithful.

I, on the otherhand, have been preserving. Flathead Cherry/Neighbor's yard Rhubarb (below left), Jalepeno/Pineapple, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Mixed Berry (huckleberries, blackberries, strawberries with a hint of pineapple). Post jamming festivities also featured for anyone interested (over under is one, below right).

We actually made three different types of cherry rhubarb jam in an attempt to find out the proper ratios. They have all set nicely, so I guess the only thing left to do is try them out to find out how much rhubarb is necessary to tarten up a cherry jam.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Caution the "F" word in action!

Summer school...
it may be applicable ?

My cycle hums....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Afghan Photo

Ala Sesame Street: "One of these people is not like the other...."

What's the deal with the green looking dude?
New guy, not enough dust yet on his uniform?
Photo-shopped from Vietnam war movie?

Everyone else is hitting the dirt and grimacing. Green dude is upright looking like a cool customer, at least from the neck down.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sorry, I missed this one

I have been sick, but apparently our audience demands frequent postings...

Yeah, I hate videos where Sarah Palin mud wrestles Obama to the ground in the end...yep, totally horrible. Of course, we know Obama would let her win - no man is going to fight a chick.

So far in this series of videos, I will note the following errors:

1) Monica Lewinski was nowhere near as slim as the video made her out to be.
2) Sarah Palin would know enough about weapon safety to not allow her kin to fire rounds off into the air during her inauguration.

Monday, July 26, 2010

People of Walmart

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the United States of America. I just spent twenty minutes on this blog thinking, wow, these are my compatriots? Makes a Houston boy in Montana proud.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sam's Poker

Poker night was a long one. At some point Soho Sam said he wanted a poker table. Since the chess man is moving to Taipei, I stole a hand truck and delivered the table to Sam's door.
Seven years,the construction date on the table is July 2003.
Brit Bread would not like his photo here on this post.

Super Smart Asian Kids with 5.0 GPA

Wow, how do they do it?

I have just been informed that you can get your local Taiwanese high school or Chinese high school to provide you with falsified grades. You see, you tell them you are moving to America and they will helpfully convert and C's or D's to straight A's.

I am not sure if any money changes hands.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cleveland vid part 2

Cleveland Tourist Video Part II - (made prior to Lebron's departure)

Land of Cleves

Our road trip to Ohio went swimmingly. Approx. 3500 km round trip NB to Cleveland and back or 20 hours one way. Kids were great. Weather was scorchin'. Grass is burnt south of Lake Erie. How did people travel with kids before portable DVD players?

Anywho, I have to visit Cleveland every now and then and here's why the rest of you should too...

(and, no, this is NOT Cleveland...ugh... rocks)..

run time 51 secs - very catchy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Heavy Seas

I've been involved in trade for about 20 years now. Only lost one container at sea. It was a container of glass beads, so maybe some archeologist in 1000 years will discover it.

Anyways, here's a youtube medley of tribute to how your ipod got to you in one piece.

Now, how about getting me some fish sticks, bitch?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Scratch Yard Sale Off the List

My neighbors were my best customers. Toys, tools, CDs, DVDs, pots, dishes, shelves, jeans, hand bags, books, all gone at rock bottom prices.

Between the heat and carrying boxes down the stairs I got pretty tired. A neighbor bought me a bud and a Heinie at 10 am to beat the heat, bless her little heart. What I did not sell fell into the recycling bin.

Only the basics are left: Car, Motorcycle, TV, Fridge.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Like this but better! Paid 20 000nt in February. You can run over to Carrefoure and buy one today
for 19 500nt.
My TV is new, and I still have the packing and manuals.
I would try to return it if I had, Brett's temper and Aaron's language skills.

Bottom line 16 000nt delivered to your door step. Yes, I will try tea lit.


Like the photo, but has a few stickers and magnets.
Grey in Color bought new in 2006 for 11000 at 3C. Would like to sell for 6500 nt.
HITACHI 220 liters, pretty much only used for drinks.

Leave a message, I'll get back to you.

North Korean Traffic Girls

This might actually make North Korea a contender. Kudos to the Great Leader!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Updated Animated Political Sex


Updated Animated Political Sex


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Russian Spy - Taiwan animated news...

Taichung AmCham's poster for some unknown day

For the past several years I have contacted Taichung AmCham about their re-naming of our Independence Day. No response. But at least this year they have moved it from the skull-splitting friendly, bricks and concrete venue of Tiger City to a place where grass can actually be seen. And they compiled all the details you need to know for you day of fun in this cute, little poster.
The eagle had to be done by a local who took a visit to the Taipei zoo for reference - mangy, sickly and buck-shot ridden.
America Day. What a bunch of holes (takes one to know one). PJ pointed out that they even got the day wrong - Saturday, July 4th. He is also of the opinion that AmCham refuses to call it by the correct name because they are infested with a bunch of KMT-loving roundeyes who are scared to use the word independence. I always thought they were just plain stupid, but who knows, he may be right. Regardless, there is no such thing as America Day and to anyone who can prove me wrong I will gladly pay 10 monies.
I'm off to Guam to celebrate Independence Day and see if any F-22 pilots would be interested in AmCham's office coordinates.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gorebot Sex Video

And, yes, this video is now being spread around the United States and the world...Taiwan, leading the world in simulated sex tapes.

Friday, June 25, 2010


20,000 NT or best offer ( $ 600 CDN)
New starter, new timing belt,
all road taxes and speeding tickets paid.

Cheap and easy.

Mountain Man

While surveying an old homestead two weeks ago I came across this old gentleman, Archie. He was more than happy to talk...and talk...and talk some more. His family had homesteaded the area north of Missoula back in the 19th century and he had lived in the old house his entire life. No kids, no wife, no worries for this character. Over the weekend, some friends and I were looking for a place to go shooting. One of them is going through a divorce and needed to blow off some steam. So we loaded up the car, drove to the hills and went to visit my new friend.

We showed up at Archie's house around eleven, and he didn't immediatly answer. We sat around bullshitting for about ten minutes when he stumbled outside looking a bit worse for the wear. We asked him what he was up to and here was his response:

Well, last night my buddy and I ended up at Fred's (the local titty joint on the Interstate, a rough location with rough looking women). Then we went into Missoula to grab a hamburger and somehow ended up at the Fox Club (another titty joint, a bit more upscale). I can't remember what time I got home, but if I don't get some coffee in me soon, my head's gonna explode.

85 and still looking at titties -- I hope I'm as interested should I live that long. He gave us permission to shoot on his property, got his coffee, and came out and joined us. He picked off gophers at 150 yards and encouraged us to find the coyote that had been hassling his calves. While picking off coke cans, he regaled us with stories ranging from the times of street cars in Missoula to replacing the transmission in his Chevy blazer two years ago to what's really going to happen with all the oil in the gulf (in short, he's not optimistic). After shooting for an hour, he told us to wait. He went inside and brought out his dad's old Colt revolver in perfect condition. We shot it for awhile, but not near as well as he. We wrapped up our visit to the Carlson homestead with Natural Light on the porch and bid Archie adieu. I reckon we'll be visiting again soon.

Asshats In Taiwan

Warning! The following photo shows a graphic image of a deranged man mutilating flesh. Never - NEVER - attempt this at home. Or at a park. Or, or... anywhere else on Planet Earth.

For those too lazy to click and read the caption, here is the salient part: American Institute in Taiwan Director William Stanton, right, demonstrates yesterday how to prepare a T-bone steak in the American Pavilion at this year's Food Taipei, the Taipei International Food Show.

(Not pictured: bottle of A-1 sauce; boiled Beluga caviar and peanut butter sandwich; 1959 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac and 7-Up spritzer)

Jesus wept. Tom Perini threw up. I'm suing. If that don't put beans in your chili, I don't know what does.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mandarin Swear Words

Executive Summary:

bàojúhuā (爆菊花) = explode the chrysanthemum (anus), i.e., insert the penis into the anus

cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài (肏你祖宗十八代) = fuck your ancestors to the eighteenth generation

wángbā (王八) / wàngbā (忘八) = cuckold; this was an insult as early as the Song dynasty.

wángbādàn (王八蛋, informal simplified: 王八旦) / wàngbāgāozi (王八羔子) = bastard (lit. "turtle egg" and "turtle kid.")

wǒ kào (我靠 or 我尻) – "Well fuck me!", "Fuck!", "Fuckin' awesome!" or "Holy shit!" (Originally from Taiwan, this expression has spread to the mainland, where it is generally not considered to be vulgar. originally meant "butt.")

There are many, many more insults in the link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Fine Japanese Candy Product

Salt in your Coffee - Its not just for Taiwanese anymore

85C has opened a store in Irvine, CA.

I have never been to an 85C before - any good?

They have special sea-salt cream foam in their coffee.

and squid ink buns...

Oh hell - read the much better NPR story.

Monday, June 14, 2010

F this, F that

Finga's FM Fatty's Fubar Full House

to follow Falut and Fj's link to full house

Watched my first full rugby game on Saturday warming up for "the footie".
Spent 7 hours plowing through beer tickets, 4 draft 300nt. The bubbly cure all juice for the FIFA world cup fever.

footie, FIFA, Fever,
got more F's then Dr.Zeuss' beaver.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Game for Frenchy

"Icing" is a new viral drinking game involving Smirnoff Ice.

Rules, etc. are explained here.

Smirnoff Ice was a popular "desert" drink after a session during the time of Frenchy. We just didn't make it a game and force people to drop to a knee to slam it. Its supposed to be savored - dammit.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Stalin Still Rules

Re the ongoing North Korea fetish.

'NK -the most bizarre country in the world' by Sue Lloyd Roberts.

I showed the correspondent's mini documentary last week to a World Issues class.

This scene, included in the report and republished in the above link, floored me (I'll link to the doc if I can find it again) :

"I visited model farms, model villages, model factories and model schools, though, at the school, even my government minders looked faintly embarrassed when I asked a model pupil in an English language class who he admired most among modern world leaders and he answered: "Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong."

Reportedly rounding out his top five were Ho Chi Minh, Nicolae Ceausescu and Enver Hoxha.

Sanctions Busting

One advantage of living in Taiwan, is that since they aren't recognized by the UN, they don't have to worry about complying with global boycotts or sanctions.

In my 18 years in Taiwan, I have broken the following sanctions/boycotts:

1) I drank South African beer when South Africa was still under the trade embargo. It was good and cheap at Circle K and other locations.

2) I bought a winter coat made in Vietnam, when the United States wasn't doing business with Vietnam. I always wondered about making winter coats in a hot, humid country - like making surf boards in Siberia.

3) I smoked Cuban cigars in Taiwan, and even took a few back to the States. Shhhhhh, don't tell Homeland Security.

4) Last week-end, Dean-o bought some pistachios to share at Mom & Pop's. They were from Iran. I have checked pistachios in Taiwan for a long time, and they are always from California - so this was a first.

Dean-o of course told me he actually bought a bottle of North Korean soju. This depressed me as I realized I was missing North Korean products in my line-up now.

Luckily, I found a company that sells jeans made in North Korea: nokojeans. I may have a pair sent to me to achieve my final illicit purchase.

I wonder if the jeans are made from Vinalon? That would be a key selling point.

UPDATE: US$ 231.00 for a pair of jeans...may have to wait a while for that to be possible.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Umami - George Foreman Jedi's Favorite Taste

Sorry for the blank post - this pic would not load up and I just said "fuck it."

Apparently from comments, people did like the new, empty format. Go figure.

Sitting around at Mom and Pops on a Sunday without the internet means that you have some serious googling to do on Monday.

Umami, also referred to as savoriness, has been proposed as one of the basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human and animal tongue. Umami (旨味?) is a loanword from Japanesemeaning "good flavor" or "good taste" (noun).[1] In English, however, "brothy", "meaty", or "savory" have been proposed as alternative translations.[2][3] In as much as it describes the flavor common to savory products such as meat, cheese, and mushrooms, umami is similar to Brillat-Savarin's concept of osmazome, an early attempt to describe the main flavoring component of meat as extracted in the process of making stock.

Also, if anyone is interested in World Cup Soccer, you can watch the Germany-Greece match here. Its like a 3 minute highlight clip - highly recommended.

the dread scarlet lily beetle

These little bastards have made swiss cheese out of my lilies.

I've tried squashing, mashing, stomping, burning, roasting and drowning them.

They hump constantly and squeal and kick their legs when hunted.

Soapy water helps to block their breathing but like any insect with a foothold they're hard to exterminate completely.

A local science teacher suggested beer. They're quickly drawn to the aroma and plunge into a drunken doom.

The last search of my garden turned up none but they'll soon be back.

Just wondering if any other Howdlings are familiar with these annoying creatures.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gone Rockin' II

Who let the DAWGZ OUT!!

Saturday, what a day.....

Thomas Friedman - China for a Day

[The center]'s been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don't like where you're going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of control--really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery. You know, that's really what, what it's come down to. So I don't--I, I--I'm worried about this, it's why I have fantasized--don't get me wrong--but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

Thomas Friedman has been saying this for a while now. I think he really does not know very much about China. Let's review:

1) The fantasy of "Let's be dictator for a day" needs to include the bad things that happen under dictatorships, not just the good things. You cannot claim you will simply implement the "good ideas" because the "bad ideas" always start off as good ideas. The Great Leap Forward was called the Great Leap Forward for a reason. It was going to be awesome. It ended up being a "bad idea" though. Same thing happens on a smaller scale in China, too. Just see the derelict white elephant buildings littering the countryside.

2) If you think China has better control over corruption than the USA, and that being China for a day would work, you'd better think again. Being China for a day, means everyone would have to fork over red envelopes to all manner of low level officials. Pro-tip: take that day off and don't attempt to renew your license at the DMV. You will save some money.

3) If you can identify beneficial aspects of China's decision making versus ours, then why not attempt to reform those parts of our system that lag rather than simply copy the whole shebang. Let me assist Mr. Friedman here with an example. Say you wanted to build a high speed rail system in the United States and in China. Check out the reason our progress lags so much slower, such as environmental impact reports, historic preservation, or the prevailing wage rule. If its better in China why do it just for a day? Reform the US instead. Most likely, when confronted by why China really is "faster" than the US at implementing policies, it will more often look like a bug than a feature.

But who knows, maybe they do streamline some procedures, most likely because poor countries really, really want development, whereas rich countries are way more into NIMBYism.They have not had the time to create vast structures of licensing, regulation, inspectors, etc., that the USA has. You need to throw up a dirt road to build your new factory - just do it. You probably don't even need to bribe someone for that. I am sure in the USA, this would involve a lot more paperwork. I don't think Thomas Friedman really is a fan of less government and less regulation, do you? Otherwise why does he think the Chinese government is actually the driver of growth in China rather than the private sector. The high speed rail wasn't built for the 5 year plan and the worker's needs, but for the use of rapacious factory owners and their middle class children to visit Guangzhou in a speedy fashion.

In conclusion, Thomas Friedman is an idiot.

Monday, May 24, 2010


North Korea now has a YouTube channel.

Looks like my evenings are now booked.

That is the official channel. You can also find the channel "supernorthkorea"and "SunofSongun" as well.

Bonus YouTube channel: American Party of Labor "We love Stalin" (and who doesn't?)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sign of the Times

Yahoo Finance is usually a place of boring investment advice via Suze Orman, or that Japanese dude who somehow was catapulted to financial advice stardom from his unfathomable Rich Dad Poor Dad book.

Today, we see something a bit more exotic.

How To Profit From the Sovereign Debt Crisis

They include such ideas as shorting the Japanese Yen, getting out of Treasuries, and buying Gold.

Now, nothing against trying some of these can also short the S&P (ticker: SDS) or whatever.

But these are getting a bit beyond "Buy index funds and hunker down" or "Choose quality stocks."

You are betting against governments. You know, the people with the guns and the printing presses.

Still, it says something when average people who see their money sitting at zero percent in their bank have to consider such ballsy schemes to get some return. And inflation may happen which means you really do have to consider that, if you are on fixed income.

I can only suspect that within a few months, the Yahoo Finance Page will be debating the merits of different brands of rifles and where ammo can still be bought.

The precious metals...Gold....Silver...Lead?

p.s. If the Gold Bugs win...oh man will that suck. Yes, I did buy some Silver - Canadian Maple Leafs in fact. But Gold Bugs are insufferable.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Arab Geek King

King Abdullah of Jordan appeared in a cameo role on Star Trek: TNG when he was younger.

Now, he has a new book out about peace in the Middle East.

Our Last Best Chance for Peace?

Are you shitting me?

The dude used the tag line from Bablyon 5 for his book title!

Ok, the Bablyon 5 intro piece says "Our Last Best Hope for Peace" but you just know he got that from the series...anyone else could claim ignorance, but a Trekkie? No way.
So, which ones are Hamas?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Various Shite

A) Hearsay on the Deep Purple concert I avoided:

1) J-hole got drunk and fell down twice in Taipei.
2) A photo exists of Dean in a compromising position in a Hooters...somebody post it.

B) Of all the Chinese accents, the most incomprehensible to me is the Hunan accent. I pretty much can guess who is from Hunan just by gasping the fact that I have no idea what the person is saying. and they say "FuNan" which is sort of the opposite of Taiwanese who pronounce F's like H's sometime...

C) I have decided that Taiwan has the best inexpensive "lunch box" style meals in Greater China, Hong Kong the worst.

D) Chinese supermarkets have improved a lot. I actually saw food I would eat there. Even the bread looked edible. Snicker's bars now available as well. They were also selling frozen pizza, including a Taiwanese style pizza...That would involve corn I assume.

E) Back in Taiwan - started drinking straight from the airport to Fubar. Ugggggh. Rough week-end that has now transitioned to a rough week.

F) Does anyone know if you can buy silver coins in Taiwan? I know they sell gold stuff, but the only price I found for silver coins from Bank of Taiwan were really expensive.

Sorry for the dumb ass nature of this post...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Gone Rockin'

I'll be out of pocket today and tomorrow, so no phone calls or text messages. Today is Deep Purple day in Taipei and there's a great lineup. On lead vocals we have, of course, Esquire Willy. (Leading to the) Front man, Mr. Bean. D-Wayne is in charge of the pyros, Brit Paul is technical engineer and token ginger and I will be playing the Macolm McLaren role of encouraging excess and reaping the profits. There may be a couple of special appearances. Union Sam is wishy-washy in his commitment and AJ expressed interest but has not confirmed. As I got off my scooter at the Internet cafe I saw AJ speeding south on his scooter, laden with backpack, fanny pack and snack pack. Time to go to the train station. I'm sure there will be pictures later.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


If I remember correctly, Dean-O's old man played for Tottenham back in the day. They have recently qualified for Champions League play for the first time since the 1960's. Kudos to them. Though I've been an Everton supporter in honor of Bald Titty and their American keeper Tim Howard, I might just pull the dreaded P.J. double fandom for next year's Premiership. I'll lift one vodka-cran for you and your late father tonight Dean, congrats.

In other news, I was sworn in as an attorney for the State of Montana yesterday. I received my results and found out my scores were solid enough to qualify me to waive into Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as the District of Columbia. That's kind of neat considering Montana lacks reciprocity with any state (only Minnesota and ND allow you to waive in based on bar results from Montana). Kudos to me.

Spent the month of April kicking it with Jim. We attended several Rockies games and even managed to squeeze in an Astros - Phillies game on the boob tube. Good times in Denver (which is just a few short hours from Lubbock, J-Hole). Now I'm back in Montana and contemplating my next move. I'll keep checking gas lines while determining exactly where I want to end up. Are there attorney positions in Palau available to American lawyers?