Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Ever wanted to do a scientific analysis of which is better, cake or pie? Well, this Montana girl has way too much free time on her hands. Yes, some blogs are simply more enjoyable than others.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bo know best

Good celebration to see Bo off......

Even had the Flint brothers show up!!

The weekend comes...

Check out this Doritos Commercial!

Economic Convergence

Samson/Laquercraft a very large furniture manufacturer originally from Taiwan is opening a factory in Bangladesh. The reason they chose Bangladesh?

It will be Samson's first plant outside China. The company says it can fill some of its product needs at a lower expense in Bangladesh.

The 500,000-square-foot plant will be in the port city of Chittagong in southeast Bangladesh, along the northern coast of the Bay of Bengal. Company officials have been working on the project for about two years. Construction began in October and initial production is set for July.

The plant will produce a line of lower-medium to medium-priced solid and veneer casual dining sets for Samson's U.S. marketing companies, Legacy Classic and Lacquer Craft USA. The company isn't currently producing such sets in China that hit the price points it can achieve in Bangladesh, said Lacquer Craft President Mohamad Amini.

While China remains its main manufacturing hub, the company said it chose Bangladesh because of its lower-cost labor. Amini estimated that labor costs are about 40% of what they are in China.

Of course, they are bringing over Chinese managers and technicians to start the plant up, but that's not new as they did that when they moved to China, too. Laquercraft was one of the first Taiwanese factories to move to China to take advantage of lower labor costs there.

Since furniture is a relatively new industry to Bangladesh, it will take time to train workers and also to get the supply chain in place, Amini said. This includes anything from finish to hardware suppliers.

"There is no furniture presence there," he said, adding that the lack of a furniture infrastructure reminds him of China 15 years ago. "Although we are very optimistic about what we can do there, we will have our share of challenges. But we have done this in China so we know what to do to accomplish our task."

Amini said a team of supervisors, technicians and engineers from China will help get the plant running and train workers.

Prediction: In 20 years, it will be Bangladeshi supervisors, technicians and engineers flying into Somalia to set up the next factory.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The end of a generation

My grandfather was a great man. Not a mere accolade from an adoring grandson, but great by any standard. Signed up for WWII the day after Pearl Harbor, returned home with his Australian bride six months after the war (due to his plane being shot down a week before Hiroshima and Nagasaki and him having to wonder around Luzon for four months eating mangos), worked for Ford for thirty five years, lost his Australian bride six months after retirement, and cared for the soil the way JHole tends to a beer.

My grandfather came from a family of seven children and I was pretty tight with all of them because that's what my mother wanted. My grandfather passed two years ago, and slowly his brothers and sisters have followed him. This week, the last of his siblings passed away.

My Aunt Nadyne was a dreamer. She and her husband made a million and lost a million at least five times. She had a scheme going all the time and was the perfect example as a child on why not to get involved in the futures markets. As a child I still remember ogling their fancy dance computers long before computers were a normal thing. In college I packed up those same compmuters (now relics) for the foreclosure sale. They had a ranch out of Navasota, TX where they raised cows, bees, grandchildren. We grand nephews and nieces frequented the ranch until we moved far away from it. Her husband hosted the family men on an annual trip to South Texas to "hunt" for deer (hunting meaning wake up, have a spread of food, have two Mexicans drive you out to the styx, shoot a deer, have the Mexicans dress it, return to base camp, eat and drink more, sleep, do it again the next day).

I normally wouldn't post of such personal things, but her story and my grandfather's generation came to a tragic stopping point in Marshall, TX this week. A young man broke into her home, beat her to death and took what few possessions she had left. And so the last of my grandfather's siblings is gone, and all the stories of my aunts and uncles will not be tangible to my children much like the stories my aunts and uncles told me as a tot were just that, stories. But to me the stories of my grandfather and his siblings are real and continue to be so. R.I.P. Aunt Nadyne, 1923-2010.

Her alleged murderer has been caught. Here's a photo.

Here's a story from the local paper. I like how the neighbor refers to her as a spitfire.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hannibal Update

Been hanging with Jim a bit here in Denver. Hasn't changed. Update complete.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Yeah, people say the concept of Face is very important in Asian culture.

I think its also important in the North America, too, and Dale Carnegie agrees...

But at what point do you have to drop thinking about "face" to get something done or to stick up for your individual interest?

I am thinking about this because some people say by arguing with China (publicly?) about the Yuan, the USA makes China lose Face and that's Bad.

But for sure if I was in a two vehicle car accident, I would not worry about face when making sure I proved I was not at fault. That's probably a no-brainer where y0u ignore face.

Does anyone have any gray areas or stories about where face came into play, big-time?

Dining in Denver

Apparently, when the Denver Nuggets score more than 120 points in a given game Taco Bell offers four tacos for a dollar. What kind of person are they appealing to with this deal? After you buy the required drink to get the deal, you end up saving like fifty cents. There are some really cheap bastards in this world.

So there I was eating my tacos when I realized I was the healthiest person in the facility. The guy next to me had twelve and ate them in less time than I ate my four. Rookie mistake on my part, next time I'm starving myself and going for sixteen.

In other healthy eating news, Denver has Popeye's Fried Chicken which offers two dark pieces for .99 on Tuesdays. So for one dollar I had lunch and for 2 dollars I had dinner. Hello, I'm American and I'll be obese by August.

Alternatively, staying in Denver I have realized there are other types of food than straight American available at eateries. Within walking distance I have four Korean spots, two Ethiopian dives, four taquerias, one Vietnamese noodle shop and several other places I cannot recall off the top of my head. In Missoula we have no Korean spots, no Ethiopian dives, no taquerias and one Vietnamese noodle shop (that actually serves standard Chinese fair). It'll be interesting to witness which places become my regular haunts -- I'm betting on the Popeye's (they have strawberry pop!).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

RenMinBi Redux

Premier Wen Jiabao promised to reform currency controls, but gave no indication when that might happen. Washington and other trading partners are pressing Beijing to ease controls that they say keep the yuan -- also called the renminbi -- undervalued, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage and swelling its trade surplus.

"First of all, I don't think the renminbi is undervalued," Wen said at a news conference. "We oppose all countries engaging in mutual finger-pointing or taking strong measures to force other nations to appreciate their currencies."

So, if its not undervalued, why not let its value float freely?


LOL. Dude, you just be-clowned yourself. Your own officials said the Yuan-Dollar rate would remain unchanged until Chinese exports recovered to their previous levels...i.e. you are trying to boost your exports by keeping your currency weak.

I suspect we will see the revival of plans to put tariffs on Chinese goods during 2010 mid-term elections.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

RMB might rise...

BEIJING (AP) -- China's exports rose in February in a new sign of growing global demand that could help persuade officials to let the Chinese currency rise.

Exports were up 45.7 percent over a year earlier, the Chinese customs agency reported Wednesday, beating analyst forecasts of 35 to 40 percent growth. Imports surged 44.7 percent, the agency said, reflecting growing demand in China as it emerges from the global crisis.

"China's trade is extending its recovery," said Zhu Jianfang, an economist for Citic Securities in Beijing. "Exporters are getting more orders these days."

February's growth rate was boosted by comparison with last year's weak trade amid the global downturn and came despite the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, when many companies shut down.

Zhu said the data increase chances the government might allow China's currency, the yuan, to rise in value.Beijing has held the yuan steady against the dollar for 18 months to help Chinese exporters but is under pressure from Washington and other trading partners that say it is undervalued and is swelling China's trade surplus.

I won't close my RMB account after all. Now, if China were to allow its currency to appreciate, there could very well be a corresponding appreciation by Taiwan and others. So, if you have any Taiwan dollar accounts or don't need to convert your money to USD or CAD right away, it might be smart to wait. Maybe in 6 months, the RMB will appreciate by a large amount and then the TWD would as well as many countries that compete with China have been keeping their currency weak to match China.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

New Post

"Free" Trade with China

The Chinese Yuan won't be appreciating anytime soon.

Appearing at the news conference with Zhou, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said exports might not recover to pre-crisis levels for two to three years due to "uncertain and unstable" global conditions.

"It could take two to three years to recover to the 2008 level," said Chen. "Proceeding from the high unemployment and low deposit rates in the epicenter of the financial tsunami, the world consumer market and real recovery of China's exports require time."

This is an amazing statement.

High unemployment in the West along with low deposit rates, means China will artificially keep the Yuan low to encourage growth of exports.

So, using Chinese logic, the US could say, because of high unemployment and Chinese high savings rate, the US will fix the exchange rate with the dollar at a higher rate to boost US exports. (or force all Chinese exporters to "match" their exports with corresponding imports, or whatever hare-brained protection scheme we could come up with)

You think China would be okay with that?

and, of course, its probably not the US that is the most harmed by this Yuan policy, but poor countries who could be exporting cheap products to the US who are bumped out by the lower priced Chinese goods. China should be moving up the economic responsibility ladder now if you ask me.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Craig's List


To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last.

Date: 2009-05-27, 1 :43 a.m. E.S.T.

I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.

First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn't expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket.. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.. My girlfriend had just bought me that Kimber Model 1911 ..45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head ... isn't it?!

I know it probably wasn't fun walking back to wherever you'd come from with that brown sludge in your pants. I'm sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].

After I called your mother or "Momma" as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, -- on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 150 gallons and was extremely grateful!

I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go's, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]

I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimp mobile" that was parked at the curb ... after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.

Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what 's going on with that? Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target.

The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.).

In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you ... but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen to pursue in life. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky. Have a good day!

Thoughtfully yours,


Thursday, Friday....