Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My 15 Minutes of Fame

Last night I was on the MRT (Taipei subway), headed to Catherine's apartment. She is still getting settled in her new apartment and wanted me to help her with some curtain stuff, so I told her I would come and take a look after work.

The train was packed so I squeezed myself into the car and cranked up my Ipod in order to make the ride a little less unnerving. After a few minutes, I couldn't help noticing a woman looking at me and whispering something to the guy she was with. I chalked it up to being the only white guy on the train therefore a topic of conversation...lol. I pretended I didn't notice and started leafing through my magazine. I glanced up again at the lady; she, along with the man she was with, had made her way over to where I was.

She had a very gentle smile so I pulled the headphone out of my ear and nodded my head to say hello. She looked at me as if she knew me. That's when she said, "Is your name David?" Shocked, I said yes and felt kinda guilty because I had no idea who she was. She proceeded to tell me that when she was doing some research about coming to Taiwan she came across my blog and thought it was great! I was stunned. I was at a loss for words. Before we had much time to talk, we arrived at my stop. I thanked them for checking out the site and told them that made my day. I felt like a million bucks as I made my way to the connecting train.

It's really cool to see that folks are checking out this crazy thing and finding it helpful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gawd Help Us All

I personally believe that US Americans are...and everywhere like such as...

It hurts me to watch this. My stomach hurts from laughter and my brain is about to explode!

This is currently one of the hottest videos on YouTube.

Do you think that she is one of the 20%?

Please send your maps to South Africa, Iraq and the Asian countries to build up our future...lol.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Taiwan & Honduras

This news headlines this past week here in Taiwan have been dominated by President Chen's visit to Central America. The visit was a chance to meet with some of the nations that enjoy open relations with Taiwan...yes, there are still a few. Twenty or so countries have resisted jumping on the "One-China" philosophy, therefore recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state. Not, in my opinion, the smartest economic move. Cooperation with Taiwan does not bode well with the mainland.

Anyhow, the purpose of this post is to express my joy at seeing one of my favorite places on the planet, Honduras. The pictures and stories that have been included in the reporting have stirred some good memories.

My year in the jungles of Honduras was a wonderful time in my life. I have never met better folks than those living in the less-than-ideal environment that is Central America.

The smiles on the faces and the endless hospitality that prevails there are priceless. I am really enjoying my time here in Taiwan, but I do miss that just happy to be alive mentality that runs deep in Honduras. Folks here are far too hurried and wouldn't dare to exhibit the overt acts of affability that you can count on when you are living/working/visiting Central America.

Taiwan, along with the rest of the world, should take a cultural cue from Honduras and their neighbors...loosen up and enjoy life.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This is Shameful

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this drivel. Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush, has been busy spending $15 million on a reprehensible TV commercial campaign in support of the Iraq quagmire. He is the spokesman for a group, ironically called, Freedom's Watch.

The ads are aimed at 20 U.S. states they feel still have luke-warm support for the Iraqi occupation. States that have republican Congress members who are no longer standing behind Bush 100%. The ads are to scare them back into the fold. Again, the ads are aimed at republican held areas...you know they are in trouble when they are attacking their own.

Check out the baseless reference to the 9/11 attacks. It was established years ago that Iraq/Saddam Hussein had NOTHING to do with 9/11. How many Iraqis were in the planes that hit 9/11???

This is all about fear. Keep 'em scared and the Bush administration can continue to take the country down a horribly destructive path.

Here is the video, brought to you by the White House err Freedom's Watch:

Here is an interview with Fleischer about the ad campaign and a rebuttal by an Iraq war veteran. Watch him squirm as he is asked questions that weren't pre-approved by the White House.

Fleischer didn't even know the soldiers name...ugh. The soldier is nothing but a political prop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

This is an excellent look at why the "government is bad" argument espoused by the republican party is woefully misguided. Liberal is NOT a bad word!!

by John Gray

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Perhaps it's time for a reality check? Without progressives/liberals, our daily life would be much more perilous. Don't demonize those who want to utilize the public domain in order to better our society.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Yesterday I ventured to the city hospital to, once again, re-up my visa. I am about to enter my third year here on the island and in order to stay here you have to go through a short series of tests. These tests include vision, a chest x-ray, height/weight, and blood. I am cool with everything except the giving of my blood.

I have a pretty bad case of Trypanophobia, the fear of hypodermic needles. According to Dr. James Hamilton, a leading researcher in the subject, about 10% of American adults suffer from the irrational fear.

There are several different types of the disorder. The type that best fits me is Vaso-Vagal Trypanophobia. It's the most common type, about 50% of the folks with Trypanophobia fall under this category. The sufferers fear the sight, thought or feeling of needles and when they encounter them they experience nausea, sweating and panic attacks...that's me!

To put it simply, I am a wimp when it comes to needles.

Yesterday was a classic example of my struggle. I was cool until about 10 seconds before the nurse stuck me. I sat down and extended my arm. Almost immediately I started feeling light-headed...the sweating started. When I say sweating, I mean SWEATING! My shirt was drenched and I have to wipe the fluid from my eyes...how embarrassing. The nurse did her thing, all the while trying to coach me through it. She insisted on telling me about the teen-aged girl that went before me and did just fine, adding to my humiliation. The procedure takes place in a room packed with folks lined up like supermarket check-out lines, not exactly private. My lack of control was witnessed by a good-sized crowd...yippee!

After she finished, she placed a cotton swab and some tape on the area. A futile exercise because tape doesn't stick to a wet surface...lol.

Before I attempted to stand I told the nurse that I needed to lay down; I was spinning. She escorted me through the office and to a room with a suitable bed. I have been through this before so I knew where to go before she told me. About 5 minutes later, I stood up and was ok. I put my shoes on and proceeded to get the heck out of there.

Thank god I only have to do that once a year.

Catherine calls me a big baby...she is right on when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Polk Salad Annie a.k.a. My Internal Soundtrack

Tony Joe White. How can ya help but shake what ya got when ya hear this tune. This has gotta be one of the grooviest jams ever made. I often find myself cranking this song on my Ipod while walking this streets the Taipei. It takes every bit of my willpower to keep from snapping my fingers and breaking out into an absurd hip-gyrating awful attempt at dancing...lol.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Typhoon Sepat

We are in the midst of a pretty intense storm right now. Typhoon Sepat hit us last night and continues to agitate the island, it's about 1 p.m. now.

I just came in from the balcony and it's pretty spooky outside. My neighbor's satellite dish is in pieces on the balcony along with an antennae from the roof. The wind gusts have been strong. The ceiling in my bathroom has been pulsating, yikes! Some paint chips from the ceiling in my bedroom came to rest on my computer. This is serious stuff. I believe the gusts have exceeded 100 mph.

Some of the local TV stations have been showing pictures from the coast, not where you want to be.

I think the worst of the storm has passed but the winds have not let up.

Dealing with earthquakes and the occasional typhoon is part of like on the pacific rim.

I am fine and will be going to Catherine's apartment later. She is moving into her new apartment this weekend, not good timing...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Want My Mommy!

I think those just might be the words out of my mouth if I am a member of the opposing team. This is the Haka performed by the New Zealand national rugby team, The All Blacks.

Not long after arriving in Taiwan I was turned on to the sport of rugby, thanks to my South African buddy Graeme. I can't believe that it took me so long to discover this incredible game. About 2 years ago, Graeme took me to one of the local pubs that shows rugby on a regular basis. The Tri-Nations championship was being played that evening.

The Tri-Nations is a yearly tourney in which the Australian, South African, and New Zealand national teams compete. For quite some time these three teams have been dominant in the sport, so this tourney usually showcases the best rugby on the planet.

My introduction to the sport was a classic. The All Blacks (NZ) were taking on the Springboks (SA) for the trophy. It was a great match. The two teams have a storied history and this game was a excellent chapter in the sport. It came down to an exhaustive effort at the end by the South African team that came up just a few feet short.

I was hooked. All other sports seem so easy when compared to rubgy. The strength and agility required is unmatched, I think. I have adopted the All Blacks as my team.

The above video is part of the Kiwi's pre-game ritual. It's a traditional Maori dance. The team has been doing it since 1884, yes that's 123 years!! Ya gotta love it. I gotta believe that it has some psychological affect on their opponents.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sicko! continued...

In case any of you think Michael Moore is just an opportunistic, hate-monger, take a looksy at the last 15 minutes of Sicko. I can't imagine a better way to spend $12,000.

If this film doesn't anger and inspire you, it's time to hang up your skates and call it quits.

I never thought he could better his effort on "Bowling for Columbine"....I was mistaken.

Michael Moore, a true American patriot.


I finally got a chance to watch "Sicko", the health-care related documentary created by Michael Moore. Wow! What a fantastic examination of a system that is horribly damaged.

The film centers around those who thought they had adequate health-care. Those who faithfully paid into plans that were built to take advantage of the American public. Health-care in America is great, as long as you don't get sick.

Moore has managed to bring together several stories that will chill you to the bone. One that I found especially alarming is that of Doug Noe and his family...

Doug Noe's daughter, Annette, was 9 months old and losing her hearing. The doctors said she needed cochlear implants. His insurance provider, Cigna, approved an implant in one ear. They stated that an implant in both ears is considered "experimental". Not satisfied with this conclusion, Doug wrote Cigna a letter. In the letter he let them know that Michael Moore was in the process of making a documentary about the health-care/health insurance industry and he indicated that he was relaying his story to Moore. Brilliantly including a note asking if the CEO of Cigna had ever been in a film before...lol.

Not long after sending the letter to Cigna, his case was reviewed and the mega-insurance company approved implants in both ears.

Does it take blackmail to get these companies to do what we pay them to do?

I applaud Doug's effort. It's a shame he had to do it, but it worked.

I hope all of you out there get a chance to see this film, it's very well done. Also, perhaps this will be a wake-up call to our legislatures. It's time to fix this failing system. How strong can a nation be if we don't have reliable health-care?

p.s. Also, I am still reeling from the story of the woman in the car accident. She had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. Her health insurance company didn't pay for the ambulance ride because it wasn't pre-approved...I still haven't figured out how she could've got pre-approval...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Recently I was given a new text book for my adult class. It was published by the company that runs the school. At first glance, it was pretty cool, very up-to-date. Whenever I get a new text I like to scan through it and familiarize myself with the material. The topics covered in the book are good and pertinent to the adult students. Sadly, the English syntax is a mess! I started reading the first unit and came upon a few mistakes...I jotted them down so I could show them to my boss. After about 20 pages, I had found about 10 pretty bad errors and was getting frustrated. How can you publish a book with so many obvious problems?? I decided it was my mission to go through the entire text (about 125 pages) and see what I can find. It took me a few hours and I managed to identify 77 problems. It was shocking. 77 mistakes in 125 pages, that is awful.

I decided to explain each mistake on a little post-it note and stick it to the page where it occurred. After I finished, I made a photocopy of each of the pages that contained an error. I gave the stack to my boss. She was amazed that I was able to find so many. Moments later, she mentioned that the head-office might want me to come work with them after seeing what I had accomplished with this book. I have always enjoyed doing that kind of work and perhaps I would take them up on the offer, who knows?

I am certainly not an expert in grammar, but I can hold my own. I make far too many errors when posting on this here blog. Perhaps I should turn off the TV and/or radio when spewing on Blogger?...lol