Expensive Buying Habits

One of the things my wife was very proud of is the fact that our 2 boys are not brand conscious. No brand names for clothings are OK to them . ' I would buy them shirts and pants from Walmart and sometimes Sears and they won't mind ' she bragged to our friends .That was until lately . They changed a lot when they entered separate universities . I guess the ' influence ' of new friends , the internet and the school itself have changed their buying habits. Here's how .
My yougest son now buys a lot of cool stuff via the net . Several weeks ago , he asked his mom to buy 6 t-shirts for him and his friends which they will pay later . No problem with that except that buying through the internet is now becoming a habit for this son of mine .Net buying is more expensive and there is no haggling which my wife likes to do !
The eldest son is a different case alltogether. He has refrained from ' buying from countries that exploit labor and the like.'' Made In China' clothes are a definite no no for him . One time , while shopping together , I showed him a nice jacket and said ' This one is from the Phillipines . That country has strict labor laws '. My son answered ' Yes , but they have child prostitution over there ' . We ended up buying a far more expensive Italian made item even when I told my son that Versace probably employs illegal aliensl !


I Get The Hint.

I'm sorry I'm not able to keep my blog updated lately . I have to do some trips . Anyway . I 'm back home to find the place all spruced up for the holidays . Of course , it's the month of December , silly me . My wife started with putting the light outside ' cos she better do it before it becomes too cold ' . Of course . She added a new one in our display this year . It's a prelit X'mas tree for outside use which she placed in the porch .That's the 1st few days of the Christmas month .
The 2nd week , she did all the interior decorating - the big X'mas tree, the stuff in the fireplace and just about every nook and coner of the house .As she was placing some decorations for the basement, she put some extra decos on the computer table . ' Why so much decorations on my computer table ' I asked her . She hesitated then replied ' That's so you won't forget my Christmas gift this year . I saw a good one at Kay's Jewellry '. I knew all these work will cost me something big !


Long Lines For Electronic Gadget

I was astonished how some , make that many people , will go through to get the new Playstation. In our local Best Buy store , a long line formed a day before the PS3 was made available for sale . Not only in US ( photo showed line in Taiwan )
' Did they sleep overnight in front of the store ? ' my wife asked in bewilderment . In other areas , the news said that stampedes even happened . Like in Walmart in someplace . Unbelievable . I guess , a lot of parents want to make their kids happy although some enterprising folks eventually sell theirs at eBay for twice the price they paid for .
' Did you buy your son one ? ' I asked Ziggy , my friend. ' Absolutely not. Not ever ' he answered . He then explained why . Apparently , he bought his son a Playstation before and the son was ' addicted ' ( Ziggy's word ) to playing it . ' I'll probably do the same thing ' he then added . I guess it's true. Some countries in Asia banned arcades where these games are featured. I played video games ( as they were called then ) before and it was a lot of fun really . You just keep playing . More so of today's games . The games now are in HD and the graphics are mind blowing . I don't know if I will start playing electronic games again. Right now , I am trying to master electronic casino games !


Election Hangover

I came across this wonderful poem about the recently concluded US election . I think it's really witty that's why I 'm sharing the post with you whether you are a Democrat or a Republican !


Outsourcing The Future

Why the hell did American businesses came up with the idea of outsourcing? The other day , I read the news that 'outsourcing' will save American firms about $ 50+ billion in the future . That not only manufacturing , telemarketing , animation and similar jobs are going overseas. In the near future , HR , Engineering , medical etc jobs are in jeopardy . I told my 2 sons to carefully choose the professions they would enter . This was 4 years ago when my eldest was just starting college . I pointed out to him the jobs likely to go overseas then. I don't think the list of prospective jobs in danger of being outsource is the same now . A lot has been added to the list . In the future , what's left to Americans are low paying service jobs . Darn .
That's why China has the most number of billionaires according to Forbes magazines . Opportunities abound in that country that once banned individual wealth . I once visited Shanghai like 10 years ago . There was a sprinkling of modern buildings then . Now , it is sprawling with modern buildings of all kinds . Some are mansions of young rich Chinese. One thing is sure , these young Chinese never have to worry about outsourcing . Except when they are in Las Vegas !


What's That , Grampa ?

It's amazing how fast things can change . What's ' in' today can be a museum item next day . Change can overtake you without knowing it . This happened to me several times . Latest is last week , I was looking for the disk holder of my son's laptop . Gone .Today's computers don't have use for disks anymore . Kids use USB now to save their files . It's the ' thingy ' you see hanging on college kids' necks or as key chains. In fact , some colleges including Harvard have their professors do their lectures in podcast . Cool . I want to be a student today . I don't have to take notes or worry about missing a lecture . I just need to be tech savvy.
I'm sure there are more obvious changes that are noticeable to us middle age folks . The ' film ' is definitely one . The popularity of digital camera certainly makes ' film ' obsolete . HDTV will definitely be a regular feature of every TV sets. I remember when ' fax ' was 1st introduced . I was amazed by the technology . It's of course ' passes ' now . You've got to be fast minded to keep track of all these changes or else people , if not your kins , will make fun of you . Like what happened to Pres. Bush lately . Of course , we've heard about him calling the internet , internets ! Now , Bush referred to Google as The Google.


We Live In Very Interesting Times ..

Yup . The other day , my friend was telling me how different today's TV world is with so many channels . ' I don't know what to watch ' he ' complained ' to me over the phone . The reason why is that he lives in Canada and in that country they get the sattelite feeds of all channels without paying for them. Lucky bastard . If you have the right equiptments and dish , you can get Pay Per View , Video On Demand , History channel , Playboy , HBO , MSNBX , Fox News and CNN etc . without paying the monthly fees . It's a TV addict paradise over there .
Me . I am happy watching the 4 major netwoks - ABC , CBS , NBC and Fox and on cable - MCNBC , CNN and Fox News. Interesting how the 3 cable news are all different and competitive. Fox is rightist , while the 2 are left-middle of the road .When Fox' O'Reilly identified Rep. Mark Foley ( delirately or not ) as a Democrat when the scandal 1st broke , MSNBC sure highlighted the mistake in their various shows . Now CNN , featuring the terrorist arms video, is being criticized by Fox .
As far asthe network news battle is concern , it's as heated as before the days of 3 oldtimers - Brokaw, Jennings and Rather -who left news scene . CBS' Katie Couric Evening News , after initial surge in the ratings , is reported to be lagging behind at 3rd . NBC's World Tonight by Brian Williams is at 1st followed by ABC's World News by Charles Gibson . I watched all 3 news at 6:30 PM . I start with Gibson and change to NBC or ABC depending on which is more interesting . The problem is that all 3 networks break for commercials practically at the same time .


Hilary Or Ophra

No . Ophra is not actually running for President . Ophra is assuming the role of a kingmaker . The TV Queen is openly endorsing 1st time Senator Obama . Obama is in some sort of a media blitz appearing in her show , in Larry King's and countless other shows . I just know that I watched Obama in these 2 shows . Even the latest Time magazine , he's there on the cover. The man is all over the place . Actually , the charismatic Senator is an interesting read . It will great to see the Hilary camp's strategy vs. him to gain the nomination of the Democratic party in 2008 .
Well , Hilary debated I don't know his name last Friday in NY. She has a wide lead over I don't know his name ( 63%/27%) and her campaign chest is a whooping $ 15 million vs. $500 thou of I don't know his name ! She can certainly channel the leftover to her presidential campaign . At least it would an interesting contest in 2008 rather than the battle now for NY senatorial seat between Hilary and I don't know his name .


Take Care Of Your Partner's Needs

This weekend , we watched a very good movie . Not spectacular but it hits me real hard . The movie featured stories of diverse people and how they handled stress in their lives . What particularly interest me was the story of an elderly couple who lived a simple life . The wife did her stitch work while the husband watched TV while having dinner in a TV tray . Then he smoked his cigarrette after eating while she puts away her work to accompany the bunch she has accumulated through the years . That's the way they lived . Day in and day out !
One day , the lady met in a corner store, an old grade school classmate. He remembered her as a gifted girl who was good in producing wonderful things. They spent a brief time together and he told her that he lived in Europe for sometime with her wife and moved back to the States when she died . ' You should go to Italy . It's wonderful there ' the man said . Before they parted , he invited her to his place ' We can watch the ocean there ' he said.
One day , she remembered the man's invitation . She brought a chocolate bar which he buys daily from the store . She went to his place , pleasantly surprising the man . They went in and sat in the front of the ocean while listening to an opera music . She felt in heaven 'I could just sit here all day ' she said . Then the man's new wife arrived . He intoduced her to his wife. ' He told me about your chance meeting ' ' It's always nice to meet old acquaintance ' the man's wife said with a genuine smile on her face. She hurriedly said her goodbye while the man and his wife readied to go out like newly weds.
At home that night , the same routine except his husband instead put away his soiled plate. He went for his usual smoke in the balcony after eating . Then suddenly , she attacked her pounding her fists on his chest repeatedly . That's it . Simple message . Don't be boring . This week , I will ask my wife to go out and watch a movie/ eat at her fav resto ! Also , I'll recall what things she was good at before ( aside from shopping ) and try to cultivate it .


Massage , Anyone ?

It's astonishing to note the proliferation of spas and massage shops . It's a testament to the emphasis for good living . I recently bought some massaging stuffs . I said some because it's more than one . And progressive at that .I started with a handheld one being peddled on the shopping channel . It was dissapointing. It's good on TV but it doen'nt do the work . Then I tried the one you put on your seat . Titilating at best but hardly powerful to really massage one's tired body .
Recently , I graduated to the expesnive one . The I Joy massage chair ( photo ) . It really does a decent job . And different types of massages too. I like the Shiatsu best . It's not the top of the line ( I think the Panasonic is ) but nevertheless it costs in the hundreds. I bought mine at Linens And Things . But I guess nothing beats the human hands . Every so often , my wife still visits the massage clinic . It's good that it's covered by insurance now . I wonder how much it will cost us to bring someone to do our massaging . Like IM . Instant Massager .


The Times Of Your Life

Sometime last July , I embarked on a project . I resolved to put hundreds , no make that thousands of photos in order . Pictures when we ( me and the wife ) are in the early stages of our married life , to the arrival of each child up to the present . ' I should be done in 3 months ' I told a friend . Some of the pics I will scan and file electronically . Loose photos I will put in albums . Special ones , I will have these framed . Good battleplan . Kapis ? Nope . Just like Rumsfeld , I screwed it up . I barely scrap the top of our collection 3 months after . Why ? Memories. . Yes , just ike Paul Anka's song in that Kodak commercial of yesteryears . The photos have certain memories - some not so good , some funny , some happy and so on - one has to stop and reminisce . I scanned just 3 pictures so far!. One of which I posted several weeks ago and the other one shown here. I find myself awash with memories and I don't mind it . Screw the deadline . Just like the Iraq war , it's gonna' be forever !

Then suddenly you have to find .
The memories you left behind .
Remember ? Do you remember ?
The times of your life .



It's crazy how Walmart continues to sink in the p.r. department despite hiring a bigtime company in charge of 'polishing ' it's battered image. Since old man Sam died , the largest company in the world right now has become the target of criticisms not to mention rallies against it's business policies and personnel moves . There this class lawsuit against it by a group of women who finds that they are being discriminated upon . What about that accusations levelled against the company for hiring illegal immigrants to do it's janitorial services .Jay Leno always joke about it . Of course , there is the union busting complaint by Walmart in Canada . And now this : . Walmart now plans to hire more partime workers .
I told my wife not to buy from Walmart if she can help it . The company should understand while the mission are to maximize shareholders' value and profits , there is still the social responsibility that is of equal importance . I think Walmart's ' bullying ' tactics ' on small towns kill the Mom And Pop stores and destroys the fabric of the community . Some town officials banned the enry of big stores like Sam'. etc in their community . Walmart workers need appropriate wages and benefits . Sam must be rolling on his grave now .

It should be made In China !


Something About September

September is about to end . Somehow , I remember songs about the month of September more than any other month . I don't know why . There is in my pre teen years , a song that went like this :

I'll see you in September .
When summer is gone.
Have a good time but remember
Come back to me when summer is gone.

How can I forget that song by Gary Lewis And The Playboy , it's one of the 1st love song I memorized even before I fell in love . My elder brothers used to strum their guitars and sing it . Then there is the song by The Association .titled ' See You In September ' . These 2 songs came out at just about the same time.

In my post teen years , there was this song by Neil Diamond called ' September Morn ' . I became an ND fan because of how he sang this one . September morn can really make me feel that way ! Oh yeah , baby !

Early this year , I heard my son playing a new song by the Grammy Award winner Green Bay . The MTV shows a young man who went to join the military without the knowledge of his wife . He was eventually deployed to Iraq. It's titled ' When September Ends ' . It's beautiful .
So you see , whether in the '60s or up to the 2008 , September evokes passion.

There is something about September ...


In Some Goddam Places , It's Hard To Be Woman.

Yesterday , I watched the presidenti of Afghanistan being interviewed by CBS' Schiffer . It was a good interview with excellent views by Pres. Karzai . He talked about the progress made by the Afghan government since kicking the Taliban out of power . Among these ' progress ' is that thousands more children go to school now when it numbered only like 700 before . And only boys at that ! It's really unfortunate that in some countries even in this day and age , women are treated as 2nd class citizens. I recalled an incident that happened in Saudi Arabia . Over there , women are not allowed to drive anything . One time , a group of women staged a rally ( illegal over there ) to protest this rule . A handful of brave ladies drove their cars ( I should say , their fathers' cars ) around the block where we reside and defiantly did this for a few rounds . I do not know what happened next . There was no news of this event in the papers the following days . I just know that the rule stays up to this day. However, during the 1st Gulf War , American women soldiers went around driving to the consternation of the religious police . They can't do anything about it.
When I was a small kid, we often see Chinese ladies with small feet . The took , obviuosly , very small steps on their way to whatever destinations they were going to . When I asked my father how come their feet are small . He said it's to prevent them from wandering afar from their husband's place . These ladies were fitted with steel shoes when they were small girls keeping their feet from growing !


Men Are From Mars , My Wife From Sears.

My wife is a wise shopaholic . She's a tireless and patient shopper. She scours through rackful of merchandise store after store . Males do not usualy do that . Me and my 2 sons just buy stuff we see on the supermarkets without looking at the price. ' Just get it done and get out of there ' is my motto. Not so with her.
When we lived in Asia , she sometimes do some travelling just to shop . Her fav spot to shop is Hongkong . It's the shopper's heaven. Travel agencies even offer shopper's fare. Of course being part of China , it's no.1 market for imitation . All kinds of designer's copy can be found there . Christian Dior , Gloria Vanderbuilt you name it , it's there. In Bangkok , Thailand , she liked buying low cost real jewelries and fake watches like Rolex. The night markets there are great. That's where she shopped for inexpensive clothes. Singapore is the place to buy electronics . You might think that Japan is it 'cos that's where the electronic products are 1st made . Nope , it's expensive over there . Japan is the place where you can find new electronic products not found elsewhere. Lastly , Indonesia is where she shops for ' batik ' design textiles. One thing she missed in shopping here is the ' haggling ' with the sales people . ' You cannot haggle here 'coz it's fixed price ' she told me one time. ' Yes you can ' I quickly answered her . ' Go to the open market.' From thenon , she makes sure she goes to the open market wherever we are . Me and my big mouth !



Yesterday , my wife bought an electric fireplace for our new home . We opted not have one built in by the contractor ' because in our previous home we hardly used one we had .' Same with the jacussi bath . In our 4 years stay in our previous home , I can remember the times we used the jacussi bath . One . Exactly one time when my wife felt like ' soaking herself in a whirlpool of water.' Great . These are 2 house upgrades that I feel is a ' waste '. She agrees or so I thought.
Suddenly my wife decided that an addition of a fireplace will be a swell idea. Hmmm. This is strange . She seldom sit by one much less enjoy the warmth of a fireplace with a book in hand. This is my one ' knock ' against my wife . She is not a book lover . Not even a magazine reader. She is not a reader period. She is smart alright being an engineer. Then I found out later that day after we bought the ' thing ' the real reason she had a change of mind. Two officemates of hers were talking how much they enjoyed their fireplaces . Aha , I teased her . You want one ' to keep up with the Joneses ' . I told her that I will monitor how often she will use the contraption. Oh yeah , she does read something . The flyers to see what's on sale !


Marrying Up

It's funny but when I was young ' security ' was the last thing in my mind . I would marry the girl that will make me fall in love is what was in my mind then. This mentality was bolstered by Hollywood films . You know , poor girl meets rich boy , they marry and live happilly ever after . I was a real sucker for this kind of stories then . Even now . Pretty Woman is but one of the movies of the same theme that I love.
Now that I'm a parent of 2 grown up boys soon to enter the ' marrying age ', I tried to impart some wisdom to them that my parents did not pass to me ( not that they will listen to the old man ) . So one day , I told 'em in my best Cary Grant voice ' Boys , you should look for girls that will make you better overall '. From thereon , everytime my youngest needs extra allowance to buy a gift for his girlfriend who is taking up medicine , he would say to me ' You don't want the Doctor to get away , do you ? ' . Darn parenting skills .


Were Where You ?

I was at work when the terrorsits struck . Walking the production floor actually . I noticed the shopfloor people were either mingling or glued to the radios. I thought it was unusual that these particular incident generated so much interest until I came up to office where the bosses and staff mingling at the computers . There were a lot of ' mingling ' going on that day . They were all looking at the CNN website showing the Twin Towers on the verge of collapse . Needless to say , productivity was kaput that day .
I have a taste of the anger that soon followed the terror attacks .Well sort of . Appararently , my boss told some people I work for Bin Laden the father or something like that . One officemate seething with anger asked me about it . I worked for a company that is a subcon of Bin Laden Org. which is a very large firm in Saudi Arabia , but not directly for BLO. Also , I made sure I'm no Saudi although sometimes I'm mistaken for , among other nationalities, an East Indian , a Pakistani , an Arabian etc. It was really cool before 9/11 . Not anymore . An Aunt teased me by calling me ' Omar Sharif ' , the Dr. Zhivago guy . Now , I told her to call me instead - Elmer Sheriff !


Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend Bobby?

Can you tell me where he's gone ? That song always leaves me wondering . What kind of world would we be living in if the Kennedys and Martin Luther King were not assasinated ? With the forthcoming release of the film ' Bobby ' and the recent death of Mrs. Connolly , interests in the life and death of the brothers will be rekindled . Mrs. Connolly was the last living of the 4 passengers in that fateful presidential car . ' Yes, I believed we lost our innocense that day ' was her response to the question whether America was different after Nov. 3 , 1963 . I was a tiny tot then so I was still innocent but Bobby's death in '68 was kinda different . I was beginning to be aware of the girls errr ... of the political world . Although when given the customary question ' Where were you when Bobby K . was killed ? ' I have a tough time answerin' - I was in the bathroom taking a dump .
I think Bobby would have been a better President than his brod. The younger Kennedy has more morals and unbending too. I still remember the line that Bobby K. used ' Some people see things as they are and ask why ? I see things that never were , and ask why not ? I got 100% in history class the day that question was asked . I did not asked why !


Magic Makeover

We did it ! We managed to to ' fit' the content of our former home to a bungalow . The old home is a 2 story with a finished basement . We did not conduct a garage sale and gave away only a few items so our move was practically 'all the stuff we have '. It not that we don't want to give 'em away . It just that nobody wants these. Even my kids won't take the couch etc. for their apts. They want IKEA stuff as most students do.
I am in charge of interior designing . It keeps my mind occupied even at midnight . Last night. I woke up at 3 AM thinking of the best locations for the loads of pictures. I was not able to able to sleep after that. Next action item , where to place the plants ? I guess this is ' my feminine side' if you know I mean . My Martha Stewart side less the bitchiness !


Stormy Florida

Here we go again ! Storm Ernesto is supposedly the first of the many storm/hurricanes coming this year . Why is it starting with a letter 'E' ? Over here in the East coast , we don't bother much with hurricanes except when you are travelling to say Florida ! And that's exactly what we experienced 2 years ago when we went on a Carribean cruise . We left here on a perfect weather . We landed in Fla. with no inkling on what we will be facing us when we get back.
The cruise was alright . You know how your friends will tell you that ' you can eat steaks and lobsters every night in the cruise ' . Well , after 3 straight dinner of s ans l , I can't take no more . The buffet which are normally for breakfast and lunch are equally ' filling '. My boss has the habit of weighing each employee before and after the cruise and see how much weight one gained . There's one thing I enjoyed during the trip . Casino . It's stressless when you don't have to worry about driving home after 'gambling' . One only have to go to your room after getting tired from pulling the arm of the slot machine.
The 'hard part ' of that trip was when we got back to Florida , there was a hurricane . All flights were cancelled . No electricity near the airport and all nearby hotels were fully booked that we have to go to Disney Resort , until the flights resumed, which was after 2 days. From thereon , this East coast guy keeps track of all hurricanes coming stateside . By the way , I gained 5 pounds on that trip !


When I'm 64 .

' Will you still need me , will you still feed me , when I am 64 ' goes the lyrics of a famous Beatles song . Although the song is really between sweethearts , lately it applies to aging baby boomers and their children more. CNN reported last Tuesday that there's an increase in suits involving the parents and kins and how the former want to be treated . Last week , replays of Soprano featured Tony sending a reluctant ( and angry ) mother in a nursing home. ' What kind of son sends his mother to a home ' said his TV uncle , Junior Soprano.
I have no problem staying in a nursing home when I grow old . Maybe ? Traditionally , the eldest child takes care of an aging parent(s). If not , they live close by . My parents live separately but really close to my big brother' home. . Although I said that I will have no problem living in a home for the aged when I grow old , I don't know emotionally how I will feel when that time comes . My son every now and then jokes that he will send us to a senior's home in the future . Wonder if he's really kidding !


Acquired And Inborn Traits .

I have 2 sons . Two different sons . Two sons with nothing in common. Well , their father and mother . Funny , how you tend to compare 2 siblings especially if the 2 are not born so much apart .Not unlike Wally and Beaver in my fav TV show of yesteryears . My wife tends to cite their habits and idiosynchracies especially the not so good ones . She's quick to point out 'bad habits' my sons acquired from me . You know , like eating in front of tv whether in the basement or their respective rooms . ' In the new house , I won't allow eating if not in the dining table ' my wife warned me recently when my youngest ran with a plateful of food in the basement. See what I mean !

My youngest son amazingly is very much like me . Amazing because some of these traits I'm quite sure my son 'inherited' not acquired . My eldest son, although not exactly a social animal, is at ease with people. The youngest one is very inhibited except to his friends . I remembered very vividly one incident that happened when son no.2 was barely able to walk. We were playing - just me and son no.2 - when the doorbell rung in our condo unit . I left him to the carpeted floor while I opened the door . It was a friend of mine . I asked him to come inside and we chatted for a while while my son played on the floor within my eyesight so I thought . After my friend left , I called for my son . I cannot find him until I looked under the loveseat . The poor boy was under it hiding like a scared kitten all bent I don't know for how long . When my wife arrived with son no.1 from shopping , I told her the story . ' He's just like you . Scared of people ' she blurted . See what I mean . Again.


Garbage In,Garbage Out !

Started throwing out some ' garbage' in preparation to our moving. We are going from a detached home to a smaller townhouse . Squeezing all our present furnitures would be a decorating challenge. Some furnitures had been allocated to our kids' apartments . Both are in different universities in the city so they don't live with us anymore except for the occasonal visits . Three to five years from now , we plan to downsize further to a condo unit . Funny , how it comes to full circle the size of one's abode . I just think , it's less headache for us if we don't have to worry about mowing grass, plowing snow and doing maintenance .

Once we get to the new house , we will start the planting of tress and shrubs . That's another ' garbage ' producing activity . I remembered that the last time we did some planting . We accumulated soils and stuff from all the diggings . It's a pain in the neck to dispose of bagful of dirts. Me and the commander in chief sneaked out in the night looking for vacant lots to dispose these bags. Sometimes near midnight to insure the folks were asleep. When we find a vacant lot , normally where new houses are being built , we dumped the junk near the construction company's garbage bin . It's a cloak and dagger operation . After disposing the junk, we fill ourselves with junk food from a nearby Mc Donalds. So it's really a case of garbage out , garbage in !


A Sickening Walk In The Park

After so many years , the case of Jon Benet must be nearing end with the arrest of a man who is said to know details of the crime not published and therefore not known by anyone except the killer and the police .. Incredible . The man was in Bangkok. Why am I not surprised ? The story below .
My heart bleeds for this family . An angel of a child taken at so horrible a manner and on top of that , the family crucified by the tabloids . As you know , Jon's mother recently passed away with many still doubting her story. Some even expected a deathbed confession from her !

The man arrested is said to be an American grade school teacher . Bangkok , Thailand was known as the sex capital of Asia before . The sex industry at one time was about $2.5 billion a year industry . I don't know now . When I used to travel there on business , I noticed a number of tourists ? who were obviously there for the so called flesh market . The worst part was that in a lot of cases , it involved children . In plain view of everybody , the kids are peddled like goods by their pimps in the park where there are tourists . I was surprised when one pimp approached me one time and said ' sir , we have new ones here . Very young , sir ' . I thought he was referring to live seafoods , until I saw behind him a young girl with a make up smiling at me . It's really sickening .


Shredder Is For Papers Only

As I've posted sometime ago that we've sold our house .We started the ardous task of packing stuff immediately. My books are one of the largest 'baggage' . I wonder if I need to take the books or just sell these via eBay ? Nothing special about my books . Definitely no collectors items . I seldom read what I've read . Just like movies or DVDs , once I watched it , seldom do I watch a movie again . That's why I don't buy DVDs . I just rent. Besides , I had a bad experience with Beta , VHS, and laser discs. These became obsolete eventually . I still have some Betas in my collection gathering molds .

One thing we do now is shred the papers before throwing the papers as garbage. We don't do this before .I think every household in America own a shredder now. You can buy all kinds of shredders even at WalMart . There was a time that you can find shredders only in Office Supplies stores. It's a fun activity this shredding . I don't know how we gathered so many paper stuff . But be warned . Shredding machines are dangerous . For humans and pets . One time , a TV special featured 'accidents' involving this invention . A small girl had her fingers mangled when she stuck her hand on one . The TV showed her hand w/ fingers cut short by the blades of the shredder .The little girl was asking her Mommie when her fingers will grow back to normal size ? The other example showed a dog's tongue shredded when the dog stuck it to the shredder. No, the dog did not asked the owner when the tongue will grow back . It's a dog remember . It is really unfortunate .


Who Wants To Be A Whistleblower ?

Our society frowns upon those who rat on the fellow workers / friends . Last year, a professional basketball player of the Denver Nuggets , Carmelo Anthony , got into big trouble when he was featured in a home made rap video proclaiming that those who inform the police of drug use must be shot. Needles to say , his PR team particularly his Agent has his hands full doing damage control. Product endorsements were halted despite the baller's skill on the court .Then there is this lady Accountant from Enron who raised questions about anomalies to Enron's top honcho, bless his soul , Ken Lay. For some time after her memo , she was ostracised . Almost demoted
. Now there is this question on when the folks at BP in Alaska came to know the problem concerning ' damaged pipes ' . If not for the terrorist news , this fiasco will surely be headline hugger . And rightly so, you and me will be bitching about how price of gas is so high . This is one gas price increase that is preventable and not caused by crazy Arabs . It's local and it's caused by greed and negligence . I know how this came about . Sometimes those of us who are in charge of whatever , postpone preventive maintainance work 'cause it will disrupt the operation ergo the flow of moolah . Sometimes . we cut corners to cut costs. This happens even in household chores . How many times one will use a cheap imitation ias substitute for the real thing . The Managemen of BP is guilty in both counts if the documents are to be believed . BP used anti corrosive chemical well below the required concentration . It's maintainance of the pipeline was very poor. It's like your roof is leaking but you waited for the roof to deteriorate beyond repair before acting on it . Despite billlions in profits and several warnings about the situation , nothing was done to repair the damage. Now we all , including the consumers . have to suffer.


I'm Glad I'm Not Travelling Anymore

Yes , and by travelling I meant by plane . There was a time I was on the plane 5 or 6 times a year and to such ' hot spots ' as the Middle East , East Asia , London and of course New York. My work then involved some flying so I can't help it . Although I must admit , I enjoyed the opportunity to visit different places. And free at that flying business class . Even then I worry a lot . Not because of terrorists but because of plane crashes . In the 90's the only terrorism related incidents I can recall is the Canadian Airline that crashed in Scotland killing all aboard . It's more like isolated case . Indian Sikh retiilating because of the destruction of their holy temple in their homeland . Then of course the pre cursor of 9/11 - the bombing of a Japan bound PAL killing one Japanese passenger . All in all , when they talk about terrorism then , it was just plain hijacking . The passengers are eventually released after satisfying the demands of the terrorists . Now , you're lusky if they find your body in one piece or several pieces . If not the terrorists , the government fighter plane will destroy a ' hijacked plane ' .The gover nment has no choice . It must prevent another 9/11 one way or another . Today there's news in Britain about the foiled attempt of some Pakistani descent individuals to blow up American planes bound for US . They now banned all liquids and gels aboard a plane . I hate to fly in today's world . I will definitely welcome the airport search wholeheartedly even if meant a 2-3 hours delay . Better than ending up in 2-3 pieces !


No Knowledge , No Problem

The news today is about Paul McCartney's latest move against his wife Heather . It said that the former Beatle changed the lock of their mansion thereby preventing Heather and daughter from entering. It forced her bodyguard to scale the wall so that the police was called to check out what's happening . It's getting nasty this divorce . No doubt the reason may be the division of wealth estimated to be around $ 500 million. The marriage is without a pre nup . Big mistake . I don't know what Paul was thinking then . That everything will stay the same . Now he has to dig dirt on her wife's past . I read that there was a nude photo taken of Heather before when she was younger and that she was a high level call girl.

Do you think it is important to tell your better half to be your past ? Hell no said my friend . What she does'nt know wont hurt her . I guess he's right . Anyways , they are no celebs . No tabloids to dig up the past . Of couse it's better if he or she knows something from the start of the relationship . Before tying the knot so to speak. Like this newscaster from Naked News . Her boyfriend is well aware of her job which is to disrobe while reading the news . Nice job . Just make sure she does'nt take her clothes off while reading the morning papers at home in front of the kids !


Time To Move

Finally , we've found a buyer for our house . It's amazing how tedious it is to sell one's house . Many times , we have to get out of the house to let some prospective buyers take a look at it . Sometimes , in the middle of something . Next week, the house inspector will do a thorough look at everything . I'll miss this house 'coz it's the 1st one we built ourselves . The other ones , we are the not the 1st owners. I remember doing wiring for the internet and speakers when it was still being built .

I was told by the agent , the buyer will do an inspection 2 days before the closing .Our agent was nice though . He gave us a gift pack for $ 50 for our fav resto and other give aways .I guessed his commission can afford it .The next few days , we will be up to our neck in packing our stuff. We only have the end of this month and next 2 weeks to do this . We have accumulated so much stuff , some 'garbage' now, we have to throw some or give 'em away. I'm not into garage sales . I'd rather give stuff away than sell these .


Politics Is Addition

Once again it's proven that there is no permanent friends and enemies in politics . Only permanent interest . I saw the master politician himself , Bill Clinton, campaigning for the troubled Joe Libberman who is running for the Democratic nomination for the state of Connecticut. I'm saying that this is quite a 'move' by Bubba as Joe was one of those who spoke against him during the height of Monicagate . Bubba was as cool and suave as John Travolta . I don't know who copied who . John T. or Bill C . Anyway , both are the personification of what's cool.
I always liked Bill Clinton . Sorry guys/gals . I just think he's a fun president . Flawed but fun . The other day , I was asking myself - how did he pulled it off ? Doing all those things with Monica right in the oval office! Stupid and gutsy at the same time. Clinton idolized Jack Kennedy so much that even his shenanigans he copied . Unfortunately , the press today won't let you get away with such actions . Where is Monica now ? I read that Monica is now in England studying . Back to the heading . For sure , come presidential election , Hilary will need all the help she can get . Bill will surely cash in this chip !


While The Temp. Rises , Sales Is Down

Summer sure is fun . One thing good is the drive in movie in our place is open now. Actually since last month . We watched RV there starring Robin Williams and Da Vinci Code of Tom Hanks. Somehow , drive in movie bring some nostalgia. It brought memories of life a lot simpler . I did not grow up in that period but from accounts I heard from much older kins, it was the start of awakening of the youth. That's when booze , drugs and other stuff were introduced to the youth. I wonder how much the young ones today are still doing stuff on drive in like depicted in the movie Amercan Graffiti ? The advent of smaller cars made this practice less enjoyable . I think !

I heard on the radio today that the Americans are not so much in love with their cars anymore like in yesteryears. In the 60's , about 1 of 2 cars on the road were GM cars. The Big 3 - GM , Ford and Chrysler - lorded it over the industry . Now , Toyota is set to overtake Ford as the no.2 carmaker in the world . Then , it's only a matter of time before Toyota dislodges GM as the world's numero uno ! The bosses at GM always remind us of the Toyota threat. You can say that we are operating at GM in the state of paranoia ! Every month, Toyota's sales go up while the Big 3 plummets . July is no different .


The End Of The World

Lately , there been talk about the end of the world . This talk was triggered by what's happening in the world lately. Imagine a respectable network like CNN featuring some guys from every religious groups including Jerry Falwell talking about this. One guy said the tsunamis , earthquakes volcanic eruptions and the war in Iraq and Lebanon are proof of this. I don't know about that . Supposedly , Nostradamus in one of his quartet, predicted that the start of the EOW will be in the Middle East specifically Iran. There is some crazy dude insisting on continuing with his country's nuclear program there.
I tell you what . The EOW for Mel Gibson happened already . Well sort of . His arrest for DUI and tirades against the Jews and other stuff are hugging the headlines and airwaves . Gibson who already is the target of certain Jewish groups for his film , The Passion Of The Christ , is said to have sought the help of influential Jewish leaders to help explain his position. Coincidentally , the coming film by Gibson is titled ... you guessed it right - end of the world or Apocalypto .


DNA For Hot Weather

verybody is complaining about the weather . From California to Canada , people are feeling the heat. Sporadic rainfall help a little . The temp here reaches to 45 deg C . It's good that some workers are provided heat relief . I remember designing a room where our workers in the plant can ' cool off ' when the weather becomes unbearable. The room has an A/C of course , a water cooler and seats . I thought of incorporating mist spraying unit but it's too complicated . They can spend their break at the RR . So after the shift is over , you'll find tons of newspapers in there . Sometimes. that's where I picked up newspapers to take home .

In comparison , plants in Saudi Arabia where I used to work have no such thing . One just have to bear it. It can really be oven hot especially with almost no humidity . Something between 50-55 deg.C. Somehow we survived . The toughest guys in hot weather are the Yemenis . These guys are small but strong hombres working in outside weather either in constructions and road building. Actually , Bin Laden is Saudi-Yemeni but he's tall (6'4'') .Then next to the Yemenis are the Pakistanis , Indians and sub Saharan nationals not necessarilly in order. I guess their DNA can accept such brutal weather !


Poker Up !

I am excited about the coming world strip poker to be held in Cafe Royale in London. It is going to be the biggest of its kind and Guiness Book Of Records is going to be there to record the event. Wow ! Who has not played strip poker one time or another ? In high school , that's a common dare for us . That was then though. Now , you will think twice 'bout doing such a thing especially if you are not in shape . This London event is going to be on TV .
This Guiness thing is becoming the preoccupation of some local executives around the world . Why not ? It certainly puts their town in the limelight even for a brief 15 seconds of fame so to speak. One town in Asia holds the record for mass kissing by couples while another hold the honor of baking the larget pizza !
Let's just hope the participants in the London event are not big bellied beer drinking men and gigantic assed cigar smoking women !


New Products I Bought

My friend in his visit yesterday told me about the latest inventions in the market . It's a robot maid . It's supposed to do most of what a real maid can do and without qualms . I missed that one so I check the net . Normally , I am up to date on things like this . I had a Newton handheld unit before my friends got theirs. It's what you might call the early Blackberry . I had it 10 yrs. ago and had fun with it because it cannot recognize my handwriting ! Totally useless product by Apple Computers.

Then , there's the Rhumba . What a piece of junk ! You're supposed to leave it , in the room and it will be vacuum cleaned . The real truth is , it needs your presence to move it to different spots as it get stucked . I hope this Robot Maid is as good as advertised . Remember , first is not necessarilly good !