Tuesday, July 31, 2007

 

I can't get no satisfaction (with a vegan)

You can't make this stuff up.

All I can say is : In your dreams baby, in your dreams

Go choke on some celery you self righteous moron.

And they said that those actors in the Planet of the Apes movies were wearing makeup; I guess we know that's not true

Until next time
Fai Mao
The Big Mac of Bloggers

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Monday, July 30, 2007

 

A whole new way to see the Stooges

I've been and will continue to be a stoogie as long as I live.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who when he shaves his mustache looks a little bit like Larry

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Friday, July 27, 2007

 

Graphene?

I can see the new comic book character based on this stuff now

"The man of Graphene"


Until next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger without any carbon fiber paper

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 

Tag, your it!

I have been challenged to state 8 autobiographical facts by the one and only Fumier.

OK

1. I lack any form of social grace
2. I was once voted by as the meanest teacher in the school where I am employed by middle school boys
3. I used to race bicycles
4. I prefer whiskey to beer
5. I believe that all great men have a mustache
6. I agree with Waylon Jennins. Charles may be a prince but "Bob Wills is still the King"
7. I have a PhD though my spelling doesn't show it
8. I was almost born in the back seat of a 1957 Chevrolet

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

 

Dyslexics of the World Untie

I don't agree with everything the guy linked to above has to say. I am, I think a little more mellow about my dyslexia. However, it is still a fairly good post and expresses some of the frustrations that dyslexic people struggle with.

I would also add that I think one of the biggest obstacles that dyslexics face is the over diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and the use of of the label for personal gain without the associated work and effort needed to achieve such.

Until Next time
Fai Mao
The untied Blogger

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Monday, July 23, 2007

 

Commuting in Hong Kong

I don't drive. In Hong Kong you don't really need to. However, I have friends who have automobiles and so I know that driving, if you can afford it is still faster than the bus or even a taxi here.

I know a man here whose wife is a CPA. She actually put a pencil to it and figured out that for a family of four it is cheaper to take a taxi everywhere you go than to own a car when you include the taxes, licensing, maintenance and so forth. I'm not sure about that but driving is definitely not a middle class activity here unless you live in one of the government housing projects that provide you with a parking space.

Hong Kong has what must be surely one of the best bus systems in the world. There are also trains and subways which I don't normally take. The subway gives me the creeps because it is just two crowded and the train doesn't go past my job. However, there are still one or two days a month that I wish I had a car. Today was one of those. My bus broke down and I had to sit there until they could tow it to the shoulder and then transfer to another bus. It made me about 30 minutes late for work. If I'd had a car I could have been here on time.


When the school moves to a new location after Christmas break I will no longer have a bus that goes past my job. The time and money required to catch a bus, change to the train and then change trains again is going to be a real hassle. Causeway Bay to Shek Mun must be the only two places in Hong Kong that don't have a nearly direct bus route between them. It may be time to look into a scooter license. I still don't think I want a car.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger without a drivers license.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

 

A short quote

"If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with "normal life". Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of crises, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. Plausible reasons have never been lacking for putting off all merely cultural activities until some imminent danger has been averted or some crying injustice put right"
(Lewis, C. S. The Weight of Glory and other Addresses, William Eerdmans Publishing 1965, p 44-45)

This is perhaps a quote that someone could throw at the human bow-tie regarding universal sufferance in Hong Kong. There will never be a perfect time. There will always be one more problem that could be solved. There will always be reason to wait. Perhaps the HK government knows this. Perhaps that is the idea.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who reads more widely than Donald Tsang

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Friday, July 20, 2007

 

Pakistan: Revenge Attacks on Chinese Nationals and Security Personnel

Interesting.

And if you own a Chinese restaurant in Islamabad maybe frightening

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

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I'M TOO SEXY FOR YOUR BUS

I don't know whether to feel guilty for laughing at this story or not

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who rides the bus

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

 

Molon Labe!

I sometimes get upset with the way that language is misused. I think we all do to some degree or another. Certainly I've met enough Brits that get really bent out of shape over "Tires," "Center" and "Color" that I think I'm justified in thinking many people have an idea, even if it is a fuzzy one of what proper grammar, usage and spelling should entail.

Many words have, through slang or sloppy usage lost any semblance of their real power. I could make a couple of corny jokes about the lost attributes of love, gay, wicked, or any of probably 1/2 a dozen other words. But I'm not. I'm going to pick on one word. Actually I'm going to pick on two forms of one word: racist or racism.

It strikes me that racism in the proper context has everything to do with skin color or more properly ethnic heritage and nothing to do with religion or culture. Some NAZI, I've forgotten who, maybe Goering said something very much along along these lines when he said and I'm paraphrasing here; "We hate Jews because they are Jews not because of their religion" (This is one of those quotes that I wish I'd kept a source for.)

I bring this up because I've been watching a DVD of the the movie "300" about the Spartans against the Persians. Some Mullah in Iran objected to this film because it showed the Persians, modern day Iranians, getting their butts kicked by 300 Greeks until a Greek traitor showed the Persians a way to get behind the Greeks. Somehow, I'm not really sure how, this was considered "an affront to Islam" even though none of the characters in the movie were Muslims and Islam hadn't been invented yet , but this Iranian guy just had the vapors with righteous indignation.

Well, since 9-11, as an expat-American; I've made it my patriotic duty to watch any movie or buy any book that Muslims object to. Salmon Rushdie? You bet. Those cartoons in Denmark? I've seen them all! I'll see Evan Almighty when it comes to town with the beautiful, smart, hardworking, looks 25 years younger than she is wife. One of the reasons I want to see this movie is, in addition to looking like it is hysterical, because some Islamic clerics in Malaysia objected to the film because God is played by a Black man, Morgan Freeman (My second favorite actor behind Russel Crow) He said the the movie is an "Affront to Islam" Holy Cow, if it offends a significant percentage of Muslims somewhere that's good enough for me.

So how does this relate to racism? Easy. I've been, from time to time labeled a racist because of my views on Islam. In reality, nothing could be farther from the trues. I don't hate Muslims or anybody else with the possible exception of George Steinbrenner because of the way he ruined the game of Baseball. I don't care what anyone's skin color is, what their parentage is, where they live or anything else. I don't even hate Islam. You can't hate hate an idea. You can only disagree with it and I do. Vehemently so. I disagree with every tenant of Islam. I disagree with it in principle and practice. I wish that it would simply die out and it would if the countries where it exist would stop maintaining it by force. Whatever the crimes any other religion has committed pale in comparison to the barbarism practiced by Islam.

But, disagreeing with Islam as a religion doesn't make me a racist but what might be called a culturalist. I believe that in most ways my Western culture that stresses liberty and tolerance is superior to Islamic cultures.

All cultures and all nations have a set of myths that people believe but that are not necessarily true. George Washington and the Cherry tree. Abe Lincoln walking miles to return three cents he'd overcharged a customer in his father's store. French fecklessness and so on. Some of these myths such as Honest Abe returning the pennies and other times they were constructed out of whole cloth. But they all serve to define a national or cultural heritage. They represent what we, the citizens of a place want to believe about ourselves, or nation, our culture. That is why we preserve them. Or, in some cases discard them, because what we are as a people has changed.

One these myths that has served Islam well is that Medieval Islam societies were more advanced than those in Europe. That they were more tolerant and so for and so on. I think that if we were to look closely and objectively we'd be able to see pretty fast that this myth is exactly that; a myth. Not that Medieval Europe or China were a cream cake by comparison, they weren't but Islamic societies were just as bad or worse.

But, even if the myth of Islamic cultural superiority were true in the past, that's not what Islam is today. I refuse to be immolated, or more likely have my head chopped off for not being a Muslim. I refuse to allow a backward, woman hating, intolerant bunch of scary guys with beards and AK-47's tell me what to do, believe or eat.

But I digress. This was a movie review.

I enjoyed this film. I liked it a lot. Yes, I know it kind of glossed over the unsavory elements of Spartan society. But this film had everything else going for it; blood, sex, treachery and bravery,on one hand and honor and the desire to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming odds on the other hand, everything. The fact that some Islamics in Iran objected to it was gravy just as the the old Monty Python film "The Life of Bryan" was more fun because of Southern Baptist protesting against it.

I wouldn't recommend it for little kids or Canadian pacifist but everyone else should enjoy it.


Molon Labe in deed!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The movie watching non-Islamic Blogger

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

 

Worst Headline of the year?

I'm not sure these are plague rats. They seem to be more like domesticated livestock

In any case I bet there are lots of Civit Cats breathing easier

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who prefers chicken

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Friday, July 13, 2007

 

Worst gadgets - A top 10 list

The Daily Mail list some things as gadgets that don't bother me such as speed cameras. Well actually they might if if I drove but since I don't I'm glad to see most drivers get nailed. I wish they'd install the things on Pokfulam Road; then the government would not need to revamp the tax system in Hong Kong.

Worst Gadgets:
10 . The Electric Can Opener. The ultimate symbol of a lazy decadent society.

09. Cell phones that are incorporated into eye glasses. Talk about the nerd from Hell, there you are.

08. Elliptical workout machines. Try hiking and eating less instead. Anything is better than these beast

07. A tie between the X-Box, Wi and Play Station 3. I play a lot of video games but you don't need a computer that only plays games

06. Digital cameras in cell phones. If I see one more adolescent boy using his cell phone camera to take a quick picture of his girlfriends' underwear on the MTR I'll consider advocating Sharia law in HK.

05. Battery powered watches. The only time you really need a watch in three years will be the day the battery dies. Get a self winding one

04. Battery powered alarm clocks. Everything bad about a battery powered watch is true of a battery powered alarm clock in spades. Except in Hong Kong the rooms don't have enough plugs.

03. Apple Computers. Apple sells a life style not a computer. I don't know if they work better or not. I don't care.

02. Online dating services. Not strictly a gadget but this is my list.

01. Those weird multi tools that they sell on the streets here. They look kind of cool but don't work. Their only real purpose is to get $10.00 from your pocket to the vendors'.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Neo-Luddite Blogger

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Straining at Gnats and Swallowing Camels

I sometimes suffer from topic overload because it just seems that there are so many things to write about that I end up not writing at all. The crane that collapsed near my flat yesterday is a good example. My God, what if that thing had fallen onto Hennesy Road rather than back into the construction site? Does anyone doubt that the use of illiterate construction workers from the PRC and lax safety standards by HK contractors didn't have anything or probably everything to do with that horror? I hesitate to write on disasters like this because I believe this is an issue that the papers and television news can actually cover well. So why write about it? I could write a long essay on the need for better health and safety standards here or the enforcement of those already on the books but why? The SCMP can do that and should.

There are however, things that journalist cannot cover well. This is because:
  1. They don't have the technical knowledge of a specific area.
  2. They don't have the connections
  3. They are unable to separate their personal convictions or attitudes from the issues involved. This is especially true, or so it appears to me when dealing with political and scientific areas.
I must admit, I don't believe in journalistic objectivity (or any other kind of professional objectivity for that matter)in matters of importance. Everybody, my self included, has a near impossible time separating their feelings, training and beliefs from the way they view the world. Journalist are no different. Our opinions and personality color and to some extent shape what we see. That is one of the things that make blogs so useful to me. They give me the opportunity to find divergent points of view or expertise that isn't filtered though someone else provided that I have the skills to discern authentic what the blogger is saying.

I bring this up today because there is a link to a Radio interview on RTHK Radio-3 with Hemlock on his site. The very first caller to the show was a "journalist" who complained about Hemlock using a pen-name because, or so the journalist claimed, that not using his real name lessened his authority. The host of the program concurred saying in effect that the invitation to Hemlock had been carefully considered because of his screen name. Hemlock's answer that he maintains his anonymity because of his job and family was roundly pooh-poohed by the Radio host and the caller. Hemlock, in true what I think is Brit politeness was kinder to them than I would have been.

But then I am a bomb throwing reactionary crank by training, habit and temperament.

This was a perfect example of number three above. Journalist do not live in the real world when it comes to employment. They simply don't get it. More than that they are hypocrites of the worse kind.

Why?
  1. If a journalist makes an outrageous claim, especially one that is true their employer benefits through increased sales or greater market share. Having the government protest the content of an article exposing governmental corruption or having a group of protesters complain about a newspapers coverage of them is good for the paper. Finding things out, especially salacious or illegal things is what journalist are often paid to do. It increases sales. I on the other hand as a blogger would lose my job if I start having nuts who don't appreciate my point of view showing up the gate of the school where I work. As well I should because at that point my private life would be affecting my professional life.
  2. Have these journalist ever used an unnamed source? We aren't talking about Dan Rather making things up here. We're talking about printing something that includes phrases like: "An official in the government told us....." "This housewife said......." How is this different from Hemlock or Fai Mao or any of the other Hong Kong Bloggers who have pen-names? We have authority, if we have it all because what we say can be checked as true and factual.
  3. Do journalist, any journalist ever reveal all of their sources as footnotes or text notes within their articles? I've never seen it if they do.
  4. Do journalist, really think they are adequate to act as the sole gatekeepers of knowledge? Especially since, I believe, in the same week this interview with Hemlock took place they themselves issued a report describing the growing amount of self censorship among the press in Hong Kong? Maybe they should censor less and use more fake names
To say that someone who has an obvious insider position in the financial and government workings of Hong Kong. who has lived here a long time and has a cogent, well thought out not to mention often hysterically funny position on the government here is a suspect source simply because he/she/they use a screen name is simply a condescending ploy by practitioners of a dying industry to keep a few more pay checks coming before they have to get a job as a checkout boy at Wellcome.

Growl.

There is a famous line from the Shakespeare play Henry VI "First we kill all the lawyers" perhaps if the Bard were alive today Journalist would have claimed his ire as well.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who is proud of His Anonymity.

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A Job to Die For

According to Blomberg this morning the PRC EXECUTED the head of its' food safety commission yesterday over the quality and safety issues.

I'm sure that won't fix the problem. I am not even sure it will help. It does show that the PRC is at least in a superficial way concerned about the problem.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who avoids food products from China

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

 

Live Earth

Just an idle thought.

Back in his days a Vice-President Al Gore and his wife made a big deal about the evilness of Rock and Roll and Rap music. This week he was on stage with many of the people he wanted to ban in 1997.

My, my how things have changed. Or, maybe not.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

 

Oh Give Me a Home

What a month. I left for the US on June 5th and returned after a three week visit. However, quite unexpectedly, this turned into a working vacation. My father despite his bad health does volunteer work with a group from the Southern Baptist that perform disaster relief. As has even been in the news here in Hong Kong; the area from from North Central Texas through Southern Nebraska in the US which is probably an area at least the size of the UK has gotten just staggering, Seattle like, amounts of rain fall this spring. Indeed from March 1, through June 1 my mother said this year North Texas received twice the total amount of rain that they get in an average year. So, since the disaster relief team needed an extra pair of hands, I helped with some flood relief. It was actually a good way to spend five or six days of a 20 day vacation.

The upside of the rains is that even in the much drier West Texas where I am from the Dessert was in bloom. The fields were green and the air was clean and I wanted to stay. I like Hong Kong but there is something about the emptiness of West Texas that really appeals to me. The land is just so massive. You can see for miles and mile. Prairies are, if you know how to look at them, seriously beautiful places. Not the gaudy neon pretty of the Hong Kong skyline or the majesty of a mountain range but a quiet, modest beauty that when you first see it takes your breath away.

The lovely, smart, beautiful, looks 25 years younger than she is wife and I are beginning to look beyond Hong Kong. She is going to be working in Singapore next year while I finish my contract here. We don't know where we'll be in 18 months but I am hearing the call of the buffalo. If I have any say in the matter Lubbock, Amarillo or Abilene may be in the offing

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is still a Cowboy at Heart.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

 

Some Inconvenient Truth for Mr. Gore

Al Gore is making millions on the Global Warming baloney.

The true science refutes almost every aspect of his allegations but Al will keep milking this cash cow for all it is worth. I wonder when people are going to start demanding their money back for all those carbon credits they've been buying?


I realize this is a harsh post for someone just back from vacation and will start up with my normal navel gazing on Monday or Tuesday

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Skeptical Evironmentalist

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