Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Protests Close Bangkok Airport

Sherman Oaks, California

This video will do wonders for Thai tourism.



UPDATE: The protesters have stormed the control tower at Bangkok's main international airport, Reuters reports. The airport is reportedly closed.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eighteen Years Ago Today: Thatcher Resigns

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why One Man Left


Sherman Oaks, California

Jack Deckard blogs about why he lives the expat life in Cambodia:

I believe I am not alone amongst ex-pats in my feelings that I don’t belong in the country of my birth. It is more than that: it is a complete rejection of the values and the society in general. I walk around and see people with their “normal” lives and cannot imagine how I could ever be happy like that; making money, being highly taxed, and a part of all the societal dysfunction and hatred. I felt so far removed from the masses.


Pictured: The waterfront in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Santa Anas

Sherman Oaks, California
(Twelve Miles From The Sylmar Blaze)

As Southern California burns, blogger Roger L. Simon quotes from Raymond Chandler:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some Tiger Attacks Are More Equal Than Others


Sherman Oaks, California

On Christmas Day 2007, a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaped its pen, killing a bystander and mauling two others. The media coverage was relentless.

Earlier this week, three rare white tigers (one pictured above) killed a Malaysian cleaner who had jumped into their pen at the Singapore Zoo -- and the attack is on videotape. But the U.S. media does not care.

Tiger attack + Americans = Fascinating.

Tiger attack + Asians = Boring.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Asia Rocks



Sherman Oaks, California

Thanksgiving Week in the United States will be a fantastic week of music for expats in Asia.

Hong Kong will see concerts by the Manic Street Preachers (Nov. 26), Kylie Minogue (Nov. 27) and Kraftwerk (Dec. 5). That's one apiece for the Brits, the Aussies and the Germans.

The same schedule's available a few days earlier in Singapore. Manics: Nov. 24. Kylie: Nov. 25. Kraftwerk: Dec. 3.

Bangkok as well. Kylie's on the 23rd, and the Manics are on Nov. 30. The old German guys gave that one a miss.

Pictured: Kylie. Of Course.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Recondite

Sherman Oaks, California

Actual exchange between Michael Silverblatt, the host of KRCW's Bookworm program, and novelist Diane Johnson.

Silverblatt: "Now, if the English novel, even as late as Aldous Huxley, can be thought in a sense of a kind of either travelling show or country house novel, and the American novel can be thought to be the story of a naive dealing with an impossibly older civilization, what does the movement to the Middle East and North Africa do to the possibility of writing novels?"

Johnson: "That was the challenge, absolutely...."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Read My Friend's Blog: Glenn Cratty Edition


Sherman Oaks, California

Glenn Cratty, professional photographer and father of two, has something to say. Some of it involves Election Day soundtracks and a preference for Rage Against The Machine.

Glenn (pictured) has launched a blog, Long Live the Fighters, joining the Blogspot family. He promises to post daily, to which experienced bloggers respond, "Sure, Glenn."

BTW, if you do a Google Image search of "Glenn Cratty," you don't find head shots of the man himself; you find dozens of hockey photos he took while working for Allsport. Cool.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Something To Take Your Mind Off The Election

To smile, click here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

John McCain Reminds Me Of Meat Loaf


Sherman Oaks, California

The singer, not the meal.

John McCain reminds me of Meat Loaf, the "Bat Out Of Hell" guy.

If you're not a fan of the Loaf, you might not know that he shares the stage with a female vocalist who acts as his lover, his foil and his equal. Sometimes it's Marion Raven, and sometimes it's Aspen Miller, but it's usually Patti Russo (pictured). She's a brassy Italian dame with a voice that sounds like it's crawled out of a cask of peaty Scotch.

The point isn't that Patti Russo is a better singer than Meat Loaf. The point is that she's obviously a better singer. Plus, after a few minutes, who would you rather watch, the sweaty fat guy or the MILF who's strutting in from one of Tony Soprano's day dreams? Check her out here, here and here.

The temptation is to hire someone dull, who won't outshine you. David Ogilvy, the ad man, was so concerned about this human tendency that he sent his executives Russian nesting dolls; wrapped around the smallest doll was a note which read, "If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants."

Meat Loaf hired someone bigger than he was.

So did John McCain.

Sarah Palin is a better politician than he is. She's better on TV, better on the stump, better with the base and better at fundraising. She has a lot to learn about policy, but she's only 44, an age at which Ronald Reagan was still hosting General Electric Theater. You don't have to agree with her politics to recognize her talent -- or her potential.

But you should give John McCain credit for selecting a running mate who could, and to a large degree does, overshadow him. He had an eye for talent, and the confidence to follow his hunch. Even if Tuesday doesn't go his way, he's bequeathed his party its new rock star.

And he and Meat Loaf can commiserate about what it's like to be two old guys upstaged by the talented women they put in the spotlight.