November 19, 2017

Sorry about the blog

On occasion I indulge in pure narcissism and reread some of my old blog posts. For instance today I read about three years of old November posts. One thing is clear, both the quality and quantity of my efforts has decreased. I guess there is a reason I have about 1/10th the readership I enjoyed back before face-whatever and twit-verse took over social media*

I will blame it on multiple factors, I have used an iPad in recent years to blog and surf the interwebz and typing on the tablet is not as easy as on a real ‘puter. Plus, I have shared most of my old tall tales and adventures already. I have written more than 5,700 posts. I think we know each other now.

I enjoy reading old comments. Many of you have been here for a very long time. Some of the old readers are gone, your opinions and comments sorely missed.

As we head into Thanksgiving week I want to thank each of you for taking time from your busy day to read my drivel. I don’t know why you do, but I appreciate it more than you know.

I would like to be able to promise better, more interesting, funnier, insightful efforts going forward. I won’t make that pledge. You are going to get more of the same.

Sorry about that.

* am I the only one who hates that phrase?

November 18, 2017

wind in the willow: the bloggity version

It appears today will be most unpleasant, weather-wise. Blustery and rainy, it will at least be seasonably warm. The mix is just the kind of weather that spawns severe weather. Highs in the upper fifties today will be followed by a steep drop in temperatures resulting in a high Sunday in the 30s. Thus the windy conditions. It was just such a weather pattern that spawned a tornado that hit my neighborhood back In 1992 on, by coincidence, the weekend before Thanksgiving. In that event my house was spared damage but some houses and a gas station and hotel about a quarter of a mile away from me were heavily damaged.

The local professional football franchise is on a bye this week. I won’t have their pathetic play to complain about Sunday. I guess that opens up time to do some stuff around the house. Traveling two weekends in a row left plenty of things to do. I got the front yard raked of leaves on Thursday. I still have the backyard to do and today’s wind will shake more down. Besides, my neighbor hadn’t raked up her leaves, so they will end up in my yard. So it goes. I have the most trees on the cul-de-sac, so I co tribute to everyone’s workload. I am in no condition to complain.

That about covers it for a Saturday morning. Enjoy your weekend.

November 17, 2017


Remember when the Democrats, and leftists in general, condemned anyone who criticized Bill Clinton as perverts, focusing on sex? They ridiculed our repressive society and religion in general. It was a just a BJ, they would scoff. So what if Clinton was a person in power who waved his manhood at underlings. We were told to “lighten up you perverts”.

Skip ahead 20 years. Women suddenly “remember” events from 40 years ago and how they have been traumatized for life. Apparently every woman in Hollywood, in the media, in the workplace, at the mall, pushing a cart at Target has been harassed and/or sexually assaulted.

I have no doubt that many, if not most, of the accusations are true. Men are pigs. Men are assholes. Men are predators. Men are jerks. Men think about sex all of the time. Some of us are able to contain our urges. Some cannot will not.

That said, am I the only one who finds the current...hysteria....a little unsettling? Hypocrisy of the left aside, the whole atmosphere is a little reminiscent of a witch hunt.

Should I fear for my job, my marriage, my reputation, because back in 1977 I spent pretty much every minute of summer school Driver’s Ed staring at a girl named Nancy’s sideboob? And what about now, since four decades later I still remember her magnificent rack?

 Whoops, sorry.

I suppose that confession will get me reported and kicked off Blogger. That is three strikes against me — conservative  white  male. Hillary was right, I am deplorable.

I never thought I would long for the days where were focused on Russian Facebook ads.

Some days I really miss the Cold War. Back then we didn’t have to invent crisis to worry about.

Part of me wonders if my position here is very wrong. Women have been treated pretty much as objects for far too long. Caveman Curt probably tried to cop a feel in exchange a portion of his newly- killed saber tooth tiger. Things haven’t gotten better.

Those of the female portion of the species, or think they are, or want to be, or are just confused about their nether regions, should feel free to set me right in the comments. I have a suspicion that I am completely out of touch.

Still, I can’t help but think about the estimated 900 men, women, and children “witches” who were tortured and burned from 1625-1631 in Wurtzburg, Germany. It still feels like we are in the midst of a media and political witch hunt.

November 16, 2017

Maybe Bond, James Bond, can do it

The front yard is ankle deep in leaves. Yesterday was all rain and drizzle and I was tired. Today? I may try to get out and rake a bit. I had a conference call this morning, but I have nothing scheduled for the the afternoon. My forty hours this week is long exhausted if you count the travel time and being gone for twelve days.

I managed to sleep most of last night, so I should be back to normal by this evening. Fortunately, I have always recovered quickly from jet lag. Even so, I laugh at movies and books where the hero jets across oceans and goes right into action, never tired, never off-kilter, his body clock switching seamlessly. It doesn’t work that way. If there is a person who can do it, I have never met him or her.

November 15, 2017

Stuff I think

Why haven’t we seen a press release from UCLA announcing they have dismissed those three basketball players who managed to embarrass the university and America when they opted to shoplift while in China?

I don’t care how well they can dribble and shoot the ball, an honorable program would give those players the boot and the hell with the win-loss record.

Edit. Never mind

I’m baaaack

I walked in the front door around eleven last night. The total trip, hotel to home, was about 26 hours. I scored a aisle seat with an empty seat next to me on the long Shanghai to Toronto leg.

I went to bed around 12:30 and managed to sleep about 4 hours before getting up. I will be fighting sleep this afternoon.

Forgive me for not throwing up a meaningful essay today. Perhaps something will come to mind later.  I doubt you want to read any more semi-sarcastic travelogues.

I will leave you with an amusing anecdote. On Sunday we went to the Sun yat-Sen mausoleum in Nanjing. Like most places in China it was crowded. There were about a thousand school kids there (not an exaggeration). My colleague told me the kids were very excited. Most have never seen a “foreigner” (read round eye) before and found me way more interesting than a dead guy who died
school kids in their blue track suit uniforms
almost a century ago. I received lots of stares and embarrassed  giggles. After descending the stairs we were walking along the path back to the parking lot when one brave little guy, about eight or nine, had the temerity to actually offer me a shy “hello”. I gave him a hello right back. He ran thrilled back to his group chatting excitedly. My guide laughed and said the boy kept telling everyone “He spoke to me, he spoke to me”.

I am glad to give someone a thrill in life. My ego allows me to imagine that for the next couple of weeks the lad will be mentioned by his classmates: “Hey, remember that time Ralph spoke to that foreign guy”. In time the legend will grow to describe that we had a full conversation.

I have to admit, the whole thing made my day too.

November 13, 2017

Do you prefer pig snout or scrambled duck brain?

Jinshan temple
When you read this, provided you are not up in the middle of the night surfing the interwebz, I will still be here.  Despite the time stamp on the post, it is pushing four in the afternoon as I hunt and peck at the laptop keyboard.  I am still here, but not for long. I head home tomorrow and I am more than ready. I like Chinese food, but I am jonesing for a good old American cheeseburger.

Last night at dinner I grabbed a skewer of...meat...I took a bite and I must have made a face, because it tasted terrible. My host look at me and said "You do not like duck stomach?".

Why no, I do not. I also do not like sheep intestines, chicken feet, bullfrog, nor pig tongue. If I never lay eyes on tofu again I can live with that. To break things up, we are having Korean food tonight.  I wish I could skip tonight's dinner with my colleagues, go to the Burger King down the street and grab something, but they would be appalled and ashamed if they did not entertain me. They would never leave a guest to fend for himself.

In all, it has been an enjoyable trip, albeit too long. I saw some cool stuff. Like the temple above. I saw some funny stuff. Take this for example:
I am pretty sure that does not mean what they think it does

Embiggen both or either picture if you desire. Or not.

I am done working for the day. I will be picked up in a few hours.  In the meantime, I am tempted to hit the minibar. Instead, I might take a nap. I need to get my body adjusted back thirteen hours.  I will likely recover around Saturday.

Right here in this post you get a slight glimpse of the good and bad side of travel -- especially International travel.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005