Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cooking Christmas Starts HERE!

We started cooking yesterday. Stuffing casserole, salsa, and gravy already bagged. Much more to do. More marketing tomorrow. This week, I am a chef.

In three days I'll be Santa.
I'm loving it!!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone. And remember; think globally & act locally!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blues doesn't get any better than this -"Living Proof"

"Living Proof" by Buddy Guy
There are always a large number of new music releases done around the holidays, many of which are holiday music of course, but the new release from bluesmeister Buddy Guy doesn't go there. Instead, we get a big steaming platter of the kind of soul satisfying, Chicago, blues that the clearly energized senior minster of R&B has been so blessedly talented at for more than half a century.
"Buddy Guy dedicates this CD to the fact that he's *SEVENTY-FOUR-YEARS-OLD*... his one of a kind electric blues performance says more than words can ever hope to... that he is absolutely ageless. His emanating power... song selection... which melds lyrics... voice... and mind boggling electrical guitar dominance... speaks of a man one-third his age with blues talent that has to come straight from the Lord. Way before you've even finished listening to this instant electric blues classic for the first time... a true lover of electric blues is thinking and praying way past the obvious next move of playing it again... you're selfishly dreaming of his next CD." - Review, Shaq Goldstein

The new release features all new music by the axeman, including two collaborative songs of legendary heights with BB King and Carlos Santana respectively.Fortunately, in the headwinds of the continuing saga of the global economy, merchants are deeply discounting this year again, so if you have the spare scratch loose in your pocket, this one will set you back only $10 bucks. I have never heard Buddy Guy sound as good.
(Disclaimer: though the link takes you to Amazon's page for the new release, we have no affiliation with them and don't make a penny if you click through or buy the CD.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A blog about a blog

If you have somehow randomly alighted here for a moment the first thing you will notice is that I blog infrequently. The only reason for this that is legitimate is that in my work I write constantly and to blog seems like a chore to me sometimes. In addition, I really never have an audience in mind when I write here. I tend to write more for myself when I have something that has popped into my mind and doesn't depart as easily as it arrived.

Today I blog primarily to provide a link to my wife's food blog. She started blogging food just several weeks ago and has had much success attracting attention to her recipes and the wonderful photos she takes of the dishes she prepares.
So if you are the least bit curious about the merger of two food cultures (Southeast Asian and American), and how food became a central binding in our marriage, then click on the link. I can only promise a colorful and tasty experience presented in upbeat fashion and personalized by my gung ho wife whose natural enthusiasm is infectious. Bon appetite!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One of the best films this year, and perhaps a favorite of all time

If you have not seen it yet (and chances are good that you haven't), this year's winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film; "El Secreto de Sus Ojos” ("The Secret In Their Eyes") is one the more luscious films I have seen since, well, not that long ago actually. Earlier this year we saw "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". (Sadly, the Swedish original is being remade for release in the USA. That is a mistake, but that is another story.)
"The Secret In Their Eyes" is an Argentinean film with a script that thumbs it's nose at the formulaic pap that Hollywood so often delivers to the screen in your neighborhood. Majestic in scope, space, and time, and set against the backdrop of a corrupted dictatorial government, its central theme is of the epic struggle between good versus evil. The former is embodied in our protagonist, an investigator for the criminal court of justice, while the latter is embodied both in one of his political enemies, and also a diabolical thrill killer, both parts played by capable actors. But that is hardly all. The story line also explores and resolves themes of unrequited love, political corruption, revenge, Quixotic investigative work, commitment to friendship, the tenacity of justice that is sometimes wrought by ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. Perhaps as much as any of these rich tableaux, is the theme of how a lost opportunity can haunt you for life. As I watched it I thought of films like “Dr. Zhivago”, “Z”, “Citizen X”, or “The Night Of The Generals”.
"Cinema is an old whore, like circus or variety, who knows how to give many kinds of pleasure.
Besides, you can't teach old fleas new dogs."
- Frederico Fellini

This is one of those films that you will want to curl up with at a quiet moment. Lock up the house and take the phone off the hook. By all means see it with someone, but preferably someone who will not need to ask a question every time there is a flashback. The Spanish is rich and beautiful and the voices equally so. Use the English subtitles. There will come a moment in the film when you will want to dissipate nervous energy with some crunching. Have some popcorn and your favorite beverage on standby. (Hold the butter and use a bit of celery or garlic salt).
The film is available in non-USA PAL format from Amazon (or presumably others). I would suggest you wait until the September 21st USA formatted release in DVD or better yet, BluRay if you have the player.
Otherwise, you will need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: Spanish ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Commentary, Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Set in Argentina, The Secret in Their Eyes stars Ricardo Darin as Benjamin, a retired public attorney whose last request from the office involves a file regarding an unsolved case from the 1970s. Told in flashback, it was Benjamin who was responsible for the prosecution in the murder of a innocent newlywed bride. A new minted attorney in his office at the time, Irene (Soledad Villamil), works on the investigation as well, and her relationship with Benjamin plays out both in the past and present. As the mystery begins to provide answers, the truth could cleanse the sins of the past. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain, Goya Awards, Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Foreign Film.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Open Reply to Than Tai Hing’s Letter in the Wall Street Journal

Reply to Than Tai Hing
Undersecretary of Information and Public Diplomacy,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
RE: Your Letter in the Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2010


As an American ex-patriate living for several years as a guest in your country I have allowed myself the vanity of believing that perhaps I am in a position to understand Malaysia and Malaysian foreign policy better than the average world citizen. In the case of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel’s heavy handed dealing of the flotilla, itself intent on breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza, I share some of the concerns of many Malaysians and many people around the world. However, I believe the consistent bias of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel and criticism of the USA has been so clearly one-sided that it is obvious to any observer where the bias lies. If Malaysia’s government is truly peace loving and truly committed to human rights it must first adopt the language of that position consistently. For example, when the Taliban execute a seven year old boy, such as occurred recently, where is the outrage of your government and its citizens? You seem to have been too pre-occupied with condeming Israel to even take notice. It is also perplexing to me that when Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against U.S. policy at our emabassy, there are no police to secure the area, and the demonstration is allowed to continue. When Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against their own government’s policies there is no restraint on the part of the authorities in dispatching police and soldiers to quell the disturbance. As long as these contradictions are so apparent, Malaysia will be understood by Americans to have actually little to do with championing fair, just, and humane ideology, which embrace universal ideals, and more to do with the double standards reflecting its anti-western bias. You must bridge this gap if you are to succeed in addressing the American people who contend with multiple examples of double standards each and very day in a much more public forum than that exists in Malaysia.
Gary Davis

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Has it really been 7 months since I posted a blog?

I am surprised with myself that I have not posted a blog in 7 months. Can't hardly expect to attract readers that way, of course. So what happened during the interim? Well, quite a lot actually. The Christmas & New Year holidays came & went without very much noteworthy other than our usual family gathering. As we entered the new year I was beginning to get more optimistic about the economy and my business. Things were looking up as we approached the Chinese New Year, another big celebration in our family. This year it was to fall on Valentine's day so it seemed we would have another reason to celebrate love in our home. Then suddenly everything changed. Two or three days before Chinese New Year my lower right leg and foot began to swell and was painful. The day before the holiday arrived I was admitted to hospital with an unknown infection. I won't describe the gory detailed symptoms other then to mention that I had a fever and that the skin of my foot and lower leg was erupting with what looked like blisters & abrasions. I was given a phalynx of antibiotics. Still, after several days in which much of the problem seemed to be receding, a couple of spots on my foot troubled the doctors. Long story short; they did surgery to remove material from the swollen foot and after several days I was released. Then a week later, as the rest of the leg healed a new area on the foot became problematic and required another surgery. That and another two months on very strong antibiotics finally erased the malady except for the two scars on my foot.
Just as I was feeling 100% again, the troubles in Thailand boiled over and I was forced to rearrange travel schedules I had planned for business. There I was, all healed up and no place to go. Business is finally settling into a more routine schedule. During my hiatus I had spent an inordinate amount of time in my recliner, even sleeping in it at night, as it afforded the chance to keep my leg raised to minimise fluid retention around the surgery area. I got used to living life in a chair and when I re-animated it took a week before I didn't notice how weak I had become. Now, several weeks later I feel very thankful that is behind me.
We tend to take our health for granted and when it is interupted we are usually amazed that whatever it is can happen to us in the first place. But a disruption like this one has an impact on your thinking that won't go away. Little lessons that needed relearning included never take a small cut or skin break for granted. Clean it, saturate it with antispetic, cover it if neccessary. Keep tending it with with frqequent cleaning and new dressings (bandages). Failure to do so could lead to a serious infection, which you don't want to even think about. This is likely what happened to me (though I cannot recall a prior abrasion or cut.) I am certain that it won't happen again, at least insofar as an untended wound of any kind.