I’m Aiming Straight For China

I will be in China for the next couple of weeks and may not be able to add anything to the blog during that time.  I look forward to seeing a nation that is being transformed by the spirit of free enterprise.  China has a long way to go, but it is headed in the right direction.  We should wave at the Chinese people as we pass them going the opposite direction.

They are leaving the poverty of “socialist paradise” and heading toward prosperity.

The following story caught my eye a few days ago.  It’s about Chinese entrepreneurs trying to solve an age-old problem with a new product.  I don’t think I will invest in the company, but it did make me smile…


chinese invention

Having trouble with your aim? Chinese contraption helps you ‘Pee Straight’CFPSaleswomen touting the “Pee Straight” contraption hold up signs that read: “Pee Straight: 10 Yuan for one, 100 Yuan fine for peeing in the wrong place. Why not buy a Pee Straight? Save your money for peeing straight, peeing freely! (Enjoy peeing).”

By Ed Flanagan, Producer, NBC NewsBEIJING – An entrepreneur in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has unveiled a contraption designed to help those who miss the mark at a urinal: the ‘Pee Straight.’The invention came in the wake of a new law known as the Shenzhen City Public Toilet Management Act, which allows sanitation managers and other officials to slap a $15 fine on those caught making a mess of municipal toilets while relieving themselves.

The Pee Straight is a simple contraption. A standard funnel affixed to what appears to be a 10-inch piece of tube pipe, the device comes in his and hers versions — hers has a shorter pipe — and is being marketed to those who have trouble with their aim….

via Having trouble with your aim? Chinese contraption helps you ‘Pee Straight’ – Behind The Wall.

The More Pura Vida: Day 1


Unemployed, homeless, & 34. With a Costa Rican entry visa and no exit strategy, I can see my road in life going one of two ways…

Way # 1: That guy on the beach hiding a beer belly under a flowered shirt that onlookers age somewhere between a bad 40 and a pretty good 65. If such a man, we’ll call him “Big Wayne”, were to have a heart attack it would merit the two octaves higher “Aww, that’s a bummer!”, but no one would act genuinely shocked. Somewhere on his Maine Lobster hewed neck it is safe to assume that skin cancer is playing “Waldo” among the various blotches and sunspots. Big Wayne’s habitat consists of bars and on the beach next to his long board, where he honors what seems to be a restraining order of 20 yards from the water’s edge. His affect is pleasant and people automatically assume that there is some level of wisdom behind his droopy-eyed grin. To be clear, by “wisdom” I don’t mean what a at an Oxford graduate might seek on a Peace Core mission building infrastructure projects in the scorched deserts among the plighted people of the Serengeti… No, Big Wayne’s body of wisdom earns the hallowed badge of “He’s seen some shit.” This aura lures some of the younger generation into earnest conversations with Big Wayne in hopes that he may cast some pearls of such wisdom. A conversation ensues and goes swimmingly until Big Wayne gets into his comfort zone. Around the point that Big Wayne drops, “I switched over from margaritas to straight gin on account of the diabetes”, the younger generation grows uneasy and starts thinking exit strategy. The nervous demeanor turns into a mild panic when Wayne, whose voice is clearly audible a throughout the small beach bar, starts discussing his affection for “fine Tico pussy”…

Option #2:  I decided I didn’t want to go that way… well, not much anyway. I want to be the focused 30-something with a ripped late-20-something body who’s odd intensity about learning a sport in a laid back country pays off with respectable skills and knowledge of secret surf spots, but does nothing to help his problem with run on sentences and overusing the ellipsis… To that end, the second I got into the hostel/hotel, rather than pony up to the bar showing a constant stream of 80’s music videos and reward myself for successfully sitting on my ass for 9h of travel, I rented a board at the local shop. The French long-haired instructor I rented the beginner long board from told me that as “ehhh beginnaire ewww doont go too ze outaire break” (Turns out he is Costa Rican). Excited, I ran, pausing only twice to take deep wheezy breaths, with that board the whole 200 yards to the beach and paddled out to the outer break.
The dynamic of the outer break was a near perfect microcosm of California (and most of the West). A large gathering of good looking well-built guys who really looked like they knew what they are doing sat in a lineup just beyond where they would be able to catch about 90% of the waves rolling through. These alpha sharks were looking for bigger prey – the big sets that only crash on the outside. Sitting upright on their boards with taut arms crossed over formidable chests, these heroes stared of into the distance looking for some minor distant pre-wave ossilation in the ocean chop that their trained eyes and instincts would never miss. Almost on que they identify the monster swell as it quickly mounts and comes our way and start paddling in unison. I wonder which of the many of them is going to get the priority position on the wave? As the swell grows and starts to cast a sunset shadow toward our boards, their strokes grow more powerful as they swim at the wave head on. Just at the critical moment comes for them to turn their boards around, they dig in for one last push and every single one of them powers over the top of the wave with authority… wait… What? Seriously? Not one single guy who bic’ed his head that morning to look like Kelly Slater has the balls to turn his board around and drop into a mushy sand-bottomed wave???

To truely understand the power of Guanacaste waves, have your grandmother’s friend with late-stage emphysema blow on the back of your neck. If the wave were to perform an interpretive dance to express itself, it would draw heavily form early David Bowie musical videos:

There did turn out to be two groups willing to drop anything mother nature threw their way: women and the local Ticos (slang for Costa Rican… their word, not mine). Rather than focus on breaking ranks with the washed-out (though anything but clean) Big Waynes of the world, I decided to expand my aversion to all of the white males in the water. I would love to say that I was a hero for the long rides I had on the waves, but the conditions give you everything but the “atta boy” pat on the ass after helping you onto your board. No matter what points my rides may have won with the local womenfolk, they were more than countered by the sight of me after making it through the break – harmlessly slapping the ocean with limp arms, frog-kicking at the water (though not actually touching it) when the arms completely failed, and making congested whale blow-hole noises with my mouth as I attempted to breathe with my forehead resting on a half-submerged board…

There was some live music in the bar across the street last night, but who can keep up with the kids these days?  I made a decision to show a bunch of New York 30-somethinngs how to party like a New York 30-something tomorrow night and drifted off to a happy place…


Quotes to ponder:

“For too long in this society we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over the common community.”    Joe Biden

“We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all.”   Nikita Kruschev

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.”   Hillary Clinton

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”           Ayn Rand

Worst Magic Trick of All Time?

What do Jack Welch, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santelli, and the US labor department all have in common?  They’ve all known for months that the unemployment rate would be just under 8% the month before the election…

Good magic tricks are both unpredictable and subtle.  The 7.8% number put out by the US Labor department for September was neither. Every major economist at every bank and independent group measured the unemployment rate to be between 8.1% and 8.2% for the month of September.  Most economists predicted the employment gains correctly at around 120,000 for the month.  The “establishment” employment numbers confirmed their prediction at 114,00.  Since that number doesn’t keep up with the monthly population growth contribution to employment of 150,000, economists predicted that the unemployment rate would edge up from about 8.1% to approximately 8.2%…

But wait! What is this behind your ear Uncle Sam? Oh, look at them apples – over 800,000 new jobs magically appeared in the “household” indicator!  No one saw that one coming (except for every conservative “conspiracy theorist” for the past six months)!

If Obama’s little magic trick doesn’t make you feel like a embarrassed parent quietly texting your spouse that you will NEVER HIRE BOZO THE EX-CON CLOWN MAGICIAN AGAIN for your child’s birthday party, then you are obviously the child.  The mastoid process behind your ear is also a winning penny slot machine.  Congratulations.


Poetic Justice-

Property Properly Covered

In Iran, a cleric was beaten by a woman he had passed on the street.

“Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied “you, cover your eyes,” according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

“I fell on my back on the floor,” Beheshti said in the report. “I don’t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.”

In Pakistan, an Islamist flamboyantly burned an American flag. He died of smoke inhalation. So sad.

Comedy Gold

Quotes without comments…

Obama: “I don’t think you or anybody who’s been watching the campaign would say that in any way we have tried to divide the country.”

Wrong Century Biden: “Folks, Where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?’

Nancy Pelosi: “Unemployment checks are the fastest way to create jobs.”

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien: “I dont think I show bias.”