Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

[Note: This is a government shutdown related post that, for some reason, has been in my 'drafts' folder. Oops]

I'd been hearing rumours that the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (MACM) has been closed due to the US government shutdown, so we decided to take a trek out of the house and take a look for ourselves. We live in Taguig City and the Cemetery is within a few kilometers of our house.

On October 7th, 2013, a Monday morning, we drove around a bit and finally found the MACM. We arrived at noon and the gates were locked. Normal business hours for the MACM are 9am-5pm, pretty much every day of the year except for Christmas and New Year's day.
I saw two guards at the guard house and lots of maintenance staff on the grounds. I talked to one guard who explained that the Cemetery was closed due to the shutdown. I asked if they were running at reduced staff and he replied "No, we are fully staffed, but we are unpaid at the moment." I asked him if the Cemetery could be open at this moment, and he said "Yes" and laughed a bit I commented that being fully staffed, but closed, was sort of stupid, wasn't it? He laughed again. Nice man, though - he went to the guard house and brought me a brochure and stated that he hoped I would come by again when it was open.
 He smiled the whole time as I took pictures.

Monday, December 2, 2013

About On-Line Gaming in the Philippines

We’ve been painting the house for the past month. Oh, not me – I’m just the financial guy. A _very_ happy filipino gent has been doing the labor for me. Our flat (penthouse? bunker?) was dark green and ‘amazing’ green for the past 4 years. Then my sister-in-law painted her house, which is just across the way, 'amazing' green. And the Pure Gold building, that dominates the view from my front and side windows, is various shades of green. Dammit.

Time to change and plus the paint was peeling due to the lovely atmospherics in the islands (read: constant humidity, occasional freakin’ heavy rain). I sure hope continue to love pale yellow / BRIGHT yellow. What started as painting/repainting the 3rd floor flat has turned into a complete repaint of the entire building – 5 floors in toto! *sigh*

I hope everyone in the family enjoys their bags of sugar and cans of tuna for Christmas, because we are _broke_. Oh well, at least we are weather-proofed – sorta. Did I mention we painted the entire OUTSIDE, too? *double sigh*

We had a lovely Thanksgiving feast with friends I haven’t seen since before my wife was born. Turns out many of my old friends have moved from the US to, or at least purchased houses in, southeast Asia in the subsequent years. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. Oh, yeah... well – our conversation at the dinner table _did_ focus, for a while, on the fact that I'm not on the hook for ObamaCare, but they still are since they still have enough of a presence in the US. We all got a big chuckle out of that - well, at least I did. I’m still hoping that everyone in the US will get a chuckle out of it, too, eventually, but I’m not so sure.

I’m still recovering from the filipino versions of lasagna, turkey, and mashed potatoes.

I did get a ‘job’ out of the reunion, tho – turns out my one friend is quite the entrepreneur now, and has a factory here that turns out Christmas lights. He saw a few of my LED projects and was particularly enamored with my lighted cane, so he proposed that I help him out with some new designs. Should be interesting, hopefully I don’t kill anyone because they tell me that lights are not blinking in a proper sequence.

And if the ‘job’ turns into actual ‘work’, I quit.

Can’t do on-line games from here. Our internet access barely surpasses dial-up. And that’s on a good day. I don’t have the attention span for games anyway – which kinda sucks since I’m in the position to be a gaming monster 24/7.

Well, 12/7. I go to bed early.

Oh, and the black Friday crowds in the US? That’s a typical shopping day in Manila. You should see it on paydays/holidays. We’re used to queuing up. And waiting. And queuing up. And waiting some more. No fistfights, tasers, or gunshots here. Hard looks and muttering is as bad as it gets. I mutter in Thai (ex-wife), so no one understands or gets offended.

BTW: $15 minimum wage? You guys are pricing yourselves out of a country. There are many reasons why I moved to the Philippines, and the high prices in the US are just many of many.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What To Do About ObamaCare


First things first: I'm an ex-Pat living as a permanent resident in the Philippines, so I am exempt from ObamaCare and the IRS fines associated with not having healthcare insurance. In fact, I was allowed to opt out of Medicare because there are no Medicare providers in the Philippines. I have no 1st person skin in this game - however, my sons still live in the United States. I have other family there. And I have many friends who still live there. So my concerns about ObamaCare are because I am concerned about _them_.

I'm conflicted when it comes to what to do about ObamaCare. My first choice is to just repeal it, second is to defund it - however, I'm afraid that so much damage has been done already to the insurance infrastructure we had before that there is no way to get back to the pre-ObamaCare state.

Delaying it will just give the politicians some breathing room for the 2014 elections. No one will know the true pain yet and will probably vote the corrupt bastards back into office. That will be a big mistake. Plus, even with it delayed, businesses will still have the spectre of ObamaCare hanging over their heads and it will negatively impact the American economy.

I don't want everyone to go through the pain, but we may have to for a short while so the true destructiveness of ObamaCare is known. Maybe we should just fund it now, so the backlash is so great that a great cleansing wave washes over Washington in 2014. Then we can repeal it and figure out what to do to repair the damage.

One thing I do know - there needs to be tort reform included in any revamp of the healthcare system so that costs can be held in check. Doctors and others are required to spend a large portion of their earnings on malpractice insurance. If that can be reduced, then the amount charged to the consumers can be reduced.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Trial? What Trial?


Abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing a woman
patient and seven babies allegedly born alive, and with performing illegal,
late-term abortions at his thriving inner-city clinic.

The latest from FoxNews HERE.

It seems that FoxNews and conservative blogs are the only ones reporting
on the Gosnell trial. There is a complete blackout at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN,
MSNBC and the liberal blogs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Compare And Contrast

Ephrata, Pennsylvania - 03/25/2013:

Batangas, Philippines - 03/24/2013:


Exhibit #53 on why I live in the islands.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More Construction

I've been under the weather, but my brothers-in-law have been busy working on the patio/kitchen off from the office. It's looking good - but still needs some cabinetry, paint and electrical work (that's my job - I get to be shocked). Once it's ready, we'll get a new refrigerator and oven. Can't wait to bake - I miss lasagna and meatloaf. And especially looking forward to the turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas!




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mini-Review: A Good Day To Die Hard


We saw AGDTDH yesterday in a digital theater at SM Mall Of Asia. Let me just say that the picture and sound quality was EXCELLENT. It was like watching a film on a HUGE LCD display. Crisp, clear and none of the film projector artifacts ('cigarette burns', reel changes, flutter, graininess). This part of the experience was extremely satisfying. Plus the air conditioning and being able to sit down for an hour and a half after 'gimping' around the mall.

Now to the actual film, which was NOT satisfying. Very loud, lots of explosions, car crashes, etc. Actually, the first 30 minutes of the film were the best. You could walk out of the film after then and not really miss anything.

First - WHO KNEW John McClane had a son? I knew he had a daughter (4th film), but a son? WTH? And he is also named 'John McClane' (but Junior). [Okay, after reading a few other reviews, it seems that a very young son was in a family picture on Holly McClane's desk in 'Die Hard', along with the daughter, Holly, and John McClane. And I'm starting to remember a young boy that was shown briefly in 'Die Harder', when Holly was talking to the maid/sitter on the phone? However, the son was NOT a big presence in _any_ previous Die Hard films].

Second - this film has been drained of all of the humour that was present in the first 4 films. Oh, maybe there was a McClane quip that worked in the very beginning, but all subsequent attempts at McClane one-liners worked about as well as a half-inflated basketball. Even the trademark "Yippee-Ki-Yay" line fell flat. Unforgivable on the director's/writer's part.

The plot? Nothing new or remarkable.

Special effects? The chase scene at the beginning was jaw-dropping, but it all goes downhill from there.

Bruce Willis? He phoned this one in. You could tell he wasn't really enthusiastic about this film. And I think the reason is:

Just like in Indiana Jones, where they attempted to pass the franchise to Shia Lebeef (whatever), they are attempting to pass the Die Hard franchise from John McClane to his formally unknown son, cleverly (NOT) also named John McClane, played by an unknown - and not very good - actor. And I think this irks Bruce Willis to no end.

So, to summarize: Beginning is exciting, the rest SUCKS. I even fell asleep during the film, only waking up to watch when loud gunfire / explosions occurred on the screen later in the film. I did see the helicopter sequence, and there was one shot that made me chuckle - but this film has nowhere near the character of the worst of the previous 4 films in the Die Hard series.

I would recommend that you save your dollars for a better film to watch in the theater, and wait for this pale imitation of a Die Hard film to be released on DVD.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y, Mr, President!

Ah, the good old days - when a speech by the President would _end_ tyranny, not _breed_ it. When the President would unify our country, not divide it. When the President inspired the people to greatness, instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Success!

The website www.timothyscarlson.com is back up! This blog wasn't down, but the website that pointed to it had expired. So - I needed to get a CC here in the Philippines. Which meant I needed to get a land line first.

3 months later - mission complete!

Yeah, they move at a different pace here in the islands...