Thursday, April 28, 2011


1. Above you will see the skyline of Shanghai at night. Shanghai is the "NYC" of China, 30 years ago the city had 3 skyscrapers, today almost 100. All lighted with energy efficient fluorescent lighting including a bridge changing colors every few moments.
2. Sixty percent of the population is a member of the Communist Party. You see many churches, one is allowed to practice their own religion. Marco said you are just not allowed to stand on the street corner and peddle your faith. But, on job and loan applications there is a line item asking for party affiliation. You either write in the blank: member or none. If a police officer is a member he wore a red ribbon on his uniform jacket. I often looked and saw very few.
3. My first morning in Beijing I took a walk before breakfast expecting to see pedestrians with mask and the smell of heavy pollution. No mask and no odor. When I asked I was told the pollution has been gone since the 2008 Olympics. We did have a tan sky, the results of a high speed wind storm in Mongolia thousands of miles away. The 2008 Olympics was not viewed as a money maker, but a way for China to display their country to the world.
4. China's recycling industry is a giant. They buy plastic water bottles from the USA to recycle. Recycling as a income was shown several times. As an example, there would be ladies standing outside our bus when we would stop asking for our empty water bottles.
5. The one child rule is for real. Yes, you can have more than one baby. When your doctor confirms the pregnancy of a second child the doctor is mandated to call the government. The next day the new parents expect a call from the government to pick up their $20,000.00. If your first birth are twins, you get two for free. Unless your blood lab work shows hormone medicine was used to increase the odds of twins, then you pay for #2. Chinese children are dressed well, smile a lot as do their parents when showing them off.
6. Bathrooms and food was not an issue. We were encouraged to carry bathroom tissue in our day packs. I never used mine except toward the end of the 15 hour flight home. The flight stewards could not leave and pick up a role. Our guides always announced when there would be a "Happy Toilet" close by. HTs were of western designed. Food was not a barrier, I was a little disappointed, because I was ready for the battle. Chop sticks were not necessary, but a fun and new skill to use. One of the highlights for me was to pick up a peanut with my chop sticks.
7. Audi appeared to be the mid size car of choice. In a parking lot we saw a really good looking four door sedan, sleek in style. After walking around, it turned out to be a Ford. This car after a short investigation is not available in the USA. Semi Trucks are not aloud to drive through Beijing and Shanghai during the daytime. This helps keep the highways unclogged. Several years ago there was a 26 mile traffic jamb taking six days to unclog.
8. Watching ladies do laundry and kids swim in a canal of filth, seeing villages with community bathrooms and showers, not seeing a bird for days and toddlers playing in the streets with soiled legs due to not having diapers was not a surprise. When we would see a dog walking around, we thought of him as a lucky one.
9. There will always be more to tell. The one thing that I will never forget was being able to share the moments with 30 bus mates from Licking County, Ohio.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



Day 1: Upon arrival, our tour guide was on time at the airport, when we arrived at the hotel Marco had our room keys in hand so we would not have to stand at a registration desk and pick up our keys.

Day 2: Woke up to a prearranged wake up call, also given ample time to visit and climb The Great Wall. Visiting a department store, there were so many clerks and staff personnel, they out numbered the customers.

Day 3: Visit to the Pearl Factory and including all others factories for the week to come, our host at each facility spoke excellent English. One hostess noted that she obtained her English by watching Sex and the City. She even made sure we saw her S.J. Parker style shoes.

Day 4: During a long bus ride to Hangzhou our tour guide Emily made sure we learned about the economy, Chinese customs and about her personal life. I had the feeling that I was catching a cold due to a cough. We stopped at a highway rest area for a restroom break. I went into the store and to ask about over the counter medicine, due to my language barrier, presented to me was cigarettes, candy and a lime drink. As I explained in sign language of what I wanted, the clerk took off running. I followed her to a clerk next door who spoke English, she smiled ran back to her store and presented me with a product. Of course the box and directions were in Chinese, our tour guide told me what the medicine was for and the important part of one capsule every 12 hours.

Day 5: Above you view a photo of a young lady who was an elevator attendant. Walking to the hall of elevators, she would greet you and press the up button for you. All food in the breakfast buffet was fresh and at the appropriate temperature.

Day 6: The Dollar People selling $5 Rolex's, post cards, scarves and post cards bugged everyone, but made sure you had the opportunity to buy something.

Day 7: An awesome lunch in the two room home of a couple in Shanghai. A large lunch cooked on a two burner gas stove without an oven. The husband and wife were entertaining, allowed photos of their meager two room home. Due to the narrow streets, we rode by rickshaw. Our driver was waiting for us after lunch for our return trip to the bus.

Day 8: No gum on the sidewalks, all parks, gardens and Pavilions were spotless. Constantly seeing someone make sure there was no trash and plants were trimmed. We never felt in danger during the entire trip.

Day 9: Shanghai's airport was very large. Employees constantly asking if we need help or directions. Ticketing, luggage check in and being cleared through the carry-on scanning process was exceptional, with many lines open to ease such a large crowd of people. My estimate was about 700 people going through the process at the same time.

Day 10: Arrival at JFK International Airport: Welcome to America! Through customs, pick up luggage, through the second set of customs. As I was processed through the second step, a TSA lady told me to go straight then turn right. As I walked I turned around to make sure two of my young traveling companions were okay as I wanted to slow down and wait for them so they did not have to walk alone. The TSA lady told me to keep moving, there was not a crowd of people. I started to explain I was waiting for the 12 & 15 year old. She responded with a yell for me "to keep moving". All I could think: I was home.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


1. Everyone works in China.
2. If a person does not qualify for a career they desire, they are given one.
3. Disabled persons work, the government finds them a job that will accommodate there handicap.
3. LAZY BONES are the citizens that do not work. (read how to correct this at #10)
4. Children are told between 0-5 years that they have to do well in school or they will never be successful or make it past the 7th grade. Thus they will not have a "good" job. I could not find out the un-employable percentage, but I bet it is very low.
5. Every one retires at 60, they receive a check and health care from the government. They are basically not permitted to work, thus opening jobs up to help create a low unemployment rate. If your employer wants you to continue past 60 because they are not prepared to have someone fill your position, the employer is penalized for not being prepared for your departure.
6. Most people work seven days a week, making Chinese "Happy People" when not working. They use there time off work, wisely.
7. Chinese exercise before and after work and during retirement. More on this later.
8. Education is the key to success. Why educate a student who does not care. Just make sure they can handle the minimal job and keep them working and not become a burden on the government.
9. Chinese do the best with what they have: you take care of what you own. You may eat every body part of an animal, but you are not hungry. Consumption of all an animal's body parts must not be too bad for the Chinese, they are not over weight nor wear sweat pants as every day wear.
10. LAZY BONES are treated the way that is right: since they have not worked they do not receive receive retirement or health care funding. They are on their own to lead a miserable senior lifestyle. They did not contribute to the system, so there is no reason for the system to sustain the LAZY BONES. Most likely you will find them selling post cards for a dollar.

Check back this week for more lessons learned.

(If you find the above a reasonable way to solve our problems, send your campaign contributions to me. I will run for President.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Long Journey Home

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, April 18, 2011


Here comes a new kind of vending operation that promises to be the "ATM machine of water." Using a BYO reusable bottle policy, the machines dispense purified water without the plastic bottle, and at a fraction of the price consumers now pay at a typical vending machine. The company making these new-fangled water dispeners is called Pure Vida H2O, and the Boston Globe reports that 450 machines are expected to be up and operating around the country by mid-summer. Each machine filters ordinary tap water, and a stream of 16 ounces of purified H2O will cost 50¢. The 24-ouncer runs 75¢. It's expected that users will bring their own cups (presumably, an old plastic bottle is OK too), and, to accommodate those empty-handed, some of the machines will sell stainless steel reusable bottles for $10. Read more by clicking here.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I have never thought about ice cream being for summer only, it would be a terrible

world if we had ice cream for only three or four months a year!

Check out my favorite here Velvet Ice Cream

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


One part of the real estate business no one ever thinks about is divorce. We see it often, sometimes in the "heat of the battle" other times you talk to a couple and try to figure out why they are making this decision. They are holding hands and talking about splitting up a household. 1. On Marriage Status, Go by the Calendar Even if your divorce was finalized between Jan. 1 and April 18 this year, you are still officially hitched to your ex-spouse when it comes to filing your 2010 taxes. 2. Splitting the House May Be Harder Than Splitting Up You don't have to pay income taxes on assets that are transferred during a divorce. But if you end up getting the house, you won't be getting it tax-free. 3. Just Because the Kids Spend Time with You — Even Equal Time — Doesn't Make Them Dependents Some couples switch who claims the kids from year to year in order to share the tax benefit, and if you only have one child that's the only option. 4. Alimony Looks Good on Your Tax Return Even better, alimony is an above-the-line deduction, which means you don't have to itemize to get the tax advantage. 5. Child Support Is Always Tax-Neutral While alimony is considered a taxable event, child support is always tax-neutral, meaning it doesn't affect your taxes in any way. For more detail you must read the complete TIME article by clicking here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Goodbye Crabgrass + Dandelions!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It turns out that rather than reminisce about the "golden age" of youth, we should look forward to turning our grandparents' age to be happy. There's much more to old age than fading sight, weakening muscles and declining short-term memory. A number of recent studies indicate that happiness is more easily attained after middle age. A book by Lewis Wolpert, professor emeritus of biology at University College London, sheds some light on the topic. Called You Are Looking Very Well, it argues that people are just "averagely happy" in the first third of their lives and that even that level of contentment declines by midlife. "But then, from the mid-40s, people tend to become ever more cheerful and optimistic, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late 70s or 80s," Wolpert told the Telegraph. Several factors are at play, including maturity, diminished responsibilities and the ability to focus on the things that matter rather than chase elusive goals. A study by the American National Academy of Sciences has found that the mental state of well-being that's associated with youth gradually abandons us as we live through adulthood, hitting rock bottom in our mid-40s. But later, things get better, and our mood probably peaks at the ripe age of 85. Other research quoted by the Telegraph article seems to suggest that some mental faculties improve with age. Our vocabulary and decisionmaking skills increase, though we lose our math skills. "Aging is a lot less scary than people are afraid it is," says George Vaillant, 74, curator of the largest longitudinal study on happiness. The study has tracked the lives of 268 young men since their Cambridge years in 1937 and still chugs on today. We sure hope he's right. (via the Telegraph) Thank you to TIME for tweeting this article, check out more by clicking here. No wonder Dan is so happy on his 83rd birthday, Happy Birthday Dad!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Maybe one day, we’ll all live in houses that blend in so closely with their surroundings they simply vanish into the environment. Until then we’ll just have to settle on innovative offerings in the hospitality industry, like the Treehotel in Northern Sweden. One of their several surreal treehomes, the Mirrorcube, designed by architects Tham & VidegĂ„rd and built in 2010, is a vaulted lightweight aluminum structure 4x4x4 meters in size with a mirror clad exterior that quite literally reflects upon its surroundings. The interior provides 360 degree views through several windows and is perfectly situated for a couple complete with double bed, bath, living room and even a roof terrace. Further throwbacks to an indigienous-meets-modern lifestyle is the Endor-like rope bridge leading up to the cube. And in case you’re concerned about low flying aves, a clever solution is already in place: an infrared film visible to birds eyes only is laminated over the entire surface. The person responsible for cleaning windows is an entirely different matter. Rates: $586 per night for 2