The Truth About the USA’s Military Budget

There’s a lot of talk out there about the USA’s military budget.  You see a lot of graphics like this     talking about how the USA’s military budget dwarfs other military budgets.  How the USA’s military budget is as large as the next Top 7 military budgets, combined.  And this is not inaccurate. In 2015, the USA […]

Was Life Better Back Then Than It Is Today?

  Was life better back then than it is today?  We all see a lot of memes out there that suggest that reality.  Just today, this made it across my Facebook feed:     It got me thinking and, when I think, I research, and when I research, I write. And three hours later, here […]

Shipping a Package From the USA to Taiwan

Shipping a package from the USA to Taiwan means sending a package as far as it can go around the world before it starts coming back around the other way. The time difference between Washington, D.C. and Taipei is 12 hours.  Flying that distance takes 24 hours.  And shipping a package takes almost two weeks. I’ve shipped […]

Memorial Day and Military Worship

The longer I’m away from American culture, the more I find the blind nationalism and military worship in the USA troublesome. Despite the concern Americans have about it, global perception of the USA isn’t as bad as they often think…but they are often oblivious to the things that actually put them on “the average world […]

Protected: At Least It’s Not Like China

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Taiwan’s Yellow Journalism Strikes Again

The early morning of May 5, 2015, saw an article posted to The Huffington Post regarding Taiwan and tourism; as you can see from the original link, it’s been removed.  There’s not even a redirect: just a blank page.  It’s as if The Huffington Post wants absolutely nothing to do with the article. If you’re curious why, you […]

Foreigners in Taiwan Can Forget About Civil Rights

In recent news, a 25-year-old Spanish national living in Taichung was accused of sexual assault by an unnamed 17-year-old Taiwanese girl. As with many democratic nations, Taiwan has laws that are designed to protect those within its borders to ensure fair and just treatment.  Taiwan has a variety of customs (backed up by various laws and traditions) that protect The People.  It’s one […]

“Taiwan Should Be More Like Singapore”

A lot of people in Taiwan talk about how they want to be like Singapore.  “Taiwan should be more like Singapore.”  But the truth is, it’s much better to be Taiwanese than Singaporean, and Taiwan is better than Singapore for most people who live in either.  An average person lives a higher-quality life in Taiwan […]

How Many Americans Are Killed By Police?

A question on so many minds is “How many Americans are killed by police?” The website killedbypolice.net is doing a good job at tracking data as far back as two years ago. While you can find details of each death on the site, I compiled the monthly numbers into an easy-to-read bar graph.     2013 May 104 deaths 2013 June […]

Protected: A Writer in a World Gone to Video

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

How Many Expats Are In Taichung?

How Many Expats Are In Taichung? I often find myself wondering, “How many expats are in Taichung?”  Turns out, there’s a lot.  Of the 2,700,000 people in Taichung, just under 87,000 are expat residents…and that doesn’t even count all the expats who don’t have legal residency!  So, just under 4% of those residing in Taichung are from another country. […]

Taiwan Has the Worst Culture

It’s not just the sociological issues or the political obnoxiousness, but the deep resentment they harbor for each other that hits you in the face like your first whiff of stinky tofu.  After living in Taiwan for only a short time, it becomes clear to anyone who moves here that Taiwan has the worst culture many people will […]

Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park

Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park South Park is a pretty popular cartoon internationally; despite this, South Park in Mandarin Chinese is Banned in Taiwan (and for good reason).  It’s known in Taiwan as 南方四賤客, which roughly translates into Four Jackasses from the South Side. I say this because Mandarin Chinese can be a very […]

Taichunger’s Guide: Four-Star HK Visa Run for TW$7000

I’ve written all about visa runs.  Visa runs for under NT$10000.  The worst visa run you can do.  While stigmatized for a variety of reasons (most notably for their being used by English teachers to teach in Taiwan illegally, which I do not advocate), there are all sorts of people who use visa runs.  There […]

Why Every Expat Should Have a YouTube Channel

I believe that every expat should have a YouTube Channel. Expats who don’t simply confuse me, for many reasons, the first of which being   What You Are Doing Is Cool I don’t care if you’re going hiking in Nepal or getting coffee in a small town in Paris or just walking down the street […]

“This Is Taiwan”: A Dangerous Taiwanese Excuse

A few months have passed since I wrote “It’s Our Culture” – Taiwan’s Go-To Excuse, but a friend of mine the other night brought it up and made an interesting point: before “It’s our culture” is uttered, “This is Taiwan” is sure to escape their lips first. As I stated in my other piece, “It’s Our Culture” is often said […]

Costco Taiwan Beef Scandal

Of the many food scandals in Taiwan’s recent history, the scandal surrounding Costco Taiwan butchers’ practices with USDA beef is the most recent. Taiwan has had a number of food scandals in recent years, ranging from the food scandal of 2014 to the food scandal of 2013 to the food scandal of 2011.  Basically, if you […]

Valentine’s Day is Destroying Romance

Valentine’s Day is destroying romance.  It’s hard for me to pick a Western holiday I hate more. Here’s some quick background information on Valentine’s Day.  According to legend, there was a priest named Valentine who ran around Ancient Rome marrying soldiers to persecuted Christians, for which he was executed.  There were actually a couple of Valentines that were martyred […]

Worst Visa Run: Camping at the Hong Kong Airport

I’ve written about visa runs in the past, but I’ve never included details on the worst visa run you can do: camping out in the Hong Kong airport for a few hours in the earliest of the morning hours. Doing this without proper provisions is something I wouldn’t recommend.  Though, to be fair, even with my […]

Simple Stir Fry Sauce Recipe: From Scratch

One of the most important things I keep in my fridge is a sauce I’ve developed that mimics typical simple stir fry sauces I’ve tasted in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the USA. I’ll keep it all as basic as I can, using ingredients you may have in your kitchen already.   Simple Stir Fry Sauce Recipe: Ingredients 1pt corn starch 1pt […]

Who In The World Visits This Site?

After almost two years of running this blog, I’ve seen my hit-count rise along with the number of countries who have read what I have to say.  Of the 200-or-so nations on Earth, 153 have visited my blog over the last two years.  It got me wondering: what might that look like, if it were mapped out? So […]

Cheapest Way from Hong Kong Airport into Hong Kong

There are lots of ways to do things, but I’m going to tell you the cheapest way from Hong Kong Airport into Hong Kong. The most publicized way to go from Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong is to take the Airport Express, a “high-speed” train that costs, depending on destination, HK$100, HK$90 and HK$60.  Round-trip is […]

83 Argyle – Sincere House in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong – VIDEO

Hong Kong has all kinds of guest houses and hostels; 83 Argyle has a few in it, but I stayed at “Sincere House.” Like so many buildings in Mong Kok, it’s old.  But that’s all US$30/night can get you in Kowloon.  The first three floors are an electronics emporium with the other floors ranging from […]

Five Ingredient English Toffee Cookies Recipe

Growing up, my mother’s English toffee was one of my favorite candies.  She only made it around Christmas, but now I’m grown up and see how easy it is to make, which means I make it more often. The ironically-named English toffee (being a toffee some say is not toffee) is incredibly simple and easy to make.  […]

Four Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Chocolate fudge is often seen as an expensive delicacy, rarely consumed and even more rarely made at home. This rich confection can be made at home far easier than most people realize, making it one of my favorite kinds of foods to make: something people associate with high cost that is not that way, at […]

36 Things Back to the Future Predicted About 2015

Historically, science fiction plays fast and loose with its portrayal of technology.  Back to the Future Part II was the 1989 sequel to Back to the Future and it made some surprisingly accurate predictions about our modern world. The best part of the “Back to the Future Prophesy” is how campy the whole thing is: of all […]

“It’s Our Culture” – Taiwan’s Go-To Excuse

Every culture has it’s throwaway language.  The English language, for example, explains away many things with the word “Whatever.”  Taiwanese often use the Chinese phrases “There is no reason why” and “There is no solution” in similar ways.  They all essentially mean “I’ve got nothing for you; I’m done talking about this.”  But when it comes […]

What Will We Do When We Are No Longer Living in an Ice Age?

What will we do when we are no longer living in an ice age? For most people with a passing understanding of planetary history, the idea of the planet no longer having ice caps is not a question of “if,” but of “when.”  Ice ages are both completely normal and wholly abnormal; they are a natural […]

What It’s Like Living In Taiwan Without Health Insurance

I haven’t had health insurance since 2008, which is a pretty crazy thing to say, given that I live in a country with some of the most affordable and high-quality medical care in the world.  National Taiwan Health Insurance, while expensive for the Republic of China (ROC) government of Taiwan, is incredibly cheap for Taiwanese […]

Imagine What A Terabyte Will Look Like in a Decade

(all dollars are 2014 US dollars) The first Model T cost $21,000 in 1908; by 1957, a Chevy Bel Air cost $17,000; today, a Chevy Malibu costs $22,000.   Sold in 1947, the first microwave cost $53,000; by 1983, that cost was reduced to $1,200; today, microwaves can be had for less than $50.   In 1961, IBM […]

Those Moments of Culture Shock in Taiwan

Everyone that’s spent some time here knows all about those moments of culture shock in Taiwan. The truth is, most people who live in a place far from where they consider “home” will have significant moments of culture shock.  These feelings can creep up on you or simply blindside you, whether you’ve been here a […]

Waiting in Line: It’s Different in Taiwan

A few years back, I commented to a friend of mine about how Taiwan has amazingly long lines and how willing Taiwanese seem to stand in them for long periods of time.  For many who first come to Taiwan – and even those who live here for years – the “Line Culture” seen in Taiwan […]

Taiwan Work Visas: Pros and Cons

A lot of people ask me about the pros and cons of having a Taiwan Work Visa, colloquially called an “ARC” (Alien Resident Card).  In reality, these are two separate things – one is a visa and one is an identification card.  But a question I often get from people is, “Do I need an ARC to […]

The TSA Doesn’t Care About Passenger Safety

Take even a casual glance at American airport security and it’s clear that the TSA doesn’t care about passenger safety.  Even the name “TSA” stands for “Transportation Security Administration,” having nothing to do with travelers and having everything to do with the objects that transport them; their behavior reflects this through the enigmas that are American Airport Security Checkpoints. For […]

How to Get More Leg Room on Airplanes

How to Get More Leg Room on Airplanes   One of the things everyone who travels wishes they could do is get more leg room on airplanes. It turns out, there’s a secret way to achieve it, without spending a dime. First, you have to be seated in an aisle seat. Second, you have to […]

Pawel Kuczynski Artwork Gallery

I’ve seen a lot of people posting stuff by Pawel Kuczynski lately, so I figured I’d put my own favorites out there in my own gallery. Pawel Kuczynski sells prints so if you like something enough to buy it, that’s where you should do it. These are some of my favorites: Pawel Kuczynski Gallery     Pawel Kuczynski Gallery   […]

Taichung Facebook Groups: Crucial Resources

Over the past few years, Taichung Facebook Groups have been popping up.  Most cities, it seems, have the same sorts of groups – information exchanges, swap shops, et cetera – but in a place where you are an expat (especially when you’re new) these kinds of resources can be invaluable.  So, if you’re moving to […]

Free McDonald’s In Asia

Free McDonald’s In Asia   If you live in many parts of Asia (including Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), there’s a good chance that McDonald’s wants to give you free food every day. I know that McDonald’s doesn’t have the best reputation, for a variety of reasons.  While I certainly wouldn’t advocate eating at McDonald’s […]

The Nature of High School and Prison

Imagine a building filled with people who are forced to be there, under constant supervision by the authorities, with limited freedom.  The building is secured, patrolled by guards, and life is heavily structured and scheduled.  People who are forced to be there must adhere to a specific dress code, require permission to do almost anything, […]

Taiwan Students Take Over Legislative Yuan: Live Video Feed

Taiwanese students take over the Legislative Yuan (like Taiwan’s Congress/Parliament) March 18, 2014 and, as of March 22, refuse to leave until their demands are met. Live video streaming of the event (in English) can be seen here: Live streaming video by Ustream http://m.ustream.tv/channel/longsoneng Live video streaming of the event (an overhead view, in Chinese) can […]

Economic Comfort Zones: How to Win Life

I think a lot about economic comfort zones.  Economy, of course, is more than just money; it’s the management of all available resources.  Everything from people you know to things you own to the job you have to the money you make creates your personal economic sphere. Time Matters A lot of people think pretty […]

Cool Presidential Portraits

I’ve always been a fan of cool presidential portraits. DeviantArt.com has long-been a source of cool artwork, and work by user “SharpWriter” is no exception. One series he works on is basically various fantasy presidential portraits. Without further ado, here they are (click to enlarge) Cool Presidential Portraits               […]

Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience In high school, I had a teacher that always told us, “Know your audience.”  Most times, I act like I couldn’t give a damn about my audience, but I find that’s really not the case.  While I don’t write solely for my audience – this piece, for example, is far more for […]

200 Life Hacks

200 Life Hacks While the title says “200 Life Hacks,” it’s actually 205 life hacks…but “200 Life Hacks” sounds a lot better! I’ve always enjoyed life hacks, but I also find that they can be very hit-or-miss; some are inaccurate while others are just kind of pointless. Over the last year, I’ve collected the best […]

Taichunger’s Guide: Classy Overnight in Hong Kong for Under NT$10000

by Joseph Fritz  all prices listed in New Taiwan Dollars   (NT4:HK1 / NT30:US1 / NT40:EU1) For many expatriates in Taiwan, leaving the country every 60-to-90 days is a normal part of life, and it can be a frustrating part of it.  I handle these blasé-but-necessary overnight trips by traveling at as high a standard as possible, […]

My Frustration With the Taichung MRT

My Frustration With the Taichung MRT   I live next to a road called Wenxin Lu (said “When-Shin Loo”), in Taichung City, Taiwan, and I’d like to discuss my frustration with the Taichung MRT.  Wenxin Lu was a six-lane road with multiple intersections with each intersection having formerly included a turning lane.  Before we go […]

The Art of Ass Wiping: How Most People Don’t Wipe Properly

Most people don’t wipe their asses properly.  If you’re wondering if the writing that follows is going to degenerate from here, the answer is, “Yes.” Now, I realize that most of us have had the gist of ass-wiping since we were in our early elementary school days.  A few years after my own, I saw […]

The Cost of Living in Taichung, Taiwan

One of the most important things to understand when living somewhere is the cost of living there: this is my report on my cost of living in Taichung, Taiwan, as of November 2013. I think the best way to look at your cost of living is yearly, because months can vary quite a lot, sometimes. […]

My Cool Taiwan Apartment

This is a video of my extremely cool Taiwan apartment. After living here for a little over a year, this is what my home looks like.   Check Out My Cool Taiwan Apartment   It’s 1100sqft (100sqm) and costs US$400 a month.     If the video doesn’t work embedded like that, click here to […]

Taiwan’s Child Culture

Something that always fascinates me (and also often frustrates me) is something I like to refer to as “Taiwan’s Child Culture.” The most important thing to understand about any culture is the way they raise their children.  Without question, the key to any culture is education.  Education is indoctrination: it’s where we learn what society […]

Kim Cardassian: Delivers What It Promises

Kim Cardassian Kim Cardassian Somebody call Comic Con… Kim Cardassian Kim Cardassian http://jsphfrtz.com

When I Was Young

When I was young, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. When I was young – five years old – I knew exactly what I wanted to be. When I was young – twelve years old – I knew exactly what I wanted to be. When I was young – eighteen years old – […]

This Day and Age

I think people have been saying “this day and age” forever. Even Ancient Romans were disappointed in the way things were headed, even though we now know that their dismay at perceived degeneration was actually substantial progress, in the long run. It’s easy to become disillusioned with it all. For me…I write people off as […]

Just Another Victim of Toilet Bowl Syndrome

I had a dream last night where a man came to me and insulted what I write. Told me it’s bullshit because it’s not really how I feel. That’s bullshit, I told him.  I write exactly how I feel.  One of the things that writers have the ability to do is genuinely communicate what they […]

Red States and Blue States: It Was Not Always Thus

I hear a lot of people talking about red states and blue states, often speaking of them as if it’s a set-in-stone phenomenon.  Unfortunately, because American History taught in high school often glosses over 20th Century History (especially the political side), many people don’t have a clue what really went on over the last 100 […]

Inherit the Wind Canceled by Zealots: A Win For Freedom in America

Today, Playbill put out an article entitled Local Production of Inherit the Wind Canceled Due to Religious Objections.  The Mankato Free Press wrote about it here, three days earlier.  And it got me thinking. Freedom can be bittersweet in its beauty. A rural Minnesotan town of 13,000, founded by conservative Lutherans 160 years ago and home to […]

Detailed Taichung Population Density

This Is a Simple But Detailed Taichung Population Density Report If you’re moving to Taichung, you’re probably looking online to find a detailed Taichung population density information.  Officially, Taichung has 2.6 million people spread out over 1500mi2 translating into a population density of around 1800 per mi2, but that’s pretty misleading.  90% of the population lives in […]

“Why Does jsphfrtz’s Writing Look So Weird?”

Most people will agree that I’m a good writer; at the same time, some of what I’ve written on jsphfrtz.com in recent months might look odd.  Like my most recent post about “Taiwan Western Union.”  I assume my readers are not fools: they know there is no such thing as “Taiwan Western Union.”  So why […]

Moving to Taiwan: Avoiding Disaster

There are always people moving to Taiwan.  I talk a lot about it in what I write; I give a lot of advice on this site regarding moving to Taiwan, getting settled in Taiwan, and living in Taiwan.  One topic I haven’t addressed is moving back to The World. On July 22, 2013, I received […]

Taichung Apartment Rent Guide

Taichung Apartment Rent Guide   I spend a lot of time thinking about real estate in Taichung, so I’ve made a simple Taichung Apartment Rent Guide.  I wanted to share what I’ve found about the cost of living here in Taiwan.  Costs range quite a lot here in Taichung, but this should give you some […]

Typhoon Soulik Taiwan

Typhoon Soulik Taiwan Typhoon Soulik Taiwan Typhoon Soulik started as a Category 2, but it quickly got augmented by other Pacific storms and became a Category 4. By the time it got to Taiwan, it was a Category 3. Here’s how it looks from my place:       Typhoon Soulik Taiwan

YOLO Bitches: Why Your Life Isn’t Worth Living

YOLO bitches. The modern usage of YOLO (in particular, “YOLO bitches”) drives me straight up the wall.  It’s not clever.  It’s not accurate.  It’s not even funny.  It’s just lame and often sad. I remember, when I was young (you know: twenty years ago) my mother used to say, “You only live once.”  Occasionally, it […]

A Consideration of Happiness and Misery

Living in Taiwan often makes me think about ideas of Happiness and Misery.  Truth-be-told, it’s always a subject I’ve grappled with.  But recent years have brought greater understanding than my younger years.  Hunter Thompson, in his early 20s, wrote the following on the subject: “Happy,” I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it […]

Bystro Taiwan – Best Restaurant in Taichung

Bystro Restaurant Grill is the absolute best restaurant in Taichung.  [EDIT: was the best – they are now gone]  For me, it’s not just the best restaurant in Taichung, or even Taiwan: it is my favorite restaurant in the world.  And I have my reasons.  The husband/wife team of Patrick and Anita really have it […]

Riding in Taiwan: How to Avoid Dying

I began riding in Taiwan back in 2008.  Well, actually, it was a motorcycle.  A sweet ride called a Yamaha RXZ (or RZX) 135cc two-stroke.   A few weeks after getting Max, I got myself into an accident.  I had never ridden before I came to Taiwan and the principles of centrifugal force were very […]

jsphfrtz’s How-To Guide to Taiwan Visa Runs

When you live in Taiwan, chances are you will have to do a “Taiwan visa run” at some point. A lot of the information in this piece is outdated. I recommend you look at my February 2014 piece about Visa Runs.   I’ve lived in Taiwan, off-and-on, since January 2008.  My total time in Taiwan clocks in […]

Never allow catastrophe to compromise the concepts of our Constitution

Never allow catastrophe to compromise the concepts of our Constitution. Never allow catastrophe to compromise the concepts of our Constitution

My Little Taiwanese Kitchen: A Beginning

Back in 2009, I had the idea for a web-based cooking show called “My Little Taiwanese Kitchen.”  At the time, I was living in a fifth-floor walk-up with a kitchen the size of many Americans’ closets.  While my apartment situation has improved significantly, the kitchen is around the same size.  To see what it looks […]

Never Take Advice From People Who Aren’t Where You Want To Be

Never Take Advice From People Who Aren’t Where You Want To Be

No Taiwan ARC? No problem!

If you’ve read my past blogs, you know that I talk about all kinds of random trouble in Taiwan, from banking to shopping to dealing with the government of the ROC.  One of the most common frustrations with people without a Taiwan ARC is hearing the words, “No ARC?  No…no…”  Because of the simplistic way […]

Traffic Deaths in Taiwan: Know the Truth

Many of us wonder about traffic deaths in Taiwan; statistics are difficult to find (most of what’s reported is in Chinese).  One of the only decent raw resources can be found here, and it’s from 1993. So what was Taiwan like twenty years ago? A study was done of 4,329 traffic injury reports and the […]

A Joseph Fritz Original Quote – A Vast Amount of Words

The amount of words I’ve written is nothing compared to the amount that I’ve erased.

Thinking About the Tienanmen Square Protests

The Tienanmen Square protests in 1989 always make me think. If you mention the Tienanmen Square protests to anyone in China, no one has any idea what you are talking about, and it can get you arrested.  If shown a picture of the Tienanmen Square protests or “Tank Man,” all assume it’s a parade.  

My Taiwan Apartment in Taichung City

Taiwan Apartment I moved to Taiwan in January 2008; after almost two years, I went back to the USA.  Then I moved back in October 2010.  And then I moved back to the USA in December 2011.  And, now, I’m back in Taiwan, again, since this past August.  I have always lived in the City […]

Best Christmas Surprise Ever For My Mom

Best Christmas Surprise Ever For My Mom   This video was taken by me on December 17, 2011, after a 32-hour trip from Taichung, Taiwan, to Little Rock, Arkansas. After being away on the other side of the world (Taiwan) for a year, I surprised my mother by coming home (to the USA) for Christmas. She […]

Trying to Better Understand SEO as it Relates to My Content

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I do a lot of compiling/analysis of data.  Usually, it’s not directly related to me, personally: today, it is. I have my blog, which you’re reading, as well as my YouTube Channel.  Feel free to check it out. My blog has been active since May of 2011, but […]

Simple Global Energy Consumption Analysis

Simple Global Energy Consumption Analysis   Here’s a look at how the energy generated on this planet gets consumed: Our planet creates around 500 Exojoules of consumable energy, each year. While only encompassing almost 32% of the overall global population, China, the European Union, and the United States of America use over 50% of its total consumable energy. […]

Making Soup in Taichung: My Minestrone Recipe

I don’t eat soup, but I know a lot of people do.  Without a doubt, my favorite soup is a minestrone.  It’s hearty and flavorful; it’s rare to hear someone say they dislike minestrone, so it’s a very safe bet. One fun thing about Taiwan is getting ingredients – for example, I couldn’t find celery […]

For Someone Who’s Never Meditated Before

One of the things I hear most from people just starting to meditate is that they “have trouble clearing [one’s] mind.”  I’ve talked to people who tell me they feel worse after “trying to meditate” and not getting anything out of it – like they’re defective.  The reality is, a lot of meditative techniques are […]

Phones on a Plane! Looking at the Numbers…

In June 2011, there was this report issued by a trade group called the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who documented 75 separate incidents of electronic interference that airline pilots and other crew members believed may have been linked to mobile phones and other on-board electronic devices. Now, the IATA isn’t some rinky-dink outfit.  They represent 240 airlines which comprise […]

The Hotness: Class Hot, Work Hot, and Street Hot

There are a lot of different kinds of hotness out there.  Some girls want the guy in the suit while others want the stripping firefighter…and many want both.  But even beyond those kinds of differences, there’s a difference I want to cover briefly. Class Hot The first girls we ever think are hot encompass our […]

Meitian Hotel, West Pudong, Shanghai Review

I’d never been to Shanghai before.  My parents were staying at the Waldorf-Astoria (which is as nice as you’d expect), but my brother and I weren’t looking to spend quite so much money for our accommodations.  The problem that I found – and, likely, you are finding, if you are trying to find budget hotels in […]

Pizza Rock: Best Pizza in Taichung

Until today, I barely knew about Pizza Rock, but I am happy to say it’s the best pizza in Taichung.  I had heard a friend mention it two months ago, but I had no idea where it was.  Imagine my shock as I drove through my old neighborhood to find a (relatively) new pizza joint […]

How to Improve Your Relationships With Others

I like to solve problems.  There’s nothing like a good mystery or puzzle or riddle.  Figuring things out gives me a lot of pleasure; finding a solution is pure elation.  It took me a long time to realize that’s not always the approach to take. Learning this lesson is entirely thanks to my history of […]

Two Essential Chinese Sauces

Cooking Chinese food, I find myself using two sauces above all others: a Szechuan sauce and a Sweet and Sour sauce. Living in Taiwan, it’s hard for me to find the kind of Chinese food I like: the kind of Chinese we eat in the USA.  American Chinese food is very Cantonese, with thicker sauces, […]

Free Wi-Fi in Taiwan at 7-Eleven

Everybody here in Taiwan knows that 7-Eleven has a really good thing going.  It’s hard to walk more than a block without running into one…sometimes, they’re directly across the street from each other.  Recently, I discovered a very cool program that 7-Eleven offers: free wi-fi! Now, as we all know, freedom isn’t exactly free; you’re […]

What The Phi Happened?

For those of you who are long-term readers, you’ll remember my personal battle last May/June, where I went from 22% body fat down to around 15% body fat.  It all started with this blog, which explains how a guy can figure out exactly what his body should look like, according to Ancient Greeks.  Sadly, six […]

A Conversation About the Dallas/Pittsburgh Game

Yesterday, December 16, 2012, there was a football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys.  The game went into overtime and the Cowboys won 27-24. I mentioned this to a friend of mine – the biggest Cowboys fan I know and probably the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met, regarding professional football. “Boys […]

Let’s Talk About School Shootings

I was sixteen years old when Harris and Klebold walked into Columbine High School and went on a killing spree.  We were in school when it happened – before the media-driven-fear-fest that was 9/11, there was Columbine.  Imagine being a teenager watching a school get destroyed…and discovering it’s being done by other students.  It was […]

Honey-Almond Granola Recipe

I live in Taiwan, where cereal is expensive.  Beyond that, cereal is not particularly healthy.  I took an old family recipe for baking granola and modified it to what I can acquire here in Taiwan and what I enjoy, in terms of flavor.  Enjoy. Ingredients List Oats Wheat Germ Shredded Coconut (unsweetened) Chopped Almonds Sunflower […]

Raw Data Regarding Voting Records, Graduation Rank, GDP Rank, and Welfare Rank

Voting Records (from Presidential Elections) Red – Voted mostly Republican since 1999 Purple – Even split since 1999 Blue – Voted mostly Democrat since 1999   Graduation Rank (lower number is better) 1 being the most undergrads living in the location 51 being the fewest undergrads living in the location   GDP Rank (lower number is better) 1 being […]

An Expat’s Guide to Staying Connected with Skype

I’m an American who has spent three of the last five years living abroad in Taiwan, a relatively small island off the coast of China.  Up until two months ago, I was one who refused to get a smart phone.  I’d never had a real reason to have one beyond the novelty of it.  But, […]

A Simple Guide to Parallel Parking

I hate parallel parking.  It’s never been my strong-suit, though usually I can do it OK.  My father, on the other hand, is like some freaky Jedi when it comes to doing this. So here’s my father’s Seven Step Guide to Parallel Parking: 1. Turn on your turn signal. 2. Pull your car parallel to […]

Israel Is the Bully You Hated

I hear a lot of people saying Israel is justified in what it does.  That they’re standing up for themselves.  Americans love that rhetoric, because so many of us still think we’re Rambo Cowboys fighting for truth and justice.  But here’s the reality. In 2007, for every one Israeli death there were 25 Palestinian deaths. […]

How Much Do Federal Elected Officials Really Make?

A lot of people freak out about how much money our elected government spends, often choosing to go the route of, “Let’s stop paying them and see what happens to their policy-making!”  First of all, most Representatives/Senators/Vice-Presidents/Presidents made far more money in the private sector than they do in government.  Beyond that, when they were in the […]

Statistical Correlations of GDP Per Capita, Welfare, and Voting by State

I hear a lot of people talk about freeloaders, in every election.  Conventional wisdom dictates that the states with the most people taking handouts and the states with the lowest GDP per capita would vote Democrat, in hopes of improving their lives through government handouts.  Sadly, I rarely see statistics on these assumptions – only empty rhetoric. And […]

Statistical Correlations of Education and Voting by State

I really enjoy researching statistics.  Statistics don’t lie; while the results can be rhetorically used in many ways, as statistical results stand by themselves they are very simple and honest. So, I saw this picture, created by HappyPlace.com Frankly…it pissed me off.  I don’t like when numbers are used that way, to make some rhetorical […]