Update: China *hearts* melamine

As I mentioned before, the China-way of fixing things – scapegoat a coupla’ people and leave the rot.

Excerpt from the Washington Post:

Since then, Chinese authorities have fired several municipal and provincial officials and forced the resignation of the head of its General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, who, during last year’s food and product safety scandal, said that foreign companies needed to do a better job of testing products made in China.

Premier Wen Jiabao has apologized for the tainted-milk scandal, but he has also insisted that China does not “cover up.”

Folks from China I’ve talked to blame the few unethical businessmen. They believe this is a case of a few bad apples not related to the government or the majority of the good businessmen. I doubt that’s the case though. The government took almost a year to warn people and force any action on the businesses to recall the tainted products.
No cover up, oh weawy?

Shijiazhuang is home to Sanlu Dairy Co., the 50-year-old company that health officials say covered up the problem when complaints first started coming in from parents of sick children last December. Local doctors also issued warnings that went unheeded until a journalist posted Sanlu’s name online at a Chinese social portal Sept. 11.

Cereal makes the world go round

Last night, I pigged out until 8:56PM thereabouts because the night before your check up, you’re not supposed to eat after 9:00PM. Then today, I nearly passed out after getting my blood drawn because I am the biggest chicken. I know. Yes. But she poked me twice!! To fill 3 vials!!! And that was when I had to lie down – caught two of the vials and a needle out of my peripheral vision and realized this was no simple 1 vialer. Geez louise I suck. PSA – Down water before a blood draw. I was not bleeding very much at all (according to the vampire) which made the whole process turn into an eternity. I’m guessing that’s why she took two passes.

After, I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up nine boxes of cereal. Right-o. I kid you not, I have broken my previous record of seven or eight boxes in one trip. You don’t know how awesome that makes me feel right now. It’s like the lollipop at the end of the torture, but awesomer.

China effs up – again.

Hu Jintao and his sunshine band are doing a pitiful job of regulating their industries. This year, it’s melamine in milk products. In short, don’t eat foods made in China. The ethics of this is so deplorable, what are they saying when they come up with these ideas to deliberately taint foods?
“It’ll kill a few kids.”
“Perfect. Let’s apply for a government population control subsidy for that added feature.”

The worst is the reaction from their government after the realization that all this is happening. They’re more concerned with saving face than saving lives, recalling only some of their milk containing products and playing dumb. Ahem, remember SARS?

Maybe someone’s going to get sent to jail, fired, executed over this. Then it’ll blow over. Next year, melamine in flour. Communists.

Agh, hit me up with another puppy.

Pho, it’s what’s for Autumn

The cooling weather makes me want hot pho.

I’ll try not to have it on a regular basis this year. Or if I do, I’ll try not to report it on my blog every night I have it.

Because this would be all you’d see for the next few months:

  • Sunday – Today, I ate pho.
  • Monday – I got the number 4 instead of the number 1.
  • Tuesday – Time lapse of my bowl as I eat it.
  • Wednesday – You guessed it!
  • Thursday – Look at this photo of my 10th bowl for the month.
  • Friday – I want a puppy. Not for dinner though.

This boggles my mind

FiendishI got this new book called Su Doku Extra Hot. I have started two puzzles and can complete neither. I’m tempted to go through the entire book filling in all the obvious numbers and then just leave it lying around the house for some unsuspecting soul to pick it up and rack their brains for the next hour or so.  I have a love-hate relationship with Su Doku. This is buggin’ the crap outta me! HELP!!

Quick, show me another puppy.
Another puppy
Ahh, much better.


Cattleya buds
It’s been a while since I’ve showed some flowers in bloom. I thought I’d done it enough, but I just can’t help taking the pictures (especially with the new camera), they’re so pretty. These orchids are lightly fragrant, particularly in the morning hours.
September 6, 2008 – The first bloom.

Cattleya bud
September 14, 2008 – The second one literally bloomed overnight.

Cattleya 2
September 15, 2008 – Here it is the next day.

3 blooms!!
September 22, 2008 – The third one emerged this past weekend.

Cantina D’Italia

Tucked away in some random strip mall in the suburbs is this Italian hole-in-the-wall, Cantina D’Italia.  It’s a little dive that looks so unassuming on the outside but is so delicious on the inside. Catering to the mostly over 50s set, the ambiance is calm and quiet. Who cares about that though, let’s get to the most important part, the food. Is it authentic? I don’t know since I’ve never been to Italy. But good? You betcha!

Clams CapreseThis appetizer is called clams caprese. The menu describes it as “clams sautéed with white wine, parsley, lemon, garlic and olive oil.” The sauce is so good, you want to pick it up and drink it. Or sop it up with the bread. When the entrees arrived, they looked so delicious that I completely forgot to take a picture and just dug right in!  Worth going back, worth sharing with friends.


I’m so calendar-obsessed. I keep track of no fewer than 7 calendars. 2 online. 1 on the fridge. 1 on my phone. 1 on the wall. And 2 at work. I probably forgot some others. Maybe on that what-would-you-like-to-have-on-a-stranded-island question, I’d list a calendar right after dental floss, and the Jr. Woodchuck Guidebook. (I’d last about a day or so, but that’s beside the point. I mean, what do I need floss for when I don’t have any food?!) Anyway, according to 3 of my calendars, today is the Autumnal Equinox. Enjoy the last few bits of sunshine while you can, because after today, it’s back to surfing Amazon for that sunlight simulater lamp while noshing on all things carbohydrates again.

And while we’re on the subject of what I want on a stranded island, how about a cute wittle puppy wuppy?
So tempted to take these babies home!!

What’s going on in the finance sector?

A lot has been happening these past two weeks in the financial sector which have been a bit complex and overwhelming for me to comprehend.  So here’s what I’ve learned from talking to people and reading about it:

Lehman Brothers – They’re an investment banking firm and this Tuesday, they filed for bankruptcy.  Causes: they were overleveraged.  Too much of their assets were financed on borrowed money.  Also, the ever familiar issue of having too large of a holding on bad mortgage investments.  Barclays is buying Lehman.  

Merrill Lynch – Earlier this year Bank of America  purchased Countrywide and this week, they bought Merrill Lynch, at a 70% premium too.  They paid $29 a share rather than $17, which was how much Merrill was worth.  I heard the reason was to stave off bidding wars because other banks were eyeing this purchase as well. 

AIG – Insurance and investing company.  They just got an $85 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury. At 10% interest rate, that’s a good deal for Uncle Sam for sure. Where are going to get that kinda’ growth these days? Not on the stock market I can tell you that much! And I don’t think AIG will tank so it’s a guaranteed 10% return. We win!

Freddie & Fannie – First of all, these two companies are government sponsored.  They’re there to make the mortgage market a bit more liquid which would foster more home purchases.  Banks sell their mortgages to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac so they can have more capital to go forth and give out more mortgages.   Anything that passes through these two by default get AAA ratings.  Meaning, they’re good on getting paid back.  This is because they’re government sponsored.  Many foreign countries invested in Fannie and Freddie thinking they were very secure investments due to the government-ties.  Unfortunately, with the innovative mortgage loans that may go sour and with the difficulty of estimating how severe the bad loans are out there, they’re not sure if they can carry these hefty mortgage fallouts.  So the government took them under a conservatorship.  What once was an implicit loan payment guarantee became explicit.  They’re saying, if Fannie and Freddie can’t pay their loans because people can’t pay their mortgages, the U.S. Treasury will pay.  The hope is by keeping Fannie and Freddie afloat, it will keep mortgage rates low and encourage those thinking of buying homes, to buy.  Maybe by doing so, we’ll see the bottoming out of this real estate market and things will improve.

I’m not saying these entities should or shouldn’t be bailed out.  But what I see is typical election-year spending.  During the months before a presidential election, it’s hard for politicians to turn their backs on their constituents.  So set the money loose on the voters.  Maybe McCain will get his wish afterall.


I started using Philosophy about 2 months ago. Hope in a Tube. It’s for lips and eyes, which I don’t understand because how is lip balm applicable to sensitive eye areas? Plus, $33 for a half ounce tube of lip balm seems a bit steep. So I use this product strictly as an eye cream. It’s thick and creamy. Does it work? Yes indeedy! My eyes glow! In the dark! Ok, I don’t know. I feel better for using it though. And at first I thought it’d be a pricey habit, but really, it’s not if you consider what a small amount you need for the area around your eyes. One tube will last you a good long time.
Last week, I started using Hope in a Jar, which is a moisturizing face cream. So far, it feels good on my face, very light and non-greasy. In the morning, my face feels silky after washing and that scary just-woke-up look isn’t that scary. My skin looks pretty dewy fresh. Now about my hair… But I must warn you about the smell. Whew! Some people don’t mind it. I’m not one of them. My best description: it’s a cross between diesel and body odor. Even though I may smell like I’ve been sleeping under a mechanic’s armpit, the goodness I think it’s doing for my face makes it worth it. Ah the things we put up with in the name of beauty.