Lost in Translation

The following is a post I wrote for my previous blog when we were in China adopting our daughter in late 2010. Remembering it makes me laugh – maybe it’ll do the same for you.

When one culture attempts to translate their language into another for the benefit of tourists from a second culture, there will inevitably be some degree of confusion.  In some cases, that confusion can manifest itself into high comedy. (more…)

The Published Writer

Today, I got published.

No, not six-figure book deal, private jet, book tour published.

Not self-published on this site either, where I control the editorial staff with an iron fist.

But published – somewhere else.

Somewhere that someone else controls – which requires knowing somebody on the inside. (more…)

Clean Your Plate

My parents grew up during the Great Depression.

That experience taught them the importance of not wasting anything – and they passed that on to me.

At meals, they impressed upon me the fact that somewhere in the world, starving kids would be happy to have leftover boiled potatoes (again?!?), so I’d better eat mine.

I took that lesson to heart, and now I have an innate aversion to throwing food away.

I hate wasting food, so I always clean my plate.

The problem is that I used to load my plate with more food than I really needed, which sadly caused my waistband to expand at an alarming rate, and led to an urgent need to change my behavior. (more…)

Let Them Eat Cake – In Their Underwear

Today my lovely bride and I went to the mall to get me some new clothes. I’ve lost 26 pounds in the last 60 days, which made my slacks a bit saggy, so she insisted. On our way back to the car, we walked past Victoria’s Secret (which, in case you didn’t know, is a place where women go to purchase frilly covers for their naughty bits).

Victoria’s Secret is in the habit of plastering their storefront with skyscraper sized posters of happy-go-lucky underwear models, photographically frozen in various poses specifically staged to not look staged. Whenever we pass this store, I make it a point to look the other way, while my wife makes a point of making sure I look the other way. But today, one poster in particular annoyed her more than usual. Once we were safely in the car, she asked me:

“Did you see the model eating cake?” (more…)

“Spread Out!!”

In the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way But Loose, Cholla, the leader of a gang of outlaw bikers called The Black Widows, always barks the same order when his men make their entrance to a scene and dismount from their hogs:

“SPREAD OUT!!”

This is pretty good tactical advice, if you’re expecting a fight and you don’t want to get bottled up in a corner. It allows you to cover the exits, prevents opponents from easily flanking you, and establishes control over a wider area.

The only problem with the tactic was that Cholla’s men were idiots. (more…)