Friday, March 31, 2006

The Mandarin Chinese Craze

Two weeks ago, I was talking to Ken Carroll of about an article in Wired magazine titled “The Mandarin Offensive”.

Today I saw this video from CNN about the Mandarin Chinese craze in United States.

(Quicktime 9.19 MB or CNN Video)

International investment guru Jim Rogers, who has a Chinese nanny for his own daughter, says: “China is the next greatest country in the world, whether we like it or not, and the best skill I can give her is the absolute fluency in Chinese.”

"A Chinese nanny with advanced education, who speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese, can make between $60,000 to $100,000 a year. But top Manhattan agencies say they fill only a fraction of requests. It is hard to convince qualified Chinese this is a job worth doing."

Too bad I don't have the patience to deal with children.

Podcasting Laowai

For last several weeks, I have been following three streams of podcasts by foreigners in China. As mentioned in Dan Washburn’s Shanghaiist as well as John Pasden’s Sinosplice, each one of these podcasts has its own niche and drawing large crowds of visitors across the world.

Danwei TV – is a website about media, advertising, and urban life in China. It publishes fresh information about China that won't be found anywhere else.

So far there are three episodes of Danwei TV about Beijing’s construction, China’s print media, and interview with Thomas Shao, founder and CEO of Modern Media.

Jeremy Goldkorn’s on camera persona and close resemblance of Mo Rocca have made me feel like I am watching the Chinese version of The Daily Show.’s Video HotPot – Give two interns Tayhler and Ryan a simple script, a camera, sent them roaming the streets of Shanghai and watching them struggle with locals. That is the theme of Ken Carroll’s Video HotPot. The results are both entertaining and educational.

Each episode of Video HotPot has English captions along with Mandarin Chinese Pinyin pronunciations. For someone that is starting to learn Mandarin Chinese or wants to apply Chinese into real life situations, this is definitely a good way to learn through entertainment.

Ken Carroll also offers Chinese lessons via mp3 audio podcasts.

Ron Sims’ The Illworld – Can a blackman get a decent haircut in China? Can a blackman handle real Chinese’s street food? What is China like from a blackman’s point of view? If you ever wanted those questions answered, you better check out Ron Sims’ The Illworld series.

Forget about Mike Tyson, with at least one camera attached to him at all time, I would nominate Ron Sims to be an honorary Chinese.

Respect yo!

* "Laowai", or , is Mandarin Chinese slang for "foreigner(s)".

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dead Chef

In early March 2006, Isaac Hayes decided to quit South Park after the show ridiculed the Church of Scientology, which Hayes himself is a member.

video: 9.50 MB mov

The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had to kill off Hayes’ character “Chef” by turning him into a pedophile, then tossing him off a bridge, burned, stabbed, mauled by a lion and a grizzly bear.

More at

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Hooker with Her Monkey helping Muscular Dystrophy

Hooker and Monkey care about Muscular Dystrophy

Local pizza shop, Papa John's, is trying to raise money for muscular dystrophy buy selling these paper shamrocks and post them on their store's window.

Even the local hooker and her monkey decided to help out.

How sweet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


video: 1.75 MB mov

A spoof of popular Apple's ipod commericals.

Related: iPod Flea, iPod Chicken Dance, iPod Nano spoof

Tip Jar Sign

Tip Jar Sign - May The Norris Be With You

I have started a group in Flickr called “Tip Jar Sign”.

The latest one I got is “May the Norris Be with You”, a witty spin on the popular “May the Force be with you”.

Related: Chuck Norris Facts

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cryptic Menu

Recently my friend Jon Rahoi has posted on his site about his experience at a steakhouse in Foshan.

Aside from the obviously painful Engrish translation, as a Chinese speaker myself, I am having a bit difficulty understanding the menus’ Chinese!

I did not know in order to enjoy a piece of steak in Hong Kong, I need to bring along my English/Chinese enigma machine.

Since it is in a menu, most English speakers would extract “Side Order(s)” out of “Sidersts”, but I am clueless about “西多士”. It turns out we are both wrong. The item is actually called "Western Style Toast", perhaps "French Toast" (or "Freedom Toast"). I would have never guessed it until Jon emailed me.

I have not idea what “the pearl picks” are; the Chinese caption is not helping either. At least I know it costs 16 Yuan ($1 = 8.0319 Yuan).

What is “Qient Lady”; perhaps it meant “Orient Lady”? I did know this restaurant also offer “that” kind of service. Can I take one to go please? Preferably fresh ones, not the ones got stuck inside a cargo container.

It is cryptic enough trying to figure out just what “J&J” stands for, the Chinese is not giving any clues.

Shout out to my boy Jon RAHOI in the HK for the photos, RESPECT. More at Jon’s site.

Related: Chinese government launchs site to advocate correct usage of English.

Friday, March 17, 2006

DA BOMB Phonecard

If Hamas is ever in the telecom business, they will be happy with this phonecard.

Da Bomb phonecard 2578
(front & back)

I got this $2 phonecard from local Middle-Eastern grocery store. The only reason I got it was because the fuse-lit bombs on the front.

Its service contract is terrible:

1. $0.90 surcharge on toll-free number from a payphone
2. a semi-monthly surcharge of $0.59
3. calls places to mobilephones may be billed at a higher rate
4. expires 3-months after first use

The irony: Middle-Eastern grocery store selling “Da Bomb” phonecard.

I wonder what would happen if I ended my phone call with “Allahu Akbar”, a big kaboom?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kitty Kitty Gang-Bang

This morning, I saw several cats doing something interesting - having a gangbang.

Since the cats can't talk, I have decided to fill in the dialogue.

Pimp = grey with white chest and feet cat
Bitch = black cat
John1 = darker orange cat
John2 = lighter orange cat


Pimp: "So, you want some sweet pussy?"
John2: "Sweet pussy? That is so tempting..."

John1: "Take it bitch, you know you like it..."
Bitch: "Oh, you are so big and hard, I can't handle it..."

Scene 2:

Pimp: "Work it girl, make some money for daddy."

John2: "Damn, when is my turn?"
Jonn1: "Don't worry, you will get yours when I am done."
Bitch: "I am coming!"


Pimp to the camera: "What are you looking at? You want some of this too?"

John1: "mmm..."
Bitch: "ahhh..."

Scene 4:

The switch over, no dialogue.

Scene 5:

Pimp: "More money, more money, more money!"

John1: "Too bad I don't smoke, but if I did, this would be a good time to have a cigarette."

John2: "Finally, it is my turn."
Bitch: "I am all wet for you, big boy..."

Scene 6:

Pimp: "You come back when you got more money or catnip."
John1: "Can't I just stay here and watch?"

Bitch: "Where is that KY heating lube gel when I need it?!"

And here are some dogs having some fun with a blow-up doll...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006



Cockta is a brand of softdrink from Slovenia.

It is rumored to be "cock-licious". Many drinkers can't taste the difference between the diet and regular Cockta.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Adidas Yellow Series

Adidas is (or has) releasing a new line of sneakers called the "Yellow Series".

I am sure one particular model of sneakers will have the Asian community up in arms.

Notice the buck-toothed bowlcut slanty eyed face on the shoe's tongue? And it says "Fong" on the back...

Apparently Adidas did not learn anything from Nike's "Air Allah" incident.

Update: This shoe was designed by Barry McGee, whose is half Asian. McGee is a painter and graffiti artist. Unless you have read Giant Robot or associated with the underground arts scene, you probably don't who he is. The image on the sneaker is from his book cover.

Update: April 10, 2006 - BBC News
Produced in a limited run of 1,000 pairs, the Adidas "Yellow Series Y1 Huf" shoe retails at $250 (£143). Huf owner Keith Hufnagel dismissed the accusations of racism as "internet garbage".

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Who is Ripping Off Who?

About a month ago, I made two parody trailers of "Brokeback Mountain" with clips from the movies "Heat" and “Rush Hour”.

Over the weekend, an anonymous reader left a comment on my site stating one of them, “Brokeback Heat”, was mentioned in March 2nd 2006 edition of New York Times (24 KB pdf file) among several other spoof trailers by Virginia Hefferman:

brokeback heat screenshot

"My favorite of the parodies, however, didn't require much technology or even editing, just a good sense of double entendre scenes of emotional intensity between men.

It's the ‘Brokeback’ mashup with ‘Heat,’ the underrated Michael Mann movie with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. ‘Heat’ was a psychological tango movie, with the alpha actors playing a police detective, Vincent, and a bad guy, Neil, respectively.

They're supposed to be talking about the cops-and-robbers life, but in ‘Brokeback Heat,’ which just replays without legerdemain a whole scene between them, they seem for all the world to be talking about their love, and gay love generally, and their unwillingness to be straight.”

She then went on and narrated about the clip to her readers.

Before I was able to celebrate my achievement, a man by the name of “Matthew Warbet” writes on his blog accusing me of stealing his idea.

According to his “I have been ripped off”:

“I didn’t care about it at all until someone decided to take my ‘Heat’ recut idea and turn it into a Brokeback parody.

Just for the record, I released my ‘Heat’ parody (and it was a parody in the general sense, not a swipe at Brokeback Mountain) on Nov. 17th 2005 (even though I didn’t post about it until Dec 5) which was over 3 weeks before Brokeback was even released in theaters.”

Without mentioning my name but just a link to my site, he ends his rant with:

“I’m all for remixing and recutting and creating new things from old things, but isn’t this just a little too convenient?”

I would like to use this opportunity to give my own “Just for the record”:

1. “Heat” was first released in 1995.

I am sure there are many others, including myself, have thought about doing or have done parodies about it long before Warbet’s Nov. 17th 2005 version.

2. I first saw the trailer for “Brokeback Mountain” was during the preview for Constant Gardener in Aug. 31st, 2005.

That is two and half months before he ever released his parody.

I could have done my parody trailer during that period of time, and decide to release it on Feb. 3rd, 2006.

3. I am not here to say Warbet’s version was an unentertaining attempt, especially he has said that his recut was “a parody in the general sense, not a swipe at Brokeback Mountain”, but his parody had nothing to do with “Brokeback Mountain”. I have never heard of him until March 2nd, 2006.

4. I am really wondering who is actually stealing whose idea here.

For example, in his “comedy” entry on June 7th, 2005, about Lindsay Lohan’s forehead, he used a ratio scale to demonstrate and prove his point.

warbet vs tian

Here is my entry on March 3rd, 2005, three months earlier than Warbet’s, notice the similarity? Plus, why is Warbet picking on Lohan, when he himself looks like this?

Even the layout of his own website is a direct rip-off of Amazon.

warbet vs. amazon

Michael Warbet and I are two very different people.

He has photos of him posing at comedy clubs, I would prefer the anonymity.

He claims to be a comedian and trying very hard to be one. Yet, most of his written material and video clips posted on his site are just not funny (maybe except his looks).

At the same time, I am just an under-motivated slacker whom could careless if I am humorous or not and ironically get more recognition than him.

I would suggest Warbet to try the Taoism approach of “when you try nothing, everything will be presented to you.”

Booya! That means “balls out of your ass”, Matthew Warbet.

Update: March 24, 2006 - Matt Warbet has sent me an apology letter via email.

Gmail - Warbet's Apology To Me via Email