Digging a hole all the way to…America

Colby Buzzell has an interesting piece, “Digging a hole all the way to…America” on China in this months Esquire. He writes about American flags Made in China, Starbucks, Wal-mart, and the great migration to China’s new megacities.

For the piece, Buzzell visits Shenzhen, which is very similar to Guangzhou (where I was) in its batty-ness over capitalism and, in fact, is only about 1.5 hours from G-zhou (that‘s what the cool kids call it).

Some interesting facts about the population of Shenzhen: In 1980 it was less than 100,000. In 1990 it was 900,000. In 2000 – 6.5 million. And today – 11 million.

This map about the great migration ran with the story. There are more than 90 cities with a…

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Cosmo Kramer in Cambodia Contemplating Cosmos

Are you a celebrity? Did your image take a nose dive after you were arrested for giving underage midgets shots of Tequila intravenously while attending a folk music festival in Alaska? Or maybe you were doing stand-up and completely lost your cool stringing together a long chain of racial slurs captured on a cell phone?

Forget rehab? Travel. Get away, to somewhere exotic where you can talk to the press about things like the spirituality in stone and walk around the slums holding HIV babies.

Michael Richards is the latest celebrity to escape. I would be interested to know if the fella who wrote this story found Richards or Richards found him. Is Richards trip an image-cleaner campaign, a vacation, or spiritual search for the…

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Ron Artest died for our sins

Saint ArtestThe Sacramento Kings Ron Artest is in Africa doing things and feeling good about it. In his own words (from espn.com):

“I am doing many positive things this summer. … Me, Maurice Evans, Theo Ratliff and Etan Thomas are holding HIV babies and walking around in the slums where kids have no running water or electricity and no shoes on their feet, feeding rice and beans to kids.”

Sounds like Ron might be onto something here. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all walked around the slums holding HIV babies? Really, wouldn’t it?

Ron’s cause might give my own NGO a run for its money and maybe even Kyle’s….

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An elephant (IS or WAS) standing on my chest!

My creepy elephantThe sample chapter (is or has been) started.

Never has a blinking cursor seemed so intimidating. Normally, my writing spans 800 to 1,000 words – tops – and whenever it appears somewhere it exists for a day to a month. I usually bang out these pieces in a day and then revisit them a few days later to rewrite them. But writing a book…

So long. So permanent.


I’m a no-stress kind of guy, but that blasted blank-page cursor on Thursday gave me the ol-elephant-on-the-chest-feeling. Primarily, the elephant existed because of tense. I prefer to write in the present tense and often when I write in the past tense I’ll find myself switching back to the present. I…

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In the Dayton City Paper

I’ve been contributing to the Dayton City Paper since April. The column runs monthly and is supposed to be about the greater Ohio outdoors, although the editor asked me to write a story about the WAIW? quest. I just finished the story and will post it after it runs in the DCP.

I thought it might be difficult to sum up three months into 800 words, but I think I managed quite well.

Until then, you can read the introductory column below the cut.

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The Office: A slob's fight for survival

My Office

Annie had a surprise for me when I got home – an office. She painted the walls, strategically placed the bookshelves my parents contributed, bought a desk and did what Annie does best – made things tidy.

It looked perfect.

And then it happened. I came home.

I’ve always described my dream office as being lined with bookshelves and a place where I could put whatever I wanted wherever I wanted.

I have lots of bookshelves, but that’s where the dream ends.

When I got home I started to fill the space. I put books and knick-knacks such as my lucky Tiki statue, my S.S. Cookie Hut cookie jar, and my autographed picture of Punky Brewster wherever I wanted. I settled in.

Less than an hour…

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Transformers, Made in China

Optimus Prime Would you pay $4,250 for Jetfire or Optimus Prime?

That’s how much they are going for on ebay. This makes me happy because I own both action figures. Sure, they aren’t in the box and have each have swapped some paint with the Deceptagons. But still, it’s about time the world realized the value of Transformers. Although, I think we’ve over-valued them a bit.

Even if my figures were in mint condition, I would not sell them. Not because I have some sentimental attachment to them (I do), but because I wouldn’t want to take advantage of some schmuck who would pay any amount of money to get his hands on an original Optimus Prime (OP, I’m down with…

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Fiction vs. Non-fiction

It might set you free. Mark Twain said when in doubt you should tell it. And sometimes it just plain hurts.

But above all, the TRUTH is expensive.

Two weeks ago Annie and I drove to Kokomo to meet Science-Fiction author John Scalzi. Actually, I bribed Annie to come along with the promise of lunch, and afterwards, while I was in the book store chatting with John, Annie slept in the truck.

Meeting John and seeing his pile of books waiting to be signed and sold got me thinking. A large number of John’s books take place in his head. He doesn’t have to buy plane tickets and spend 3-months living in hotels and eating out. He doesn’t have to pay translators. He…

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My shorts, made in the USA

“I don’ feel real comfortable with this,” said Linda from Champion USA.

I have that effect on people.

I was asking Linda about my 1992 Dream Team shorts. They were made way back in the early 1990’s. So long ago, in fact, that they were actually Made in the USA. I told her that I was pretty sure that factory was not open any more given how the industry has changed, but I would like to know where it was anyhow.

“Perry, New York.”

That’s all I could get out of Linda. I tried to explain to her my quest, but I think it just makes my request to know where my shorts came from look crazier. In Linda’s defense, if some quack called me up and mentioned…

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