About three decades ago, the United States badly suffered from high petroleum prices. Now, it's as if it never learned. Petroleum, which primarily comes from countries that cannot really be considered as the best friends of the United States, still hurts the economy. A movement in its price sends fear and anger at its population and yet, almost nothing is being done to reduce the country's dependence upon it.

Despite its economic and technological might, it lags behind much smaller economies in terms of automobile technology, specifically in terms of fuel efficiency. In a report published by the International Council on Clean Transportation, US vehicles lag behind Canada, South Korea, Australia, China, Europe Union and Japan in vehicle fuel economy.
"US says we can't do better emissions and be competitive (the "pro business" angle), yet China/Japan did - and now US can't even sell cars in China due to our lack of ability to deal with their emissions regulations. And, how are American car companies doing in the global economy? Crappy. This problem is a very good counter example to pure (short term) capatalist thinking - its a case of "short term gain" and "long term" - Al Gore, as quoted here.
With its might, the US can take the lead and throw much of its money to expedite the development of cars that run on clean & renewable energy. One example is a feature in the Discovery Channel where a car was shown to be capable of running 125 miles on a single tank of compressed air. It can be done.



Japan's recent upper house elections showed that Prime Minister Abe's conservative camp miserably lost. However, his party holds overwhelming majority in the lower house so there is little chance that he can be forced to resign. In addition, Abe bowed to remain in order to push for the revision of Japan's constitution and a reform of the country's educational system.

To the non Japanese, Abe is mostly known for the recent improvement of ties with Korea and China. However, he is also widely known for his denial of the existence of Asia's comfort women- Thousands of young girls and adults who where forced to provide sexual R & R to Japanese troops during World War 2.


Recently joined Pay U2 Blog. It is a blog advertising program wherein, advertisers pay for a link of certain words back to their websites. Most of PayU2Blog's advertising jobs simply require publishers (bloggers) to create a post with a minimum length of 60 words and create the advertiser's link. The process is quite simple and the publisher gets paid $5 ~ $20/post. This is a lot simple than the web site opinions required by the other get paid to write programs that I am also enrolled in. In my experience, this one requires virtually no research.

IMG: Asia safe from crisis

In so many words (detailed explanation), the IMF Chief says that the Asian economy is more stable compared to the its condition in 1997. Please read the news here.
"Macro-economic fundamentals are stronger now than they were 10 years ago. Exchange rate flexibility also plays a very important role and the integration of Asian economies into the world economy is stronger,"


During the cold evenings, nothing feels more enjoyable than drinking a cup of hot chocolate while sitting with the entire family in front of the outdoor fireplace installed by the terrace. Nowadays, there are modern outdoor fireplaces that produces the traditional fire without the smoke or flying embers. The fuel is made out of ethanol gel that burns cleanly and yet easy to extinguish. Ours is still the traditional type but maybe, it is time to consider a modern fireplace the next time we renovate the house.


Here's more regarding the recent Nasa scandals. In addition to the astronauts drinking problems, there are also allegations of space shuttle sabotage, kidnapping and etc..



Yep, they flew their expensive shuttles while dangerously drunk. Read here..

What a way to go!!!


The Iraq's humanitarian crisis: Is it not enough reason to rethink a vacation?

50,000 Iraqi's leave their homes every month and the total number of refugees now exceed 2 million. 1.4 million Iraqi's are now in Syria and the Jordan has about 750,000.

I wonder how many domestic refugees they have inside Iraq.

Jordan reports spending over $1 billion/ year just to be able to accommodate the Iraqi refugees in their country. Syria probably spends something close to that amount.

As if everything is well in their country, the parliament pushes through with its one month vacation.

Well, if the host country indeed insists on the vacation, it is probably also good for the foreign military to take a break. If the situation does not bother the Iraqi government, why should the others do?

The Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs, lovingly known as the “Lovable losers”, due to their long championship drought, are rapidly gaining confidence as they win game after game. "You start winning baseball games, and you expect to win them," Manager Lou Piniella said before they won 7-1 over St. Louis last Wednesday at Busch Stadium. I hope they'd get the championship this year. cubs tickets will sell very well and it will be a fitting end for theold owners and a great start for the incoming. The owners are reported to be selling the team after the 2007 championship season.

Prior to a long drive

Before going to my next vacation, I have to work like there's no tomorrow, add to my personal accomplishments and make enough money. But after all of that, I will have to do a few more things and foremost to all of that is the regular maintenance of my Auto air conditioning. Just have to make sure that my evaporator is cleaned when it is dirty. It makes the air conditioning system run more efficiently, resulting to lesser gas consumption. A lot of people check their engines and tires prior to a long drive, not knowing that their air conditioner is about to give in. Don't fall for that trap and go through a horrible ride. Check your car's air conditioning system regularly.

My favorite travel bag

Whenever one leaves town for a vacation or a business trip, luggage packing never fails to become a major activity. The plan to always lightly travel is sometimes forgotten and before one realizes it, the bag has become full and there are a number of other things yet to be placed inside. Having traveled since I was a little boy, such problems are rarely experienced. I seemed to have become a master packer, easily being able to put everything in my good old Samsonite luggage. That piece of luggage has been with me all over the country and all the way to Europe and back. I use it until now.

Vacation Cabins

Our last vacation, a few months go, was spent in an island. We stayed in a rented cabin, ate what seemed like home cooked food, slept late and had nothing but good time. We did what most people would do in an island getaway such as swim, snorkel, etc.

But what made this trip different was the rented cabin that we stayed on. It felt so nice being in one and the atmosphere was very relaxed. It seemed that the structure blended well with nature. I heard there are nice places in Pigeon Forge and the next time we have a break, I intend to go there. We will probably start scouting for a good Pigeon Forge cabin rental online and will reserve way ahead of the other vacationers.

Silk Trees for Building Interiors

The use of plants/ trees in building interiors is very much in vogue. Plants enhance a building's appearance and gives it a homey atmosphere.

However, not all types of plants are suitable for interior use. In addition, most of it requires the tenderest care. Other than constant watering, plants needs to be regularly trimmed and exposed to sunshine. And when you are maintaining a high rise facility, the expenses associated with its maintenance can be quite substantial. It is therefore recommended that good qualitysilk trees be used. It virtually requires almost zero maintenance and looks fresh all the time.


It is quite encouraging when a blogger realizes that there are readers who find his/her website through search engines.

Tracing the origin of this site's traffic, I realized that my articles, are landing on the first page of Google. I have not really been practicing key word optimization/density and related methods due to my hectic schedule. Anyway, analyzing the results, I know how this page is landing at Google's front pages.

I just hope that all the readers will decide to come back for more.



My several years of exposure in building residential and huge commercial structures made me realize the magnitude of transactions that are involved in real estate. It is for that reason that I am contemplating the possibility of taking a real estate broker’s licensure examination. After getting the permit, I intend to sell a number of units using my knowledge in construction to my great advantage. Not many people can sell a house using superior building technology as a selling point. I can. Let me see if the age old saying is still accurate, “All great wealth is tied with real estate!”

The role of mass media in the conduct of wars

During the past several days, I was preoccupied thinking about the wars that are happening all over. Examining some of the favorite tools used by the dogs of war, we realize that artillery was extensively used in Hamas’ attack of the Fatah headquarters, helicopter fired smart missiles killed a huge number of Palestinian militants and unmanned predator planes are heavily depended upon in Afghanistan and Iraq. But some of tools that continue to influence the course of events include the Pens owned by the journalists, politicians, student activists and the ordinary citizen.

It was said many times before that the press contributed greatly to the American defeat in Vietnam. The ongoing events in the Middle East continue to be fought with a heavy involvement of the mass media. Then and now, the pen remains as deadly. Indeed, it is very much mightier than the sword.


Speaking of cabinets, one of the important things that should be taken into consideration when designing interiors is the under cabinet lighting. One should make sure that the appropriate models are specified. Under specification would result to inadequately lighted cabinets. Over specification would mean using too much lighting and excessive electrical consumption. Some people will probably dismiss such a statement as an overreaction since those lights will not be switched on all the time. However, try imagining the number of times that all the cabinet lights in your house are switched on in a given day. That would be a lot. Now, if it is a hotel you are running…

My initiation into the plumbing supplies business

In the construction hardware industry, the first items that I learn are faucets and its fittings. I was sent to a three days seminar by a faucet manufacturer. All the participants were hardware salesmen out to master all the details associated with the products. We were billeted in a nice hotel and all the lectures were done in one of the hotel’s ballroom. Needless to say, I learned a lot of things aboutbathroom faucets, kitchen hardware, showers and plumbing works in general. One good thing that came out of that seminar is the fact that I can always quit my present job and work as a plumber. I even have a laminated diploma to show as a proof. Gut!


My short posts about the cabinets and mailboxes make me reminisce the exciting days when I was heavily into architectural hardware. It was during those days when I learned how to easily read building blueprints and immediately imagine what the outcome would be. Whenever I drive past by a luxury home that I helped build, I just can’t help but mention with a bit of pride that that structure is a project of mine.


CNN reported that two recent parolees were involved in a home invasion that resulted to violent deaths and the burning of the victims' house in Cheshire. Perhaps it's time for the parole board to reevaluate what happened and if the basis for their granting of paroles need revisions.

Read the news here and here.

Aluminum Cabinets

As an architectural hardware consultant, I deal a lot with home interiors. Aesthetics, functionality, durability and economy must be combined in order to come out with the optimal structure. In the kitchen, the popular cabinets are normally made of laminated plyboards or MDF. Plyboards and MDF's that looks good but are quite heavy and needs outmost care.It need to be kept dry so that moisture will not to seep in and damage the cabinets. The introduction of aluminum cabinets promises to solve these problems.

Aluminum is lightweight, durable, rust resistant and requires much lesser maintenance. Will I recommend aluminum cabinets to clients? Oh yes!


My regular lunch buddy refused to have lunch for a couple days so she can read JK Rawlings' latest addition to the Harry Potter series. Well, she must have finished reading it last night and today, she's tired from the lack of sleep and not very happy, as well.

That's what happens when you've started to expect so much. Not many people were happy with the latest Die Hard and Ocean's (13th, wasn't it?). As pour moi', I will read it in a leisurely pace, when I get the time. En este momento, will work and be happy to have my lunch partner back.


BP’s Whiting Refinery

This is an independent review paid by BP through Payperpost. The views that are posted hereunder are the author's opinion based on facts that are hyperlinked on the appropriate words in the article.

On July 15, 2007, the Chicago Tribune Published a story about BP's Whiting factory. BP felt that the article misrepresented certain facts and needed to air its side and this blog was among those considered as a venue. BP and Payperpost does not require this blog to sing praises or even write positive feedback on behalf of BP. BP merely requests that their side be heard.

Finding nothing wrong with the terms, I agreed. Indeed, one can be so helpless after being pounded by the press. The only thing one can do is try to air its side through the same mass media.

The Chicago Tribune's article started with a claim that BP is planning to significantly dump “more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes". In the middle of the article, the exact quantity was reported to be 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge every day. It added that ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish while sludge is full of heavy metals. The article also stated that BP is at present, is one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes that can release larger quantities more.

BP for its part counters with that only treated water is released into the lake. Sludge is treated separately and never discharged into the lake, in accordance with state and federal requirements. It also acknowledged that their ammonia discharge will increase, but still, it will be less than half the maximum levels allowed by the federal environmental guidelines. In addition, the company maintains that it operates a modern waste water treatment facility in Whiting and plans to invest $150 million to enhance the facility's capacity.

In my opinion, the Chicago Tribune has pure concern for the people that will be affected by BP's expansion project. In addition, it is an effective deterrent against powerful entities that can possibly abuse the state and its people. However, some of the statements in the concerned article probably amounts to overkill. While it acknowledges that BP's increased level of ammonia into the lake will still be less than the state limits, it devoted more space to stating the harmful effects of ammonia, increased levels of pollutants to be dumped and many other concerns that create a negative image of BP, a company that currently employs 1700 employees and 1500 contract workers.

In my view, such statements are excessive, unnecessary and can sow widespread fear. If the state has predetermined certain levels to be tolerable, anything within the range should be allowed freely. Giving so much mention to negative stories is over-the-top, if it can easily be canceled out by a simple statement such as “it is within the limits allowed by environmental laws”.

I am not much of a fan of the petroleum giants, the fact they they rank at the top of Fortune magazine's list of the world's top 500 firms is a simple proof of their power and great profitability. However, I also believe that they too are entitled to be heard. Besides, the attempt to develop a petroleum source away from the Middle East at the expense of an increase “within the approved levels” in pollution, is nothing less than commendable. What is important is an agreement that serious measures will be implemented in order to rapidly address the added pollution. BP's plan to invest $150 million to enhance the capability its waste water treatment facility is a good start. The state and the public should be able to convince the oil company to increase its spending in related projects, should it be deemed necessary.

- Chicago Tribune article
- BP's facts about the Whiting Refinery



2nd of 2 parts.


While I strongly propose the wholehearted involvement of the Americans in the restoration of Iraq, I have harsh words for the politicians who angrily respond to criticisms of their vacation plans.

The reasoning that Iraq is extremely hot during August is unacceptable even by a bit. Indeed. it is hot over there. A blogger (I forgot his Url), wrote that one American soldier lost as much as 6 pounds (in a day) due to exposure in the hot Iraqi summer weather. However, the same blogger added that the Iraqi parliament building is air conditioned and the Congress is never exposed to that kind of situation

The country is filled with sectarian and criminal violence added to the Al Qaeda problem and the rebellion of those who oppose the UN's presence. The death toll dramatically rises by the day, the Iraqi police and armed forces is close to non existent and the government is clearly lacking in leadership. And yet, there they have a parliament who has the gall to take a vacation and angrily denounces foreign complaint. Oh yeah!!!!

The killing goes on and they are clearly not in control. Just a few weeks ago, they even requested the United Nations to extend the stay of the US led Multinational Force because the government is not yet ready. Yet there they are, busily preparing for a vacation.

I can't believe this!

Let's all sing....
"Aruba, Jamaica,
oh I wanna take you to Bermuda, Bahama
Common pretty Mama..
Key Largo, Montigo
Baby, I wanna take you to the Kokomo
We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow
That's where we want to go... Way down in Kokomo!"


IBM Memory

Been trying to figure out if I need to buy a new PC or simply install some upgrades. A lot of new things are coming out of the Internet and I feel that my PC is becoming slower by the day. The cost of a new PC is making me rethink my decision but since I rely heavily upon it for my work, I need to decide fast.

Well, the solution pleased me to no end. I called a techie friend and asked him to come over. Over a glass of iced tea, he checked my PC’s configuration and recommended an upgrade of my IBM memory. It was very inexpensive, easy and got my computer working like brand new. Whew!!!



First of two parts.

I have been wanting to write about this but my schedule has become quite hectic. Here it goes. It all started when some American politicians and journalists criticized the Iraqi parliament for planning a two month vacation starting August. Certainly, during this period of uncertainty, taking a vacation seems to be hard to fathom.
"Iraq's maverick parliament speaker on Wednesday rejected U.S. criticism of the 275-seat legislature over its summer break plans, saying it amounted to unacceptable interference in Iraqi affairs as Vice President Dick Cheney was expected to take up the issue during a visit to Baghdad."
I don't know why the speaker, holding office in an air conditioned building can afford to take a vacation despite his country being in such a turmoil and his government being unable to do anything about it...



Since it is prominently located right in front of your home or office, a mailbox should not only be functional but it should also aesthetically match your house's appearance. Otherwise, it will become prominently ugly and will be remembered whenever people think of your house (or office).

In searching for quality residential mailboxes, it would be good to have a photo of your residence within reach for easier matching. Search for the mailboxes that you like and match it with the picture of your residence. That should give you an idea of the right item to buy. In the numerous construction projects that I have worked on, I made extensive use of the Internet in searching for the suitable architectural hardware. It saved me a lot of time and made presentation to the clients a lot easier.

In evaluating various commercial mailboxes, try not to be too fancy in the design. After all, the entire building is supposed to be very business like and fussy architectural fittings create an impression of excessive extravagance. That might give visiting clients the idea that the company's services are way overpriced.

In buying mailboxes, dont choose the first mailbox that you find. Consider the building where it will be used and the people who will be in it before making any decision.



I didn't want to write about this anymore but it seems that some people wouldn't stop until they have cleansed their countries history by erasing their past wrongdoings.
" A group of Japanese lawmakers and conservatives on Friday protested US congressional demands for a clear apology over wartime sexual slavery, saying the women were not slaves but just making money.

The group, which included 13 national lawmakers and more than 200 local politicians, intellectuals and journalists, gave the US embassy a protest letter saying they were "surprised and shocked" by the US pressure for a fresh apology to so-called "comfort women."

They denied sexual slavery ever existed at front-line brothels during World War II, saying the women were generally paid."

Please read the rest of the article here.

In addition to my past opinions, I believe that the best way to stop this historical revisionists will be to flood them with overwhelming evidences. Before they poison the minds of the young, every Japanese bulletin board should be posted with notes reminding them of what really happened.

Let me start with some web finds. Post your additions in the comment section and/or paste it in your own blogs, as well.

Comfort women - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Comfort women (Japanese: ???, ianfu?) or military comfort women (Japanese:
?????, j?gun-ianfu?) is a euphemism for the up to 200000 women who served ...
Comfort Women
A North Carolina student's article on comfort women and case study of one Korean
woman forced into becoming one.
This web site is maintained by the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues,
Inc. (WCCW), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. ...
Comfort Women Links
The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan. This is
the primary source for the most up to date information on the Comfort Women ...
Japan: Still Waiting After 60 years: Justice for Survivors of ...
There is overwhelming evidence that the "comfort women" system violated international
... The struggle for justice by surviving "comfort women" and their ...
The Comfort Women-A History of Trauma
Gives historical perspective, origins, facts about exploitation, voices of comfort
women, and current situation of Taiwanese victims.
Comfort Women
I just read Chairman Lantos remarks regarding ?The Comfort Women? resolution by
the foreign affairs committee, issued on June 26, 2007. ... The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced ... The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in
the Second World War: Books: George L. Hicks by George L. Hicks.



A few months ago, this site changed its template to the present 3 column format. According to some Adsense experts, this new template is not optimal for it offers a lot of distractions to the readers.

Well, I hope to continue getting Adsense clicks from the readers. Adsense clicks somehow encourages me to continue and improve on my writing. :-)

Anyway, the change in templates resulted in the loss of some meta tags and search engine widgets that were previously present in this site. I hope to be able to restore it today.

Commentaries will follow. Good day, everyone!



The United Nations, at the request of the Iraqi government, recognized the need for an extension of the Multinational Forces presence in Iraq. The extension (beyond 2007), was granted last month and let me take note that even Russia, the normal US nemesis in these type of issue, supported the extension. They had reservations but they supported it.

Despite that, the lead country in the war that plunged Iraq deep into sectarian and criminal violence is wanting to get out. It is a good thing that the President, despite his unpopularity over this issue, has vowed to move on and refused to be rushed into an early withdrawal.

I have written about this a few days ago. The US just cannot leave Iraq at this state. It has a major role in the events that led the country into chaos and therefore, it is mainly responsible in the country's reconstruction.

You invaded it, now it's yours. FIX IT!



This year's global 500

The list of this planet's Top 500 Companies is out with Walmart leading the pack. Please read the details here. Comments will follow later.


China executes ex-food and drug chief


The former head of the Chinese equivalent to the FDA was executed for having approved six untested medicines with fake documents in exchange for bribe money. At least ten people died as a result of having taken one of the fake.

At first glance, the sentence seems to be severe but considering his direct responsibility to the deaths of ten individuals, he probably deserves the capital punishment. One thing though, I hope that due process was followed and the accused's rights were respected. Being so hot in international trade, China is so conscious of its image and seems to be doing everything expeditiously to protect its image.


Drug traffickers, arms dealers and other criminals continue to successfully move large amounts of money despite the banks' massive attempts to monitor and stop money laundering.

At this point, a study of banks report that the number of suspicious transactions have increased with Forty-two percent (42%) of the respondents claiming that that the increase has been substantial. I believe that more efforts should be exerted by governments along this line. Laundered money does not only enrich common criminals. It fuels terrorism. Banks especially, should exercise more leadership in this endeavor. Financial centers are good terrorist targets (remember 9/11).

However, the moves to stop the flow of bad money should be done with utmost care. Please bear in mind that there are a lot of honest citizens who are being hard hit by these strict anti money laundering measures. Thousands of bloggers for example, are unable to collect payment or participate in good online programs because they live in countries that are unable to receive Paypal payments. There was e-gold a few months ago. But now, even that system is under fire.

Let us not forget that restricting and contracting the level economic activities is also a terrorist goal.



Named after the typhoon that stopped Kublai Khan's invasion of Japan, the young warriors that were sent to slam their planes into American warships are being resurrected and hailed as heroes. A new movie written by Tokyo's Governor, the "Kamikaze" is once again being proclaimed as warriors worthy of emulation by today's Japanese youth.

Of course, when noticed and criticized by the foreign media, the Japanese "Nationalists" quickly attempts to soften their message. Despite that, a different message seems to come out when the film's director was asked about the Kamikaze and the war itself.

"While insisting to reporters that the movie's message is anti-war, director Taku Shinjo said Japan launched the war in Asia in self-defense, and that the decision to send young men on suicide missions was the only option left as the conflict neared its end.

"When you get to the roots of the Japanese soul, I think they are embodied in the kamikaze pilots," he said."

Self defense? I wonder if forcing thousands of young women (some of whom have not even had their first monthly periods) to become sex slaves can actually be considered as an act of self defense.

With that kind of statement from the movie's director, I am curious as to how he can accurately portray the war's and its real lessons in that movie. In addition, Japan's recent attempts to revise its war history makes this film something worth every protest that the war victims- the comfort women especially, can muster.

The film, at the very least, is very ill timed.


Buying Real Estate

A good way of buying real estate is to predetermine your preferred property, budget together with the location. After that, one may shop around for a good company that will serve as the guide in your search.

Today, the Internet serves as a good place to do a preliminary research and find your dream property. From the comfort of your home, you can view the different pieces of real estate and do a comparison of the features of the various products being offered.

Of course, I recommend that prior to any purchase, an inspection visit be done in order to verify the claims of the seller. Make sure that all the pertinent documents are in order before signing any contract and handing your first payment.

Home Theater Seats

It was a good lazy weekend but it is Monday once more and one's got to get back to work.

Just last Friday, I realized that an excellent way to look for updates to the DOHA round, the US immigration issue, Iraq and Gaza Strips' peace and order situation and other issues is by surfing the cable channels in a place with a good home theater seating.

Ending a working day or a work week for that matter is also much more enjoyable when a good movie or TV program is on screen in your home theater.

Now, back to our regular programming.. What's new in the Middle East?


Pull out of Iraq? No way, Jose!

During the Desert storm, I remember reading about somebody being quoted, "If we invade Iraq, we will own it...". The statement was uttered in the context that the US will inherit not just additional acres of real property but rather, the responsibilities attached to governing a country that is heavily damaged by war and years of oppression.

When the US invaded Iraq a few years ago, they should have had that in mind. Now, they have deposed of Saddam Hussien but the economy is ruined and the country is being destroyed by sectarian violence. Worse, there is no reliable local police, armed forces and government, at this point.

So what are all these talk about a pullout? Right or wrong, the Americans supported the declaration of war against Iraq. Now that the post war casualty seems to be getting much larger than initially projected, most Americans seem to be wanting to pull out.

Why will you want to do that? Are you done taking what you wanted?

I strongly believe that a pullout is not an option, at this point. If the US wants to leave now, it should restore Iraq to its former shape and pay for all the property damaged and lives lost. Then they should apologize.

Iraq, at this point, is in much worse condition than before the US invaded it.