An Immigrant’s Perspective

Author: ABG  //  Category: Grab Bag

 

Say it’s 2245 you are the first from your family to immigrate from the US to China. The American economy is crumbling, you are underemployed, and you want your children to actually get a good education and have career opportunities, so you move to the economic and cultural center of the world – China.

It’s likely that I might have to spend most if not all of my money to do this. So you pack everything you own, you get there and you are broke. What next? The first thing I would do upon arrival is find other Americans who have come before me. I hope that they can show me how they got settled and help me do the same. Maybe this means letting me, my wife, and our children sleep in their basement for 3 months, or teaching us how to shop in a Chinese supermarket with only English or letting us copy off of their immigration / tax / work forms because we don’t know what they hell they say. And certainly show us how to get them into school.

Next, I ask them what they do for a job and if they can help me get one too. I am a lawyer in the states, but I don’t give a shit what I do in China as long as I can get my kids into a good school and make sure that they can do whatever they want. So, I ask Frank (he changed his name to ? because no one over here understands these crazy English names). Anyway, I ask ? where he works. He tells me that he has a pizza shop called Cowboy Baseball Mountains (for some reason a combination of 7 “American” words have to be in all pizza shops). Anyway, he says I can work there while I learn Chinese (which is really difficult because I only work with other Americas), save up money, and am able to move out of his basement.

So I get to work. And I work my ass off. I don’t give a damn, I’ll work 25 hours a day if I have to. I am not about to move my family half way around the world and then let them down. Eventually, I am able to save up enough money to move into a new place. Luckily another American family I knew just moved up to a bigger house and knew we were looking for a starter. It was great, because I’d be screwed if I had to a look for a place in chinese on the market.

A couple of years go by and my kids are doing great in school. They speak Chinese better than they speak English now. Which is great, seeing as I still don’t speak a lick of it because I’ve been making, selling, and delivering pizzas this whole time with ? and some asshole named ? who just moved here from Texas. Luckily my kids help me translate anytime that something unexpected comes up.

A few more years go by and I have finally scraped together enough money so I can stop working for ? and I can finally start my own thing. You know what I am really good at? Making pizzas. I’ve made 10,000 pizzas over the last 10 years and I’ll be damned if I don’t make the best crust and the tangiest sauce this side of the Yangtze. Also, ? showed me how to run the business and told me he would help walk me through the start-up. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to open Cadillac Swamps and start working for myself. However, I have to spend most of my capital in starting this place up. So I ask my son and daughter (who are in high school now and are really embarrassed of their round, blue eyes, which breaks my heart because god they look just like their grandmother’s eyes) to help me until I can start up the restaurant. My wife works there too. I say works there to be nice, it’s more like we live there. But hey, we are together and making it work. If we all stick together we can really make this place a success.

A year or so later, I get a call from my college roommate. He tells me his brother Jason just got fired from his job and is through with the US and is determined to come to China. I tell him to have Jason give me a call. I can help him out. Hell, if he and his family need to crash in my basement for a few months that is cool with me. And don’t worry about a job. I’ve got him covered.

I know I haven’t posted on here in forever but that was a nice post on what it’s like to be a U.S. immigrant in China in the year 2245 so Americans can better understand what immigrants in their country experience. It was a post on reddit which you can read here.

MLB League Division Series Predictions

Author: ABG  //  Category: Sports

MLB playoffs are a pretty good reason to make some time and finally write something on here again. Let me know your predictions in the comments and I’ll keep a running tally throughout the playoffs.

New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Baltimore Orioles (93-69)

This Baltimore Orioles just don’t quit. I was upset back in April when the Jays lost 5 out of 6 to this team thinking how can they lose to a basement dweller but boy was I wrong.

The Orioles lost the first four games against the Yankees this season (all in April) including two games in extra innings… after those two losses, Orioles did not lose an extra inning game THE ENTIRE SEASON. Yankees CC Sabathia went 0-2, 6.38 ERA and .312 avg against in 3 starts vs. Orioles this year.

I will take those two stats compounded with the first two games being in Baltimore helping knock out any nerves they may have and go with Orioles in 4.

 

Oakland Athletics (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)

The Athletics overcame a five game deficit with nine days to go and overtaking the Rangers on the last game of the season. Any team riding a hot streak like that can easily run the table in a short series but when you are going up against Verlander and Fister, you can find yourself one game away from elimination before you even know it. Also, Athletics will probably save themselves a lot of trouble by not pitching to the Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera.

Being a big fan of Moneyball, nothing would make me happier than the Athletics finally getting around to winning the World Series but I just don’t see that happening here. Tigers in 5.

 

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68)

I am still not sure how Cincinnati won 97 games this year but behind Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA, 170 strikeouts), they have a very good chance of beating Matt Cain and the Giants on the road. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce lead a pretty decent offense that could give the Giants some trouble.

The Giants’ will need all the help they can get from their rotation after Cain especially Lincecum who finished the season with only 10 wins and a 5+ ERA but I don’t know if Buster Posey and company can do enough to move on. Reds in 4.

 

Washington Nationals (98-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

Anything short of a World Series win by this Nationals squad which feed fuel to the fire to the decision of shutting down Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16) for the season. That said, the team went 13-11 after shutting him down and still won the division rather comfortably.

The Cardinals, who every one though would struggle to make the post-season after losing Pujols, beat the Braves in controversial fashion but I think that is as far as they will go as the Nationals are still too strong for St. Louis even without a starting pitcher. Nationals in 4.

 

 

Are Muslims Enemies of Peace?

Author: ABG  //  Category: Grab Bag

Hypocrisy On Sugar Ban?

Author: ABG  //  Category: Grab Bag

I had a pretty healthy discussion with a friend from my high school earlier this week on New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks which is quite a noble idea but seems to be missing the point. It was also amusing that the following day was National Donuts Day that the mayor of New York had no problem promoting. Apparently he said he was promoting moderation

The big problem I have is I don’t think banning larger drinks solves anything when it still allows people to acquire to drinks of smaller sizes without any consequences. I think levying a significant tax on sugar drinks will drive home the purpose a lot clearer than setting an arbitrary limit which can be easily circumvented. It makes it more expensive to buy larger quantity of sugary drinks and will cause people to think twice about getting larger quantities.

The proposed sugar bans are included below… so let me know what you think?

 

Which Companies Protect Your Data?

Author: ABG  //  Category: Politics, Technology

The Electronic Frontier Foundation took a look at several companies and rated them based on how they fared regarding user privacy against unreasonable requests from the government. I included their criteria and results below but on a quick summary, the one company that surprised me in doing really well? Dropbox. One that I was really disappointed in? Foursquare.

The companies were evaluated based on the following criteria:

1. A public commitment to inform users when their data is sought by the government. To earn a star in this category, Internet companies must promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government unless prohibited by law. This gives users a chance to defend themselves against overreaching government demands for their data.

2. Transparency about when and how often companies hand data to the government. This category has two parts. Companies earn a half-star in this category if they publish statistics on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide. Companies also earn a half-star if they make public any policies they have about sharing data with the government, such as guides for law enforcement. (If a company doesn’t have law enforcement guidelines at all, though, we don’t hold that against them). Companies that publish both statistics and law enforcement guidelines receive a full star.

3. Fight for users’ privacy rights in the courts. To earn recognition in this category, companies must have a public record of resisting overbroad government demands for access to user content in court. Not all companies will be put in the position of having to defend their users before a judge, but those who do deserve special recognition.

4. Fight for users’ privacy in Congress. Internet companies earn a star in this category if they support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.

 

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation