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Everything posted by dean

  1. My house 15 years ago was 15 minutes out of town, with nothing around it. Now, Chiangmai’s growth reached my house and is working its way to Sankamphaene. When I finally do move back, driving into central Chiangmai will be about the last thing that I’ll want to do with any regularity.
  2. Between guns, immigration, being a voter fraud zealot and wanting to re-institute the Governor Brownback tax cuts that bankrupted Kansas, I can’t see how Kobach could win a statewide election for dog catcher, let alone Governor. The Democratic leadership in Kansas would be happy if they could run their candidate against Kobach, figuring that his extreme views would cause voters to run to their candidate. That strategy really worked well for Hillary against Trump. Dueling isn’t a half bad idea. Governor Colyer is a cosmetic surgeon and could make Kobach look as good as new afterwards. Except for counting absentee ballots, the election results are in. Kobach has a 191 vote lead. Hopefully, most of the 6,000 absentee ballots are from urban voters. In any event, I’d assume that there will be a recount. It may be weeks before this vote is decided.
  3. Maybe it’s time to move back to Chiangmai 8 years earlier than planned. It’s still too close to call.
  4. The polls have been closed for 5 hours and 500 votes separate Kobach from his challenger, with around 250,000 votes cast. Hopefully, when I wake up tomorrow morning, Kobach will be just a bad memory. But that’s what I keep saying about Trump.
  5. You’ve got two options. Lock them up and throw away the key or seriously restrict gun ownership. I can’t see either happening
  6. I’m off to vote in the Kansas Primary. My main goal today is to vote for the candidate that has the best chance to deny Kris Kobach the chance to be the Republican candidate for Governor.
  7. Kansas City had the same number of shootings but it happened over 6 days (still extremely high). It’s been hot since the end of May (90-95 degrees Fahrenheit), which hasn’t helped the situation. Being a contractor that works in people’s homes, I haven’t looked to work in certain sections of Kansas City.
  8. My esteemed Congressman, Kevin Yoder, is chairman of a sub committee that appropriates money for border security. Wednesday, he announced that 5 billion had been appropriated for building the wall (at least part of it). On Fox and Friends, he stated that drug cartels were bringing drugs directly to many points in the U.S., including his district (where I live, Overland Park, Ks). Later that morning, the Overland Park Police Department said that claim concerning his district was totally false. Yoder later claimed that he had mistakenly used the wrong terminology but that his point was correct. I think that his new nickname should be “little Trump,†at least until he is defeated for re-election in November.
  9. Cav, as a former resident of Chicago, do you think that Trump should pardon your former Governor, who is serving 14 years for accepting kick backs? Both he and Martha Stewart were on "The Apprentice," so Trump must have a good gage of their character.
  10. Skirting the edge of Bangkok’s restless Chinatown district, barely noticeable among the sagging electrical wires that drape over the city like bunting and the flurry of street hawkers offering colourful fabrics and sparkling baubles, the Nightingale Olympic department store has been both a retail and a psychological anchor of the neighbourhood for almost nine decades. All but forgotten, the multi-level cabinet of curiosities stands as a monument both to its own history and to that of the woman who has kept it alive. Aroon Niyomvanich has worked at Nightingale Olympic for 86 years, having started her career at the age of 10 (Credit: Credit: Courtney Lichterman) Aroon Niyomvanich has worked at Nightingale Olympic for 86 years, having started her career at the age of 10 (Credit: Courtney Lichterman) You may also be interested in: • Where Tokyo’s grandmas go to shop • How colours are saving Thai street food • Buenos Aires’ mysterious secret tunnels Now 96 years old, Aroon Niyomvanich started her career at Nightingale Olympic, the city’s first major department store, when she was just 10 years old. “I was born into the store,†she told me from behind her desk in a corner of the main selling floor. Inside, the Nightingale Olympic feels more like a living museum diorama than a department store – a Wes Anderson movie come to life. Shelves full of 1950s hosiery in original boxes sit across from stiff-stringed tennis racquets from the ‘70s. In the lingerie section, large, lacy bras hang precariously on rusty tenterhooks, seemingly kept upright by the makeshift counterweight of a 1960s Nightingale promotional bag. Display cases jaundiced with age hold bottles of rare, evaporating Schiaparelli and Christian Dior perfumes. There are deep, progressing fissures in the necks of the store mannequins, and much of the stock looks as if it might turn to dust if handled. A glass case behind Niyomvanich’s desk holds a mélange of disparate items, ranging from family photos to sports trophies to a small collection of action figures. A calendar open to a page of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, one of many images of the Thai royals around the store, hangs prominently on the wall. “Everything here has meaning,†she said. Today the Nightingale Olympic feels more like a living museum diorama than a department store (Credit: Credit: Napittha Tiya) Today the Nightingale Olympic feels more like a living museum diorama than a department store (Credit: Napittha Tiya) Opened in 1930 just across the road from where it is now, Nightingale Olympic was the passion project of Niyomvanich’s older brother Nat, who started the business just after their parents died. Following a deathbed order from their mother to keep the family together, the entrepreneur employed all six siblings and three of his then-young nieces and nephews to help get the store on its feet. One of the many millions of Chinese families living in Thailand, theirs was a “typical Chinese family,†Niyomvanich explained, which meant “no arguments and no fightsâ€, a dynamic she feels was directly responsible for the store’s staying power. The store originally sold bargain cosmetics and clothing, until customers appealed to the family to start selling more upscale brands. That recommendation led to buying trips to Europe to purchase expensive perfume, sports equipment and musical instruments. (The name of the store itself is a reminder of those early trips: ‘Nightingale’ was one of the musical instrument brands; ‘Olympic’ came from some of the sports equipment.) Despite her young age, Niyomvanich was included in all of it; she travelled the world with her brother to scout out the merchandise that would secure the store’s eventual reputation as a utopian arcade of exotic goods. Everything here has meaning Several years later in the late 1930s or early 1940s (she can’t remember exactly when), Niyomvanich and her brother were chosen by Merle Norman, a then-burgeoning cosmetics brand, to represent the product in Thailand. The gig ended up being a big deal, leading to television segments for her brother and to her own shift from representative to sales trainer. Forced to relocate after a bomb decimated the area in World War II, the store finally settled in to its current location – a sprawling seven storey structure where Niyomvanich not only works, but also lives. Only the first and second floors are open to the public, with the remaining five floors dedicated to her office, home, stockroom and rooftop kitchen. The Nightingale Olympic has been a fixture of Bangkok’s shopping scene since 1930 (Credit: Credit: The Nightingale Olympic) The Nightingale Olympic has been a fixture of Bangkok’s shopping scene since 1930 (Credit: The Nightingale Olympic) There is still a small cosmetics section on the first floor, but Niyomvanich explains that it was the third-floor beauty salon dedicated to the Merle Norman brand that really put Nightingale Olympic on the map. It has been closed to the public for more than 30 years, so I was thrilled when she offered to show me around. Moments later, we were exiting the lift on the darkened third floor. Niyomvanich flipped a switch to reveal a perfectly preserved, over-the-top tribute to 1950s femininity and glamour, awash in Schiaparelli pink. Plastic rollers, still sprouting a few ghostly strands of hair, were piled on a slowly rusting trolley, while atomizers sat undisturbed in sales cases, their spraying mechanisms long deflated. Countertops were lined with jars and tubes of creams and potions that were undoubtedly past their sell-by date. An appointments calendar lay open on a mid-century reception desk, as if waiting for a phantom receptionist to start making bookings. It feels like a Wes Anderson movie come to life “They all still work,†Niyomvanich said, gesturing to the fleet of antiquated exercise machines that once kneaded and nudged Bangkok’s elite towards fitness. Watching her demonstrate how each one worked, it was not hard to envision the room as it once was: jiggling tummies tightening with each movement while fellow customers reclined against the pink porcelain sinks, attendants working shampoo through their hair in preparation for new ‘dos. “Why keep the salon in working order?†I asked. “Because,†Niyomvanich diplomatically replied, “it has meaning.†The Nightingale Olympic’s now-defunct beauty salon once catered to Bangkok’s elite (Credit: Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images) The Nightingale Olympic’s now-defunct beauty salon once catered to Bangkok’s elite (Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images) Today, a small, devoted staff, most of whom have been there a few decades, service the selling counters. Dressed in surprisingly pristine hot-pink golf shirts, they look like a dainty, off-duty ladies’ polo team. Although the store is often completely devoid of customers, it does a consistent business with loyal patrons who purchase goods to re-sell in the country’s rural provinces. Niyomvanich says that Merle Norman cosmetics are still Nightingale Olympic’s biggest sellers. Her preference is to keep the Nightingale Olympic as is, but notes that if the younger generations of her family want to modernise, she’s OK with that, too. The bigger issue is who is going to take over the store when it’s time. Niyomvanich is the last surviving sibling, and has even outlived many of the subsequent generations who might have taken over. She’s lost track of how many great-grandchildren there are, and says that most of her nieces and nephews are already pursuing other careers. Her brother’s children might be good candidates, but they are already in their 60s and 70s. One of Niyomvanich’s greatest concerns is who will take over the store when she can no longer run it (Credit: Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images) One of Niyomvanich’s greatest concerns is who will take over the store when she can no longer run it (Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images) Given that this neighbourhood is showing the telltale signs of redevelopment (a hipster barbershop has just opened across the street), I asked her if anyone has ever offered to buy the Nightingale Olympic, a question that prompted a wry smile. “No-one would dare ask,†she said.
  11. you are lucky that there are not many Chinese-Germans stealing business and government secrets and passing them on to the Chinese government. Do German companies with a presence in China complain about the roadblocks built into trying to run a foreign business in China, including having to disclose all business secrets, which the Chinese can then copy for their own businesses? The Chinese are not very innovative, so I'm not keen on turning over intellectual property to them, either by doing business in China or having it stolen.
  12. Trumps "negotiating skills" may or may not work against North Korea and Iran but they aren't working against the Chinese, as shown in the recent trade negotiations. The Chinese called his bluff and Trump has no intention of starting a full blown trade war with China.
  13. Will Trump win the popular vote this time, or again win a majority of the Electoral College? How many loses will the Republicans take in the Senate and House in 2018? Trump began his run for 2016 in 2015, so I'll withhold anointing him an 8 year President until I see who the Democratic candidates are, hopefully by the summer of 2019. No matter what Trump does, there is at least half of the voters that will never vote for him. I don't think that the Democratic leadership will screw up the Primary election process as badly as they did in 2016.
  14. Bring back the "crying rooms" that they had in Churches when I was a kid, but expand them to other industries, like the airline industry
  15. You can put me in the anti Amazon category. I might buy one item per year from them, and only if I can't find another business selling the same item within 15% of Amazon. I'm not in favor of putting small businesses out of business and I don't like having one company dominate several sectors of the economy. Unless they want to take on healthcare/drug companies. I'd love to see the existing businesses in those sectors put out of business.
  16. Before I married my wife, her 11 year old son had been driving a motorcycle for 2 years. He was stopped by police but was let go when he started crying. That's never worked for me in the States! He's 25, living in the U.S., and now drives a car. He's never had a license. Why he hasn't spent any significant time in jail is beyond me.
  17. My final baggage trip report. The 2 bags made it easily back to the U.S., filled with processed foods from Chiangmai that my wife had her sister prepare and bring by my Chiangmai house. No batteries, but then I never bring batteries back into the U.S. Going through Shanghai was terrible. The pricks running the security/x-ray machine looked at my carryon bag 3 times by hand and 3 times by x-ray machine, not explaining what they were looking for. After 25 minutes, they found the old fashioned, heavy, cigar ashtray that I was carrying back to the U.S. And let me through. I'm a cheap person when it comes to airline tickets. Paying more won't get you to your destination any faster but saving money means more money to spend on my Chiangmai house when I get there. However, even I have my breaking point and China/China Eastern has found it. No more flying to Chiang Mai, going through Shianghai to Kunming to Chiangmai, spending the night at Chiangmai. I'll buy a cheaper ticket, going through Bangkok and spend a day there on both sides. I'll send out a certified letter on Monday to the Los Angeles China Eastern office, requesting compensation for losing my bag for more than 7 days. I'll put the amount at around $175-200, and give them 30 days to respond before filing a small claims court lawsuit against them. I'll also involve the U.S. Department of Transportation in filing a complaint. I want to see if the head of the DOT, Eilane Chow will take seriously a complaint filed against her mothercountry. In the meantime, I'll put my experience with China Eastern on as many social media sites as possible. When I think that I've been screwed royally, I'm a very vindictive person.
  18. I'm 65 and have a Isuzu Pick up truck and a honda motorcycle. After spending 2 weeks in Thailand (Chiangmai), I mainly drove the truck everywhere I went, except around the village that I live in, near Chiangmai, where I rode the motorcycle. I used to ride the motorcycle all around Chiangmai but those days are over. At one time, I had a plan to disassemble a Harley and pack it in my suitcase over 4-6 trips to Thailand. Now, I think that anyone over 65 that drives motorcycles regularly in Thailand is crazy and better have full health insurance because they will use it when the accident occurs By the way, those Harley jobs in the U.S. Are coming at the expense of their factory in Kansas City, which will be closing in 2 years.
  19. With his brilliant diplomatic skills, do you think Trump will obtain the release of Americans/Iranian-Americans from detention in Iran? There's far more of them than Americans detained in North Korea. There's an 82 year old Iranian-American that probably can't wait too long for his release.
  20. Any plant being built today would be top of the line in innovations. Meaning, they would employ probably less than 10% of the employees that a plant of that capacity would have employed 30 years ago. I feel bad for those workers but only a moron would have voted for Trump, expecting him to bring back his job.
  21. Used as wallpaper, like the Germans did in the 1920's?
  22. I think that's it's a pretty safe bet that the crash won't come before November, 2018. My Congressman, Kevin Yoder, is beholden to the Republican leadership and special interests, particularly the banking industry. When he decided to vote against Obamacare a year ago, I made it my mission to respond negatively to every post that he has made since on Facebook, and he posts about every weekday. He posts regularly about how well the economy is doing since the tax bill passed. I thank him for the deficits incurred by the tax cuts and bankrupting my children and grandchildren. I also point out that the government has the power to manipulate satistics and will do so up to the 2018 midterm elections. In Kansas, the former Governor, Sam Brownback, was able to get passed a far more "let's give the rich all the tax cuts and watch the trickle down economic theory in action" plan than the current tax cuts. At its height, Kansas was producing deficits of around a billion dollars a year. Brownback, leading up to the 2016 Governors election, was able to cook the books enough that it seemed that the the worst had passed. A week after the election, that he barely won, the State auditor issued a report that the deficits were getting worse. That is what I expect this November. The Republican PR Machine will be out in full force for the next 6 months, touting the tax bill, trying to minimize the Democratic gains in the House and Senate. After the election, I could easily see an economic downturn (it's too early for an economic meltdown). So, I get back to KC on Friday. On Monday, I have a meeting scheduled with Social Security to start taking benefits at age 65. My original plan was to wait until I was fully vested at age 66 but I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to change the rules to cut benefits or raise the age to cut the deficit caused by the tax bill. I'm not going to wait to find out.
  23. If I have a choice between whiter smile or more fluoride in toothpaste, I choose fluoride every time. I thought that I had my prescription toothpaste with me in the confiscated piece of luggage, but it only had the empty prescription box. I can't remember if I packed it or decided that I'd buy it when I got to Thailand, with the box helping out. Or, there is a Chinese airport official in Kunming that had cavity problems. I have a full day in Bangkok, with only an appointment at Rutnin hospital (call me old fashioned but I like places that still use the term hospital) for my 4 year eye check up. If I find it, Thai360 will be the only place that I'll post it. By the way, day 2 of antibiotics. I have a full month work schedule when I get home and the last thing that I need is a set back from 2 plane rides lasting 20 hours. I am looking forward to that in and out burger while waiting overnight Thursday at LAX. I actually really used to like Thia food. Not after being married to a Thai and particularly not after two weeks of it.
  24. I've still got 10 in my house, some 10 years old and still working (admittedly, I'm only here using them every 12-18 months for two weeks at a time). I usually bring over two every time I come over. They are underpowered for tools like saws all or circular saw or grinder. They work fine for drills and work great with DeWalt worklights (when the electricity goes off).
  25. Sorry for keeping everyone on pins and needles overnight about the finale of my bag saga. I got to CNX airport this morning at 7:30 and my bag was sitting in the Thai lost luggage. I had some other things to do in town and just got home. Nothing was missing, EXCEPT FOR THE TWO DEWALT CORDLESS BATTERIES. There's a note in Chinese in bag, which I assume explains their position. As they took 13 days to deliver bag, I'm entitled to compensation, which I hope covers the batteries. Now, I'm going to spend 6 hours working on house before going to my village Sunday Night Market. Maybe, they will sell DeWalt batteries at the Sunday Market.
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