Can you decipher this?

This is a portion of a drawing the Countess has in a keepsake frame.  The women in the picture appear to be Chinese of some variety.

I know several readers have spent time in Asia and/or have close acquaintances that might    have cultural awareness of whether this is writing or just ornamental.   If it is writing, the words might be an advertisement.   My suspicion is that it is Cantonese…

Any thoughts?


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1st annual radio haiku contest

The haiku contest is inspired by the Countess and I watching this video of Robin Palley, who the Countess worked with at newspapers in Philadelphia. Robin went on to be one of the early participants in WebMD during the late 1990s. She is currently quite active in the haiku movement.

The venue for this video is the edge of Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey. Back in the day, Camden was a prestigious location for rich people to be buried. Some of the Countess’s ancestors are buried there. Most relevant to the video is the fact that renowned poet Walt Whitman is buried there as well as haiku author Nick Virgilio

If you aren’t familiar with haikus, they are a poetry form from ancient Japan. In proper form, a haiku has three lines, with the middle line being longer than the first and third – typically 5-7-5 syllables. Somewhere, usually at the end of a line, there is a “cutting word” that connects two different mental images.

Here goes:

Late Night Radio
“Caller, what is your question?”
Larry King falls asleep

She loves you yeah yeah
The secret truth – John is dead
Girls weep silently

The needle vibrates
Fourty five times per minute
The record breaks hearts

Your turn.

The winner will receive 1 million Streaming Radio guide volunteer points.

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Alphabet to the rescue

83% of cell towers in Puerto Rico are still not functioning. Details are sparse, but logical reasons for lack of service are destruction of the tower, no electricity, no backhaul (the way your phone and cell data reach the Internet and POTS (Plain Old Telephine System), or the central office is non-functional for the same reasons.

The FCC just enthusiastically gave Alphabet (Google) permission to have an airborn LTE transmitter. Google had been working on this technology to provide service in isolated parts of the world or in emergencies.

It is important to note this is LTE data services, not GSM or CDMA phone services. A basic cell phone will not be helped. To place a phone call over the Google Balloon, you need a smart phone with “Voice over LTE” or an app that supports Voice over IP (VoIP).

The carriers in Puerto Rico are signing over some of their LTE spectrum to Google for up to six months while they reconstruct their networks. LTE would also allow sending emails and some text messages for people with smart phones.

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The final days of CMLS

NASDAQ has made its determination that Cumulus Media no longer qualifies to trade as a NASDAQ listed stock. Not only did the reverse stock split fail to keep the stock above $1 a share, the capitalization (price x #shares) is too small. Cumulus is asking for an appeal, but there is no reason to expect a different outcome.

If I were king of NASDAQ, I would add a new requirement for listing – that the stockholder equity of the “owners“ must be at least a certain percentage of the total debt+ownership. 5% might be a reasonable number. Cumulus has §2.4 billion in debt and Market capitalization of $9.7 million. That mans the “owners” have no “skin in the game”. The real owners are the debt holders whose sole interest is milking the cash flow. iHeart (Clear Channel) is in the same situation, just having 10x as much debt and they are no longer publicly traded. (The small portion still traded as Clear Channel owns a 10% share of the outdoor billboard company, not the radio stations).

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SimState: the end of property rights

SimCity is a video game that goes back to 1989 that appears to have become the primary influence on urban planners. In the game, you start with empty land, and you control the development of the growth of the city by micromanaging every detail. The humans living in the city have no purpose other than being counters simulated inside an algorithm that was designed to force the player to accept a specific version of what a successful city looks like. California has just passed a series of laws creating a utopian state of perfect cities.

California passed into law 15 new laws that complete the transition of California to a socialist paradise. Governor Jerry Brown has obviously been colluding with 1960s Soviet Russia, with its centralized planning emphasizing dreary high-rise buildings built along transit routes.

Sacramento Bee: Affordable Housing Bills

The bills include new taxes on home sales, selling bonds to build homeless shelters and low-income housing, and forcing cities to develop plans to integrate low-income housing in their cities and all new development.

The most paradoxical provision requires that the developers of low-cost housing pay the construction workers more money.

Posted in American Politics, Collapse of America, Fascism comes to America | 1 Comment

The coming German food war

If you haven’t heard yet, another German supermarket operator is invading America, joining Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s (founded by brothers but split apart by the second generation over whether or not to sell cigarettes)

The new retailer is already a big player in Europe – the name is LIDL (pronounced lee-dle). They are coming after Aldi’s head on, with a few differences. To some degree, they might be more of a challenge to Walmart.

Compared to Aldi’s, the stores are bigger. More people work in the store. They do not do the “insert a quarter to get a cart” thing, which probably is covered by a patent. The aisles are very wide. They have a fresh bakery department.

We are lucky as this part of the country is where they are debuting the stores, which are being constructed in new custom-built buildings.

The Countess and I went over the South Carolina state line (risking a Mann Act issue) to an area known as Indian Land, South Carolina. A Lidl opened there two weekends ago. Eventually, there will be one in Charlotte at the former site of the radio city complex whose picture you see above in rotation. They have cleared the land there, but for now just an empty field.

So we arrived to give our inspection tour – there is a Chick-fil-A next door for lunch. We went inside and were greeted with country music blaring echoing off the cavernous ceiling. Both of us detest the noise pollution that retailers think their customers want (especially in restaurants).

We got a few items from the bakery and wandered around for a bit selecting a variety of things we might buy at Aldi’s. Like Aldi’s and Walmart, there is not a traditional meat department, just packages that arrive from some central supply chain and thrown in a refrigerated case.

The produce department seemed adequate. While Lidl follows the concept of being efficient by keeping the number of items down, the variety is bigger than Aldi’s. Their presentation of “organic” merchandise is almost as pervasive and obnoxious as at Whole Foods (Amazon).

This war has been in the works for a couple of years and may explain why Aldi’s stepped up their expansion and is remodeling existing stores and improving the quality of produce.

The employees seemed poorly trained (not a total surprise for a new store). A fair amount of restocking was going on during a busy Friday afternoon, blocking aisles. The shelves were well stocked, and the loss leader sale items were available in sufficient quantities. My impression was they were carrying a few more name brands than Aldi’s, but the emphasis is still on house brands with dubious origins.

We left the store thinking it was pretty unlikely we will return, at least until they build the store closer to us. Then a funny thing happened – we ate the pastries as part of our normal Friday night “beginning of the weekend” ritual, and they were good – really good. The blue cheese was really good according to the Countess (I have little experience with the foot smell cheese). We also tried some Belgium made chocolate thins in the shape of Pringle’s but made with rice flour – a kind of cross between the potato crisps and a Nestle’s Crunch bar – they were very good. In any case, the quality of their products may have overcome the other deficiencies of the shopping experience. Stay tuned…

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Multiple choice slavery test

Historical research on African-American families during slavery shows that:

A) Family ties weren’t important in African cultures where the slaves ancestors’ originated; consequently, family bonds were never strong among slaves.

B) Two-parent families were extremely rare during the slave period.

C) Black family bonds were destroyed by the abuses of slave owners, who regularly sold off family members to other slave owners.

D) Most slave families were headed by two parents.

Check the answer:

American Enterprise Institute: Further reading

A couple things to notice – the question is not about marriage, and it is not safe to assume that both parents in a slave family were slaves.

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End of local radio for many

According to Tom Taylor’s newsletter, newly reconfirmed FCC chairman Ajit Pai is planning to end the Main Studio rule on October 24th.

The rule required that every commercial and TV radio station have a physical presence inside or near the community of license that is staffed during business hours and has the ability to originate local programming. (Non-commercial stations can request and almost always receive waivers)

FCC explanation

Unless a station has a robust local advertising market, look for the remaining local programming from generally 6-10 AM (local drive time) to vanish and be replaced with syndication (ie Rick & Bubba, Bob & Sheri, Fox Sports).

Transmitters have long had the capability to run autonomously without any studio, needing only a satellite feed and/or internet connection, using software to drop in station IDs and local weather and traffic reports provided from third parties nowhere near the station.

Even if a station does maintain a local presence, the demise of other local programming in their market may damage them. People will drift away from radio. A survey published in the past day or two noted that for the vast majority of people under 30, the only radio they own is in their car (if they even bother owning one). Selling clock radios is not a growth business opportunity.

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Deep Thinking

“You never think that last time you seen somebody could actually be the last time you see them”

WSOC TV: Police arrest teenager accused in Charlotte’s 69th homicide near JCSU

I have been in that parking lot once to turn my car around – it was shortly after I moved back here. It appeared to be a place where young people hang out.

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The shootings in Vegas

The predictable has happened as Democrats wake up:

  • The shooter had no criminal record
  • He used 10 rifles at long distance, not handguns
  • He did not use a silencer
  • Automatic weapons are already tightly controlled

How did he get 10 rifles into a hotel room undetected?

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

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