August into September

Time flies… “summer” is about finished in so many ways and the ramp up of the end of year is coming up. There’s a bit of a yearly “corporate life cycle” – the ebbs and flows – and we plan our holidays and other activities around it. This year is happening really fast and I’m getting new folks arriving to the team this month. Just came back from a week in KL & Ipoh – part holiday and part training. Was good.

Will be quite interesting to see how things go from here. The old and the new trying to bring things together and bond. Pretty tired and looking for a boost and pick up. one more month and I’ll be heading stateside. That’ll be good !

Happy labor day all! And happy Merkeda Malaysia (51st year)!

Good-bye Denver!/Hello Labor Day

McCain’s pick for Vice president left me a bit puzzled; I mean, all very nice that you picked a woman (and a governor), but the political positions involved leave me uncomfortable and Governor Palin’s experience level left me a little underwhelmed. John Dickerson of Slate summed up with a “Huh?” in his headline; yes, she was one of those considered, but still… well, it’s 2008 – we have an African-American presidential candidate; had a woman candidate; even had a Latino candidate (in Bill Richardson, even if he was more second or third tier); why not a woman VP candidate?

Democratic Convention thoughts:

Even though I have cable, I stuck with the PBS coverage. It was comprehensive stuff.

Salute to Teddy Kennedy.

Michelle Obama was pretty awesome.

Hillary Clinton was very good and gracious in her speech; the best of Hillary, I’d say (and I’m not exactly a fan of Hillary’s speeches; her sing-song speaking voice has been rather grating for me; but this time, she kept it smooth; I liked it). Mark Halperin on gave great grade.

John Kerry was actually pretty good speaking on the third night – quite strong. Halperin graded a good grade for Kerry on

Bill Clinton did pretty well; hit all the points. Yeah, that’s right – he was a President of the United States – and he sure knows his politics. Halperin gave high marks on

Beau Biden, Joe’s son and Attorney General of Delaware (and soon-to-be shipped to Iraq, as a JAG officer) was poignant in giving the intro to his dad; the camera’s capturing Michelle Obama’s getting teary eyed over listening to the tough tragedy of the Biden family was sweet.

Joe Biden – well, he was being Joe. His mother’s reaction to his reference of how she made him get back at his bullies when he was a kid (she mouthed to the person sitting next to her, “That’s true!”) : that was priceless!

Al Gore – “it’s time for a change…” – reminiscent of his vice presidential nomination acceptance speech of 1992, which I so very much remembered for getting my attention. He was right then; he is right now. If only 2000 had been different…! At any rate, I liked his speech; he really got to the heart of the urgency from the environmental front of issues (he scared me, as the news about the Arctic is rightfully scary) and he gave a wonderful analogy of Abraham Lincoln, who was seen as insufficiently experienced – yet inspired and re-shaped America. (well, Lincoln was Republican, but I’d think he’d be amazed and impressed by today’s Democrats and Obama). Anyway, I pretty much agreed with Mark Halperin’s grade on for Al Gore.

And, of course, the history making moment of Barack Obama as the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party on the 45th Anniversary of the March to Washington — well, it was something. The video preceding Obama was interesting – yeah, it summarized his bio and his career; but, in a way, I thought it was almost a sequel of “Dreams of My Father” – in terms of his bio, it focused more on his mom and his maternal grandparents and had photos of his mom, his sister, and him.

The speech itself – well, the experts grasped it far better than I did. As someone who’s read both his books and heard a bunch of his speeches (at least on-line or on tv, or reading about interviews), much of the speech felt like a smoother re-hash of Obama’s best lines. He really demonstrated his specifics and his wonkish side; in fact, it almost got boring for me – almost Bill Clintonesque, really in the lengthiness of specifics (and, really, Bill Clinton’s past speeches have bored me). I’d give it a very solid B for Obama; he pulled his punches on McCain where he had to, and he tried to sell himself in one of the big moments of this marathon job interview for the top job of this country. I like his lofty rhetoric speeches, but this was where he probably had to get it down solid. He should have smiled more, I think. I like his smiles, but again, this is a marathon. He’ll have more opportunities. Joe Klein posted on an article and is quite right that by next week, we might not remember this speech; one of the historians on the Lehrer/PBS presentation made the excellent point that if Obama wins, his inaugural speech could outshadow this convention speech. This is just one more step in the process.

Still, I felt a bit of a tug of the heart strings when Obama referred to the March of 45 years ago; that’s really something.

So, we’ll see! Only in America can we have such amazing times in the 40 years since the Civil Rights era; dare we hope and believe?

A funny interview in Newsweek with actor Don Cheadle. I was particularly amused by his response to the question about his former castmates George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, regarding who’d he date, if he were gay, which he isn’t; he apparently figured Damon and Clooney would treat dates to nice dinners and said Brad Pitt would just go for a burger; hmmm! Plus, a reference to his being in the cast of the “Golden Girls” spinoff, “Golden Palace”!

On the environmental and alternative energy front: the idea of green roofs and the real difficulties of harnessing wind power.

Off to Washington DC for Labor Day weekend!

Olympics’ End, or A Presidential Ticket Gets Concrete

As four years previously: we jump from the Olympics to the conventions. I still had some Olympics withdrawal. Oh well.

Wrap up of the Olympics:

The NY Times’ slide show on the reaction of Chinese-Americans in Flushing to the Olympics.

So the US’ NBA guys won the gold (with Duke University’s Coach K), beating the rather irritating Spanish team. And, the US Men’s Volleyball team made their inspiring victory for their coach, who experienced his family’s tragedy at the very beginning of the Olympics.

Interesting Slate article on Why Decathelon’s Not As Cool as it was way back in the day of Rafer Johnson and C.K. Yang (who was representing Republic of China – okay, Chinese Taipei aka Taiwan) or the day of even Bruce Jenner. (apparently we may blame it on a number of things – the Dan v. Dave ad campaign of the 1990’s didn’t help). At any rate, I rooted for Bryan Clay and present, as a follow up to the story of four years ago, Bryan Clay wins gold in the decathlon. He apparently wants to be on the Wheaties box. Funny thing is that if you click on the link from that post of four years ago, it leads you to the story of his current gold medal.

Larry Langowski may have competed for Mexico in wrestling (he’s half-Mexican, half-Polish), but his story is so American! Olympic dreams really do push people to big heights, whatever the result.

Josh Levin for Slate analyzes the commercials that have been on during the Olympics. Good stuff.

Closing ceremonies had lots of people, weird interpretive dance, Jackie Chan, the Brits, and lots of stuff. A bit of a spectacle. The legacy of Beijing 2008 remains to be seen.

I’m no athlete, but I think this article does raise interesting points on how 1st generation Americans – Chinese specifically, but there’s a study out there that covers Asians overall – aren’t exactly sports inclined. In light of the Olympics, it’s pretty clear that commitment and hard can make athletes amazing.

Topics on Chinese/Chinese-Americans, Asians/Asian-Americans, APA’s broadly:

Jennifer 8. Lee on introducing Chinese to fortune cookies – here in the NY Times’ City Room blog and in the Dining Section.

Second generation Asian-Americans checking out new real estate in the outer boroughs.

Thought this was an interesting article on – on APA’s and the issue of suicide and the impact and influence of the APA family – a difficult subject indeed; when one’s family is the source of both one’s strength and stress – and trying to find culturally acceptable ways of dealing with one’s problems – it’s just tough stuff. Maybe it’s not just an Asian-American thing; but I’m not surprised by the significance of this study’s findings.

Stuff not about APA’s; fascinating reading:

A great NY Times article on how a science teacher is trying to teach science – particularly evolution – to those who resist it because they feel it’s anti-religion. I don’t think science is anti-religion; the relationship between science and religion seems best summed up by the science teacher in this article: that the two topics ask different questions.

An interesting story about the last stops on the various subway lines.

Politics? —

One thought on Saturday: Biden?! Good and bad feelings arise; excited and worried – Slate’s John Dickerson sums up the good, the bad, and the ugly about Joe Biden. Well, best wishes to the new Obama/Biden ticket.

I’ve much watching of the convention (if only because the historian in me wants to check it out). I suppose I could watch the cable tv coverage, but I’ve still found the PBS coverage most interesting and comprehensive (even the boring parts).