Four More Stories and a Mooncake Dessert

Fire Joe Morgan have reunited for a day. They’re a group of old friends-turned-television screenwriters who eviscerated pompous sportswriters for years, and their site was the most-loved baseball blog until the writers shut it down because they didn’t have the time anymore. Among today’s offerings, I especially liked their takedown of Mitch Albom and “Is This Normal?” which features Joe Morgan himself.

FJM cited this 2008 article about members of the Department of the Interior having (cocaine and sex parties with the executives of the oil businesses they were supposed to be regulating. The federal government is a disgrace no matter who’s in charge.

The star of today’s El Pais article about the sorrows of young Spaniards is a third wheel named Oscar. He lives with a young couple because they can only afford rent by making it a three-way…I mean, splitting the costs three ways. The picture emphasizes the awkwardness. Oscar’s big smile says he’s trying to keep it classy, but everyone in Spain knows about this now!

A lot of great stats at the bottom tell you this is not America:
(1) 53.6% of 18-35’s live with their parents.
(2) The average youth would have to put 56% of his salary into a mortgage or 42.3% into renting.
(3) 13% of Spanish apartments are rented out.
(4) Spain only has 2,776,037 rent-controlled homes.
(5) The median salary of an 18-34 year old is 15,623 euros, while the average deposit for a home for a youth is 22,526 euros.
(6) Since January 2008, 213,257 22-30 year olds have received aid from the state for their rent.

Recently, a Chinese ship crashed into two Japanese coast guard vessels that were patrolling disputed waters. Japan took the Chinese crew in custody and has rebuffed China’s demands to release them. In response, China is making a lot of noise: halting exports of products like topsoil, warning that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan will decrease, calling off other negotiations, and even canceling a Shanghai performance by hella-popular boy band SMAP, which is just the kind of absurd thing that chafes apolitical people.

Heaven and Hell and Mooncakes
In personal news, I spent 45 minutes hunting for moon cakes, but it was impossible to buy only one; I could only find them in packages. I couldn’t eat that many myself, so I went home empty-handed. I could have just bought a set and given the rest to the friends I’ve met here. When I got to my room, I remembered a Japanese fable: in hell, a great feast is laid on the tables, but the chopsticks are five feet long, so no one can feed themselves, and they all go hungry. Heaven has exactly the same layout. But in heaven, people use the long chopsticks to feed others, so everyone is satisfied. So if I don’t get a big box of mooncakes for everyone tomorrow, I’ll see you in hell!

Explore posts in the same categories: China, Japan, La Vida, Law, Politics, Spain, Sports, Taiwan, USA

Tags: ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

4 Comments on “Four More Stories and a Mooncake Dessert”

  1. Four More Stories and a Mooncake Dessert…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Joel Street Says:

    I’ll give Spain one thing: non-section-8-style direct aid from the government at least makes more sense than rent control. Around here you could make 200K a year and, if you lived in your apartment for say 15 years, pay half the going rate for housing. Which is a criminal mistreatment of the property owner and a worse distortion of the market than government subsidies. Government aid based on income (from holding a steady, if low-paying job) and length of time living in the area would keep the landlord out of it while still protecting people who have an actual need for housing.

    The real issue must be jobs, though it would be interesting to see why the price of housing hasn’t decreased to match the lowered demand. It’s probably also important to peg government subsidies to the overall vacancy rate — i.e., if there are that many empty apartments in your city, no one should be subsidizing you to stay where you are.

  3. Antonia Says:

    Did you try a bakery? The Cantonese/Hong Kong style ones will have individual mooncakes (sometimes year round), so see if they exist in Taipei. Also, mooncakes stay fresh pretty, so you can get a box all for yourself and eat a quarter a day. I’m not a huge fan of mooncakes, but usually I get white lotus paste w/ double yolk.

    • jsmyth Says:

      I found a couple in Danshui (the boardwalk in the north of the city) and shared them with my friends today. Thanks for your advice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: