The Gong Show

The average reviewer pours scorn on remakes of old movies or television shows, crying creative bankruptcy. Not me. It’s hard to deny that recycling of characters and plot is wanting in inspiration. But that’s not a large crime in the entertainment world. I admit to a déclassé taste for recycled entertainments. I like the ones…

His Brother’s Keeper

My brother, Gene Berthelsen, was born at 5:13 pm on October 4, 1937. I was born 20 minutes later at 5:33, although it could have been the other way round. We can’t be sure. That is because when our mother brought us home from what was then Siskiyou County Hospital in Yreka, California, and bathed…

Mimi’s Dream Race

When Filipina-American Melody “Mimi Miyagi” Damayo used the fame she gained as a porn star to launch a bid for the Republican nomination for governor of the US state of Nevada, she could hardly have expected to win. And, of course, she didn’t. She garnered just 1,651 votes in the 15 November primary race, finishing…

Total Impact

Let the games begin -- again. Sitting in a Hong Kong newsroom reading Bangkok-based wire stories screaming that a man in Bangkok has confessed to one of America's most famous murders-- the 1996 slaying of the child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey -- is a surreal experience for me, a one-time resident of the city where…

Dwindling Tribes

The girl at the cash register in McDonalds in Hualien struggles to understand the Mandarin-speaking customer. She is slightly darker (and more beautiful) than the other Taiwanese teens flipping burgers and making fries. If it weren’t for her non-standard Chinese, you would have no way of knowing that she is a member of the Ami,…

The Melody and Mimi show

  Melody Damayo, a/k/a: Mimi Miyagi Melody Damayo is a forceful, well- spoken Filipino-American, a Republican and candidate for state governor, who favors getting tough on crime, upgrading schools and improving the state's infrastructure to battle terrorism. Mimi Miyagi is a dolled up anime creature whose fire red lips, Jessica Rabbit body, long black hair…

A Down Under Baedeker for Pinot Noir

In terms of production, Marlborough is by far the most substantial region where large-scale grape growers and bigger wineries coexist with small vineyards. The complex and powerful wines from Fromm Winery and Foxes Island demonstrate the region's capabilities well, that is not to say the larger producers are less important or dedicated, indeed they have…

The Wandering Palate: Pinot Noir Doesn’t Fight Back

As the legions grow of Asians who are abandoning centuries of rice-wine-based reasons to enjoy themselves, I am running into increasing numbers of people complaining that red wines give them headaches. Without entertaining the possibility that they simply drink too much, they inevitably link the problem to the higher levels of tannins found in varieties…

Touch of Glass

So. You have a choice between the jelly glasses your Aunt Melba gave you for Christmas 10 years ago and a set of fragile, hand-blown Riedels costing HK$220 each. Which is going to deliver the nuances you want from that Te Mata Sauvignon Blanc 2003? Which is going to deliver a tactile, textual sense? How…

Those Blue Tights Look Awfully Familiar

I admit proprietary feelings toward Superman. I knew him in older days, the 1960s, when a normal American boy couldn't afford not to buy the monthly edition of each of the Superman titles—Action, Adventure,  Superman, Superboy—and, for domestic peace,  share them with his siblings. In my case, I also had to share with my mother,…