I want to know why hydrogen powered cars didn’t come much earlier

With a projected range of 310 miles and possibly with Toyota beginning production in 2015 I want to know.

1. Why is it taking so long to do this?
2. Why as the article below suggests is getting enough refueling stations across the U.S. such a problem?
3. How long will prohibitive high costs to manufacture such a car going to pose a problem given the economies of scale that will be realized once full mass production is underway?
4. Does this means that all those conspiracy theorists who’ve always blamed the oil companies were right all along?
5. Does this mean that with the U.S. becoming increasing independent of foreign oil due to domestic fracking and other new technologies and now THIS, that we no longer need to have such good friends as Saudi Arabia?
6. Does all this mean that if we no longer need Saudi Arabia we are now free to get along much better with Iran?

I copied this from the New York Times

Upcoming 2015 Toyota hydrogen powered car??
Toyota’s FCV concept vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show. The company plans to sell a car based on the FCV “around 2015.”

By ERIC PFANNER
Published: November 20, 2013

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TOKYO — Hydrogen-powered cars are finally being readied for their Prius moment — at least, that is what promoters of the environmentally friendly technology hope.
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Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan, with his company’s BladeGlider EV concept car.

Toyota, maker of the Prius, the first hybrid vehicle to achieve mass-market acceptance, on Wednesday unveiled a concept version of a hydrogen fuel-cell car that it plans to begin selling “around 2015,” as the company put it. The bright blue sedan is shaped like a drop of water to emphasize that water is the only substance that hydrogen-powered cars emit from their tailpipes.

The car, which Toyota calls the FCV concept, was one of several vehicles with alternative powertrains to take the spotlight at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opened to reporters on Wednesday. Later in the day, two other carmakers, Honda and Hyundai, were expected to display new fuel-cell vehicles at a preview for the auto show in Los Angeles.

Honda was set to introduce a concept version of a new car it plans to introduce in 2015. Hyundai, which is based in South Korea, says it intended to beat both of its Japanese rivals to market next year with a hydrogen-powered vehicle based on its Tucson sport utility vehicle.

In July, Honda and General Motors announced that they agreed to share fuel-cell technology.

For years, automakers have talked about the potential of hydrogen power to help them reduce harmful greenhouse gas pollution and meet strict emissions standards in places like California. But there is a joke in the industry that “fuel-cell technology is always five years down the road,” said Alan Baum of Baum & Associates, an auto industry analyst in West Bloomfield, Mich.

Fuel-cell cars, which create the electricity that powers them by combining hydrogen with the oxygen in the atmosphere, have been held back by a variety of factors, including the high cost and a dearth of hydrogen filling stations. Although a handful of fuel-cell test cars and fleet vehicles are on the road, the new models from Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are expected to be among the first hydrogen-powered cars available to the public.

“Everybody has been putting their toe in the water, but Toyota putting its toe in the water is a bit more significant,” Mr. Baum said.

Toyota executives noted that hybrid technology faced considerable skepticism until the Prius was introduced in 1997 in Japan and in 2000 in the United States, where it quickly became a must-have accessory for Hollywood stars and Internet entrepreneurs. Now that Toyota, the biggest carmaker in the world, is signaling its commitment to fuel-cell technology, the infrastructure will follow, they hope.

“One of the reasons we are doing this is to send a message,” said Satoshi Ogiso, deputy chief officer in Toyota’s product planning group.

Fuel-cell cars will give greater choice to consumers who are seeking engines that are easier on the environment, creating a potential rivalry with battery-powered electric vehicles. Despite the popularity of electric cars from Tesla Motors in California, fully electric cars remain a niche market. Through October, 78,000 were sold in the United States, according to Baum & Associates, compared with 423,000 hybrids. Only about 1,000 fuel cell cars are expected to be sold worldwide in 2015, according to Navigant Research, which provides market analysis for so-called clean technology.

Toyota has not provided estimates of sales for its fuel-cell car, though executives acknowledge privately that the numbers will be modest to start and that sales will be concentrated in places like California and Scandinavia, where emissions targets are strictest. Toyota, while embracing hybrid powertrains, has favored fuel-cell technology over fully electric cars, saying the experience of driving them is more like what consumers are used to with gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. The company says its new car will be able to cover about 500 kilometers, or 310 miles, on a single hydrogen fill-up that takes just a few minutes. Fully electric vehicles require lengthy recharging time.

Other carmakers are hedging their bets. Although many of the big players have fuel-cell projects underway, either alone or with partners, some also continue to promote electric vehicles. Battery recharging stations are more widespread than hydrogen filling stations.

And fuel cells are not as clean as they might seem, detractors say, because the production of hydrogen releases greenhouse gases. But then, most electricity generation also uses carbon-based fuels.

“It’s still difficult to choose a winner at this point, which is why the automakers are diversifying their portfolios,” said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner, a research company.

At the Tokyo show, another Japanese automaker, Nissan, displayed an electric concept car called BladeGlider, which looks like a cross between a Batmobile and a stealth fighter. It has a single seat in front for the driver and two in back, and the doors open at a rakish, upward-slanting angle.

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, said car designers had greater styling freedom with electric cars, because the motors are smaller. In the BladeGlider, they are built into the rear wheels, allowing the front end, which houses the motor in most conventional cars, to taper to a point.

“We are promoting electric cars because we believe in the potential of electric cars,” Mr. Ghosn said.

Toyota executives say the FCV concept is close in appearance to the expected production version of the car. It has a large grille and other openings to allow cooling air and oxygen.

The company has not announced a price, but Mr. Ogiso said the car would be aimed at a niche of environmentally conscious, early adopting and relatively affluent customers — much like Toyota’s pioneering hybrid car.

“We have learned a lot from Prius,” Mr. Ogiso said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 21, 2013

An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misstated the power source of the BladeGlider EV concept car. It is a battery-powered electric car; it is not powered by hydrogen.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 22, 2013

An earlier version of this article provided an incorrect time frame for sales figures from Baum & Associates. The data, relating to sales of hybrid and electric cars in the United States, are for the year 2013 through October, not September.

Dirty Chinese at Thailand Five Star Hotel Spa

From my 1979 scrapbook Peoples Republc China...All Chinese dressed like this then.  A lot’s changed since I took this picture in 1979 the first year the Peoples Republic of China opened its doors to Americans. Everyone wore peasants garb in blue or green then and there was hardly a car to be found, and one could have any color of bicycle one wanted so long as it was black after a half a year wait. When our bus would roll into town, people would flock over as if we were aliens from outer space.

But Thirty-four years later (last night) I wrote

The spa is magnificent, so much so that I feel very lucky to be here. And so are the pretty massage girls, but I’ve got just 10 free massages and they are expensive or at least compared to what I can get practically everywhere else. There’s a large Jacuzzi and a cold pool next to it, a sauna and steam room. The place would do a Roman Senator proud, except as terrific as those old Roman bath houses were, there’s no way they could ever top this. Unfortunately, marring the beauty of this place are the despoilers, the defilers, who make about everything they touch worse for everyone else. These are the polluters who throw their towels, and used massage garments all about the place giving it a ghettoish trashy look that is absolutely undeserved. A friend of mine thought it was the Russians trashing the place up, but I told him, “no way”. First, there’s not a lot of Russians who use the spa and when they do I don’t see all the liter left behind after they’ve left. Asians now, that’s another story. But unless I ask, I oftentimes don’t know where they are from. At first I thought it was rich Thais, but the girls at the desk keep telling me they are Chinese. Turns out they are right.

The Spa dressing room

In the men’s side of the spa there are fourteen lockers in a room that’s around 20 feet wide and at either end of these lockers there’s a bin where hotel guests using the spa are instructed to throw their used towels, massage robes and other paraphernalia which the hotel leaves in each locker for their guests. The instructions are on a little plaque just above the opening of each bin. For me, it was pretty obvious what these bins are used for, but I must admit that the text on each plaque is in one shade of brown and the actual plaque itself is in another shade which gives these instructions a subdued appearance that’s in good taste, but which is not as noticeable as it should be. Each time a man puts in for a massage he is escorted into the spa by one of the spa’s female employees who then instructs him to wait until his masseuse arrives to take him over to the area he’s to receive his massage. The female employee shows him the massage clothing he is expected to wear as she explains the whole procedure to him. She also gives him other instructions such as where he’s supposed to put used towels and the massage clothing once his massage is over.

I had just arrived in the locker room when one of the girls from the desk arrived with a new hotel guest, who was obviously Asian. The man never greeted me which was typical of most Asian guests, but I often talked with the desk girl who like most of the hotel’s employees goes out of her way to be friendly to the customers. I listened to her give the guest the usual instructions, but the man could obviously speak virtually no English at all, nor could he speak a lick of Thai. So the woman delivered most of her instruction by gestures and pantomime. When it came to where he should put his used towels and massage gear she reached into the man’s locker, pulled out a massage robe and then she carried it over to the bin. I thought she had done a terrific job and told her afterwards. In the meantime she asked me, “Help me with him. He speaks no English.” So after she left I grabbed a towel and shoved it towards the bin to make it 100 clear where he needed to put his towels and used massage gear.

I then went over to the fitness center where I exercised for one hour and relaxed with my girlfriend on a couch from which we both we conversed with a couple of other members we both knew and a couple of the hotel employees. When I reentered the spa I found that the beautiful small dressing room had just been turned into a pig pen. My thoughts immediately turned to the Chinese man who by this time had just finished getting his massage. But surely he couldn’t have done this much havoc all by himself? I asked myself. Certainly he had to have gotten some assistance from several of his Chinese friends at despoiling the place?

Well, we will see about that. If you and your fellow countrymen should persist in trashing up everything around here that’s beautiful, then the least I can do is to give all of you a bad name for your rudeness, inconsiderate behavior, and your polluting the planet the rest of us live on. But I had to be fair. I had to be 100 percent certain the man was guilty. There were at least four used towels and massage robes that had been strewn all over the place, several on the bench the rest of us had to sit on while changing clothes, the rest on the floor. In the next room another towel had been carelessly cast off next to one of the ornate wash basins. To ascertain whether this particular Asian was guilty or not I went over to the towel bin next to the man’s locker, looked inside the little closet and saw that there were a number of used towels inside but not one single massage robe so obviously he had thrown everything around and might have even gotten a few extra towels and massage robes for good measure just to establish who was the boss. I then looked into the towel bin next to my locker where I found that no one had disposed of his massage gear there as well. Which meant that I was 95 percent certain that this Ex Red Chinese was one human pig indeed.

The pollution in our beloved dressing room had almost devastated me. So much so that I had to show what this derelict had done to the friendly desk girl. I didn’t walk to the spa’s desk. I ran. Only to find the ex Red Chinese man fully dressed sitting in a chair near the desk girl no doubt waiting for his wife to come out of the woman’s section of the spa. The first thing I asked the desk girl was whether or not the ex Red Chinese man had gotten a massage or not. So when she assured me that he certainly had, I immediately told her in Thai that the man was a pig, that he had desecrated the spa and that she should see for herself what havoc he had wrought. When she asked me if I knew for sure who had done it, I immediately looked over at the man, pointed at him and told her once again in Thai that he was one big pig.

The problem was, and it is especially true about Five Star hotels, is that the customer is always right. This man in front of me was the most miserable excuse for a human being that I had ever laid eyes on. But he undoubtedly had a lot of money; otherwise he wouldn’t be staying at so expensive of a hotel in the first place. And the desk girl couldn’t say anything to him because if she did she would probably find herself very severely disciplined by her superiors. Later a couple of other employees could go into the dressing room and clean up after the ex Red Chinese. Well, she couldn’t do anything, but I sure as hell could. So I walked over to him and pantomimed someone throwing things into a trash bin. So even though the man’s command of English amounted to just about zero he’d clearly understand that I knew what he had done and that I didn’t think much of him. Well, I don’t know exactly what the man said, but it was very clear to me from the way he said it along with his facial expression that he meant, “So what! I refuse to clean up after myself. That is up to lesser mortals than myself because I can do whatever I want to anybody that I choose.” If he had tried to pull this in the United States, especially when I was forty-five or younger I would have knocked him out of his chair on the spot, even if it meant risking his getting his Chinese mafia after me.

But never mind. I’d get my revenge. It’d simply redouble my efforts to avoid buying Chinese whenever it was possible. Unfortunately too often there’s no choice in the matter at all, even here in Thailand where people make only a couple of hundred dollars a month or so at construction and factory jobs. The problem is that the Chinese are only paying a hundred dollars or even less, and oftentimes when they do work in factories they are required to live on the very premises upon which the factory is located where they must pay the landlord-factory owners rent which effectively cuts way back on their take home pay. Chairman Mao would be convulsing in his grave if he could only see what’s come of his beloved Communist society. And that’s why I kept referring to this polluter as an ex Red Chinese. He is the living embodiment of what all true Communists despised and what they tried to rid their country of and for whom millions died.

I had just gotten back from Macao and Hong Kong where I had recently seen rich Chinese by the thousands gambling and shopping away their ill begotten wealth. That was just two weeks ago and even then I thought about Chairman Mao and Zhou Enlai and all those devout Communists who had gone on the Long March and fought so hard to get the Japanese out of China and then rid their country of Chiang Kai Shek and all his gangsters. The whole social experiment had turned into a complete travesty.

Actually Chairman Mao wasn’t exactly a saint. Not hardly. But he did have his little red book in which he exhorted all good Chinese to do things for the good of others along with other instructions pertaining to a whole host of subjects. He also had all his reeducation camps where he’d send Chinese he found to be especially offensive such as the turd I had just encountered in the five star spa.

I must admit I’ve gotten to be quite disappointed over all that’s happened in China since my first, and last visit back in 1979, the first year that it was opened to Americans. Some of the first Chinese students sent over to the United States actually came over to visit my farm. My mother was then heading a special voluntary English section for foreign students at Washington University in St. Louis. They came from everywhere, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Romania, and Mainland China–students who could polish their English language skills free of charge outside their normal college curriculum where they could learn from my mother and the teachers working under her donating their time for free. One of my best friends would come out of Japan, an engineering student getting his masters who would remain in the U.S. for three or four years. Meanwhile I was living on a farm in central Illinois, alone and both my parents would keep bringing my mother’s students down to the farm, sometimes for an entire weekend. There was one Taiwanese group in particular who came to visit me several times, so if anyone thinks I have it in for the Chinese, don’t even go there. There was one man in particular who was then in his thirties, a college professor who I put to work helping me to put a new cedar shake single roof on an outhouse I had in my backyard and then I had him help me build shelves in my machine shed. The man was from the People’s Republic then known as Red China and in his earlier days he had been sent to Chairman Mao’s reeducation camps during the Cultural Revolution where he was put to work cleaning out toilets and doing other repugnant tasks to teach him his place.

Back then I had much higher hopes for China, then called the Sleeping Giant which was given fifty years to catch up with the rest of the world. Immediately upon returning from China in 1979 I subscribed to a Red Chinese newspaper which I received monthly by snail mail all the way from China to my farm. But now so much has changed and my whole perspective has become so much more negative. I think of a restaurant owner friend of mine telling me that his worse customers by far all come from the Chinese mainland. To my complete disbelief he once told me how a group of them can come into his restaurant and that even a pack of dogs could not come in, eat off his tables and leave his place in such a disgusting mess as the Chinese can. “Not the Hong Kong Chinese or the Taiwanese,” he kept telling me, “but the Mainland Chinese”. I am unfortunately starting to agree with him. In the exercise room, they will often shout across the room at each other, they speak in loud voices in the spa where a Japanese would recoil at such an abomination in a place that had been created for tranquility and calm meditation. And then there’s all that pushing an shoving in the lines I’ve encountered in my recent travels.

Thankfully, I did encounter some very nice helpful Chinese in our recent trip to Macau and Hong Kong. But in general I see a lot of problems developing here in Thailand, particularly in Pattaya due to the huge explosion of Chinese tourism from the mainland. I have some very concrete solutions for how many of these problems can be minimized, but hey, I’m just a visitor here so what does my opinion count? But that’s another subject that if my advice were to be taken would bring in a better class of Chinese tourist while actually providing a more pleasant overall Thailand experience for the Mainland Chinese visitor. But I’ll just have to bring that up here at a future date, but when I bring it up I hope that a lot of prospective Chinese travelers read it. As to the ex Red Chinese who got his massage last night, hey buddy, I do owe you one.

Using the Google tool bar on my alphapro.com web site

It appears on most of my alphapro.com web pages as a relatively large toolbar just beneath the hit counters. And it works just like the Google Search engine all of us are so familiar with. The reason it works the same is that it is, except for two important differences. 1. To access it, you must be on one of my alphapro.com web pages and you go to the actual web page itself to use it, and 2. It focuses primarily upon alphapro.com content. And believe me there’s a lot of content there. Just consider that Alphapro has been in existence non stop since 1996. That’s 17 years.

The video slide show I just put up at Alphapro alerted me to just how valuable this Google tool bar is to those who are interested in the content at alphapro. For example, Big Howard, who was assistant manager at the Dollies Playhouse, is one of the predominant characters in the slide show and so is Alabama who plays the irrepressible topless nun, Sister Margarita. To some upon viewing Howard apparently sucking on one of Diamond’s breasts in the Dollies restroom Big Howard might be a despicable degenerate. But Big Howard was in real life a gentle giant who was beloved by most of the strippers who worked for him. He also became one of my best friends. For those who want to know more about Big Howard, just plug in “Big Howard” as search words in the Alphapro Google tool bar and you will come up with a lot of amusing content that’s focused on him. There’s pictures of Howard playing the pervert with Dollies strippers on one of the club’s back stages. There’s Big Howard playing the part of Studmuffin. I’ll not even try to explain what studmuffin means here. Just look it up in the Google tool bar. Or how about Alabama or Marilyn Mynxxx, the two strippers playing the two nuns, Sister Cuervo and Sister Margarita? There’s a lot of good stuff at Alphapro about both women.

I actually had more fun in the U.S. back in 1997 and 1998 than I do here in Pattaya, Thailand which has to be about the most fun city in the world. Much of the reason was because of people like Big Howard, Alabama and Marilyn Mynxxx. A lot of it had to do with the strip clubs I hung out in, especially Dollies Playhouse. Back then, all the great entertainment and bars were not in St. Louis. Why? For one thing the bars all closed across the Mississippi over in Missouri at 1 a.m. whereas many of the bars and night clubs on the Illinois side of the river stayed open all night long. And the Missouri strip clubs were pretty milk toast compared to those in the St. Louis Metro East on the Illinois side. And back when I was hanging out at Dollies using it for my favorite neighborhood tavern, I often hung out with three strippers, and all three of them would stay at the same hotel. At the end of their shifts, which would usually run between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. I’d often continue my drinking and partying with one of these three strippers and when we finally hit a few clubs and bars and got all tired out, I’d stay in the room with her, paying her half the $40.00 she had to spend for each night. Back in 1997 I was still living at my farm which was 75 miles from such clubs as Dollies whereas the hotel was just three miles away. Later I’d move off the farm and get an apartment on the St. Louis East side that was just one mile from the hotel.

But there were many other strippers I often hung out with. As for the East side, and the people I hung out with, and even the hotel itself, much as changed. The hotel is no longer there. Instead there’s a large complex of restaurants and shops headed by a Super Wall Mart and a Home Depot. And Big Howard’s no longer alive. He was badly injured driving his car from Killians, his favorite bar when he was struck by a woman who had just lost control of her car because she was being beaten up on by her boyfriend. He wound up in a wheelchair and died a couple of years later from his injuries.

Ironically, Dollies and my experiences there had their heyday while it was being run by a murderer. When I first started doing my digital pictures there and the club started paying for a separate phone line for my digital office, the club’s general manager was Hawk, and Hawk was a wonderful person and a terrific manager. (look him up in my Google toolbar at alphapro). Hawk was a biker I suppose and he was friends with Marriah one of the strippers at Dollies. Marriah had become a great friend of mine so it wasn’t long before Marriah started pestering Hawk to allow me to bring my laptop into the club and start taking pictures there. Hawk was a smart guy who knew intuitively that the future of photography would be digital. It was his idea that the club should put in a special phone line for me and that I’d have my own special seat and table just five feet from the club’s main stage. But it was left for one of the club’s strippers, Satin, and me to run all the phone wires up in the club’s attic where I put in a t connection so that I could connect my laptop to a phone line in the front room by the stage and also another connecting line in the club’s new room in back. Later Hawk would have me take Satin to Big Als in Peoria, Illinois so that he could enter her in the Miss Nudes Illinois competition there representing Dollies. I remember Hawk telling me, “If I can’t get the club to pay your hotel and other travel expenses, I pay them out of my own pocket.” But Hawk got the club owner to pay Satin’s and my expenses in Peoria. What many of us suspected by then was that the owner was a killer.

It was Marriah who first alerted me that Nathan Eggemeyer had undoubtedly murdered his partner, Steven Masters. The second person who suggested the possibility was Hawk when he politely came of to my little table in front of the stage while I was playing with my laptop and asked me to come into his office with him. “Can you help me find out what happened to Steve?” Hawk asked me. No one’s seen him for weeks but they found his pickup.” By then I already suspected that Steve was dead, thanks to Marriah. Hawk undoubtedly did as well.

“Perhaps you can use your internet skills and connections to find out for me,” said Hawk.

But they actually found Steve’s body around a year later. The two men had been partners, and one of them felt the other had cheated him. Nathan shot Masters on a property he owned where he had a trucking company. But the body was not found until Nathan’s son came to the police. In the meantime, business went on as usual at Dollies. Nathan would come into the club every now and then. But he let Hawk run the place with very little interference. Hawk had several managers working under him, and both men would often enthusiastically play roles in our internet online skits. For that matter, so did Hawk, who played the “unsuspecting club manager” in the first Dollies Trendy Toilet Sex” episode when Sister Margarita, an “intoxicated nun” wandered by mistake into a strip club to relieve her bowels.

Everything went so smoothly in those days. Hawk was left alone. And he kept coming up with great ideas on how the club could attract more customers than ever. As for myself, I was allowed to take pictures with complete abandon. But after the body was found, Nathan was out of the picture after finding a new home in the penitentiary. Hawk found himself more and more on the outside looking in as the murdered club owner’s widow started taking a more active interest in running the club. My picture taking activities became increasingly restricted and eventually I was barred from the club for bringing leaches into the place which I had awarded to Alabama’s boyfriend for being the Lost Angels Leach of the Year. Even so I remained great friends with Big Howard, not to mention a number of the Dollies dancers. But being kicked out of the club meant that I had to find another digital office where I could find a number of strippers to be my accomplices. That club would be Visions in Centerville, Illinois.

Nuns Take over the Dollies Playhouse Strip Club

Or that was the story line back in 1997-1998. In those days I had my Kodak DC-40 digital camera when practically everyone else was using film. It could only manage around 375,000 pixels. To give you an idea of how inferior this camera was to today’s equipment my present Nikon D-300 will do around 13 million pixels while the top of the line Nikon SLR digital camera will manage around 35 million pixels. Other photographers derided my Kodak as a toy. Little did they know that film would soon be dead. The Kodak provided instant gratification, and strip club owners, managers, and strippers couldn’t get enough of it. I’d bring my laptop into the Dollies Playhouse strip club and my digital camera and we’d all start doing these digital skits with everyone hamming it up in the club. I’d come up with a story line and then I’d have all the people in the strip club acting out my crazy scripts. We used to even have Dollies Trendy Toilet Sex in the club’s restrooms. The idea would be to get as many people as possible into one of the toilets and then they’d all start to act weird and I’d start taking pictures. Afterwards I’d go to my digital office in the club which was around five feet from the club’s main stage. Dollies even provided me with my own separate phone line so I could get online with my laptop so I’d sit there with all my friends who were mostly strippers and work on my digital images. Then I’d put them into the Lost Angels chats and people would tune in from all around the country.

In general people are vain. They like to be the center of attention, especially strippers and strip club owners and managers, strip club DJ’s, waitresses, etc. So if I could get someone’s picture in front of the whole world in half an hour and other photographers using film would tell their fans, “I’ll get them developed and show you the results tomorrow” who is the better photographer?” I’d be drinking beer and tequila with all my friends at Dollies with my faithful laptop in front of me, and man, everybody would go wild.

Click here to get the page, Nuns Take over the Dollies Playhouse Strip Club which has the links to this slide show-video. I didn’t dare put this up on You Tube because it shows a fair amount of nudity while taking a few pot shots at organized religion. Big Howard’s my pal. He was assistant manager at Dollies and we sure drank a lot of tequila and beer together. In this slide show he’s hamming it up in the club’s toilet with a bare breasted stripper who calls herself Diamond. Then there’s a series of pictures of sexy Cylina I did a photo shoot of in the club’s attic in front of mirrors. Cylina then plays the part of an unruly high school student in “School Girls” with Obsession. Their teacher is Sister Cuervo, played by Marilyn Mynxxx. Marilyn’s even wearing a nun’s habit to play her part. Finally Alabama appears as Sister Margarita wearing her habit also. There’s one picture of her serving me a portion of Methyl blue in a Chinese restaurant where we had a party. The stuff makes anyone who drinks it piss blue, and Alabama drank her portion too so we both peed in technicolor for a few hours. Lastly, there’s the classic picture of a fully nude Alabama sitting on the toilet at Dollies posing for pictures.

And so it was back then. We were all wild and crazy and my digital camera recorded the strip club action. Back then Tequila was the drink of choice for the ladies and men like Big Howard and me.

Road Testing Yamaha Nouvo SX, Elegance and Honda Click 125i motorbikes in Pattaya

After reviewing the Honda Click 125i, I felt I had not gone far enough in my review of the Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX and the Yamaha Nouvo 135 Elegance. I still felt both bikes were excellent and that they outclassed the Honda Click in most respects. But the Honda Click had so much acceleration for a 125 that my good friend PlOne commented to me how slow his Yamaha Nouvo SX seemed in comparison. So before returning the Honda Click to the bike rental shop, I borrowed my friend’s Nouvo SX just to see how slow it felt in comparison. PlOne was correct. The Click accelerated like a sling shot at city traffic speeds whereas it would take a while to wind up the power on the Nouvo SX. But PlONe also commented that he felt the Honda Click 125 i accelerated more quickly than the Yamaha Nouvo 135’s he had rented before purchasing his Nouvo 125 SX.

Honda Click 125

Moreover, I had timed the Honda Click 125i’s acceleration from zero to 50 kph and 80 kph. which was something new that I wanted to incorporate into all future motorbike reviews. But using a cell phone to test the Click’s acceleration had proved problematic. so I wound up purchasing a Seiko stopwatch from Amazon that would be much easier to use while driving a small motorcycle on a busy motorway in Thailand.

I just had to stop watch my beloved Yamaha 135 Elegance to see if it really was slower than the Honda Click 125 i. I could find just one horsepower rating for the Honda Click 125i on the Internet–11.7. If accurate this would have meant that the Click had one half a horse more than my Elegance did, which would have helped substantiate PlOne’s claim that the Click seemed the faster of the two bikes.

Honda Click near Rayong

I was also having reoccurring thoughts about two other characteristics of the two Yamaha Nouvos. The first one was my thinking that the new fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo SX lacked the range that I felt it needed because of its comparatively smallish 4.3 liter fuel tank. The second was the commonly held perception that the carburated 135 c.c. Yamaha Nouvo Elegance was a gas hog compared to its fuel injected competition. And yet, my Yamaha Elegance had matched the PCX 125, the PCX 150, and the Yamaha fuel injected 125 Nouvo SX in highway fuel economy with all four of the bikes turning in fuel economy figures exceeding 100 miles to the gallon. But city driving in Pattaya would be different with all the traffic jams, speed bumps and having to wait for stop lights to turn green to contend with.
But as frugal as it had been on the highway, I had every reason to believe that my Nouvo Elegance would not measure up to the Honda Click 125i and the fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX’s fuel efficiency in city driving conditions.

For example, when he was purchasing his new Yamaha Nouvo SX, the salesman had told me that the new fuel injected bike would easily outdo the older carburated model for fuel economy in the city although he felt there wouldn’t be much difference driving in highway conditions.

The German bike rental shop owner had told me the Honda Click would get 100 kilometers from 2 liters of fuel compared to 2.5 for the Nouvo SX and 3 for the Nouvo Elegance.

next to the ocean

In earlier gas mileage tests my Nouvo Elegance 135 had managed only 32.33 kilometers to the liter. I felt this figure to be very accurate since I had gone through several tankfuls of fuel and diligently recorded the results.

But my girlfriend had been riding behind me most of the time I had been testing my Elegance’s fuel economy thus adding close to 45 kg to the weight. Obviously a complete retest for city fuel economy was necessary.

I also had a theory, but I really didn’t have any real data to support it, and that theory was the Yamaha had stuck with its “antiquated carburated 135 Yamaha Nouvo Elegance for four years because it knew it had a real winner so why fix what was never broken. It wasn’t that Yamaha was new to fuel injection. After all, it had been selling 125 c.c. and 250 c.c. fuel injected X Max models in Europe for years not to mention 500 c.c. T Max’s in the U.S.

As for the German shop owner telling me the Nouvo Elegance could only get 3 liters per 100 kilometers to the Honda Click’s 2 liters, the man had also told me the Honda Click had only a 2.5 liter fuel tank, and when I had brought in a spreadsheet on which I had typed in the tank capacity of the Honda Click, he crossed out the 5.5 liter figure I had typed in and written above it 2.5 liters. This really surprised me because the owner runs a first class bike rental shop which provides rental bikes that are meticulously maintained (albeit comparatively expensive), which is about one would suspect from most Germans.

Then the German’s ex partner reappeared on the horizon while eating at a restaurant on Naklua Soi 33. He still had his bike rental shop there, and most of his rentals were Yamaha Nouvos, either Elegances or fuel injected SX’s. And although he had a Honda PCX or two available his personal bike of choice was a Yamaha Nouvo SX 125.

He had no use for a Honda Click or any other floorboard style motor scooter. I had always liked the man, having known him for nearly seven years, and I even knew where he lived. He’s an East German who once told me how years ago he had tried to get past the Berlin Wall when East Germany was Communist, how he had been caught, put in jail (luckily he hadn’t been shot), and that he had to be bailed out by his friends. Even though this had been an unlikely story, I half believed him, because through the years I found him to be one of these really happy go lucky Germans with a very likeable personality.

While we talked over possible bike rentals, he walked behind one of his Nouvo Rentals and said, “Two shocks. Click has one. Not strong.” Yeah, my thinking exactly. I had finally found someone who knew what I already knew.

When I asked him about the fuel economy of a Nouvo SX 125 versus the 135 Nouvo Elegances, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Same Same.”

I decided I would rent from him and wound up renting a Yamaha Nouvo SX 125 for four days. By renting for such an extended period even though I already had my own motorbike, I figured I could really do a thorough road test while getting a real good feel for Yamaha’s newest creation so I could later on determine for myself when it was time to get a new bike, “Will a little 125 satisfy me when there are larger alternatives available such as Honda’s PCX 150, Honda’s 150 SH or even something on the order of a Honda CBR 250 or even a new CBR 500?”

Four days living with Yamaha’s 125 Nouvo SX

To put the experience into just five words, “I loved that little bike.” One week earlier I had rented still another Honda Click 125i on Koh Larn Island, this time for two days and had found that the seat did not latch properly without a great deal of coaching. This was the second out of two Honda Click rentals that had seats that failed to close properly. Moreover, the turn indicators were badly located which made the process of signaling for a left or right turn to be very unintuitive.

I was now starting to realize that Yamaha seemed to be making better bikes than Honda. I had never driven a Yamaha motorbike that had exhibited such poor attentiveness to detail. But one drives at low speeds on Koh Larn or at least I did so the Honda Click’s handling was adequate for those two days. But there is no way that I could even begin to be satisfied driving a Honda Click through the variety of driving conditions I had been putting this new Yamaha 125 SX rental through. I found the little bike to be an enornously satisfying mount no matter what I tried to do with it.

But it was not fast. On route 36 on the way to Rayong I managed to do zero to fifty kilometers per hour in 7.51 seconds whereas the Honda Click took just 6.3 seconds. The Yamaha Nouvo SX took 12.16 seconds to get from zero to eighty kilometers per hour versus 10.39 seconds for the Honda Click 125 i. I do want to mention, however, that for most of us getting good acceleration up to 50 kph is much more important than it is getting good times up to 80 kph. This is because when you really think about it, when you are driving in such cities as Pattaya when you go much faster than 50 kph you feel as if you are really flying and that it starts to get really unsafe going much faster than 30 miles per hour.

The thing is one doesn’t really feel that one is being deprived by the Yamaha Nouvo SX’s apparent lack of power. The power still seems to be there, but only when you want it. But more than enough power was there on tap. One simply reels it in by twisting the grip. In passing situations around Pattaya the bike performed splendidly, and even while I was doing the timed acceleration runs on route 36, I really couldnt’ detect any difference between the Honda Click and the Nouvo SX. Only the stopwatch showed a real difference.

The Nouvo SX has an interesting little gadget that’s a lot of fun to play with. That is, its little onboard computer that resides in the instrument cluster that normally consists of a speedometer, odometer, and water temperature guage. Not only is Yamaha’s little onboard computer fun to play with, it also provides a lot of useful and interesting feedback on what kind of fuel economy one is getting. One can set it to measure fuel economy at any instant in time for example or one can set it to register fuel mileage for whatever current trip one is making. Obviously then one can reset the odometer for each new trip which is something you cannot do on a lot of competitive models. But the most addictive feature of this onboard computer is that one can set it to constantly record the bike’s fuel efficiency. For example, as soon as the bike starts to go up a slight incline the digital display might go from 2.0 (liters per 100 km) to 2.5. Or if I ease up slightly on the throttle the digital display might go from 1.8 to 1.2. This thing is a blast to watch and it really does help the driver smooth out his driving technique so that he can get better fuel economy. I found myself constantly trying to drive the little SX with a more constant application of the throttle than I had been doing with my Yamaha Elegance. I started to notice that the SX was averaging 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers which is a far cry from the 2.5 the first German rental shop owner had been telling me. One thing I noticed about the Nouvo SX is that it seemed to inspire its driver to drive smoothly and sedately.

The bike’s handling is top notch. It’s so enjoyable to drive and the more one gets used to it the more it feels part of the driver’s body. However, when I first got on it, I could detect a very real difference in this bike’s handling and my Nouvo 135 Elegance’s. The SX’s front wheel felt lighter, not as firmly planted and not nearly as precise. But if there was any lack of preciseness in the bike’s handling the lack went away as I started to get used to the bike and began to appreciate its charming ways. The reason for all of this was the oversized aftermarket tires I had installed on my Elegance. These were Michelin Pilots that were roughly 14 % wider than the bike’s stock tires. I also suspect they are of a softer rubber compound than the Nouvo’s stock tires therefore offering superior handling at the expense of less longevity. I would rate the SX’s handling and overall feel as excellent even with its stock tires—but I’d have to rate my modified Nouvo Elegance’s handling as superlative.

I took the Nouvo SX back on my fourth day’s rental in the middle of a pouring rainstorm that was flooding many of the city’s streets. That rain got so bad that I walked to a nearby restaurant and called my girlfriend to get me on her motorbike. After a few minutes she called me back to tell me that the street we normally took had flooded and the water had gotten so high that she decided to take a different route and meet me somewhere else which forced me to walk a kilometer away from the restaurant. My girlfriend’s bike is a Yamaha Filano and it rides on 12 inch diameter wheels and tires. Certainly my Nouvo Elegance is a far superior bike to drive through flooded streets with its much larger diameter 16 inch wheels and tires. Moreover, there’s several speed bumps I’ll ground out on if I’m driving her Filano and it doesn’t matter how slowly I drive it to cross those speed bumps. The Filano simply lacks the ground clearance to be up to any Yamaha Nouvo when it comes to crossing obstacles or getting down flooded streets. And then there’s those times that I need to drive over curbs. Those situations do not occur very often but they do occur. I’ll take a 16 inch diameter wheel and tire anytime over anything that has 12 or 14 inch wheels and tires.

This now brings us to the subject of my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance. It had performed astonishly well for fuel economy in highway driving conditions but not so well in stop and go city driving conditions. Meanwhile over the four days I had rented it I had gotten an overall average of 44.5 kilometers to the liter on the Yamaha Nouvo SX. That’s over 100 miles to the gallon in the city, which means that all those know it alls out there who claim that small automatics get miserable fuel economy have no idea of what they are talking about. The fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX wound up registering on its onboard computer 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers. So theoretically according to the computer I was getting 47.61 kilometers to the liter which meant that the computer was 7 % too optimistic. However, unlike both the Honda Click 125 i and the Honda PCX, the Yamaha Nouvo SX 125 lacks the stop start switch that shuts the bike’s engine down while the bike is stopped at traffic lights. In my opinion much of this 7 % discrepancy is explained by the fact that the bike is idling at stoplights, therefore using fuel while there is no simultaneous registering of miles being driven since there are none. The bottom line from my roadtests–the Yamaha Nouvo SX’s onboard computer is pretty accurate. But now I would use it to see if I could improve on the 32.33 kilometers per liter I had gotten with my Nouvo Elegance in my earlier fuel economy tests for city driving.

My more immediate concern was to see how fast my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance could get up to 50 kph, and then 80 kph. So once again I headed out to route 36 on the way to Rayong. This time there was less traffic than I had enountered while testing the Honda Click 125 i’s acceleration. With the Click it had been a one shot deal due to all that heavy traffic I encountered and also the fact that I was using my cell phone for a stop watch and which had given me at least one false reading.

The Seiko stopwatch was so much easier to use than the cell phone which had almost fallen out of my hand as I tried to dodge traffic testing the Honda Click. For one thing it had a lanyard that I wrapped around my wrist. Its start-stop button was large enough for me to be able to feel it while concentrating on the road ahead of me.

On the zero to eightly kilometer runs I recorded times of 12.56, 11.79, 10.54, and 11.72 seconds for an average time of 11.65 seconds which about splits the difference between the Honda Click and the Nouvo SX. However, on my two runs up to 50 kph I got 5.75 seconds and 5.41 seconds out of my Nouvo Elegance, both times being superior to the 6.3 seconds the Honda Click 125i had managed.

I ended up doing close to 100 kilometers on my Yamaha Elegance over several days of testing at the end of which I put in 2.17 liters of fuel. So I had used less than half of my tank to run around what felt like a considerable distance, considering that aside from my acceleration runs and getting to and from where I could do them, I had to negotiate around a lot of city traffic and that I actually had to try hard to keep driving so that I could run off all those kilometers. I wound up getting 41.9 kilometers to the liter with the Nouvo Elegance’s larger 135 c.c. engine and stone age carburator.

That’s a far cry from the 32.33 kilometers per liter I had gotten before. I can attribute this huge discrepancy to two reasons. Number one—I didn’t have my girlfriend riding with me so the Yamaha’s engine was contending with roughly 45 kilograms less weight. Number two—I was trying to drive the Nouvo Elegance in the same type of driving conditions I had encountered with the Nouvo 125 SX and I was trying to drive the Elegance the same way I had been driving the Nouvo SX 125. For example…I was not trying to accelerate unnecessarily with either bike and that this habit of not trying to give the bike any more throttle than I had to had been induced by the little onboard computer I had so much fun playing with on the Nouvo SX.

The Honda Click 125i and Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 are both slingshots when it comes to acceleration at lower speeds, say up to 30 miles per hour or so. The Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX isn’t. The power just doesn’t seem to be on tap as it is on the other two bikes, yet it is there, ready to be reeled in when needed. But the Nouvo Elegance in particular seems to be always on the boil while driving in the city, with its torque right there providing instantaneous acceleration. And it is constantly inviting its driver to hit the throttle by being willing to respond with an immediacy that makes the engine seem even larger and more powerful than it already is.

From the specifications I’ve compiled from a variety of web sites, it appears that the torque of the Yamaha Elegance 135 exceeds the fuel injected 125’s by just 1.2 %. However, both the seat of the pants feel and stop watch measurements, especially from 0-50 kph would seem to put the Elegance much father ahead than that. My opinion is that Yamaha deliberately tuned the 135 Elegance to deliver superior torque and acceleration at the lower speeds that are common to city driving. 0-80 equates to about 50 miles an hour. You just never make use of it in cities such as Pattaya when driving 30 miles an hour already seems a bit too fast. So when Yamaha engineered the 135 Elegance it engineered it exactly right for the kind of driving most of us do in such city conditions.

Recently, in my opinion, Yamaha decided that it was starting to lose sales to other manufacturers such as Honda. It had a terrific little bike, knew it, and stayed with its carburated Elegance line for four years. But out of total ignorance and the inability to think for themselves, many potential customers started to back off from Yamaha in the mistaken belief that fuel injection automatically provided superior fuel economy and horsepower to carburators. And in the case of the Elegance, it might have seemed that way, since the 135’s superior torque and low speed acceleration was constantly inviting drivers to tap into all that power. After all, it’s really a lot of fun twisting that throttle of the 135 and feeling the bike surge like a much more powerful machine than what it really is. That’s part of why I think I was able to get just 32.33 kilometers per liter in my previous tests. But this time I kept resisting the urge to accelerate convincingly around slower moving vehicles. charge up hills, or just accelerate with authority simply because it felt good.

The Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 will get excellent fuel economy provided that the driver does his part. It’s just that it’s a lot easier for the driver to get outstanding fuel economy with the 125 Nouvo SX than it is with its carburated sibliing. But I doubt if the carburator had anything to do with it. Yamaha always had a great engine in the 135. I don’t know how much better fuel economy it can get over its predecessor the air cooled 115 c.c. Yamaha Nouvo MX, but I had one, and drove it 13,000 kilometers before replacing it with the 135 Elegance. Although I never measured the fuel economy of the Nouvo MX, I knew that the Elegance delivered far superior fuel economy while delivering over 25 % more power.

One thing I did find disturbing about the Nouvo 125 SX is Yamaha downsized the fuel tank from the Nouvo Elegance’s 4.8 liters to a 4.3 liter tank which I viewed as a step in the wrong direction. The truth is, when we are comparing one motorbike that already gets over 100 miles to the gallon to another bike that might offer a tad more fuel economy, the dollars saved we are talking about is really meaningless. What is more important is range. And when it comes to highway driving where the 125 Yamaha SX and the 135 Yamaha Nouvo Elegance turned in identical fuel economy numbers at a figure of 50 km/liter, the Elegance will get 25 kilometers farther down the road than the Nouvo SX. And a Honda 150 PCX with its even larger 5.9 liter fuel tank will have 80 kilometers more range than the Yamaha SX provided both bikes are getting 50 kilometers per liter, which is easily obtainable for all the bikes I have mentioned, whether it’s the Honda Click 125 i, the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance, the Yamaha Nouvo SX 125, or either the 125 or 150 PCX .

Probably the greatest virtue of the Honda Click 125 i is that it has a 5.5 liter fuel tank which will probably give it the same range as the larger Honda PCX 150. Its second greatest virtue is its speed. If what I am reading is true, Honda stuffed the Honda PCX 125’s engine into the smaller and lighter Click which must make it one of the fastest 125’s around. Keep in mind the 125 PCX is already a good highway bike even if it is eclipsed by the 150 PCX, and with a weight of around 280 pounds compared to a Honda Click’s 246 pounds the Honda Click 125i will be noticeably faster.

The main disadvantage of the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 is its carburator but not for the reasons that you might suspect. It’s got one helluva carburator setup, one that offers great fuel economy and excellent power and driveability. The problem is if you let the Elegance sit around for anything longer than 3 days it starts to get harder and harder to start due to gasoline settling in the carburator. If you go back to your home country for several weeks and return to Thailand, you will find that it’s going to take a lot of cranking of your bike’s starter to get your bike moving again and your battery might just wear down before you get done doing it. So far, knock on wood, I could always restart my Elegance on the bike’s battery without having to resort to the bike’s kickstarter. But if worse comes to worse, I’ll always get it started one way or the other.

Getting back to that issue I have made about range, most of us aren’t going to be doing a lot of highway driving. I could do a lot of city driving with the Yamaha Nouvo SX without using more than half a tank of fuel so the problem is not nearly as severe as I suspected. Nevertheless, I think Yamaha should have increased the Nouvo’s gasoline tank’s capacity instead of decreasing it, and if there was any improvements I’d wish Yamaha would make on succeeding models I would prefer that it would offer increased tank capacity over any horsepower increases it might make.

In my opinion the new Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX is the finest all around bike out there for the real world of driving most of us are going to be doing here in Thailand. It really offers everything a person realistically might need, and if he thinks he needs something bigger, I think he’s dreaming. Okay…the PCX 150 is definitely bigger, and it’s certainly got more power, and it is going to be a better motorbike out on the highway trying to keep up with car traffic. But the Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX is big enough and competent enough to be driven all over Thailand. But I suggest you don’t. Just one example should I think suffice to explain why.

Although I didn’t have any problems doing my zero to fifty and zero to eighty kph runs with my Nouvo Elegance I was almost killed afterwards. On the way home on the motorway, I found I had a choice between veering off the road to the left which would have taken me further South into Pattaya or traveling straight which would have taken me to Sukamvit at the Pattaya Nua intersection which would take me directly into Naklua. So I went straight, accelerating to about fifty miles an hour because I didn’t want to hold up traffic behind me as there was no shoulder to get onto and I was already in the slow lane. But someone wanted to pass me who simply couldn’t wait. He wanted to turn left so he zoomed ahead of me and then he cut to the left directly ahead of me so that he could veer off onto the road that would take him away from Naklua. So he pulled right out in front of me almost colliding with me as he suddenly swerved to the left ahead of my bike. It was a very close call, and it was almost certainly caused by a Thai driver who had no respect for human life, or driving carefully, or with consideration. I will also mention now that three times Thai drivers have passed me on the shoulder of the road while I was driving my Honda Civic in the right lane at over 65 miles an hour and that each time I was forced way off to the left to avoid the accident the other driver was about to cause. This is what I call driving with homicical intent. It goes beyond driving stupidly or neligently. It goes into the realm of actually trying to kill someone or oneself or at least not caring about taking human life.

It is because far too many Thai drivers drive with homicidal intent and too many unqualified drivers to start with that now causes me to not even consider buying a highway cruiser that’s capable of running with the big dogs. I have my Honda Civic for the highway. At least some of the drivers who might not care if they kill me or not might be somewhat worried about dying themselves. And certainly a car is much safer in a crash than any motorcycle which has virtually no chance against a car. Also one must consider all these tour busses that are proliferating on Thailand’s highways and streets. When it comes to homicical intent, I think the tour bus drivers take the cake for being homicidal maniacs. Check them out at night. Very seldom will you ever see Western faces in those tour busses. And most of them are Chinese. Consider that this year compared to last year the number of Chinese tourists nearly doubled, and god knows what increases we are going to see over the next year or the year after that. There will be a huge proliferation of tour busses that is already at an unacceptable level, and that is going to mean that Thailand’s highways and streets are going to become deadlier than ever. Nope–forget having a large bike. You are going to be far happier with a bike that’s between 125 and 150 cc’s and that weighs less than 300 pounds, and you are going to probably live a lot longer if you do.

Specifications Click here to get more easily read specifications

Honda Click Yamaha Nouvo SX Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135
displacement c.c. 125 125 135
price 46800-52500 baht 57000 baht N.A.
Horsepower 11.7@8500 rprm 10.4 11.2
Torque 14/7500 Nm/RPM 10.47 Nm @ 6000 rpm 10.6N-Nm @ 6,500rpm
Weight (Kg) 246 lbs 244 lbs 244 lbs
Tire Size Front +80/90/14 +70/90/16 +80/90/16
Tire Size rear +90/90/14 +80/90/16 +90/90/16
Fuel Economy test loop 59.8 km to the liter 53 km to the liter 53 km to the liter
Fuel Economy City N.A. 44.5 km to the liter 41.9 km to the liter
0-50 kph 6.3 seconds 7.51 seconds 5.58 seconds
0-80 kph 10.39 seconds 12.16 seconds 11.65 seconds
Handling (judging) Ok Very good Rock stolid
storage beneath seat good good good
fuel tank capacity 5.5 liters 4.3 liters 4.8 liters
Cooling water cooled water cooled water cooled
Fuel System fuel injected fuel injected carburator

125 Honda Click Review
From Pattaya to Rayong and back on the Honda Click 125. Note, this is the new Click 125 and not the Click 110 of an earlier review

Trapped by unrelenting rain inside Naklua’s Pen Bar with out of control Thai bar girls

Who says you have to go to Pattaya’s Go Go Bars for a great time? Real expats such as Peter claim Walking Street’s only for tourists who don’t know any better. The action in this video occurred just two nights ago at the Pen Bar on Naklua Soi 18. Peter (his name is Per in Norwegian) is out for just another typical night by his lonesome. My girlfriend is sitting just to my right, which is pretty good reason for my repeatedly telling one of the bar girls to stop what she’s doing. But my girlfriend’s presence doesn’t phase her one bit. Outside the bar no one’s going anywhere. We will be completely drenched before we get 100 meters down the road on our motorbikes so we are stuck here for the duration. This has been absolutely one of our favorite neighborhood bars going on something like 7 years now. England has its neighborhood pubs, and the United States has its neighborhood taverns for the locals to hang out at. We are eternally grateful to have places like this close by to our condos where the women are plentiful, the weather never turns too cold, we can ride our motorbikes year round, drink as much as we want and never have to worry about the police giving us a DWI.

All of this would not have happened if Obama were born 100 percent white

Let’s stop beating around the bush and come right out with it. I ask everyone who’s reading this—“If Obama were 100 percent white would he have had to face all this relentless obstructionism from Republicans that has finally turned into a government shutdown over Obama Care?

Let’s face the facts. Racism is bad. And even a racist knows he will be roundly despised if he says: “I hate blacks.” But to say that Obama is the wrong kind of Christian, or a Muslim (how can you be the wrong kind of Christian and a Muslim at the same time?), that he secretly hates whites, or that he wasn’t born in the United States and cannot therefore be president–all this is acceptable?

Consider that in our nation’s history that almost every newly elected president is provided a grace period of six months to make a few mistakes and to adjust to his new station as head of state. Sadly no grace period was ever given to Obama who was roundly criticized by his opponents before he became officially inaugurated.

Think about it. No matter what course of action Obama has tried to pursue Republican Congressmen have joined together in lockstep in nearly every single case unanimously or very close to it to defeat him.

And think about this:

In an interview with National Journal magazine published October 23, 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell said it. But the rest of the GOP has acted on it. In nearly every single case, it has joined together to do everything possible to make our president fail, even if it meant that it would cause the United States to fail by doing it.

When was the last time that an entire U.S. political party has threatened to stop the U.S. government from paying its bills because it didn’t agree with what our president and the opposing political party was trying to do?

And what about Fox News (False News). Has it ever occurred to anyone that its main purpose seems to be to undermine and to ridicule our president in relentless ongoing attempts to shape public opinion against him? Think Germany between 1933 and 1945 when the Nazi Party’s Joseph Goebbels had a monopoly on all news coming in and out of Germany and you have the true measure of Fox News. Perhaps an even better name for Fox News than False News would be, ” We hate Obama and we want to do everything possible to make you hate him too.”

I used to think that the U.S. needed to elect a capable black man as president. We could then show the rest of the world that we really weren’t a racist country. We could show Muslims for example that we really didn’t have it in for them because they were Muslims. Or Asians because they were Asians and didn’t look like us white folks. But I really became elated when Obama, who had a black father and white mother came out of practically nowhere to become our president. But oh…it was so much better than even all that. He stood almost alone in opposing our misguided war in Iraq at a time when nearly all U.S. lawmakers had been convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And he was not only a very intelligent lawyer who had graduated from Harvard’s Law School, he had been president of its prestigious law review. Here was a man whose intellect and wondrous speaking ability put him well above most men who had been running for president before him. And he could represent all Americans whether they were white, black, Hispanic, Asian or whatever and be a shining light to the rest of the world that here at least in this country that racism would no longer be tolerated.

But this was not to be—at least not with Republicans who have secretly been playing the race card to appeal to those Americans whose minds and hearts have not developed to the same extent as their peers. We have come a long way. But the enemy has shown its true self and taken its banner as the GOP. Now it’s caused the shutdown in Washington. Tomorrow it will once again threaten or even succeed in causing the United States to stop paying its bills. The GOP has truly become an enemy of the United States and everything that it stands for. In my own dictionary, the one that resides in my head, this amounts to treason. The Republicans therefore deserve to be defeated at every corner, to have every single one of its politicians defeated in the coming elections and to be scorned and vilified at every turn.

In 1997 we were the only online game in town in U.S. Strip Clubs

The evidence is indelibly etched into everyone’s faces in this slideshow I took from pictures I took in 1997 at Cruisers Gentlemen’s Club when our gang from Dollies Playhouse strip club visited our stripper friends in the North Webster, Indiana Club. In those days nobody brought digital cameras into strip clubs and everyone who is in this slide show knows it. Back then film ruled the day and if anything was going to go onto the internet all that film had to be developed, then scanned. But living in those dark ages of film and scanners was not for us. This time we’d get our pictures of all those beautiful Indiana stripper friends of ours onto my digital camera and then from the Indiana club owner’s office we’d put them online into the Lost Angels chat room within a half hour of the pictures being taken.

That was in 1997 when everyone else thought digital cameras were only toys, and that real photographers only used film. Back then we were the only game in town that was foolish enough to resort to those plastic little play toys that wound up killing film forever.

Exploring Koh Larn Island by motorbike

“Exploring Koh Larn Island by motorbike” is the video I published on You Tube yesterday which I immediately removed. The reason I did was it originally came out in 3D..that is in two windows. Don’t know how I managed that but the results for viewers was pretty horrific. If you are at all interested in visiting Koh Larn Island this video is a must. The reason is VERY FEW people ever experience this terrific little island by motorbike.

Not that many Westerners visit Koh Larne Island even though it’s just 5 miles from Pattaya, and if they do very few of them rent a motorbike there. Instead your typical Westerner who lives in or visits Pattaya as a tourist goes to beach resorts much farther away such as Ko Samui, Pkuket, Koh Samet, or Koh Chang. But Koh Larne’s a great little island. Most visitors there (there’s a lot of Thai, Chinese, Korean, and Russian visitors) will simply follow the rest of the herd as soon as they get onto the Koh Larne main pier from their 40 minute ride from Pattaya to Koh Larne on the ferry and get on a nearby baht bus. THe baht bus then takes everyone to a beach and that will be that. But the herd never gets to see much of the island. All in all there’s six beaches there and the vistas seen from the seat of a motorcycle are breathtaking.

Fewer people still will actually spend the night in a hotel on Koh Larne which is typically viewed as only an afternoon outing. But when you do, you can get a full two days at some really terrific little beaches (they are far superior to Koh Chang’s White Sands Beach while the salt water swimming is far superior to what you will get at Koh Samet) for the price of a single night in a hotel room. As far as the motorbike rentals are concerned, it’s a lot more relaxing exploring Koh Larn on one than it is driving around Pattaya

Here’s the modus operandi I find the best for getting the best two day outing possible on a single night’s stay in a hotel. 1. Get down to Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier early. If you have your own motorbike by all means take it and leave it overnight. There’s a car parking building within a hundred yards of the Bali Hai pier. There’s an overnight security guard there and it costs just 40 baht to leave your bike there overnight. 2. I recommend taking the 9 a.m. ferry to the backside of the island. This will take you to Taiwen Beach (I call it China Beach because it’s mostly Asians who favor this beach. Cost is only 30 baht each way per person on the ferry). You don’t have to get tickets at the main building. Just pay upon boarding the ferry. 3. Once you get off the ferry at Taiwen Beach you will likely be accosted by someone offering to rent you a motorbike. He will typically ask 300 baht for the day. Offer him 500 baht for two days. You are now home free and able to go anywhere you want on the island and on your way before 10 a.m.

We checked into the Xanadu hotel on Samae Beach a little after 10 a.m. where I paid 2500 baht cash. And then we either lounged around the beach for most of the day or traveled around on the motorbike. The next day we got up early, had the hotel’s free breakfast and then drove down to Nual Beach which is also called Monkey Beach. I got a lot of good swimming time on both beaches both days, plus on the second day over on Nual Beach we found a lot of monkeys to feed and take pictures of.

Amazon gives Wordperfect Office 4.5 stars to Microsoft Office’s 2.5

For a more in depth comparison between Microsoft Office and Corel’s Wordperfect Office, check out my earlier review here. I will therefore make this short and sweet. Magazines such as P.C. Magazine and P.C. World are going to give the best reviews for products whose parent companies spend the most money advertising with them. So, with all its clout, if Microsoft spends 10 million a year advertising in a computer magazine and Corel spends just 3 million, guess which company is the magazine’s favorite customer? So according to my hypothetical magazine, which product will be given its number one rating–Microsoft Office or Corel’s Wordperfect? It’s a no brainer because as with most things, money is number one and to hell with truth.

But if you want to really know the truth about what end users really think is the best, just go to the amazon.com web site and check the user comments and reviews. In this case go to the Amazon listing for Wordperfect Office X-6 Home and Student (download). You will notice that customers who have bought this version of Wordperfect’s latest version of Office award it 4.5 stars out of 5 and that 287 customers comprise this database. So who are these people offering their comments on the AMazon web site about the whole huge range of products offered at Amazon from watches, books, computer software to knives and televisions? They are people like myself who Amazon asks for reviews and comments s once they have bought a product at Amazon. I have done a number of reviews of items I have bought at Amazon and every time I’ve commented on a product my comment was published. And even if Amazon never invites me to review a product I can still go to the amazon page for that product and publish my comments and reviews there. So think about this—if 287 people who have recently bought Wordperfect give it a 4.5 star rating and these people are not getting paid or penalized for their opinions one can put a lot of faith in the veracity of the 287 comments and reviews. AFter all, no one has anything to gain by lying on the Amazon web site. Furthermore 287 reviews represents a very significant sample size. What I mean here is we all know that if you toss a coin it’s going to come up heads 50 percent of the time? But will it if you toss it only three times? But toss it one million times and it’s going to come up heads 50 percent of the time and tails 50 %. In my example with the coins the sample size is so large that we can be 100 percent confident that the probability for a coin coming up heads will be 50 %. But toss that same coin four times for it to come up heads twice might give us a confidence level of just 25 %.

Now, go over to the Amazon section for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 Notice that Amazon’s customers have given it just 2 1/2 stars to Wordperfect’s 4 1/2 stars and that there were 249 customer reviews constituting this database or sample size.

Obviously AMazon’s customers who have bought Microsoft’s latest version of Office think it’s pure crap whereas those customers who have bought Wordperfect’s latest Office product think the world of it. If you want an analysis of how such an inferior product such as Microsoft Word has taken over the marketplace I invite you to read my review in this blog. But if you’d rather not for whatever reason, trust Amazon and don’t believe anything you read in the mainline computer magazines in their product reviews whether they are recommending which computers you should buy or what’s the best software. But above all, DO NOT BUY OR USE MICROSOFT OFFICE. It is unbelievably bad.

Thoughts from the Expats Corner