Monday, July 26, 2010

Dalat's Architectural Bulldada monument Hang Nga Villa/ "Crazy House"

On a two week tour of Vietnam, a lush green land known more for ancient temples, teeming cities, and lost battlefields we found an amazing monument of architectural bulldada in the hill station town of Dalat- the Hang Nga Villa, known locally as "Crazy House."

The villa shares a neighborhood with other homes of Vietnam's high and mighty, including the Summer Palace of the last Emperor Bao Dai (who abdicated in 1945) where the wife and I had our picture taken in the official reception room beneath a crossed pair of elephant tusks. Crazy House, on approach, resembles the entrance to an old-school Disneyland attraction, the Treehouse of the Swiss Family Robinson. Covered in tropical vines, a massive faux-wood stump lifts our of the slope, peppered with strange porthole windows and canopies, lined with snaking tunnel passageways, all functional as you can see the bobbing heads of sightseers walking through them. Inside the ticket booth was the grande dame herself, the designer and creator Dr. Dang Viet Nga, a real Madame X who reminded me immediately of the old woman bathhouse owner in the Japanese anime horror film Swept Away. I had hoped for an informal interview with her but here she was selling tickets (20000 Dong - $1)to a line of tourists, giving me no chance to explain my purpose.

Dalat was built by the French in the 1890s as a summer hill station retreat from the lowland heat and it remains home to hundreds of vacation villas of the rich and well-connected of Vietnam. Dr. Nga is no exception as she is the daughter of one of Vietnam's post 1975 red Presidents (Pres. Tranh, 1981-1988), which explains why she was able to construct Crazy House in the first place. In 1990, with her wealth and training as an architect she began to build a massive organic natural dreamscape hotel and villa with a Hogwarts-like main dining hall and over a dozen theme bedrooms.

Twenty years later the project is almost finished. We walked through the narrow passageways through the rooms decorated with honey-sucking bears, giant gourds, ants and kangaroos, all made of reinforced concrete, but made to look like they were carved from a giant hollowed out tree. At one juncture we walked over a thin arching pathway bridge that a chubby and tipsy foreigner might easily fall off of. And it ended in a still-under-construction drop off into mid air! It's something I appreciate about Asia, the low threshold of safety.

The rooms can be rented out for $25-35 a night and spending an evening here would probably feel like a slumber party in Hobbittown or Dr. Seuss's Solla Sollew. Back at the main office, lined with letters from amazed visitors and crinkled news clippings Dr. Nga was nowhere to be found, having surrendered the ticket booth to another minion. I settled for leaving some SubGenius material in the lobby and then retired to the garden for a picnic lunch of local baguettes, cheese, ham with a bottle the Dalat red wine beneath a giant concrete mushroom which I decorated with a Dobbshead sticker for the occasion.

Hang Nga Villa, 03 Huynh Thuc Khang St., Quarter 4, Dalat, Vietnam
As Dalat was full of wifi, we should not be surprised that Crazy House
has a dysfunctional website here

More pics below:

Friday, May 15, 2009

This is China (T.I.C.) #1

[Like other fine diarists on alt.slack who post snippets both profound
and mundane from their everyday activities and observations, I will
now do the same from my vantage point and listening post here in
Shanghai, China)

*We were out walking the wife and I, when I saw a well dressed peddler
with a trendy bag holding up an item for some passer-by. It sparked
and crackled a blue electric flash. "It looks like a taser." I told
the wife. It was a cheaper electric shock prod the guy was hawking
and he wanted 200 RMB ($26). I mentioned to the wife that we did have
a burglary attempt. She talked the guy down to 50, and we got a
recharger for it too. I just told her not to use it on me if I come
home at 200 am, drunk

*Shanghai is catching up with the rest of the world. I'm so proud
when I see stuff like this.

*As I may have mentioned before McDonalds and KFC deliver 24/7. There
is one teacher at my school who will order a large coke or two only,
just for the ice.

*My school is an International Division attached to an ancient Chinese
High School the campus of which served at the Japanese internment camp
for Allied civilians in WWII (latee 42-45). The recently deceased sci
fi writer JG Ballard was imprisoned here with his family and
immortalized the camp in the novel and film "Empire of the Sun."
Yesterday I was biking home to my dorm for lunch when I saw two
elderly White people with a guide standing by the administration
building. I introduced myself and discovered, yes, he was a former
camp resident, visiting for the first time in 60 years. he had been
born in Shanghai, the son of the British harbor master. I escorted
him up two floors to show him his old room, with him pointing out
little details on the way "The Abraham family were in this room, all
15 of them.""The American merchant seamen were held in the theatre
over there." "I found bullets from the 1938 fighting here and a
Japanese guard cracked me on the back and took them from me." I told
him we are trying to get the administration to place plaques on the
buildings but they seem to shy away from this period. As I teach
history this is as good as it gets in my profession. We exchanged
information and he promised to answer all my questions when he got
back to Doncaster.

*Shanghai is holding the World Expo 2010, the current version of the
old World's Fair, but while the world will be here in force with
exhibition halls and corporate displays, it looks like funding was
never appropriated for a USA Exhibition and as a result it looks like
the Americans are not coming.

*I realized that the best way to introduce the CoS to China would be
to set up an actual storefront shop and sell nothing but Dobbshead
goods, cup, towels and geegaws while trying convince the Chinese this
is a major brand, like Gucci or Coach. It may be pink but the money
is green (or red, with Mao's face on every bill).

*Paid 90 cents for a screener pirate DVD from Russia of Star Trek.
Uhura putting the moves on Spock seemed a bit of a stretch.

SPLR, Khan of All-Shanghai

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Response to call for Powerpoints for Shanghai X-Day

rules the world OK powerpoint, the response has been dismal. Even a
appeal to Dr. Gone to produce a presentation for his False Dobbstown
in Malaysia has fallen flat. While I still hope for more
submissions, I have no choice but to make up for it by creating THE
LONGEST SUBGENIUS RECRUITMENT Powerpoint on the planet. It will go on
forever and include all SubGenius material, written and multimedia
ever, a magnum opus that will rival the Gutenberg Bible.

Dr.Dark's and all others will be uploaded into the file section of the
asia subgenius yahoo group

Now where did I leave that Powerpoint for Dummies book... it's here

SPLR Khan of All-Shanghai

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Announcing 1st Shanghai X-Day Drill and Missionary Powerpoint Festival

As this is my first X-day in Shanghai as Khan I am going to build an X-Day Drill
in full faith that if I do so, they will come.

I've decided on a slightly different format. A nightclub, a table with four
mikes, a live internet radio/TV feed and a large screen with a projector,
connected to a battered laptop with a Dobbshead sticker. My inspiration? Every
year there is a massive Shanghai Literary festival with a whole slew of foreign
authors coming through to wow the expats and the English-literate Chinese. See
site here

I am making an call to all SubGenii everywhere for academic papers in the form
of that great weapon known to every salesman and primary school teacher, the
Powerpoint presentation. The research can be factual or bogus, but it must be
fantically religiously defended irregardless. Authors have the option of having
their paper/ppt presented by a scantily clad Chinese university student. If you
can attend personally, we'll find you a straw mat to sleep on in the Great Hall
of the People.

Ppts will remain the property of author, but given the number of pirate DVDs on
the street here, that may prove to be a moot point.

I am thinking of papers/powerpoints on the following topics:

To Get Rich is Glorious: Thirty years of Patrio-Psychotic Anarcho Materialism in
China (I'll probably do this one)

New methods in Hapafropuzipulops cultivation: report from the X'tang plateau

Fu Manchu: Mountebank or Scourge?

Breakthroughs in North Korean model rocketry

Yeti sightings 1949-2009

Stang in China 1986-with surprise appearances by his old production partners

SubGenius art for the masses - Dobbsian Socialist Realism

or damn near anything else. The subtext of all ppts should be outreach and
recruitment of Chinese subgenii and money-paying bobbies.

We'll have music, a few rants, a showing of Arise! and then will whip through
powerpoint after powerpoint until the spectators pass out, riot, or go home.

For more information contact me,
The Shining Path of Least Resistance, Khan of All-Shanghai

Friday, January 09, 2009

Shanghai Obamarama

[This first appeared on our new group
Please visit]

Being a historian by profession and on-again, off-again Democratic
Party ward heeler for my own megalomania, I made it down to
Shanghai's famouse Bund waterfront (with the view of the spacy Pearl
TV tower and Jetsonny skyscrapers you have all seen) to rub shoulders
with over 200 local swells and wannabes, drink $10 cocktails and
watch the Inauguration hoopla. In the warm-up the best part was
seeing Lord Voldemort-Cheney wheeled out in a wheelchair for the
ceremony (the official report said he had thrown out is back lifting
moving boxes! As if!). Our new Emperor looked fit, rested and ready
but he still inherits the Empire, such as it as. And while I was
moved momentarily by the fine words of his speechwriters (OK his too)
my reverie was broken by a man and woman just behind me having a
brief punch up which I had to help break up. Can't we all just get
along? Obviously not.

I had a dream where Wednesday comes along and Obama announces from
the comfort of his Oval Office Lay-zee Boy lounge chair that he has
no intention of doing jack as President as it will interfere with his
plans to play billiards and video games all day.

As this is China and the Central Committee still runs the show
despite Chinese Betty Crocker commercials on TV, this story ran a few
hours ago.

http://news. s/ap/20090121/ ap_on_re_ as/as_inaugurati on_china_
Chinese translation cuts out parts of Obama speech
By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer Anita Chang, Associated Press

BEIJING – The official Chinese translation of President Barack
Obama's inauguration speech was missing his references to communism
and dissent, while a live broadcast on state television Wednesday
quickly cut away to the anchor when the topic was mentioned.

At one point, Obama said earlier generations "faced down communism
and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy
alliances and enduring convictions. " He later addressed "those who
cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of
dissent — know that you are on the wrong side of history."

The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of
the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word "communism"
in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had
been removed entirely.

The censored version was carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency
and posted on popular online portals Sina and Sohu. Another portal,
Netease, used a version without the paragraph mentioning communism,
but retaining the part about dissent.

The news channel of state broadcaster China Central Television
broadcast the speech live early Wednesday local time, but appeared
caught off-guard by the statement about facing down communism.

The translator had no sooner said "fascism and communism" when the
audio faded out from Obama's speech and cameras cut back to the
studio anchor, who seemed flustered for a second before turning to
ask an expert what challenges the president faces in turning around
the U.S. economy.

Wang Jianhong, deputy director of the CCTV general editing
department, said he did not stay up to watch the inauguration
broadcast but suggested the transition was a normal part of the

"There are breakaways even when broadcasting China's own meetings,"
he said. "Americans might care a lot about the presidential
inauguration, but Chinese may not be very interested."

No one in the editing department of the China Daily Web site was
immediately available to answer questions.

China has previously altered the words of U.S. officials. A 2004
speech in Shanghai by former Vice President Dick Cheney was broadcast
live on state-run television at the insistence of U.S. officials, but
the Chinese transcript of the remarks deleted references to political

In 2003, the memoirs of then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were pulled
from publication in China after the government-backed publisher
removed references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests
and altered Clinton's comments about human rights activist Harry Wu.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My friends the secessionist terrorists

I couldn't help but notice that the latest themes in the US Presidential race are Barack Obama's links to 60-70s era leftist "terrorists" and Sarah Palin's, well, conjugal link, to a domestic secessionist political party (Alaska Independence Party). I feel it is time to come clean then, because I have links to BOTH.

In the 70s, during a stage of what I like to call my 'political nomadism' I was a, well, how shall I put this, a anarcho-surrealist direct action syndicalist soviet sympathizer.

I hung out at lefto-commie bookstore at my Southern California University with slackers who could not graduate after 7 years and generally made leftist mischief on campus, participating in a campus Fungus Festival (free dope and mushrooms), a takeover of the Dean's office over, of all things, free daycare, a confrontation with the Chilean Honorable Consul (we wouldn't let him out of the parking lot), and, finally on the night of the failed Carter Desert 1 Iranian hostage rescue mission, we stayed up all night, watching the news until President Carter came on at 3 am and then spray-painted the campus with various annoying slogans. It was fun, you had to have been there. Really.

Then, I moved on... I caught a ride in a VW van with a crazed Mexican Frieda Kahlo clone to the Bay Area (home of the Bay Aryans) where I got a job with the clipboard wing of the Sierra Club going door to door against an unpopular water diversion project called the Peripheral Canal that would send most Northern California's LA. May not sound like much to you but...when we went door to door on this issue we discovered that about 35% of the people who gave us money (we had a $75 a night quota) started ranting at us "and I don't care if you split the state, too!"

Four of us took notes and came to the conclusion that, well, we couldn't win an election with these numbers, but 35% was a significant fundraising base. This is in the year 1981, OK?

Eventually there were 7 of us. Former canvassers with some local connections (a 6th generation Californian, another in with a local supervisor, a recycler, a pill-popper, a river rafter, a Skull and Bonesman and others who were bored with nothing to lose) and together we formed, let me try to explain this clearly, a regional secessionist faction of the California State Democratic Party. We called ourselves Democrats for Alta California and bought a post office box in the suburb of Fremont (named after the famed 1840-50 bushwacker and yahoo).

We were a laugh riot at the 1982 State Democratic Convention. No one had heard of us before and no one, especially the Southern Californians, knew what to make of us. We dominated the “Environmental Caucus” but when we suddenly learned that we had a majority of votes, and we could name our caucus chair, we didn’t know what to do or who to nominate. We pointed at some other guy, who then went rogue and embarrassed the State Assembly Chairperson Willy Brown (later mayor of SF) in front of the collected press corps. We ran amuck until our resolution on stopping water exports to Southern California closed the whole convention when the nasty Southern Californians called a quorum vote, and finding not enough delegates on floor at the end of day, closed the convention.

The group broke up out of its own inertia, but within our ranks there were SERIOUS NORTHERN CALIFORNIAN NATIONALISTS. People who wanted to pull Northern California, Oregon (Lemuria) and Nenslo-Seattle out of the United States forever. People who had read Berkeley novelist Ernest Callenbach's pulp fiction ECOTOPA. People like me who would like to come back to Alta California and grow medical for a living. Legally. But back then I realized to make it happen we would have to arm ourselves, and start taking out WATER PIPELINES. We would have to form a militia (our model was a Lebanese leftist militia called Mouribatoun who wore PINK camo fatigues) and die in needless battles.

Instead we blew it off and drove back through the Sacramento River Delta in Datsun pick up trucks on high dangerous canal berms so we could get back to Berkeley and watch replays of the Cal-Stanford game. You know, "the play," where Cal won by throwing 5 laterals and scoring a touchdown in the middle of the celebrating Stanford band.

So what is my point? My point is terror IS ONLY A TACTIC. Everyone does it.
The Americans did counter-terror in Vietnam – it was called the Phoenix Program. In the 70s we had hot, cool, well dressed, armed, intelligent Marxist/Anarcho direct action squads with names like the Weather Underground, Brigate Rosse, Baader-Meinhofs, Angry Brigade, Symbionese Liberation Army, Black Liberation Army, and others who messed up the heads of THE MAN until they were all hunted down, rounded up and killed one by one. They were more like the turn of the century anarchist bombers, the bearded guys in hats and cloaks who threw round bombs shaped like bowling balls with long sputtering fuses, who had names like Ravachol and shouted slogans like “There are no innocent bourgeois!!” More recently in Oregon a little group of Earth First! types ran around bombing and burning construction sites and other bad-for-environment sites before they were all rounded up, tried and given 20 year sentences.

Or in the case of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, repented and got tenured university posts. See for his impressive resume. What pisses me off is that Mom-From-Hell Sarah Palin bringing up his name AS IF he is still out bombing on weekends for fun, like some member of ‘60s dinosaur rock band If you renounce the tactic, turn yourself in, and are then acquitted of any charges, then become a fine-upstanding citizen in academia and education, you are rehabilitated, right? NOT IN AMERICA. “Palling around with terrorists?” The US Army is doing that now in Iraq – they are paying, PAYING, former Iraqi insurgents and Al Q types to switch sides and guard their own neighborhoods. This involves hanging out with the commanders, drinking tea, shooting the breeze and whipping out the Benjamins.

If the 8 year old Barack Obama tried to stick his head in the door of any meeting of the Weather Underground back in the 60s it would have been slammed and he would have been told to go bed. For his own good. His Whitebread mom while may have consorted with Kenyans and Indonesians but fortunately ignored these armed hippies.

Actually what Obama should do is call a news conference, say Bill Ayers will be there, but then only one guy comes out to meet the press-Jeff Bridges in costume and character as “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski.

You want terror? REAL TERROR? Reread the history of the French Revolution. Robespierre, that crazy cut-up, defined it thusly: “Terror’ is nothing more than “PROMPT, SEVERE, INFLEXIBLE JUSTICE.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I like to tell my friends here in “Red” China, where I now make my home, that my secret dream is to see America split up into 8 or 9 little countries, just like the former Yugoslavia or USSR. All on its own due to internal contradictions, without any help from yours truly. Then we could not make war or mischief on the rest of the world like we do now.

Oh, by the way I approve of this message.
Shining Path of Least Resistance

For fun go to

Vote early, vote often and praise "BOB."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Interned in Shanghai

I moved onto campus at SHSID yesterday, into a new “dormitory” apartment, and was met at the door by the Chinese building super, “George,” who smiled and watched as I trundled everything up to the third floor in the sweltering Shanghai heat, supervised by my lovely wife and assisted by our three year old, Dario. The school, founded in 1865, is as large as a university campus, and wears its fame proudly, counting 80 government leaders (including the just retired PRC Vice President) and 20 generals among its graduates. I discovered yesterday that this is the site of the 1943-45 Allied civilian internment camp where the Japanese held those foreigners who did not leave in time. It is where “Shanghai Jim,” the noted English science fiction writer J.G.Ballard watched American fighter bombers raid the nearby airfields and later drop precioujs food canisters, as recounted in his autobiography Empire of the Sun, and made flesh by the Hollywood film of the same name. He returned to the camp yesterday by way but of his signature, inscribed in my personal copy of Terminal Beach.

Alone, I slept with the Olympics on TV all night, half-expected to encounter ghosts of long-expired internees, but none came. Ghosts are usually spirits of people who die swiftly and unexpectingly, without realizing it, and who then try to contact the living because they do not know they are dead. Those inmates who expired before liberation slowly wasted away from scanty rations doled out by the Korean guards in Japanese uniform and from the disease caused by such malnutrition, so it was no surprise for them. Happily, most survived and left Shanghai before the second wave, this time Mao and his Red Army, swept in and took the city for good. Perhaps their grandchildren may have returned to the present day city to enjoy the shower of champagne and riches. Today I’ll check in at the office and inquire which buildings, if there are any left, pre-date the war and were witness to the shuffling queues and glinting bayonets.

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