I have a degree in Economics from the University of New England, in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. I read for that degree when Friedman’s Monetarism and Reaganomics was all the rage and Keynesian economics was generally confined to those academics that had a true grasp of societal greed and the flawed assumptions Friedman based his theories on, not to mention that after periods of tight monetary control, generally inflation boomed.
So, what has economics got to do with burgers. Nothing really other than I started looking at cheeseburgers locally and that led me to think of the Big Mac Index. What started out as a joke has become a standard for measuring the purchasing power of different currencies against a very standard basket of goods, in this case, McDonald’s Big Mac.
Most of us of an age will remember the Big Mac rhyme, “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun”. McDonald’s (Maccas in Australia, McDo’s in the Philippines) opened their first Australian restaurant in 1971, the year before I finished high school. For those curious, it was opened in Yagoona, a suburb of Sydney.
The rhyme came out on television and radio advertisements in 1974, when inflation was rampant, petrol prices were rising and Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister of Australia. It was a happy, catchy jingle.
I digress. So no matter where you are in the world,. a McDonald’s Big Mac is made with the same ingredients and the same way. McDonald’s does not just sell burgers. They have one of the best quality systems anywhere and so not only are the ingredients the same, the way they are produced, prepared, the amount of power used used on same machines for cooking, the whole kit and kaboodle, is standard everywhere. This means that a direct currency comparison can be made by using the cost to consumers of the Big Mac.
In 1986 the Economist published the Big Mac index. It was based on the theory* of purchasing-power parity, the theory suggesting that in the long-run, exchange rates should settle at a rate that provides parity between any two currencies for the cost of the Big Mac. As the Economist notes:
Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of dozens of academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we also calculate a gourmet version of the index.
I am not thinking of applying an Angeles cheeseburger index … but then again 🙂
I decided that I really should get back to cheeseburgers as, after all, that is mentioned in the title banner of Thomo’s Hole, and those that know me, know that I am partial to a good burger, especially if accompanied by a beer and a suitable sporting contest on a big screen!
You can tell a lot about a restaurant/pub/café/diner/food truck by the quality of the burger. In the interests of science then I plan to resurrect a task I once undertook in Mongolia, and that was the assessment of the local burgers.
As this is my assessment, I will note price as cheap, average and expensive and rate the burger out of 10 flavour-wise … or at least how my taste buds respond to it.
The burgers being sampled will be a standard cheeseburger – be that a menu item or a request for a burger with cheese added. Nothing special or additional and no comment on the chips or fries that come with it, or indeed if it is served with no fries.
The construction will be assessed (from the bottom up, bun, lettuce, tomato, beef patty (if it ain’t beef, it’s a sandwich), onion if caramelised, cheese, onion if raw, bun. That is a standard Mark I Cheeseburger. Pickles are an add-on, beetroot is mandatory … however, as I am not in Australia I will give that a miss. The bun should be robust enough to hold together until the last mouthful, retaining as much burger juice as possible and while the burger may be delivered to the table deconstructed, it should not require deconstructing or the use of utensils other than fingers for eating. Lastly, accompaniment should be a cold beer.
Tequila Reef is a Mexican themed restaurant and bar near Angeles main entertainment area. It is popular with both local and expats, in part because of its tasty food at reasonable prices.
The Burger was ordered and cheese requested. The burger itself was constructed well with a substantial, well seasoned patty. American cheese. tomato and pickles on the burger with a slice of raw onion and lettuce on the side. Crinkle cut chips also accompanied the burger. The lettuce and onion was added (and pickles removed) to the burger. While the burger was well seasoned it had been cooked to well done and was a little dry. This dryness was quickly fixed with some cold beer. The burger could be handled with one hand. Overall, the burger is about a 7/10 on my assessment and its pricing is in the 300 to 400 peso range so $$. A nice burger, reasonable priced before heading out for further entertainment and drinking.
Flavour 7/10, price $$
The Envy Burger is found in the Envy Sports Bar on Fields Avenue. It is right across the road from Phillies, one of the local landmarks. The burger is large and is served with French fries (I guess you pay a little extra for the nice basket) The burger is well constructed with, from the bottom up, bun, lettuce, tomato, patty, pickles, onion rings, cheese and bun.
The patty is nicely juicy and I guess they are using an 80/20 meat to fat mix. It is well seasoned and nicely caramelised. The onion in the form of onion rings is a nice variation on the standard burger. The bun holds together well. My main criticism with this burger is that you would need to be able to dislocate your jaw to get it in so you need to deconstruct it to eat. This is a recommended burger however, if you are in Angeles City.
For flavour, 8/10 but price is $$$.
The cheeseburger to the right comes from my local pub near where I am currently living – Moon’s Bar. The burger comes solo (no fries) and is well constructed. From the bottom up, bun, lettuce, patty, cheese, tomato, cucumber, raw onion, sesame seed bun top.
Firstly! Who put cucumber on a burger? It was removed!
The patty was kind of odd. It looked like a chicken patty and also looked and tasted like it has been deep fried, or at least friend in a lot of oil. Apart from that and allowing for the cucumber, for the price it was reasonable – it was under 300 pesos. It was not one of my favourite burgers although I may try one more from there and see if there is a change in the patty. On the plus side, that pub does make a nice potato scallop (a typical fried food from New South Wales in Australia). Rating is 5/10 for flavour but price is $.
Paradise is a new sports bar down the McDonald’s end of Walking Street, having replaced the previous sports bar. Paradise is also a good kicking off joint for some pub crawling.
The burger has been well constructed with bun, lettuce, patty, tomato, onion, cucumber, cheese and bun. It was served with French fries. Off with the cucumber first.
Patty is well seasoned and remained juicy to the end. It can be squashed enough to eat without deconstructing.
Rating is 7/10 for flavour and $$ for price.
Insomnia is a new “resto-bar” that has opened during the pandemic. Previously it was an “entertainment” bar but those types of bars that made Fields Avenue and Walking Street famous as a red-light district have all been closed. As a result, a number of them have reinvented themselves and opened as sports bars or resto-bars. The main requirement from City Hall and/or the barangay to get a license again is that they should be showing sports (eat your heart out Singapore friends), must serve food and should not have “entertainers”.
Insomnia was one such bar and it has recently opened as a resto-bar. The burger, kind of blue in the image due to the lighting in the bar, was surprisingly good and a great way to start Wednesday night’s beer night.
The burger was served with crinkle cut fries and consisted of bun, sad piece of lettuce, patty, caramelised onion, cheese, pickles, tomato and sesame seed bun. The patty was not seasoned much but basically just meat. The meat did remain juicy until then last mouthful and the burger could be be managed with fingers only.
Flavour I reckon is about a 6/10 but price is at the low end of $$ so reasonable value, paired with an ice cold Heineken.
If only for the craic, as the Irish say, I will update this post from time to time, as I have a burger from a new location around Pampanga (the province that Angeles City is in). I will also likely move this from a post into a series of pages for a more static home. However, first things first – beer night is tomorrow night this week and perhaps it is time for the next Cheeseburger!
I was cruising around the Internet the other day, using Mr Google* extensively, looking for something or other and in the usual way of things, I stumbled across something I was not looking for. This time it was the Danish Brigade. It started with me stumbling across the Danish Brigade in Sweden on Wikipedia, which discussed the formation of the Danish Brigade.
The Swedish Government (in either 1943 or 1944, I have not been able to find clear information on that, in English, Swedish or Danish) granted permission to form a Danish Corps in Sweden for action in Denmark, to relieve the country from German occupation. In the spring of 1945, Germany was reeling with the Soviets and allies pressing from the east and with the Allies pushing from the west. With that pressure, the Germans were redeploying divisions to both shore up the eastern and western fronts. It was felt the time was good for the Danish Corp to move firstly on Copenhagen and then eventually to liberate Denmark entirely.
When the Germans had overrun Denmark, many of the smaller naval vessels had escaped scuttling by making the run to neutral Sweden. They formed the basis of the Danish Flotilla.
The Danish Flotilla was a collection of 13 of those smaller naval vessels.
Kommandørkaptajn F. H. Kjølsen had served as the naval attaché in Berlin previously and he later acted as the head of the Maritime Department to ensure that the flotilla would play a role in the return to Denmark of the Danish Corps.
Crews were retrained as the first priority for the Danish Flotilla, and a camp, Sofielund, was set up in Småland. It started operations in early February 1944. Three further camps were set up at Sätrabrunn and Hätunaholm near Stockholm, and Ronneby in Blekinge.
The naval crews received their final training at Sätrabrunn camp in the Spring of 1944.
In the meantime the land forces and volunteers were also being trained and armed in Sweden, presumably by a mix of Danish and Swedish officers and NCOs. Equipment was certainly provided by the Swedes.
Possible World War 2 variation. Never made it into combat but were ready for the liberation of Denmark so a good what-if scenario can come from here. A variation for D-Day 🙂
To borrow from a writer with more skill than I, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, truth be told, there was bugger-all on the best side of things.
I felt that I had not really accomplished anything, wargames-wise, over 2020, however, looking back, I surprised myself somewhat with what I did manage. Listening to Devo singing Whip It seems very appropriate for post as well.
January started well in Manila with the Taal Volcano in the Tagaytay area deciding that it would remind the locals that it was still an active volcano. It is about 60kms or so from Makati City in Metro Manila (what could possibly go wrong) and it had an eruption which caused an ash fall over surrounding provinces as well as Metro Manila. It was impossible to buy a mask after a couple of days. They disappeared from drug store shelves faster than toilet paper in an Australian supermarket during a viral pandemic!
I finished the Soviet modern fleet in February 2020 (see left) with the application of the flight deck decals to the two Soviet carriers.
A quick varnish and they are ready for the modern naval warfare table top. I will report on games that occur in the future.
In the meantime, I am looking at how I can use these vessels in some solo games.
March marched in and so did various levels of community quarantine. In Metro Manila we had an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from the middle of the month. Really, ECQ is simply another way of saying lockdown and it was called by the government when there were about 200 active cases of the plague in the Philippines. Essentially everything was closed down except for food, medicine and export companies (BPO, BPS organisations) and work from home was the requirement for all staff.
I quickly built, painted and based some Japanese modern ships in 1/3000 scale. These are produced by Fujimi who produce World War 2 ships in the same scale. They are concentrating on Japanese vessels only and they can build into nice display pieces as Fujimi also makes naval dockyards to the same scale. I did paint ships these as part of an exercise to display the way I make sea bases which is a variation on the method described on the GHQ website (Making Ocean Hexes). My method is described in Sea Bases from March this year.
I did not do much on the wargaming side of things over the period March to June 2020 as much of my time was spent ensuring all our staff were OK working from home, resetting machines at the office when necessary (I lived about 400 metres from the office so that walk was possible during ECQ) and generally being tired of the whole damned thing (see Prisoner — Inmate No. 6) and other posts such as (Day 25 passing, 20 days to go (hopefully) and Day 49 passing, 13 days to go (hopefully)). Of course, the bloody ECQ ended up lasting around three months in Makati and even when it was lifted to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) there still was not much you could do.
One bright spot in May however, and a lifeline to sanity was the discovery of and acceptance into the Virtual Wargames Club. This was a virtual meeting of gamers from around the world, with the main area of interest being Horse and Musket games in larger scales, however, the group was welcoming and my Saturday nights from around midnight Manila time were booked. I also became involved more virtually with a bunch of reprobates with a certain naval bent that met for the Sunday Bristol Breakfast. Two vastly different groups, with the WVC following a fairly well organized format and agenda whilst the SBB (which was around 2:30pm my time and dinner time for the Oz members so really only a breakfast for one) not having any structure and being more like the guys from the local club, sat at pub after a club meeting and talking as blokes do, with occasional interludes from “the author” to display where he was up to with his next book.
Enter June, still in ECQ and a liquor ban had allegedly been applied in Makati City. I say allegedly as there were signs on all the liquor cabinets indicating a ban and as the delightful Hazel at the local convenience store was ringing up and packing my beer, I asked if there was a liquor band and she replied, “yes sir Ian, there is.” There were official liquor bans all over Metro Manila but Makati and one or two of the other cities did not have official bans.
June was also when I finished my Winter War collection of Finns in various fighter aircraft and Soviet bombers and fighters.
Enter July and for the Virtual Wargames Club, after displaying some of my naval models, I was asked if I would do a presentation on preparing sea bases for the club. Rather than just describe the method, I actually added a couple of ships to the bases to add some interest. I selected some French pre-World War One cruisers as they have a lot of funnels and who doesn’t like funnels and tumblehomes on vessels from that era?
The process for that was dutifully prepared into a power-point presentation which can be viewed in Painting Sea Bases (and some ships). The ships selected were the Ernest Renan and Jules Michelet and I must admit, they came out very well.
Nothing much happened then until Typhoon Ulysses decided to pay a visit in November. There had been a couple of named storms already passing over Luzon however Typhoon Ulysses was quite nasty and the eye-wall passed not far from here. Six or Seven hours of a roaring wind (and I understand the term “roaring wind” now and I’d had enough.
I had lost my painting mojo but it returned after the Typhoon and December arrived and I decided that I did at least want to complete phase 1 of my coastal project. I had painted enough German Attackers and merchant vessels, it was time to get some defenders prepared.
I finished some Fairmile Motor Launches as well as Fairmile Ds. To those I added some Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) which whilst small, have the advantage of being both small, and fast!
To be fair, I was quite busy over that last part of the year, supporting projects in the local time zone as well as Canada along with the regular day job. I was also in the process of moving from Makati City to my current home in Angeles City, a distance of some 95 road kilometres.
So, that was the year that was. What’s in store for the coming year? I hope, more painting time. I also have a long term project in mind that I want to start working on, especially while I am at home and with enough preliminary work done, I will be able to continue work on it should I be called out of the country.
Do have a Happy New Year and stay safe, be good, look after each other and wash your hands!
I’ve finally completed the first batch of vessels and aircraft for my little coastal wars set. I will get around to posting photographs in a day or so. The crisis arrives as now I need to decide what to do next and I do have a lot in the lead pile. I was thinking of:
Finish off the coastal set as I have to paint:
Do some other naval, such as:
World War One
Early World War 2 Germans and British
My Spanish Civil War Fleets
Argentinian and Brazilian World War One Fleets
US World War One Fleet
Soviet World War Two Fleet
US and Japanese Pacific Fleets
British Pacific Fleet
Finish my Moderns (Italians, Dutch, French)
Paint some 6mm figures such as:
Classical Punic Wars (5 armies left to paint)
Greeks (fousands of ’em)
Dark Age Set (five armies left to paint there)
Victorian Science Fiction (Aeronefs and similar including 2mm ground forces)
6mm World War Two land forces including:
Early War Germans
Late War British, American, Soviet or German
Finish the Japanese
World War 2 aerial – late war bombers and fighters
Modern Armies such as my Poles etc
Sigh – decisions, decisions. There are other items in the lead pile such as English Civil War, Dutch/Belgian and Polish Napoleonics, Napoleonic ships (1/2400 scale), and Ancient and Renaissance Galleys. I think I will need a burger and two beers to make this decision 🙂
Late note: I managed the burger and two beers, but am still undecided!
Just in time for Christmas reading comes the Too Fat Lardies Annual. This is now an annual event and this year’s magazine consists of 180 pages of articles, photographs, suggestions, scenarios, complete campaigns, rules amendments, fresh periods to game, previews of future rule sets, build projects unveiled among other things– all grist for the mill for the wargamer.
While, as it would be expected, the magazine focusses on the rulesets and games of the Lardies, there is plenty in there for gamers of other rule sets and periods to amend, hack or use.
The contents this year are:
FORCES OF THE 100 DAYS: A guide to the troops of the campaign of Waterloo for Sharp Practice.
WACHT AM SAMBRE: The Prussians take on the French Armee du Nord as they advance into Belgium
RESUPPLY HOUGOUMONT: A scenario to accompany the 100 Days guide sees action. on the British right at Waterloo.
PUNCH UP AT PLANCENOIT: A classic action to the East of La Belle Alliance sees the French attempt to stop the Prussian juggernaut.
MICRO MAP MAKING: Sidney Roundwood is released from a high security institution to show us how he makes some stunning campaign maps
ALL THE KINGS MEN VERSUS DRACULA: The Price of Darkness takes on the House of Stuart in a blood curdling scenario set in Whitby. A creepy classic from the pen of David Hiscocks.
SOLO CHAIN OF COMMAND: From the Welsh valleys comes an Artificial Intelligence called Bond. Geoff Bond.
INCH HIGH ROVING EYE: Mike Whittaker presents some technological insight for gaming IABSM over Zoom from a soldier’s eye viewpoint.
FILIBUSTERS! Colin Murray introduces some Manifest Destiny for Sharp Practice from the 1840’s and 1850’s down Mexico Way…and a bit of Canada.
EX ADIPIS SUILLAE: No thanks, I had one earlier! David Hunter presents an epic of the ancient world as he campaigns through Britannia in the 1st Century AD with Infamy, Infamy!
GLIDERS, CROSS THE MERSEY: Kevin Pierce calls out the Home Guard as Fallschirmjäger land in Liverpool.
BOMBS AWAY: It’s Squadron Leader Johnny Danger taking to the skies again as he offers some tips on bombing in Bag the Hun.
TO THE VOLGA!: International YouTube Superstar, Alex Sotheran attacks into Stalingrad with some ideas for Solo IABSM during Lockdown
BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEA: Always one for a large Falx, Yorkshire’s own John Savage presents some 100% unofficial lists for Dacians in Infamy, Infamy!
HOME FRONT: Who do you think you’re kidding Mr ‘Itler? Britain prepares to stand alone and sticks two fingers up to the enemy across the Channel. Yes, it is (of course!) 1940 and a bumper handbook for Britain’s Home Front and Chain of Command.
24 HOURS FROM ROMFORD: “This is not a drill…” German landings in East Anglia threaten to wrong foot Britain’s high command, only the Home Guard stand between the capital and the rampaging Jerries. A Pint-Size Campaign for Operation Sea Lion.
A LOOK AT ‘O’GROUP: Sidney Roundwood interviews Housewife’s favourite Dave Brown about what we can expect from the forthcoming WWII Battalion size rules.
SMALL FOOTPRINT TERRAIN: Oddcast host and wargaming Glitterati, Sidney, proves what they say about small footprints with this fabulous terrain building article.
SCRAMBLING FOR SUPPLIES: Olve Kroknes straps on on his skis as he heads for Narvik to refight a Chain of Command action in the (snow) shoes of his grandfather.
SHE WAS ONLY THE MAGISTRATE’S DAUGHTER… An AWI scenario for Sharp Practice tells a heart rending tale of woe. Can our heroes escape to victory?
Well recommended and at only £5.50, great value for 180 colourful pages of wargaming content.
PHLPOST appears to be rebranding itself from the old to something newer. And given that I moved to Angeles City just over a month ago, and notified the Society of Ancients of my new address just over 2 months ago, it was a happy surprise today when the September/October issue of Slingshot found its way across the front fence (we don’t really have a letterbox here).
Waiting for a break from the work day to settle in to a good read of this issue. Topics in it include”
Every Man’s Hand – a ruleset for historical medieval jousts – the real ones not the Hollywood type
Garamantes – a DBMM Army List fine-tuned
Going Back to Gaugamela – refighting that battle using l’Art de la Guerre
The Sound of Battle – a general’s ability to communicate through sound signals
An Armati List for Cyrus the Great
Counting the Enemy – how big was the Caledonian army at Mons Graupius?
Telamon in Anaheim – Battle of Telemon using DBA rules
T’angoed! – the T’ang military machine and a recreation in 15mm
Warfare in Antiquity – the King’s College conference from 2019
plus the usual Guardroom, book and rules reviews and figure reviews
Plenty of entertaining reading is this issue and kudos to the new look PHLPOST for tracking me down and delivering so quickly. With Slingshot in one hand and a single malt in the other I can well feel that the world is slowly returning to something like normal, at least here in the exotic East!
I was reflecting over lunch today that I had been using Wargame Vault for a considerable time now so I thought I would look at the history of my account. So far it appears as though I have ordered around 100 items from there. My first order was on 18 November 2008 and I ordered:
Aeronef (Captain’s Handbook)
Salamis ad Actium
That was 12 years ago. I had not realised I had been using their services for that length of time.
Last night I purchased some more rules:
All Hell Let Loose
So, 12 years of being a typical wargamer and buying more rules than I will ever use, likely ever read. I then wondered how much I had spent over that time … and stopped wondering. That way lies hell.
I noticed that when there is a quiet period with few posts here in Thomo’s Hole, the number of visitors drops. I thought that I could try what many YouTubers do and set some clickbait in motion with headlines like:
You Won’t Believe This … Thomo trims his toenails!!!!
We were amazed that the Philippines has this … fish and chips at the pub!!!
Unbelievable … Angeles City Sports Bars are open to serve food and beer while showing sport – you won’t see this in Singapore!!!
I decided that was not going to work as the discerning readers here would see straight through that in a matter of moments. Instead, I thought, that as I was listening The Clash singing Charlie Don’t Surf at the time of writing, I would add something ocean based.
The YouTube video below is your intrepid correspondent dealing with a Maui shore break in 2015, for you entertainment.