Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In 1909, Jack London wrote A Piece of Steak; an aging boxer, Tom King, loses a critical match because he is too poor to buy a piece of steak to give him power: for want of a piece of steak, a boxing match was lost. LINK
As a su-veg martial artist, I have always doubted this. I practiced martial arts for over 15 years before I dropped all animal products from my diet, and immediately found my power and stamina markedly improved. 
Where did Chinese martial arts come from? From the “fighting monks” of 少林寺Shaolin temple; the su-veg diet is Buddhist (no animal products, no garlic, leeks, onions). Don’t try to tell me that monks in such a strict temple did not 守戒follow the precepts!
An interesting archeological find shows what Roman gladiators ate: mainly beans and grain, not meat. Romans called gladiators hordearii, meaning they ate barley. LINK
Put down Tom King’s loss rather to that pipe he was smoking, which robbed him of his wind. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“NASA has observed, studied, and then confirmed that the Dust Bowl of 1934 was the worst in 1000 years for North America.” LINK
hard times, hard times, they weren't kidding when they said hard times.
The most vivid image of the Dust Bowl from Mom was that when the dust storms came, they would stuff towels under the doors and around windows, but so much of the fine dust came in that she could continuously wipe a table, and it would never be free from dust.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Sunday, October 19, 2014

萬般不捨。十年前,買了幾件達彥包,都是耆老用傳統方法編苧麻。其中一個背網被蛀,沒辦法救。只好把能用的部位取下來~苧麻繩真難剪!剛好有一棵沉香想種,就供背網的殘片來滋養:達彥的織品,終歸達彥的地。A dozen years ago, I bought some Tayal bags, woven out of ggi/ramie by tribal elders, in traditional style. One of them, a tokan/pack, got eaten by bugs and was beyond repair. With great reluctance, I removed the salvageable parts, and with great difficulty, too, because cutting ggi twine is like trying to cut steel. I happened to have a tree to plant, so I offered the remains of the tokan to the tree: Tayal weaving returning to Tayal land.

Friday, October 17, 2014

We live in such a noisy world that even our music is noisy.
We went to a concert of twelve up-and-coming artists playing the ch’in (qin, guqin), the most introspective of musical instruments. The instruments they played were, with one exception, old. The exception was a modern ch’in played by the luthier who made it. Four of the ch’in in the performance were from the Ming dynasty (say about 500 years old), two from the Yuan (600 years, think Marco Polo), four from the Sung (a thousand years old), and one from the Tang. That would make it roughly 1300 years old, probably one of the world’s oldest musical instruments being performed on in concert.
Sabiy’s friend Chingdeh was stage manager. He says the ch’in is unlike any other instrument, and not only presents unique acoustic problems, but also, each ch’in is different: a real headache for setting up microphones.
The sound, indescribable: rich, varied, overtones, layered, but with a quiet and elegance found in no other instrument.
here is an example of the ch'in; this lady did not perform tonight. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This is a few days late, but….
On October 13, 1362, for the first time ever the Chancellor of England opened Parliament with a speech in English. The same Parliament passed a Statute of Pleading which permitted members to use English in debate, making it an official language of law and legislation.
October 13 is now English Language Day. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Some very creative use of English in an article with the headline
It’s apparently about a German football team. The interviewer asks probing questions, such as “You earned a pours?”
A fascinating question. I am not sure how I would have answered. But then, I admit I am not a melon handsome hard coach.