Monday, May 30, 2005

Somewhere along the line, I acquired a very unusual old stone trough for feeding pigs. Unlike most, it is round. Since I moved to Wulai, it has sat out in the yard gathering water, leaves, dirt, what have you. I have no pigs, but the dogs drink out of it.

Yang moved it closer to the walkway and made it the focus of a small view. He cleaned out the leaves and put in some蓋斑魚fish. Beautiful.

Last week I noticed some sort of bubbles or scum on the surface of the water. It had not evaporated a few days later. Judging I would rather not be overrun by snails or something, I got a leaf to clean them off. To my surprise, one of the fish attacked me. I realized I was intruding on her spawn, so very happily I threw away my leaf and prepared to watch them hatch.

The day before yesterday, Tlahuy went for a drink. Apparently the fish attacked his tongue. With a puzzled look, he moved around and cautiously drank out of the other side.

This morning, Yumin, very much at ease with the world in general, trotted up to the trough to lap up some water. He was too close to the spawn. He leapt backwards, all four feet leaving the ground, ears flapping. He crouched and growled at the water, with puzzlement written across his face. He circled around a few steps, ready to fight, and barked at the water: the canine solution for every problem. I was laughing so hard I almost fell off my rock.

While he was attempting to fathom this one, Tlahuy was listening to something. It must be raining hard back up in the higher mountains, because the announcement floated up faintly from the loudspeakers by the stream, far below: LEAVE THE STREAMBED IMMEDIATELY. In reply, Tlahuy said, "Woof.”

Yumin needed something to assuage his wounded pride, and that woof was just the thing. He took that woof and raced to the fence, barking furiously. He convinced Tlahuy, who started barking. In a trice, all the neighborhood dogs were barking furiously.

It would be funny if it weren't so much like international politics.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

We had a great time during Joshua's visit, and I am happy to report that he has returned safely to hearth and home. I hope I never have to write a letter that says, for example,
I just wanted to tell you what a great time we had during your husband's visit. We saw everything, hiked all over the mountains, swam in the stream, everything! It is my singular pleasure to inform you that he was having the time of his life, right up until the very minute that the python seized his leg. You may wish to tell the kids that Daddy's last words were 'Gddsgdm snayyy cough ami.' At least that was my first impression. I asked him to enunciate and reminded him of the significance of any statements he made under the circumstances, but that seemed to be his best effort. Imagine my sense of achievement when I deciphered his final utterance several days later: 'Get this g*dd*mn snake off of me.' I regret that, in the interests of historicity, I have no choice but to include profanities, but sometimes people forget themselves in the excitement of the moment. I do hope this will not tarnish the kids' memories of their dearly departed male parent.
There are plenty of unattached men out there, and with his insurance policies, you should be set up comfortably. Let me know how to dispose of his effects. I wish you all the best.

No, that's not the sort of letter I would like to have to write.

Saturday, May 28, 2005







Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I strongly advise everybody NOT to apply for admission to the University of Minnesota.

According to Stephen Wilbers (Writing for Business,, "The University of Minnesota has decided to name its new 2,300 foot walkway 'the Scholars Walk' rather than 'the Scholars’ Walk.'"

Apparently, their reason is that "the scholars didn't actually own the walk; it was just being named for them." If so, what are we to do about statements such as "There's my bus"?

Minnesota is in a sad state (sorry) if their so-called institute of higher learning cannot punctuate even such a simple phrase. If this is the caliber of their logic, this is definitely not a school you want to go to.

Okay, all for now, gotta run now. I see a bus which I plan to board.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

“這個社會不是離婚率太高; 是結婚率太高.”

“Society's problem is not that the divorce rate is too high; it is that the marriage rate is too high.”
Wenchuan told me this one, but forgot where she heard it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'll never get rich

My best ideas are never money makers.
Scenario for a commercial:
The raving corporal with the toothbrush mustache watches as ranks of swastika-adorned soldiers goosestep by, all wearing six inch stilettos. At the reviewing stand, their rigid right arms shoot up to the roar of:

If any woman's shoe company ran a commercial like that, there would be snipers shooting into their offices from all the nearby buildings and trees.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

"Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue."
Christopher Hitchens

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I am having a new path put in from my gate to the front door. Yang, the landscaper, works indefatigably. The other night he finally called it a day when he ran out of cement at about 9. We sat under a tree, drinking tea and chatting. Mrs Yang, who comes along to help, saw that the wheelbarrow was blocking the dogs' path in and out. She moved it off to the side to allow them freer access.

A few minutes later, Yumin trotted up. He took two steps up that little path and froze in his tracks. He took up a fighting stance and started barking furiously. I said, "He's just putting on a show to remind us that he is watching out for our safety." He kept barking into the darkness with ferocity and determination. "There may be a wild dog out there," I ventured. Yumin obviously saw something, and was working himself into a frenzy to protect us at any cost. Yang said, "Maybe you'd better go see what it is.”

I picked up a flashlight. Yumin moved between me and the danger. He was determined to defend me from any suspicious moves made by that upturned wheelbarrow crouching in the darkness by the side of his path.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005



Monday, May 09, 2005

The planet you save may be your own.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Last fall after heavy rains, the bridge connecting the houses across the river down the valley in Chengkung got washed away. The residents walked across the old suspension bridge while the authorities put in a temporary bridge for their cars.

After Chinese New Year we had a couple of weeks of heavy rain, and the temporary replacement bridge got washed out. A replacement replacement bridge was installed.

Monday night thunder and lightning brought torrential rains, and guess what? the temporary replacement replacement bridge was swept away. Now residents are waiting for a temporary replacement replacement replacement bridge.

I feel like a witness to performing art: The Dance of the Bridges, A Lesson in Impermanence.

The gods want those people to walk more.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

today is 050505, and it is 5:55 .... 說有多無聊~~~~~
Hi, this is Yugan, writing on June 6, 2006. Did anybody actually come back here to see if I really made a note on 050505?

ha ha, made you look.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

You've gotta love the Brits

Here are some of the parties running in their election:
The New Millennial Bean Party
The Dungeons, Death, and Taxes Party
The Church of the Militant Elvis
The Short Fat Solicitor Party

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I try to keep myself unsullied by ads, but sometimes they slip in on me. A Toyota ad tells me, “It will take you as far as your mind wants to go.”
That's wonderful. My mind wants to visit galaxies billions of light years away, to see the emergence of our continents from the sea eons ago, to watch the Himalayas powder into the sea. A car is going to take me there?
Do the advertisers take us for unimaginative idiots? Ok, I retract that question, the answer is too obvious.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

It's been thirty years since North Viet Nam conquered the Republic of Viet Nam, but it remains to be seen who will be the final victor. Saigon is building up a vigorous economy while Hanoi remains mired in cement-brain dogma. Mark my words, some day the South will buy out the North, and it may not take too long, either.