Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Overheard in the jungle

"My mother could still open beer bottles with her teeth when she was in her 70s."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One of the most brilliant moves I've ever witnessed was after a heavy rain, when I was in college. I must have been a freshman, because I was walking north on 新生南路 towards my place on 信義路. The Canal was still there then. There was only one lane on each side of the canal (as discussed in the previous post). Ahead of me, also on the left side of the road facing traffic, was a high school boy making his way along the side of a mud puddle about the size of Lake Superior. He got half way past when a bus came charging towards the puddle, passing a taxi. The student knew a big splash was coming, so quick as a wink, what did he do? He crouched down and covered his eyes….

I don't know about you, but I would have considered maybe leaping backwards?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I took this photo in the summer of 1972 in back of the Taipei International House. Beyond the wall is what the US Army used to call "Canal Street" because of the canal running down it. You can see the trees lining the canal. There was one lane on each side of the canal, but that was paved over in about 1973, and the road widened. This area is a big park now.

The girl holding the baby is in a junior high school uniform, with the regulation "watermelon rind" hairstyle. That was not an era to encourage vanity; junior high and high school boys had crew cuts, and the girls were required to cut their hair even from ear to ear. Those with long, drooping earlobes were the envy of all.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Lawa, the garbage man is calling roll

Sequel to earlier post:: click here::

Garbage truck loudspeaker: Isn't Lawa here today?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drunken rioters trashed Dublin and Belfast on St Patrick's Day. Am I the only one who thinks getting roaring drunk is a strange way to celebrate a saint’s birthday?

news here and here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anybody who believes that "practice makes perfect" has never heard karaoke.

Monday, March 16, 2009













Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now that he is finally out of office, His Travesty President Dubya says he plans to stay active in "supporting the families of fallen soldiers." Isn't that nice of him! First he sends soldiers to their deaths, then he says he will support their families ~~ just so long as they don't speak their minds, like that mother who organized protests after her son was killed.

Now Bush is trying to raise US$300 million for his presidential library :: click here::. On the one hand, I wonder why that much money need be spent at a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to see doctors or buy food. On the other hand, I can't help but ask, how big does the library have to be, since apparently all the books Dubya had were a couple of coloring books.

Saturday, March 14, 2009



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I wrote this in December 2001. This was when Tlahuy and Bengax were two years old, before Yumin or Byajing had arrived on the scene.

There is no denying that the Japanese know wood. The Taiwan Cypress is considered by the Japanese to be the most superior of hinoki (cedars and cypresses, which they consider the finest wood). The torii gate in the Imperial Garden in Tokyo is made of Taiwan Cedar, among many other excellent examples. The wood takes a chisel wonderfully, lasts forever, and the smell is simply heavenly, so it is used for everything from bridge construction, railroad ties, and ships, to furniture, sculpture, and amulets. A neighbor down the road was carving fine cypress. I passed as he was sweeping up the scraps. I said, "If you don't want those sweepings, I can burn them in the winter so the whole house will smell nice." "Fine," he said, "I'll leave a sack here and you may take what you want."

I got off the last bus at the bridge and arrived at his workshop near midnight. A fifty kilo rice bag full of sweepings was waiting for me outside the door, as promised. I smelled it before I saw it in the dim light. Lovely fragrance. Just as I shouldered the sack, Walis drove up on his new motorcycle, and offered to give me a ride home; he was having too much fun with his new toy to sleep. He delivered me at the foot of my steps.

Tlahuy and Bengax discovered my return and raced down to greet me. Mighty Tlahuy leaped up on me just as I was shifting the sack on my shoulders. I lost my balance. I let the sack roll off my right shoulder as I hit the bamboo banister to the left. The banister is there mostly for reference, not really to hold anybody up. It is rickety at best, and not designed to support much weight; much less at this time the bamboo was dried out and brittle. It held for a moment, then shattered. As I rolled past it, I relaxed my whole body except for my left hand, with which I clutched the step. Fortunately, there were no snakes in the underbrush as I came crashing down. When I stopped, I got a firm grip on the step with my right hand and slowly, kicking for purchase, dragged myself up to the step.

Tlahuy and Bengax stood aghast on the stairs above: What have we done? (at least I think it was aghast. Maybe triumphant is the word.) Satisfied that I had not broken any bones, I picked up the sack again. Tlahuy and Bengax pranced around me with the extra gaiety of guilty dogs

Monday, March 09, 2009




Sunday, March 08, 2009


按:花朝節::click here::亦名花神節,東周春秋已行之,盛行自武則天時。武則天嗜花成癖,每逢二月十五花朝節,令宮女採集百花,和米搗碎,蒸製成花糕,以賞賜群臣。

Today (March 8 on the Gregorian calendar this year) is the twelfth day of the second lunar month, which in a practically forgotten Chinese custom, was celebrated as the birthday of all flowers. Be nice to a flower today. Admire them, praise them, savor them, but don't pluck them or cut them! It's their birthday.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Recently a friend visited and brought their dog, who we shall call B__. As we walked in, Yumin kept standing sideways across the walkway, blocking their path. But once he accepted that they were guests, he was civil. Although he and Tlahuy staked out the doghouse door ~~ over our dead bodies will that mutt enter our doghouse!! ~~ and they kept an eye on B__ so it wouldn't try anything funny, they were pretty polite. They tried to play with B__, but it snapped and barked and acted aggressive.

Our dogs stood down, but an hour later, Yumin tried again to engage B__ in play. B__ snarled and barked at him, snapping and biting fiercely. Yumin flattened himself down on the ground and protected himself, but he didn't attack or fight back. Then I was sure that he was being a polite host, because he could thrash B__ in a few seconds if he wanted to.

Another hour or so later, when our guests were getting ready to leave, we found B__'s bell which had been attached to its collar. It was lying on the ground at the spot where it had snarled at Yumin. Apparently, so quickly that none of us noticed it, Yumin bit off B__'s bell, breaking the wire that affixed the bell to the collar. Sort of like in those Chinese fighting movies where the master snips off the upstart's belt without being noticed.

When our guests were taking their leave, Yumin came out and stood on their feet for about two minutes: just to remind you whose home this is.

As a final parting gift, Yumin ran around outside the front gate. When I opened it from the inside and B__ started out the door, Yumin lunged forward, quietly said "Woof" in B__'s face, and stepped aside to allow us to pass.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


現在烏來一群泰雅新開的有機農場的菜已經長出來了 (去年七月開始耕種時本 blog已報導:: click here:) 如果大家有時間想呼吸乾淨空氣、吃健康菜,歡迎來烏來,也順便捧捧場,到「共同農場」選美味的菜。

到烏來過了大橋,往瀑布方向;大轉彎後,消防隊在左手邊,前面便利商店有岔路,右邊是達利美食,往寶慶宮的方向差不多兩公里。過了雲頂、運動場、雲景。最好出發前聯絡菜農Lugun「路寬」女士:02:26617460, 手機0926-306-475 或0938388823. Bon appétit!

Last July I reported that some local Tayal had started an organic farm. Their crops are coming up now, and their vegetables are delicious! If you're in the neighborhood and want some mouth-watering vegetables, phone Lugun at the phone numbers above. Speak Mandarin or Tayal.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Please be aware that today is Square Root Day. I have been informed that March 3 is Square Root Day. It only happens nine times each century, and is— 3/3/09 (hint: three is the square root of nine).

For Pete's sake, don't ask me when the other two are.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The great monk Hsu-yun (Empty Clouds, Xuyun, 1840-1959).

Sunday, March 01, 2009




Everybody makes mistakes!