Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Lucky me! Americans, do you know that forty five million of your fellow citizens do not have health insurance? The Republicans have taken their revenge on LBJ for dreaming of the Great Society, with Medicare and good health for all. Privatization has made health care something 45,000,000 Americans can’t afford.
Go to this page and watch the video.
About one out of every eight citizens in a country that calls itself a superpower cannot afford to see a doctor. What distresses me is that the US could be providing excellent health care for all, at a fraction of the cost of the war in Iraq. Not could be, should be!
If you are still not sure you should have voted for Obama instead of McCain, watch this documentary very carefully.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
We all wish everybody a happy new year!
When we had the roof repaired, the carpenters also put a new roof on the doghouse. I have decorated it appropriately for the new year.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
第三，誰說My English is bad不對？誰規定要用poor才對？我個人認為用bad比poor好，因為poor通常當「窮」用。兩者，不如用lousy。
第四，bad也好、poor也好、lousy也好，都是中文式的英文：我的英文不好。這句的英文應該是I don’t know English very well 或I don’t speak English very well.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
This morning I saw a sight I had never seen before.
Happening to wake just after five, I noticed that, contrary to the weather report, the sky was spangled with stars. A crescent moon was just rising in the trees to the south. I went out to admire the view, when a pale green meteor shot horizontally across the sky from west to east, a palm and three fingers above the moon. What was remarkable was that it had a tail, like the contrail of a jet. The tail appeared about as long as my hand, in my view field, and lingered for about ten seconds, the bright, pale green gradually fading, as the plume curved upwards into a smile. 吉兆吧。
The time was 5:05.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
And not just any African American! What a speaker Obama is! If you haven’t seen his inauguration address, take twenty minutes to watch it here and here. 尤其要練英文聽力的人該仔細聽。因為這是一篇極為正式演講，所以他咬字特別清晰，應該比較容易聽懂。請注意：new念[nu]不是[nju]!!....我是英文老師嘛，三句不離本行。I was impressed by his emphasis on the skill and virtue of the American people. If anybody can revive the spirit of the American people, it’s President Obama. He reminds me of JFK.
If I were Osama bin Laden or his ilk, I would be worried!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I hadn’t thought about this sweet for decades, to be sure, but this morning it popped into mind very tangibly; the smell, the taste, the feel of peeling the sticky confection from the leaf, everything came back with such startling clarity that my mouth watered. But I have not the faintest idea why this memory came back.
I just wish I had a dozen to eat.
PS: My memory is better than I thought. The name is bánh gai, and I found an article on Wikipedia tieng Viet. Hurrah for the Internet!
photo from Wikipedia, slurp slurp drooooool
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Fortunately, it was only the roof on the back porch. There's not much sunshine or wind there, so I was on my hands and knees, head down, cleaning off accumulated gunk when I hit a slippery wet spot and started sliding. At least I got turned around head side up, aimed for a tree, and came down behind first, unharmed but for a cut on my right thumb. Chao and the roofers were more scared than I was. I told them, better that I fall of the porch roof than they fall off the house roof!
The other day I reported on the dogs' anxiety when they saw their doghouse roof being taken off.
Monday, January 12, 2009
"Yugan, you know, I am a good man, but my mouth is bad. That's my problem, my mouth is bad. I spent the last three or four days drinking. My mouth doesn't obey me, it just keeps drinking. What can I do? My mouth keeps drinking. I can't sew it shut, because I have to eat, you can't go without food, can you? But what can I do, my mouth keeps drinking.
“Look at society today! People stealing and robbing! That's terrible! We aborigines don't steal or rob, look at the news, it's never aborigines who steal or rob. We just drink ourselves to death.”
I asked, "Abus, I've told Sabiy about your beautiful Taiwan Mountain Dogs. How are they coming along?" Abus sighed, "Aw, Yugan, now I am raising frogs." "You mean in that little pond of yours?" "Yes, Yugan, I have frogs in my pond. They croak and croak every morning very early, so they are my alarm clock. They are always on time. They are better than an alarm clock." "But what about your dogs?" "Hai, Yugan, I gave them away." "Gave them away? What for?" "I was drunk and someone asked for them, and I said, 'If you like them you can have them.' When I sobered up, I regretted that, but I had given my word, so now I raise frogs."
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Cancer has been an increasing threat to the health of Free China ever since the running dog of tobacco imperialism, Ronald Reagan, forced Taiwan to import American cigarets and liquor. :::click here:::
Today, a new, far-reaching law goes into effect, curtailing public smoking indoors throughout Taiwan. Smoking is banned in any workplace with three people or more. Even outdoors, smoking is not permitted under any roof or near schools. Advertising is restricted, and all workplaces are required to post signs warning against smoking by minors or inciting a pregnant lady to smoke.
This is wonderful on two fronts. First, this will improve health and reduce suffering. Second, it is great to see the government engaged in progressive, positive, far-sighted activity designed to benefit Taiwan and its people. After eight years of corrupt incompetence and divisiveness under President Chen Shuibian, this is highly welcome.
I hope the US sees similar progress once Bush & Cheney, Inc. are gone.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
All went smoothly until they ran out of the bolts they need to hold the new roof in place. That was at about 3, so they decided to work on the doghouse, which also needs a new roof. When they set to work, Tlahuy and Yumin displayed great distress. I realized I had forgotten to tell them that they were getting a new roof too. Yumin glared at the workmen and was very upset, until I explained the situation to him. He felt better, and went off to frolic with Byajing. (Byajing doesn't get much chance to sleep in there, anyway, because the Big Brothers usually stake out the territory.)
Thursday, January 08, 2009
For political reasons, after 1949 exports from the PRC (People's Republic of China) were strictly limited. PRC products were banned from the US and most of western Europe, as well as other places. Most of the 普洱 Puerh tea was exported to Hong Kong, Britain's last gasp of imperialism in the Far East. The tea merchants in HK aged their Puerh before selling it, and consumers took it for granted that the Puerh they bought from tea merchants had been properly aged. Nobody bothered to investigate too closely how the tea had been stored, or for how long.
The climate of HK is hot and humid, which is ideal for aging Puerh. However, when 1997 rolled around, HK tea merchants, uncertain about their future, sold massive amounts of Puerh to Taiwan. Historically, really fervent tea drinkers have been speakers of 閩 Min dialects, such as the main dialect spoken by Chinese in Taiwan, 閩南語; Taiwan has an ideal climate for growing tea, and tea is an essential part of life in Taiwan. Taiwan is probably the best place in the world for superior tea, so the HK merchants had no trouble unloading their supplies. Finicky tea drinkers in Taiwan started paying more attention to the age and provenance of their Puerh.
In the last six or seven years, as the economy of the PRC has taken off, the demand for Puerh there has taken off, driving up prices; there is also strong demand in South Korea and Malaysia. For this reason, the price of aged Puerh has gone into orbit, bringing with it several consequences.
First, people started drinking fresh Puerh. In the last several years, I have drunk Puerh months from the farm; this would have been inconceivable twenty years ago.
Second, people are buying Puerh in quantity and aging it themselves. I used to buy Puerh cake by cake. Now I buy it by the 筒bucket (7 cakes) or 件 piece (12 buckets).
Third, people are paying more attention to how Puerh is stored. This is good and bad. The good side is that improper storage can almost ruin fine tea, although a skillful tea maker can salvage even moldering Puerh, to some extent. The bad side is that some tea merchants seem to have made storage a mysterious, forbidding topic, while blowing out smoke and fog to confuse people, for their own profit.
Lately there has been much talk ~~ too much talk, some say ~~ about 乾倉 and 濕倉. First, a word or two on nomenclature. The first could clearly be translated dry storage. Translating the second as 'wet storage' is Chinglish, a very inept rendering of the Chinese into English. Damp storage or humid storage would be more appropriate. 說文：溼，幽溼也。从一，覆也，覆土而有水，故溼也。段注：凡溼之所从生，多生于上有覆而氣不渫，故从一土水，會意。廣韻：溼，失入切，水霑也。
However, novices should be aware that these are not necessarily descriptions of the warehouse in which tea was stored, but rather are often used to describe the condition of a particular cake of tea. The condition of the tea depends on a variety of factors, including mainly the skill and care of the warehouse personnel and the place in which this particular cake was stored. One cake may be described as乾倉 'stored dry' while another cake, stored only a meter away, at the bottom of the heap down in a musty corner, would be described as濕倉 'stored damp.'
Obviously, some locations are better for aging Puerh than others, but do not believe that Warehouse A is labeled Dry Warehouse and Warehouse X is labeled Humid Warehouse. Again, the skill of the tea maker is vital; I would rather have 30 year old damp stored Puerh than five year old dry stored.
Fortunately – or rather, fortunately for me, at least – my home in Wulai is just about ideal for aging Puerh. I live in mountains in subtropical rainforest, with fresh air and clean breezes, high humidity (usually at least 70%), and no frost. Those who live in dry climates should give some thought to storing their Puerh. I once gave a cake of Puerh to someone in Southern California who had several years experience drinking Puerh before she moved to California. When I saw the cake about a year and a half later, I was astonished: I simply did not recognize it. It had dried out, withered, I would say, and lost its vitality. So Puerh drinkers in such climates should consider either buying only aged Puerh and not attempting to age it, or maybe constructing something like the humidors used to store cigars.
Puerh likes to age in company. If you put one cake down in a fresh room, after ten years it will not be as good as a cake placed in an experienced storeroom with a hundred other cakes. The more Puerh you store in one place, the better, and the longer you store Puerh in that storage, the better resulting cakes will be. This is why some PRC tea merchants have been renting experienced warehouses in Hong Kong to age their tea.
Finally, while I am discussing nomenclature, I would like to mention the translation of 茶廠 as 'tea factory,' another graceless example of Chinglish. 廠 does not necessarily mean factory; it means a room, a chamber, or building, especially a spacious one. 廣韻：廠，昌兩切，屋也。敞，高也。Dictionary.com defines 'factory' as "A building or group of buildings in which goods are manufactured; a plant." Tea plant would be confusing, but to my mind, a factory carries an image of machinery, assembly lines, and putting parts together. I propose "tea workshop" as not an ideal translation, but a more pleasant image, and closer to the original.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
I almost got knocked flat the other day…
… I was on my way down to catch the bus to the city to teach on Saturday morning. As I passed the Tribe, I heard some little kids calling out my name. I looked back to wave, and saw Ciana racing towards me. Now, Ciana (pronounced jya-NA!), Sinkang the busdriver's little girl, is my favorite kid in Wulai. She is a second grader with beautiful, intelligent eyes. I think they feed her on bricks. Some of these Aborigine kids are not particularly big, but they are about as light as a sack of bricks. Kids in the Tribe love for me to hoist them up into the sky and juggle them around, and with a couple of them, it's exercise.
There are worse ways to go.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
PROPHESY: GEORGE BUSH THE PRESIDENT IS THE 3RD ANTICHRIST, THE DEVIL, AS IS DICK CHENEY THE V.P. IS A DEMON. GEORGE BUSH SR. IS SATAN.
Well, there could be something to that, you know.
ALL ORGANIZED RELIGIONS ARE THE WHORES OF BABYLON. THE VATICAN IS THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN. 12/21/2012, JUDGEMENT DAY WILL OCCUR, AS THE EARTH GOES THROUGH THE CROSSING WHEN THE SOLAR EQUATOR INTERSECTS WITH GALACTIC PLANE AXIS OF THE MILKWAY,GOING TO THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE MILKYWAY.
Promises, promises. After Judgment Day (there's no e between the g and m in judgment, please. If you can prophesy the future, you should at least be able to spell at a junior high school level, and remember that prophesy is a verb, prophecy is the noun), the polemic continues:
1/11/2013 JESUS CHRIST TAKES THE THRONE OF GREAT BRITAIN, AND RULES THE WORLD… AUSTRALIA WILL BE THE GARDEN OF EDEN.
I haven't checked, but I was under the impression that they had water in the Garden of Eden. Australia, the Garden of Eden? That's the least believable part of the whole diatribe.
Thursday, January 01, 2009