Friday, April 29, 2011

Digital cameras are great. You can carry them in a pocket and take hundreds of photos, as I do. You don't have to worry about the expense of having the photos developed. Memory sticks hold thousands of photos. Convenient!

I wish I had had one years back, because I wish I had a photo of this:: in the early 1970s, I was out on a snorkeling trip to the Northeast Coast, near 龍洞、佛祖廟. There was no road. To get there, you either took a boat or walked along the narrow, winding path that went up and down and around the seaside rocks. Maybe a good cross-country mountain biker could ride it, but no motorcycle could have made the trip. Very few people went there.

I used to go out on Saturday morning, jumping into the ocean wherever the water looked nice and I thought I could climb back out again. I would spend the night at 龍洞 on a patch of grass just above the surf, hiding from military patrols searching for infiltrators. The next morning I would go to the Buddhist temple for some water and continue walking and diving all the way to 福隆 the railroad station, where I would catch the train back to Taipei.

The Buddhist temple is over two hundred years old. Even in those days, before the road was put in, it was at the edge of the world. It was several hours' walk from the road head. Behind was the land, ahead lay the ocean. Two hundred years ago, it was isolated from the mass of human beings.

Below the temple was a strange geological feature. Open a book flat. See how the pages lie in parallel lines on either side? That is what the rocks were like. I recall that there were only two such formations in the entire world ~~ when the road was opening, some besotted idiot tore them all out to pour cement for illegal 九孔池 abalone pools.行政院長孫運璿親自率領怪手去挖掉九孔池:難怪大家那麼懷念他!The Premier, Sun Yunhsuan, personally oversaw the removal of the cement pools, but the damage had been done.

But the day I am talking about was several years before that. I would wake up at sunrise, go to the temple to beg for some water to drink, and wander through the parallel rows of stone among the tidal pools. I never saw another person down there in all the times I went.

But I did see something that astonished me, and nobody believes me, either. In these tidal pools, one day I saw a frog swimming. I tasted the water. It was salt water. I was wide awake. It was a frog. A frog swimming in salt water.

I watched it for at least ten minutes, to make sure I wasn't making a mistake. I walked several paces back from the ocean, and the water there was still salty. No doubt about it, there was a frog swimming in saltwater.

To this day, nobody believes me, but I swear it is true. Maybe if I had a photograph…

If I had a photograph, some people would say, That doesn't prove it was saltwater, and they still wouldn't believe me. But it's true.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu has died in Rome, aged here:::

Madame Nhu: boy, does that name drag up a huge heap of memories and associations! What can I say? Bon voyage, I suppose.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This cracks me up! Today’s spam:

Greetings to you,

On behalf of the Bill Gate Funds Foundation, we wish to notify you as a beneficiary of $9,000,000.00 in compensation of scam victims.Do contact OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK, United Kingdom Branch for verification and release of your $9,000,000.00 USD (Nine Million United State's Dollars), that we have deposited with the OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK.

The account log on will be presented to you by the bank in order to access the funds before releasing into your nominated bank account. You will transfer the funds into your nominated account on-line as the OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK,UK will provide the necessary information to you.Do contact the Managing Director of the OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK, with the following details: You are to fill the appropriate form and submit to the bank.

[1] Full Names:.......................

[2] Contact address:.......................

[3] Direct Telephone No:.......................

|4| Occupation :.......................

[5] Age :.......................

[6] Marital Status:.............


Name: Mrs. Roseline Wood


Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Caravan Marvis



Oh, boy, I'm going to be rich! Not only that, but I learned so much from this email! First, now I know it’s called United State's dollars. Second, that the Managing Director of an international bank uses Third, Caravan Marvis must be his real name, because nobody could make up a name like that, not even a Dr. Co-ordinator who works for Bill Gate. Gate? Only one of them? Maybe luckymail doesn't like plurals, United State, Bill Gate.

But it must be for real, because he signed Yours Faithfully! Doesn't that inspire trust and faith?

And also, Oceanic International Bank is based in Nigeria. My, my! Isn't that Mr Gate so cosmopolitan, depositing his fortune in a Nigerian bank! (I don't suppose that Oceanic Bank was actually involved in this deal, but Nigeria, now that rings a bell…)

Laugh if you will, but just wait until I get my nine million dollars. Tell you what, I'll even share it with you. All you have to do is make a small deposit in my account, not much, oh, say, twenty five K or so, for handling, and I will give you a bucket full of money.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Here's a great idea to kick around: a soccer ball that generates electricity when you kick it: click here and here:::





Friday, April 22, 2011

Overheard in 林口



甲 …環島,不是滑倒!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Russia's great poet, Alexander Pushkin, was killed in a duel with a French military officer, Georges d'Anthes. I read recently that the patron of d’Anthes was one Baron Jakob Derk Anne Borchard van Heeckeren-Beeverward. Never mind being called Dakob Jerk, how many duels did he have to fight over that van Heeckeren-Beeverward?

Imagine having to introduce yourself. Hi, my name is van Heeckeren-Beeverward… yes, I said van Heeckeren-Beeverward. One more smirk out of you, sir, and it's ten paces at dawn.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Butterflies taste with their hind feet. This is why you never see butterflies wearing socks, at least not on their hind feet.

Elephants apparently hear sounds, below the range of human hearing, through their feet. This is why you never see elephants wearing shoes.

I am still working on these. So far, I've got the no shoes, no socks part down pretty well.

Isn't it wonderful to have goals in life? If you ever see me standing on a chocolate chip cookie or a CD, you will know I have achieved my goals. Two of them, at any rate.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I am allergic to peanuts. Apparently I am an early case of this allergy, because when I was growing up, nobody else was allergic to peanuts. I haven't really looked into this, but the only person I have heard about who has the same allergy and is older than me is President Jimmy Carter’s brother.

I have a slight allergy. When I smell peanuts up close, my head shakes. If I eat peanuts, my throat closes up, and it feels like the inside of my mouth constricts.

The plot thickens. The women in my family are good bakers, and the best is cousin Annie, who recently came for a visit, and gave me a couple dozen chocolate chip cookies… over half of them were made with peanut butter.

Annie's cookies are well worth risking your life over. I sniffed a cookie, and smelled peanut, but didn't have any reaction to it. I nibbled a bit. Fine. Another nibble. Fine. A bite. Fine. In the interests of scientific investigation, I took a few more bites, and suffered no ill after-effects. I ate a whole cookie, and survived. Taking my life in my hands, I ate another cookie! and another! and I am still here to talk about my brushes with sure death by peanut flavored chocolate chip cookie.

Nowadays plenty of people are allergic to peanuts. In the United States, allergies rose 18% between 1997 and 2007, and in the last ten years, allergic reactions to standard skin prick tests have increased by 95%. An estimated 1.5 million Americans are allergic to peanuts, and about 160 people die from peanuts every year in the US; that’s about 80% of all food allergy fatalities.

Further risking my life for scientific investigation, I heroically tried other foods seasoned with peanuts, and have survived to date. Does that earn me a Noble Prize for Medicine or what? I have yet to try an unadorned peanut, but it seems that, in my case at least, the peanut allergy has weakened with age.

It could be age, it could be my healthy /su vegetarian diet, or it could be that I have become just too dumb to notice the peanuts. If I keel over from this, don't forget to set up a statue of me holding up a peanut, beaten but unbowed, brave in adversity, glorious in defeat. A gilt statue.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lady, just because somebody had the gawd-awful taste to design these atrocious shoes doesn't mean you have to buy them, much less wear them. Have some pity on our eyes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fifty years since the first man in space: click here:::

The Soviet Union was leading the space race with Sputnik, the first satellite, and then in April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became first human being to ride a rocket into space.

The times were full of hope, of courage, and of tension. They seem a world away from us today.

Saturday, April 09, 2011








Fifty per cent of the people the world today have never spoken on a telephone. Think what a different way of living that is! But when I went to college here, in the early 70s, only two or three of the 35 people in my class had a telephone at home.

In those days, every police station had a telephone, so if a phonecall was imperative, people would phone the police station. The police would announce on the public speakers: "Phone call for X!" and X would rush to the police station to talk on the telephone. By the time the conversation was over, the whole village was waiting to hear what all that was about. They didn't have to ask who'd phoned, because the police had already told everybody.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Faithful old Tlahuy has certain marvelous abilities. He cannot possibly comprehend photography, but every time you want to take a photo of him, the moment you get your camera ready, he moves. Or say you want to take a photo of Yumin; just as you are about to snap, Tlahuy will wander in front of your lens. Hunker down to photograph a flower? Tlahuy will step on the flower before you get your camera focused.

Another remarkable ability is that he is so helpful. It has rained so long that two urns out back needed scrubbing, so I got two old scouring pads to go do the job. One pad clearly wouldn't last long, so I used it first, placing the other off to one side until I needed it.

When I needed it, and looked back to get it, who should I see but Tlahuy, very contentedly shredding the scouring pad. You can see the remnants of it on his forelegs in this photo. If you think he looks abashed for his deed, you are sorely mistaken.

Thanks a lot, old buddy.

Confession: this photo is posed. Just as I was about to snap the photo of him with the shredded scouring pad, he stood up and scattered it all over. With great difficulty and patience, I got him to reenact the scene of the crime.

Monday, April 04, 2011



Saturday, April 02, 2011

Here is something I read. I am not responsible for this. Happy April Fool’s +1.

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. She laid her pet on the table. The vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead," replied the vet.

"How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table, and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly, and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill.

"$150!" she cried, "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!"

The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it's now $150."