Friday, September 30, 2011

A Taiwan baseball fan lunges for a ball hit into the stands.... here>>>>>>>

have they found his body yet?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011




Today is Confucius's birthday. Spend a moment today to thank everybody who has taught you, to thank Confucius, and to reflect on what you have learned over the past year.

Monday, September 26, 2011

overheard in a restaurant



A young couple entered the restaurant, took their seats, ordered, and sat there without anything to say for several minutes. Finally, the girl said, "You can trim your fingernails tonight."

Who said that cell phones and FaceBook have killed the art of conversation?

Saturday, September 24, 2011




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This is something I read online:: here::: worth reading, and thinking about: written by Kent Nerburn, when was a taxi driver in Minneapolis.

When I drove up in my taxi cab for a phoned-in pickup, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under the circumstances, many taxi drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing," I told her, "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It’s not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said, "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring, saying nothing.

She suddenly said, "I’m tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held on to me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, and then walked to my taxi. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if the woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Monday, September 19, 2011




Sunday, September 18, 2011







Friday, September 16, 2011




偶爾扗家裏電腦看電影,例如George of the Jungle、中國古裝歷史電影、或原住民語電影,如此而已。

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I hadn't been in a movie theater for some thirty years, I think. I went to high school in the LA area, and went to Hollywood to see first run films there. When I came to Taiwan, and tried to squeeze my long legs into the tightly packed seats, I was ready to give up. Taiwan didn't have money in those days, so foreign films were run threadbare abroad before they came to Taiwan, so they were filled with bright spots and light streaks. In college, I didn't have time for movies anyway. And ancient Chinese books are much more fascinating than movies.

After I graduated, Jaws made a big splash (the first episode). Sharks are interesting creatures, and I love snorkeling, so I decided to see the movie. That was in the spring. A couple months later, the diving season started, and something weird happened. Every time I got down to the bottom of a dive, I'd hear "dum dum dum dum," the movie soundtrack that announces the arrival of The Shark. I was scared.

I thought, what the hey? I have spent countless hours in the ocean since I was a kid, and I had never been scared. Why should I spend good money to go watch a movie to scare myself? That was the last time I went to a movie theater before Seediq Balé.(I forgot to mention there are two parts to the movie. Yesterday we saw Part I.)

From time to time I watch movies on the computer at home, great films such as George of The Jungle, Chinese historical movies, and Taiwan aborigine language films, but that's it.

сорок лет

Thursday, September 15, 2011

seediq bale: blaq ktan balay!




看完出戲院,愕然:套撒毖的一段話:「走出戲院,看到臺北街頭盡是些穿著標新立異、時髦裝酷,實 則弱不經風... 卻又趾高氣昂的孩子,很是心酸~~~ 他們的肩膀可以扛責任? 他們的心胸能夠容山海??? 怎能與雅緻的原民服飾比線條? 怎能與山海之子黝黑、剛柔兼併的臉龐比俊美? 遑論與遠古生活的、心靈的智慧比聰?! 每每見到時下年輕人悉心呵護得自己的每一根頭髮的角度,腳上比地面還乾淨的「粗曠」鞋,還有還有.....我和先生只有一句話想說:m'xan loziq!

What with the publicity barrage, I had my doubts about seeing Seediq Balé. The Seediq are a tribe of Taiwan aborigines, once lumped together with the Dayan/Tayal because of the close similarities. In 1930, under the leadership of Mona Rudo, the Seediq revolted against the Japanese warlords occupying Taiwan. This movie tells the story, which was very well-known in Taiwan, but seems to have slipped out of people's memory in recent years.

In the 1970s, on practically every chance I got, I hiked all over the area in which the revolt took place, because the mountains are very beautiful. I heard stories about the revolt from Seediq people, and used to stay in a hut that was said to be haunted by ghosts of a Japanese family killed while fleeing the revolt (I never saw them.) I have learned a lot from and about Aborigines of many tribes, but mostly Dayan, so Sabiy and I figured we really had to go see this movie. So for the first time in about 30 years, I went to a movie theater.

In a word: if you have the chance, be sure to see this movie. It is a stirring story of a world very different from today's. You can also see the way people then lived, dressed, and acted. The movie was made with great care. It is mainly in Seediq, with Japanese, Bunung, and Minnan Chinese. If you are not familiar with the geography and customs, parts of the movie may be difficult to understand. There are many details that will probably escape most viewers. For example, Mona, the hero, wears bands on his calves. In Dayan, such a band is called a kinraja'. The kinraja' was not just decorative, and not just anybody could wear one. Only a great warrior was entitled to put one on, much less two!

If you like tattoos, you will love this movie, but be aware that, unlike today's tattoos, Taiwan aboriginal tattoos had meaning, and had to be earned.

Usually, the moment a movie is over, as soon as the credits start to roll, the audience starts to rush for the exits. When Seediq Balé was over, a couple people left, but almost the entire audience stayed until all the credits were finished, the lights were turned on, and the theater staff came to prod people to leave.

See it if you can.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On September 10, there was a lot on Yahoo news about a jet with suspicious passengers who wouldn't come out of the bathroom, so F16 jets escorted the plane to a safe landing, where a SWAT team boarded the plane to ensure the passengers' safety. The suspicious passengers were both Israeli citizens, and who knows with these Mid-Eastern types? they might have been agents for Al Qaida. Or maybe they even knew where Hassan kept his super-secret Weapons of Mass Destruction. They were taken off the plane, along with a totally unrelated Russian citizen who happened to be along on the ride, and interrogated. Well done, o ye heroes! Guardians of air safety, apple pie, and the American way!

Follow up news here:::: it seems that the suspicious Israelis in the bathroom were, as the news euphemistically phrased it, "making out" wink-wink, nudge-nudge, mile high. Boy, they chose the wrong day for that!

Two things worth comment: first, I happened to find this follow up report on the UK Yahoo pages, but not the American. I suspect the reason for this is that Homeland Security feels the average American is not up to the shock of reading the words "making out" online.

Second, in the article, the FBI spokesperson says that "The public would rather have us err on the side of caution than not." Oh really? This is based on which study? Since when do we need the FBI to tell us what we would rather? We would rather be shorn of liberty just because the FBI and TSA assume they know what we want? I often think that bin Laden won: shed the freedom our ancestors fought for, live in fear, and obey your rulers.

Monday, September 12, 2011









Today is my fortieth Moon Festival in Taiwan. I hope everybody enjoys the harvest moon, and moon cakes, too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An astronaut had a unique view of the disaster on September 11, 2001.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Awww, nuts, I can’t believe I missed it! August 28, 2011 was one hundred years to the day since Ishi walked out of the mountains.

Friday, September 09, 2011

An article well worth reading about where we came from:here:::

As usual, the American Christian fanatics have come out of the woodwork, insisting that their DOG created man, and that evolution is 'just a theory.' Facts and Truth are the realm of Christianity and Islam, not science; science proposes theories that have not yet been proven false. To date, nobody has proved scientifically that 2 + 2 = 4, but does that stop you from figuring?

It is sad that so much time and energy have to be wasted on such pointless debates.

(note: Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead attempted to prove mathematically and logically that 2 + 2 = 4, but hundreds of pages into the proof, they gave it up as too difficult.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Monday, September 05, 2011



A beautiful brindle Taiwan tugo (Taiwan mountain dog, Taiwan aborigine dog), named Hubao, or Tiger Treasure. You can tell that her owner treasures her. As well she should!!

Saturday, September 03, 2011


I bought a new camera to replace my aging Sony: an Olympus TG – 810: waterproof and shockproof. Just what I need.




This morning I went to help a neighbor clean up the path. Typhoons, heavy rain, and strong winds had brought down a lot of trees, bamboo, and vines, rendering the path almost impassible. Heavy rains wash turtles into the ditch, where they have difficulty getting out, so we discussed remedies. We hacked, pulled down bamboo and vines, and sweat under the bright sun. My bare feet enjoyed the cool mud.

In the evening we went to the wedding party of an old student's son, held at the newly opened, super fashionable W Hotel. Since we got there early, we went to a nearby bookstore. The males in the area floated around at the peak of fashion, exquisitely dressed with fastidious coiffures (hideously grotesque coiffures, mind you, but with great effort put into them) and fine, white skin. Many of these excruciatingly fine darlings were wearing, as fashion stipulates, rough, tough outdoor hiking boots from Timberland; the problem was, the boots all looked like they had just been removed from the box, and were spotlessly clean.

I felt that my new camera was really out of place.

For a follow-up on the hassle of buying an Olympus, please click here:: October 24, 2012

Friday, September 02, 2011