Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The People’s Republic of China is surging ahead on all fronts. Here are buildings under construction there.
兩年前到北京,很震撼;當時想,如果我是美國外交官,我會很害怕,因為北京氣勢太強。紐約與華盛頓加起來還是遜色多。
近日與內人逛掏寶網的服裝,看到苗族刺繡的現代設計,十分訝異。既傳統又創新,很大方、很感設計。臺灣服裝設計有這種氣魄嗎?我沒見過。
剛好朋友寄來這組大陸建築設計,他說:「杜拜算什麼?看看2015年後的中國,這才叫世界第一;台灣藍,綠再惡鬥下去,一切輸了了,最後脫光褲子……世界不會等你台湾!」

Thursday, December 25, 2014

今天是冬至後三天,慶祝很多神的生日,尤其有一位處女生兒子,用布把他包起來放在馬槽裏,牧羊人來讚揚;後來有十二位徒弟,受過洗的信徒禮拜日,即主日,要做禮拜,以羔羊、以獅子代表這位神;說十二月二十五出生的這位當然是西元前三千五百年前的印度波斯神密特拉。後來到來西元前一千五百年,密特拉的信仰傳到了中東,在希臘羅馬盛行。加上很多、很多神的生日都在冬至後三天,即十二月二十五日,所以到了中世紀,羅馬教宗為了拉攏各教派的人,也把耶穌的生日挪到這一天。所以啊,聖誕節快樂:至于是誰的聖誕,請自己選擇,可多著呢。
臺灣不是密特拉信仰的社會,拜基督的也不多,但是拜財神的人非常多,所以商家把聖誕節炒的很熱。今天朋友傳一則聖誕餅的故事,跟大家分享。聖誕節那天起床太晚,走進早餐店時已經近十點了,點了一份燒餅油條。
老板:「我們只有聖誕餅。」
我好奇地問:「聖誕餅長什麼樣子?」
老板指著盤子說:「剩蛋餅!」
Today, three days after the winter solstice, people celebrate the birth of god. Very nice, but which one? The god who as a baby, born of a virgin, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger, where shepherds came to adore him; when he grew up, he baptized his disciples and held worship on Sunday; he had twelve apostles, and was identified with the lamb and the lion; of course it goes without saying that I am describing Mithra, the Indo-Persian god who was born on December 25 in about 3,500 BC. His religion spread to the Near East in around 1500 BC, was prevalent in Greece and Rome, and was practiced from India to Scotland. Oh, you thought I was talking about his understudy Jesus of Nazareth? Of course early Christians commemorated the birth of Jesus in the spring, but since so many other gods had their birthdays on the third day after the winter solstice, in the Middle Ages the Pope decided that Jesus should have his birthday that day, too. Just like Horus, Dionysus, Attis, Baal, and a bunch of others.
But whatever, the more the merrier. Yesterday I read a story I would like to share with you. It seems that a husband and wife were out walking in St Petersburg Square when it started to rain or snow very lightly. It was both, neither one nor the other. As they went along, they discussed this, but couldn’t decide if it was rain or snow. He said rain, she said snow, an impasse. They saw the shopping mall security guard, a communist guy named Rudolf. They thought he would be a fair judge, so they asked him, “Rudolf, is this rain or snow?” Without a moment’s hesitation, Rudolf said, “It’s rain.”
The wife was crestfallen. Her husband was sure Rudolf was right, so he told his wife, “Rudolf the Red knows rain, dear.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A wonderful Christmas story my old friend Bill sent me.
When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee Elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure. 
Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. 
When he went to harness the Reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. 
Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the Elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.  In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor.  He went to get the broom and found the Mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom. 
Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little Angel with a great big Christmas tree.  
The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' 
And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree. 
Not a lot of people know this.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

哪一種水果閒不下來?
答案在本部落本月十九日。

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

廿一日的謎底揭曉:
芒果。

Thursday, December 18, 2014

石油漲價,物價立馬漲。石油跌價‧。‧還扗等…. When oil prices go up, the price of everything else immediately goes up. Okay, so oil prices have fallen. I’m waiting to see when other prices fall. Yeah, good luck. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Taliban have shown again how brave they are. After shooting a teenage girl, they are back on the scene again, shooting students and teachers. It takes a lot of bravery, I suppose, to go shoot up preschoolers, elementary students, and high school kids.
The Taliban have shown again how smart they are. The school they attacked, the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, is in one of the very few nations that shows any sympathy for the Taliban, and a Muslim nation no less. Not only have they alienated their neighbors who have supported them, but by attacking an Army school and killing many soldiers’ children, they have alienated the Pakistan military. Good planning, no?
Even my dogs won’t attack children. For shame!
Amitabha. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

美國政府企圖偷偷地將印地安人聖地送給英澳財團開發礦場。How generous can you get? The US government is giving away Amerindian land to foreign corporations.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I am a hardcore environmentalist, but I have never had patience with Greenpeace. They just don’t have sense.
Now they have trekked in to Nazca, the ancient drawings in Peru, to post signs protesting climate warming. Not only did they show utter disrespect for the site, but they also damaged it, maybe irremediably.
Peruvian Culture Minister Jaime Castillo said the act was “a slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred.” Not only Peruvians, sir.
The culprits showed their contrition by removing themselves from Peru so they cannot be held responsible for their acts.
Greenpeace: The future is renewable; Nazca is not.
Sigh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

光緒年間李伯元著「文明小史」,云:「趙翰林歎道:『我們中國人有一種本事,說到人家的錯處,就同鏡子一般,那眼皮上怎樣一個疤、臉上怎樣一個瘢,絲毫不得差,休想逃得過去;說到自己,便不肯把鏡子回過來照照。殊不知瘢兒疤兒多著哩!』」
像不像臺灣的輿論?
應該發起全民運動,大家熟讀韓愈原毀」。也許這樣能帶動進步。

Sunday, December 07, 2014

An interesting analysis of Pearl Harbor:
Sunday, December 7th, 1941 – Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him.
When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked.
As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"
Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?"
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"
Nimitz explained.
Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk – we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.
One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top-of-the-ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.
That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Now this is a pretty kettle of fish. It seems that the English royal family isn’t. Isn’t royal, that is. The news report says, “Analysis of DNA from Richard III has thrown up another surprise: evidence of infidelity in his family tree…. It could cast doubt on the Tudor claim to the English throne.”
Now what are they to do? Hand back the crown? Pay back rent for Buckingham Palace?
I can just hear Queen Elizabeth II now: “Well, it’s been a lovely sixty years, and I thank you all, but I believe I will leave this mess for my heirs to sort out.”
However, there is good news for the old bean: Dr Anna Whitelock of the University of London says, “The Queen’s right to reign is based on the 1701 Act of Settlement that restricted succession to Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover. A medieval false paternity does not challenge the current Queen’s right to reign.” That’s a relief. Once you get into the habit of reigning, it’s a hard habit to break.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Overheard in the jungle
子:媽,我去當兵,妳會哭嗎?
母:才四個月,有甚麼好哭的?
Son: Ma, when I go to do my military service, will you cry?
Ma: It’s only four months, what’s there to cry about?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

連勝文這種候選人還能拉到五十萬票,可見國民黨在臺北市的臺基仍然雄厚。

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nnwah qruzyux qosun. 家圍繩代籬;午餐後,內人洗碗,說,廚房外面繩子上有一條蛇。果然,一條長越兩百公分的錦蛇慢慢爬過。很美。透過紗廠拍影片。We have a rope around our property in place of a fence. After lunch, Sabiy went to do the dishes, and told me, There’s a snake climbing the rope outside the kitchen window. Sure enough, there was a Striped Racer (elaphe taenuria) over 200 centimeters long (well over six feet) tight-rope walking along the rope. A beautiful sight, which I filmed through the screen.

Friday, November 28, 2014

君王在位,民眾只好認命服從,明也昏也,是好是壞,賢也愚也,是善是暴,黔民自己拿捏,求其生存之道。對君王,只能包容,只能聽天由命,君王如何,看其壽數,吾王駕崩矣,嗚呼哀哉,太子立為新主再說。
舊時婚姻亦復如是。終身大事,嫁乞隨乞,嫁雞隨雞,嫁叟隨叟,嫁狗隨狗。合不合,不是重點,睜一隻眼閉一隻眼,平安過日子才要緊。只能包容,能過就過,不得太計較。況且古人壽命不永,臨盆分娩如委命劊子手,大丈夫一病,兩腳一蹬,一命歸西,嗚呼。
現在的婚姻可不是這樣。熱戀結婚,拍婚紗多羅曼蒂克,只要他願意娶我、她願意嫁我,就能締造幸福美滿的人生。蜜月過了,就開始挑剔:為甚麼妳不像電影裏的女主角那麼完美?以為你是白馬王子,怎麼不會讓我從此過著幸福無憂的日子?雙眼睜的大大的,只怕漏過對方的某一小缺點沒好好算帳。反目成仇,離了,沒關係!下一段婚姻必定幸福美滿:我不需要檢討,我不需要改進,只要換人,必定幸福美滿。
像不像現代民主選民對政壇的態度?
選舉前,選民愛候選人愛之如命,如火如荼,只要投他一票,就會創造人間樂園。選後,民眾就開始炮轟;眼中他怎麼做就是不對,就是無能,就是笨蛋一個。講話盡量狠毒不饒人,嚴以律人,寬以待己,從不想說民眾扯後腿他好不好辦事?在他的位置看是否有甚麼不同?他的責任重不重?只想罵個痛快,趕快換人做做看,因為只要這個人下臺,臺灣就要幸福美滿。

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Who says Americans have the right to bear arms? White Americans, especially wealthy white Americans have the right to bear arms, but for black Americans, having a gun is punishable by death, immediately, without benefit of trial. 
Yes, the kid was misbehaving, and yes he sure was stupid to point his toy pistol at people, but no, that does not amount to a crime punishable by death. He was only a 12 year old. Please raise your hand if you didn’t do anything stupid when you were twelve. If you raised your hand, I don’t believe you.
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving, too. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fascinating! Who can say what is going to pop up in the least expected place?
Bet you’ve never heard of the Saint Omer Library in a small town in northern France either. But that’s where somebody stumbled across a treasure: a first folio of Shakespeare’s works, published in 1623, only 17 years after the Bard died. It is one of the 750 folios known. Who knows what might turn up next?

Monday, November 24, 2014

難道臺北沒有人嗎?只有柯丶連兩個庸才?
柯文哲唯一優點是,他不是連勝文。
看樣子,臺北市要空轉四年。

Thursday, November 20, 2014

今天開刀,換人工髖關節。願一切順利。
為了開這個刀,走進醫院,看見眾生的病苦,我自認僥倖:換人工關節,現在是醫院的家常便飯,例行公事。
願所有眾生離苦得樂。阿彌陀佛。

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

新黨回來了。
這個黨很特別。二十年前,時值臺灣奇蹟,臺灣算經濟強國;大家看準臺灣將成為亞太金融中心,港日根本不看在眼裏,甚至很多人認為臺灣可以超越瑞士成為世界金融中心。在這種無限發展的憧憬,新黨崛起。
那也是街頭運動時。每次示威選擇在上班尖峰時間開始,我們城中區民很可憐,要上班沒路走。上班時,霹靂轟炸,都是怒吼辱罵,音量盡量放大,好像在戰場邊上班。下班回家時,路景面目全非,到處都是垃圾,到處噴標語。若有示威民眾逗留在那,最好不要正眼看,免得被罵。我們的學生來上課,過公園,迴避民進黨的政見發表會,不然會被壓去拍手。
(說明:我上下班路線過立法院,上班靠近總統府。)
新黨組織起來了,風格截然不同。每個人都很歡喜,搞不清楚他們這個party是參加政黨政見發表會或者另外一種party
黃大州、陳水扁、趙少康競選臺北市長的辯論會有一段可以點出三個黨的不同做風。捷運木柵線正在建,但是工程出了問題,請三位候選人評論。黃大州:「捷運工程出了問題嗎?不會吧!」陳水扁:「捷運是國民黨的東西,我們不要!我們把現有的工程拆除,恢復原狀,不要捷運。」趙少康從工程的專業知識討論如何補救、如何更有益的發揮捷運的空間等等。藍營票源分了,陳水扁當選,借用趙少康的方法。
(當時有人反對捷運,原因是「捷運是國民黨的東西」。三重新莊反對捷運,成功不讓捷運進入他們的地盤,這種勝利到現在才彌補。另一方面,已經規劃好了機場捷運,乘客到西門町辦好登機手續,行李交給航空公司,只需帶carry on luggage就在西門町上捷運到機場;建地已經買好了,準備要動工,遇到總統大選,陳水扁認為他們表示的「敬意」不夠,他當選後,勒令公司解散,整個計畫泡湯了。原來路線比現在的直,因為那時地價比較便宜;到現在還沒通車,臺北市區辦登機的計畫也付之一炬。)
當時不必問,年輕讀書人清一色都支持新黨。我試驗過,一百五十多人的班上問,誰支持黃大州?沒有一個舉手。陳水扁?只有一位舉手,是班上唯一的「老」學生,四十幾歲。趙少康?其它人都把手舉的高高直直的,臉帶笑容。
今年選舉有一位候選人的看板寫「板橋綠營唯一台大生」;若是當年新黨候選人,最高學歷列為台大的,有,但很高的比例是留學碩、博士,都是Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley等一流學校,沒有學店生。政見理智、深入、有遠見、有志氣,真的讓人覺得臺灣可以成為世界舞臺上舉足輕重的角色。所以新黨第一次選舉表現優異…..
….然後新黨煙消雲散,不見了。
十幾年前問,新黨在幹麼?大家已經忘記了「新黨」這個詞。不見了,不知道到哪裏去了。
臺灣的前途也不見了,在不斷的抗爭、辱罵、反對、拒絕、爭權的風氣下,大家已經忘記了往日的胸襟。
現在的新黨如何,我不了解,只希望大家想起往日的胸襟。錯過一個千載難逢的機會,現在不是怒罵的時候,該冷靜想如何收拾殘局,如何走好下一步棋

Sunday, November 16, 2014

今年四月寫的,忘了舖:
重慶北路林華泰茶行是百年老店,我在那裏買茶葉已經三十幾年。每年必買三峽龍井(臺北縣三峽,不是長江三峽)。從最早以前(民國六十八年吧)一斤四百,三十年慢慢漲到去年一斤八百。今年他們也賣大陸龍井,三峽龍井一斤一千六,大陸龍井一斤八百。
只有臺灣茶葉的市場,三十年才漲一倍,大陸貨一進來,臺灣茶葉一年就漲一倍。
*
幾年前,臺北的補習業者緊張,因為上海一個龐大補習班集團派人來臺灣調查市場。他們資金太雄厚,臺灣業者沒辦法比。
結果,上海那方繞了幾圈就打退堂鼓。一方面,他們認為臺灣的師資比自己的好,在品質方面不能與臺灣的補習班競爭,而另一方面,他們說臺北地區才四、五百萬人,市場太小:大陸多得是五、六百萬人的都市,到內地開發就好了,懶得來臺灣。
*
反服貿,怕大陸商人入侵,他們擠得進門嗎?臺灣市場充斥美國、日本、韓國貨,哪輪得到大陸商品?
大家愛臺灣,所以不買臺灣貨,要歐美日韓進口的才抬得起頭;悍衛臺灣市場,不給大陸貨進來,保護歐美日韓的利益。妙。

Saturday, November 15, 2014

百步蛇是排灣族的圖騰(守護神、祖先);排灣/卑南雕刻大師鹿樣說,「在排灣族,百步蛇有幾個名稱:Tasalad(伙伴)、 Kamavanan(真正的、正是)、 Kavulungan(祖先)、Kamabanan(長老)、Vulung(蛇王)。」The Hundred Pacer / deinagkistrodon is a poisonous pit viper that is the totem of the Paiwan tribe in southern Taiwan. The Paiwan/Pinuyumayan master carver Luyang says that in Paiwan, the snake has several names: tasalad (companion), kamavanan (the true one), kavulungan (ancestor), kamabanan (elder), and vulung (king of snakes). 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hozin說,汽油降到30.7,太讚!這麼便宜,要多買!所以我今早把油箱裏的油倒掉了一半,騰出空間來裝30.7的油。

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

from a court transcript, Fresno, California:
Q. Did you observe anything?
A. Yes, we did. When we found the vehicle, we saw several unusual items in the car in the front right floorboard of the vehicle. There was what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail, a green bottle –
Counsel. Objection. I’m going to object to that word, Molotov cocktail.
The Court: What is your legal objection, Counsel?
Counsel. It’s inflammatory, your honor. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Goodbye, good riddance, never come again, it’s 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down. Many thanks to Harald Jäger who put the final straw on the camel’s back. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

選戰已展開,各出絕招。有的候選人目標說不上長遠。看到一位要爭取「免費wifi」;另外一位宣稱「為中和、永和爭取Ubike!」。如今臺灣面對非常嚴重的問題,候選人只能想到wifiUbike、運動中心、刨路鋪路,不如留在家裏,不要參選。你們到底要做甚麼?不要光喊一些模稜兩可、空洞的口號。「一生懸命」要為我們做啥?
很奇怪的現象,就是宣傳資料加外文。可能是蔡英文,因為名字畢竟是英文,所以宣傳資料點綴兩個英文字,Taiwan next。至于為甚麼要選這麼恐嚇口吻的口號(「下一個要幹掉臺灣!」),我也不懂,可是風氣開了,現在很多候選人要加幾個外文字母。最離譜的是桃園一位台聯候選人的口號:Taoyuan UP!這是命令狗的語氣,我叫你站起來你就得站起來!
一般而言,藍營的英文錯得比較少,也是應該的,因為一般而言,藍營的教育程度高些。可是為甚麼在國內選舉要加外文?在美國,有的選區中、南美洲的移民多,英文不太靈光,所以有西班牙語的宣傳資料,可是有幾個中華民國籍的選民英文比中文好?
法國、德國等歐洲國家的英文程度遠比臺灣高,但是如果候選人宣傳資料加英文,一定被罵死,永無當選的時日。宣傳資料加外文,似乎宣佈對自己文化沒信心、把自己的語言放到一個卑微地位,要有外文才光榮。

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

文殊師利般若經
一一諸佛說法教化,各度無量恒河沙眾生,皆入涅槃,於眾生界亦不增不減。何以故?眾生定相不可得故,是故眾生界不增不減。….
雖為一切眾生發大莊嚴心,恒不見有眾生相。為一切眾生發大莊嚴,而眾生趣亦不增不減。假使一佛住世,若一劫若過一劫,如此一佛世界,復有無量無邊恒河沙諸 佛,如是一一佛,若一劫若過一劫,晝夜說法,心無暫息,各各度於無量恒河沙眾生,皆入涅槃,而眾生界亦不增不減。乃至十方諸佛世界,亦復如是。一一諸佛說 法教化,各度無量恒河沙眾生,皆入涅槃,於眾生界亦不增不減。何以故?眾生定相不可得故,是故眾生界不增不減。

Friday, October 31, 2014

Homemade costumes are always best.
常問學生兩個問題,臺灣學生一定答錯。
一、萬聖節是甚麼時候?
二、美國人過萬聖節嗎?
公佈答案:萬聖節是十一月一日,在美國聽都沒聽過萬聖節。我來臺灣之前不知道有萬聖節。
美國人過的是鬼節, Halloween: hallowed e’eneve,即萬聖節前夕。十一月一日,萬聖節,All Saints’ Day,說真的,我不太清楚是哪裏的節日,好像是天主教的吧。

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I am hardly a raging feminist, but I do believe in fairness. 
Recently, every single Republican in Congress voted against 
equal pay for equal work.
Now this gem:
Those who suspect this was taken out of context may read the entire speech HERE::

Saturday, October 25, 2014

南北朝史,看胡夏霸王賀連勃勃四處攻擊,攻擊是為了屠城,屠城是為了斬首,斬首是為了高築骷髏臺,就是這樣。
臺灣何等僥倖。北京很有耐心慢慢斡旋慢慢磨,已經磨了幾十年,讓我們過了幾十年安定生活。萬一哪一天蠻橫武將殺出一條血路,推翻共產黨,自立為帝,如瘋狗狂咬,一旦發兵收臺灣,只需曲指之力,我們午餐來不及吃已經成為戰俘。
福中要知福,而臺灣目前力氣耗在入室操戈。內訌沒有建設,只是敗亡的預兆。大家好好修行吧。

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In 1909, Jack London wrote A Piece of Steak; an aging boxer, Tom King, loses a critical match because he is too poor to buy a piece of steak to give him power: for want of a piece of steak, a boxing match was lost. LINK
As a su-veg martial artist, I have always doubted this. I practiced martial arts for over 15 years before I dropped all animal products from my diet, and immediately found my power and stamina markedly improved. 
Where did Chinese martial arts come from? From the “fighting monks” of 少林寺Shaolin temple; the su-veg diet is Buddhist (no animal products, no garlic, leeks, onions). Don’t try to tell me that monks in such a strict temple did not 守戒follow the precepts!
An interesting archeological find shows what Roman gladiators ate: mainly beans and grain, not meat. Romans called gladiators hordearii, meaning they ate barley. LINK
Put down Tom King’s loss rather to that pipe he was smoking, which robbed him of his wind. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“NASA has observed, studied, and then confirmed that the Dust Bowl of 1934 was the worst in 1000 years for North America.” LINK
hard times, hard times, they weren't kidding when they said hard times.
The most vivid image of the Dust Bowl from Mom was that when the dust storms came, they would stuff towels under the doors and around windows, but so much of the fine dust came in that she could continuously wipe a table, and it would never be free from dust.

Monday, October 20, 2014

現在石油降價了,九五才31.5。很後悔。前一陣子很貴,三四、三五,早知道就等降了再加油。

Sunday, October 19, 2014

萬般不捨。十年前,買了幾件達彥包,都是耆老用傳統方法編苧麻。其中一個背網被蛀,沒辦法救。只好把能用的部位取下來~苧麻繩真難剪!剛好有一棵沉香想種,就供背網的殘片來滋養:達彥的織品,終歸達彥的地。A dozen years ago, I bought some Tayal bags, woven out of ggi/ramie by tribal elders, in traditional style. One of them, a tokan/pack, got eaten by bugs and was beyond repair. With great reluctance, I removed the salvageable parts, and with great difficulty, too, because cutting ggi twine is like trying to cut steel. I happened to have a tree to plant, so I offered the remains of the tokan to the tree: Tayal weaving returning to Tayal land.

Friday, October 17, 2014

現代生活煩躁、聒噪:生活空間狹隘、生活壓力大、機械的噪音不斷,所以現代音樂也跟著聒噪。聽一下流行音樂:一言以敝之,就是「哇哇大叫」。
天下最內斂的樂器大概是古琴。很幸運,我們買到「太古遺音」最後兩張票,「十二位青年琹人展演;彈的是名副其實的「古」琴:現代琴一床,由琴匠親彈;明琴四床、元琴二床、宋琴四床、唐琴一床。或許今天世界上臺演奏的樂器,這床「驚濤」唐琴最古老。很高興看到這麼多青年延續這個古老、優雅的藝術。
超的青訪朋友錦德是舞臺監督,說這場表演的音響特別難搞,因為古琴的音與其它樂器不同,麥克風非常難處理,而每床琴又不同。但我們坐觀眾席聽得音很豐富、堅實、多層、空曠,欲言之,辭窮矣。其音之寂靜,它樂之所無也
We live in such a noisy world that even our music is noisy.
We went to a concert of twelve up-and-coming artists playing the ch’in (qin, guqin), the most introspective of musical instruments. The instruments they played were, with one exception, old. The exception was a modern ch’in played by the luthier who made it. Four of the ch’in in the performance were from the Ming dynasty (say about 500 years old), two from the Yuan (600 years, think Marco Polo), four from the Sung (a thousand years old), and one from the Tang. That would make it roughly 1300 years old, probably one of the world’s oldest musical instruments being performed on in concert.
Sabiy’s friend Chingdeh was stage manager. He says the ch’in is unlike any other instrument, and not only presents unique acoustic problems, but also, each ch’in is different: a real headache for setting up microphones.
The sound, indescribable: rich, varied, overtones, layered, but with a quiet and elegance found in no other instrument.
here is an example of the ch'in; this lady did not perform tonight. 
舞臺上屏風錄「列子御風」琴譜。其詞曰
凭虛馭風
俯視寰壤
渺焉六合
不知風乘我
不知我乘風
志在沖漠
遊神太清
長嘯空碧
振衣罡

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This is a few days late, but….
On October 13, 1362, for the first time ever the Chancellor of England opened Parliament with a speech in English. The same Parliament passed a Statute of Pleading which permitted members to use English in debate, making it an official language of law and legislation.
October 13 is now English Language Day. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Some very creative use of English in an article with the headline
BAYERN NEXT YEAR TO CHINA HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE MELON HANDSOME HARD COACH
It’s apparently about a German football team. The interviewer asks probing questions, such as “You earned a pours?”
A fascinating question. I am not sure how I would have answered. But then, I admit I am not a melon handsome hard coach.

Monday, October 13, 2014

To be sure, we don’t pay all that much attention to Hungary, unless we’re making puns on the word Hungry, with Turkey nearby. Yes, it is the home of Dracula, it has the world’s highest concentration of people named Kovacs, and its language, Magyar, is of interest. Other than that, what’s going on in Hungary? Who knows? Who cares?Maybe it’s time to look more carefully. They are moving right in a disturbing manner. Their president, Viktor Orban, has plans to turn Hungary into an “illiberal state.” Doesn’t sound promising.
LINK

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A very interesting video on sunspot cycles. We could be heading into a mini-ice age. If so, food production will drop, the rich will get the food, and the poor will not just lie down and die. There could be chaos coming. Now is the time to prepare, so that disaster can be averted. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

大家都認識很多姓劉的人吧。可是姓項的,少見。
但如果困在垓下的是劉邦而不是項羽,也許今天項是大姓,很少遇見姓劉的人。
當然,歷史好玩就在于因緣千變萬化,絕無必然。劉邦建立漢朝,有蕭何為股肱,種種條件,而劉邦出生民間,所以漢能歷數百年,子嗣繁多。而項羽為楚貴族,能不能得民心、立政能不能久存,實無法論斷。

Sunday, September 28, 2014

孔子誕辰現在不是國定假日,我們還需要管它嗎?臺灣教育最重要的任務,早已經不是甚麼增強國力啦、栽培人才啦、訓練思考能力啦、培養人格啦、德育群育體育美育智育這些老套,我們講白一點,好不好?臺灣教育最重要的任務,是討好家長、讓她們不要投訴。萬世師表下臺鞠躬。
嗚呼~~~~~~~
Today is Confucius’s Birthday; in the ROC, it used to also be a national holiday, Teacher’s Day, until politics was deemed more important than education.
No matter what, take a moment to day to consider what you have learned since last Confucius’s Birthday. Mentally thank your teachers. You may not have been standing on the shoulders of giants, but even standing on the shoulders of a midget, you can see further than you could just standing on the ground.
Now get off that midget, find some great books to read, keep learning, and keep growing.
教師節放假,一個重要意義,是讓學生知道教育是崇高的:放假不是為了哪個部隊殺死了哪個部隊、不是為了某些人認為天上有哪些神明不高興就可以讓我們下地獄、不是為了哪個政治人物爬到了別人頭上,而是為了提醒我們,人是個能思考的動物,是這個世界上唯一能夠思深慮邃的動物:我們能思考,我們的思考可以進步,如果有老師開導,可以少走千年百歲的冤枉路。我們可以訓練我們的腦筋、可以突破現狀、可以發揮潛力。而自古啟迪我們的,是夫子,從小領導我們的,是老師。這還不夠我們放假嗎?
有人說,假期太多,只好刪,以免影響臺灣的競爭力。學生天天上課,但是倘若教育不受重視、家長對老師頤指氣使,再上多少課也不會增強臺灣,卻讓臺灣每下愈況。如果學生知道教育地位崇高、受社會重視,是傳遞經驗、陶冶人格最重要的過程,即使多放一天假,利遠遠多于弊。
北魏‧崔浩曰,「為國計者,惟社稷是利。」我管你甚麼政治利益、爭權籌碼的假日,有比「尊師重道」更能利社稷的嗎?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pearls of Chinese wisdom
中文:心無旁鶩
英譯:He has no duck beside his heart.

按:說文:、亂馳也,从馬敄聲。兦遇切
說文:、舒鳧也,从鳥務聲。莫卜切

心無旁騖,多訛為心無旁敄鳥,非也。除非要強調心邊沒有鴨子。

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A primary goal of education is to teach you how to think: how to concentrate on the subject at hand to reach a solution. This requires… well, what do you know? concentration requires concentration, that you focus on your object and ignore extraneous data.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that what you do regularly influences your thinking and thus your mind. If you keep your mind active, your mind is active; if you live on soap operas and singing shows, you probably think Dubya was a great president.
Studies in Britain show that second screening, or watching tv while surfing the internet and facebook, may alter the brain, cause brain damage, and even cause depression and emotional problems.
LINK a very interesting article, worth reading.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

資治通鑑記南燕王慕容超侵信其大臣公孫五樓
公孫五樓(活躍于西元400年前後),南燕左衛將軍、武衛將軍、征虜將軍、屯騎校尉、侍中、尚書。
外傳:公孫氏,其父有庶長子,名曰公孫地下室;公孫五樓之後裔,于今為第二十八代,名為公孫電梯大廈。

說有多無聊~~~~哈。

Monday, September 22, 2014

I should have become a surgeon. LINK This guy sent in a bill for US$117,000 for just standing by the operating table. Heck, I don’t even have to become a surgeon, I’ll just stand there for US$20,000. You get the same results, and what a bargain!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

九二一地震已經十五年了
紀念一下、珍惜平安的日子。

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My mother lived on a farm in Baca County, Kansas, and yup, they were right there when the Dust Bowl hit.
But they had some good years before that. Everybody worked hard, and  everybody had chores to do. Mom’s included feeding the animals, during harvest waking the hired help, helping with the cooking, and so on.
For help with the harvest, they hired big strong young men who worked hard for their pay. They would start the morning’s work, eat breakfast, do more work, eat lunch, work more, eat supper, work more, eat dinner, work more, and drop into a dead sleep. They were usually too tired to even change clothes before they went to bed, or rather, dropped onto the bed. They were probably asleep even before they reached the mattress. It wasn’t always easy to wake them in the morning.
One evening, Mom realized her kitty cat was missing. She searched everywhere for it, but couldn’t find it. Finally, it was getting late, so she decided she’d just have to go to bed and worry about it the next day.
Early the next morning, she went to wake up the hired hand. He was dead to the world, but she shook him for a while, and he managed to sit up in bed. 
When he sat up, Mom found her kitty cat: apparently it had been snoozing on the man’s nice warm bed when he hit the sack. The cat was flattened out, like a pancake. The hired hand saw Mom’s expression and then saw the cat. He had been so tired that he slept on top of the cat the whole night without even noticing it.
As they watched, the cat slowly pulled itself back into a three dimensional shape, shook itself a few times, and wandered off, a bit unsteadily.
Mom said it was like something you’d expect to see in a cartoon. She said, he was a good worker, but you could tell he was no princess.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Passengers waiting for a connecting flight were told that the plane hadn’t arrived, because of the weather. The airline staff told them they might have to wait from two to five hours.
The passengers complained, “Can’t you be more specific? When will the jet get here?”
The airline people shrugged and said, “It’s up in the air.” 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

猜一個成語
AAAAAAAAAAAA
BBBBBBBBBB

CCCCCCCCCCCC
DDDDDDDDDDD
EEEEEEEEEEEEE

解答:按======

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The American Bar Association Journal ::link:: reports that an atheist soldier in the US Air Force was not allowed to reenlist because he declined to swear an oath with the words “so help me god.”
This intrigues me. If you don’t believe in god, you aren’t permitted to kill your fellow man.
Dunno why, but Alice's Restaurant keeps running through my head.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Qimpahu:龜殼花:Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus: pit viper
連續三個晚上回家時,在水缸遇到這位小鄰居,恐怕是等著青蛙吧。也許吃飽了,因為後來沒再出現。For three nights in a row, when we came home we found this little neighbor perched on one of our urns. It was probably waiting for frogs, got one, and didn’t come back.
景公出獵,上山見虎,下澤見蛇。歸,召晏子而問之,曰:「今日寡人出獵,上山則見虎,下澤則見蛇,殆所謂不祥也?」晏子對曰:「國有三不祥,是不與焉。夫有賢而不知,一不祥;知而不用,二不祥;用而不任,三不祥也。所謂不祥,乃若此者。今上山見虎,虎之室也;下澤見蛇,蛇之穴也。如虎之室、如蛇之穴而見之,曷為不祥也?」(In the 6th century BC,) Duke Jing of Chi was out hunting. In the mountains he saw a tiger, and in the wetlands he saw a snake. Returning, he called for his great minister Yen Ying and asked, “These must be unlucky omens, right?” Yen replied, saying, “There are three unlucky omens for a country, and these do not count. The first unlucky omen is there are able and virtuous people that the government doesn’t know about. The second unlucky omen is that the government knows about able and virtuous people but doesn’t use them. The third unlucky omen is that the government uses these able and virtuous people but doesn’t give them a free hand. These are the three unlucky omens, and that’s all there is to it. If you see a tiger in the mountains, the mountains are the tiger’s home; if you see a snake in the wetlands, the wetlands are the snake’s home. If you see a tiger or snake in its home, what can be unlucky about that?”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

很可憐:怎麼跟親朋好友解釋是誰把他打的鼻青臉腫?How can this poor guy possibly explain who beat the stuffings out of him? Hahahaaaa!!!!

Monday, September 08, 2014

用龍眼碳燒端午水泡普洱、鐵觀音,與太座賞月、吃月餅,人生如此自可樂!We enjoyed the moon along with some of our best tea. All the best for the Moon Festival!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

中秋節賞月,清雅!烤肉,搞得污煙瘴氣~~
但怎麼樣,要烤肉不需要烤自己的肉
No matter how much you like barbecues, this is taking
active participationtoo far!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Our friends the Japanese are cheerfully wiping out whales and calling it “research” ::LINK::. I guess sort of like the “research” they did on citizens in northern China during WWII ::link::. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Meet Laniakea. LINK
Let’s round out the figures and say a typical long-distance passenger jet flies at a speed approaching 1000kph. At that speed, you can fly across the Pacific in about nine or ten hours, from Taiwan to LA. Once I flew from Hong Kong to New York and back, about 16 hours non-stop each way (which is really longer than you want to sit on a plane). 
If you could fly to the sun at that speed, without stopping, you would reach the sun in about twenty years. Think of all the inflight movies, and shudder!
How big is our sun? If you take all the mass in our solar system, the sun is about 99.8% of all that mass, and Jupiter is about 0.18%, so you and I, Mars, Venus, the asteroid belt, all that, are what’s left over.
It takes light about eight minutes to reach us from the sun. Okay? And it takes light four years and four months to reach the next star over.
Light from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, travels 25,000 years to reach us, and the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years from side to side, give or take a few weeks. 
Our sun is just an average star, not too big, not too little. Let’s say there are a hundred more times stars in the Milky Way than there are people on Earth.
Our galaxy is just an average galaxy, not too big, not too little. It belongs to a larger group, called a supercluster, the Laniakea I just introduced you to. There are about 100,000 galaxies like ours (galaxies, not stars) in Lankiakea, and it has 100,000,000,000,000,000 (100 quadrillion) times the mass of our sun. 佛說「恆河沙諸佛」,不是隨便說的,天星比恆河沙多以億倍計。
Laniakea is Hawaiian, and means “immense heavens.” Immense indeed. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

While we are busy wiping out species right and left, we are also realizing that the ecosystem is far more complex, and holds far more variety, than we had imagined.
Off the coast of Australia, scientists have found “deep sea mushrooms” which do not fit into any known category of animal life. 
This article ::LINK:: was issued “as a cry of help,” so if you can figure out where these deep sea mushrooms belong on the tree of life, do take some time to relieve the anxiety which these scientists are undergoing. 



Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bet you’ve never heard of Washtub, either. You weren’t supposed to.
In 1950, the US was so worried that the USSR would invade Alaska that the FBI trained SBA: stay behind agents, those who would stay in Soviet occupied Alaska and feed intelligence to US forces. 
A fascinating look at a very tense time: LINK::

Monday, September 01, 2014

Bye bye Martha. Martha was the very last passenger pigeon. She died one hundred years ago today. LINK
Remember that only a few decades before, there were billions of passenger pigeons. John James Audubon wrote about a flock in western Kentucky that took three days to pass overhead. Flocks were so big that simply by perching in trees, their weight broke thick branches.
And then they were all killed, all except Martha and George in a zoo. George died, then Martha, and none remain. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce the invention of the long-awaited
BAMBUBA /竹巴
or, the bamboo tuba/竹製土巴/低音號

My giant bamboo was knocked over in the last typhoon, so I have used this chance to make a Bambuba, complete with bamboo mouthpiece. The bamboo is fresh cut and not entirely dry, so it now weighs about 15kg, so don’t ask me to join your marching band just yet. I am still considering whether or not to carve in tone holes. If I do, obviously the instrument will be tuned to the key of B, for Bambuba.
I am patiently awaiting news from Sweden, from the Nobel Prize Committee, to see if they will award me the Nobel Prize for Music and Magnanimous Contribution to Humanity this year, or if it’s too late this year, then next.
In the meantime, I am busy transcribing the score of Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello for the Unaccompaniable Bambuba. Wait for the world premier!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today’s nomination for a Darwin Award goes to ::::::: link
A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use an automatic Uzi.
Where do we begin to count the ways that’s wrong? 
All who are surprised that such a thing could happen in Arizona, please bang your head on a wall until you have some more sense. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

颱風把巨竹吹倒了,現在將做為弓、鼓、鐘、碗等等材料。起勁的話,也可以幫巨人做一雙竹筷。
罪右邊的那枝長一百九十公分左右。
The last typhoon blew over my giant bamboo (sob sob), so now to make good use of the bamboo, to make bows, bowls, bells, drums, or maybe a pair of really ferocious numchuks.
The shortest one, on the far right, is about six feet long.

Monday, August 25, 2014


今早金、木星聯珠 Jupiter and Venus lined up early this morning. Very early. Having taken some photos, being a sensible person, I went back to bed.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

聽說有木,謂大丁紅,一條如指粗以打人,內傷不治。
上網查,藥材有丁紅草,顧名思義,是草。
或曰土杜仲亦名大丁紅、 本杜仲、 疏花衛矛,但又曰泰雅語為supeasupea當為spia誤,而spia當為梓樹。未聞spia有此威力。
我有一弓,傳統達彥製,為spia木。誠徵有志之士,願為科學冒險,有奉獻精神,供我以spia弓打,以驗其果有威力與否。有意者內洽。

Monday, August 18, 2014

When you least expect it, suddenly, out of nowhere! the missing foot!! ATTACKS!! aaaarrraaAAAAAHHHH!!! BEWARE!!!