Friday, December 25, 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A lady wearing a tee shirt that had a picture of a cat and underneath said:
Come play
my pussy

Friday, November 27, 2015

Overheard near NTU/臺大
She: For English Lit, it’s better to have a Taiwanese teacher.
He: How so?
She: Cultural difference. The English teacher tells us things we don’t know, but the Taiwanese teacher tells us things we already know.
是啊,萬一上課學到新東西怎麼辦呢?That makes sense. What would happen if a teacher told you something you didn’t know?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

唐、段成式著筆記小說集「酉陽雜俎」,說不定清朝以來沒出版過。想看,無書,幾年前史國興教授給我「四部備要」中「酉陽雜俎」的PDF檔,而現在Wikisources也有。可是電腦看,不過癮:半夜睡不著不想開電腦,清閒更不想看電腦。前幾天剛好無聊,看著Wikisources,想搜尋一下,很意外地發現,今年七月中華書局出版了!四冊,而最開心的是,用正體直書。毫不猶豫訂了一套,今日收到了,樂矣! YouYang Tzatzu is a collection of miscellaneous stories from the Tang dynasty, the 9th century. It hasn’t been published for centuries, but fortunately, Curtis Smith sent me a PDF copy and it’s on Wikisources. But reading on a computer isn’t so much fun. The other day I just happened to google it, and found out that just this July, a new version was published! Wonderful! Four volumes, in traditional script, top to bottom, right to left, what more can you ask for (okay, no punctuation would be nice, but good enough!)
You probably have never heard of this collection, but there is one story in it that everybody knows: it is the earliest recorded version of the story of 葉限link Yeh Hsien link, which traveled thousands of kilometers for over a thousand years to become better known as Cinderella. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This morning a mosquito whining by my ear woke me up. I wondered, why do mosquitoes always whine?
I guess they’re whining about their bloody line of work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Friday, November 13, 2015

在羅斯福路,從萬隆往景美,早就注意到有一間小小的打鐵店。最近去看看。師傅姓謝,苗栗客家人,在這裏打鐵已經四、五十年。他剛來時,羅斯福路旁都是竹林。現在是大樓林立。Some years ago I noticed a small smithy on Roosevelt Road, so recently I finally went to take a look. The smith is Mr Hsieh, a Hakka from Miaoli. He has been working here for 40 or 50 years. When he set up shop here, this was outside the city, but now it’s crowded with buildings.
問他打鐵店的店名。他說,「沒有名字。…以前有,可是被颱風吹走,所以現在沒有名字…。…反正,景美只有這麼一個打鐵店。」I asked him the name of the smithy. He said, “It doesn’t have a name…. It used to have a name, but it blew away in a typhoon, so now the smithy doesn’t have a name… There’s only one smith in this area anyway.” 

他用廢車彈簧的鋼為我做了這把刀。手感很好,刃背很重,適合砍樹砍竹。He made this knife for me out of steel from a scavenged car spring. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Come unto me, my brethren and sistren, and I shall tell unto you the story of Joseph and the Goat of Many Colors.
In days of yore*, there lived a man named Jacob and he didn’t believe in planned parenthood, so he had boy child after boy child after boy child until finally he got one he liked. He liked this child so much that he named him Joseph, which in the language of the Israelites means Joseph. One day he found a goat with many colors, and as a sign of his special preference, gave said goat unto Joseph, which caused Joseph to put on airs. His brethren, sorely vexed, sold Joseph to a caravan for twenty shekels, killed the goat, cooked it, and told their father that alas, Joseph and the goat were murdered by some crazy Baptists from Westboro for eating figs, that they had buried Joseph and retrieved the remains of the goat. Jacob asked for a second serving.
Time passed. Many years later, Joseph, having been sold into servitude in Egypt, worked his way up to the ladder until he was CEO of Egypt. Whereupon there was a great famine in the land of Israel, whereupon the brothers decided to try their luck begging in Egypt, whereupon they were arrested for loitering and taken before the CEO, whereupon they recognized him not but he recognized them, whereupon he forgave them and fed them and everybody was happy again.

This story teaches us that selling your little brother into servitude is a shrewd investment, because you can not only earn twenty shekels, but many years later, in time of need, he will show his magnanimity by feeding your starving carcass. Smart move, big brothers. 

* In the days of yore mama’s mama’s mama’s to the Nth power mama.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In the aftermath of a shooting at a school, The National Rifle Association, that bastion of level-headed, impartial analysis, strategic foresight, and great compassion, proposed that that all schools should have armed guards, and that teachers should be armed, too. Now we see the wisdom of their viewpoint. Please examine this clip.
Apparently the girl was texting in class and refused to comply with her teacher’s directions, so the guard was called, and after knocking the sitting girl and her chair over, threw her on the floor. Very inefficient, sir, that will not teach her proper respect for authority. Now, if the guard had been armed NRA fashion, he could have simply shot the recalcitrant girl and saved everybody a lot of trouble.
Also remember that jihadists are lurking everywhere, just waiting to leap out and die in a flurry of bullets from our heroically armed citizens, so it stands to reason that teachers should carry loaded guns to class. In such a situation as shown in this clip, we can even hope that the teacher and the armed guard would engage in a gunfight, giving any surviving students an invaluable lesson that in the United States, the only solution to any problem is violence. 
And if you don’t agree with that, you’ve been duped by the liberal media and want the terrorists to win.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This may need a little work, but here goes:

Q: What upset the pirate at his physical?
A: The nurse took his P and now he's irate.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nut Korea, I’m sorry, North Korea has launched most of its submarine fleet, threatening South Korea and apparently attempting to force concessions. What, I wondered, is the PRC up to? A war there wouldn’t be in their interests: the PRC is still, in name, a communist state, so they ought to support NK, but financially they are very close to the South, and the South is much easier to get along with. Then I noticed that the People’s Liberation Army is massing troops on the NK border, and it became clear. The PRC isn’t saying anything to stop North Korea, because the moment North Korea makes a move on the South, PLA troops will pour across the border, and of course North Korea is no match for the PLA. In this event, the Chinese would depose Kim, get rid of him, and liberate North Korea. This would win them the gratitude of the world, build their prestige and international standing, add lots of territory (a new vassal state), give them a border with South Korea, and put them in an interesting position with regard to Vladivostok, the Russian Pacific fleet, Japan, and the American Pacific fleet. Stay tuned. 

Friday, October 09, 2015

The way I heard the story, the commander on the ground judged the situation too dangerous for medevac choppers, but Captain Freeman went in anyway with a regular military HUI. He flew back and forth through heavy machine gun fire, ferrying out the wounded. Only after he rescued all the wounded men did anybody know that he had been wounded four times. 
Too bad nobody paid attention to his passing. The chopper pilots in VN were all nuts, but they were heroes. Amitabha, rest in peace, sir.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

We were expecting a typhoon. The news on the internet said it would be about as strong as Katrina, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. We get several larger than Katrina in an average year. Everything that can blow away, blew away long ago. We came home around eight on the evening of the seventh. The roads were dry.
It started to rain soon after we got home, and the wind came up to blow not much later. Ho hum, what better to do during a typhoon than sleep? I woke up during the night, the wind was blowing and the rain was raining, typical typhoon, back to sleep. Chao woke around first light and saw a bright flash in the sky, like lightning. The power was out, but that’s nothing unusual for a typhoon.
By ten in the morning, the typhoon had pretty well passed, except for some gusts. Some trees had broken, there was water everywhere, pretty much your typical typhoon. So far the only thing atypical was that it washed our window screens. I didn’t even bother to pay attention to the name of the typhoon, which was Soudelor.
After lunch, the power hadn’t come back on, which was unusual. The phone was dead, the cellphones didn’t have any signal, and we couldn’t go online. The stream out front seemed to be roaring especially loud, so we decided to go ask the neighbors if they had electricity.
When we got down to the road, we realized things were pretty bad. The road was all ripped up by the water. Neighbors told us that the stream overflowed into the power plant, which blew up: thus the flash Chao saw. There was no electricity, and the roads were all cut. Everybody’s water was cut (we lay our own pipes from spring to home). There were big and small slides everywhere. Wulai was out of touch with the outside world, even the neighboring tribal villages.
The typhoon was not particularly big, but it came all at once. Within about twelve hours, we got about four feet of rain. Roads were cut, landslides were everywhere, the oldest tribal elders had never seen such a mess in Wulai. For that, we have consumers to thank, people who flock to Wulai for the hotsprings, drawing investors, who care only about profits and nothing about local life. They built in places that cut off the flow of water. That proved disastrous.
I will be posting photos on Flickr. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

Contemporary Russian countour flying. In 1971, I was riding north on a winding road through the forests in the hills near Xuân Lộc, South Viet Nam, when suddenly a US Army LOH (pronounced Loach: Light Observation Helicopter) surprised us by appearing close overhead. He had flown up from behind us, about four meters off the road, and we had no idea he was coming. The pilot kept his LOH perfectly above the center of the road, the same height above the road up and down as it went through the hills, with forest hugging either side of the road. We were very impressed. Everybody knew all helicopter pilots were nuts, but that guy was good!!
This is what a LOH looks like.
You could knock one out of the air with a flyswatter.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Come unto me, my brethren and sistren, and I shall tell unto you the story of Joseph and the Goat of Many Colors.
In days of yore*, there lived a man named Jacob and he didn’t believe in planned parenthood, so he had boy child after boy child after boy child until finally he got one he liked. He liked this child so much that he named him Joseph, which in the language of the Israelites means Joseph. One day he found a goat with many colors, and as a sign of his special preference, gave said goat unto Joseph, which caused Joseph to put on airs. His brethren, sorely vexed, sold Joseph to a caravan for twenty shekels, killed the goat, cooked it, and told their father that alas, Joseph and the goat were murdered by some crazy Baptists from Westboro for eating figs, that they had buried Joseph and retrieved the remains of the goat. Jacob asked for a second serving.
Time passed. Many years later, Joseph, having been sold into servitude in Egypt, worked his way up to the ladder until he was CEO of Egypt. Whereupon there was a great famine in the land of Israel, whereupon the brothers decided to try their luck begging in Egypt, whereupon they were arrested for loitering and taken before the CEO, whereupon they recognized him not but he recognized them, whereupon he forgave them and fed them and everybody was happy again.
This story teaches us that selling your little brother into servitude is a shrewd investment, because you can not only earn twenty shekels, but many years later, in time of need, he will show his magnanimity by feeding your starving carcass. Smart move, big brothers. 
עֵז פַּסִּים
 * In days of yore mama’s mama’s mama’s to the Nth power mama.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A very unfortunate juxtaposition on the Google News page:
“Kesha is a singer and songwriter. It's time to end this perverted excuse for entertainment.
Actually, I believe that was not a criticism of Kesha’s musical abilities, but rather a call from Kesha for an end to big game hunting for "sport".

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Sunday, July 26, 2015

We should take Donald Trump to one of those beaches where sharks have been appearing and settle once and for all who has the most odious mouth in the Northern Hemisphere.
But no, sharks are an essential part of the ecosystem, and I wouldn’t want to wish Trump on them. 

Friday, July 24, 2015


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Great moments in English teaching
In SAT vocabulary class, we came across ideology. I explained that ideology means doctrines that form or define a group, and that Lenin used the term to refer to indoctrinating people to put a political plan into effect.
Then I remembered that ideologue came up on a recent SAT, so to prompt the students, I asked, “What do you call someone who is trying hard to push their ideology on you? They’ve got this whole set of ideas, they’re really doctrinaire, you just can’t talk reason with them, and they’re going to force you to accept this ideology whether you want to or not?”
And a boy piped up from the back of the room, “My Dad.”

Monday, July 20, 2015


Sunday, July 19, 2015

It’s not often I agree with Governor Perry, but this time he got it right. “I was highly offended by what Donald Trump said about John McCain and his years of sacrifice in a dirty, dingy, terrible prison in North Viet Nam. Donald Trump owes every American veteran, and in particular John McCain, an apology.”
Perry further said that Trump’s comments disqualify him from running for President and Commander in Chief. “If he cannot find it in himself to apologize to every veteran of this country, to every individual that has sacrificed and for the families of those young men and women who have died fighting for the freedom of this country, he does not have the character, the discipline, or the resolve to be the President of the United States,” Perry told Radio Iowa.
I strongly disagree with McCain’s politics, but I respect the man. What the odious Trump forgets is that McCain got captured because he was fighting on the front line, while Trump was evading service with draft deferments. The closest Trump got to military service was in his teens when he got kicked out of school for bad behavior and his wealthy father bought him a place in a military academy. He never served in the military and never came close to a war zone. “I don’t like people who get captured.” Trump ran so far and so fast that he never came near our own troops, much less even saw the enemy.
Aside from his other loathsome attributes, this attitude alone disqualifies him from running from President. How could he be Commander in Chief with this attitude? “I don’t like people who get captured.” Maybe if he became President, he would issue every soldier a pistol with orders to shoot yourself rather than get captured. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

如果你最近很忙,不建議看這齣「出境事務所」,因為看了第一集一定會想看第二集~~~~全戲二十集,很精彩:生動、好笑、有內涵。我也聽不懂客語,看字幕就好了。Now’s your chance to watch a really funny but thoughtful serial about a funeral home. You can also practice your Chinese, too, because the main dialect is Hakka, along with Mandarin and Minnan. I don’t know Hakka either, so read the subtitles.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

一切都是國民黨的錯;馬英九做甚麼,都是錯的,連他今天穿哪一雙襪子,一定有人罵得很慘。所以我今天要嚴重批判:馬總統已經執政七年,為甚麼沒有把「棒倒」引進臺灣?限總統二十四小時之內給我一個讓我滿意的答覆,不然後果由他負責:如果沒有給我答案,我明天晚上拒絕吃冰棒,已表示我的憤怒!I would like to know why President Obama has been in office for nearly eight years now, and he has yet to make Bo-Taoshi the national sport of the United States. What does he think he is doing!? This PROVES that he wants illegal aliens to flood the country and open the doors for terrorists, and that he was born in Gibraltar. How could anybody possibly want to watch football when you can watch this?

Thursday, July 09, 2015

I was a little boy in Ottawa, Illinois when the Civil War Centennial began. Stores started selling Civil War hats, but by the time we got there, the blue hats were all sold out. Nobody wanted a gray hat, so by default, Peter and I became rebels. Tommy Dodd bought his hat the next day, so he was a rebel, too. It was always Peter, Tommy Dodd, and me against everybody else when we had battles, and we put up a good fight. I went around chalking on the sidewalks, THE SOUTH SHALL RISE AGAIN!, somewhat to the consternation of our neighbors. For a second grader, I even had some pretty good ideas about State’s Rights.
After the Centennial, living in another state, the rebel hat long outgrown, I became aware of the Civil Rights movement. The meaning of the rebel flag was crystal clear to everybody in America at that time. It was the flag Governor Wallace flew in his fight for segregation and inequality based on skin color. It was the flag people warped by hate flew to keep negroes from getting educated. It was the flag the KKK flew in their marches, in their cross burnings, and in their lynchings. On both sides of the Civil Rights movement, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that the rebel flag stood for segregation, persecution of negroes, inequality, and hate.
In recent years, there has been a lot of sophistry about southern heritage, that the flag stood for state’s rights and not slavery, and a general rewriting of an embarrassing history. I don’t care about any of that. In my experience, the rebel flag stands for Governor Wallace, the KKK, lynching, “keeping the negroes in their place,” “not letting the negroes get uppity,” and a hateful cast of mind.
The soldiers who flew the rebel flag in battle fought against the Declaration of Independence, against the Constitution, against the Bill of Rights, and against the government of the United States. Some people today like to burn the American flag; this is despicable and childlike, but it is nothing compared to taking up arms to fight against Old Glory. The Stars and Bars is a conquered flag. It is time to take that rag down. If you want to fly it in reenactments and historical drama, go ahead, it is the flag of defeat and hate, so everybody should be reminded of the nation’s dreadful past.
My heart is warmed by South Carolina’s decision to take down the flag. Never again may it wave.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

When I was in college, I found two records of really funny comedy. Yeah, records, black vinyl, Taiwan pirates for NT$12 each. The pirates were legal then, early 1970s. I bought them, one Bill Cosby and the other Cheech and Chong. After a day working on Chinese philosophy and etymology, I’d put on my headphones and laugh myself silly, even though I listened to each dozens of times. American humor is still a closed book to the Chinese mind now, how much more so then. I translated some of the really good parts into Chinese for friends, and would always get this blank stare. I’m pretty inured to it by now.
Bill Cosby was a crack-up, nice guy, a bit iconoclastic, nothing extreme. In later days, long after I had worn out the records and the stereo, I heard that he was a famous father figure, a moral figure, but good luck trying to find any of his stuff in Taiwan.
In recent years, nasty stories about him have been floating around. Is that possible? Could Bill Cosby have raped women? It’s the sort of thing you just hope isn’t true.
Now the story is out. Bill Cosby raped women for decades. The only thing worse than being raped would be having to know the rapist was lauded as a moral figure.
I am glad his victims are finally getting justice. But why couldn’t he have just been a nice guy? He made so many people happy, including a college boy alone in his room laughing at jokes very few other people in the country thought were funny. He was so good at making people laugh, why did he have to go and make other people miserable?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

This is good to remember. Keep working.
“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the Power that knowledge gives”
-James Madison, 1822

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Fourth of July, everybody. I would like to remind you of the date of this celebration. Once my father got an announcement at work saying, The Fourth of July falls on July 4th this year…. okay, can’t argue with that….
Years ago, around 1965, my brother got a part-time job shooting off fireworks at the Rose Bowl. He’d come home after work with bags of fireworks. Some of them were real heavy duty stuff. He said they told him to take the fireworks home to test for them. We never got around to wondering why they entrusted a high school student with the testing, and at home....

Friday, July 03, 2015

Sad news. In their constant struggle to make the world as ugly as their hearts, the IS has destroyed the two thousand year old Lion of Allat at Palmyra.
They may be able to display their self-hatred by breaking up a piece of art, but they will never, can never smother the human art instinct. One piece may be broken, but a thousand more are springing up in its place.
What an awful existence it must be to be to live blind to beauty, creativity, and joy!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of same sex marriage. No matter where you stand on this issue, you cannot help being bemused by the reaction of presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, who called for dissolving the Supreme Court. If he has so little respect for democracy and the Constitution that he suggests removing one of the three branches of government simply because they make a decision he personally doesn’t like, he has proved that he is unqualified for public office.
Rest assured that Sarah Palin will subject the nation to another bout of her barely comprehensible moralizing. We can also be pretty sure that her daughter, pregnant for the second time, never married, not only is uninterested in homosexuality, but she doesn’t even bother with the institution of marriage. Go at ‘em, Sarah, somebody may be listening, but not I.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Where is His Majesty Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico when we need him? Seems a lot better than most of the candidates floating around nowadays.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The almost obscene spectacle of Donald T Rump once again announcing his candidacy for President (cheered on by an audience, US$50 the head) contained a very intriguing bit of information. Candidate Rump asked, When has the United States ever beaten Japan at anything. Intriguing. You might expect a candidate for the highest office in the land to know a little bit about American history, and I would like to ask him if he knows what the abbreviation WWII means. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A great day for Taiwan, almost too good to be true! Mickey D is selling off their burger hells in Taiwan.
To protect the people’s health, the ROC government did not permit foreign junk food to enter, until President Reagan used his executive powers to force them in, along with American cigarettes and liquor. Maybe you can guess who donated to his campaign.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, head of a local NAACP chapter, has been outed as being white. LINK I have not been following the news closely, but am amused at the new ‘passing.’ Black people used to try to pass as white, and now white people are trying to pass as black. Okee-dokee, the first question is, does the NCAAP require that only African-Americans hold office? If not, then why should we be concerned? Second, in the short interview I saw, I felt her parents came across as very reasonable and fair (I know you have been losing sleep wondering what I thought about that vital issue.) Third, in this day and age when people may attempt to choose whether they are male, female, none of the above, or all of the above, maybe it’s no big deal if somebody tries to choose their race. Or species, why not? Heck, me, I’ve been identifying as a gorilla for decades, I mean, that’s the true, essential me.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A story from the Ming dynasty, about 15th century.
A general led his troops to battle, and was facing defeat, when suddenly a god appeared and brought his troops into battle and won a great victory. The general kowtowed and asked the god’s name. The god said, “I am the God of the Target.” The general asked, “What virtue have I that I dare bother the venerated God of the Target for help?” The god answered, “I am grateful to you, because in all your time on the archery range, you have never hurt me with a single arrow.”

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Spanish horsemen love their horses so much that they even carry riding equipment with them in modern conveyances. Airlines have had a problem with this, so the flight crew may insist that the Spaniard release his gear. This is the origin of the noted statement that the rein in Spain falls mainly on the plane.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Spanish horsemen hold on to their horses very tightly in the mountains, and then loosen their grip when they reach flat land. This is the origin of the noted statement that the rein in Spain falls mainly on the plain.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A: Yesterday when I walked by Madame Olga’s Psychic Tearoom, I saw her sitting there smiling, so I went in and punched her.
B: Why did you do that?
A: My teacher told me you should always try to strike a happy medium. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Q: What did the captive say when the Aztec priest came with an obsidian knife?

A: He’s a man after my own heart.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

這張照片會勾起很多人的回憶----the wrapper from a pack of ROC military cigarettes, roughy 1980.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Langalje 排灣連杯 joined cups, Paiwan tribe; 臺灣櫸木Taiwan zelkova zelkova formosana

Thursday, May 21, 2015

As I mentioned, in Waco, Texas, hundreds of bikers (tattooed fat guys in black Ts, jeans, and colors) were determined to protect their lifestyle and what they see as their freedom, by violence if necessary. They are certainly accustomed to violence.
Forewarned, eighteen local police and four state troopers were on hand. As five biker clubs gathered, friction was inevitable, fighting broke out, and in five minutes the party was over, with nine bikers were dead and 170 arrested. Police killed at least four of the dead. Fortunately, no innocent bystanders were harmed.
Recently )HERE( I discussed guns and freedom. Yes, yes, yes, we know you think you need guns to protect your freedom, but nobody has explained to me how guns protect freedom. If someone is attacking you and you have no brighter method, you may shoot the attacker to protect yourself. If someone is “taking away your freedom,” who do you shoot to protect your freedom?
Even violent bikers who outnumbered the police over ten to one were subdued within five minutes. If armed groups start fighting to “protect their freedom,” the outcome will be pretty much like what happened in Waco, and recall that this is not the first time something like this has happened in Waco. You’d think somebody’d learn: guns may be fun, but they are less than useless in “protecting freedom and rights.” Brighter people find more intelligent ways than providing moving targets for police.
Anyway, here’s a pretty good commentary on the fracas, or fiasco::HERE::

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bikers in Waco, TX had a big ruckus and, with police assistance, nine died and 170 were arrested. What I find hard to believe about this all is that nobody got it on video. Usually every time someone stumbles and drops something, you get a dozen videos on YouTube, with repeats and slow motion replay. All this going on and nobody had a cell phone? The police didn’t have dashboard cameras to collect evidence? 

However, I have been informed that there is a video on YouTube HERE:::

Friday, May 15, 2015

0一五年五月十五日星期五五點五十五無誤,烏烏!5:55, Friday May 15, 2015, woo woo! …. it works better in Chinese.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A great cultural phenomenon from 1966: HERE
:6691 morf nonemonehp larutluc taegr A

Thursday, April 30, 2015

這有點無聊~~~ My old daypack is, well, pretty old. Today we passed a North Face shop and some packs caught my eye. Now we all know that North Face has gone commercial, but they still have some good stuff. I quickly found a very nicely designed 29 liter pack, priced 25% off. The only color it came in was brick red, and usually I buy grey or blue packs, but okay, let’s get it.
Yeah, commercial, like I bet most people who wear North Face products don’t even know which North Face that is, or what the logo is about, just like people who wear Hang Ten don’t know what it means to hang five or hang ten. Some of my students I asked about it seriously thought it meant to hang ten people. Nice brand name.
I was thinking, the last time I bought a red pack was a Sac Millet I bought when I was 17, preparing to leave the US for Viet Nam. Mom gave me some money to buy good supplies, so when I went to San Francisco for my visa, I asked my sister to drive me across the Bay to Berkeley. There was a very good, very small mountain supply store almost unknown to the general public, but held in high esteem in the climbing community. It was called The North Face. 
What goes around, comes around.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

看得到我嗎?Can you see me?

黃口攀蜥、雌;female yellow mouthed japalura, Japalura polygonata xanthostoma; in Pinuyumayan(卡大地步卑南語), dangkarang (thanks to Sangpuy!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Okay, so you’re shipping a bunch of orphans from Ireland to Australia, so what can you do for entertainment? Hey, let’s paint the kids black. WHAT???
To quote Dave Barry, I am not making this up. LINK

Friday, April 24, 2015

The United States is the most armed nation in the world. There are 90 guns for every 100 Americans. LINK
I would want to see that figure doubled and more – 2 guns for every American – if my goal were to conquer the United States in ten years. If I wanted to do the job in five years, I would encourage the growth of local militias.
I am not here to discuss how absurd it is to imagine that freedom can be protected by guns in a computerized world. The government hardly needs to confiscate guns to take away freedom, and corporations take your money and your rights with your consent. The point is that some Americans believe they can protect their freedom with firearms, or say they do. (Interesting. People say the ISIS are mad dogs because they think they can enforce Sharia law with guns, and still some people think freedom can be protected by guns.)
So, if I were out to conquer the US, it would be easy to provoke some confrontation in which guns were drawn to “protect freedom.” Protect it from who? The authorities, of course, who do not take kindly to that sort of behavior. They would necessarily take immediate steps to put down the insurrection. This would most likely lead to something like the confrontation between the authorities and the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas. Remember who won that one?
This might possibly incite widespread insurrection (all Waco did was lead to the Oklahoma City bombing and police departments beefing up their weaponry). Here is where the authorities have the upper hand: established centralized authority. No matter how loopy some law enforcement agencies are, a firefight between the sheriffs of County A and the police in County B is almost inconceivable. Groups of armed shooters “protecting their freedom” are under no such constraints; two groups of armed shooters might cooperate with each other, but broad alliances are almost inconceivable, and local militias would make the fight even more exciting. (My reasoning is thus: anybody who would shoot other people and turn his own homeland into a warzone in order to “protect his own rights” does not tolerate different opinions; in the absence of a fighting institution such as the Army or Marine Corps, if he is to be led at all, he will be led only by an alpha male who has fought his way to the top by eliminating anybody who does not follow his commands; such a leader does not tolerate other leaders in his territory.)
Several events could follow. A very unlikely event would be that once the “freedom protectors” had slaughtered enough of each other, sort of like the eliminations in a championship, a strong figure would emerge who could hold the fighting factions in line enough to conquer the authorized government of the United States. It is almost unthinkable that such a person would restore power to the government and hold free elections. More likely, he would then proclaim himself Savior or King or Dear Leader, and if you think he would return your rights to you, you must also believe in the tooth fairy.
A greater possibility is that the authorities would quash all the rebellions. For your safety’s sake, they would declare martial law, make the Patriot Act even stricter, and in effect revoke the Bill of Rights. People would buy it, because security is valued more than freedom. After enough gun battles, people would be eager to exchange their freedom of speech for safety from bullets. They would also be very likely to admire a strong man who could hold everything together, no matter what the cost.
We should also consider the possibility of the united states disuniting, making a patchwork of feuding states from sea to shining sea. Some might offer a modicum of freedom, but by their nature they would be permanently at war with each other, so freedom would be about as common as the California condor.
Another extremely probable outcome is that the groups would not stay focused. To protect their freedoms, they could easily branch into collecting “donations” from unarmed citizens to buy ammunition. It is practically impossible to imagine that these groups will merge racially. Some White groups would go wipe out those nasty Latino gangs, which would unify all the Hispanics to protect themselves against marauders. Some would start lynching Blacks or just shooting them on sight, and others would go after illegal immigrants, and then immigrants. Moslems would hardly remain untouched, so they would band together for protection. I find it very easy to see how people firing guns to “protect their freedom” would start ethnic cleansing. The Amerindians survived the last genocide; would they survive the next?
The most likely possibility would be that the government of the United States would be embroiled in continuous fighting with militants, until such time as both sides had killed each other to a stalemate, at which time Beijing would call in the money owed them. They might even step in earlier to protect Chinese citizens and Chinese interests in the US. By this time, the US would be in shambles and unable to provide basic public services, much less pay the astronomical debt we already owe the People’s Republic of China. If the US failed to pay, the Chinese would have a good enough excuse to move in and take over, and as Americans would have proven themselves unable to govern themselves responsibly, they would do the task for you. If you kept your noses clean, they might let Facebook keep running.

Some Americans quote Chairman Mao: “Power comes out of gun barrels”(槍管出政權)if I remember correctly the quote was popularized in the US by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers.
Now, if you want to learn how to govern a country from a man who killed tens of millions of his own citizens, you might want to study your model a bit more carefully. First, that means exactly what it says: Power comes out of gun barrels, certainly not freedom. Second, Mao may have said that, but he knew that if that were true, he would never have been able to wrest power from the Nationalist Army, which was much better armed. Rather, his actions were guided by a concept which is actually much more common and better known in greater China: “I’d rather fight with my wits than with my power:寧鬥智、不鬥力,” said by Liu Bang, one of the very few men in Chinese history who fought his way from the lowest levels of society to found a dynasty (the Han, 2nd Century BCE to 2nd Century CE). Liu and Mao and practically everyone else won their power through manipulation, not fighting toe to toe.
And no matter what, what really comes out of gun barrels is bullets.
So just as I support people’s rights to have cars once they have proven themselves capable of driving them safely and responsibly, I support people’s rights to have guns once they have proven themselves capable of using them safely and responsibly. But the idea that guns can protect freedom simply does not bear scrutiny. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wasin Paiwan. 排灣部落耆老傳統苧麻手編繫刀繩,感謝鹿樣!Thanks to Lyuyan, I am now the proud owner of a Paiwan knife belt, made of ramie by tribal elder

Saturday, April 18, 2015

whale of a tale
Wow! Look who stopped in to say hello!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today we commemorate (or totally forget about, as the case may be) the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, which placed an end to the Civil War.
No matter how involved State’s Rights got involved in the conflict, the primary cause was slavery, the concept that some people are inferior and may be treated as chattel. There is no way to say that the Confederacy would have been formed, or Civil War fought, without the impetus of slavery and abolition.
The surrender document was copied out by General Grant’s military secretary, Lt Cl Eli Samuel Parker, chosen because his handwriting was so good. Okay, big deal, right? The interesting point is that Parker’s birth name was Hasanoanda; he was an Onőndowága, or Seneca Iroquois Amerindian. (In this painting so generously provided to me by Google, he is the dark skinned man standing to Grant’s left.) He recorded that at the surrender, Lee extended his hand to him and said, “’I am glad to see one real American here.’ I shook his hand and said, ‘We are all Americans.’”
In the spirit of Parker, Lincoln, and Washington, let us all remember that the United States was conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. It doesn’t matter whether you like my religion, my politics, what I eat, whether your family arrived in the US earlier or later than mine, what kind of visa they came on, where I live, how I dress, what is important is that, as Hasanoanda reminded us, “We are all Americans.”
Maybe we can go beyond that, and in the spirit of Confucius and Jesus say, We are all people. We are all created equal, so we should all be given respect and a fair chance.
Maybe we can go beyond that, and in the spirit of the Buddhas, say, We are all living beings. We are all created equal, so we should all be given respect and given a fair chance.
Actually, the surrender took place on April 9th, but I misremembered the date. Oh well. After a hundred fifty years, a couple days give or take shouldn’t matter too much.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A man fleeing on horseback was tasered and beaten after he was flat on the ground with his hands behind his back. The only really surprising thing here is that the police didn’t shoot the horse.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

More gunshots. An unarmed man, fleeing slowly, is gunned down by a policeman. What was possibly going through the policeman’s mind? The victim was running so slowly the policeman could have grabbed him within two steps, but instead he chose to slaughter him.
We won’t even go through how coldly the officer tried to blame everything on the victim.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

今晚月全蝕,很意外的是,烏來看得到月亮!本以為八點開始,而七點已蝕角。全蝕仍清楚,但朏時黮䨴黑雲吞月。後來雲散月出,觀畢,快哉!Amazingly enough, we had clear skies for the first part of tonight’s total eclipse. After totality, clouds swallowed the moon, but fortunately spat it out a while later, allowing us to view the end of the eclipse without obstruction.
達彥的「月蝕」幾乎被遺忘的詞:qwayan smabu na mnkum qu byajing: ‘eclipse’ in Tayal, an almost forgotten term recovered from tribal elders.

Friday, April 03, 2015

We went to hear the great Pinuyumayan singer Sangpuy and our Tayal neighbor Yulaw Yugan in concert. 今晚到大佳河濱公園聽卑南巨星桑布伊與老鄰居阪治演唱,不虛此行。桑布伊唱的,不必說,就是美、粗曠、真。阪治唱了他弟弟Bulang Yugan的遺著,Spi,這首對我意義特別深。Bulang寫作時常跟我敘述他怎麼寫這首,未定版唱了很多次給我聽,本來說等他定了他教我怎麼唱。沒想到,我來不及學,Bulang已經離我們而去了。聽歌歌唱很棒,中間還穿插Bulang的錄音,Bulang, usa su la makun la, byaray kwara, sunun su balay.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Time to confess about the Wulai Brindle Squirrel, Verestultum Scirius Uraymsiawsus. The photo comes from the web, and the species name comes from an online Latin translator. Vere = spring, stultum = fool, scirius = squirrel; Uray is the Tayal pronunciation of Wulai, and msiaw means nonsense in Tayal. Cheers, let’s see what we can come up with next year. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

今早拍到一個非常少見的珍禽異獸,烏來虎斑鼠. This morning when I went outside, I managed to get a photo of a very, very rare animal, the Wulai Brindle Squirrel, Verestultum Scirius Uraymsiawsus.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Got a boat to take the family out on the water? You’d better pay your taxes, through the nose! Got an ostentatious yacht? Well, if you spent enough millions on it, the State of New York feels your pain and wants to help you out.
This is not an April Fool's joke, I'm not making this up. I wish I were.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Oh, what a sad story, the Germanwings flight that crashed into the Alps turns out to be a suicide + mass murder. The copilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and blammo!
The last thing you want to hear when flying is the pilot pounding on the cockpit door shouting, Let me in! 
and it would be the last thing you hear. Amitabha.
wow, this blog is up to 2700 posts!
Wish it had 2700 readers.