Thursday, January 29, 2015

More on Charlie Hebdo: “The group said it strongly condemned "this repugnant and inhumane action and consider its perpetrators, those who allowed it and its supporters [to be] the enemies of humanity".
Problem is, the group is the Afghan Taliban, and the action they are condemning is a cartoon of their prophet. Chutzpah is not a Jewish monopoly. But then, Arabs and Jews alike are Semites.  
I am sure there are no jihadists among my readers (assuming I have any readers), but if there are, please go out and spit on the sun. If the prophet is as mighty and august as the sun, how is his glory to be diminished by some scrawls on paper?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

If only Hitler knew about Eva Slonim's revenge: LINK

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. May the likes never be seen again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Q: Why does everybody cry at a wedding?
A: Because the most important part of the ceremony is when the bride and groom say, “Eye dew.”

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In the Middle East, a ten year old boy has executed two supposed Russian infiltrators, and says his goal is to kill infidels. In Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi has received the first fifty of a thousand lashes he has been sentenced to for ‘insulting Islam.’ Do Muslim women, especially in modern society, really have to wear a veil? Interesting article with clips here.

Meanwhile, on other fronts, Pope Francis has visited a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka to pay his respects and view holy relics; the abbot of the temple says that allowing the Pope to witness the relics ‘is the highest honor and respect we can offer to His Holiness.’ In his visit to Kolkata to light a candle on the tomb of his friend Mother Teresa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama praised the Tibetan Muslim community. Who says we can't all get along?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

True heroes save people, they don’t shoot people. Let’s cheer for Lassana Bathily, the Muslim who works at the kosher store Hyper Cacher in Paris, and saved a dozen people. LINK

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whites carry their guns around in public, and they’re patriots protecting their rights. Blacks carry their guns around and the Right is ready to start lynch parties.
An African American said that the best way to get real gun control would be for hordes of black people to join the NRA.
“Conservatives love love LOVE the Second Amendment right up until the point where black people start exercising it….
“White militants are angry about imaginary oppression while the black ones are angry about very real oppression. Clearly, that means the black ones are ‘thugs’ and the white ones are ‘patriots.’”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Well worth pondering: a rabbi writes about the Charlie incident.
“Individual human liberties is not our highest value. Our highest value is treating human beings with love, kindness, generosity, respect and see them as embodiments of the holy, and treating the earth as sacred. Individual liberty is a strategy to promote this highest value, but when that liberty gets abused (as for example in demeaning women, African Americans, gays in public discourse) we often insist that the articulators of racism, sexism and homophobia be publicly humiliated (not shut down, but using our free speech to vigorously challenge theirs). 2. Free speech is not defeated when we use it to try to marginalize hateful or demeaning speech. So let’s call demeaning speech, including demeaning humor, what it really is -- an assault on the dignity of human beings.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Atlantic Monthly asked illustrators to comment on the Charlie incident. This one is my favorite, by Brian Stauffer.
Many people are saying, Je Suis Charlie, or more pointedly, Je Suis Ahmed. As for me, Je Suis The Guy Who Hid Under the Sink.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The French have a strange way of celebrating New Year: “France's Interior Ministry says 940 cars were set alight by revelers ringing in the New Year — 12 percent fewer than the 1,067 set aflame last year.” Well, I guess it beats eating snails, just so it’s not my car.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The mystery of the meefucu: English follows.
Ehonanva no Cou鄒族傳說常提到meefucu,小黑人。Meefucu很會搗蛋,做很多壞事,也很喜歡偷小孩子。所以,小孩不乖,大人恐嚇:「Ta’u sia tamo voecʉvcʉ ci coca, tasi ko’ko yaa no meefucu: 把你放在黑暗的外面,讓meefucu把你帶走!Apu’u Peongsi/汪朝麗傳「‘oyo voecʉvcʉ ci emucu躲在黑暗中的手」,說有meefucu躲在暗角偷獵人的肉。總而言之,meefucu最大的本事就是buekeematmohʉ:搗蛋。
也許鄒族傳說中的meefucu,就是指這群被遺棄的黑人。或許他們不孰悉的生態,偶而偷獵人的肉,也許他們眼睜睜地看著村落的人口越來越少,就去偷鄒人的孩童來當自己的孩子來養。而這些生活點滴,只有ehonanva no Cou鄒族傳說捕風捉影留下片段的紀錄。
Stories of the Tsou (Cou) tribe in the mountains of central Taiwan tell of the meefucu, who are said to be little black people. They were tricky and did all sorts of bad things, and they even stole people’s children. So if a child was misbehaving, parents would threaten them, “I’ll put you outside in the dark and the meefucu will take you away!”
Apu’u Peongsi / Esther Wang has passed down the story of “the hand in the dark,” about a meefucu who hid in dark places and stole hunters’ meat. In short, the meefucu were nothing but trouble.
But if you ask the Tsou, who were the meefucu? Their answers are vague: maybe the Paiwan tribe? The problem is, the Paiwan don’t live close to the Tsou; in between are Bunung and Kanakanavu, so why would the Paiwan go to all that trouble to steal some meat?
Centuries ago, Tsou territory stretched to the sea near what is now Tainan. In the 16th century, the Dutch tried to colonize Taiwan, starting from Tainan, but fortunately Koxinga chased them out. This is well known. What is not so well known is that the Dutch brought slaves from Africa to do their hard work for them, and when the Dutch left, some slaves were abandoned. They established a village in northern Tainan, but eventually died out. Almost nothing remains of their presence. The Black Demon Well in Tainan is probably the site of their old village. I recall that in an old temple, I forget just which one, the decorations on the wall clearly show Black African people.
Perhaps the meefucu of the Tsou tales records their encounters with these abandoned Africans, stranded far from home. It’s possible that they were not familiar enough with the environment of Taiwan so they had to steal meat from hunters. Maybe their village was dying out, so they resorted to stealing children from the Tsou to boost their numbers. Perhaps the only record of those Africans’ days in Taiwan is the glimpses and recollections recorded in the Tsou stories.