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
-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!