Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin?


This is like GHWB picking Clarence Thomas and saying with a straight face: "He's the most qualified candidate in America for the Supreme Court."

Biden vs Palin will be like King Kong vs Bambi, I can't wait for the debates! She is wrong for all the right reasons!!!

Typical Republican Tokenism.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Steve Jobs' Obituary, Retracted

Apparently the Bloomberg financial newswire decided to update its Steve Jobs obituary - and accidently published it instead. Now I know it's fairly standard procedure for news organizations to prepare obituaries in advance - Mr. Jobs is fighting pancreatic cancer - but imagine waking up and reading about your own passing in The Wall Street Journal?

I guess the best part is getting to read your own obit . . . or is it? If it wasn't so creepy, it would be funny.

Heads are gonna roll over this one that's for sure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why I'm Not Watching the Olympics

When people ask me if I’m watching the 2008 Summer Olympic Games I always answer with a question: “Would you have watched the 1936 Berlin Games?”

They always respond back “it’s not the same.”

They’re right, it’s not the same.

The Nazi's only killed about 6 million people.

Since 1949, the Chinese Communist Party has only killed about 60 million people.
(Wasn’t it Stalin who said “the death of one man is a tragedy, but the death of one million is merely a statistic?”)

Yes, the Olympics should be all about the athletes and not about politics -but always is- and since China is requiring gag orders of the athletes and most of the world press, restricting Internet access, lying about the ages of it’s gymnasts, displacing and making homeless thousands of people to build the Olympic venue (I could go on and on), it is China that is politicizing the games - all in the name of “putting on a good face to the world.”

Many of us are not fooled.

Growing up, I embraced the view that the Olympics promoted world peace and celebrated human accomplishment and dignity, but would it not be better to show our support of a country whose government actually shares the beliefs of the Olympic Charter?

I went to the same High School as Mark Spitz (graduated with one of his sisters - pardon my name-dropping) and cheering him on during the 1972 games were the most exciting ever. And yes, Michael Phelps is amazing and deserves his moment of glory, but even he should have thought of the sacrifices we sometimes have to make when we choose to do the right thing.

I am also convinced that the human rights abuses in Beijing, the atrocities in Darfur, Burma, and Tibet, as well as the myriad of horrific and sometimes macabre incidents that occur in China reach FAR beyond the restraints of politics. But surely the difference between war and peace, comfort and torture - even life and death - are enough to call a halt to any international celebratory event, no matter how good its intentions?

Friday, August 08, 2008


I asked a Chinese-born colleague yesterday why the big deal? She said that numerology is a BIG BUSINESS in China and that in Cantonese [the language of Southern China and Hong Kong], the word 'fah' means 'eight,' but it also sounds like the word for 'make a lot of fortune.' (Nevermind that China's official language is Mandarin, not Cantonese). But the tradition apparently gained national traction in the '80s "when the Cantonese speaking parts of China excelled economically.

She went on to tell me about other "lucky" numbers based on Chinese words that sound similar to other Chinese words:

One = good- means unity
Two= good- good things come in pairs; it also sounds like their word for 'easy'
Three= good- sounds like their word meaning 'life'
Four= good & not good, depends on the dialect- sounds like their word for 'business' or 'job'
Five= good- associated with the "Five Elements" (metal, wood, water, fire, earth). For example, the Tiananmen gate, being the main thoroughfare to the Forbidden City, has five arches.
Six= good- means "everything goes smoothly"
Seven= good & not good (unlucky in Northern China)- mostly symbolizes "togetherness"
Eight= good- the word for 'eight' in Mandarin sounds similar to the word that means "prosper"
Nine= very good-historically- associated with the Emperor; sounds like the word for "longlasting"

So now you've had your numerology lessson for the day and I really need to get some coffee!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What I'm Reading Right Now

Everyone who knows me knows that I like to talk about and think about food (I also like to cook but baking is my REAL passion and I consider cookbooks “recreational” reading) but a lot of the foods we think of as Chinese are actually more American and virtually unknown in China: General Tso’s chicken, chop suey, egg rolls, broccoli beef (broccoli is originally an Italian vegetable) and the origins of the ubiquitous fortune cookie (I won’t ruin the surprise) that is now exported to China as American fortune cookies. If you’re going to the Olympics this year, note “Made in the U.S.A.” on the label and tell me I'm wrong.

What I like about the book "Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food" by Jennifer 8. Lee (the 8 symbolizes prosperity to the Chinese) is that it is an entertaining and well written narrative of a world most of us are familiar with but none of us really know. One chapter is devoted to everything you need to know about the distinctive shape of Chinese take-out containers in the U.S. ; another one on the soy sauce trade war of 2005 (bet you never heard of that one); and my favorite chapter covers who it is who writes the fortunes found inside each cookie. You'll be surprised!

The book delves into the dark side as well, highlighting statistics on how many Chinese deliverymen, many of whom barely speak English, are murdered in New York City simply for the cash and takeout meal they carry. The racism and discrimination faced by Chinese immigrants in America is also noted, where many Asians are invisible, including the Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, etc., and treated as if they are all the same.

In the first chapter, the author challenges the perception of apple pie as the ultimate in “Americanness." If that is your benchmark, ask yourself, how often do you eat apple pie? Now how often do you eat Chinese food? Great food for thought.

See, I told you I like to think about food.

So go support your local public library and check this book out.