Monday, March 31, 2008
I took advantage of the Easter period to take a few extra days off, to clean up my mother's old room in her previous Home and give back the keys, since she's now well settled at her new Home. The first day, my brother and his family came to help. We managed to pack the rest of her stuff and take them to her new room. But like all old people, she accumulated a lot of stuff: 50 varieties of black wool jackets and 50 white ones, tons of toilet paper and paper tissue boxes, zillions of cassettes of Vietnamese music and Buddhist chants, etc.. When my brother and his family left, there were still lots to discard/clear from the room.
That's where friends come in.
I asked my "best" friend Fongue, by springing the request for help on him in such a way that he couldn't really turn me down. The two of us put everything in garbage bags and haul them to the disposal area or to my car. Since Fongue and I were both of the intellectual white collar type, we were both clumsy and weak and what the French call "les incompétents". The whole process quickly turned to a farce. As we were carrying huge garbage bags to the elevator, I can hear Fongue walking behind me, huffing and puffing. As I turned the corner, I heard a crash and curses, and sure enough he has dropped the bag and spilled garbage all over the floor. I peed my pants laughing at him, but in a discreet way.
Then he had the idea of putting an old tray on my mother's old walker as wheels, to carry the heavy stuff. So here we were, me carrying boxes, trying not to laugh as I was walking in front of Fongue, who was slowly pushing the walker and holding the stuff piled on the tray with his chin. Of course, within five minutes, the whole tray collapsed and the stuff went rolling all around the floor.. I stood there laughing, while a woman came running to help him pick up the stuff on the floor. Then she realized that he was not an old man and said: "Oh, I thought you were handicapped or something!". Me, yelling from afar, still laughing: "Oh he's handicapped all right, mentally handicapped!"
Thank you to Brother and his family, to Fongue and to the Ex who all helped clear my mother's room. Couldn't have done it without you guys.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Associated Press Mon Mar 24, 2:58 AM
NAHA, Japan - At a Zen Buddhist temple in southern Japan, even the dog prays.
Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1½-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha's Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar. It took him only a few days to learn the motions and now he is the talk of the town. "Word has spread and we are getting a lot more tourists," Yoshikuni said Monday.
Yoshikuni said Conan generally goes through his prayer routine at the temple in the capital of Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture without prompting before his morning and evening meals.
"I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it, too," Yoshikuni said.
The priest is now trying to teach him how to meditate. Well, sort of.
"Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate," he explained.
"It's not like we can make him cross his legs."
A lot of people hate Moore. So?
So? ... A Note from Michael Moore
Monday, March 24th, 2008
It would have to happen on Easter Sunday, wouldn't it, that the 4,000th American soldier would die in Iraq. Play me that crazy preacher again, will you, about how maybe God, in all his infinite wisdom, may not exactly be blessing America these days. Is anyone surprised?
4,000 dead. Unofficial estimates are that there may be up to 100,000 wounded, injured, or mentally ruined by this war. And there could be up to a million Iraqi dead. We will pay the consequences of this for a long, long time. God will keep blessing America.
And where is Darth Vader in all this? A reporter from ABC News this week told Dick Cheney, in regards to Iraq, "two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting." Cheney cut her off with a one word answer: "So?"
"So?" As in, "So what?" As in, "F*** you. I could care less."
I would like every American to see Cheney flip the virtual bird at the them, the American people. Click here and pass it around. Then ask yourself why we haven't risen up and thrown him and his puppet out of the White House.
The Democrats have had the power to literally pull the plug on this war for the past 15 months -- and they have refused to do so. What are we to do about that? Continue to sink into our despair? Or get creative? Real creative. I know there are many of you reading this who have the chutzpah and ingenuity to confront your local congressperson. Will you? For me?
Cheney spent Wednesday, the 5th anniversary of the war, not mourning the dead he killed, but fishing off the Sultan of Oman's royal yacht. So? Ask your favorite Republican what they think of that.
The Founding Fathers would never have uttered the presumptuous words, "God Bless America." That, to them, sounded like a command instead of a request, and one doesn't command God, even if they are America. In fact, they were worried God would punish America. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington feared that God would react unfavorably against his soldiers for the way they were behaving. John Adams wondered if God might punish America and cause it to lose the war, just to prove His point that America was not worthy. They and the others believed it would be arrogant on their part to assume that God would single out America for a blessing. What a long road we have traveled since then.
I see that Frontline on PBS this week has a documentary called "Bush's War." That's what I've been calling it for a long time. It's not the "Iraq War." Iraq did nothing. Iraq didn't plan 9/11. It didn't have weapons of mass destruction. It DID have movie theaters and bars and women wearing what they wanted and a significant Christian population and one of the few Arab capitals with an open synagogue.
But that's all gone now. Show a movie and you'll be shot in the head. Over a hundred women have been randomly executed for not wearing a scarf. I'm happy, as a blessed American, that I had a hand in all this. I just paid my taxes, so that means I helped to pay for this freedom we've brought to Baghdad. So? Will God bless me?
God bless all of you in this Easter Week as we begin the 6th year of Bush's War.
God help America. Please.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I lost a month of my life. Sort of. For reasons unexplained, the last month was a blur of 20-hour-workdays. I was getting huge translation contracts from various clients, one after another, non stop. I would get up at 6:30 in the morning, nudged off the bed by my dog, go through my regular day job, leave the office at around 5:00 PM, go visit my mother at her Pavilion, get all stressed out by her whining and guilt trips, go home, eat something, usually leftovers, pet and brush the dog, then go straight to the computer and start my second shift. At around 2:00 in the morning, I would peel myself away from the computer, wash up quickly and crawl to bed to sleep dreamlessly like a rock, for what seems like less than a minute, and then it's 6:30 in the morning again. Sometimes, when a job is particularly urgent, I would cheat and do my freelance stuff at work, during lunch time or at the end of the day, when the regular work is finished but it's too early to leave.
I don't know what happened during that month. I didn't report anything on my blog. There was a seventh snowstorm, one of the worst, and Richard, who has been shoveling the snow in winter and mowing the lawn in summer for the past few years quit/was fired, and I sort of threw the whole problem on Son no.2's lap and he did all the shoveling, comme un grand. My brother's friends organized a great party/show for him, to celebrate his recovery from cancer and I didn't mention it on my blog. My dog's groomer disappeared and I had to find a replacement, and I found this great hotel/spa for cats and dogs and not one word on my blog. Tibetans revolted against the Chinese and got killed in the process and I have lots to say about that but I didn't say anything.
I keep saying yes to all those requests for translation. I am killing myself with my second shift. Last night I collected all my invoices and added the amount: I made more than eleven thousand dollars with all that extra work!!
How much is enough?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Looks like "The Karate Kid", but with more money and special effects thrown in: Whitey learns kungfu in 2 hours, beats the bad guys and wins the Asian girl. The film will hit North American theatres on April 18th.
Official website: http://www.forbiddenkingdommovie.com/main.html
UPDATE 22/03/2008: I changed the first trailer, cause it was very annoying: it starts on its own and you can't stop it, and I switched the trailers around. Actually, if you watch all the trailers on this post, you've practically watched the whole film. See? I saved you some money. Don't say I don't do anything for you again.
Finally, an American-made film about Vietnam, that doesn't make me angry!
Official webpage: http://www.tropicthunder.com/
Details, gossips, etc: http://www.the-frat-pack.com/reviews/tropicthunder.html
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Listen to Sogyal Rinpoche's "sermons" and you'll see why.
What Meditation Really Is
Looking For The Elephant's Footprints
* To explain the title of this post: Sogyal Rinpoche is, unfortunately, not my teacher. "Words of My Perfect Teacher" is the title of a well-known (among Buddhists) book by Patrul Rinpoche (http://tinyurl.com/yt9h9m) and also a documentary film by Lesley Ann Patten (http://tinyurl.com/29wpul)
Friday, March 07, 2008
Psychologist Mitchell Spero trained his pet turtle to do dog tricks! Florida can sit, stay, and roll over (turtles in the wild do their best to avoid the rollover). Spero uses his turtle as an example of overcoming obstacles, to encourage the children he works with.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
The music's great too!!
This is part 1. Parts 2 and 3 are at the YouTube site.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Dans mes efforts désespérés d'éviter une corvée, je suis tombée par hasard sur le site web intitulé "L'Indochine coloniale": http://belleindochine.free.fr/sommaire.htm
Quelques extraits des textes rassemblés:
Conseils aux futurs colons:
"Les maladies vénériennes sont extrêmement répandues dans la colonie. Le jeune européen, s’il est célibataire, aurait donc à rester absolument chaste. Mais avec l’excitation, l’énervement du climat tropical, les facilités de la morale annamite, il est bien difficile de lui demander une continence de plusieurs années. Je reste donc partisan, en Afrique comme en Asie, du mariage à la mode indigène, de l’union temporaire avec une annamite choisie autant que possible dans sa famille. Cette méthode à ses inconvénients, je ne l’ignore pas, mais c’est encore celle qui permet de réduire au maximum les risques de contagions."
"On s’est levé de table. Au salon, Fierce abandonne sa voisine pour offrir des tasses de thé [....]. Le gouverneur, orateur de talent [...] discourt sur les mœurs de la colonie, - mœurs indigènes et mœurs importées.
"Le chinois est voleur et le japonais assassin ; l’annamite, l’un et l’autre. Cela posé, je reconnais hautement que les trois races ont des vertus que l’Europe ne connaît pas, et des civilisations plus avancées que nos civilisations occidentales. Il conviendrait donc à nous, maîtres de ces gens qui devraient être nos maîtres, de l’emporter au moins sur eux par notre moralité sociale. Il conviendrait que nous fussions, nous les colonisateurs, ni assassins ni voleurs. Mais cela est une utopie. "
Courtoisement, l’amiral esquisse une protestation. Le gouverneur insiste :
"Une utopie. Je ne réédite pas pour vous, mon cher amiral, les sottises humanitaires tant de fois rassasiées à propos des conquêtes coloniales. Je m’incrimine point les colonies : j’incrimine les coloniaux, - nos coloniaux français - qui véritablement sont d’une qualité trop inférieure.
- Pourquoi ? interroge quelqu’un.
- Parce que , aux yeux unanimes de la nation française, les colonies ont la réputation d’être la dernière ressource et le suprême asile des déclassés de toutes les classes et des repris de justices. En foi de quoi la métropole garde pour elle, soigneusement, toutes les recrues de valeur, et n’exporte jamais que le rébus de son contingent. Nous hébergeons ici les malfaisants et les inutiles, les pique assiettes et les vide goussets. - Ceux qui défrichent en Indochine n’ont pas su labourer en France ; ceux qui trafiquent ont fait banqueroute ; ceux qui commandent aux mandarins lettrés sont fruits secs de collège ; et ceux qui jugent et qui condamnent ont été quelquefois jugés et condamnés. Après la, il ne faut point s’étonner qu’en ce pays occidental soir moralement inférieur à l’Asiatique, comme il l’est intellectuellement en tous pays... "
Rapport avec les colons
"Le fond du caractère annamite est la paresse ; il travaille pour vivre et son ambition est