Saturday, August 11, 2007

Aiyaya--Asian viagara.

This morning I took Mrs. Lee to Gate of Heaven cemetery, as there is a monthly memorial Mass for the dead, and we were visiting the niche were her husband's ashes were placed. Gate of Heaven is in the foothills of Cupertino; there was a funeral taking place this morning--Asians, wearing black clothing with a white headband. Fr. (Msgr.) Mitchell was the celebrant for Mass, I haven't seen him for a while. He is currently living in the priests' retirement residence at St. Joseph. As for the liturgy... typical American Novus Ordo "excesses"/customs, with the choice of music especially. The homily was about how Christians should grieve, it was ok, but...

Afterwards we drove to San Jose to get noodle soup at this Vietnamese restaurant, which is apparently rather popular. My mom was telling me that another of her other friends was asking about this Vietnamese restaurant, Bun Bo Hue An Nam. "Do you know they have ox penis there?" And my mom said yes. "Ngau pin is ox penis in Cantonese." But Mrs. Lee said, "Oh that's [ngau pin] might be Vietnamese, it probably means something else."

After we got a table, I went to the bathroom because I had drank too much sugary drinks at the birthday reception after the Mass. (They were celebrating the birthday of the liturgist, who used to be the liturgist at St. Joseph's. Ahem.) When I came back I found out they had already placed the order. I inquired, "What did you order for me?" My mom said, "We ordered the special for you."

I looked at the special. bun bo hue ngau pin.

Yuck. "I don't want that!"

My mom said, "I shouldn't have told you what it is. You should eat it, it's good."

Great! My mom is trying to feed me ox penis! No way! Just like that time she tried to feed me frogs' legs, but worse! (I bet ngau pin doesn't "taste like chicken" either!)

So we tried to change the order, but it was too late, and I said "forget it I'll just give you the ngau pin" to my mom. The waiter said it's "tendon" but "softer" so Mrs. Lee thought it was just tendon. So when my bowl came he picked out the white tissue to tell us this is what "ngau pin" looks like. Mrs. Lee said, "If you don't want to eat it. I ended up ordering beef pho instead as Mrs. Lee suggested, because the noodle bowl had other stuff, dried blood and who knows what else, and I was giving all of that to my mom.

I then commented, "I'm not impotent, I don't need it." Because ox and tiger penis are considered to be remedies for impotence in Asian medicine.

Mrs. Lee thought I didn't want to eat it because I thought the noodle soup was too spicy.

"I didn't know you were scared of tendon, that's why I take you to this place. Otherwise I'd take you to another place, it's better for other stuff."

But finally after my mom and I were talking about ngau pin and how discussing whether I should try it or not, my mom explained to her that I didn't want to eat it because it's ox penis (as it says in English on the menu--but neither of them had paid attention to it before). "To chu dzai [native-born Chinese], they are scared of this." Ox penis isn't exactly an American delicacy. My mom: "You know, it's the boy's thing."

Mrs. Lee: "Oh my gawd! Are you serious? It is penis? Why is it white? Why is it so big?"

"Because it's from a cow."

"Where do they get so many?"

I was trying to explain, "Because Americans don't buy it, only Asians" So there's probably a lot available. My mom added, "Chinese or Vietnamese supermarkets may even sell it."

"I can't believe I ate that. My stomach doesn't feel good, faan wei. I may have to go to the bathroom once I go home! No wonder you said you're not impotent!" Hah, it was funny listening to my mom try to explain what impotence is.

Mrs. Lee asked, "What happens if woman eats it? I may get too hot, and I don't have a man!"

"Oh my gawd! And I was asking you to give me your ngau pin because I thought it was ngau gan [tendon]!"

She and my mom were saying that another friend "should eat it, then she may rape her husband."

"Last time! No more ngau pin!"

"Instead of enjoying the taste, now my mouth tastes bitter, like after eating Chinese medicine."

Mrs. Lee said, "It's good you came, you saved our lives! Otherwise I would keep coming here for 10 years and eat this and not know what it is!" Ha! How would Mrs. Lee's daughter react to it? Just wait until my sisters find out what they had for lunch. Even my mom started to lose her appetite for ngau pin. She may not eat it again either. Mrs. Lee asked her, "How come you didn't tell me before!?! Why do you eat it, if you know what it is?" The reply, "Because you were eating it too, and seemed ok with it." As you may know, my mom isn't a picky eater.

I think the waiter was saying it was "like tendon" and not really "penis" because he didn't want the hassle of returning 3 bowls to the kitchen. Well, Mrs. Lee and my mom did agree that it was softer than tendon.

So then they were talking about their other friends who had come to the restaurant to order this special dish, and they were wondering how many actually knew what they were eating, and what would happen if they found out. Then they were talking about two of Mrs. Lee's co-workers who liked the dish, and how the two men were having lots of kids. (5 for one of them.) They would joke around with Mrs. Lee about how "hot" the dish made them, and make kissy faces.

"faat hau!"


My mom and Mrs. Lee were laughing so hard, my mom got a sore throat and was complaining that she was "saa sang" (losing her voice).

(The beef pho was ok, I don't care for the pho noodles that much--the noodles with the special dish looked better--they were thicker, but I didn't eat any. The soup for the beef pho was good, and I actually drank all of it this time.)

Today is the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi, patroness of the diocese.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jenny Schroedel, Friendship among women


Clerics [and religious] and higher education

Athanasius has written a post on why college is a waste of time.

via Abbey-Roads2, which was found at the Western Confucian

Should higher studies be out of the reach except for clerics and the religious? iirc, an education in the liberal arts was required before one could go on to study law, medicine, or theology. How many lay men pursued these studies? Things were much simpler back then, and so temporary relocation would not be as much of a hassle--clothing, books and so on. But nowadays, with studies in the "humanities" so centered on the writrten word as they are, how can one avoid not accumulating a small library by the time he is done with his graduate education? And then there is the hassle of moving to another state in order to attend a school there. Some schools may provide housing for its graduate students (with furinture), but this is definitely not the case for Boston College. And so one must buy new furniture and dispose of it when one leaves (unless one is willing to move it to another state, or resettle in the state where the school is), either selling it or junking it. What a waste!

Those how have taken a vow or promise of poverty might fare better, especially if the university were to house and feed them at minimal expense. The needs of clerics and the religious should be less than that of the average lay person, and with graduate education spanning anywhere from 4 to 8 years, what lay person can really afford to take that much time away from the real world, epsecially if he wants to get married? Getting married requires a lot of financial preparation, and even if one curbs his desires, the stipend he may receive will not be adequate to support a family. Certainly when he is first hired his salary will not be much better than that of an public elementary school teacher, and may be even worse (especially in Massachusetts or California). It seems more worthwhile to invest money and resources into the intellectual formation of a cleric or religious who is "settled" in his vocation and has a more specific call to the intellectual apostolate. Alas, the Jesuits are in bad shape, and no longer produce highly-trained scholastics who possess the scientia in an integrated form, and they no longer adhere to the original Ratio Studiorum (as far as I know), justifying this decision on the need to "modernize." I don't see the Legionaries replacing the Jesuits in this respect in the next 20 years.

If there is to be a renweal of Catholic higher education (especially at the graduate level), I think it will have to come through the initiative of religious. Lay Catholics have too many financial burdens. Perhaps in the future there will be enough graduates of TAC and Christendom who have earned PhDs in philosophy and theology that they can work for the establishment of a new graduate program in either discipline and affiliated with either college. But this seems to me to be unlikely. Better to focus resources on the intellectual development of religious and clerics, than on a program catering to the laity? But, as God wills!

As for a liberal arts education--while this may be beneficial to some lay people, I still think that this should be pushed earlier, and replace secondary school for those who have the appropriate gifts and inclination. In a specialized economy, most people will require nothing beyond technical training, though some exposure to the liberal arts might be commendable. The question is what will the economy make possible?

The truth about bottled water

via EB

As a health drink, bottled water is all wet
The triumph of marketing finally gets the scrutiny it deserves.

Tom Standage, Los Angeles Times

Review of Escape from Suburbia by Dan Crawford

EB archive; original

official website


Energy Bulletin stuff

The view from oil's peak
The message is gradually sinking in: the term “Peak Oil” appears in the press with increasing frequency. For policy makers initially encountering it, four questions seem paramount...
(Excerpts from the just-released MuseLetter) ...
published August 9, 2007.

Upstream economics and the future oil supply
Sharply rising upstream finding and development capital costs jeopardize ongoing and future oil projects. It does not appear, as most economists believe, that higher oil prices and Adam Smith's invisible hand will bring forth abundant new oil supplies to meet rising demand.
published August 8, 2007.

Ethical consumption: consumer driven or political?
"If ethical consumption campaigns are to succeed they need to transform the infrastructures of every day consumption rather than focusing on changing individual consumer behaviour".
published August 8, 2007.

<> Peak oil: what's ahead?
Some analysts say that peak oil is here now. Suppose they are correct — what changes will we see in the years ahead? How might oil production change between now and 2030, and how will this decline affect the economy?
(Part 3 of a series)
published August 7, 2007.

Cities in the deindustrial future
One of the most common assumptions about the world after peak oil is that cities will become deathtraps and only isolated rural communities have a chance at survival. Does this rarely questioned belief require a hard second look?
published August 8, 2007.

FSSP in France teams up with Marcel Pérès

NLM has the news

Fascinating. I'd like to get a hold of more CDs with old Roman chant.

Some history about New Braunfels and German Texans

Letter From Texas: Gott Mit Uns

by Egon Richard Tausch

These Germans came over to Texas in response to emigration propaganda in Germany, all of which stressed that, if you were an abolitionist or of the political left, you should go to New York City; if you were neutral or undecided, go to Missouri; if you were a conservative, go to New Orleans or Texas. Ferdinand Roem­er’s Texas, which was widely read in Germany and distributed by the Adelsverein, warned those who were radical or opposed to slavery to avoid Texas.

In addition, Germany at that time was a loose confederation of autonomous states, similar to the United States under the Articles of Confederation. Those Germans were used to a system that respected states’ rights, and most were very leery of strong central government.

How does that compare with the Germany of today?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Andrew Bacevich, The Overhyping of David Petraeus

The Overhyping of David Petraeus.
Army of One
by Andrew J. Bacevich
Post date 08.07.07 | Issue date 08.06.07

via Ross Douthat

3 from Asia Times on China

Beijing dips its toes in troubled waters
Severe pollution, large-scale damming and climate change are combining to spell catastrophe for China's rivers, aggravating the country's natural water scarcity. Beijing has acknowledged the linkages among the water crisis, public health, social stability and industry. Its efforts to tackle the problems have to date met with mixed results. - Pallavi Aiyar (Aug 7, '07)

At 80 years young, PLA is still going strong
The People's Liberation Army is continuing to transform itself into a modern fighting force. Gone are the days when the Chinese military was guided by Mao Zedong's romantic "People's War" dogma. The doctrine today is active defense with the ability to fight and win local warfare under high-tech conditions. - Jing-dong Yuan (Aug 6, '07)

Beijing sends a warning to Taiwan
China used the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army to warn Taiwan against any more aggressive moves toward independence. Beijing is irritated at Taipei's repeated efforts to rejoin the UN. And the US Defense Department continues to report a buildup of Chinese offensive forces aimed across the Taiwan Strait.
(Aug 6, '07)

More reflections by Peter Hitchens

on freedom and security, the police in the UK, and imprisonment

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

official website of the grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

the latest from Sandro Magister: Why Al-Qaeda Wants the Head of the Grand Ayatollah Sistani

Music for the responsorial psalms by Jeffrey Ostrowski

From Jeffrey Tucker:

Composer Jeffrey Ostrowski has done a wonderful thing. He has written a complete (or near complete) cycle of Psalms for use in the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, and posted them all online for easy download, along with accompaniments, ready made for using right away. Here is the link, which you will want to bookmark and use often. He has done the hard work. It is only left to you to sing them.

In my view, he has done an excellent job in recapturing the solemnity of the old form within the limited new form structure. The text is the Responsorial Psalm but the style and approach is from our history. Neither does he sacrifice the call for external participation. It looks to me like anyone could pick up the tunes very quickly.

Again, the site is

Andy Lau Phone, perfect for Hater

LG Woos Pan-Chinese Market With Andy Lau Phone
In a bid to enhance its presence in the wider Chinese market, LG Electronics has launched a new version of its Shine phone designed with actor Andy Lau.

LG on Monday released the Shine x Andy Lau Special Edition phone, complete with the actor's own handwriting. Inscribed on the back of the phone in the actor's calligraphy is his motto: "Heaven is where the kind hearted people are."

Actor Andy Lau poses for a picture in front of a model of the latest version of LG Electronics' Shine phone, the Shine x Andy Lau Special Edition. /Yonhap

Lau will also appear in ads for the phone in Hong Kong.

An LG official said, "The actor is also a skilled calligrapher as he wrote the Chinese logo for his film 'Gong Wu.' We thought his image fit well with the high end Shine phone series."

( )

Actress Jeon Named Leading Lady of Entertainment
On the heels of her win as best actress at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in May, Jeon Do-yeon has been named among the 50 most influential women in the entertainment industry by U.S. magazine "Variety".

Among all the entertainment categories including film, TV, and publishing, only four actresses were selected - Jeon, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard.

"Korean critics call Jeon a chameleon," Variety wrote. "At Cannes in May, when Alain Delon presented her with the best actress prize for Lee Chang-dong's 'Secret Sunshine' -- in which she played a woman devastated by the loss of her son -- it was Korea's first acting award at the world's premiere film showcase. It also was considered the one award outside of the Palme d'Or that set all heads nodding in agreement.'

The magazine further hailed her, saying "When it comes to Asian acting talent, (Jeon and Cannes juror Maggie Cheung) have few equals."

( )

Don Vandergriff and George Reed, Old Dogs and New Tricks

Old Dogs and New Tricks: Setting the Tone For Adaptability, by MAJ Don Vandergriff and COL George Reed, both USA, Ret. Fingerspitzengefühl (intuition and judgment) and Auftragstaktik (ability to use mission-type orders) are great things to have, but how do you develop them? [739 KB PDF - ignore the white space, from deleted advertisements]

Don't go to Pakistan, by Adam Elkus. Some unintended consequences are predictable.

Mark Urban, Rifles

Pete Takeshi, have you come across this book?

Napoleonic Books : Rifles : Six Years with Wellington's Legendary ...
Book review, Mark Urban
Wellington's Rifles: Six Years to Waterloo with England's ...