Saturday, May 29, 2004

Time wounds all heels

Time wounds all heels was the line that Liz gave to Jane to console her after being dumped by Ray.
Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd) is a lonely woman living alone on New York City with a successful career and a loyal best friend (Marisa Tomei). When she meets the man of her dreams (Greg Kinnear) at work, Jane finally finds the happiness she has always longed for. When the relationship sours right on the verge of long-term commitment, Jane begins to study the mating habits of the animal world to find answers to why men cannot commit to one woman for a long periods of time. Finding herself homeless, Jane moves in with Eddie Alden (Hugh Jackman), her womanizing co-worker. Jane is appalled by Eddie's misogyny, yet she is attracted to his honesty. Romantic entanglements ensue. ...
Someone Like You was on TV last night. It is a delightful and predictable romantic comedy. Needless to say, it has a happy ending. Totally enjoyable. Check it out if if comes by your way.

BTW, don't try this at work, i.e., dating with people you work with. It's highly risky, especially when the relationship doesn't work out.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Portrait of a man when he was 26 years old

Inspired by BethanyC's 51 Things About Me. Notes from an earlier life:
01. Your timing is considerably off.
02. You like to finish one thing before moving onto another.
03. Living away from home, work has become its surrogate.
04. You enjoy monitoring each phase of a process.
05. You enjoy the assembly (creation); the perfection of something that does what it is designed to.
06. You enjoy physical work.
07. You want to know exactly what your responsibilities are.
08. Your job situation does not provide that.
09. You don't like to be idle.
10. You enjoy occasional travel and easy access to the computer.
11. It is important for you to know what is of significance and necessary, both materially (i.e. where things are located) and personally (i.e., the degree of loyalty required and my feelings about it).
12. Your opinion about the existence of an afterlife is an important determinant of your philosophy.
13. You like freedom with no hassles.
14. You feel you should be at a certain point in your life by a certain time.
15. Beginnings and ends are important to you.
16. Job location is important.
17. Regression is not good.
18. You are apprehensive about being offered the job. Accepting means giving up those good points about the current one.
19. You like visual things.
20. You are a snob.
21. Morale is very important.
22. In doing work that you enjoy, you are bound to do an outstanding job. But you find those enjoyable activities have varying degrees of enjoyment.
23. Good physical health, alertness, and restfulness are important to you.
24. You judge yourself by the moment and not by the past.
25. In transitional periods, you need a time out.
26. You like to be self-sufficient.
27. You like financial security.
28. Morality and ethics (self interest vs. collective) are important to you.
29. You've been told that you have a black and white approach to life.
30. You need to consider alternative and backup plans and their timing.
31. You also consider the time/cost factor.
32. You have a hearing problem. You can't maintain full attention (turn-off).
33. In an exam, you tend to finish as soon as possible whether all the resources or time have been utilized or not.
34. At times you are unable and unwilling to focus on the problem at hand.
35. You feel pressured, not confident at times.
36. You need a healthy balance between seriousness and silliness.
37. You have better retention if the objectives are presented in a clear and integrated way.
38. If you go down one lane in life rather than another, your options are different.
39. You are competitive.
40. I like you. I know you. I like having you around.
41. You like to have the freedom to come and go as you please.
42. If constraints were lifted, you would like to do things that are out of character.
43. Constant feedback is very important to you.
44. You enjoy the thrill of discovery.
45. You like interactive learning, especially exchanging knowledge with others.
46. You like to be useful to others.
47. You have a fear of losing established friendships and dread facing strangers.
48. You have difficulty judging the degree of flexibility in a relationship at first encounter.
49. Foresight is important to you.
50. You like to learn how to make decisions effectively.
51. You despair and fear the inability to change, to unable to explore and experience the widest range of emotions.
52. Judgment of others seems to come easy for you. If only you can be charitable to yourself too, you would be a better person.
53. You must continually grow. Otherwise you would waste away.
54. You engage in elusive and sloppy thinking.
55. It is necessary for you to sort out images from realities. Judging other's true character is difficult.
56. You need to learn how to think on your feet.
57. Avoid dead time.
58. Are you a man of principles or an unprincipled opportunist?
59. You don't test assumptions thoroughly.
60. Your first impression of others tends to remain unchanged.
61. You should develop values that correspond with reality.
62. Avoid over or under-estimation.
63. Learn to adjust expectations to coincide with newfound realities.
64. Learn how people communicate.
65. Avoid being fat.
66. Learn to reject and experience rejection gracefully.
67. Frustration is between an individual and his environment. Too much frustration would point to the need for a new work environment.
68. Knowledge is not always wisdom nor is sensitivity always accuracy.
69. How can assumptions be tested non-destructively or in a non-caring way?
70. How solidly formed is your personality?
71. As doubt assails a complex set of assumptions, an individual must then reevaluate his own self-image, which can be upsetting.
72. What do you know and don't know about yourself?
73. The risk is the lost of confidence in yourself.
74. Your ability to recall and perceive is poor.
75. Work gives you little stimulation.
76. You get little from people in the department.
77. You need a lot of practice.
78. You feel relieved if the situation facing you is out of your control?
79. That is very childish behavior of you to send Marlowe's cast of character to Jeanne. Well, yes and no.
80. To be an expert, you would have to have had a lot of experience.
81. Plan it out. What are the preparation and experiences needed?
82. You need peer group recognition.
83. You are unable to separate the performance of the task from how you feel about the task.
84. You need to feel potent and have control over your life.
85. You are affected strongly by others.
86. You are impatient.
87. You have a strong territorial trait.
88. You tend to generate unhappiness vacuums.
89. Because you are not certain whether a point of fact or opinion is expressed, you hesitate and because of the hesitation, lost control. The control of the situation has transferred to others.
90. Have tasks defined. When they are finished, the tasks should be evaluated. But while the tasks are in progress, there should be no interruptions.
91. You need a mentor.
92. You need moral leadership.
93. Sometimes one can learn more about someone in a couple of hours than that of his loved ones.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Chinese Tower of Babel

This entry is indirectly inspired by EightOh9's Tower of Babel entry.

My cousin Feng from New York came to visit my mother yesterday accompanied by my sister. Consequently it was a good excuse not to cook dinner. So, we ordered out. Unbeknownst to them, one of the dishes I ordered was General Gao Chicken. During the dinner conversation, my sister remarked how tasty it was. Apparently, none of them ever had it before. The restaurant menu did say "Szechuan & Mandarin Cuisines". They only eat Cantonese. So, I said it's "ah ah Gao Chicken". I didn't know the Chinese word for General. Trying to recover, I said, "well you know the Head Soldier Gao's Chicken, the dish that was named after the famous Chinese General who cooked this for his men". They all had a blank look on their faces. Don't they know any Chinese history? I dropped the subject.

You have no idea how hard it was to research the name of this dish. There is this article Who Was General Tso And Why Are We Eating His Chicken? . Then I found a reference to a General Tsou. Are these the names to the same guy? After all, they all have the letter "o" in common.

After some digging around on Chinese dictionary sites, I found the literal translation to General (military) Gao (high or tall) Chicken (chicken):

militaryhigh or tallchicken

But you know these literal translations never work. Luckily, I found a Chinese Restaurant menu that has both the English and Chinese names of dishes printed, and showed the entry for General Gao Chicken to my mother:


So she said, "oh, Left Work Chicken. I know what this is. Yes, lot of restaurants serve this dish." Go figure. Where's General Gao?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Life as a pregnant woman

Ark. mom gives birth to 15th child
Baby's parents say more a possibility
By Associated Press | May 26, 2004

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Michelle Duggar is all smiles after delivering her 15th child, and she may be ready for more, her family says.

Mother and child were doing well, although Michelle, 37, was feeling some discomfort because the birth was her second by Caesarean section, said her mother-in-law, Mary Duggar.

"She's a trouper. She's just all smiles," Mary Duggar said.

Jackson Levi Duggar was born at 10:52 a.m. Sunday, weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches.

"She was wanting to do it naturally," Mary Duggar said. But the delivery was by C-section because one of Jackson's shoulders was presenting first.

The baby's father, Jim Bob Duggar, sounded a bit tired but happy after returning home Monday. The 38-year-old real estate businessman said his wife and new son were doing fine. He said he leaves the decision up to Michelle on whether to have more children. "But we both love children," he said.

Michelle probably will be in Washington Regional Medical Center for three or four days, said her mother-in-law, who is taking care of the 14 other children.

Michelle, who home schools her children, started having her babies when she was 21, four years after she and Jim Bob married.

Their children include two sets of twins. There is Joshua, 16; Jana and John-David, 14; Jill, 13; Jessa, 11; Jinger, 10; Joseph, 9; Josiah, 7; Joy-Anna, 6; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 5; Jason, 4; James, 2; and Justin, 1.

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
I hope the math is right on this. She is now 37 and started at 21. That's over a 16 year period. Having two set sets of twins saved two pregnancies. That means 13 in all. Assuming 9 months per pregnancy, that's 117 months or 9.75 years that she's in that state. I just can't get my head around this amount of time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


William H. Hinton, at 85; wrote of China's revolution

Carma Hinton was born in China to American parents and was raised and educated there until 1971. Chinese is her first language and culture. Since 1971 she has lived in the United States. She received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976, and a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. She has taught Chinese language, history and culture at Wellesley, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and MIT. For her work in film, she was awarded a Rockefeller Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship in 1988.

ONE VILLAGE IN CHINA (1987), a three-part series examining life in Long Bow, a rural community 400 miles southwest of Beijing (broadcast on PBS, BBC, Arts & Entertainment Cable and throughout Europe and Asia). ONE VILLAGE IN CHINA includes:

1. SMALL HAPPINESS, which explores sexual politics in rural China with segments on love and marriage, foot-binding, child-bearing and birth control. Completed in 1984.
2. TO TASTE A HUNDRED HERBS, which explores themes of religion and medicine by examining the life of Dr. Shen, a Catholic village doctor. Completed in 1986.
3. ALL UNDER HEAVEN, which chronicles the history of Long Bow over several decades - from the Revolution in 1949 and collectivization in the 1950's through the recent shift to private farming. Completed in 1985.

About the Directors of Morning Sun:
Director, Producer, and Interviewer Carma Hinton was born in Beijing in 1949, and lived there until she was twenty-one. Chinese is her first language and culture. She is a scholar as well as a filmmaker. She has a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University and has taught Chinese language, history, and culture at Wellesley, Swarthmore, and MIT. This project has been deeply influenced by Hinton’s personal and first-hand understanding of the politics and history of the period, and her direct witness of and participation in many of the events of the Cultural Revolution, which began when she was sixteen years old. All interviews were conducted by Hinton in Chinese.

Consequential coinicidences

When I read maligna's discovery of the coincidence in her comment, I was reminded of two interesting ones. ·

The first is the story behind the invention of Calculus, by Leibniz and Newton:
Although Archimedes and others have used integral methods throughout history, and a great many (Barrow, Fermat, Pascal, Wallis and others) had previously invented the idea of a derivative, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Sir Isaac Newton are usually credited with the invention, in the late 1600s, of differential and integral calculus as we know it today. Leibniz and Newton, apparently working independently, arrived at similar results. It is thought that Newton's discoveries were made earlier, but Leibniz' were the first to be published. Newton (who represented derivatives as

\dot{f}, \ddot{f}, etc.) provided a host of applications in physics, but Leibniz' more flexible differential notation (df/dx, d^2f/dx^2, etc.) was eventually adopted. (The simpler f' notation is still used in some cases where it is sufficient.)
The second is the story of natural selection by Wallace and Darwin:
Darwin, as evidenced by his later work, The Descent of Man, was well aware of the implications such a theory would have on the study of the origins of humanity; consequently, he withheld publication of his accumulated evidence in favour of natural selection for more than a decade. He was eventually forced into publication because of the independent development of a similar theory by Alfred Russel Wallace, who sent Darwin his manuscript in 1858. A joint publication of Darwin/Wallace's theory of evolution was put forth the following year. It is felt by some that Wallace deserves as much credit as Darwin for the theory of natural selection, and that he has been rather unfairly marginalised from the history of its development.
Unlike taradiddle, these coincidences were consequential.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Taradiddle serendipity

Journalspace must be the land of the Serendip. I wandered by maligna's journal last night and came across her taradiddle entry. And today, guess what The Word of the Day delivered? Now, that's serendipity:
The Word of the Day for May 24 is:
taradiddle \tair-uh-DIH-dul\ noun

1 : fib
*2 : pretentious nonsense

Example sentence:
The story was criticized by business writer Don Larson as "the worst collection of falsehoods, fabrications, misrepresentations, deceptions and just plain old-fashioned taradiddle that I have ever read."

Did you know?
The true origin of "taradiddle" is unknown, but that doesn't mean you won't encounter a lot of balderdash about its history. Some folks try to connect it to the verb "diddle" (meaning "to cheat"), but that hasn't been proven and may turn out to be poppycock. You may hear some tommyrot about it coming from the Old English verb "didrian," which meant "to deceive," but that couldn't be true unless "didrian" was somehow suddenly revived after eight or nine centuries of disuse. No one even knows when "taradiddle" was first used. It must have been long before it showed up in a 1796 dictionary of colloquial speech (where it was defined as a synonym of "fib"), but if we claimed we knew who said it first, we'd be dishing out pure applesauce.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The opposite of uncanny is not canny

My Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster is uncanny. Just so that you know, the opposite of the word is not canny. What a language!

uncanny \un-KAN-ee\ adjective

1 : ghostly, mysterious, eerie
*2 : suggesting superhuman or supernatural powers

Example sentence:
Although Pam insists that she doesn't have ESP, she does have the uncanny ability to guess people's exact birth dates.

Did you know?
"Weird" and "eerie" are synonyms of "uncanny," but there are subtle differences in the meanings of the three words. "Weird" may be used to describe something that is generally strange or out of the ordinary. "Eerie" suggests an uneasy or fearful consciousness that some kind of mysterious and malign powers are at work, while "uncanny," which debuted in the 18th century, implies disquieting strangeness or mysteriousness. English also has a word "canny," but "canny" and "uncanny" should not be interpreted as opposites. "Canny," which first appeared in English in the 16th century, means "clever," "shrewd" or "prudent," as in "a canny lawyer" or "a canny investment."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.