Learning Mandarin in B.A.

I know it’s been Chiwanese (Chinese/Taiwanese) 24/7 in these parts recently, but this was too good to pass up. CS Monitor: “East meets West, with an Argentine twist”: BUENOS AIRES – Like many in Latin America’s most Eurocentric country, 26-year-old Emanuela Gavezza has long fancied the West. Her grandparents hail from northern Italy, which she […]

Typhoon Longwang

China Post: The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) suggested yesterday that people in Taiwan come up with alternative recreational programs if they had mapped out outdoor plans for the weekend. CWB officials said Typhoon Longwang, the 19th-named storm of the western Pacific typhoon season, has been heading west toward Taiwan from the east, is expected to […]

Peter Hessler’s Forthcoming Book

Peter Hessler, who wrote the exceptional “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze,” has got a new book coming out in April. It’ll be called “Oracle Bones : A Journey Between China’s Past and Present.” Those’re the only details I’ve got. I may just have to pre-order this one. (Hessler’s author bio in last week’s […]

Rock, Paper, Scissors — on ‘Roids

When I was teaching English in Taiwan last year, I used to require my students to beat me in rock, paper, scissors in order to go home when class was over. They’d line up by the door and then challenge me individually — if they lost, it was back to the end of the line. […]

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness”

Don’t miss John Perry Barlow’s “The Pursuit of Emptiness.”

A Defibrillator?!?

Jacksonville.com: Cops in North Carolina thought it was odd enough a Jacksonville man was driving an ambulance reported stolen hours earlier. Odder still was that he was wearing a makeshift doctor’s uniform consisting of a stethoscope, a pager-like gadget and latex gloves stuffed in his back pocket. But then things started getting really strange when […]

Mmmm. Calamaaaari…

NatGeo: Like something straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an enormous tentacled creature looms out of the inky blackness of the deep Pacific waters. But this isn’t science fiction. A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in the wild. The animal—which measures […]

This Sounds Absolutely Horrible

WaPo: Unless you can afford a first-class seat on an airplane, you’re stuck in steerage — a cargo area where solo travelers have little say about the person who will become their seat neighbor — also known as the person you plan to claw your way through when this thing ditches in open water. Now, […]

Ha Jin, Intellectual Badass and Really Nice Guy

I took a few poetry classes* with Chinese-American novelist Xuefei Jin when he taught at my college**. (And he even wrote me a gradudate school recommendation letter.) He had yet to become a literary big shot when I met him — a couple years after I graduated, he won the National Book Award and the […]