Chi Yeh (七爺)

A local deity who was a general in His mortal life: as a god, Chi Yeh has the responsibility of rounding up ghosts who were criminals before dying, judging them and then sentencing them to something unpleasant in the upcoming life. People in the Wanhua (萬華) neighborhood believe that we should kneel down if we happen upon a parade like this in order to ensure peace and good luck. Chi Yeh (七爺) is tall and skinny. His counterpart Ba Yeh (八爺) is short and squat.


What Has Happened to Pots' English Section?

My wife Shufang was reading Pots', Taiwan's informative and free newspaper covering Taiwan's art scene and other stuff as well. This months' issue has some interesting articles, such as the one on how Coca Cola is using up a lot of India's water during this year's drought. According to the journalist, Coke is also foisting off Coke waste (imagine that) on farmers to use as fertilizer. It seems they don't have anywhere else to dump it. The article provides some amusing posters made by protesters/boy cotters on American campuses with slogans such as "Coke Float: Unthinkable! Undrinkable!" or "Coke Kills Trade Unionists" and "Getting Away with Murder: Killer Cola." After describing the contents to me (I was doing homework and only half-listening), she astonished me by saying:
"It's too bad Pot's doesn't publish any English articles. It's such an interesting paper."
Of course I rebutted: "They do. Just check the middle section." After having a look, however, I discovered she was right. The English section is no longer there. Whatever happened to Pot's English section? If it's gone for good, that's sad.


This Man is Not What He Seems

If you see this man at the "Depose" Chen rallies, beware! He is actually a motorcycle anarchist.

Kentucky Fried Chicken Taiwan

This kind of thing is typical in the Wanhua (萬華) neighborhood that I live in. I will go back and get a day pic later. I've heard that Starbucks recently sued a Ximending (西門町) coffee shop for a similar offense. It's only a matter of time before Starbucks takes on e-cafe.


Depose President Chen Graffiti

There have been complaints that the "Depose" protesters have been fouling up the environment. Some think it's ironic that people who want to do away with Chen "because he is hurting the country" would then turn 'round and vandalize the city with trash and grafitti. I was at Taipei Main Station (recent protest HQ) this evening, killing time before my wife got off work. In all fairness, it looked pretty clean and orderly to me. There was indeed grafitti, but it was written on plastic sheets (see above pictures) taped to outer walls.
There are some new developments. The "Depose" movement as everyone knows grew out of an organic bi-partisan coming together of citizens weary of a thoroughly corrupt government. These people longed for the past, when the ROC's leaders were all honest and humble, not corrupt. "Depose" then shifted to national identity ("we're all Chinese and none of us are Taiwanese"). A couple of protesters informed me today however the emphasis is on toppling "a low class president." By the way, I didn't see Shih Ming-teh. I wonder if he's still down south?

Ancestral Farm - Tipton, Missouri

Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, Missouri

Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, between Pilot Grove and Bunceton, Missouri. It was founded as a log schoolhouse church in 1820 and then rebuilt 1856. My great great great great great grandfather Peter Woods (1762-1825) preached here.
We have a long Baptist tradition on my grandma's side. I remember my grandma recounting the horrors of her childhood, where they couldn't dance because it was the devil's movement. She proceeded to recount a list of taboos. Basically, anything that was fun was frowned upon by my great grandma.
Uncle Pat (Vincent) forwarded the picture to me. His cousin Lauri (I think that makes her my first cousin once removed) took it a couple of weeks ago.

Cowsill Geneaology

Daniel Igou (21 Aug 1795 - 6 Aug 1871) and Mary Ann Tevis Igou (1808-1884). Tipton, Missouri.

Cowsill Geneaology

This is the headstone of my great great great great grandfather, Daniel Igou (dad's side of the family). My dad's cousin found it in Missouri and took this shot. My grandma left Missouri as an infant, when her family moved to Stockton, California. Daniel Igou (who by coincidence shares my birthday) was born in 1795 and lived to a ripe age of 75. The location of the site is in Hopewell Baptist Church Cemetery, north of Tipton, Missouri.
* * * * * * * *
In Taiwan, people observe a one-day holiday in the spring called "Tomb Sweeping Day." Taiwanese do so by visiting the tomb of their ancestors to tidy it up, burn some ghost money, ghost cars, ghost sofas, ghost TVs and any other ghost goodie they can think of (which can all be used in the ghost world). Last year, we got up at dawn and went up to Beitou in the mountains north of Taipei to pay respects at the tomb of my wife's grandpa and great aunt. It wasn't what I had imagined the tomb would look like. Their ashes were held in a locker inside a mausoleum. My father-in-law climbed up a sliding ladder (like they have in old personal libraries) and opened the locker so we could see the urns for a couple of minutes. They had photos on them so we knew which one was which. It was very early in the morning, but the mountainside was still thronging with filial Taiwanese. Now that I think about it, I realize it was really "a first" for me, as I have never visited the tomb, grave, etc. of a relative.


Cowsill Genealogy - Exquisite Beauty

Maude Coleman Woods was chosen ""most representatively beautiful woman in America" at the turn of the century. A poster bearing her likeness was made for Pan American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901. I am not sure of the artist.

Looks Don't Run in the Family

My uncle Vincent Patrick Cowsill (Uncle Pat) has been researching our family genealogy. This is a picture of Maude Coleman Woods. Daughter of commonwealth prosecutor for Virginia Micajah Woods (my great great grandfather Robert Woods' fourth cousin), she was voted the most beautiful woman in America by a poll in the New York World, and subsequently chosen poster girl for the Pan American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901. Unfortunately, she came down with typhoid fever while on vacation that year and died in August 1901 at the age of 24. Two weeks after her death, President McKinlay was shot at the Buffalo Exposition.
We are all, excepting McKinlay, descended from (if I've got this straight) Michael Woods (1684-1762), who immigrated to Pennsylvania (later to Virginia) from Ireland in 1724.


To a God Unknown plays the Wall on Thursday

To a God Unknown is a well-known local band. They're playing Thursday night at the Wall. The address is No. 200, Roosevelt Road, Section 4. It's in the Basement (near the Gong Guan MRT Station and Keelung Rd.). 台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1(基隆路口,百老匯影城地下室). The phone is (02) 8935-1454. Tickets cost NT$200, including a drink. The show starts at 10:00. See this website for more information: http://www.the-wall.com.tw/schedule10.htm#1012
Note: The band has added a fourth to their 老外三人 (who writes this shit?) and sound more like the Cure than Black Sabbath.

Grandma Nittis Restaurant - Double Ten Breakfast

Even though Shufang is suffering morning sickness, the waitress at Grandma Nittis insisted she order something. I decided on the Denver Omelet and coffee and Shufang stuck to water. (The waitress dropped her demands after I growled at her.) Later Rainbow, the owner, said breakfast was on the house. This used to be a pretty mellow restaurant. Now every time I'm in there, the servers are kicking my ass.
Today is Double Ten Day in Taiwan, which strikes some of us as strange as the fall of the Ching Dynasty had no bearing on Taiwan whatsover. In 1911, Taiwan was a colony of Japan, and would remain so for another 35 years when Japan surrendered unconditionally to the US (August 14th, 1945). I have talked to Taiwanese people about this fact, and many have admitted that it never occured to them. They know that Puyi 溥儀 was the last emperor of China, all about his background and especially his grandmother. They are oblivious to what was going on in Taiwan, their own country, at this time.
The leader of Taiwan when the Ching fell was actually Governor-General Sakuma. Sakuma (a cuss of a man who murdered thousands of Taiwanese) remained the leader of Taiwan until May 1, 1915 when Tokyo (not Beijing) relieved him of his position, sending another Japanese military commander to fill the position. I remember talking to a local about this topic. He told me that when he was in school ten years ago, his teacher explained to him that some Taiwanese people organized in Taiwan in 1911 and went over to China to fight. This is horseshit.
All this aside, I am happy to have a holiday. Maybe someday when historical accuracy and objectivity are concepts people can grasp, we can change Double Ten Day to July 14th Day, to commemorate the lifting of martial law.


ICRT Lashes out at Former DJ

According to ICRT Content and Creativity Director Tim Berge: "a former DJ of ours, Jeff Locker, worked daily 6:30pm - 9pm. Jeff was a much more opinionated person, and often discussed politics during his show. I know his former Program Manager had reprimanded him about this behavior, because at times he went too far. Let me also note that Jeff is a foreigner himself; an American who speaks excellent Chinese."
Actually, I am not sure what he means by this. I wrote Mr. Berge a letter to complain about comments current DJ Joseph Lin made about "foreigners" having views onTaiwan politics. My beef is that I heard this DJ complain on the air that "foreigners" were supporting President Chen. Lin's comments struck me as xenophobic because I felt the jist of his argument was that "foreigners" had no right to stick their noses in Taiwan politics. I also asked what the DJ would he say if people in other countries he had visited or even lived in had tried to deny him the basic human right of expression based on the tint of his skin or color of his eyes. To my surprise, I received from Mr. Berge the response quoted above.
My main concern is that DJs are putting messages of intolerance over ICRT's airwaves. Chapter I, Article 5 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is as follows: "There shall be equality among the various racial groups in the Republic of China."


Wang Chien Ming Gets Post-Season Win

Even though the New York Yankees Wang Chien-ming won, nobody in the States will say that he is a 20-game winner this year. His record stands at 19-6. It's done, cemented in the record books unless they find out that he was on steroids and then they'll put an asterix next to it.
Wang's sinker wasn't so good against the Tigers tonight. (I had heard that it picked up movement and seemed heavier, harder to hit, as the summer wore on.) He gave up five doubles, a homer and four runs but escaped with a win. Jeter went 5 for 5. I think he might've set the hit record in the post-season as well. The report I read wasn't so clear.
I noticed Patrick Ewing and ex-mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the stands at Yankee Stadium, after I had settled down from a particularly sappy version of "God Bless America" which was dedicated to American servicemen and women everywhere.


Aren't Cops Supposed to Protect Citizens?

I was watching the morning news' (TVBIS) follow-up on the Taiwan police officer who received a warning after his comments (were they on a poster - I am not sure?) about the president. The police officer said: "I wish President Chen had died in 2004 when he was shot." The news coverage was providing an interesting slant. It was as follows:
"Don't police officers have a right to freedom of speech?"
I guess most people with common sense would reply "yes, but the government/country also has a right to fire police officers, regardless of their rights, for not doing their job." Police officers are responsible for safety of everyone. Cheering on murderers doesn't really fit in the job description.