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風雨欲來霧滿樓 April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 林口.
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氣象預報說今天大陸的冷鋒會來,中午溫度就要下降,接著就會雨。早上開始就沒有看到太陽,現在已經是下午四點多,雖然天陰陰的,可是雨還沒有下下來。我一邊走路,一邊看天,只覺得空氣裏濕答答的。沒多久霧就起了。它從高樓的屋頂開始,把薄薄的一層透明的紗布往下拉,一下子就把天空和高高的屋頂蓋起來了。

看來,林口的天氣又要作怪了。

等我們喝完了下午咖啡,霧更濃了。一,兩百尺之外的房子和車子都好像躲在白紗布的後面。昏昏暗暗的路燈,散發出不同的顏色,懶懶的照在濕濕的人行道和柏油馬路上。路上沒幾個行人,車子開著大燈,像兩個會動的大眼睛,慢慢的在路上走著。

左邊的房子是新蓋好的。十層樓高。大概三十幾戶人家。右邊是一個三層樓的透天厝。孤零零的在路當中。

左邊的高房子就是我們家的大樓。右邊的建築物是一個美國學校。全新的建築物。去年九月才第一次招生。只收有外國護照的小朋友。小學,初中和高中的學生都有。去上運動課的時候,差不多八九部小巴來接他們去附近的運動場。大概有七,八十個學生吧。

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No United unfriendly sky for me April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Travel.
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I have told my wife and my friends a long time ago that I didn’t like United. 

More than once. I might add. 

And I haven’t flown with United for years despite the fact that United usually had one of the lowest fares on cross Pacific Ocean flights.

I didn’t like United because of their lousy customer services at the ticket counter and poor in flight accommodation. I especially loathed the United counter at Chicago’s O’Hare airport because it had probably the least efficient, least friendly and least helpful ticket counter staff that I have ever encountered. Once was enough for me. 

I am no big star or famous but I can always walk with my feet if I don’t like this or that company. United, AA and Delta have grown so much after de-regulation, they think they own the sky in the U.S.. They try every way they can to charge extra money to the flying public and totally forget that they are service companies.

The attitude of United agents at O’Hare were terrible, not only to me but to other customers as well. He wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me anything about our Chicago to Tokyo flight which was terribly delayed. While many people were waiting in line to be checked in, the one and only United agent didn’t make any attempt to request for additional assistance even though we were all very anxious for fear of missing our flights.

Over the past ten years, we have taken many flights between DC and Shanghai, DC and Taipei and JFK and Taipei. A few of our flights were with United in late 2000’s because their flights often had one of the lowest fare on Kayak or other websites. 

On these busy cross Pacific Ocean flights, it appeared that almost all flight attendants on United were women in their 50’s. They got these assignments probably because they have earned enough seniorities to be eligible for these lucrative routes.

During those 15+ hour flights, United flight attendants treated us in the coach section like a herd of cattles. These mean old women shout out instructions and demand us to comply. If you wanted a blanket because cold air was blasting down from the ceiling, they asked us to wait. When we asked them to turn down the temperature or lower the speed of the fan, they said they couldn’t do it. 

The food United served us was always very bad. On the way over to the Far East, we’d have beef in brown sauce with rice. On the way back, it was penne with marinara sauce. Lettuce with brown spots looked like it was three days old . Dinner roll was cold and the butter was hard. It was impossible to spread the butter on the dinner roll. The hot food looked disgusting with dried and burned crust on the edge of the aluminium container. A few pieces of penne not covered by the marinara sauce were burned and tough to chew. Rice was dry and tough to eat. Broccoli was soggy and soaked in dark brown sauce with a layer of film over the top. The green peas, corn and diced carrots tasted like they’ve been microwaved two or three times too many. Beef was dry and chewy and it tasted like rubber. Dessert was always a piece of carrot cake and friut consisted of 2 slices of apple and a slice of soggy honey dew.

After the first hot meal, these old women turn off the cabin lights even though it was bright daylight outside. They disappeard to their own quarters and took their beauty nap. Once a while, one or two would come back to check on us. Four or five hours later they passed out a cold and dry ham sandwich with a piece of lettuce as flat as a sheet of paper inside. The sandwich was wrapped so tight in saran wrap that it made the sandwich looked like a small football. The bread was tougg and chewy and it tasted like a 2-day old sandwich you found in the back of your fridge.

Exactly two hours from landing the entire crew got busy. They turned on the lights, rushed out the carts, passed out drinks, gave you a small tray of egg with cheese, mushy tater tots, a cold dinner roll and a cup of fruit. Before you finished your breakfast, they started to collect dirty trays and glasses. Soon after, they asked you tO dump all your garbage in a bag so that they didn’t have to dig it out from the front seat back pocket. After a round of coffee, it was time to get you back to your seats and prepared for landing. After landing, these women hid in the back of the airplane, got their bags and suitcases ready and marched off the airplane as soon as the last passenger walked off the airplane. One unlucky flight attendant had to stand by the door to say goodby to us and that’s probably the only smile we’d see on the entire flight.

So much for the friendly sky. It’s not for me.

三義鳥人餐廳 April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taiwan, Travel.
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台灣苗栗縣三義鄉這個鳥快要不生蛋的地方居然有一個叫”鳥人”的餐廳。餐館的名字叫鳥人。有相片為證,不是蓋的。朋友帶我們來,讓我們開個台灣葷。

其實,鳥人不止是一個餐廳,它實際是在一個叫”天空之城”的園區裏面。天空之城座落在三義附近一個小山頭上,它有兩個獨立的餐廳;一個賣葷菜的叫天堂古堡,相當大。一個賣素菜的叫鳥人,只有天堂古堡的三分之一。天堂古堡有午餐套餐,下午茶,和許多牛排餐。鳥人有飯,有麵,也都是套餐。套餐附麪包,湯,飲料和甜品。都是素的。台灣年紀比較大的人,好像喜歡素食,比較注重健康。有些年輕人也跟著學樣,不過他們等到禮拜五或禮拜六晚上去夜市吃豬血,烤大腸,烤魷魚和油油的香腸。

園區裏還有許多花草,樹木,優雅的步道,一個水池,雕像,一個漂亮的大樓,和一個城堡一樣的建築物。藍天白雲,風景優美,美不勝收。遠處的中央山脈一望無際,令人心曠神怡。看來老闆花了不少心機和大把的鈔票把它開出來。我們是週日去的,人不多,可是也有不少客人在園區里走來走去。

二樓往下看。

鐵門看來是專家設計的。這個地方應該是財務危機之前蓋的。那時候,台灣錢多,商人想盡辦法賺錢。不是隨便蓋一個破屋子就可以招來客人的。不是名人設計的東西,不會有人來的。

你想想,這麼大的一個建築物在山的那一邊,地錢,房子,蓋起來要多少錢啊!不知道老闆是不是已經把他的投資賺回來了沒有?

這也是專家名人的手筆。我說這些都是錢堆出來的,不假吧!

這些都是有名目的東西。下面一張小卡片說明雕刻家的想法。我看不懂。

鳥人餐館的佈局很獨特。兩層樓的餐廳依著山坡蓋起來的。我們坐在樓上可以看到遠方的山峰。清風徐徐吹來,遐逸的很。只不過身處之地全是錢堆出來的,消費不低。平常人口袋裏沒有幾個銅板,沒有車子的人是沒法來的。

台灣的媒體一天到晚報導經濟衰退,物價低迷,消費不高,薪水不漲,陸客不來,那都是什麽樣的人來這種地方呢?看來看去,像我們這種上了年紀的老傢伙還真不多呢。管他的,這不是我的問題。民進黨當政,讓他們去傷腦筋吧。總統府和立法院都是他們的。搞不好也不能怪別人了。

鳥人裏面很乾淨,佈置樸素典雅,木頭桌,木頭椅。窗戶邊上擺放著好幾瓶餐館自己釀的醋做點綴,蠻特別的。

服務員親切,可愛,清一色都是活活潑潑的年輕人。我們是第一次來。主人倒是來了幾次。主人還邀請另外一對夫婦,他們也是第一次來。我們對菜單有許多問題,服務員有耐心的一一的解釋給我們聽。大家點的都是套餐,好像只有這個選擇。

菜色可以,味道中等,可是談不上秀色可餐。食品的材質很好,新鮮,廚子的手藝也還可以。我在廚房邊上探頭探腦,看到廚子也都是年輕人。不像是受過訓練,科班出身的師傅。他們都犯了一個台灣廚子的通病:就怕客人吃不飽。把盤子裏的菜堆的高高的。不精緻,沒有美感。

清一色的素菜,我並不常常吃。看得出來廚子費盡心思想把菜做的漂亮好吃,不過光是素材是不容易的。

酸酸的橄欖。有一點甜味。開胃前菜。

Potato soup. 不夠濃。

這是我叫的。名字好聽:南瓜杏鮑菇松露燉飯。你看像不像 bacon。嚇我一大跳。怎麼吃都吃不完。

不記得這是什麼了。好像是一種香菇吧。Deep fried。

Baked mushrooms with cheese.

Pasta 還不錯。Cheese 夠多,味道不差,Pasta 八分熟。我覺得這是比較好吃的一道菜。

一般。蛋糕不甜。

台灣有不少像鳥人這一類的餐館。離市區有一點路,除了餐館,還有其他設備。都是一個樣子,只是情調不同,價錢不一樣。不過,口袋沒幾個錢是不能來的。如果爸爸媽媽有錢給你花,那也行。

The Big Bang – or the Big Bounce? April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Knowledge, Science.
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The Big Bang – or the Big Bounce? – https://www.ft.com/content/f47b8310-0383-11e7-ace0-1ce02ef0def9 via @FT

Whether it is big bang or big bounce, this is by far the best and easiest-to-understand article about “Big Bang,” written by Sean Carrol for people with no knowledge of how space and time work in the universe that we are in now. It’s an easy and enjoyable read.

Credit: Caleb Charland, Getty. Source: Financial Times.

I am sure you have questions like: 
。What’s before the “big bang?” 

。Did the “big bang” bring with it the beginning of time?

。Was there no time before the “big bang?”

The scientists have no answers for us common folks just yet. They might in a decade or a century. 

But who is counting? After all, the universe has existed for 13.8 billion years, give or take a few millions. 

It can wait.

Big money April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Islam, Middle East, Military, Muslim, U.S. Foreign Policy.
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I am not talking about “Wheel of Fortune” where contestants yell “Big Money” in excitement after spinning the money wheel.

I am talking about big money on bombs; the GPS guided bombs. It has been reported that the America has dropped so many bombs against IS in Iraq and Syria that the U.S. military is actually running out of bombs now.

According to DoD data, 23% of the total cost ($11.9 billion through 2/28/2017) was spent on munitions: about $2.9 billion on bombs, bullets and grenades. 

I wonder how many IS fighters have been killed by bombs and how many innocent civilians have died from the bombing. 
Here is one version from the Pentagon based on a report from Zero Hedge:

It seems that either these America-made bombs have eyes or the Pentagon is doing a poor job misleading the world. 

By the way, the Wall Street Journal reported in June 2014 that IS only had 4,000 fighters in Iraq. 

Has America committed war crimes or are these civilians merely collateral damages which can’t be avoided in a war?

Alliance on Nautilus: The Origin of the Universe April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Knowledge, Technology.
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http://alliance.nautil.us/article/200/the-origin-of-the-universe

Fascinating.

Trump 吹牛不打草稿 April 29, 2017

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Like broke almost all his pre-election promises.

梨園湯包舘 April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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路過看到的。今天要走的一萬步已經走夠了,可以休息一下。先吃個晚飯,在附近走一走,等晚一點再回林口。

門迎東西南北客,舘納千古湯包情。

湯包,麪食,小菜,炒飯,和水酒。

門口有人排隊,大概要等二十分鐘。有人排隊,就表示東西好吃。我們也跟著排。
果然不錯,排隊有理,沒讓我們失望。總管很客氣,耐心的跟我們介紹他們的特色。我們問他是不是老闆,他說他是店長。可能也有分紅吧。點菜的小姐和送菜的小姐都很年輕,很客氣也很有禮貌。不像有些餐館,忙起來把客人當牛趕。真差勁。店長還說 他們有很多外賣的,都是附近的居民,在他們餐館吃了好多年了。

跟VA和MD半畝園的紅油抄手有比。就是裏面包的肉多了點。

鍋貼吃不完,明天中午的中飯。

每個湯包都是直挺挺的。這就表示餡的多少剛剛好,不然皮癱下來,就是餡太少了。湯多,味鮮,好吃。兩人一籠剛剛好。

煎了久了一點。豆沙不夠多,不夠甜,不夠細。

差。下次不能叫他們的甜點。

湯包果然一流,怪不得敢把湯包掛在餐館的名字邊上。絕對不比鼎泰豐的小籠包差。

台北車站紅豆小館 April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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台北車站樓上有好多餐廳。一家接著一家,大概有四五十家,把個二樓排的滿滿的。有一個牛肉麪區。一個夜市區。還有拉麪,,pasta,咖啡廳,廣東點心,泰國菜,韓國菜和上海菜。可以說是琳瑯滿目,美不勝收。

紅豆小館是中間的一家。我們也不知道那一家的菜好吃,就繞著二樓轉一圈,看到紅豆小館,就它吧。看看它有什麼精彩的小菜。還有,紅豆小館是上海菜和一些北方點心,壞也壞不到哪裏去。菜單上有好多選擇,看起來還算可以。價錢比較貴,但是不是不合理。餐廳乾淨,明亮也不用排隊。反正遲早要試一試的,那就今天吧。

我們叫了幾樣簡單的小菜,點心和一碗雪菜肉絲麪:

看到就想吃。夠麻,不太辣。牛筋Q,有咬勁。不像有些餐館的牛筋回鍋太多次,牛筋太軟,跟吃jello一樣。


這種小菜在VA或MD是做不出來的。雪菜綠的可愛,百頁又軟,又新鮮,毛豆清脆。道地的上海小菜。喜歡。

清淡。應該叫碗排骨麪或是牛肉麪的。

蔥油餅,

餅香,油夠,蔥多。可惜鹽少了。台灣這股回歸自然的風吹的太猛了。粗茶淡飯在家吃吃也就吧了。結果這個不能吃,那個吃多了會早死。有的吃了會得癌症,高血壓要不然就是糖尿病。真累啊。

芝麻球

差。奶黃比忠孝東路的1976差多了。簡直是不能比。

He used to be a boss April 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Trump.
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Now Trump works for American people. 

Actually he is a confused, incompetent, highly paid and eat-his-words-for-lunch public servant.

People who don’t see him eye to eye protest his policies on the street. Latinos want him gone yesterday. Blacks mock him. Muslims loathe him. Conservatives have second thoughts on his resolve. The twitter world attacks him viciously. Artists use his face and his big mouth to create urinary bowls. Hunters use his face for target practices.

Liberals hate his gut. The press is on his back everyday, watchs his every move and asks him pointed questions whenever he does something or says something in public. Democrats are his meanest adversaries. They say bad things about him on Sunday talk shows and on prime time TV. The Freedom Caucus disagrees with him and he can’t do anything about it. Federal judges block his executive orders. FBI investigates him. Senate and House committees probe his ties with Russia. NFL players don’t want to meet him in the White House. Some on the left even doubt the legitimacy of his presidency.

Foreign leaders in private treat him like a joke. Kim of North Korea dares him to send aircraft carrier Vinson to his country. Abe asks him for permission to do this and that without paying for any of them. Putin doesn’t give a damn to what he wants to do. Merkel doesn’t respect him. Xijinping makes sure he’ll behave in public before agreeing to meet him in Florida.

His foreign policies change from “America First” to “Trump Follows.” His first military invasion into Yemen got off track from the start and he end up with an egg on his face.

Funding for his beautiful wall is off the table this year because Democrat threatened to shut down the government. His vow to repeal Obamacare died in the House. His budget appears to be DOA. His hand-picked advisor was removed from important positions. His team is in disarray.

When he was a boss, he could walk away from people he didn’t care for and from deals he didn’t like. 

Now he is the top public servant of the nation, the buck stops at his office. He has no one else to pass the s*** to anyone else.

Poor Donald has no place to hide.

He can quit. 

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