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外國駙馬一樣髒 May 10, 2017

Posted by hslu in Trump.
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中國自隋朝開始實行科舉制度。一千三百年來,這是家境清寒的讀書人能夠躋身仕途的唯一途徑。有錢人家的小孩不念書,混個文憑,老爸捐錢,買個官做比唸書容易多了。跟現代的有錢人捐錢給常春藤名校給兒子,女兒鋪路,好讓他們以後去唸書是一個模子出來的。沒什麽稀奇。

這是後話,以後再研究。言歸正傳。

自古以來,千千萬萬的學子,十年寒窗,挑燈夜讀,懸梁刺股,發奮圖強,為的是什麼?從私塾,到童生,到秀才,到舉人,然後進京趕考,只希望能金榜題名,得個進士,方能光宗耀祖,衣錦還鄉。然後換個九品的芝麻小官做做。希望從此官運亨通,仕途得意,為皇上效力,為人民造福。自己也弄個萬貫家財,告老歸鄉,安享晚年。當然,該打通的就打通,該奉承的就奉承。這是官場的規矩,也是人性的弱點。不足為怪也。

這多累啊!

中國俗話說得好:”十年寒窗無人問,一舉成名天下知”。可是我問你,一舉成名講的容易,出頭的有幾個?

不過話說回來,文人雅士也不是完全沒有飛黃騰達,一鳴驚人的機會。如果你飽讀詩書,治國有方,棋琴書畫,樣樣精通,文章做的好,字寫的漂亮,人長的也一表人才,萬一不小心給你考上個狀元,皇帝老兒心裏一高興,看你順眼,從心眼裏就喜歡。於是,他御筆一揮,把個不見得非常漂亮的女兒許配給你。那你一飛沖天,搖身一變,成為當朝公主的駙馬爺。從此以後,趨炎附勢,奉承巴結的人比比皆是。你這一點裙帶關係,可以給你帶來無比的權力,萬貫的家財和享不盡的榮華富貴。愛情嗎是可以培養的。不過以前三妻四妾,身為駙馬,說不定也可以安排。惹的老婆生氣,醋罈子一翻,你晚上在門外站著侍候就吃不完兜著走了。這是閑話。暫時不談。

中國如此,美國的駙馬爺何嘗不是如此?

客官請看, Trump 的駙馬爺和以前的駙馬爺有沒有什麽不一樣的?Trump 的外戚不也是也頂著皇帝老兒的 EB-5 招牌,四處招搖撞騙,要三百個人各出五十萬美金來紐澤西投資嗎?那些趨炎附勢,奉承巴結的人不是都圍著駙馬爺腦門上的 T 字團團轉嗎?

空口無憑,有詩為證:

一人登天雞犬忙,榮華富貴響噹噹,

爭先恐後拍川屁,美國簽證好風光,

懸梁刺股寒窗夜,仕途遙遙霧茫茫,

一旦娶得白富女,洋人駙馬一樣髒。

你想想,有皇帝大老爺給 Kushner 撐腰,你給我50萬美金,美國綠卡,皇帝老兒一句話,移民局的小官一定雙手奉上。

話說回來,以前的駙馬爺呼風喚雨,外國的駙馬爺不也是一樣嗎?我們這種沒見過世面的老百姓急什麽?

深夜食堂美食 May 9, 2017

Posted by hslu in Food, Life in Taiwan, Taiwan.
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台灣有四個便利商店:7-11,全家,萊爾富和OK超商。7-11和全家都是日本的舶來品。萊爾富是台灣的產物。

台灣人買房子,第一要求就是地方要好,上下班交通方便和生活機能完備。所謂生活機能完備的指標就是附近有沒有7-11或全家這一類的便利商店。

台灣便利商店密度高,商品齊全、服務多,且全年365天,每天24小時,天天上班不休息。消費者各式各樣的需求,便利商店都可以做。這幾家便利商店一年的生意量估計要超過新臺幣3,000億元,差不多$10 billion USD。在家七樣事:柴米油鹽醬醋茶,除了柴以外,便利商店都有。報章雜誌,日用所需,麪包飲料,紅酒白酒,它都有。

不過這些便利商店最受人歡迎的就是速食了。店裏有微波爐,你挑一個你喜歡的,付了錢,店員就幫你熱一熱,你可以在店裏吃,又可以外賣,非常方便。

以下就是這幾個便利商店流行的美食:
7-11

「日式風味唐揚雞」,「醬燒軟骨雞肉串」

萊爾富

港式鳳爪、燒賣雙拼,美式的辣雞球、薯條,墨西哥雞翅,麻辣米血,珍珠燒七里香

OK超商

香烤芝麻餅皮,「超好吃酥餅-蘿蔔絲」,「椒香川丸子」,「培根鴨賞包」

全家

「匈牙利香草烤雞腿」,「東山綜合滷味」,「沙茶香辣雞胗」

都不賴吧!虧他想的出來。

一切正常 May 9, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, Shanghai, 浦東.
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我們去年11月中離開上海。出門時把家裏整理的乾乾淨淨,從上到下清洗了一番。電和煤氣都關了,以免節外生枝。昨天晚上 (5/6/17) 回到浦東,家裏一切正常。謝天謝地,沒有麻煩。電沒問題,熱水也有,家裏也沒有漏水的痕跡,灰塵不多,沒有生黴,沒有蟲子,沒有蜘蛛網,也沒有什麼奇怪的味道。不過,牆上有些許油漆剝落,窗沿邊上有些 caulking 掉了。我們來回上海已經十幾次了,每一次都沒有問題,真是省事不少。Knock on wood.

我們去年十一月離開時,小區的住戶投票通過要全區實行一人一卡和車號識別制度。我們也投了贊成票。但是,我們走的時候,大門警衛系統還在施工,換新卡時,我們已經回台灣了,所以沒有進小區的卡片。昨晚進來時還要跟守衛解釋說我們離開了半年,離開時沒有新卡,只有進大樓的門卡。他看我手上的門卡,問我們是不是”回老家”了。我也沒有多說,就趕忙說是。他就讓我們進來了。

信箱裏信件不多,除了廣告,就只有一些水電和煤氣的賬單,不過這些費用都是自動從銀行戶頭裏扣錢,免得煩惱。其他就是銀行的單據,不是什麼重要的文件。市政府也沒發什麼通知,沒什麽大事。唯一要麻煩的就是網絡和電話了。

每次來上海最煩惱的就是電話和網路。沒電話還可以過日子,沒網路那有人就要嘮叨嘮叨了。我們每次來都要換一個新的 sim card,換新的路由器(舊的 sim card 過期,新的 3G 或 4G system 更換),全部要重新設定,麻煩的不得了。這已經是七,八年的事了,你說是不是麻煩?店員都覺得我們笨的不得了。可是每次來都只有十天,半個月的,你說我能怎麽辦?

這一次我狠下心了,決定在家安裝一個網路,安裝一個電視的 set top box,另外加兩個手機,簽了一年的合約。雖然現在我們每年只來上海一兩次,每次只留一兩個月,其他七八個月就只有多費錢吧了。手機我們選的是華華為的畅享7 Plus,每個手機¥1,499元。其他電話費(3G mobile data,700分鐘話費)和電視這些東西全部只有¥199一個月。多一個電話只要¥5一個月。簽一年的合同。就算破財消災吧。談不上破財,省事吧了。

我們本來先去中國聯通,因為這幾年以來,我們都是用聯通的 sim card。談好了價錢,選了手機,結果我們小區不支持聯通。我們只有問路,靠人指點,一路坐公車(¥2一程,不管多遠)去東方路的中國電信,在那折騰了一個鐘頭,把該辦的都辦了。

現在,我有四個手機:美國的一個 (AT&T Samsung S6 edge,許多網站印證不收國外電話),台灣一個(中華電信,Samsung S7),中國一個(華為),還有一個是unlocked samsung S4。台灣和中國的加起來都沒有AT&T的貴。

本來我就沒想把房子給別人住,現在更不會了。這幾天要把房子裏要的東西添一添,該買的就買吧。本來湊合著用的,東西品質不好,該扔的就扔,買一些比較好的東西吧。

今天早上,裝寬帶的來了,差不多半個鐘頭就弄好了。現在家裏有 wifi 那就不需要晚上十點長泰廣場關門以後還在那划手機了。過兩天那位先生還會來安裝 TV Set Top Box。到時就有電視可以看了。

如今浦東的公寓也慢慢的像一個家了。可惜我們在這時間不多。上海比台灣冷好幾度,以後說不定就在夏天的時候來上海好了。

這次進中國用的是臺胞證。以前的臺胞證申請了以後從沒有用過,也早過期了。每次進中國都是用美國護照。這次在台灣重新申請(雄獅旅遊辦的),新的臺胞證跟台灣的身份證一樣大小。如今用臺胞證進大陸可方便了。用不到三十秒鐘。我們進來時,先在浦東海關申請,照了像,按了指紋,兩分鍾就好了。進關快多了。

這次來上海,我們會在這四十天。可能會去那裏走走吧。再看。

C is here. Well, almost. May 8, 2017

Posted by hslu in China.
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I talked about A, B and C a while back; first on January 18, 2011 and later on September 3, 2015. 

A, of course, is Airbus, B is Boeing and C is COMAC, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. 

In both of my previous blogs, I kind of askedq one question: “Is C coming?”  

With yesterday’s event, the question now becomes: is C here yet?

So, what happened on Friday, 5/5/2017? 

The first commercial airplane manufactured by China’s Comac, officially called Comac 919, took its maiden test flight on Friday at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

As you can see, C919 isn’t ready for action yet. It is still three or four years away before flying passengers around the world. 

Source: BBC News.

Here are some informations about C919 which has received technical assistance from GE and Honeywell:

Source: 新民晚報

1。C919 is a narrow body, single-aisle twin-engine airplane, the most popular airplane in the sky. Capacity: 168 passengers. 

For comparison: Boing 737 family of airplanes: 85 to 225 passengers. Airbus A320: 150 passengers.

2。Range: 2,532 to 3,452 miles. Note: Beijing to Singapore: 2,786 miles.

3。Cost: ~$50 million USD vs $32 – $100 million for a Boeing 737 or about $100 million for Airbus A320. 

Commercial airplane manufacturing has been dominated by Boeing and Airbus for decades. Last Friday was the begining of a new chapter for the worldwide aerospace industry because a new kid came in town and one day will give its two much stronger and more advanced competitors a run for their money. For China, it’s an business opportunity it can’t afford not to get a piece of. It is also a big national security concern for the Chinese government to have its aerospace industry controlled by foreign governments. 

The development of C919 is a significant step for China in many respects.

Consider this: more than 31 years ago when I flew into Hongqiao Airport (虹橋飛機場) in western Shanghai with my Mom, the area around the airport was pitch dark because China was a third world country with intermitten supply of electricity. The streets of Shanghai were filled with millions of bicycles, buses and electric street cars. Chinese people lived on rationed rice, pork and cooking oil. Only three colors dominated the entire country: black, dark blue and grey. A university professor made ¥230 a month vs ¥170 for a factory worker. No private property was allowed and almost all people worked for the government. No skyscrapers in the city except those built in the 1920’s which escaped destruction during the 8-year China-Japan war. China was that poor. The lives of ordinary Chinese people were that miserable and things in China were downright hopeless.

None of that sorry chapter of the recent Chinese history matters any more. 

Look at China right now: 

Black and grey morphed into red and green and every color in between. Bicycles gave ways to millions of automobiles. Skyscrapers of every shapes and heights can be seen in cities big and small thought out China. This country is doing all it can to compete with the most powerful entities in the world in military, science, technology and, of course, aerospace. It will one day surpasses the United States and breaks down the hegemony laid out by the U.S. government and Wall Street bankers over the last 70 years.

The eventual launch of C919 is a snall step for China. C919 symbolizes the industry power of an emerging country and the drive behind one of the dreams of Chinese people: Made in China 2025.

The first C919 is only a test airplane but China already has received 570 orders of C919 from 23 buyers. Most came from Chinese domestic airline companies but GE has ordered 20 planes probably because GE is a big supplier to the C919 program.

After C919, Comac is looking into joint venture project with Russia on larger and more profitable wide-body airplanes such as Boeing’s 747 and airbus’s A340. That will be at least a decade away.

Space, Eridanus Supervoid, ASASSN-15lh and more May 5, 2017

Posted by hslu in Do you know?, Knowledge, Science.
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Terrifying unexplained mysteries of deep space

https://www.airsassociation.org/services-new/airs-knowledge-network-n/airs-articles/item/19268-terrifying-unexplained-mysteries-of-deep-space

Source: AIRS, Corey Parker, grunge.com, Albert Lakey


Don’t forget the Great Attractor.

Terrifying indeed. But, you don’t need to lose sleep over it.

Trump will keep you up in the night anyway.

First nail to the Obamacare coffin May 5, 2017

Posted by hslu in Congress, Health Insurance, Obamacare, Trump.
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Without Obamacare, Obama was a U.S. president who accomplished nothing in 8 years.

Well, Obamacare was a failed experiment and Democrat paid dearly for the mistake.

Terrifying space, Eridanus Supervoid, ASASSN-15lh and the Great Attractor May 5, 2017

Posted by hslu in Knowledge.
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Terrifying unexplained mysteries of deep space

https://www.airsassociation.org/services-new/airs-knowledge-network-n/airs-articles/item/19268-terrifying-unexplained-mysteries-of-deep-space

Source: AIRS, grunge.comAlbert Lakey.
Interesting read. Terrifying but not bad enough to keep you up in the night worrying about what our world is becoming to. 

Trump is doing a good job on that all the time.

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。

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。