2019年12月24日 星期二

"Taitung Coffee News"

My parents live in Port Angeles, Washington State, U.S.A.  I spent most of last summer in Port Angeles, and while I was there I took a copy of Coffee News from a little cafe near my parents' house.

For those not familiar with Coffee News, it's a free newspaper available inside many restaurants in the U.S.  Coffee News is printed on a sheet of A3 paper, with advertisements for local businesses running down both sides of the page.  Down the center of Coffee News, between the two columns of advertisements, are "articles" on various topics.

I brought my copy of Coffee News back to Taitung with me, and I was rereading it last night.  As I reread it I got to wondering what the Taitung version of Coffee News might look like, and whether there might be a market for such a thing.  I know of similar periodicals placed in temples here, but nothing you'd find in local restaurants.

What follows is a summary of the contents of Coffee News, followed by my thoughts on how this content might relate to people, places and things where I live.

I. Advertisements: Column One

"Reserve Your Own Ad Space Now! - Northwoods Firearms - We Purchase Firearms! - One Gun or Entire Collections - Call today for an appointment - We Buy Houses! - And we LOVE to reward your referrals! - Northwest Drain - Septic & Drain Services - Recreational + Medicinal Cannabis - Verified Pesticide Free - High Quality Growers - Tinctures, Capsules, Bud, Concentrates, Vape Cartridges, Delta 8, Topicals - "Find Your Lifestyle at Origins" - Anytime Fitness - Get to a Healthier Place - K2 Stepmills, Elliptical Trainers, Recumbent Bikes, Upright Bikes, C2 Rowing Machines, Treadmills, Circuit Machines, Free Weights, Tanning Beds, Training, Classes, Supplements & More! - Village Concepts: Park View Villas - Voted "Best Assisted Living" 11 Years in a Row - RJ Services - Specializing in all types of excavations includes Sucker Truck, Site Development All Types of Septic Systems - Big or Small - Firehouse Grill - Burgers & Fries - Take Out - Fresh hand pressed patties - We Use 1/3 Pound Custom Patties - Fresh NOT Frozen Beef - Hand Pressed Daily"

Thoughts: Guns.  I sure can't buy any guns in Taiwan.  In America, however, it'd be no problem.  Or maybe it would be a problem.  At any rate, I'll leave that discussion for another day.

Not much call for septic and drain services where I live.  Are septic tanks used in Taiwan?  I kind of doubt it.  Most structures here don't even have basements.

Recreational and medicinal cannabis!  Now there's something you don't see in Taiwan.  Or maybe you do, but again, I'll leave that discussion for another day.  Buying and selling weed can get you into a lot of trouble, and if you ask me it's not worth the risk.

I have no idea what most of the equipment in that gym does.  I prefer to exercise outside, and thankfully the place where I live allows me to do that.  Taitung is much better than Port Angeles when it comes to running and bicycling.

The "Assisted Living" place is, as all Americans would know, an old folk's home.  A lot of people from the Puget Sound region retire to Port Angeles and other towns on the Olympic Peninsula, and there are many "senior living" developments there.  Sometimes, walking around parts of Port Angeles, you wonder what happened to people under 60.  The average age is much lower here.

I never did go to Firehouse Grill when I was there.  Let's just say that people in that area put A LOT of thought into their hamburgers.  In Taitung the items most thought about are probably beef noodles and dumplings.  Maybe also fried chicken.

II. Everybody's Talking!

"Bug heist: Thieves sometimes choose strange things to steal.  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (U.S.), it was bugs, and quite a few of them!  At the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, the loot was more than 80 species of bugs, which included about 7,000 individual critters.  It represented over 80% of the museum's collection.  The heist netted everything from rare mantises and millipedes, to snakes and frogs.  Police investigated and found a few of the insects, but said the bugs are easy to sell and the enthusiast market is strong.  The stolen creatures were valued at over $40,000 (USD).

"Dark tattoos: People who want a tattoo with many colors shouldn't go to Body Luxe, a tattoo shop in Annecy, France.  Owner Eliot Kohek specializes in using only black and grey ink.  His tattoos look three-dimensional and are very realistic.  They often feature faces of gothic-looking beings, with maybe a skull or two tucked into a corner.  Kohek is not trained as an artist and developed is considerable skill on his own.  The extremely realistic images feature objects and people who look ready to step right out of the tattoo, as if they are actually there.

"No to marriage: A young woman from Hong Kong thought she was learning how to be a wedding planner and that portraying a bride in a mock wedding was just part of the training.  She found out too late that she'd been tricked, and was actually legally married.  The woman took a wedding planning course in Hong Kong, after which she was required to go to Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China, for the mock wedding.  This was a scam that enabled Chinese residents to apply for residency in Hong Kong, based on having a spouse in the region.  Not surprisingly, the woman applied for a divorce.

"A sacred place: Its common name is Ayers Rock, after Sir Henry Ayers, but its sacred name is the Aboriginal word Uluru.  The giant, rest-red rock rises from the plains in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in almost the geographic center of Australia.  It isn't the world's largest chunk of rock, but it towers over the flat landscape.  It is 348 meters (1,141 feet) high, 3.6 kilometers (2.2 miles) long, and 1.9 km (1.2 mi.) wide.  Uluru is naturally gray, but the iron content of the rock is "rusting" at the surface, resulting in the distinctive red iron oxide coating that creates beautiful images at sunrise and sunset."

Thoughts: I can just imagine some older Port Angeles resident reading this part and going: "Hm.  Well I'll be!"  Are there really people in the world who haven't heard of Ayers Rock?  Maybe.

More relevant to Taiwan is probably the "No to marriage" anecdote.  I doubt any Taiwanese woman could be tricked in this fashion - not unless she was really dumb - but marriage is a way for Mainlanders to live and work in Taiwan.  Taiwanese men working as "agents" for local KTVs will sometimes marry women from China and later divorce them, all for the sake of a resident visa that allows the women to work as hostesses here.  I'm not sure how widespread this practice is, and immigration laws may have since been amended, but it's been known to happen.

III.Quotable Quotes

"'Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.'
--Jim Rohn
"'The engineering is secondary to the vision.'
--Cynthia Ozick"

Thoughts: Thanks for the deep thoughts Jim and Cynthia, whoever you may be.

IV. What's Happening

"LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! www.facebook.com/OlympicPenninsulaCoffeeNews

"PLACE FREE NOTICES HERE FOR NON-PROFITS AND LOCAL EVENTS!!  www.OlympicCoffeeNews.com  Click What's Happening, Allow 3-4 Weeks lead time

"Congratulations to XXXXXXX XXXXX of Port Angeles, this May's Find Little Bill $50.00 Contest Winner.  Valerie Found Little Bill in the ad for Olympic Laundry Cleaners and She read Coffee News at Sergio's Mexican Restaurant in Port Angeles.

"Friday Jun 7th First Friday Art Walk Downtown Sequim 5-8 pm

"VETERANS WEDNESDAY BREAKFAST Every Wednesday.  VETERANS please join us every Wednesday at 9:00 AM for no host breakfast.  Good Food and Conversation.  Guests always welcome.  Free!  Stymies and Cedars Dungeness Golf Course.

"Port Angeles Farmers Market Front & Lincoln Sts. Saturdays, 10am-2pm.

"Sequim Farmers Market Every Saturday May-Oct 9am-3pm Sequim Civics Center Plaza.  FREE!

"Peninsula Music "May/June Guitar Sale: 15% off Guitar Accessories and Select Used Guitars, starting at $149.99.  Also: Guitar Lessons only $100 per month!  Mention this event when visiting, good through June 30th.

"Tai Chi Class Every Saturday morning, 10:00am Tai Chi class for health & wellness focusing on Balance, Relaxation, and Stress Reduction.  Free.  Donations appreciated."

Thoughts: I never ate at Sergio's while I was in Port Angeles.  We ate at another Mexican restaurant, which Yelp said was the best in town.  It wasn't very good.  I always miss good Mexican food when I'm in Taiwan, and the bad Mexican food I ate in Port Angeles only made me miss it more.  Come to think of it, pretty much all of the "ethnic" foods in Port Angeles were bad.  Chinese, Mexican, "Asian," Italian, Vietnamese - all bad.  They do burgers, pizza and fish and chips well, but that's about it.

Like a lot of smaller towns, Port Angeles is big on veterans.  There's a 9/11 memorial park near the hospital, with parts of the World Trade Center incorporated into a sculpture there.  They're the opposite of Seattle that way: patriotic and pro-Trump on average, with the retirees from the Puget Sound usually leaning the other direction.  I've got to say, I had a hard time taking some of the left-leaning residents there seriously, mostly because they themselves weren't facing the consequences of the social justice agenda they were trying to push on locals.

I walked through the Port Angeles Farmers Market a couple times.  There wasn't much to it.

Where I live, I think most people would agree that the Chinese food is best.  There are a couple good Vietnamese restaurants and a couple good steakhouses.  The American restaurants here are only good by Taiwanese standards.  I think it's safe to say that in the States they'd be out of business quickly.  I like them, but then again I've been lurking around here for two decades.

Taiwan also has its share of veterans, but they're on average much, much older than veterans in the States.  The veterans in question would have served in the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in KMT (Chinese Nationalist) forces leaving the Mainland and resettling in Taiwan.  Modern Taiwan's relationship with this part of its history is, to put it mildly, complicated.

V. Chance to Win $50!

"Find 'Little Bill' [a small coin] in one of the ads!
Log onto: OlympicCoffeeNews.com
          Click on 'CONTEST'"

Thoughts: This kind of contest is fun, but ridiculously easy for anyone not suffering from dementia.  I did something like this in this blog long ago, the award being 100 NT.

VI. Trivia

"1. American singer Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tenn., or Detroit, Mich.?
2. Stratus, Cumulus, and Cirrus are types of what?
3. In terms of weight, what is the world's lightest timber?
4. The five Olympic rings represent what?
5. Which U.S. General was known as "Stormin' Norman?"?"

Thoughts: I didn't know the answers to #1 and #3.

VII. Advertisements: Column Two

"Brokers Group - Real Estate Professionals - In the heart of downtown Sequim! - In the Clear Window Washing - A difference you can clearly see - Residential "Commercial" Hard Water Stains - Gutter Cleaning - Moss Removal - Pressure Washing - Just Fix It - Fine Jewelry Sales and Repair - Best Estate Jewelry on the Peninsula - Buying and Selling Gold Silver Fine Estate Items. - L&I Help - 25+ YEARS HELPING INJURED WORKERS - Workers Compensation - Personal Injury - "STRAIGHT ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS" - No out of pocket fees - Sequim's Home Town Building Supply Company - THOMAS building center - SOUND SYSTEM RENTALS - For Your Special Event - Starting at $50.00 per day - STRAIT MUSIC - OLYMPIC GAME FARM - Gift Shop & Snack Bar - R.V. & Pet Friendly - Open Daily @9 - Home of the Waving Bears - Port Angeles Tattoo & Piercing"

Thoughts: Plenty of real estate changing hands where I live, too.  The cost of a house in Taitung is about double what it was when I first moved here.  Am I sorry I didn't buy a house in 2006?  Not really.  If I'd bought a house back then it would have been the wrong house.  And who would have wanted the pressure of paying off that house, when I wasn't really sure I liked it here yet?

There's a truck that sometimes cruises through our neighborhood, and one of the services they provide (for a modest fee) is window repair and washing.  I have yet to take them up on the offer.

The way the law works in Taiwan is very different from how it works in the States - not always in a bad way.  The legal system is more opaque, and outcomes are more based on relationships than on an established set of rules.  "Face" and family often come before the strictest interpretation of the law.  As far as worker's compensation goes, in many cases acquiring such compensation might have as much to do with "shaming" the company involved as resorting to legal process.

Olympic Game Farm might be closed now.  The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was after them for supposed violations last summer, and this Northwest-centric wildlife park may be history.  That place was especially pointless given the fact that you could drive up into Olympic National Park and see many of the same animals.

There are no wildlife parks in my neck of the jungle.  There's an aquarium up the coast in Cheng Gong, some livestock in Chulu Ranch and Yuan Sen Botanical Gardens, but that's about it.  Taiwan doesn't have many big mammals, and while I find snakes interesting most people dislike them intensely.  There are a couple Formosan black bears in the Kaohsiung Zoo, but the Kaohsiung Zoo is a sad place full of sad animals.

I haven't gotten any tattoos in a long time, but that's definitely a thing both here and in Port Angeles.

IX. Advertisements: Column Three

"say goodbye to Back & Neck PAIN - CALL TODAY - Mittelstaedt Chiropractic and Massage - OPC SUPPLIES - CUSTODIAL AND PARTY - Locally Owned Since 2012 - Guitars, Drums, Keyboards, Sound Systems, Band and Orchestra Rentals, Music Lessons - HOT ITEMS IN STOCK! - Peninsula Music - EVERY PET'S FIRST EXAM IS FREE! - OLYMPIC VETERINARY CLINIC - We know your pet is an important part of your family, & we can't wait to meet them! - Supernatural Lecture with Demonstration - The next lecture will be on Monday, July 29 at 6:00 PM - Public Welcome - Port Angeles Pet Posse - Call 8am-8pm days/wk - We find missing pets or locate owners of found pets - Use our fully equipped veterinary transport to assist owners to transport their sick or injured pets - We are a non-profit but appreciate your tax deductible donations for our small shelter and pet supply store - FARMERS INSURANCE - Get smart about your coverage! - STEVE'S Westside Muffler and Brake Shop - Mufflers and Pipes - S-S Tips & Welding - Catalytic Converters - Brake Service - Interstate Batteries - Alternators and Starters - M-F: 8-5"

Thoughts: A lot of people in the States use cannabis to deal with back pain.  Does it work?  Sure it does, but you often become reliant on it to manage the pain.  A chiropractor might be a good second option.  I've never been to a chiropractor, so I don't know.

Pets and animals.  Taiwanese attitudes toward animals vary from the couple in Taipei City who use their dog as a surrogate child, to the farmer in Yunlin who would view the same dog as little more than a security device.  Animals can be companions, but they can also be food and/or agricultural implements.  If you ask me, I think some Americans veer to far in the other direction, viewing animals as more "innocent" or more deserving of protection than other human beings.  Some people there give up on human relationships entirely, and instead pursue relationships with their pets.

I would have loved to attend that "supernatural lecture and demonstration," but I saw the advertisement too late.  I love stuff like that, especially when it's nonsense.  Of course there's stuff like that in Taiwan too, and sometimes it can be equally great.

X. Your Weekly Horoscopes

"ARIES (March 21 - April 20): This might be a time when you really don't want others to tell you what to think or do.  If you present your own ideas with grace, they may find them very useful, too.  Lucky Numbers: 6, 7, 12, 24, 32, 47.

"TAURUS (April 21 - May 21): This can be an inspiring time, one in which imagination may be important.  You might be in the mood for diversion.  Just be sure it doesn't cost you too much energy.  Lucky Numbers: 7, 18, 27, 28, 37, 38.

"GEMINI (May 22 - June 21): Even if the world seems to be a complex and demanding place with little logic, you may be able to stir your deepest waters to find inspiration and passion within yourself.  Lucky Numbers: 1, 6, 12, 21, 36, 42.

"CANCER (June 22 - July 22): This may be a good time to expand your physical routine or widen your range of activities.  Your positive enthusiasm can become contagious, so keep up the great effort!  Lucky Numbers: 1, 8, 13, 24, 26, 44.

"LEO (July 23 - Aug. 23): You may tend to put your feelings on hold while you attend to practical demands.  Taking care of new, immediate responsibilities might require your attention.  Lucky Numbers: 13, 14, 23, 24, 33, 34.

"VIRGO (Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): Your spirit may want to soar, so sitting still and dealing with details might not be easy.  You may feel good without knowing why, so try to show your good judgement.  Lucky Numbers: 9, 18, 27, 32, 33, 39.

"LIBRA (Sept. 24 - Oct. 23): You may feel that others are demanding more from you than is reasonable.  Try to keep your cool and not overreact to what you might see as strong criticism.  Lucky Numbers: 7, 11, 12, 18, 23, 41.

"SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22): You may take things seriously and might not be easily convinced by others.  On the other hand, you could be able to persuade people to change some of their ideas.  Lucky Numbers: 3, 4, 21, 36, 43, 48.

"SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): You might want to be with people now.  You may experience strong and enthusiastic feelings.  If you have more energy than usual, that might bring up feelings from your heart.  Lucky Numbers: 3, 7, 9, 13, 14, 18.

"CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): Sympathetic contacts might be established easily now.  You may experience feelings of well-being and emotional harmony, both in yourself and with those close to you.  Lucky Numbers: 2, 13, 24, 25, 27, 28.

"AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 - Feb. 19): Many small details may need your attention.  You might need to take your time to breathe deeply and slow your pace.  Communications could be very important right now.  Lucky Numbers: 23, 25, 28, 33, 35, 38.

"PISCES (Feb. 20 - March 20): Try to keep your energy on an even keel because you may find yourself flying from one thing to another.  You might need space to decompress and do things your own way.  Lucky Numbers: 2, 4, 13, 38, 42, 46.

"Lucky numbers this week: This week's odds favor Taurus winners with the luckiest number being 7." 

Thoughts: For the record I'm a Capricorn.  Also for the record, that horoscope couldn't have been further from what actually happened to me during that time.

It's funny how people read things like horoscopes and then proceed to read them into any and all subsequent events.  Humans are just built that way I suppose - we're always seeking out patterns.

In Taiwan the horoscopes offered would relate to the Chinese Zodiac, which works very differently.  There'd be lucky numbers as well.  This section has a counterpart in the free circulars placed in Taiwanese temples, and many people here take those circulars just as seriously.  And do Taiwanese people believe in Western horoscopes?  Yes, many do, but this would be a step removed from traditional thinking.

XI. Did You Know...

"Dine and dash: Nobody likes visits from wasps and hornets during an outdoor meal.  However, these insects are not all bad.  Both wasps and hornets often eat other insects that may damage crops and plants.

"Tasty apples: When it comes to apples, most people are familiar with such varieties as McIntosh and Granny Smith.  But there are many more, including the sweet, sharp Cox's Orange Pippin and Wolf River.  The latter is usually used in cooking.

"Quiet place: If you need a bit of quiet time, outer space is a good place to go.  It is completely silent there because sound has no way to travel.

"Song wailers: Bob Marley, the famous reggae musician, was born in 1945 in Nine Miles, St. Ann, Jamaica.  He formed his band, originally called The Wailing Wailers, in 1962 with Peter "Tosh" McIntosh and Neville "Bunny Wailer" Livingston.  Marley died in 1981.

"Big wingspan: Butterflies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  However, the species with the largest wingspan is the Queen Alexandra's birdwing of Papua New Guinea.  The wingspan of females can measure up to 28 cm (11 in.) wide."

Thoughts: Apples from Washington State can be purchased all over Taiwan.  I see boxes bearing the "Washington" label even in the little vegetable market near my house.  Most apples here are imported.  They do grow some apples way up in the mountains, but pears are far more popular.

What do you mean, Coffee News?  No sound in space?  What, are you implying that most Hollywood movies get it WRONG?  What good is a space battle without the sound of explosions?

I like Bob Marley, but my ears have a hard time registering his music.  Same problem with Led Zeppelin.  Their songs come on, and five to ten minutes later I have no idea what I just heard.

XII. On the Lighter Side

"It's getting to the point that you need more brains to figure out the income tax forms that to make the income.

"Client: 'Can I ask you two questions?'
"Lawyer: 'What's the other one?'

"A robber walks into a bank and says, 'Give me all your money!'  The manager says, 'Take the books, too.  I'm $10,000 short.'

"My doctor told me to take a hot bath before I retire.  But that's ridiculous.  It will be years before I retire.

"Some people stay longer when they're leaving than others do when they're staying."

Thoughts: HA HA HA HA.  It's funny, right?  Why aren't you laughing?  People in more rural parts definitely have their own sense of humor...

XIX. Advertisements: Column Four

"RAIN SHADOW INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE - A Whole Body Approach to Women's Healthcare - Board Certified in Gynecology and Integrative Medicine - Comprehensive women's healthcare, integrating the best of conventional medicine and evidence-based alternative therapies to help your body find balance - Accepting new patients - The Two of Us - First Street Barber & Styling - Haircuts: $17 - Kids 12 & Under: $15 - Seniors (60+): $15 - Vets: $13 - (add $3 for Shampoo) - Across from the Lincoln Theater - Peninsula Heat - 12 YEAR Warranty - "We Set the Peninsula Standard for Quality Work and Customer Satisfaction" - Fujitsu ELITE Contractor - Exclusive Fujitsu Elite Dealer for Clallam and Jefferson Counties - Now Open! - PEDEGO ELECTRIC BIKES SEQUIM Washington - Volunteers Matter - Make your voice count for an abused and neglected child that cannot speak for themselves - CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates FOR CHILDREN - There are nearly 200 children in foster care in Clallam County.  Without a volunteer their voices cannot be heard.  CASA is assigned to speak for their best interest.  Be that voice, become a CASA volunteer now - Enroll in ongoing training by calling Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services - ANIME KAT - Your store for: Anime, Manga, Card Games, Board Games, Miniature Games, Video Games & More - Randy's AUTO SALES & MOTORSPORTS - No Credit Check - This Space Available! (...but not for long!)"

Thoughts: I'm not sure what "integrative medicine" is.  Maybe just a combination of Eastern and Western approaches?  In Taiwan it's fairly obvious which doctors are "Western" and which are "Eastern."  I'm not a huge proponent of Chinese medicine, but it does work sometimes.  In Taiwan both approaches are covered by insurance, and it's nice to visit a doctor without having to worry about ridiculous fees.

The CASA add represents the other side of Port Angeles.  Meth/opiods and other forms of substance abuse are big problems there, which in turn affect many families.  The suicide rate in Port Angeles is higher than average, perhaps in part due to the dark and gloomy winter months.  If I was a teenager there I'd probably be dying to move away.

In Taiwan ketamine is more popular, and most young people go the betel nut/alcohol route when they want to be "adult."  Ketamine seems to be less addictive, but in drug-phobic Taiwan it's hard to get accurate information on that substance.  If never tried K or meth, so I don't know for sure.

Anime Kat.  I went there a couple times.  It was weird to see all that anime and manga in English.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

What's Going in Taitung City and County Townships/Municipalities 台東市,鄉,鎮最近動向 8
Around Chulu 在初鹿附近
Social Studies 社會 4, First Semester 上, Unit 2-3 第二單元到第三單元
Retrospective 懷舊的 4:Eating in Taitung City 台東市裡的餐廳

Answers to "Trivia": 1. Memphis  2. Clouds  3. Balsa  4. The Five Continents  5. General Norman Schwarzkopf

Note: For anyone confused by some of the place names above, Port Angeles is located on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.  It's also within Clallam County.  The nearest town of any size is Sequim (pronounced "skwim"), where many of the businesses found in the advertising section are based.