Sunday, January 25, 2015

Benefits Of Chinese Characters

There is a beauty in Chinese characters that I find fascinating. I began to memorize Hanzi as part of learning to speak Chinese. The way I originally memorized them was not the proper way to acquire a lasting knowledge. I've begun to go back and memorize the order of the strokes a calligraphy brush uses to create each character.
Since I started learning Chinese in my 60s, I'm well past the time most people pick up languages. But the great thing about learning Chinese characters is that it provides a backup neural network in case anything goes wrong with your brain. Characters are kept in a different part of the brain from the letters we use in the West. So you're building a brain with more failsafe options.
In addition, I was just reading about the famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, and realized his name means horse, friend – friend. For some reason that picked up my day

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Deflation, Europe and Brady

Europe, which is in an economically difficult position, is worried about deflation, where prices are lower every year, instead of higher. When this happens, economies don't grow, which leads to unemployment and decreasing standards of living. The European Central Bank recently launched a program in which it will buy bonds to stimulate the economies of Europe. This is an attempt to deal with a difficult situation.
In America, on the other hand we are consumed with the concept of football deflation. This is said to have happened in the AFC championship game. Since it was raining heavily, many commentators accuse the New England Patriots of deflating their footballs so they would be easier to throw. Bill Belichick, a man for whom winning is everything, and who is been caught in controversy before, says he doesn't know anything about it. He adds that  he has had to learn about the merits of inflating and deflating footballs. Commentators have stated that Belichick makes every decision in the Patriots organization and was attempting to shift the blame to the quarterback, Tom Brady.  However, the NFl now says Brady was probably telling two assistants how to doctor the balls.
The contrast is stark. Unlike Europe, which worries whether its citizens will be able to sell products and feed their children, America has moved on to loftier heights with its concern about the correct pressure for a ball. I'm glad to live in a country that has its priorities straight.

Why I Love Canadians

I think the Canadian people are great. They have a  humility that Americans lack. They are much more polite and considerate of their neighbors. Vancouver is one of the finest cities I've ever visited.
Don't take from this that somehow I am anti-American. I'm descended from two different Mayflower Pilgrims and I love my country. But, when you leave West Los Angeles, with its insensitivity and lack of civility and land in Vancouver, you're in a better place. I remember being shocked when a man stopped his car to allow me to exit from my parking place. Where I came from this would be unthinkable.
Canada has never been into nation building, except for its own. They don't want to invade other countries to make those countries more like them. They seem to be more considerate of their native Canadians. The Chinese who live in Wengehua (the Chinese name for Vancouver) seem to have a great community and a terrific spirit.
When I was growing up in Syracuse the closest place for Chinese food was in Canada. I would have to drive there to get moo goo gai pan, before I learned the thrill of Sichuan cooking. I think the Chinese went to Canada because that country welcomed immigrants in a way we don't seem to want to.
Because I'm close to the Canadian branch of the Turner's I've been able to meet some wonderful people. All in all, we're a very lucky country to have these good people next door.