Thursday, September 30, 2004

Guess Bush won't be visiting Crawford as often in the future

The Lone Star Iconoclast, a Crawford, Texas, newspaper, has endorsed John Kerry for president. I don't know much about the Iconoclast, but it doesn't seem like a left-wing paper (not that that would be a problem for me...). In the editorial, the publishers write that they "endorsed Bush four years ago" and supported the invasion of Iraq. But now they seem to regret those earlier positions and recognize that Bush's leadership (in the U.S. and abroad) is fundamentally flawed. As they put it,

What has evolved from the virtual go-it-alone conquest of Iraq is more gruesome than a stain on a White House intern's dress. America's reputation and influence in the world has diminished, leaving us with brute force as our most persuasive voice.
They endorse Kerry because they believe he "can navigate our country back to prosperity and re-instill in America the dignity she so craves and deserves."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

At least my cellular service is OK

I got a free mountain bike for resubscribing for cellular service. My bike came today. It's a Merida 218 DX--a model that you can't find anywhere on their website, probably because they're embarrassed by it. It looks like Merida makes some pretty good bikes (even some nice looking real road bikes). But this thing is as heavy as an SUV and looks like it was welded together by a 13 year-old in shop class. Well, I guess you get what you pay for. I'm just glad none of my old cycling pals live in Taiwan.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Google's news service in China doesn't give the whole story

As mentioned on CNN's website, Google has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government and doesn't include results from news sites that are censored by the PRC. Simon Thomas from The Epoch Times, one of the online papers banned by China, has commented on this turn of events. As he puts it,
Many in the U.S., both in government and in the corporate world have the idea that if we do business with a corrupt government, then we'll reform them.

It hasn't worked out that way in China. It seems the opposite happens, and the government corrupts you.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Don't know much about history?

A China Post article from yesterday that describes the rally against arms purchases includes this slightly confusing sentence:
The demonstrators included many retired generals and veterans who personally took part in the war against invading Japanese to liberate Taiwan and the following civil war against Chinese communists.
Did I miss something? Which army fought against the Japanese "to liberate Taiwan"? Is this sloppy reporting or the China Post's attempt, in some weird way, to "nativize" by randomly replacing the word "China" with "Taiwan" in their news reports?
Of chocolate mooncakes

It's that time of year when we're bombarded (OK, that's too strong a word) with mooncakes. The mother of one of my wife's students even made her own mooncakes this year! Knowing that I'm a foreigner with a sweet tooth, she concocted the first cross-cultural chocolate mooncake that I have ever tasted.

Good stuff! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
John Kerry is "better than Cicero", says leading Republican strategist

Time magazine has an article about how Bush and Kerry are preparing for their debates. The Republicans are trying hard to "even" the playing field between the two candidates and to lower people's expectations about what Bush will be able to do in the debates:
Bush's chief strategist, Matthew Dowd, says he knows Kerry's record and is not spinning when he describes the challenger as "the best debater ever to run for President" and even "better than Cicero."
Of course, Dowd knows that if Kerry can't live up to that kind of praise (and how can he, given how the 32-page debate agreement has hamstrung his speaking style?), Bush will get the better post-debate "bounce".
Dr. Pepper binge, anyone?

The Wellcome (the way they spell that store's name always drives me nuts) nearby got in a welcome shipment of Dr. Pepper a couple of weeks ago. I've never been a frequent visitor to the import stores here in Taichung. I guess I'm too busy and they're too far away. So it was nice to see cans of my favorite soft drink available, no matter how temporarily. Judging from what usually happens with imports like macaroni & cheese and Grape-Nuts, I suspect the store won't be getting Dr. Pepper on a regular basis. *Sigh* (I have a plan, though. I'm currently binging on it so much that by the time Wellcome is no longer carrying it I'll already be sick of it, so it won't matter.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I've been 'unblogged' recently because the semester will be starting soon here. (Yikes! It's going to start on Monday!) I'll be teaching Freshman English for Nonmajors again (for the first time in 11 years), a section of Research Methods (I've taught all 4 sections, for the entire sophomore class of English majors, for the last two years--I needed a rest!), and a section of Intercultural Communication.

I've been working mostly on redesigning my Research Methods syllabus. We're going to focus as a class this semester on the topic of "plagiarism, copyright, and intellectual property." I'm going to be putting myself in the interesting position of encouraging students to examine critically the history and politics of plagiarism while at the same time trying to teach them not to plagiarize. We'll also be looking critically at the issue of international copyright, but at the same time I'll be requiring them to buy the textbook (no photocopying allowed). We'll see how that works out... I'll try to provide progress reports if anything interesting is happening.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

So what do you think?

This is one of the ads that the government is circulating around New York to press for Taiwan's entry into the United Nations:

Vice President Lu Hsiu-lien thinks New Yorkers might get confused by the ad (although she evidently hasn't asked anyone there). She says that people might believe the government is saying that the UN is being fair to Taiwan.

I don't think the ad is as confusing as she thinks. After all, there is no space between "UN" and "FAIR" to make people believe these are different words. Furthermore, why would Taiwan's government initiate an advertising campaign to tell people that everything is OK? (Hmmm... Maybe the PRC can put out some ads doing that. I can see the copy: "UN FAIR...") One of the Taiwanese stations interviewed some New Yorkers on the street and none of them seemed to be confused about the meaning of the ad.

What do my readers--particularly those who study visual communication/visual rhetoric--think? (Do I have any readers who study this???)
International Conference on Cross-Cultural Communication CFP

Was e-mailed a call for papers for the abovementioned conference, to be held July 6-8, 2005 in Taipei. The conference's theme is "Modernization, Globalization and Cross-Cultural Communication." Here's the conference website.