Wednesday, January 04, 2023


Spent much of the morning reading, with Wu Yingyin (吳鶯音 'ng am yam') on youtube in the background. Wu Yingyin was one of the golden-voiced musical stars of the middle of the last century, having first attained popularity as a teenager singing under an assumed name for a Shanghai radio station. When she became a professional, that too was under a different name. Her original name was 劍秋 (md: jian qiu, 'gim chau'; sword-autumn).
Her teenage alias was 錢茵 (md: qian yin, 'chin yan'; coin-wormwood).
The name 鶯音 (md: ying yin) means "oriole sound.
It is an appropriate stage name.

The oriole is associated with spring and happiness. Spring is still a way off -- it's raining cats and dogs right now, and cold to boot -- but in the Chinese year Spring starts in eighteen days, on the twenty second of January this year. As you can tell there is an almost insane optimism there. We'll probably have another spate of severe inclemence around then.
And quite likely after also.

Chinese New Year (春節 'chun jit') is when you put on your prettiest clothes, eat festive foods among returning relatives, and give red envelopes ( "lei si": 利事、利是) filled with money to the unmarried members of the family. And in San Francisco, lie about the weather.
So fresh, so invigorating, I don't feel my arthritis - rheumatism - lumbago.
AT ALL. See, I am smiling.
After doing all my grocery shopping and picking up a package at the pharmacy I headed into a warm and familiar plae for hot milk tea and flaky butterfly (蝴蝶酥 'wu dip sou'). Dawdled a bit, only to discover that it was bucketing outside. At an opportune moment, the downpour having lessened, I paid up and bolted, catching a bus within moments at the stop under the awnings. Stroke of luck!

When I got off it was considerably worse. Stormwinds, sheets of rain, blasts from different directions. I decided not to relight my post tea pipe until I got to my own doorway.
By which time I was soaked.

Yes yes, I heard you, we need the rain. The reservoirs and all that.
Green hills in Spring, and bountiful harvests.

People isolated at Tahoe, highway closed due to snow and typhoon-force winds, the Donner Party all over again; a fine California tradition and how nice to see prosperous middle class people forced to re-enact it. Hark, is that a bird I hear?

In the last two blocks I utilized my entire foul language vocabulary. In several languages. With expressive pithy dulcet force. And several new combinations.

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