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Gong hay fat choi, y’all

Happy Year of the Pig. Actually, Chinese New Year started yesterday, but they celebrate for two weeks, so we haven’t missed much.

The first day is the welcoming of the gods of heaven and earth. I hope you did that. The second day (today), you pray to your ancestors AND the gods (hi, Grammy!). Also, you have to be very nice to dogs, because it’s their birthday. All of them. No, I don’t get it, either.

After that, it gets muddled. I got different advice from different web sites. Mostly, you gamble, wear red and give away envelopes of money to children. So it’s like your blowsy Aunt Irma times a billion. (Yes, I really had a blowsy Aunt Irma. She once answered the door wearing three eyebrows, two on the left and one on the right. A little makeup table accident. Could happen to anyone).

The idea is to maximize luck and prosperity in the new year by doing lucky things and avoiding unlucky ones. The Chinese love money without shame. How they went communist is anyone’s guess.

Like, you mustn’t buy pants or books or shoes, because those words are homophones for “bitter,” “lose” and “rough.” A “homophone” is a word that sounds like another word. Please stop thinking about other, alternate definitions of “homophone.” People in the Far East often make an explicit association between words that sound alike.

New Year’s is also called guo nian — literally means the Passover of the Nian. The Nian was an ugly monster that came out of the hills and ate people in Spring, until they figured out the drums and firecrackers would scare it away.

A holiday with a monster. How cool is that?

We once wandered into London’s Chinatown quite by accident on New Year’s. They were doing the Lion Dance in the street, with the slinky monster and the drums and the firecrackers and the bok choy and everything. It was very exciting.

I like celebrating other people’s holidays. If I keep learning about other cultures, it hastens they day I won’t have to work at all.

“Oooh. Sorry. Can’t come in. It’s the Shoton Festival today. Yeah. You know. The traditional Tibetan yoghurt banquet. Right.”

February 19, 2007 — 10:28 am
Comments: 3

Damien Weasel, Cat Scientist

Poor little bastard was set up. She went out first and planted herself at the foot of the stairs. They are arch enemies, so his only escepe was to take a flying leap over her head. The walk was covered in an inch of smooth, melty ice with a skim of water over the top. This is his first Winter and we haven’t had a good freeze yet, so he doesn’t know from ice. He took his leap, hit, made it all the way to the end of the walkway on his ass in one smooth, wet, flailing pinwheel of knees and paws and elbows and turned around with this amazing “whoa! d00d!!1!!” look on his little mug.

Imagine if he still had balls.

— 6:15 am
Comments: 8