Ghost Month. No whistling! Christ, whatever you do, don’t whistle! Or swim. Or walk near water. Especially don’t whistle while swimming. If you whistle, a spirit will follow you home. Going in or near water is to invite a water ghost to steal your soul.
Whatever. All I want to know is why they couldn’t pick February instead of August to open the Gates of Hell. 36 sweaty degrees outside and the poltergeists get the pool? Whose idea was that?
We have our Halloween. It’s just one night and the kids get a ton of candy. In Taiwan, Halloween lasts a month and the only people who make out well are the ghosts and the guy who sells the demon money. And speaking of incorporeal cash…how good a gig is that? You take some printed paper…doesn’t even look like real money. People come give you real money – you give them fake money. Then they burn the fake money. What a business!
I bet the ghosts are pissed when September rolls around, they return to Hell and find out they’ve been bamboozled. Imagine the look on their spectral faces when the cashier at Beelzebub Barn refuses to accept their monopoly money.
Back home, you learn how to deal with demonic possession by watching movies. It’s pretty much common sense:
Don’t go down the basement (the attic is also a bad idea). Don’t split up the group to investigate a disembodied voice.
If someone goes missing, let them stay missing – don’t look for them, they’re already dead.
Never say, “You guys wait here, I’ll go fix the generator.”
They don’t really make horror films in Taiwan. I think it’s because Formosan ghosts are rather more manageable – all you have to do to appease them is lay out a big feast and burn some counterfeit bills. The ghosts, thus fed and with some hovering around money in their ethereal pockets, head off to the swimming pool in search of whistlers.
Remember The Exorcist? It would have been a far different movie if Max Von Sydow had simply dragged Linda Blair off to an all-you-can-eat Red Lobster buffet.
“Your mother eats shrimp in HELL! Pass the cocktail sauce.”
Frankly, I have enough trouble dealing with the living to start worrying about appeasing the dead, so on to earthly matters.
How do you like your typhoons? Living in Taiwan is the Pacific equivalent to living in Florida – if there’s a storm, it’s a fair bet it’s coming here. Every time a tropical depression pops a Xanax and gets promoted to hurricane, Floridians board up the windows and buy up all the canned goods, batteries and bottled water within 300 kilometers. The Taiwanese, however, are far more relaxed about pending weather. I’ve yet to see any of them stocking up on emergency supplies. The sheer density of food vendors permits them to be reasonably certain someone with access to a wok will survive the deluge.
In any case, I flipped on the television this morning and there was not just one typhoon threatening the island, but two…and when not immediately harrassing Taiwan, they were apparently bothering the hell out of each other.
A quote from the story in the Times: “…Typhoon interaction, known as the Fujiwara effect, involves the rotation of two storms around one another.”
Well, allamande left and dosado. As if torrential rain, landslides, floods and high wind weren’t enough, now they’re square dancing.
Personally, I like heavy weather…but I come from a place where you can escape flooding by seeking higher ground. In Taiwan, you can never be certain that the higher ground won’t suddenly become lower ground. Formosan terra ain’t always firma.
How bad a day do you have to be having, anyway? House gets washed away in a flood. You manage to escape up a hill, but the hill slides back down into the flood.
Whatever you do, don’t whistle for help.
Now, before I wrap this crap up for another month, I have to do this. I’ve been avoiding it because it’s just too obvious…but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to restrain my bitch (not that I make all that much effort).
Elections are always fun. The recent squeaker here in Taiwan was a blast, and now the Americans are gearing up for their own election-eve assassination attempt (fingers crossed for better marksmanship)…and George is pissing me off.
How the coked-out, drunk driving, lying, smug, weaseling moron manages to portray himself as a strong “war-time” President is beyond me. W declared war on an abstract noun – Terrorism. An abstract noun.
What’s next? Gonna kick the shit outta humour?
A war on terrorISTS makes sense – it’s over when all the terrorists are dead.
How do you win a war against an idea?
Bush has the nerve to accuse Kerry of lying about his service in Vietnam (despite mountains of evidence to the contrary), while he finnagled a state-side National Guard gig, refused a mandatory drug test and failed to show up for duty in Alabama.
Mind boggling is a Grand Canyon-sized understatement. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Mission Accomplished? Osama Bin Houdini? And they say John Kerry’s a liar?
Someone once said you could never go broke underestimating the collective intelligence of Americans. I can’t believe the polls have Bush and Kerry running neck and neck. I don’t know which is more frightening – that the Bush adminsitration (with special regard for Condi Rice and that Satan spawn Wolfowitz) is so obviously incompetent, or that so many Americans don’t seem to recognize the depth and breadth of that incompetence.
George Bush: Born on third base and convinced he hit a triple. Walked home by the Supreme Court and now insists it be scored as a home run.
Now all you waterlogged, whistling Republicans fuck off. I’m busy.