I am furiously grading papers….but I wanted to blog this letter:

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Hi Michael,

What is an absolutely great website! I can’t begin to express how much enjoyment it had brought me in perusing through your galleries of pictures. This is especially true with those food and food market related pictures. Viewing this site is almost like dousing oneself in a giant tank filled with the concentrated essence of Taiwan. mmm…

While much of your commentary on the pictures are insightful and terrifically entertaining, I still think some of your criticisms regarding Taiwan’s gastronomic products/trends are, well… unduly harsh. Sure, those purple swirled Taro “edibles” do not look exactly appealing, nor are many of those stuffed bread-like things, but I believe cuisine is itself a form of cultural expression. What one culture considers delectable are usually e scoffed at by another as I’m sure you already understand ;) Heck, many Americans and other westerners ridicule each other over something as simple as toppings on french fries (ketchup in the States, gravy/cheese in Canada, and mayo/ketchup in much of Europe).

Hopefully I do not come-off as being rude or pretentious in this email, and if so, I sincerely apologize since this was not my intent. Of all the websites on teaching English in Taiwan and Taiwan in general, yours is definitely one of the best out there, excelling in both the quality of information as well as in the sheer volume of visual content. Without it, I would have had less info to learn, no pictures to see, and also no commentaries to nit-pick :P

All I can said is that I hope that you can find a place in your heart for the sweet bean paste and bah-so (dried, sweetened, fluffy meat) filled buns, as well as the many mayonnaise slathered creations of Taiwan as I have done for American chop-suey and those chewy “chicken balls” with red sauce in mine :)

Oh, and if I may be so bold to ask, please, please, please post more food/food market pictures. That fish market page was like a dream come true.

PS The food shown in http://users2.ev1.net/%7Eturton/MornMarkbig20.JPG is actually wrapped in bamboo leaves no banana. Your wife or her parents might have made them for that celebration a week or two back. Sorry, just being pedantic.
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Don’t know why I wrote “banana leaves” instead of “bamboo leaves” since I know perfectly well it is bamboo. All I can do is plead cultural programming: beans in chili, good, beans in bread, bad. I don’t like the British habit of beans on toast for breakfast either, so it’s not an anti-Taiwan thing.

Anyway, I made the changes the writer recommended.

Taiwan blogger Erick Heroux, who always posts high quality content, logged this comical piece on the US split that’s making the rounds:

We’re ticked off at the way you’ve treated California, and we’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to
the people of the new country of Neuvo California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay…..

And of course, I couldn’t resist this spider I saw hanging above my lawnmower yesterday. Amazing that I had any time to picture it, what with the constant rain. Did I somehow go to sleep and wake up in Borneo or something?