Many people think that civilization lies in the provision of running water and public health services. They are wrong: civilization is characterized by the search for the perfect tomato. And these delicious, soft-fleshed, pink tomatoes are the only thing I look forward to in the winter.

Between bites of tomato and cheese, let’s take a look at the blog buffet…

  • The Foreigner blogs on the death of an icon of my misspent youth: Gary Gygax. May you always find the treasure at the bottom of the great Dungeon in the Sky, Gary.
  • Avid cycler David has the list of March cycling events.
  • Poagao has a few musings on the election.
  • The Real Taiwan blogs on the butt crack, the all too visible result of the popular low riding jeans. I think there oughtta be a law….
  • Islaformosa on the latest Taiwan Beer Campaign. Wu Bai was better….
  • My Several Worlds has some wonderful lush photos and descriptions of their latest east coast trip.
  • Thirsty Ghosts on the success of a Taiwanese monkey trainer in Japan.
  • Laowiseass blogs on the differences between young people in China and here.
  • A local reporter narrates the exciting, gruesome tale of her first crime story.
  • Mad Minerva blogs on Taiwanese encounters with Chinese.
  • MEDIA: Reuters has an in-depth piece on the Tsou people and their attempt to preserve their culture. Euronews, insulted by KMT accusations, refuses to send a correspondent here — everyone lost on that one. Intel’s chip investment in China, with technology far more advanced than Taiwan’s, has powerful implications for Taiwan’s cross-strait policy. Japan Focus has hosted a couple of excellent articles. One discusses the impact of Asian Drivers — the effects of rapid economic growth and economic structure in China and India — on the developing world, while another is a chapter from the monumental work by Giovanni Arrighi on states and markets east and west. Interesting insights in both works. Also on tap is a piece that compares Brazil’s experience with income inequality in the 60s and 70s with China’s today. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on the Pentagon’s report on China’s military build up. Our local biotech industry keeps rising. How about that quake Tuesday night? Woke me up in Tainan. Scary. WHAT’S NOT THERE: We are three weeks from a major election for the presidency of a global technology player and a key flashpoint, and coverage in the progressive media and on progressive websites is still….zilch. Sadly, lefties remained mired in Cold War readings of East Asian politics that make understanding of Taiwan and its democracy almost impossible. More on that later.

    TIDBITS: The Ministry of Transportation has a very useful website in Anglais and Chinois that gives local and intercity bus and train times, and can be used to order tickets and plan routes. Set your calendar for April, when there is a Thai holiday party held in a stadium in Taoyuan; the Bushman will be playing there, along with 20,000 local Thais. Dates and times when I get ‘em. For those of you into board and strategy games, Chaon has the links to a local company that sells them.

    RESOURCES: The NCKU international student association has a website and forum, the brainchild of the remarkable Fili, with resources about NCKU and Tainan.

    EVENTS: Jerome Keating launches his new book Taiwan, the Search for Identity on Friday March 7th at 2 pm at the Taiwan Society offices, at 2/f #5 Cingdao E. Rd; (roughly behind the former Lai Lai Sheraton). Members of the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) and North American Taiwanese Professors Association (NATPA) as well as the Taiwan Society will be there to make comments on the book topic.

    FROM THE MINISTRY OF THE TOTALLY SICK: fun with Big Brother. Don’t miss the comments either. TOTALLY HILARIOUS: Stephen Colbert interviews Jennifer Lee, author of a book on eating with Chinese food (via Peking Duck).