Sexy Little Black Rocks

An audio version of this post is available. Please click on the link below to listen to the post in its entirety. What’s pitted and scarred and filled with pock marks, yet is considered one of the sexiest objects out there? If your answer is ‘tektites’, you would be absolutely correct! At least you’d be correct according to the world of the Taobabe, which, … Continue reading Sexy Little Black Rocks

Perfectly Centered

I was sitting on my favorite chair outside in my backyard the other day, minding my own business, enjoying the winter sunshine when something happened which caused me to rethink a very boring subject–geometry. Since it’s almost spring here, and I live in a very mild Mediterranean climate, the flowers were starting to bloom and the sun was shining gently. A slight wind ruffled the … Continue reading Perfectly Centered

Human CCC 2: The Science Behind the Human CCC Tower

(Continued from Human CCC 1:  On the Confluence of Crows and Monkeys) You all know me by now.  If there is anything I love about Taoism, it’s that much of it can be backed up by science, with the rest of the more esoteric stuff, still yet to be proved, not because it’s not based on science but because science hasn’t quite caught up with … Continue reading Human CCC 2: The Science Behind the Human CCC Tower

Ancient Việt 3: Following the Genetic Trail

(Continued from Ancient Viet 2: Sunken Paradise) As a young Viet-American child growing up smack dab in the middle of the US (New Orleans no less), I quite often identified with the Vietnamese/Chinese community living in and around the south because there weren’t really that many of us Asians in that part of the neighborhood where I grew up. Heck, I was even hanging out … Continue reading Ancient Việt 3: Following the Genetic Trail

Star Chart Stone Shrine of Hội An


At the end of an old street named Phan Chu Trinh, in the ancient city of Hội An, there is a very old banyan tree.  This banyan tree held a secret for many many years, until one day, that secret was revealed.  The banyan tree had, at the foot of its trunk, a miếu (a tiny brick shrine made of stone).

This shrine held within its protective shelter, a stone tablet roughly around three feet tall, two feet wide, and about 6 inches in width.  Its face was engraved with many characters, but the engravings are faded and difficult to read.

pinkgirl66At first, the brick shrine looked to have been erected in an open area, but then over the centuries, a banyan tree grew near it.  after countless years, the tree grew around the shrine and eventually encapsulated it.

It was so well-hidden that even the elderly living around the area confessed that although they knew of its existence, they had actually never remembered seeing it completely revealed, until around 1998, when the local government sent an arborist to cut back the roots and trunk of the tree to reveal the shrine.

The stone tablet had words on it, but much of it was worn and difficult to make out.  Of the few words that could be read, nobody knew what it meant, so I did what any taobabe with a modicum of an artistic bent would do.

I created a clear layer above the tablet and I retraced what I could see with white so it would be a bit clearer.  Since I am illiterate in Chữ Nôm, I apologize if my tracing is incorrect in any way.  I am not able to determine if my strokes are in the correct order so that the words make sense.

This is the result of my tracing:

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The Original Asian Zodiac 3: The Math…It’s Always the Math


(Continued from The Original Asian Zodiac 2: The Moon Calendar)

Lunar Calendar

Over 100 years ago, Albert Einstein said time was a relative construct of mankind.  Certainly, if we talk about a calendar system, that is the truth.  The current Asian Calendar (I call it Asian because it is spread throughout the Asian continent) used to be purely a lunar calendar, which is an astronomical calendar, as opposed to a mathematically derived calendar, such as the Gregorian calendar.  Let me give you an example.

In the Gregorian calendar, January, March, May, July, August, October, and December have 31 days.  These months will always have 31 days no matter what happens in the skies, because the Gregorian calendar is mathematically derived and insists on 31 days for these months.  It is not based on the appearance (or lack thereof) of the moon.

This is not the case for the lunar calendar.  A month may have 29 or 30 days in different years, and the difference depends on the motion of the true Moon, which is highly irregular…to say the least.

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Of Gods and Garlic

Ahhhhhh.  The wondrous scent of roasted Allium sativum, aka garlic, on an open flame, seared until blackened and then crushed and added to a succulent steak makes my mouth water. I love cooking with garlic in all its forms: fresh, dehydrated, powdered, liquid—I have them all.  I also love adding them to recipes that are not usually associated with garlic, such as macaroni and cheese … Continue reading Of Gods and Garlic

Ghost Repellent Rock


Let me tell you guys about a little rock that’s kinda boring looking.  Actually, calling them rocks is a bit on the generous side.  They are more like pebbles that are mostly black, with little pits and layers on it.  If you placed one next to the landscape rocks outside in my garden, I would not be able to pick it out from all the other rocks.

This little stone is called a tektite, a form of molten glass that runs the gamut between black, dark black, greenish black, and brownish black.  Note the abundance of the color black on this rock.  As far as beauty is concerned, it’s quite a dud.  No one would ever mistaken it for a radiant gemstone.

So why am I dedicating an entire post on the dubious quality of this blackish rock?

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Drinks of the gods: La Hán Quả ~ Monk Fruit


I was at the herbal shop the other day and guess what!  There was a sale on la hán quả, 6 for $4, so I bought me 6.  Normally, I get them 4 for $4, so this was a fairly good sale.

Now, for westerners, when I say la hán quả, nobody knows what I’m talking about, so I have to say monk fruit.  Unfortunately, when I say monk fruit, people think of a bag with some pale brown powder in it, so I have to clarify a bit.  I’m talking about the actual fruit itself and not its dried powdery version.

This is monk fruit. 


Benefits of La Hán Quả

La hán quả ~ Monk Fruit, also known as Momordica grosvenori Swingle, (…swingle??? where do you people get the scientific names for these things?) is very well-known in the Asian community as a general medicine for various ailments.

It’s a natural laxative, meaning that if your stool is a bit blocked, you won’t get crazy diarrhea if you take it, but it will unblock you.  It also balances excessive heat within the body (I really need to explain a bit about the heat and chill factor of eastern medicine in subsequent posts), and is excellent for detoxification of the body.  If you have a cough, it’s good for that too, as it also reduces phlegm.

It also has cancer-fighting abilities, but you know what, let’s keep that to ourselves or it will be relegated to medicine that can only be accessed via prescriptions and will cost a million dollars a dose, in which case, we will lose out on its biggest benefit to womankind.

It is a fat buster.

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Drinks of the gods: Bitter Melon


I was chugging on a drink this afternoon, one of many that I normally imbibe on throughout my day, and I figured I might as well share it with you guys since it’s something I’ve known about all my life but never bothered to say much about because you know, if it’s common knowledge, who is gonna be interested in hearing more about it, right?

That’s like saying, sheesh, everybody knows that kim châm hoa treats Thrombocytopenic purpura, right?  And I would get a blank stare, so I have to then say something along the line of, well it’s an immune disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally because your platelets are being destroyed by your immune system.  So when you get internal bleeding from small tears in your blood vessels and other organ linings, the bleeding doesn’t stop.  You end up with mottled bruising on your skin without knowing how it happened.

More blank stares.  And I be like…. never mind.  😀

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