As many know, Citizen Yang is also Farmer Yang. Farmer Yang has a backyard fruit orchard as well as a flock of eleven egg-laying hens. Prior to keeping chicken, Farmer Yang did not know that chicken lose all of their feathers on an annual basis, usually in the fall. One of our older hens, Opera, is now going through the molting process. She looks as if she was just through a bad fight. But all is normal. Molting chicken do seem to get shyer and they drop in the flock’s pecking order. Ordinarily, Opera is a fairly dominant hen; but during this time of the year, it seems that other hens are picking on her. The last image is from the previous year, showing her in the full glory of her regular plumage.
I don’t usually talk about my gardening, though my friends and students know how much I enjoy it, and I can’t resist here. (Gardening is also a great way to appreciate the connection that we all have to the soil and earth – just ask my happy compost earthworms.) I just came home from a long trip to Asia for conferences, meetings, and family visits and inspected my overgrown garden this morning. My neighbors had been kind enough to look after our chicken and water the plants. (When we were still living in Vermont, I would regularly walk my land . . . haha, all 2 acres it; it would be a quick walk; this morning was even quicker.) All the growth that’s happened is actually one of the most delightful things to discover after one has been away. I found a championship-size zucchini (shoe/foot for scale; actual size was 20 inches), though it may not be edible anymore, as well as lots of tomatoes and ripe pluots from my “Flavor King” tree. The pluots have an incredibly “perfumed” flavor – hard to describe, but I have never had anything like it in the supermarket. (If you live in the San Jose area, I’ll be happy to share, though beware that most of them have already dropped.) I am also a great garden-ripe tomato fan – there really is nothing better than summer tomatoes that have been ripened in the garden. My Asian pear trees have also come along – there’ll be a bountyful harvest in a month or so!
There were also a couple of gardening lessons I was planning to pass along – things I learned the hard way this year. Hopefully, they will be of use to others. But I will do that separately.
In the meantime, here are two other things I discovered in my travels — for your amusement. The first is the little upstart-cousin of the Ritz-Carlton (in Kuala Lumpur), and the second is the local (at the Kuala Lumpur airport) menu of Burger King — Taro pie and Pineapple pie (the local counterpart to the standard US apple pie). I was only recently told by a student that BK and McD’s have local menu items in various countries around the world, so I have been looking out for them.
Yay, we graduated another class of students! Congratulations Class of 2019!
A wonderful ceremony by our Social Justice and Public Interest Law Center celebrating our graduating students, recognizing their achievements, and announcing the various public interest summer fellowships (39!!) awarded for pursuit of summer internships with public interest or government organizations. Hannah Ford-Stille and Daniel Johnston also won the Herman Wildman Social Justice Law Writing Award. And also recognition of student pro bono work over their three years in law school. And, of course, there was an inspiring speech, a call to arms in the service of the public interest, by Genie Harrison, a 1992 Santa Clara Law alum. Congrats to all! (Our commencement will happen this coming Saturday.)
Today was a sad day. Our dog Cleo passed away this morning. She was about 14, give or take. Our Vermont friends (who had originally adopted Cleo from a shelter) gave Cleo to our daughter Gwen because Gwen had really wanted a dog. We could not have gotten a better addition to the family. In fact, she was the best dog. She had an incredibly sweet and gentle personality. I have always thought that in another life, Cleo would have made a top-notch therapy dog. She was part of our family for almost 10 years. May she rest in peace (and get lots of treats in a better place).
One funny story about Cleo and her eating habits: When we lived in Washington DC, we used to take walks at the C&O Canal (near Potomac). On one walk we let her off-leash (which is actually prohibited, but there weren’t any other people or dogs around). We let her out of our sights for just a few seconds. When we next saw her, we were horrified: Cleo was gorging herself on a pile of horse manure! The path next to the C&O canal is frequently used by people riding their horses. And apparently, as we learned later, labrador retrievers love the smell (and taste!) of horse manure. After that, we always kept Cleo on a leash when we saw horse manure on the trail.
In her memory, here are a few pictures.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, especially to my students in the midst of preparing for the upcoming final exams. Among the things that I am particularly grateful for this year is the work of my book co-authors who have helped push our comparative/global environmental law casebook within sight of completion. The book will be out next year and will offer law teachers, students, and practitioners with new materials, understandings, and approaches to a relatively new perspective on environmental law.
In the meantime, here is something else that I have also been working on — a draft chapter on China’s Cancer Villages, by myself and two of my former students, Quoc Nguyen and Linda Tsang. The chapter describes cancer cluster phenomena that have emerged all over China in the last 10-15 years: Tseming Yang, Quoc Nguyen, and Linda Tsang, China’s Cancer Villages (November 2, 2018). Forthcoming, The Cambridge Handbook on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development, eds. Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Sara Seck. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3277638
I couldn’t resist sharing this. [There is an environmental angle to this – wait for it.] While exploring the Freedom Trail and taking in the Boston sights, we came across a short story dispenser at the Prudential Center shopping mall.
What a neat idea, we all thought. I picked a 1 minute story, my wife Tinling a 3 minute one, and my daughter Zoe got a 5 minute story! Turns out that the quality of the story was not particularly great – mine was mostly a stream of consciousness piece. But hey – I am not casting aspersions. Producing good writing is hard, as I know well myself.
However, later, it occurred to me that the placement of this dispenser was probably the flaw in the entire “short story dispenser” concept [not the quality of the writing]. Rather than placing the dispenser in a busy shopping mall passageway, the dispenser should have been placed in a bathroom stall. Use it there to provide some reading distraction when people are doing their business! Just as in the adage that everything tastes better when one is hungry, this could even give mediocre authors an audience boost when bored minds turn to their work. And if the logical next step is taken, the short story dispenser concept could be turned from a win-win into a win-win-win. Immediate recycling or re-use of the short story for other purposes would create the trifecta of wins – for bathroom user, author, and environment! Score one for the environment!