Well, dear reader, your humble scribe turned 60 this week, and as befits my age, I have a good ear for people who talk crap, just as Confucius (孔子) predicted for old grumps like me (六十而耳順).
My dopey son-in-law arranged for a family celebration down at Taipei's Youth Park. Hardly a subtle metaphor, but then we are talking about a man who spends his spare time watching reruns of stock investment advice programs on cable TV.
Besides, Youth Park is a wholly unsuitable name, given that the only people who seem to use it are even older than I am.
As the party progressed, a couple of my granddaughters, bright young things that they are, begged me to watch some new "hot" dance steps they'd learned from their friends at school.
I watched for a few minutes, hiding my clenched teeth behind a sagely smile, before I could take no more and excused myself for the safety of the public toilet.
Ever watched those kids on the weekend down at the Johnny Neihu Temple of Fun (that's "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" for those of you nostalgic for tyranny)? The young whippersnappers doing this rap/funk/hip-hop thing in groups of at least four, the girls doing much the same but throwing their arms around their bodies and behind their heads suggestively and threatening to split their track pants with crass buttock thrusts?
Picture the youngsters all facing the same direction, as if they were dancing in front of mirrors. Then realize that these kids are segregated by choice. What in the devil is all this?
The whole point of dancing is being lost. Whatever happened to a good old waltz, a shindig with your arm cradling the back of your lover and the other gently but firmly holding her hand as you spin and whirl around the dance floor?
But my grandkids aren't satisfied unless they're dancing the same moves as the wide-eyed aspiring gangstas next to them with the beltless, drooping jeans and overgrown mop haircuts with random cowlicks.
When you dance for yourself and your same-sex buddies, how do you experience the magic of a fleeting glimpse of your lovely companion's brassiere, the faint but intoxicating perfume rising from her bare neck and shoulders, the delicate but firm sensation of a curved body brought back up from a low dip, pressing against you in a way that cannot be spoken of even in private?
No wonder we're approaching zero population growth. So I say: Forget compulsory military service. There's a much more grave threat to national security.
It's time these kids were forced to ditch their onanistic, pseudo-boyz-in-the-hood prancing and were conscripted into dancing classes. For the sake of the next generation. For the sake of Taiwan.
Speaking of onanism, famed former political prisoner Shih Ming-teh (施明德) has taken a breather from advertising karaoke home television systems to re-enter the fray and attack President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), one of his Kaohsiung Incident-era lawyers.
Now, a few weeks ago I cited Shih as one of Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) predecessors in the ego-trumps-patriotism stakes. But I confess that I had no idea that he was preparing his own crusade against the Apologizer-in-Chief. Prescience? Or does he read my obscure little column for inspiration? You be the judge.
Summoning the spirit of the victims of the 228 Incident (I'm not making this up), Shih carpeted Chen in an open letter, challenging him to resign for the sake of the Democratic Progressive Party and the nation, and saying that Chen has a duty to some (unnamed) ultimate arbiter of morality, rather than trifling documents such as the Constitution of the Republic of China.