Sunshine Coast Sunset

Tinbeerwah, QLD

Tinbeerwah, QLD

This is such a lovely part of the world. The Sunshine Coast reminds me of California, not of today, but a California, of a bygone era that I know from postcards and anecdotes.


It is a quaintness mixed with grandeur. In short, it is local and cosmopolitan, a rare duo worthy of emphasis and savoring.

Butcher's Block

There is a lovely cafe (and restaurant) in Wahroonga, New South Wales (just outside Sydney) named "The Butcher's Block."

They serve a very "Aussie" breakfast menu, and by that I mean hearty and meaty dishes, with a creamy bias, sized up to Texas portion sizes. As the name implies this is not a Vegan-friendly place by any means.

I do enjoy the setting and the coffee is de-lish and the high-protein brekkie every once in a while, though I realize more and more (if I'm not skipping breakfast) the Chinese breakfast of congee and deep-fried cruller is ultimately my go-to.

But that's not I want to make comments about today.

I want to take about what's in a name, in particular "The Butcher's Block."

This name strikes me as an utterly Western name. Yet why is that? Why is it utterly not Chinese, and such a good example of real cultural differences between Chinese and Western?

"The Butcher's Block" is a purely descriptive name. There is something attractive about it in a Western context due to its matter-of-factness, its total and willing abandonment of adornment. It is what it is. Take it or leave it. The context does not matter. This is a hyper-Western example: 100% description and nothing else is "Veritas," it is truth, brother.

But why is it in a hundred years you would never see a cafe in China named as such (at least one opened by Chinese people)? Why is there no Chinese 屠夫塊咖啡室 (literally, butcher's block)? Is it just the characters, which have graphic representations which foil this name? In this case the first character for "butcher" 屠 is composed of the modular parts "protagonist" and "corpse." A truly "nail on the head" ideogram, if I've ever seen one, Sweet Bloody Christ... Give me a bloody Acai bowl stat...

Nonetheless, I dunno if it is just that characters are too heavy, leading to "matter of fact" failures to conjure contextless images...

I reckon that Chinese are culturally attuned to using aspirational names. That is not to say that the names have to necessarily be grand, like sometimes you see "Peaceful Universe Dim Sum" or "Galaxy This" or "Ocean That." Xiaomi 小米 is maybe a little "humblebrag" but it isn't grand, "little rice" gets into some metaphorical space about bits and data though.

The core difference is Westerner's tend to compliment themselves when they "tell it like it is," whereas Chinese do not.


Owl in The Suburbs of Sydney

This little guy just popped out of nowhere. Rather... He was always there... I just popped out of nowhere. 



As I've gotten older I have gotten more superstitious. I don't know why. I am allergic to whistling indoors, for example ("whistling up the wind" is one of those itonclad sailor taboos, plus I have a fondness for Russian culture and they do NOT whistle indoors). Seeing this mythical animal juxtaposed against such a pedestrian and suburban setting, bucolic though it may be- just makes me wonder- not think but wonder.

What Didn't Influence my Quirky Food Habit

So, if you've seen awful images and/or video of errant slaughterhouse practices (which do not represent practices I've witnessed first hand myself), no, the "shock and awe of animal mistreatment" is not one of the factors in my decision to annually give something up.

Ultimately, there is trace-element-ish crime in eating meat. As long as I elect to continue eating meat, I am responsible for this karmic-type offense. As long as I eat meat, I can't kid myself. Beef is frickin' cow. The animal is not just life support for its meat. It feels. For sure. And when it dies--I don't care how technologically sophisticated the kill room is, the animal will feel pain. The good ones make it momentary (measured in milliseconds), the bad ones botch it and often make a disgrace of the entire vocation and surely themselves.

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