Friday, July 25, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Chinese Death Blessings

Well, now that Brad's comment to my last post has given me nightmares about getting gnawed to death by a blob of yarn...

See, I have this movie on DVD called Mr Vampire. This movie is awesome. I don't actually own large number of DVDs. There just aren't that many movies I care to see over and over, whenever I want. But, particularly since English-subtitled versions of Chinese movies tend not to stay in print, I had to make sure I had this one around.

The late Lam Ching-Ying plays a Taoist priest who specializes in taking care of troublesome corpses. Apparently when you have a hopping vampire infestation, you need to have lots of pieces of yellow paper inscribed in red ink on hand so that you can paste them to the vampires' heads to get them to become dead undead again. Or something. Of course, a good stiff breeze can blow the papers off and then you're back to where you started (running away from hopping vampires), but anyway.

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of the cultural nuances and backstory here, but the movie features some great action scenes, and Lam is just so cool as the priest who spends as much time kicking rotting butts as he does kicking the moronic butts of his two assistants.

So, anyway, I tried to figure out what was written on the yellow papers. Turns out they're called Chinese death blessings, but although one of the handful of English-language sites I found said the writing was just nonsense, I wasn't sure. The wife of my friend Steve is Chinese, and she says that it's not Chinese writing. Ok, that's good enough for me! Thanks, Teresa!

So, time to figure out how to knit a Chinese death blessing. It's reassuring to know that I don't have to worry about botching some Chinese ideograms. Instead of "Be dead again, Grandpa!" I'd end up with something like "The moon fell on the pig." While that might buy a little time by confusing the vampire, I doubt it would be effective. But I guess they can't actually read anyway, so the point is moot.

And remember, until you have your death blessings ready, hold your breath so the hopping vampires can't find you!

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