Year of the Dog

Happy New Year!

Few Chinese Horoscope books contain overall prognostications for the year. In my large collection of these books, one of the few that does is the first edition of Theodora Lau’s The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, published in 1979. Unfortunately, in the later editions of this book, her overall predictions for each year have been removed.

To provide my friends with this interesting information, here is Ms. Lau’s overall forecast for the Year of the Rooster, plus her predictions for how individuals will fare this year, given the animal that represents their birth year. (To determine what animal you are, see my table of animals for birth dates.)


February 16, 2018 – February 4, 2019 

Paradoxically the year of the Dog will bring happiness and dissent in the same boat. The Dog’s domestic auspices will bring harmony to home life, patriotism to one’s country and unwavering fealty to whatever cause you wish to support.

On the other hand, his rigid willpower and unbending sense of justice will also lead to major confrontations with the weaker side getting the upper hand. It is a year in which controversial issues will be awarded a hearing and unconventional but effective changes will be introduced. Equality and liberty will be advocated by the Dog’s noble influence.

We will become more idealistic in our views, shedding some materialism by doing charitable acts or otherwise championing some worthy projects. It is a year in which we will shift away from the pursuit of the almighty dollar and become a little more reflective. A perfect time to reassess our sense of values, polish up our virtues and go on crusades against tyranny and oppression.

In spite of the Dog’s dismal outlook, he brings stability because people do not usually dare to challenge his authority when they see how intent he is on keeping the peace. The year of the Metal Dog is more feared than others as he is said to bring war and calamity.

Needless to say, the Dog’s resoluteness and intensity will cause clashes, upheavals and rebellions of all sorts, but it will be his good sense and largesse that will also smooth things out in the end: His unselfishness will predispose us to be more bighearted than we normally are.

This will also be a year in which we will wish we could relax more without the cynical Dog constantly casting worries on our minds. Then again, perhaps it will be the Dog’s ever-watchful eye that will be the main force in keeping this time calm.

Aside from this feeling of uneasiness, there should be no cause for alarm. We can go about our business as usual since the Dog makes the perfect sentry.

The Dog’s year will lend integrity to our intentions and make us act in good faith. Nothing should concern us so long as we stick to the righteous path.

How you will fare in the Year of the Dog

Rat              A less pleasant year for the Rat native. Misfortunes will come in threes. He may receive bad news while traveling and be unable to influence or change the course of things he does not like. He worries too much this year as many unsettled issues occupy his mind. A time for him to be patient and prudent.

Ox              Although problems seem large this year, they will turn out to be less serious than they look. The Ox will have a fairly good time, as expected complications do not develop and his path is cleared of obstacles and opposition. He may have to suffer temporary separation from a loved one or his family. Forced traveling or entertaining is indicated.

Tiger        A year in which the Tiger is protected from serious danger. However, he will have to work hard for his success and will feel tired or lonely from having to toe the line. Still, luck favors him and he will be able to steer his plan through as influential people support him.

Rabbit      A smooth year foreseen for the Rabbit. He will make some gains and straighten out past problems. He finds time for recreation and will have no family troubles. Career-wise, he may be criticized by superiors or hampered in some way by other associates.

Dragon      A difficult year for the Dragon, as unexpected problems arise from nowhere and plans go awry. A time in which he must try his best to avoid confrontation with his enemies or those who do not agree with his views. He could relieve tension by changing his environment or dealing through trusted associates.

Snake        Good opportunities present themselves to the Snake. An excellent time to launch new ideas although he may have minor health problems or be the victim of a small robbery. A fine time for the Snake to travel or entertain.

Horse        A good year for the Horse academically. He could pass exams with honors or be given a job he has sought after. Important people will notice him. A lawsuit in the family or the departure of a loved one is indicated. No health problems or financial setbacks are foreseen.

Sheep        A distressing year for the Sheep as he has to deal with unhappy changes, debts, romantic problems or family troubles. Not a good time for him to travel or make investments or long-term commitments. He must retain an optimistic but very conservative outlook.

Monkey    A difficult year as the Monkey’s plans go awry and people break their promises to him. He may suffer losses in his investments and should not lend money to anyone. A year in which he will discover who his real friends are. Disappointments will make him realize where and how he went wrong.

Rooster    A good year for the Rooster as lost power or position can be restored. Travel or much entertaining is foreseen. His gains will be average but his losses are minimal. Plans are easily realized but his personal life may be clouded by home secret unhappiness or brooding.

Dog          A protected year. Problems and health upsets are few and the Dog will be able to increase his knowledge, spend time for study or meditation or regain lost credibility. He will have some achievements in his career but no large profits or return on investment.

Boar        A frustrating year likely for the aspirations of the Boar. He will be disappointed if he expects too much. Difficulties arise from many directions and could be the results of his past neglect, miscalculations or errors in judgment. He must be careful where he places his confidence and take criticism constructively.
From: The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau, First Edition, 1979


Rockefeller Family Tree

At this year’s Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Gala, Mom & I were delighted to meet the mother of Friends President Clare Pierson: Ann Rockefeller Roberts, whose father was Nelson Rockefeller.

The Rockefellers have always loomed large in my past. Nelson Rockefeller had been Governor of New York from when I was age 10 through my high school, college, grad school, and first 2 years working. In the mid-1980s, I had worked with David Rockefeller when, as Chair of Chase Manhattan Bank, he served on Gov. Mario M. Cuomo’s Council on Fiscal and Economic Priorities when I was the state’s Commissioner of Taxation & Finance and also a member of the Council. I had also met a couple of the Rockefeller “Cousins” over the decades in our overlapping charitable activities.

The Rockefellers technically have been neighbors of my parents, as the Rockefeller estate begins at the end of the block on which my parents’ house is situated. They have since donated much of that land to the State as parkland and the Rockefeller State Park Preserve for which the Friends of the RSPP was formed to help support the maintenance of the preserve and for which the FRSPP fundraising Galas are held.

Mom & I were especially delighted that we and our guests at the Gala received copies of Ann’s 1998 book The Rockefeller Home: Kykuit. In that beautiful book is a two-page spread showing the Rockefeller Family Tree. While I’ve found many depictions of the Rockefeller family tree through Google, I’m happy to have this definitive one published by someone I now know. I’ve scanned it from Ann’s book and am posting it here for easy reference for my family and friends. Click on the following link to get a higher resolution .pdf image.







Frances L. Chu news article

In 1983, distinguished Chinese journalist Zhao Jinglun wrote a wonderful article about my mother, Frances, for Mother’s Day. Our friend Lilian Fong presented Mom with a laminated copy of that article recently, reminding us of the article, along with a copy of the write-up in English that Mom prepared at the time.

For my Chinese-reading friends, here’s the article, Mom’s write-up, and a NY Times article about Zhao Jinglun.


FLCArticle Notes

Zhao Jing Lun – A CHINESE JOURNALIST ON THE AMERICAN WAY – The New York Times copy

Creating and Using Forms, and Extracting Data for Mail Merge

I’m part of Peace Lutheran Church’s HOPE Jobs Fair team preparing to assist unemployed homeless and other individuals to re-enter the workforce. As part of this effort, we are helping these individuals prepare resumes to present to prospective employers.
To streamline the process for the 100s of applicants we anticipate serving, I have adapted a form-filling process that I have been asked to use by my financial institutions to provide them data about me. This process uses Adobe Acrobat Pro, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Microsoft Word.
By using this process, we can standardize the type and look of information applicants present employers. By using standard software that is widely available for Windows, Mac, and Android platforms, and forms that are simple to fill out, we can accept entries from many different preparers — applicants, service agencies, our church volunteers — who do not need much training or experience. The applications can be saved and edited to produce revised resumes. Also, by preparing differently formatted resume masters, we can produce resumes with different look and feel from the same data on file without requiring re-entering data.
While this process spreads much of the work of preparing many resumes to many with basic form filling and MS Word skills, it does call for an individual or small team with some experience with Acrobat and Word. As my own experience was quite dated, I had to re-learn how to locate and use the various tools that Adobe provides. Similarly, Microsoft has changed Word and its location of Mail Merge features has been changed over time requiring work to re-learn their process.
Now that my re-learning is complete, I’ve documented the steps required to help me and others tackle the job more easily in the future.
Here are the steps in the process that I came up with, using the latest Adobe and Microsoft products on my Mac.
  1. Produce .pdf form with Adobe Acrobat Pro, using a model form downloaded from the InternetHOPE Step 1
    1. Use Edit PDF tool to modify layout of formHOPE Step 1a
    2. Use Prepare Form tool to edit form’s entry fieldsHOPE Step 1b
    3. File>Save As to save the form with a name indicating version date
    4. Within Prepare Form click Distribute button …HOPE Step 1d
    5. … use Email, continueHOPE Step 1e
    6. Save a local copy and manually send it later, NextHOPE Step 1f
    7. Don’t bother with Collect name & email from recipients, Finish
    8. Close the Tracker windowHOPE Step 1h
  2. Email forms to desired recipient organizations and individuals
    1. Forms can be printed for easy completion by hand
    2. Optional: Show recipients how the data on the forms will look at the end of the process, with the resulting resume
  3. Receive completed forms from applicants and enter data
    1. Download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC in Windows, Mac, or Android computer from
    2. Open the latest .pdf Job Seeker Application form fileHOPE Step 3b
      1. Even though the applicant may have used an earlier version of the form, all the fields of earlier forms are in the latest form file
    3. Enter the data in the appropriate fields on the form
    4. Print out the form and provide to applicant to review & correct
    5. Save As the entered form with the applicant’s name inserted in the front of the filename, but keeping the rest of the filename intact so we can identify which version of the form was used enter the data
    6. Email the saved form to the HOPE team
  4. Open the latest Job Seeker Application PDF Form mmddyy_responses.pdf file in Adobe Acrobat ProHOPE Step 4
    1. Click Get StartedHOPE Step 4a
  5. Add completed .pdf files
    1. Click Add in left barHOPE Step 5a
    2. In Add Returned Forms, Add File
    3. Click on completed .pdf files to add, holding Command/Ctrl key to select multiple files, Open, OK.
      1. If Acrobat gives a warning message about fields not exactly matching, accept with YesHOPE Step 5c
    4. Continue steps 5.b. and 5.c. to add more files
  6. Export list file for Word Mail Merge
    1. If you want to produce resume just for new files, Command/Ctrl click on the new filesHOPE Step 6a
    2. Click Export in left bar
    3. Click Export all or Export selected
    4. In Select Folder To Save File window, select where to save the CSV Format file for Word to Mail MergeHOPE Step 6d
    5. Close Acrobat Pro
  7. Produce draft resumes with MS Word Mail Merge from exported Adobe form fields
    1. Open Entry Resume Master in Word
    2. Use Mail Merge wizard to:
      1. Create Letters using the Master documentHOPE Step 7a
      2. Select Recipients, Using Existing List …HOPE Step 7b2a
      3. …selecting the CSV Format file created in 6.4.HOPE Step 7b2b
      4. Preview ResultsHOPE Step 7b3
      5. Finish & Merge, Edit Individual Documents, to create draft resumesHOPE Step 7b4
      6. File>Save As to save draft resumes as a .docx fileHOPE Step 7b5
    3. Edit the draft resumes
      1. Remove lines created from empty fields
      2. Select pages for an individual’s resume, Edit>Copy, File>New, Edit>Paste, Save to create resume file for each Name
      3. Repeat previous step for each individual

Year of the Rooster

Happy New Year!

Few Chinese Horoscope books contain overall prognostications for the year. In my large collection of these books, one of the few that does is the first edition of Theodora Lau’s The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, published in 1979. Unfortunately, in the later editions of this book, her overall predictions for each year have been removed.

To provide my friends with this interesting information, here is Ms. Lau’s overall forecast for the Year of the Rooster, plus her predictions for how individuals will fare this year, given the animal that represents their birth year. (To determine what animal you are, see my table of animals for birth dates.)


January 28, 2017 – February 15, 2018 

The optimism of the Monkey year overlaps the year of the Rooster, but the Rooster tends to be overconfident and is prone to come up with nonsensical plans. While the colorful Rooster brings bright and happy days, he also dissipates energy. Better stick to practical and well proven paths. Forget about that controversial best seller you were going to write. No get rich quick schemes this year, please!

It may require a great deal of effort this year to resist going off on wild goose chases. Refrain from making speculative ventures. Disappointments and conflicts will result. The Rooster likes to flaunt his authority and a lot of trouble can come from his domineering attitude. But since he also symbolizes the good administrator and conscientious overseer of justice in the barnyard, the peace will still be kept. Everything will be precariously balanced in the Rooster’s year, as his dramatic personality can set off all kinds of petty disputes.

This year we may have to expend maximum effort for minimum gain. Try not to fuss too much. Details do need looking into, but don’t forget to view the whole picture. Be cautious. Do not aim too high. One is liable to get shot down.

Politics will adhere to hard-line policies. The diplomatic scene will be dominated by philosophical orators who rave a lot about nothing. Governments will be found flexing their muscles at each other, but just for show. There may be no real confrontations. It is just that everyone will be too occupied with himself to hear or care what the other person is saying. The self-conscious influence of the Rooster will cause us to take offense at the smallest slight. We will tend to be terribly ostentatious about the splendid image we think we project. Dissensions and debates on all fronts will signify the Rooster’s penchant for argumentative exercises and will not be likely to do permanent damage to anyone when taken in the right context.

This will be a buoyant year in spite of the Rooster’s knack for making simple things complicated. One thing is for sure: he seldom comes up empty-handed. This is the year of one very self-sufficient bird that will never go hungry.

Just keep your eyes open and your mouth shut and check facts and figures before making unprecedented moves. We should all get by without too much hardship. Our pockets will not be empty although our nerves may be a bit frayed.

How you will fare in the Year of the Rooster

Rat              Celebrations are in store for the Rat. New partnerships or a marriage are in the family. A very hectic time as good things could happen overnight. Due to his busy schedule and many commitments, the Rat must be on guard against infections, cuts, bruises and overwork.

Ox               The Ox will have a moderately happy time and will still enjoy success although he could experience one strange or unlikely incident this year. He should be on the watch out for some foreclosure in property or being swindled by a friend.

Tiger          A moderate year. The Tiger must not be over-anxious. The seemingly large problems that beset him this year can be solved and help will come at the last moment from unexpected places or newfound friends.

Rabbit       A difficult year for the Rabbit, as he finds money dwindling away and meets setbacks that cause extra expense. A time for him to merge with others and let them carry him through. He should be conservative this year and not act independently. Problems and obstacles at home and at work will be over­come, but not before they cause him a lot of frustrations.

Dragon       A happy and eventful year for the Dragon: good news, promotions and the return of money given up for lost. His family life is smooth and he is able to recoup losses or make new influential friends.

Snake         A very auspicious year. The Snake’s achievements can be fantastic as he will receive the recognition or promotion he deserves. He will be rewarded for his patience and past perseverance. Profits or some big increase in income can also be expected. Home life is pleasant as the Snake reaps the fruits of his labors.

Horse         A fair year. Good tidings at home but slight disturbances in career. The problems he encounters will not be large ones but they may slow down his progress and he will tend to get upset too easily.

Sheep         An entertaining but rather expensive year. The Sheep spends more than he earns and may be faced with irritating disputes or conflict at home. A year in which he should not try to please everyone and watch his finances very carefully.

Monkey     A moderate but stable time for the endeavors of the Monkey person. He will have the extra money he needs and the right contacts to push his plans through, but in turn he will neglect his home life, take on too much forced socializing and find himself exhausted or overextended where commitments are concerned. A year in which he must not underestimate his opponents.

Rooster     A moderately happy year in store for the Rooster. A time for him to make a splendid comeback. He is able to solve his problems with relative ease and he finds influential or powerful people who will support his ideas. He may still be involved in disputes but will emerge unhurt from accidents or other calamities.

Dog           A mixed year for the Dog native. Problems with health, romance, govern­ment or superiors are indicated. Friends are not helpful or understanding and he finds it hard to get back money due him. He will suffer temporary loss of position and credibility.

Boar         A busy and fair year. The Boar’s domestic scene is calm but his advancement will be curtailed or interrupted. He spends a great deal of time and effort to overcome obstacles and must be patient with negotiations that are complicat­ed and involved.
From: The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau, First Edition, 1979

Capital Univ. Chapel Choir at Peace

The Capital University Chapel Choir kicked off its 2016 Concert Tour with a stirring performance at my church, Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, OH on Feb. 25, 2016. I was delighted to hear Leif Nilsen and his fellow choir member sing here before they appear in NYC’s Carnegie Hall on Feb. 29th!

I have posted my photos from the concert on Facebook. Here are the video clips I managed to take with my little handheld Sony point-and-shoot camera and post on YouTube. I’m pleasantly surprised that my camera managed to capture some of the Choir’s magnificent sound. I hope these clips give you a sense of the majestic performance the capacity audience enjoyed.

Chinese New Year’s Day Taboos

There are things one shouldn’t do on or around Chinese New Year’s Day. Here’s a list to help you prepare.

From The Telegraph

To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year:

  1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year. 
  2. New Year’s breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don’t want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen. 
  3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God).
  4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as ‘fa’ in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
  5. Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.
  6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents, as this is believed to bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.
  7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
  8. Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
  9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
  10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone who owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it. Anyone who does so it is said will be unlucky all the year.
  11. An empty rice jar: An depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
  12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
  13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster. 
  14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.
  15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
  16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.

Here are other lists with similar superstitions: