Episode Thirteen

April 2011 – August 2011

I am changing the format with this page. I will put the photos first and the China Collage text afterwards.

My step-son came to visit us for several weeks. It was nice to spend time with him again. We took him to a large zoo nearby. Chinese zoos are, like so many things – different than in the US. We had a blast

It was sad to see a noble tiger trained to poop on a shovel. I don’t like the animal shows at all.

We had a summer English camp. I taught the kids a lot of topics. Each day we had an activity. Baseball, camping, cooking, environment monitoring. I really enjoyed teaching these kids, and they enjoyed learning with their Laowai teacher-friend. I had them help me in our “restaurant” so they could earn “Chuck Bucks” to buy mini-pizzas, which the kids ordered 🙂

I am in the midst of creating and anthology of the new generation here. 300 million strong – called the Post-80s Generation here in China, and no one knows much about them. So the ever resourceful Mr Wheeler has gathered together years of student writing, selected and edited down to 250 -300 pages. In America they would be called Generation Y. And almost nothing is known about their Chinese counterparts. Meanwhile I have had over 1500 first person examples.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The radiation and the way it is calculated weighs on my mind. It is cumulative, and most folks can’t wrap their minds around that concept. Then before you know it you reach that step you shouldn’t have taken and you’re hangin in mid-air like Wiley Coyote walking on air just long enough to hold up that little sign saying Yikes , then eeeeeyyyyyyaaaaaaa-Splat.

I can sense the growling beast below the hype – the raw wickedness being hidden beneath the floorboards, Whispering….

Keep bringing the A game and the bozos on the bus won’t stand a chance.

Circling above the rim,

All the salt disappeared off the shelves because people read or heard rumors that the iodine would protect them from the radiation – guy poisoned himself with too much salt. In order to transport and sell salt in China you need a license, so people who tried to profiteer on the Great Salt Panic of 2011 were heavily fined.

A local friend called me and asked, jokingly, if I had bought my salt. Hong’s mom all the way down in Guangxi went out and bought a couple kilos. With the global food supply chain, and seafood that comes from around Japan people were worried that the sea salt would remain forever radioactive. It is scary to think about what might be going on off the coast of Japan.

Friday, April 29, 2011

the goodness and the badness

It seems the planet is shifting these days. All I read about is the rise of China, the money, the nation of the bankroll, and from the US I see discord and dismay. Okay, I still do not understand why so many rich clowns get to speak so often and so loudly about the President – is it money, influence, slow news day? The struggle here these days is with inflation, and the enormous gap between rich and poor. The poor, so many of them, and the working stiffs, yours truly included, find it hard to swallow the bile that rises when the BMW/Rolex/Carte Blanche crew barrel through the crowded streets.

My three kids are all in the same city now. I do find myself longing more for my home. As much as I grow accustomed to things, lately there has been a lot to swallow within the society, but I do maintain a higher level of optimism these days – for mental health reasons.

I got to light incense in the toilets – the stench of the neighbors poltergeist-like stool backup is haunting my reverie. Bad construction at a high price – this apartment sold for over $750,000 – unbelievable, if only it were mine – I would sell it again.

I use the president’s speeches in my class, and showed how you use poetic language to make the prose stronger, and pointed out the various roles he has to play, which you can see through the speeches.


huffing the ethereal essence.

Here we are experiencing a record drought. River traffic has stopped from record low water levels. Poyang Lake, the largest, freshwater lake in the south, is now 90% gone – horrifying to see a photo of the dry lake bottom, look at a large hill in the background and then realize that was once an island.

And tainted food is on the rise, faster than inflation. ..

From the dusty crowded sidewalks of Cathay.

Monday, June 06, 2011

when enough just aint enuff

But hey, the overseas financial boosters keep talking about the rising China, as if they were born here – as it they somehow profits from… wait a minute – they do profit from bloviating. I really can’t stand those smarmy gasbags. The other day, one of them wrote a smirky op-ed piece where he pretended he was a Chinese minister advising the President of China. What a load of crap. If you want to write about this country, come and live in it for a while. If you just want to read the news from afar and pretend to be a so-called “China-hand” sit down and shut up.

One last thing, the other day Hong and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean – not great, but OK. Popcorn is odd in China – “American flavored” which is a hybrid of kettle corn. At first they offered me corn with chocolate drizzled on top – WTF! At the same time the big movie opening was Kung Fu Panda 2 – set the record last weekend for opening movies, and lo and behold, I can buy a black market copy, fifty feet from the entrance to the movie – for – hold onto your hat – about 80 cents – 5 RMB. So I wish the corporations good luck making money on intellectual property.


from left field

Well the flop flop flop of the stocks is pinging its way around to this side of the econo-spheroid. Who knows what the day will bring in the monetary arena – global vampirage will be on an upswing no doubt while international-good will drops like pants in a bordello. Seriously, can I borrow back the tiniest fraction of my great-grandchildren’s’ obligation on this colossal cluster frigin’? I promise I will invest it properly with high return on happiness, etc. I will wait and see what happens in the free-falling markets – they took a thumping over here, although I have no money invested, no money to invest, I find it a great curiosity.


Play ball?

I have been having fun with the kids’ summer classes. I have once again introduced the great game of baseball to China. Although I am the only one who knows the rules, wrote them down as simply as possible (general guidelines) and demonstrated batting etc., we ended up with a three-team donnybrook in the living room. Three on a side and no one wants to surrender the bat, even though they got numerous outs, had two people on same base, popped up, ground out, struck out… It was hysterical. The kids were shouting and bewailing their grievances to the ump – Hong, while the commissioner of the one-day league strolled the field with escalating tinnitus . The chin music was grand and the pouting and sore losering was classic. Oh baby we had a heck of a game. Spoilsports, poor loser, poor sportsmanship, sourpusses, disgruntled preteens.

From the warning track

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