Back on the Air, and in the Home Stretch

So. . .how long has it been since I actually posted anything? A million years? More? I’m  not really sure. I could give you a host of reasons, but this is the blogosphere we’re talking about, where attention spans are about those of a swarm of gnats at a Michael Bay premiere (assuming, as I do, that gnats do in… (more…)

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New vs. Old

While in France this summer visiting my girlfriend’s (now fiancé’s) parents, we visited the medieval city of Provins, which has a 12th-century cathedral that is still in use. I don’t know if that amazes you, but it does me. In the U.S., if something is two hundred years old we organize tours to see it; in France, a 12th-century cathedral… (more…)

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Why Strauss?

Lots of things still perplex me about China. That much probably stands to reason. Currently, because I’m at the university all day, I’m occupied once again with the question of music, specifically why it is Chinese society doesn’t seem to mind playing one song so many times that it begins to qualify as torture. At this university, for example, every… (more…)

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Questions

One of the truly annoying things about everyday Chinese people when there’s a huge political flap on (like the one right now over the islands) is that they always, always, always drag America into it. Now it doesn’t usually bother me when someone criticizes America. It happens in lots of places, and at lots of times, so you can’t let… (more…)

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Back in the saddle again

It’s been a while since I was a full-time English teacher. Sometime back in 2009, if memory serves. So it’s back in the saddle again for me, at least for this year. I thought some observations about that might be in order. First, it’s both wonderful and sad that Chinese students of all ages take such joy in simple interactive… (more…)

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Voices from on High

When it comes to symbolic representations, one could do worse than the loudspeaker announcements at a Chinese train station. I’m currently sitting in the Tianjin West station, a gargantuan place which, when lit up with its distinctive blue color scheme at night, looks like the interior of an alien spacecraft. It’s got all the trappings, too, including half a dozen… (more…)

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Inflatable Recreation: A Government Policy

Let’s do this: I’ll tell you what I saw outside my bedroom window this morning, and you tell me what facility you think my apartment overlooks. Ready? Here goes: a large blue plastic tarp (probably fifty feet long and twenty wide) divided up into three lanes by some kind of colored tape; three rows of large metal rings (ten in… (more…)

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By Comparison, Tianjin is. . .Well, Hard to Describe

Some of you may be wondering: what has made you approach Tianjin with such a “meh” perspective? By way of explaining this, and also adding some pictures to my blog, which is currently photographically barren, I would like to submit the following: This is a view of the village of Saints, where Marie’s parents live, an hour and a half… (more…)

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A Gallery of Absolutes

Contrary to the prevailing opinion of modern, post-modern, and whatever is post-that academics, there are absolutes. I know that term is becoming difficult to deal with, especially if you’ve spent any time considering the ramifications of the Higgs-Boson particle (“It exists! Er. . .well, it KIND of exists. That is, it’s in and out of existence so fast we can’t… (more…)

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Dueling Police Stories, Part Two: “When China Should Hate You, But Doesn’t”

Then there’s me. I had the same situation–I needed to get my residence permit–only I knew about it further in advance. Oh, there was still some hating going on, what with my university forgetting my visa paperwork entirely, prompting a series of frantic phone calls from me ten days before I was due to return to China, but I knew… (more…)

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