Xiaohu Thread

kunming dog.jpg
Xiaohu is the name of this exquisite Kunming dog.

The Discussion: 60 Comments

ooh, he’s beautiful! Looks like a Alsatian/German Shepherd.

December 4, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

If you click the link, the photographer (my friend Ben) says the Kunming Dog is actually an acknowledged breed…. but I have no idea. Even I – an avowed cat person – have to say he is absolutely beautiful.

December 4, 2005 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

wow….you should put more of these pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

December 5, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

handsome dog

occasionally i meet dogs of a calf size in shanghai streets, but not as good-looking as this one

December 5, 2005 @ 12:34 am | Comment

nice dog. i bet he likes to hump legs.

December 5, 2005 @ 1:00 am | Comment

By the way, this is now one of the busiest threads on my blog. It got a lot of search engine hits recently with the recent hanging of the Australian in Singapore.

December 5, 2005 @ 2:56 am | Comment

Very handsome dog. Hey, excuse the blatant siphoning, but I have a burning question for anyone who knows a smidgen of economics, especially about China and/or property and/or the yuan revaluation.

December 5, 2005 @ 3:55 am | Comment

That poor Austrian Guy was really stupid, there are so many transit to Cambodia, yet he chose singapore as the transit. however, his court statements are also not convincing, he said the reason he entred the airport gate at the last minute was because he overslept in the airport lounge, imagine you have 400 gram heroin with you, are you still able to fall asleep? he said he paid some money to the prostitute but he didn’t have sex with them, you believe him? he said he was trying to pay the debt for his brother, yet he bought such an expensive watch for him on his birthday. read the full story @
http://www.geocities.com/law4u2003/nguyentuongyan.htm

December 5, 2005 @ 3:23 pm | Comment

Sorry, in case there are some Austrians reading this blog, I meant Austranian guy.

December 5, 2005 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

Let me help you out, Samdl. The guy was Australian.

December 5, 2005 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Thank you, Sonagi, thats really a big help. my apologies…

December 5, 2005 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

It took a night at the ballet last night to appreciate China’s record in executions. It got so bad watchingthe Bolshoi’s Swan Lake with people talking (I told the first group to shut up behind me only to find everyone talking all over throughout), people constantly streaming in regardless of the time it said it started on their tickets, mobile phones going off or being checked for faults apparently as there was a steady stream of light, mothers allowing their children to run around and, most incredibly for me as a member of the civilised world, flash cameras going off non-stop starting especially during the second act which takes place at night. I was so appalled at such behaviour, not from a couple of peasants who decided to stop off at the ballet before going back home to their farm, but everyone. They all acted as if they were a middle-year group off on a school trip. And these people were awarded the Olympic Games! My girlfriend was damn embarrassed, especially after I’d asked her how she’d feel if Londoners behaved in such an indecent manner during a performance of Peking opera or whatever at the Royal Albert Hall.
Then this morning, another hellish trip through the streets to work where no one seems at all interested in paying any attention to laws or common courtesy.
To have been such a misanthrope before I came to this place would have shocked me; now it’s par for the course.

December 5, 2005 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

I saw a ballet performance (Canadian i think) in Qingdao once and had the same experience – people talking constantly throughout. But even though it is over the top, I think part of it is because the traditional Chinese theater was held in teahouses, or at parties, etc. and its ok to talk, eat food, and get up and move around to some extent.

December 5, 2005 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

people constantly streaming in regardless of the time it said it started on their tickets

So they didn’t have ushers seal the doors between first act and intermission? Once I showed up for a friends Juilliard recital 2 minutes late and I had to wait for the first piece to finish. Lax enforcement seems to be an issue. On the other hand, going to Liincoln Center can be a grand tour of insufferable displays of snobbery. Still, there’s something to be said for that kind of social pressure to shut the hell up.

If its really about traditionl teahouses, then someone ought to start that up again instead trying and failing to imitate a Western theater experience. I’m not aware of any of that surviving to the present day.

December 5, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

I think one of the things US and many people here adopt in “winning debates”(especially moral debates) is what I call a “Forcing a framework” strategy. What is “Forcing a framework”? Let me give you an example:

US says to Iran “You are making nuclear bombs, care to explain yourself?”

Iran says “It’s not for bombs! It’s for electricity! Stop lying!”

US says “Well, let’s inspect it just to be safe”.

From that point on, Iran is already on the losing end of this debate, or at least will appear to be very defensive. So what happened? Well, when US accused Iran of making bombs, Iran said “It’s for electricity!”. By saying that, Iran has already implicitly accepted the proposition that “Iran making nuclear bombs is bad”. And all consequent interactions will be subordinated to this basic “framework” that “Iran is wrong to make nuclear weapons.” In other words, you are engaging in a debate under a set of values and rules determined by your opponent, how ridiculous is that.

The proper response for Iran is, “Yes, we are indeed making a bomb, and your point is?”

In fact, this is the kind of rhetorical techniques that the US uses to place itself on a moral highground and accuse others of this and that.

These days, US says to China, “You are suppressing religious freedom!” China acts like a scared child and says “No, that’s not true, we don’t suppress religious freedom”, then tries to show all kinds of evidence of churches being built in Bejing just to defend itself. I watch this kind of interaction and I feel kinda sad.

If US says to China, “You are suppressing religious freedom”. China should challenge the framework that “suppressing religious freedom is bad” and say “Yes, we do. We strongly believe that too much religious freedom is harmful for social development, and therefore we have a policy of suppression. This is our values and our way of life, thank you very much.”

Now, this may be an extreme example. But I’m talking more in the arenas of trade/military spending/currency/ etc etc, where every single institution and every single value system and every single rule is enforced on China, and China is forced to accept those “frameworks” and all subsequent interactions must subordinate to those frameworks, how unfair is that.

CBS’s Mike Wallace once asked Jiang Zemin during a 60-min interview, “Are you a dictator?” Jiang then launched into a 10-minute speech saying how he is not a dictator and how China’s political is very similar to the USA in many respects. When I watched that interview, I was asking myself, what is so shameful of a dicatorship? What is so shameful of not being like the USA in your political system? I remember a journalist asked Mao the same question, and he curtly said “Yes my dear gentlemen, we are indeed dictators.”

December 5, 2005 @ 7:57 pm | Comment

is that hongxing’s son?

December 5, 2005 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

If US says to China, “You are suppressing religious freedom”. China should challenge the framework that “suppressing religious freedom is bad” and say “Yes, we do. We strongly believe that too much religious freedom is harmful for social development, and therefore we have a policy of suppression. This is our values and our way of life, thank you very much.”

Unfortunately the Chinese constitution enshrines freedom of religion as a basic value. Further, religious suppression has historically not been a Chinese value.

Michael

December 5, 2005 @ 8:25 pm | Comment

red star rising! red star rising!

December 5, 2005 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

AAAUUGHHH! Blogger is down! I CAN’T GET TO MY BLOG!

Help! I’VE GOT JITTERS IN MY FINGERS!! SEND CHOCOLATE!

AAAiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Michael

December 5, 2005 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Michael, all blogspot sites have been down since about 6 this morning. Appears to be a server issue.

December 5, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

DISASTER! I’m going out to buy dark chocolate from Belgium IMMEDIATELY! I can’t handle life without blogging. My nails have been bitten down to bloody stumps…maybe I’ll take up chain smoking or something. Life without opiates AND blogs is too hopeless to live.

Michael

December 5, 2005 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

By saying that, Iran has already implicitly accepted the proposition that “Iran making nuclear bombs is bad”.

Well, yes. They’re part of the NPT so they’ve been saying that for a while. NK was doing the same thing.

The trick they’re pulling is getting all the benefits of being part of the NPT (getting nuclear reactors and material), while avoiding all the hardships (not developing weapons). Like NK, their plan is to secretly use the benefits to get to the point where they can make a weapon… then they pull out of the treaty.

If they said that they ought to have weapons, well all other NPT states would be forced to withdraw their support — and they wouldn’t be able to get the nukes at all.

December 5, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

Michael,
Cigarettes have opiates in them? Cool! Chocolate now, that’s got prozac in it. Always the best.

December 6, 2005 @ 12:38 am | Comment

It took a night at the ballet last night to appreciate China’s record in executions. It got so bad watchingthe Bolshoi’s Swan Lake with people talking (I told the first group to shut up behind me only to find everyone talking all over throughout), people constantly streaming in regardless of the time it said it started on their tickets, mobile phones going off or being checked for faults apparently as there was a steady stream of light, mothers allowing their children to run around and, most incredibly for me as a member of the civilised world, flash cameras going off non-stop starting especially during the second act which takes place at night. I was so appalled at such behaviour, not from a couple of peasants who decided to stop off at the ballet before going back home to their farm, but everyone. They all acted as if they were a middle-year group off on a school trip. And these people were awarded the Olympic Games! My girlfriend was damn embarrassed, especially after I’d asked her how she’d feel if Londoners behaved in such an indecent manner during a performance of Peking opera or whatever at the Royal Albert Hall,

Heh. Yup, it’s pretty bad all right. Theatre-going “etiquette” (as we know it in the West) doesn’t exist in China. None of this audience sitting in somber silence and rapt appreciation and stuff. Instead, it’s the more “re nao” the better. Although, to be fair, not all of the perpetuators are Chinese. I remember being at a kun opera performance of “Jingmeng” (thinking that I would be free from all those annoyances – kun opera being not nearly as popular as its noisier and flashier cousin, Peking opera), but no, there was still a gaggle of tourists (Caucausian, I couldn’t tell which nationality…although one might hazard to guess American) snappin’ away merrily or videorecording the whole thing. Hello?! Sit down and just enjoy the damn dance and music, please.

(Btw, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you the poster who mentioned how he proudly displays the British colonial flag in China? Eech, sorry, but that’s pretty declasse and vulgar too. Not to mention a little dangerous – I could just imagine the lynchin’ I’d get if I waved the Confederate flag in Boston. ;-))

To davegonechina: real teahouses still do exist in China. Not in the big cities though. The ones there (like the crapalicious Lao She teahouse) are for the tourists hankerin’ for orientalist kitsch.

December 6, 2005 @ 1:56 am | Comment

Another way to avoid the maddening crowd is simply to go see less known modern dramas or other indie stage productions, instead of the big draws, as the chances of the audience being there for truly the art rather than the spectacle are much higher. For example, everyone was perfected well-behaved during “Jesus, Confucious and Lennon”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

December 6, 2005 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Nausicaa,
I also have the Soviet flag, communist flag and Chinese national flag (in fact two dozen other flags)with big pictures of Marx, Lin Biao and Mao and various communist propaganda posters.. No one has to pay 300 RMB to enter my classroom.
To compare the colonial flag of HK that prevented its subjects from the terror of Mao and GLF, Cult. Rev. and assorted massacres while enabling them to find out what’s going on outside with the Confederate flag is offensive and ‘vulgar’. Tell that to my HK students who gave them to me as gifts that a flag they feel grateful for having flown over them and their family is an insult and we’ll have a proper discussion.

December 6, 2005 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Hello everybody.
I’d like to draw your attention to the English translation of anessay (“the radical loser”) by a German writer about the reasons why many young muslims are so eager to blow themselves and others up. Got quite some attention from the domestic media.
Think he makes some good points.

December 6, 2005 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Keir:

These other flags/posters are presumably displayed as communist kitsch or curiousities. I just clicked on the link to your blog, and there was the colonial flag of Hong Kong, in all its glory, in large and small forms, being carried around and displayed everywhere. So presumably you are making a statement of pride.

Let’s get one thing straight: that your Hong Kong students gave them to you as gifts is neither offensive or vulgar. That you would show them off in China (especially outside of Hong Kong) – a country that has had a very mixed legacy with imperial powers to say the least – is both offensive and vulgar.

The Confederate flag meant many things, good things even, but ultimately it is forever tainted by the association with slavery in the antebellum South. And British colonial flags (all of them) are tainted by the association with imperialism, even if they also represented democractic and economic progress. Therefore to fly the Confederate flag is to come across as endorsing racist views, and to fly colonial flags is to come across as endorsing imperialist views.

Not hard to get, is it?

December 6, 2005 @ 4:01 am | Comment

Particularly since you’re a British national.

December 6, 2005 @ 4:02 am | Comment

Keir: Hear, hear!

AND, even if (hypothetically) we do a thought-experiment and consider the Confederate and HK Colonial flags to be morally neutral (just for abstract argument’s sake) then it is STILL an inappropriate analogy:

…because the Confederate States of America never occupied Boston. It’s a ridiculous analogy between the Confederate and HK flags. A FAR more appropriate analogy for Boston, would be for someone to wave the British flag there – because the British WERE unwanted occupiers in Boston, for some years. But if you display a British flag in Boston you’ll either be ignored or asked out for a friendly drink, unless you do it right in front of an IRA funeral.

December 6, 2005 @ 4:18 am | Comment

I have one (one) flag of HK and on the other side one of China. Ask the thousands who marched in HK over the weekend (surprisingly not mentioned at tpd) what they think of the latter one. Ask Tibetans which one is the imperialist one.
In any case you ignore the lives that were saved under that flag. It’s like those who go on about Taiwan- no one cares if people are actually prospering as long as they’re ultimately controlled by Beijing. I am proud that when Britain did the right thing and handed back HK which had been taken shamefully, they handed back something to be proud of.
I can’t help it if the commie kitsch in my class is kitsch. That’s what it is.

December 6, 2005 @ 4:39 am | Comment

So there.

December 6, 2005 @ 4:42 am | Comment

I’m actually going to bite on this one – knowing that Nausa’s reply, if any, will be another categorical sophistry. However:

1. “Therefore to fly the Confederate flag is to come across as endorsing racist views.”

No. It depends on the time and place. First of all, let’s clarify that the Confederate Battle Flag (red field and blue cross with stars) – which is generally assumed to be the CSA flag – was not the government flag. It was the Army’s flag, used only in battle. Thus it is a symbol of the Confederate Army. Now, were ALL (or even most) Confederate soldiers fighting “for racism?”

No. Most of them were fighting what they perceived as a foreign invasion. And at any rate, the Civil War was fought almost entirely on THEIR land, on Southern land, on Southern farms. (Most of which had no slaves.) Fighting to throw a foreign Army off of your land does not necessarily mean you endorse slavery.

AND, were most Southerners racist? Yes. But so were most Northerners.
If anything, the Northern soldiers were even more resentful of Blacks, because they perceived Blacks as the cause for the war which they hated fighting in.

2. “…and to fly colonial flags is to come across as endorsing imperialist views.” First of all, be specific about which empire you’re talking about here – because not all empires are alike. Second, if you want to speak categorically about ALL British “colonial” flags, then it’s disingenuous to exclude the British Flag, the Union Jack which is the superordinate symbol of the entire British Empire.

So, the real question is: Does displaying the British Flag make you come across as endorsing imperialist views?

A. Not necessarily, and
B. Even if it does, it’s the height of sophomorism to posit something as abstract as “imperialism” as a categorical ideology. The British Empire was an empire, of sorts (“achieved in a long fit of absent-mindedness” as one wag said) – and Hitler’s Third Empire was another one, a very different kind. And China is yet another kind of empire.
C. ALL governments are tainted, everywhere, in all times. But on balance, the British Empire was a net good for the world, not least because the British Empire’s strength (AND its values) was the single force which resisted Hitler long enough for Hitler ultimately to be destroyed.
It was the sine qua non of Hitler’s destruction, and of the survival of civilisation. Worldwide, ALL civilisation today owes its existence to the British Empire.

All that said, the English still get on my nerves. ๐Ÿ™‚ Except for North of the Trent of course. Oh and the West Country too, because of their cider and their cool accents. Oh and London too. Oh alright, the English DON’T really get on my nerves, but I do enjoy taking the piss out of them sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 6, 2005 @ 4:49 am | Comment

….and now I can’t resist:

“…aside from the aqueduct, and the roads, and the wine, and the international trade, and the rule of law, WHAT DID THE ROMANS EVER DO FOR US?”

December 6, 2005 @ 4:56 am | Comment

Thanks for that Ivan- I can’t be arsed. I’m a British citizen, but a Canadian national. My most prized flag is the Candian red ensign in my class- the one that fought fascism in WWII. Looks similar to the HK flag but is red basically; maybe she thinks that’s an imperialist flag too.
Ivan- You know your flags; I’m impressed you can differentiate between the CSA national flag and its battle flag.
One thought while reading your post: Hitler’s offer to save the British Empire and protect it for his control of Europe. Churchill preferred a loss of Empire to a united Europe under Nazism. That’s what I think of when I see the ensign. And again, for all its faults, ask the average HK citizen if he thinks colonial rule was a bad thing. Oh dear; what a shame China wasn’t able to f*** them up too…
Don’t listen to me: As Kin-ming Liu
columnist for Hong Kong’s Apple Daily
wrote in the WaPo, “Eight years after the Hong Kong handover, I miss the British. Oddly enough, I didn’t like them when when they ruled Hong Kong as a colony. But when I look back, I recall life as seeming more promising in those days than what we are facing today. And we are still a colony.”

December 6, 2005 @ 5:16 am | Comment

Keir:

A reply from an old ally, and from an old Yankee cousin of Great Britain:

I’m trying not to reply TOO emotionally or with TOO much bias, but oh, what the f—, I will:

Keir, you have every good reason to love your “most prized” Canadian ensign which, as you say, “fought fascism in WW II.” And to love the Union Jack of Great Britain. I of all people am authorised to say this in my (now dead) father’s stead, because:

My father, Sergeant “Ivan the Second” ๐Ÿ™‚ gunnery sergeant of the Eighth US Army Air Corps, flew 12 combat missions over occupied Europe in 1944-45, ACCOMPANIED BY his Canadian and British allies.

And on one combat mission, my Dad flew alongside some Canadians, in 1945, and he saw his Canadian allies crash into the white cliffs of Dover, right in front of his face.

And on OTHER combat missions, during the war, my Dad saw more Canadians than Americans go down, in front of his face, and he washed the blood and guts out of several Canadian planes on the base at King’s Lynn in England. (In East Anglia.)

AND, my Dad’s British cousins – he literally met a few of them, face to face, at King’s Lynn and in combat over Europe, in 1944/45.

My Dad’s mother was born in Scotland. And the last time she saw my Dad, was when she was dying, in America, in 1944. My Dad saw her while she was dying, and he wore his US Army Air Corps uniform when he saw her, and she came to consciousness for a moment and she said, “Ah, xxxxx, how are ye, Laddy?
Ahh…..” And she died in front of him. Literally. Literally, my Dad’s Scottish grandmother died in front of him, just after she saw him ready to go to war against the Nazi bastards, to defend her homeland, Scotland and all of Britain. And North America too.

And 60 years later, I am still deadly proud of that.

And 60 years later, I am still deadly proud of all the stories my Dad told me about his comrades in the Canadian RAF. (AND in the UK RAF) My Dad watched many of them go down in flames, in front of his face, in combat…..

….defending our ancient homeland of Britain, and defending North America, and defending Western Civilisation….

…Keir, you have EVERY good reason to be proud of the Scarlet Maple Leaf of Canada, and of our cousins’ Union Jack of Great Britain.

There is a rather new stained glass window at Wesminster Abbey in London, dedicated to ALL of the allies of the Air War of 1939-1945, all Air warriors of Britain, Canada, Australia, NZ, and USA. And at the bottom it is inscribed – from Shakespeare’s Henry V:

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

At Westminster Abbey, 1000 years old, and the memory of ALL of our people who defied Hitler, will last for thousands of years to come.

Sorry if this sounds too sentimental. I don’t care. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” – such were all of the allies of the English-speaking peoples in the Second World War, the last Knights of the Modern Age.

And so you have every good reason to be proud of the Canadian flag, and of the Union Jack, for thousands of years to come.

The Union Jack, the flags of Australia and New Zealand and Canada, and the Stars and Stripes of the USA: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,” all have a special stained glass window at Westminster Abbey, the 1000 year old shrine of everything that is best in the English-Speaking-Nations, the heirs of King Arthur………….

…at any rate, I predict that the Canadian and British and American Knights of the Air War of the 1940s, will be remembered with love for thousands of years after the Chinese Communist Party has been forgotten in History’s pit of shame…….

December 6, 2005 @ 10:31 am | Comment

That Irish blood you have coursing through your veins… which part of Ireland?
I don’t want to get too passionate on this forum either; I don’t want to sound like an Imperialist when we have enough of those screwing up the world today. But it does get my goat when we foreign devils are blamed for all the ills plaguing this country (the Summer Palace needed renovating anyway) when whatever we did is dwarfed by the evil the gov’t has done to its own people. The shame some people see in flags I think is misguided. The real shame is that a tiny island the other side of the world took better care and looked after an exploited colony than its own people do after waiting 150 years to get it back.

December 6, 2005 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Ivan,

I respect your knowledge about US Civil War history, but I must object to your description of the Union army as a foreign army. It is true that most southerners did not own slaves and were not fighting to preserve slavery, but the Civil War was really about slavery, not states’ rights. State versus federal power had been an issue since before the founding of our nation, but it did not split us apart until the issue of slavery could no longer be papered over by legislative compromises. I do not know how mainland Chinese feel about the Hong Kong colonial flag, but American blacks overwhelmingly reject the Confederate flag as a modern symbol of the south.

December 6, 2005 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

Do you really think those scores of thousands of Union soldiers would have died to free the slaves? That was not at all the central issue. It was economics and politics. Slavery was a factor, but it wasn’t what the Civil War was about.

December 6, 2005 @ 6:19 pm | Comment

As Lincoln himself said (and he had to wait until well towards the end to introduce Emancipation because the North wouldn’t have bought it earlier) “If I could preserve the Union by freeing all the slaves I would do it. If I could preserve the Union by freeing half the slaves I would do it. I could preserve the Union by freeing none of the slaves I would do it. The Union must be preserved.”

December 6, 2005 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

No, those white northern boys didn’t put on blue uniforms to free the slaves. They put on uniforms because they were drafted, just like the 152,000 US soldiers who are in Iraq because they were ordered to go there. Ditto for the wars in Vietnam, Korea, and the the two world wars. Most soldiers fought because they had to, not because they believed in “the cause.”

Lincoln made many statements calling for the abolition of slavery as far back as the famous debates with Douglas. In 1858, as the north and south were drifting apart, Lincoln made his famous “House Divided” speech in which he said, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.”

Slavery WAS the economic and political issue that divided the north and the south. Yes, Lincoln valued preservation of the Union over abolishing slavery, but the institution of slavery was, nevertheless, a fundamental cause of the Civil War.

December 6, 2005 @ 7:52 pm | Comment

Perhaps someone should look into the relationship between Lincoln and leading abolitionist Frederick Douglass?

December 6, 2005 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

Great idea, everlasting. In fact, someone did- it’s in the latest Time magazine (or at least a recent one)- an investigation into their relationship that just makes one more impressed with both men.
If you’re interested I can try to hunt it down and post details. Maybe you can get the article online.

December 6, 2005 @ 9:31 pm | Comment

For those who said there is no change between SARS and Benzene diasterd,

the deputy mayor of Jilin city is found dead at home, likely commited suicide. State Council has set up a special investigation committee to find out who is at fault.

http://sun-bin.blogspot.com/2005/12/sepa-head-resigned-but-organization.html

December 6, 2005 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

Back to Keir’s unfortunate experience at the ballet, a couple of thoughts.

First, like so many things in China, it is getting better. For example, last year I attended a Rameau “opera” (actually a “lyrical tragedy”) at Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, and the audience was surprisingly well-behaved (I only had to “shush” two girls).

Second, western opera was the same way not that long ago. At the time Handel operas were the rage in London, audiences would order and consume food, alcohol, play cards, laugh, converse and carry on all the while – sometimes to the point of heckling the performers. Maybe everyone would quiet down when an especially good aria started, but otherwise it could be very “rinao”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Opera at that time was intended as an evening of entertainment, acts were seperated by other kinds of performance, not so unlike vaudeville.

The way western audiences consume opera today – sitting silent and still for two or three hours – would have been unbearable for the audiences the operas were written for, they weren’t meant to be enjoyed that way.

Just some perspective. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 7, 2005 @ 1:01 am | Comment

That’s fine, SS, but I wasn’t at vaudeville, nor was I paying vaudeville prices. Are the performers supposed to have simply expected non-stop flashes from cameras and mobile phones throughout their performance with no one doing anything to stop it simply because, as you’re saying, they didn’t know any better? This was Swan Lake after all; could they plead ignorance about what they were going to see?
I had thought back to Shakespeare’s time at the Globe theatre and how this would have been par for the course, but this was ballet at the main theatre.

December 7, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Were those earlier exchanges reminding anyone else of the Simpsons?
Exam Giver: “What was the cause of the Civil War?”
Apu: “The split between abolitionists and secessionists had come to a head in in The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 when…”
Exam Giver: “Just say slavery.”
Apu: “Slavery it is, sir!”

December 7, 2005 @ 2:03 am | Comment

I’d like to echo richard and dishuiguanyin’s points.

the Civil war was not about freeing men, but rather binding a country together through force. the abolition of slavery was a happy ending, and a cause worth fighting for by itself, but not the problem. The problem was economics.

I would, however, like to say to Ivan that confederate flags, wherever they are, no matter what distinction you give them, will always be associated with slavery to me and a vast majority of northerners that don’t know the little distinctions that you’re explaining.

They’re also associated with shotgun racks, pickup trucks, rednecks and lynrd skynrd, at least in NH.

December 7, 2005 @ 2:21 am | Comment

Xiaohu is not a new Chinese breed of dog. He is simply a German Shepherd (or ‘Alsatian’) dog. He has a fine wide head, firm upright ears and large paws (all good signs) but his fur is poor and he is slightly underweight. A spoonful of cod liver oil and a fresh egg every morning with a a little more food would make his fur shine and hide his ribs.

December 7, 2005 @ 3:01 am | Comment

Did you follow the link in the post? I think it explains how the Kunming dog is now actually listed as a separate breed. Check it out first, then come back and give your thoughts.

December 7, 2005 @ 3:24 am | Comment

There’s an excellent BBC documentary about Beijing Here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/documentary_archive/4492966.stm

December 7, 2005 @ 5:32 am | Comment

I hate to beat a dead horse, but saying that the Civil War was about economics not slavery ignores the fact that slavery itself was an economic issue. Southern plantation owners depended on the unpaid labor of slaves while northern factory owners did not.

December 7, 2005 @ 5:38 am | Comment

“Did you follow the link in the post? I think it explains how the Kunming dog is now actually listed as a separate breed.”

This point may be a mere technicality, but the Kunming “breed” is recognized by the Chinese Public Security Bureau. It isn’t an accepted breed by the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, Austrailian National Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, or The Kennel Club (UK). While the Chinese may recognize their own deeds–imagine that… the Chinese gov’t recognizing/praising their own work–no one else in the world seems to have gotten the memo about this “new breed”.

However, don’t get me wrong. Xiaohu is a gorgious dog.

December 7, 2005 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Four states that fought against the south were slave states. If it was about slavery, they wouldn’t have been allowed to fight for the union.

December 7, 2005 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Lincoln valued preserving the union above the abolition of slavery, and that is why he welcomed four slave states to the Union side and that is why he did not free the slaves until 1963. Lincoln favored letting slavery disappear gradually rather than through legislation.

Primary sources are the voices of history. Read the Declaration of Causes of Seceding States for yourself:

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

Every state mentions the institution of slavery in its declaration, and slavery gets much more ink than other grievances such as tariffs and monopolies. This “Civil War wasn’t about slavery” business is a successful revisionism to recast the Civil War in more neutral terms, rather than the simplistic view of “free North good, slave South bad.”

The South seceded because of conflicts over the legality of slavery.
The North fought the South to keep the Union together. If there hadn’t been geographical divisions over slavery, there wouldn’t have been a civil war.

Before you disagree further, at least read the Declaration of Causes of Seceding States and let the voices of the secessionists speak for themselves.

December 7, 2005 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

BEIJING, Dec 7 (AFP) – The vice mayor and environment chief for China’s Jilin city has been found dead, the city’s Communist Party press office said Wednesday, amid accusations he was involved in last month’s toxic disaster cover-up there.

“He died yesterday,” a spokesman for the Jilin city party press office told AFP, without giving any details as to the cause of death.

“The police are investigating. We don’t know any more about it. I think the police will make a public announcement after they finish their investigation.”

Wang Wei, the vice mayor who was also in charge of environment protection, took a high-profile role after a blast at the PetroChina chemical plant in Jilin on November 13 that killed eight people and injured 60 others.

The accident led to the spillage of 100 tonnes of the carcinogens benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua River, one of China’s longest waterways and a source of water for millions of people.

However officials said nothing of the contamination of the Songhua for nearly 10 days.

“It will not cause large scale pollution. We have decided not to have a large scale evacuation,” the China Business News quoted Wang on November 15 as saying.

Nearly four million people in the city of Harbin later had their mains water supply cut off for five days as a result of the spill.

A report on the Singapore news website, zaobao.com, said Wang had been found dead in his home, without giving any further details.

Jilin’s police department refused to confirm anything about the Wang case when contacted by AFP.

“We are not clear about it,” an officer at the Jilin public security bureau’s command centre said.

December 7, 2005 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

To say that the Civil War wasn’t mainly about slavery is to ignore mountains of primary source material that says just that. If it really was based on fundamental economic differences, it seems the people writing letters and editorials in newspapers didn’t give it anything like the significance which the issue of slavery apparently carried for them at the time.

As Sonagi pointed out, the official declarations of the secessionist states leaves little room for doubt. The language of the Texas declaration, for example, casts the entire issue as one between “the slave-holding states ” and “the non-slave-holding states”, and goes on to say very clearly that, while there have been other grievances with the federal gov’t, Texas is seceeding over the issue of slavery.

Also, I think you have to be careful quoting Lincoln on this issue. Lincoln was a great orator in a time when oratory was a valued skill. He was also a politician navigating exceptionally dangerous political times. He said and wrote contradictory things on various occasions when it suited differing aims or situations.

December 7, 2005 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

Alright, Slim I’m willing to compromise. For most of the states that seceded, the reason was slavery. But the Union didn’t go to war to free those states’ slaves, they went to bring them back into the Union, or at least that’s what I always thought from my high school textbooks.

December 8, 2005 @ 3:47 am | Comment

Graham, according to severasl sources I just looked up, the Kunming Dog is a separate and unique breed. A google search with confirm this.

December 8, 2005 @ 3:48 am | Comment

Okay, time for a new thread, although I hate to say godbye to Xiaohu.

December 8, 2005 @ 3:49 am | Comment

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