I’ve been trying to post every weekend, but the plan got interrupted when I got hit hard on Thursday with a fever, shakes, headache, nausea, etc. (Still, I went out with my colleagues that night to see Mama Mia for the fifth time; it was harder to enjoy than usual, but I still floated out of the theater.) Went to Beijing United today and the doctor said it would take me two weeks more to fully recover, and gave me the usual goodie bag of pills and sachets and vitamns. I guess God doesn’t want me to blog at this point in my life. And now, back to sleep.

The Discussion: 60 Comments

but the plan got interrupted when I got hit hard on Thursday with a fever, shakes, headache, nausea, etc.

That’ll teach you to spend so much time reading about Republican foreign and domestic policy.

Get well soon, man.


August 19, 2007 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

As soon as I saw the title, “Sick”, I assumed it was going to be about one of your recurrent trolls.

Sending you some virtual soup with lots of garlic.

August 19, 2007 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

Mamma Mia for the fifth time? Christ, you really are gay, aren’t you?

August 19, 2007 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

Two more weeks? Christ, that must have been some seriously bad sushi.

August 20, 2007 @ 12:40 am | Comment

A Proposal For a “Lovers’ MP3 Player”

We all know that MP3 is a format of audio file that’s very very popular today for listening to music, especially music stored on portable players. I myself am also a fan of music. But I like to share my music with others. I think that’s probably a trait more acutely seen in Asians, that’s partially why pirating is so rampant in Asia. Anyway, If I like a song, I like others to hear it as well.

For example, I often see some lovers who “split” the two ends of earphones, one person use the left ear piece, the other use the right ear piece, so they can listen to the same music together. But it is obviously very inconvenient, as those two must stay close together due to the short wire of the earphones (of course if they are lovers, I suppose they’d like to stay close anyway). Of course, we can also use speakers in a room, but that may disturb those who don’t want to listen to the music, and your neighbors may complain if you play it in your room too loudly.

Therefore, this post suggests a new method. I name it as “Lovers’ Mp3”. In other words, a pair of lovers can use 2 separate sets of earphones to listen to the same song at the same time. If the player is hung around the neck of one person, then the two can even hug each other and dance while they listen to the same music privately. How romantic that is.

Of course, we can also consider having 3 or 4 or 5 sets of earphones, so a group of people can listen to the same music together. Of course, with more earphones, it is better to implement a wireless reception, just like cordless phones.

This way, one group of people can peacefully dance to their music on a park, while other people cannot hear their music and will think they are freaks. But of course each member of that group is hearing the same melodious tunes to themselves. This way, they can enjoy themselves together without disturbing others.

To extend this concept further, we can implement small sensing devices under a person’s teeths and lips. So that if a person wants to talk “privately” with another, he/she only needs to breath and move the lips, and the sensors will record those movement and map those movements into the corresponding speech (like if a person opens his mouth wide, it would map that as “Ah”, etc etc) , and privately send those speeches as audio signals to the targeted person’s sensors. This way, 2 people can talk in a “private” channel without letting anyone else hear them. So this way, you’ll see two people moving their mouths rapidly but do not hear any sound, but in fact they can hear each other in their private communication channel through their sensors.

This concept can even be used in the military for secret communications between 2 soldiers on a battle field, it is much more convenient and quicker then typing on a keyboard.

August 20, 2007 @ 12:55 am | Comment

>>But I like to share my music with others. I think that’s probably a trait more acutely seen in Asians, that’s partially why pirating is so rampant in Asia.

Math, if you were a satirist, I’d nominate you for the Nobel Prize. Seriously, I’d submit your article to The New Yorker in any case — I’ll help you draw up a nonsensical cartoon for it.

Richard, go get an IV drip — that cures anything! A friend of mine broke his leg in China and they gave him an IV drip — cured in no time.

August 20, 2007 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Math, will you please give a day or so advance notice before posting your “articles”, to give me enough time to buy some weed so I can really enjoy it?

August 20, 2007 @ 1:52 am | Comment

Ivan – undeed!

Richard, if you would just remember to boil the tap water before drinking it……..

August 20, 2007 @ 5:18 am | Comment

To “David Walker”: my very heterosexual boss went with me to the show; he loved it so much he went back to see it a second time last three nights later. So keep your stereotyping to yourself.

Brendan, she didn’t say I’d be this sick for the next two weeks, but that it would take that much time before I’m fully back up to speed. I’m still not happy about the diagnosis.

August 20, 2007 @ 10:06 am | Comment

I love the episode in South Park where Mr Garrison gets a sex change operation (becoming “Miss Garrison”), and then feels justified in becoming a raging homophobe.

August 20, 2007 @ 10:31 am | Comment

It sounds like AIDS.

August 20, 2007 @ 11:34 am | Comment

I’m really sick too, Richard. I know so many people who are sick right now – but oddly enough they are all people I know or at least am in contact with virtually, not face to face.

So obviously the intertubes are being used to spread disease. Beware…

August 20, 2007 @ 11:36 am | Comment

Two weeks? Damn. I hope the pills and potions your doctor prescribed work better than expected. Get well soon, and take care of yourself.

August 20, 2007 @ 12:58 pm | Comment


You’ll be fine as long as you stay away from whatever medicine Math is taking. Get well soon.


I’m speechless. Why don’t you leave the lovers in peace to do their business, while you continue to write about China, the CCP and Mao. A deal?

August 20, 2007 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

Culturing of sand storm samples in Korea, Japan and Taiwan have shown that China’s sand is full of rare and toxic fungi, molds and bacteria.

That in addition to the heavy metals.

August 20, 2007 @ 2:48 pm | Comment

“…China’s sand is full of rare and toxic fungi, molds and bacteria….”

Well that would be the staff of CCTV after a sandstorm.

August 20, 2007 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Actually that’s what they call THE YELLOW PERISH. Waiting for a superhero-catroon where the hero mutated after contact with one of those dangerously toxic, bacteria and fungi loaded sandstorms from China.

August 20, 2007 @ 4:06 pm | Comment

aaron, thanks for your valuable and encouraging contribution. You’re a real gentleman.

August 20, 2007 @ 4:08 pm | Comment

BTW, get better soon, Richard.
I’d suggest a little ABBA abstinence for a week or so. Even the most harmless tunes can have a bad effect if consumed in too high doses. Perhaps small doses of Heavy Metal after breakfast wouldn’t be a bad idea too. Just to get in balance again, you know. It’s all about the balance Chinese doctor allways says.

August 20, 2007 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

what better example of yin and yang than two girls (AA) and two guys (BB)? Actually, when I was feeling my very most miserable, on Friday afternoon, I listened to the one bubble-gummy song of theirs that always makes me happy in spite of its saccharine quality. Works like a charm.

August 20, 2007 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

Doctor Ivan says you need some heavy metal as an antidote to all that ABBA. Here’s my cartoon hero,
“Heavy Metal Guy” singing, “Doctor Torture”:

August 20, 2007 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

… but Dr Ivan, I’m afraid it’s the wrong diagnosis for Richard. A toothbrush is not going to help, you know …

August 20, 2007 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

“Christ, you really are gay, aren’t you?”

Computer sez…YES!

August 20, 2007 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

Though that’s been made pretty clear here before. Hit a nerve there, Dave….

August 20, 2007 @ 7:59 pm | Comment

Let’s stick to the subjects at hand: sickness and great pop music.

August 20, 2007 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

“Christ, you really are gay, aren’t you?”

Mr Garrison (the South Park homophobe transvestite), is that you?

August 20, 2007 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

“Doctor” + “great pop music” = Doctor Funkenstein:

August 20, 2007 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Great pop music made sick (from this thread).

Hope you recover soon.

August 20, 2007 @ 8:53 pm | Comment

Each to his own, Richard.
But if it doesn’t get better, just try the slayer cd. It’s like every other medicine, the worst it tastes the better it is.

August 21, 2007 @ 1:41 am | Comment

Rich, hope you get well soon. And if for some reason you still aren’t getting enough sympathy, take to heart the following, which has worked well in alleviating the concerns of the families in China who’ve been “advised” to stay at home and having to go to the internet to hear news of their loved ones while they are trapped in the flooding coal mines.

“Nature has no sympathy, people have sympathy, but the Communist Party is the most sympathetic.”

August 21, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Comment


Yes, long ago I burned my teddy-bear and replaced it with a stuffed cuddle-toy resembling Chairman Mao.

But then one night after I had a BIT too much to drink, it came to life and started chasing me around with a kitchen knife shouting, “CORRECT YOUR THOUGHTS!”

August 21, 2007 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

PS, shortly after my return to the West, I adopted a new puppy of German descent, and when I had that nightmare hallucination of my Chairman Mao doll chasing me around, my German puppy gripped the Mao doll in his jaws and ripped it to shreds, and then my puppy said to me, in German,

“Kaempf’ gegen die Anfange!”

Apologies to Richard and to Shulan if I botched up the German grammar as I usually do, but what my puppy – who has bad German grammar –
MEANT to say, was: “Fight the beginnings” of tyranny….

although, truth be told, my puppy is a tyrant in his own way… 😉

August 21, 2007 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

Ich mu� sagen, ich wirklich liebe ABBA selbst.

August 21, 2007 @ 9:18 pm | Comment

Gee Ivan, compared to your house the pet sematary seems like kindergarden.
BTW it spells “Wehret den Anfängen”.

And the only reason to write the above is to link to the great song Pet Sematary
Perhaps that even is enough to get you in balance again, Richard.

August 21, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Comment


I admitted that my German grammar sucks, and so does my half-poodle-puppy’s German grammar. 🙂

But I just wanted to toss some good and healing words at Richard. Even if my, and my puppy’s German grammar is shit, it will do Richard a lot of good…. 🙂

August 22, 2007 @ 4:44 am | Comment

dude… it’s like last april in here… lightyear, fat cat, shulan, ivie… freaky. maybe richard, you should stop boiling the tap water… illness seems to draw much less inane commentators than NHYRC and snow…

August 22, 2007 @ 5:26 am | Comment

Hi–How are you feeling now? I’m writing this because I haven’t heard from you–Let me know. All is well here. Are you resting?–Mom

August 22, 2007 @ 6:50 am | Comment

Sorry, have been horizontal the past week. Will send you an email now.

August 22, 2007 @ 8:50 am | Comment

Aww, Richard, look how worried you’ve made your mom! I’m sure she’s shipping over some homemade chicken soup right about now. 😉

Get well soon, man. We need you over here.

August 22, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Comment

Ivan – your puppy is half-POODLE? Jeezus, I thought for sure it would be one of the larger breeds.

August 22, 2007 @ 10:49 am | Comment

Richard, you’re so lucky to have a mom who is also your fan and a regular reader of this blog. This is really cool.

August 22, 2007 @ 1:06 pm | Comment


Never underestimate what a softie I am.

I love my small animals as much as I love my small guns 😉

August 22, 2007 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

PS, actually my boy (half Cocker Spaniel) is more like medium size. He’ll be over 20 pounds (or 10 kilos) by the time he’s done growing.

I’m teaching him Chinese. Whenever I ask him, “Ni Hao”, he says, “HAO! HAO!”

August 22, 2007 @ 3:44 pm | Comment


I read the following from a Dog Owner’s Guide about a common growing pain among puppies: chewing. My puppy, also a small/medium cross breed, is now going through a chewing phase. I therefore find this advice particularly inspiring:

‘Teach “no bite” to eliminate attempts to chew parts of human bodies. Puppies should never be allowed to teethe on people parts. Never. Biting family members is an attempt to establish dominance. Even toy dogs try to become leader of the family pack if given the opportunity. When a fast-growing guardian breed is allowed or encouraged to mouth arms and legs, he will quickly become unruly.’

August 22, 2007 @ 6:24 pm | Comment

Get well, Richard…’s another topic for when you get back: You can’t make fiction like this:

China bans reincarnation

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment

August 22, 2007 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

Sam, can anything the Chinese government does surprise us anymore? Anything at all? Although I have to admit that this story surprises even a weathered cynic like me.

August 22, 2007 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

As I’ve said before, if China takes over Iraq it’ll forbid the Shiites’ Hidden Imam from reappearing without permission.

August 22, 2007 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

@Ivan: well, I like cocker spaniels, but poodles – along with poms and pekes – bring to mind socialites and mahjong-playing tai-tais. I’m afraid I’m not a fan of the small dogs. I thought you’d have a Golden Retriever or even a Shiba Inu or something.

Did you get your puppy from the humane society (since you mentioned it’s a cross-breed)? Not from a pet store or a backyard breeder, I hope.

Anyway, I’m mostly a cat person. I have a Siamese moggie. Like most Siamese, he’s intelligent and affectionate, but never slavish in his affection. Because cats, unlike dogs, call no one master (or mistress.)

August 22, 2007 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Well I’m an old hand at handling canines, and I checked this one pretty carefully; he’s in perfect health and prone to bursts of zooming-mania, joyfully running around in orbit.

Cockapoos are actually selectively bred, even though not yet officially recognised as a new breed.
Cross-breeding the poodle with spaniel tends to maintain the high intelligence of the poodle but reduce the typical poodle neurosis. And considering how poodles originated in Germany, would kind of make sense for them to be neurotic and obsessive. The English spaniel blood breeds the German neurosis out of them.

My boy is big, big and shaggy. And he has a weird sense of humour.

August 23, 2007 @ 12:25 am | Comment

That’s good. I know poodles tend to be high-strung and nippy, so checking the creds of the breeder is important.

And he has a weird sense of humour.

No doubt influenced by his owner. 🙂

August 23, 2007 @ 10:08 am | Comment

This clip from “Willy Wonka”, where the Oompa Loompas sing about “chewing all day long” reminds me of what my boy is going through in his teething phase:

August 23, 2007 @ 10:17 am | Comment


Poodles are not nice dumb toy dogs (like Pekingese, for instance). They are hunting dogs. Some have even been used as army dogs for despatch to the battle field. They are highly intelligent, very energetic and extremely hardworking. Poodles have coats similar to sheep; they don’t shed and therefore are suitable for people (such as me) who suffer from allergy. Their wonder qualities made them one of the most popular family pet dogs.

Cookapoos are known as Spoodles in Australia. Here breeders also cross-breed poodles with Labradors, Maltese, Schnauzers, etc, to produce a new generation of “designer dogs” known as Labradoodles, Maltese Poodles and Schnoodles. This Youtube clip is a recording of an Australian morning program where they introduce the audience to these beautiful creatures. Enjoy it!

August 23, 2007 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

@Fat Cat:

I’m sure poodles have all the abovementioned qualities and more, but all the poodles I’ve ever encountered (although most were the toy variety, which Ivan’s isn’t) were neurotic, nippy, and yappy, yappy, yappy. However, that may be a problem of irresponsible breeding and not of the breed itself.

As for labradoodles, schnoodles, cockerdoodles and all the “designer dogs” out there not recognized by the AKC…you know what most of us call them?

Mutts. 😉

And you don’t need to pay top dollar for one. Millions of them are currently languishing in animal shelters, animal rescues, and humane societies.

August 23, 2007 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

As this becomes more and more a poodle discussion I have to give my two (German) cent to it.

I didn’t know that they originated from Germany (and I surely would disagrie with Ivan about the specific character that would give them), but they play a role in German culture in as far as in Goethes “Faust” the devil disguises as a poodle and when Faust finds out his reaction is one of the most cited quotes from German literature: “Das also war des Pudels Kern”. (So that was the poodles core)

The most cited quote acctually is from “Götz von Berlichingen”: “Er aber, sag’s ihm, er kann mich im Arsche lecken!” (You, tell him, he can lick my arse.)

August 23, 2007 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

But all new breeds start out as mixed breeds. For that matter, so do all “nationalities”, including the Han Chinese.

@ Shulan: Germans, “obsessive”? How could I ever have thought such a thing. Nietzsche and Wagner were models of emotional and intellectual restraint…. 😉

August 24, 2007 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Poodle update: Now my boy is really showing his German heritage. He’s begun rolling around and chewing on the carpet all the time, like Hitler was reputed to do, Der Karpetfresser.

August 25, 2007 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

Note to self: energetic puppies, guns and vodka are not a good combination.

(Richard, moments like this are when I miss the open threads… 😉

August 26, 2007 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

PS, I wasn’t the one getting drunk and breaking out the pistol. My half-German puppy, on the other hand, cannot be trusted with firearms.

August 26, 2007 @ 8:15 pm | Comment


The effect of alcohol on canines is nowhere in comparison with a steak and kidney pie. It turns a nice puppy instantly into a maniac.

August 26, 2007 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

Fat Cat,

I know. My puppy didn’t start demanding vodka from me until I started feeding him red meat. That’s when he broke into my gun cabinet.

PS, HELP! I’m being held hostage! Among his lists of demands are a case of vodka poured into the toilet bowl, with a little “girlie-drink” umbrella sticking out of it! (Well he DOES know how cute he is…)

August 26, 2007 @ 8:25 pm | Comment

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