Mythic

From a dream interpretation webpage:

Unicorns are fantastical pure creatures. When unicorns appear in your dream, it symbolizes a gentle power that is currently in you. Don’t be afraid to tackle obstacles that are holding you back in career advancements or relationships.

Some unicorns in dreams may have the ability to speak. It will often provide righteous insight into solving problems and helping you attain set goals.

Apparently there are webpages devoted to unicorns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn

http://allaboutunicorns.com/

 

For its own sake

There has been a lot of media buzz about the newly released report on torture, as practiced in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

For people with any kind of memory, it was once unthinkable that any branch or agency of the US government would condone (much less practice) torture (mock executions, arterial pressure, water boarding). That was the stuff of 1970s military regimes in Latin America, like Pinochet’s Chile. And they were less clever about it, apparently, and sloppier (perhaps because American taxpayers were footing the bill).

Again, the mainstream and alternative media, even when critical misses the point. Many people imagine that torture was cynically conducted in order to link Iraq to Al Qaeda, providing even more lies for the 2003 war… Others think that it was just a case of the “war on terror” running slightly amok.

A more likely explanation points to the true motivations of those above and beyond formal government, which include using torture not as a means to an end but as an end in of itself, serving absolutely no political or military purpose.

This represents torture for its own sake, if you will – again, so that the usual suspects can vampire off the stress, laugh at their puppet-politicians who did their bidding, and slowly condition millions of people to participate, however passively, in their own dehumanization. Torture is about taking human nature and then slowly degrading it.

Real justice would mean that these initiators would be abolished from this world and have their souls annihilated in the next – but that would mean that we live in a real world, with organizing principles, and not in a carnival freak show.

The Real Legacy

Recently, a student presentation further opened my eyes to the current plight of Iraq. This, along with the complete meltdown of society in Libya, must represent the two most under-reported stories in the western press.

Twelve long years have passed since the US invaded Iraq along with its British overlords. Washington built an Embassy the size of the Vatican and imagined a Ramstein-on-the-Euphrates future.

Twelve long years after the invasion, Iraq is much worse off, by every measure, than it was in 2003. Just half the country (or less) has electricity. Child hunger and malnutrition is about 22%. Student enrolment in institutions of higher learning has plummeted. Unemployment is sky high. Corruption is rampant. Life expectancy is going down. Baghdad is a city of walls, divided by ethnic militias. There have been literally millions of refugees.

One recalls that the warmongers said that “only history would be the judge” of their actions in Iraq, and gave other lofty, Hitlerean assurances.

Their critics charged them with exchanging blood for oil, and with turning the US military into a goon squad for corporations. If it were only that simple…

Luckily for the mental well-being of these critics, too few contemplate the existence of a cult (a circle jerk really), finding gratification in the fear and stress of humanity, and hoping to sacrifice more souls on the altars of their false gods.

The Other History Channel

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Battlestar Galactica is a great show, and I’ve ripped through the first few seasons. Set sometime in the not-too-distant future, humanity is almost wiped out by a race of humanoids called the Cylons, biological robots with no souls (like demons, one might say). The Cylons live to wage war on humanity.

But the lines are blurred between humans and Cylons, especially as the latter take on more human appearance and behavior, infiltrating humanity as sleeper cells. Moreover, some Cylons have an inter-dimensional capacity, able to influence human thought.

By season 2, some humans and Cylons are breeding: “… the sons of god [or the devil]  saw the daughters of men were fair…”

There is always much to be said for a grand, cosmic war: a space opera in its full glory.

Battlestar Galactica is a wonderful documentary series, cleverly passing itself off as fiction.

Rugby Fields Forever

Chongching lost three of their players with no subs, at the half, so two of us Pandas put on the blue, me included,

and their strongest woman joined also. Chengdu won, plus I got my first try (touchdown) in competition for the Chengdu side, so

my new hobby is on track.

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No Heavy Lifting

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I teach a section of Academic Writing at Sichuan University, and this activity is rather interesting…

I’m convinced that many of these students, going for Masters in Translations and Interpretation (MTI), will be faced with endless requests to translate and edit Bio-Med articles. I’ve been grappling with a few of those lately.

So, I wrote a “sample essay” about a disease on the full screen – on rabies, something which I know about, having been given the shot treatment for a cat bite in Mexico. I wrote the essay as a model, but of course prompted the class to come up with certain words like “incubation period” (they got it) and others… Buhler? Buhler? (They got that, too). But everyone also appreciated that these were serious topics.

Then, I wrote out the names of no less than 40 diseases (or conditions) and placed them in a hat. Each student picked out one, tasked with writing a short essay, complete with a section on causes, transmission, symptoms, and treatment. These included Parkinson’s, Scurvy, Diabetes, Syphilis, HIV, Ebola, Mad Cow Disease, Malaria, and the list goes on. For fun, I even threw in Restless Leg Syndrome.

Next, we get to edit them all on the big screen, always a fun process. Seriously, teaching Chinese students is a luxury, as they combine studiousness with a great sense of humor.

Wuhan

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Fan from Tadjikistan

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Top left to bottom right, representing: UK, Australia, UK, Samoa, USA, Holland

UK, China, Vanuatu, China, USA (& Panama)

 

Scandal

Scandal. That’s my latest youku.com binge, great for relaxing.  I suppose it is a bit like West Wing, but a bit more salacious, more scandalous. Quite similar to House of Cards, but sexier: Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington will take care of that.

The scandals of the past few decades are compressed into one administration of Fitzgerald Grant: vote-rigging scandals, sexual scandals, assassination scandals, supreme court scandals, and the like, complete with references to the Patriot Act and the rest of it. Lots of political grandstanding. Lots of Heavies walking up and down the Halls of Power, bloated with self importance.

Amazingly, just as in House of Cards, the characters in Scandal conspire with one another over cell phones, implicating themselves in endless felonies, blissfully unaware that every word is being recorded by multiple intelligence agencies at home and abroad. So it’s all quite ludicrous but still good entertainment.

Post-Game Pics

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Harrison

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Guest Posting

“Baseball in China”   By: Paul Schifilliti

The Peoples Republic of China is the world’s most populous country and recently has become the world’s largest economy. Since the economic reforms of 1978, this land of 1.35 billion people has obtained an exceptionally quick growing economy. This has opened bottomless possibilities in a myriad of markets, ranging from construction to agriculture, and everything in between. Among all of the emerging markets in China today, one that stands out to me personally is baseball.

After its creation in 1839, baseball slowly spread to the rest of the world, increasingly towards the beginning of the 20th century. This is even true when considering the communist nation of China, where today baseball is understood by few. In 1873, government officials of the Qing dynasty had sent 30 students to study in the United States, in attempt to gain knowledge on the western learning style. However, they would return with much more than merely our learning style, they would return with America’s past time. During their time at Yale, three of the Chinese students established Yale’s Chinese Baseball team. Upon their return home, they brought the game with them.

Again in 1895, baseball had made more congress at the Huiwen Academy of Classical Learning in Beijing. However, the first official game wasn’t held in China until 1907. Yes, baseball has been of existence in this foreign land for over 100 years, yet if you were to ask a random local citizen about the game today, chances are you would receive a puzzled stare.

What went wrong? There are many ways to go about answering such a vague question, but one must first take into consideration the ideals of Mao Zedong. Prior to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, baseball was a part of the national games. Although the game showed potential for progress, it had not yet caught the baseball fever as America had.

With the reforms of the country underway, Mao Zedong lead the communist nation. Beloved by most of China’s people, Zedong’s words were very powerful. When the subject of baseball was brought up, Zedong declared it was a symbol of the imperialist west, and should not be played in China. His feelings for basketball were much more sympathetic, explaining how it has become one of the more popular sports in China. The communist leader should not be held entirely responsible for the decline of baseball in China; it does not help that the game requires more land than other sports.

Back in those times, many Chinese considered the game as imperialistic, but times have changed. With an economy growing as fast as theirs, China is no stranger to innovation. Big business is constantly looking for the next big thing, but what if the next big thing has been here all along. Baseball represents a world of opportunity for China, as it has for Japan and South Korea.

Some Americans have claimed that the talent simply isn’t there when considering Chinese ball players. That’s like handing the average American athlete a willow cricket bat and expecting them to be a superstar.

The game needs time to develop in China before players of the country can be comparable to that of a nation that has consistently played the game for over 150 years and turned the sport into a multi-billion dollar industry. That was done in a nation of 300 million people; imagine the potential in a nation of a whopping 1.3 billion people. I know this may sound cliché, but the possibilities are endless.