Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Favourite posts from the 3rd quarter of 2008

My Internet access was so disrupted during the last year that I fell out of the habit of providing quarterly rundowns of my favourite posts. I would generally produce such a list of recommendations 6 months on, but now we're 18 months behind. Never mind - it may be better this way, the longer perspective refining the judgement.

This was an especially prolific spell of blogging (what with the Olympics and all), so this may get to be quite a long list.

Here we go.

Pick of the Archive:
Favourite Posts, July-Sept. 2008

1) Chinese pronunciation classics - 2nd July 2008

Two hilarious examples of typical Chinese mispronunciation of English - really very, very funny. (And a little later there was another great one here; and an Olympic one here.)

2) List of the month - If I had a man-bag - 5th July 2008

I don't think I ever will get one of the dratted things, but if I did - it might be quite useful for carrying these daily essentials of Beijing life.

3) More Olympic "regulations" - 7th July 2008

I suffer a particularly daft example of the country's pre-Olympic anxiety.

4) My favourite book - The Wind In The Willows - 9th July 2008

An extended appreciation of my best-loved childhood read, reprinted from Moonrat's 'Celebrate Reading' Month.

5) The long arm of coincidence?? - 11th July 2008

I keep on bumping into people I know on Beijing subway trains. I mean, really, it happens a lot. This sets me off on a contemplation of the nature of coincidence and statistical probability.

6) My Fantasy Girlfriend - Daniela Hantuchova - 12th July 2008

My selection of the dazzlingly pretty Slovakian tennis player as my pin-up of the month is mainly an excuse to dilate further on my love of the game of tennis and my childhood recollections of the Wimbledon tournament.

7) A Classical Sunday - 13th July 2008

I offer my own translation of one of the best-known poems of the naughty Roman poet Catullus.

8) What the Chinese complain about - 19th July 2008

Via the online Wall Street Journal comes a pie-chart analysing what Chinese netizens most often gripe about. Quite enlightening, in a depressing sort of way.

9) A new 'game' for everyone - 19th July 2008

I publicize my new 'Misheard Song Lyrics' game from The Barstool with Annie Varner's superb video montage illustrating the 'lyrics' of Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man.

10) Are we feeling "Olympic" enough yet?? - 21st July 2008

My bitter summary of everything our control-freak government is doing to try to ensure a "harmonious" Olympic Games in Beijing.

11) A question of taste - 22nd July 2008

During one of my voice-recording assignments I encounter this egregious example of Chinese bad taste. (Warning: Not for the faint-hearted.)

12) Let's talk about Security (1) - 28th July 2008

On the eve of the Olympics, I was much concerned with the city's security arrangements - or rather, the lack of them. There was lots of huffing-and-puffing and looking busy, but just about bugger-all that would actually make any of us safer. This was a topic I also considered here and here, and in this bon mot (and later, here and here and here). These misgivings proved sadly prescient when a mentally disturbed Chinese man murdered an American tourist on the opening day of the Games.

13) The chai Olympics - 5th August 2008

With the help of an artist friend, I create an image of the Olympic flag with chai (the Chinese character for 'demolish') inserted into each of the coloured rings. The wild property 'boom' in Beijing - chiefly characterised by poorly planned and largely unnecessary bulldozing of large sections of the old city, a wretched act of cultural desecration in the service of blind entrepreneurial greed - is what these Olympics should be chiefly remembered, and regretted, for in years to come.

14) What if they held an Olympics and nobody came? (1) - 6th August 2008

Bizarrely enough, that was what the Chinese government aimed for with the Beijing Olympics. Ridiculous visa restrictions and accidental-on-purpose foul-ups with ticketing meant that conventional tourism in the city dropped to almost zero this month.

15) List of the Month - that Opening Ceremony, huh?! - 12th August 2008

A jokey commentary on the highlights of the Olympic Opening Ceremony (as seen from a bar).

16) Olympics round-up - Week 1 - 15th August 2008

A rundown of the most interesting news stories and commentaries from the opening week of the Beijing Olympics.

17) The great mismatch: China & the "Olympic spirit" - 16th August 2008

My take on the great age-faking scandal in the women's (girls'!!) gymnastics. (There are follow-ups here and here.)

18) An Olympic Daily Llama - 22nd August 2008

A more humorous look back on the Olympics, via one of my frivolous 'Daily Llama' pictures.

19) Ping-pong's coming home! - 28th August 2008

Although I had earlier mocked Boris Johnson's sartorial shortcomings, I had to admit that his speech launching the London Olympic bandwagon was pretty damned funny, and added the YouTube clip of it.

20) Why pandas are going extinct - 30th August 2008

Because they're wusses! I reprint a very funny photo of panda timidity.

21) What was I expecting? - 31st August 2008

At the end of the month I sum up the reasons for my disappointment with the Beijing Olympics.

22) The weekly haiku - 5th September 2008

This one celebrates the sound of mah jong parlours, one of the favourite details of neighbourhood life that I savour when out jogging.

23) We need a new chant! 6th September 2008

An observation on Chinese sporting chants; or, rather, on the paucity of them.

24) Great job titles in the film industry - 11th September 2008

On watching Darren Aronofsky's excellent Requiem For A Dream again, I discovered that the credits included a Refrigerator Puppeteer. I had hoped to kick off a new 'collecting box' for similarly bizarre film credits, but this post has been sadly neglected thus far.

25) All that glisters is not gold - 13th September 2008

A final (well, not quite...) Olympic post on the issue of 'medal tallies' and rival approaches to comparing national team performances in the Games.

26) List of the Month - 10 Things To Love About Beijing - 13th September 2008

As a counter-balance to all of my Olympic curmudgeonliness, I offer a celebration of the best things about living in this city (and, incidentally, of reasons why Beijing is better than Shanghai).

27) China greets Paralympians - 15th September 2008

A very silly, very funny picture - from (now sadly defunct) FrostFireZoo.

28) Who are you calling a pussy? - 17th September 2008

My discovery of the - truly bizarre - Chinese transliteration of Michael Phelps' name prompts more observations on the shortcomings of the Chinese language and education system.

29) That Michael Phelps diet again - 18th September 2008

A photograph making fun of the extraordinary dietary regime of the phenomenal Olympic swimming champion (not for those with weak stomachs!).

30) The police & the law - 18th September 2008

A very funny but rather shocking true story: a journalist friend of mine loses his passport, and is reminded by a policeman of the difference in this country between what the law says and what it means in practice.

31) A missed opportunity: The Cornetto Torch - 19th September 2008

Rather belatedly, I come up with a brilliant Olympic marketing gimmick for Wall's ice cream.

32) Fingerlickin' good! - 25th September 2008

'Redneck Art' - a YouTube clip of someone doing a rather good finger-painting on a diner tablecloth..... in barbecue sauce!

33) Red sky at night - 26th September 2008

A photograph of a particularly beautiful sunset out of my kitchen window.

34) And another thing..... that bugs me about Chinese behaviour on the roads - 27th September 2008

I lose my patience with the murderously stupid propensity of Chinese cyclists to always try to cut corners.

35) Sacrilege - 27th September 2008

I have to say that, up close, I find Beijing's 'iconic' Olympic venues, the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, to be severely unimpressive.

36) "Unffhh!" Jesus takes a hit! - 28th September 2008

Somehow or other I happen upon the you-won't-believe-it-but-it's-real, among whose stupendously kitsch highlights is this porcelain statuette of Jesus playing American football with a couple of young boys.

1 comment:

JES said...

It's been a long time since I visited there, but (in connection with #36) you might find some sections of the going jesus blog entertaining. Check the left-hand side of the page for references to kitsch and "bad nativities."