Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Favourite posts from the 3rd quarter of 2011

Another roundup of highlights from this time last year...

Pick of the Archives:
Favourite Posts, July-September 2011

1)  Oblique introductions  -  2nd July 2011
Rather than give out my blog addresses, I guide interested parties here by giving them one of these unique phrases that will enable a search engine to find the blogs.

2)  Something IMPORTANT  -  6th July 2011
By happy chance, I get to see the first of Aung San Sun Kyi's Reith Lectures, and am moved to tears.

3)  A sleepless haiku  -  8th July 2011
One of my better efforts in this genre, 'inspired' by a recent spell of ill health - and leading to a long rumination on the history of my relations with the medical profession.

4)  Classical Sunday  -  10th July 2011
Another of my poetic doodles, this time triggered by a famous line from the Roman poet Horace. (See also the comments, for my confession that, contrary to popular belief, knowing Latin doesn't really mean you're clever.)

5)  That reminds me of a song  -  14th July 2011
The departure of one of my oldest friends in China prompts me to dig up on YouTube a fine version of Leaving On A Jet Plane sung by John Denver and Mama Cass.

6)  Loophole!  -  15th July 2011
I discover that the Beijing municipal law that purports to outlaw the offering of sexual services in massage parlours in fact does nothing of the kind.

7)  A close call?  -  17th July 2011
A particularly miserable bout of ill health leads me to 'laugh at Death' in a short humorous poem.

8)  Collision  -  19th July 2011
I give in to a moment of road rage; well, pavement rage... exiting a shop rage.

9)  Example edit  -  21st July 2011
Most of my work these days involves polishing Chinese "academic" articles for publication: this is a taste of what it's like (more here!).

10)  Price gouge!  -  22nd July 2011
Airfares in China are just getting silly!

Recollections of a great, cheesy television ad campaign of my childhood... and of the statuesque glamour girl who starred in them.

I have another little dig at the Twitterati, with the help of a cartoon I recently found online (followed up with another cartoon, on text messaging).

13)  A seaside haiku  -  29th July 2011
An aborted trip to the seaside in China provokes some reminiscences about childhood holidays in Devon and Somerset.

14)  The hero dies at the end  -  30th July 2011
I come to a disturbing realisation in this end-of-the-month Film List: ALL of my favourite films end tragically.

15)  I wish I could still do that  -  3rd August 2011
I discover a video of the gravity-defying Canadian martial artist Joe Eigo.

16)  A country so vast  -  5th August 2011
My weekly haiku leads me into some bitter reflections on the depressing homogeneity of China's modern cities.

17)  List of the Month: wacky album titles  -  6th August 2011
Some of the records I bought just for the name.

18)  A plan of escape?  -  12th August 2011
My haiku this week on the nature of 'travel' triggers some thoughts on how I might end my time in China - perhaps by walking all the way back to the UK!

19)  The caged bird sings  -  14th August 2011
I find a nice little animation of Charles Bukowski's poem Bluebird.

20)  Kindle™, schmindle  -  15th August 2011
I deplore the sudden popularity of e-readers, and the horrendous impact this is having on bookshops and libraries. (It provoked a lively comment thread, including a recommendation from one blog friend of a rather excellent sci-fi short story on the shortcomings of electronic information storage.)

21)  Look familiar?  -  17th August 2011
A note about one of the earliest known maps of China, currently undergoing restoration at Oxford's Bodleian Library.

22)  Scarily prescient  -  24th August 2011
An unsettling moment of danger on my recent holiday was uncannily described in a haiku I wrote before I left. Spooky, eh?

23)  Film Quiz: 20 Memorable Character Names  -  27th August 2011
An end-of-the-month trivia challenge - identify the films these characters appeared in, and the actors who played them.

24)  Billy's House  -  31st August 2011
My new 'dream home', a possible bolthole away from the hell of Beijing.

25)  A momentous month  -  2nd September 2011
As my two blogs approach their 5th anniversary, I describe how I came to start them.

26)  The most useful Chinese words  -  3rd September 2011
I nominate a dozen words in Mandarin which I think have a chance of muscling their way into the vocabulary of 'global English' over the next few decades.

27)  Once Upon A Time In China  -  14th September 2011
A frivolous sketch for a film treatment of the expat experience in China - the life of impoverished EFL teachers rendered as an action movie, with the scarily intense Jason Statham taking the lead role.

28)  Only connect  -  19th September 2011
I find a fascinating infographic about the interrelations between various fields of study in American academe.

29)  The numbers don't add up  -  23rd September 2011
One of my writing projects brings me into contact with a particularly egregious example of how unlikely/impossible statistics about China are too often accepted unquestioningly by Western analysts.

30)  My Fantasy Girlfriend: Zuleika Dobson  -  24th September 2011
A selection of paintings of the famous fictional femme fatale (while compiling which I stumbled upon another dangerously diverting blog).

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