Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Zhuangzhi (Master Chuang), Taoist Philosopher/Chinese Epistemologist (circa 369-286 BCE) on the Death of His Wife
When Zhuangzi's wife died and Hui Shi came to convey his condolences, he found Zhuangzi squatting with his knees out, drumming on a pan and singing ''You lived with her she raised your children, and you grew old together, Hui Shi said "Not weeping when she died would have been bad enough. Aren't you going too far by drurnming on a pan and singing ?'
"No," Zhuangzi said, "when she first died how could I have escaped feeling the loss? Then I looked back to the beginning before she had life Not only before she had life but before she had form. Not only before she had form, but before she had vital energy. In this confused amorphous realm, something changed and vital energy appeared,- when the vital energy was changed, form appeared; with changes in form, life began. Now there is another change bringing death This is like the progression of the four seasons of spring and fall, winter and summer. Here she was lying down to sleep in a huge room and I followed her sobbing and wailing. When I realized my actions showed I hadn't understood destiny, I stopped."
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Last night, a local friend & I had a spicy Chinese seafood dinner under a banyan tree. This foodporn got some good feedback on FACEBOOK, so I thought that I would post the photos here as well. Be careful not to salivate too much on your keyboard...
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Getting a free live video stream of Super Bowl 44 here in China yesterday morning was a bitch. In fact, after Justin.tv's stream got shut down, it was impossible. So, I missed the game.
I did, however, watch The Who's half-time performance on YouTube as soon as it got posted there. Pete Townshend looked ridiculous. Roger Daltry was hoarse. I guess Moon & Entwhistle are still dead. The 5-song medley was just a promo for The Who's latest greatest hits 2-CD set.
Now, I'm not saying that I want the Super Bowl Half-Time Show to go back to university marching bands or Up With Shiny, Happy People 'cause I don't. I thought that the Rolling Stones were terrific back in 2006. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were even better back in 2008. However, The Who were lame, embarrassingly over-the-hill Brits singin' about pinball wizards in the middle of the biggest American football game of the year, which is stupid, so stop it!
During next year's Super Bowl Half-Time Show, I want to see LCD Soundsystem doing "North American Scum," or, if we must have a British band, I vote for Motorhead or The Fall!
P.S. I'm glad that I didn't bet on The Colts.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Like the rest of China, Shekou Sea World is getting dressed up for Chinese New Year & is now festooned with red lanterns. A Dunkin' Donuts shop has recently opened for business there, too.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Out of gratitude for his retirement from grand sumo, the Japan Sumo Association has given yokozuna (grand champion) & "troublemaker" Asashoryu a new Toyota Prius. "Thanks for the Toyota," Asashoryu responded, "But I'm going back to Mongolia to my harem & my horse."
Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda announced today that the automaker will rename its top-selling model the Camry "the Kevorkian" in an attempt to diffuse the public relations disaster stemming from having to recall over 7 million vehicles worldwide because they have accelerators which stick & turn them into suicide machines. "Suicide popular in Japan," said Toyoda. " Many Japanese do. Great American doctor Jack Kevorkian understand. But many American cannot. They want to drive with caution. So, we change model name. We are very sorry. We want to increase the product." So far, only the Hemlock Society has voiced approval of Toyota's move.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
A new SUBWAY Sandwich Shop has just opened in Grouper's neighborhood in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen. It is located on 2F of the Poly Cultural Centre mall directly behind the outrageously expensive Kempinski Hotel & offers free soda refills, which is still a relatively rare thing in China. The Grouper's favorite sandwich is the hot Italian meatball sub, but he sometimes gets a yen for the teriyaki chicken sub. He also finds the fresh-baked cookies by the cash register "irresistible."
"Abandon McDonald's; forsake KFC -- these establishments are a cardiologist's nightmare. Get thee to SUBWAY & EAT FRESH!" -- Thus Spake Grouper.
Monday, February 1, 2010
This 2009 film directed by John Hillcoat depicting a trek by a father & son through post-apocalyptic America, where the sun no longer shines, it’s cold, the trees are all dead or dying, & practically everybody left alive has resorted to cannibalism in order to survive actually has a lot going for it artistically. It was filmed in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, & Oregon (Mt. St. Helens) in winter, so it looks very realistic. Viggo Mortensen & Charlize Theron play their parts quite convincingly. The flashback where Charlize Theron gives up on life in this ruined world, takes off her warm clothes, & then walks off into the frigid night, abandoning her husband & child in order to die of exposure and/or be eaten by cannibals is pretty disturbing. The scene where Mortensen teaches his son how to shoot himself in the mouth & blow his brains out, i.e., the Kurt Cobain maneuver, if/when necessary to avoid being cannibalized, is pretty harrowing, too.
But what I really wanted to say is that The Road is one of most depressing films that I have ever seen. Perhaps this is because with the way things are going I can actually imagine the USA turning into a nightmare like this within, say, the next 10-20 years.
You think Obama, or anybody else in Washington, D.C., is really gonna turn things around? Keep on dreaming. The USA is still flushing billions down the toilet in Iraq every day. We are getting nowhere fast in Afghanistan, too. It would seem that all we are doing is helping to breed more & more suicide bombers, &, one day, one of these sexually-frustrated nihilists will probably smuggle a nuke, or at least a “dirty bomb,” into the USA & detonate it. Then there will be no end to the fiery revenge that the USA will unleash on the world, which will trigger ecological disaster, which we are probably headed for anyway.
I mean, the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen" with its chorus of "There’s no future, no future, no future for you!” sounds like an old folk song at this point, doesn’t it? (Note: The soundtrack to The Road, however, was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, whose music for The Proposition (2005) was masterfully bleak.)
Anyway, if you are prone to depression, taking Prozac, having suicidal thoughts, etc., maybe you shouldn’t watch this film. The road these characters are on leads nowhere, & God help you if you waste the bullet you’ve been saving for yourself when the cannibals who used to be your neighbors in suburbia surround you with their unsheathed hunting knives.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Grouper went shopping in Shekou this afternoon &, among other things, picked up a new pair of Ray-Bans (RB4082) for the grand sum of RMB 120 (US$ 17.50). Hope you dig the new style. The woman you see wearing Grouper's new shades & smoking a Baisha cigarette in bed is Hunan Amy, a good friend, frequent dining partner, Chinese teacher, & cultural informant to our Editor-in-Chief.
Friday, January 29, 2010
A lot of work & very little sleep this week, so just chillin' at home tonight with some benzos & The Verve's "Forth" (2008), what a great album. Close your eyes & rise into "Valium Skies," etc., ahhh...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I often feel that I am surrounded by sharks. Maybe you know the feeling. Nevertheless, a fish has to eat, & the Grouper has a big appetite. So, how do you deal with all these big-toothed bastards trying to deny you at feeding time? www.captainjon.com caught me in action, so take look & maybe you'll learn something! P.S. Have a nice day :-)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Give it up for the BYD e6, a 100% electric car with a range of 400 kms/250 miles. It is alleged to go from 0-60 mph in less than 8 seconds & have a top speed of 100 mph. Made in China, the e6 should be on sale in the USA later this year for around US$ 40,000. BYD Auto is based in Shenzhen.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
A local paparazzo ambushed DJ Grouper in Shekou night before last while he was mingling with Redbird, Blackbird, & other members of his fan club. Grouper has retracted his threat to send the photographer "to the ICU of Shekou People's Hospital" in exchange for this image, which he thinks is not too bad.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Wow, here is a film that really captures the Zeitgeist, I mean, this ubiquitous anxiety that you could lose everything you've spent your life working for tomorrow after a brief meeting with someone, maybe a supervisor, perhaps even an outsourced stranger who smiles at you & tells you that all you have to do in order to go from being a zero to being a hero is sign the severance package agreement, clear out your desk, & never come back, thank you very much. Yet Up in the Air (2009) handles this very heavy, very fearful trip with such a light &, indeed, philosophical touch. It’s full of good jokes!
The screenplay is incredibly well-written (I read it took years to polish), & George Clooney is fabulous as this incredibly suave, handsome, hyper-frequent-flier corporate downsizer & occasional “motivational” speaker, who is forced to become a mentor to a young female Ivy League grad out to optimize the world of corporate downsizing by firing people via teleconferences rather than by actual face-to-face meetings.
There’s more to it – a romantic subplot involving Clooney & Vera Farmiga, actually -- but I’ve said enough. Now, go see it.
P.S. I like the two songs (one by Graham Nash) that play while the final credits scroll a lot.
Severe bruxism can permanently fuck up your bite & make you look prematurely old. Not having a decent smile sucks. So, the Grouper spent two hours this afternoon at Shenzhen's HuaMei Dental clinic with a great dentist from Hong Kong. The condition of his teeth is actually not as bad as he had thought, & he hopes to have a brand new smile within a few months.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Sure, Steven Seagal is totally typecast, & the plot of most of his movies is essentially the same, but I love the wounded-warrior character he always plays. His “I-really-wish-you-wouldn’t-fuck-with-me” attitude towards scumbags before dispatching them (because they ask for & deserve it) is totally cool. And he’s as good at rescuing damsels in distress as 007, yet does so with more detachment, less lechery than Mr. Bond does. I thought that The Keeper (2009), which was set in Texas, was great. Watched it twice. No, make that three times. Last night, I got into A Dangerous Man (2009), which is set in the state of Washington.
Seagal gets out of prison after spending six years inside for a crime he didn’t commit. The state offers him $300,000 in compensation, but he tells the judge to shove the money up his ass – “I don’t want your money; I want my life back!”
As soon as Seagal is back on the streets, a huge bag of cash, a pretty, but unconscious young lady, & a heap of trouble get dumped in his lap. Fortunately, all those years he spent in USA Special Forces gave him the skills he needs to relentlessly eliminate a large gang of heavily armed Chinese smugglers plus the thoroughly bad cops in cahoots with them.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Seagal does require the assistance of heavily armed Russian gangsters. Vlad & friends are intimidating; however, they have a code of honor.
Seagal gets the girl here in the end. It would appear that he also gets the keys to Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada as well! Thus, the subtext of this particular Steven Seagal action thriller would seem to be that the USA is now so messed up that the only answer is to move to Canada.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
DJ Grouper created pandemonium @ Shekou Sea World's C Bar last night when he played The Doors' Bright Midnight: Live in America album VERY LOUD. Track 10 (Roadhouse Blues live in Boston, 1970) was/is especially potent.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Today was "baby-making day" in South Korea, but most of the government workers who got off work "early" stopped at bars on their way home, got rapidly drunk & began shouting abusive language at each other, then finally arrived home exhausted, reeking of booze, & totally impotent.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Have you had a "peak experience" yet today? No day is complete without one! So, if you haven't had a peak experience yet today, then self-appointed music therapist Dr. Grouper recommends that you proceed directly to this 02-17-1973 Grateful Dead concert soundboard & play the Here Comes Sunshine-->China Cat Sunflower-->I Know You Rider jam LOUD! It will make you forget all your nagging problems & insecurities for approx. 20 mins.
Monday, January 18, 2010
According to BBC World TV, human sacrifice has now become rampant in Uganda; however, if you are a circumcised male, you are probably safe from being dragged into the jungle, having your throat slit, & having your vital organs ripped out because the gods there apparently do not approve of circumcision. Please keep this in mind, guys, when making travel plans to Uganda.
P.S. The bird in the center of the Ugandan flag is not a chicken; it is a crested crane. The raised leg is supposed to symbolize that Uganda is not stationary but moving forward.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Behold the large ding/ting replica fountain which stands on the north side of Chuang Ye Rd. where it meets Nanhai Ave. (across from China Telecom) here in Nanshan district. The ding was not only a vessel for food; it was also a symbol of power. The Chinese have been making these things since the Shang Dynasty (circa 1600-1046 B.C.E.).
Ajisen Ramen, an international chain of Japanese ramen noodle shops founded in Kumamoto, Japan, is doing very well in China. According to Wikipedia, as of August 2009, it had 362 stores in China, 86 in Shanghai alone. The current president of Ajisen China Holdings is businesswoman Pan Wei. She is allegedly worth 6 billion RMB. The ramen & gyoza are totally authentic & delicious. This lunch + a can of Pepsi cost me RMB 50 (US$7.30). Menu is in English as well as Chinese. Service = excellent!
Friday, January 15, 2010
I arrived in China exactly two years ago today. Apart from the Internet censorship (e.g., Grouperism is blocked in China), I really enjoy living in this country "on the move." People here have (literally) given me back my eyesight, rescued my career from the toilet, & made me glad to be alive. Xiexie Zhongguo!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
When it comes to books, The Grouper enjoys reading (auto)biographies above all else. Thus, it is no surprise that he is currently reading King Hui: The Man Who Owned All the Opium in Hong Kong by Jonathan Chamberlain (Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong, 2007), which he found in a nearby used bookstore for RMB 15 (US$2.20). Description from the back cover: Scandal and corruption, drugs and pirates, triads and flower boats; the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the Communist takeover of Canton. Peter Hui was there. He knew everybody and saw everything. This is the real story of Hong Kong, told with the rich flavours of the street. If Peter had been only a little bit different he could have been an important man. But this is a riches to rags to riches to rags story. As we follow Peter's life - his ups, his downs - we see in sharp focus what it was like to be a Chinese man in the British territory of Hong Kong through most of the years of the 20th century. And yet this book is not just one man's tale. It is the story of a time and place - colonial Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau and the South China hinterland - seen from the unique point of view of a man who was at home at all levels of society. This is the bizarre story of a man who really did, for a very short time, once own all the opium in Hong Kong. If Suzie Wong had been a real person, Peter Hui would have known her. "This is a true story but it reads like a novel. It is a cracking read." - David Tang