China: suck the meat off, spit the bone on the table

An OCS classmate from Army days, recently returned from visiting in-laws in China, posted the following report on the class forum. He was impressed with the country, despite some incongruities, from a lack of refrigeration to rather primitive table manners:

“Vibrant economy with mega construction projects on-going. Infrastructure is impressive, with multiple lane expressways all over the place, but traffic is horrible. Chinese drivers are very aggressive, but don’t show anger when cut off. Turn signals are used occasionally, and horns frequently. If you want to pull into an adjoining lane, you simply pull over, even if there is a car beside you, Whoever gains a 1 inch advantage will win. It’s amazing that there aren’t more accidents. People driving BMW’s, Mercedes and Audis are the most aggressive, because they feel entitled.”

(We see this in Austin, as well, drivers of luxury cars are by far the most obnoxious. Especially the refugees from the terrible Democrat economy who still have their California plates.)

“Spent most of our time in Hangzhou, a city of over 8 million, which is a three hour express bus ride southwest of Shanghai….Got a real taste for how the Chinese urban middle class lives. Everybody has a cell phone, i-pad or equivalent, and cable TV. Appliances, however, are years behind us….In China, families are very important, and grandparents spend as much time raising children as the parents do. We did laundry, and went to market. Meals were interesting. Hot water for tea is available all day.

“Everybody has a bowl of rice at every meal. All the food is served in bowls in the center of the table, and everybody helps themselves, using chop sticks to take bite size pieces. Nobody has a plate. When you get a bone, you suck the meat off and spit the bone on the table. At the end of the meal, the table is wiped off. We were not allowed to help in the cooking or cleanup so as not to offend our hosts.

“Played tourist up in Beijing for four and a half days. Took a bullet train up there, cruising at 306 km/hr. Very impressive. Stayed at a hostel in a neat little hutong (neighborhood) about four blocks from Tienanmen Square. Toured Tienanmen, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall. Incredible history, and all kept immaculate. At the hostel, where the help all spoke passable English, we enjoyed some western cooking and cold Tsingdao, a good Chinese beer.

(We can get Tsingdao at the local grocery, saving us a 13-hour airline flight. ;-) Bullet trains wouldn’t work here unless they had dedicated tracks which would require new right-of-way and many lawsuits. It’s easier in China’s dictatorship.)

“Very few cold drinks in China due to a lack of refrigeration and ice. The train and subways are all modern, clean and efficient. Signs and announcements are in both Mandarin and English.”

Later he added this to me in an email: “China is a huge, complex country. I wrote about the small piece of it that I saw. I was impressed, but then, today [back home], I read about the four human rights attorneys who were imprisoned and tortured, probably while I was there.”

Complex for sure, as most countries are. The English language signs remind me of Israel, where all the road signs are in Hebrew, Arabic and English. It’s not a compliment to Americans or Brits; English is the international language now. Lucky for Mr. B.’s generation. It was French when I was his age. I never could pronounce French well enough to be understood.

Boeing’s Bird of Prey

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Amazing what can be done with computer-control and composites, such as this flying prototype fighter-bomber supposedly adapted from Star Trek’s Klingon “bird of prey.” It reportedly flew 40 times in the late 1990s as a demonstrator and now is on display at the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio

 

Coming soon: The U.S.S. Trayvon Martin

Seriously, now, if you’re going to name a Navy ship after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose only claim to fame (let alone heroism) was surviving a bullet to the head, it makes perfect sense: Name another one after the pugnacious punk thief and drug-dealer who was puffed as a racial victim by the lying Democrat news media and the president they helped elect and have covered for ever since.

Via Instapundit.

Only in Portland, airhead central

“The city of Portland, OR will empty a 38-million gallon reservoir after a teenager allegedly urinated in it, according to the Associated Press. It’s the second time in three years that Portland is flushing its [open-air] Mount Tabor reservoir after a urine-related incident.”

ArsTechnica says it shows a “tenuous grasp of science.”

That’s diplomatic.

Via Instapundit.

The United States of SWAT

The Democrats may be cutting the defense budget and downsizing the official military but the militarization of the rest of our big, growing and greedy federal government continues.

“Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.”

Get in their way at your own risk. Officer Friendly is a child’s fable. They are not armed to the teeth to help you.

Via National Review Online.

Butterfly Rose

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Springtime in the back forty at Rancho Roly Poly.

The United States of Envy

Wormtongue has proven to be a great divider, instead of the uniter his supporters claimed he would be way back in the (relatively) low-unemployment days of 2008, before his party got both their hands on taxation and business regulation. While his political bashing of the “rich” and other “class warfare” games may appeal to some who should know better, it’s a perilous temptation:

“Voters who will [this fall] hear the Obama call for envy and redistribution should ask themselves and others: Would you prefer to live in an America where the market is dynamic and opportunity abounds, or in France, where unemployment is high and tax rates are crushing? Don’t you prefer opportunity to envy?”

You’d better. Because the Worm’s peddling of envy is just another of his many lies. He knows, as Charles Murray and others have said that the U.S. increasingly is becoming an oligarchy whose government is run mostly for the benefit of the rich and powerful who can afford to grease the palms of the bureaucrats and the pols who do the running. Politicians like the Worm depend on the “rich” for campaign contributions and, indeed, for their political futures.

And the “rich” don’t worry about his threats. They know they’re empty. They know he wouldn’t dare cross them. Even if he really tried to, they could shelter their investment income from his proposed taxes while what’s left of the dwindling American middle class takes the hit in their payroll checks.

Murray and others say the only way to reverse this oligarchy is by a cultural shift in which the pols stop looking for bribes and other graft and start really serving the people. The only way to get pols like that is to be careful who you vote for and, for starters, ignore the ones who peddle the phony rhetoric of envy and redistribution.

Via Instapundit