Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bon Voyage parties and heading home...

We seemed to have endless farewell parties for Kathy Chen and her family. We hosted one for the office here and they hosted two.. one for friends from school at their home and one for Chinese and work friends at a nice restaurant downtown. Last night we had our final farewell with Chen/Moy family.

Charles and LIMing Wong, the parents of Javer, Jacob’s other very excellent friend, had us all out to a nice Thai dinner. They are leaving too. It is midnight now and we are leaving tomorrow. Javier and Andrew are sleeping over. We just wanted the kids to have as much time together as possible.

They are great kids and have been great friends to Jacob since day one. It is really hard to believe still, after all these farewells, that when we return in August they will not be here. They have been such big parts of our lives here since day one and I am the only one not deeply affected by their loss. Becky loses Kathy, the rock of the office and each of the kids loses one of their very dearest friends. I really feel like Kathy is as close to a soul sister as Becky has ever had. They have a lot in common. It’s like they grew up n parallel universes.. Kathy is the Chinese Becky, Becky t he Jewish Kathy.

So it’s really sad to see them leave, but the bon voyage parties were great fun.

Anyhow, we are out of here tomorrow afternoon. I will make a few posts while gone but of course it will slow down. I will see many of you in the next few weeks and I’m sorry for anyone we miss.

Our first year in Beijing is pretty much over, and it has exceeded our hopes for the most part. Writing this blog has been a great thing for me, really helped keep me focused and sharp on what we’re doing and going through. So thanks to everyone who read it, wrote back, encouraged me. Writing the column will be a bit harder the second year – I’ve already picked the low-hanging fruit. So your feedback will be most welcomed, as always.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Family hike on the old Great Wall

Up the crumbly section to two watch towers.. You can barely even tell you are on the Wall while hiking.. it is all overgrown and crumbly rock.. have to be careful and watch your footing.

But from up high and a distance especially it is clear you are on the Wall.

Kids did great. I think being on the Wall is inspiring to them. We only planned to go to the first tower but J & E really wanted topush to the second. Anna was on my back in a pack. I was sweating like a pig... but well worth it.

This is right across the road from the Red Capital Ranch where we stayed last week. The first tower is on a bluff overlooking the road which is a pss thrugh the mountain and was for many years an important Gate. The last battle there was just in '42 or '43, trying to hold off the Japanese... It got blasted heavily.. You can see bullet holes quite clearly.

The warlord who ran the area (and lived in what is now the Ranch) was seriously injured. Japanese took him to a hospital and poisoned him.

Story in Sports Business Journal

Zou marketing linked my story, which quotes them widely, though they could have used a byline and periodical attribution. My name is at the end.

Click Here

Jacob's letter writing

Jacob is still cooking along on the letters.

Here is what he wrote to his fiend Javier Wong, who is moving to Cali this summer. I changed "hell" to heaven." Imagine that.

Dear Javier

We have had so much fun time together. When you move it will be boring in Beijing. I hope you will have a fun time in California. If we don’t meet again see you in heaven when we both die.

Love Jacob Paul

And he wrote this to his counselors at Camp Adventure:

Dear Counselors.

Thank you for giving me the funist time we have ever had at camp. if you will return next year, we will love to go to Camp Adventure again. We will still be in Beijing for two more years.

Love Jacob and Eli

Jacob's letter writing

Jacob is still cooking along on the letters.

Here is what he wrote to his fiend Javier Wong, who is moving to Cali this summer. I changed "hell" to heaven." Imagine that.

Dear Javier

We have had so much fun time together. When you move it will be boring in Beijing. I hope you will have a fun time in California. If we don’t meet again see you in heaven when we both die.

Love Jacob Paul

And he wrote this to his counselors at Camp Adventure:

Dear Counselors.

Thank you for giving me the funist time we have ever had at camp. if you will return next year, we will love to go to Camp Adventure again. We will still be in Beijing for two more years.

Love Jacob and Eli

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Inner workings of a keen legal mind -- link fixed

Rodg "Ripper" Citron strikes. Click here to admire the workings of a keen legal mind.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Temple of Heaven photos

..with Laura romanoff from last weekend.

the spot at the bottom of the steps is a famous one to pose for photos. Inside, they have anarray of world leaders standing there, including Nixon.

Temple of Heaven videos

We went to the Temple of Heaven last Sunday with Laura R. Sweet spot. Many people's favorite in Beijing. I will post some pictures next. There is a long corridor between the East Gate and the Temple and on Sundays it is filled with (mostly older) people singing trad. Chinese music, dancing, etc. Big crowds gather to watch. On the way in it was packed and the kids didn't want to deal with walking through.

On the way back, it was significantly emptied out and we wandred through. Ufnrotunately, that also meant that most of the performers were gone, but I made these videos.

I have wondered what the raction would be if I brought my guitar down there and played some Dylan and Dead tunes.. Maybe when Dixie comes here in the fall, we will try out Bill Bailey and Tin Roof Blues.

These ladies were winding down.Earlier, there were about 15 of them.

She stopped playing this trad. flute just as I started filming. Coincidence, I think.

And, of course, the traditional ancient "dance-to-traditional-Chinese-music-while manipulating-a-badminton-racket-but-not-letting-the-birdie-fall-while-exhausted-sweaty-foreign kids-look-on" dance.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Responding.. 4th of July, Big Ben leaves, Laura Romanoff arrives...

Someone –sounds like Art – wrote the following about the lack of 4thof July festivities:

Even for the EXPAT? What about the other Americans?? Didn't anyone talk about the White Sox, burn a hot dog or place a huge piece of of apple pie down their gullet; whilst dreaming of their Chevrolets..

It’s really kind of strange. I mean, they have big events for Guy Fowlkes Day and all soets of other Intl holidays but I barely heard a peep about the 4th. It may be because this place is emptying out by the day as folks head home for the summer. It may be because our compound is not very American (though rumor is 25 US fams are moving in this summer).. I’m not sure.

The kids are going to camp Adventure, run by Northern Iowa University in conjunction with the embassy and it is tres American (except for the many Chinese campers; Europeans don’t seemto go in any numbers). They have a different them every week and this weeks is Stars and Striped forever. They are having a big 4th of July carnival and have been preparing for it all week so my boys are in the swing of things.

But otherwise… nada. I’m sure there were some celebrations somewhere, but I didn’t hear much about it. It is a little odd, but I can’t say I missed it.

Laura Romanoff has been here and we actually slipped away Monday night into t he 4th and celebrated with a half-day holiday to Red Capital Ranch. Check the place out: Very cool. Becky came back with the kids in the morning after we did an early am hike to two towers, including one which was pretty bombed out and was the site of a big WW2 battle with Japanese troops. The kids did great.

Laura and I stayed and hiked the brokendown section of the wall. I will post pictures later. Very hot but very cool. I came back and she stayed another night and then headed off with a tour guide friend of ours for a couple-day adventure. She’ll be back tonight.

Judy Burns wrote:
cute pics happy b-day to Anna…loving World Cup games, don't ya know give Laura a big squeeze from me thought Yzerman, Wallace news was disasterous, last one out of Michigan turn off the lights, until hearing about N. Korea

Yeah, I’m sure it feels like the end of the world in Michigan, alongwith the Big Three tanking and the whole state seeming to be teetering towards oblivion. But, hey, it’s just sports. Right? Right?

Slam asked me to write my thoughts on the Big Ben departure for the website, as the resident Pistons fan. They are having some technical difficulties as they upgrade so I’m not sure if or when it will appear but here it is:

I returned yesterday from 24 hours at a luxury ranch alongside a beautiful and crumbling section of the Great Wall. I hiked most of the day and came home feeling exhausted but refreshed, jumped on my computer and saw this headline: “Big Ben To run with the Bulls.”

I was shocked but not surprised. It all seemed somewhat inevitable ever since the Pistons’ magic season started falling apart midway through the Cavs series. Obviously, something was way amiss and I had a strong sense, from 8000 miles away that Ben was a big part of that something. He just wasn’t all the way there. And if he’s not all the way there, he’s just average.

I expect him to resurge in Chicago, which is going to be mighty painful for all of us Pistons fans to witness. At the same time, you can’t really blame Joe D. Locking into a long-term deal with Ben seemed borderline insane anyhow, as he is getting older and his offensive limitations seem to be growing larger not smaller.

Joe promised to make him the highest paid Piston and the offer did that. He offered him roughly $50 mill over four years, on top of the $30 mill they’ve paid him over the last six, a deal offered and signed when no one else in the League would have given Ben a whole lot more than the minimum. Only a fool would say they were cheap or lowballed him. It’s always about the money, but I sense here that’s not the full picture. He seemed to feel disrespected in some fundamental way by flip, as he did with Carlisle.

Long term, it’s hard to argue with letting Ben walk because that deal would have really been a killer in a couple of years. Remember how the Nets were mocked for letting the always overrated Kmart go a few yeas ago? Now the Nugs are desperately trying to peddle his bloated contract. The thing is, I’m not sure it makes much sense to think long term in the East now, with Dwade and learn on the rise and looking set to battle for the next decade. The Darko fiasco really kicks in now. None of this would even be an issue if Chris Bosh was ready to step in, not to mention Dwade or Carmelo.

But beyond all of that professional analysis, It’s a sad day for me because Ben has been one of my favorite players of recent years and I give him primary credit for bringing the Pistons up from the depths. I watched him in Orlando and thought he was an Oakley style bruiser and plodder. I did a Hype on him that focused on the fact that he played with a broken foot for half a season, wearing a cast in between practices and games. Then he came to Detroit and I started really watching him and realized that he had incredible athleticism to go with his grit, hustle and old school toughness.

I did a feature on him in his second year in Detroit, the first year they got good, and I went to two or three Playoffs game and just sat and focused on Ben and was blown away observing his instincts, strength, leaping ability, hard work. Now it’s all headed for, gulp, Da Bulls. I’m sad but it feels inevitable. The worst part was trying to explain this whole thing to my 8-year-old son Jacob, who loves Ben.

“Why is he leaving? For money? Just for money? That’s stupid! Doesn’t he make money for the Pistons? He should care about winning and the team, not getting the most money.”

We all have our welcome-=to-the-world moments and this was Jacob’s.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jacob's Bug Book


Author: Jacob Paul

Bug Homes-Page 3

What do they Do Page 4

What do They Eat
Page 5

Author Profile Page 2

Author Profile:
Jacob Paul

Age : He is 8 years old
Hobbies : Yu-Gi-Oh Cards
Schools : Marshall School and Dulwich College Beijing.
Birthplace : U.S.A
Birth : 1998 Feb 23
Jacob Paul lives in Maplewood, NJ, but now he lives in Beijing, China.

Part 1

Bug Homes

Did you know that? Ants live in ant holes. And grubs live in the ground. Beetles live in the grass. Centipedes on roof tops. Grasshoppers live on rocks. Bees live in bee hives. Flies live everywhere. Ticks live in the forest.

Part 2
What Do They Do?

Ants dig and collect food. And grubs kill grass. Beetles make nest. Centipedes bite. Grasshoppers jump high. Bees make honey and sting. Flies fly and eat dead skin. Ticks jump and bite.

Part 3
What Do They Eat?

Ants eat food. And grubs eat grass. Beetles eat wood. Centipedes eat dirt and dead trees. Grasshoppers eat grass. Bees eat honey. Flies eat dead skin. Ticks eat dead skin.

Happy 4th of July

Just another day here.

Catching Up... Anna's Birthday Party

I’m way behind on my posts here, but will start to crawl out of the hole.. first starting with Anna’s Birthday party last Sunday June 25. This past Sunday she actually turned three, but we had the party a week early because a lot of her friends were leaving.

We had a relatively simple affair in our backyard, lots of water play on a hot, hot day. A few games, a story or two told by me, some beer and sate for the adults and cupcakes for the kids. We largely invited our friends and the kids who overlapped with such. If that makes any sense.

Monday morning, Anna said, “I’m three now, so I am going to camp with Jacob and eli now.”

“Oh, sorry honey, not today.. not this year..”

“Yes, I am three now and I am going. I have a backpack.”

She walks out of the room and comes back wearing this little Dora backpack, about as big as Pop Tart. “see, my backpack,” she notes, very proudly.

She also said that on her fifth birthday she is turning into a boy like eli, which may be the cutest thing any of our kids have ever said.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Response to bikers, Way to see anna videos...

Who posted this brilliant idea? I am on board. Who wants to start the campaign? Delaware Dave has some serious medical authority in a state with a rather high percentage of likely bikers, so I nominate him.

I say, if you get a license to ride a motorcycle, you should automatically become an organ donor. chances are you are reasonably young and most of your parts, other than your brain, will be reusable.

ps. glad big ben is doing well and that he was duly contrite by all counts.

and Carrie notes:

I still can't get Anna's videos to run.

I know. I don't understand why. They work fin e on you tube page and evenon my preview view for this page. I can send yu a url to view the video. In fact, try this if you are so inclined: