China Syndrome

First, some business. For those of you who missed it, I was on Chicago Public Radio’s “The Morning Shift” on August 16th discussing my article about Vivian Maier’s copyright. You can hear my dulcet tones if you so desire. 

Oh, and accept no substitutes for my story. In this case, I don’t consider plagiarism a form of flattery. It’s quite the opposite, really.

Onward.

And we’re off!

My fellow Americans, China is kicking our ass when it comes to odd news. It’s embarrassing, but not surprising since China is the largest country on Earth. Odds are with the Chinese that they’re gonna have weird shit happen in their homeland, not just on a daily basis, but hourly too.

A big hat tip to ChinaSMACK for these stories. And to the Chinese for being as weird and whacky as the rest of the humans here.

Nurse in Hunan Tapes Sign to Newborn’s Face: ‘Lump of Shit’

(photo courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

(photo courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

First, I’d love to write the heds for this publication. I liken it to writing for the Chinese version of the New York Post or The Weekly World News.

When baby Hao Hao was born in June, his parents couldn’t be happier. He’s a male baby born in China after all! China IS the country that’s beaming with pride over its zero population growth, scorn for baby girls, one child policy, and sky-high abortion rate. So, when wee Hao Hao suddenly got sick, it was discovered that one of the nurses had an issue with the wee Asian bairn, and decided to inject him with something that caused him to hemorrhage. You know that’s bad, right? At some point after the injection, to the baby shitting hisself and getting sicker and sicker, the nurse taped the “Lump of shit” note on his noggin. According to the nurse, it was all a big, fat egg roll of a misunderstanding. Turns out, Chinese nurses dig on taping obnoxious notes on one another — you know– to pass the time before they’re forced to return to their gulag-esque living quarters. The baby got in the way and the rest is history. Gotta get your laughs somewhere I guess. Who knew that was even possible in China.

Civil Servant at Work Leaves Phone Off the Hook, Eats Pear

Well, a gal’s gotta eat sometimes.

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

‘Being 30 and Unmarried Should be Illegal and Punished!’

There are over a billion people in China, and they couldn’t find anything else to report on?

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

Not being married by a certain age is one of the few lifestyle choices that is not illegal in China. According to legal experts, what this old man was yammering about is a ‘moral issue.’

That settles it then.

Edward Snowden should be thrilled he’s not Chinese.

Oops.

And…

Schoolboys Use Their Shadows to Shade Girls From Hot Sun

My fave sub head in this story: Boys praised as usually being naughty, but having a sense of responsibility at the key moment

It’s hot in China is August, so the normally naughty boys at this particular school, rose to the occasion and shaded their sweltering sisters from the blinding sun. 

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

(courtesy of ChinaSMACK)

Finally …

Government Cracks Down on Organized Online Rumormongering

Good luck getting through this graf. It’s one helluva sentence.

“Recently, Beijing police, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security and in accordance with reports by the masses, began prosecution according to the law to bring down an internet marketing company that deliberately manufactures and disseminates rumors maliciously infringing upon other people’s reputations in order to illegally reap economic benefit — Beijing Erma Interactive Marketing Planning Limited Company (hereinafter referred to as Erma Ltd), and has arrested Qin Zhihui (online name “秦火火” [literally “Qin Hot Hot”, suggesting the ability to make things popular], male, 30 years old, born in Hunan Province Hengnan County Xianghua Village, high school education, and former Erma Ltd employee), Yang Xiuyu (online name “立二拆四” [literally “erect two demolish four”], male, 40 years old, born in Jilin Province Baishan City Qidaojiang Town, and founder of Erma Ltd), and another 4 members of the company.”

I wanna know what exactly “Erect Two Demolish Four” is erecting then demolishing. Hmm.

 

 

Normal paranormal

My new pal, Madame Weebles has been waxing rhapsodic about spectre sightings. These posts got me thinking about my own encounters with ghosts. I’ve had quite a few.

I do believe in ghosts and no, I’m not in need of electro-shock therapy or a padded cell at Trembling Acres. Some folks believe, others don’t. ‘Tis the way of the world.

I grew up in an old house in Illinois’s Fox Valley in a town called Wayne. The house, a Victorian, was built in 1887 for a colonel from the Blackhawk War, and eventually other families of course. My family has lived in this house since 1966, so it’s safe to say we know every nook, cranny and nuance. Plus, we know all the noises and moods of the house — it’s the backbone of our family. Not only has it sheltered us from extreme weather, it also has witnessed our tremendous victories and our saddest moments, our great loves, huge losses and plenty of joy and laughter.

This house is also haunted.

I had my first encounters with a young woman –who appeared to be around 18 or 19 –when I was little. She was dressed in a Victorian dress, her brownish (?) hair styled in a loose bun. She was tall and slender, and had a serious gaze. I don’t know who she was — perhaps she was the colonel’s daughter. It wasn’t unusual for me to find her sitting on my bed at all times of the day and night when I entered my room, or woke up for whatever reason. We’d just look at each other and she’d smile, then fade away. I never feared her –something inside me told me she meant no harm to me or anyone else in my family. My childhood kitty, Squeaky Fromme (yeah, long story), did not like her however. Squeaky hissed and growled whenever the ghost was in attendance, and it got to the point where whenever I heard a hiss, my ghost friend was waiting for my acknowledgement–it was as if she couldn’t get on with the rest of her haunting UNTIL I gave her a thumb’s up. Over time, Squeaky’s hisses became a Pavlovian response: Hiss=ghost.

The other presence I see and feel quite often is my grandfather, Evan R. Chesterman Jr., affectionately known as Pop Pop. He was a Southern gentleman and lawyer from Richmond, Virginia who had a big heart and a cute sense of humor. He was adored by those who knew him, and his death in 1980 knocked the wind out of all of us. His spirit hung around those first few years following his death. Usually, I’d hear him first, “Jewya,” he’d say in that wonderful Virginia drawl, “Hi, sweet girl.” I’d turn, smile and stare. He’d disappear just as I’d start to speak, and he always had a smile on his face. The last time I saw him was when I was in California in the apartment I was renting in Highland Park. One cool morning in February, I found him sitting on the couch in the living room — staring at the Picasso owl print above the fireplace. He looked tired, but happy to see me. I stood for a moment, with my hands on my hips and when I moved toward him, he got up and quickly disappeared. As he wafted away, an aromatic breeze of Virginia fir trees — one of the scents that surrounded his house in Richmond — filled the room. It felt like a hug.

Next up … stories involving another family’s ghosts who dig me.