It seems that Beijing is gearing itself up for the Olympics next year. As I understand it, the infrastructure for the massive event is in place and the New York Times is reporting that the only thing left is to convince the people to straighten out their act. Much as a mother angrily entreats her children to just BEHAVE! (for once in their miserable ungrateful little lives) before company comes over to the house and the mortified Mom must watch in red-faced embarrassment as her wayward hellion pees in a juice cup and eats a jar of paste, the Chinese is government is trying to teach its citizens not to humiliate it on the world stage.
One of the problems seems to be a preponderance of public spitting. I have never been to Beijing, but I buy the assertion that the Chinese are born spitters. I live in the city of San Francisco, which has a huge and thriving Chinese population who bring some wonderful culture and a whole lotta loogies. Every trip through Chinatown involves stepping around the little phlegm smears that cover the pavement. They don’t put those on the travel channel. Spitting and hocking are my constant soundtrack as I wait for the Stockton street bus and I can only imagine how much more intense it is over there.
My favorite part of the article? A man named Wang is on a personal mission to put a stop to all the expectoration. He has started a “Woodpecker” movement to clean things up. Money quote:
“I spent six months trying to figure out how to stop people from
spitting,” Mr. Wang said. “I first wanted to wipe their spit up myself,
but just how much could I wipe? So I decided the best way was to ask
the spitting person to stop.”
So I boxed Friday night. It was the first time I had done so. I’ve wrestled and fought MMA, but never stood toe-to-toe and been taught lessons in the sweet science. And on Friday I learned a few. It was the culmination of a six week “boxing boot camp” where I had been on a crash course training regimen of working out every single morning at 6:00. The idea was to end the bootcamp with a fight night wherein the participants would form pugilistic pairs and perform in bouts before our friends and family. Unfortunately I was in a higher weight class than all the other boot campers and so the trainers brought in a ringer. I knew nothing about the guy going in. I didn’t know his age, weight, height, skill level or anything else. I didn’t even know who he was until it was time to step into the ring. Things went fairly well. I took some thumps, and gave him more than a few. I did get horrifically tired and by the end of the third round, it was all I could do to tiredly grab into a clinch. All the bouts were exhibition matches, and so no winner was declared although I think my opponent clearly had the better of me if it went to the judges. After it was all over we had a manly hug, and he filled me in on a fun little fact:
“I’m a professional.” he said.
So unless he moonlights as a trick hoe, this could mean only one thing. I fought a professional boxer and lived to tell the tale. Not bad for a guy with the reach of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He must have taken it a little easy on me, but I think I acquitted myself well. But I think that will be the last time I box. Better to stick to what I’m good at…
If you’re in the Bay Area, and would like to see man who specializes in grappling and kicking try to fight without doing either one:
Who’s that handsome fella there at the bottom? He looks like a bad ass. Seriously though, this is my first attempt at flat-out boxing and it should be entertaining. I’m not a very good boxer. I have short arms and while my punching mechanics are good, I tire easily so I’m likely to take at least a medium-size beating. Come along, won’t you?
Forgive the puerile wordplay of this post’s title but its supposedly raining today in the city and the only thing I can think of is how pathetic rainy days are here. Where I come from, when it rains it rains. Sheets of water come cascading down from the sky with determined trajectories as strong winds are unable to deter them from their soaking course. Florida rain is a good rain, where the water falls straight down, or perhaps at a slight angle. You can watch it as it falls, and there usually isn’t anything better to do. Great puddles are formed from even the tiniest of storms, and with the proper deluge entire parking lots become wading pools. That’s not even mentioning the pyrotechnic lightning effects and the gale-force winds that temporarily twist and warp oak trees as they wreak their havoc.
In San Francisco the rain is nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t even truly rain. The best the City by the Bay can offer is a drizzle, a sprinkle. I never even get to see it. I look out my window on an overcast day, and suddenly the streets are wet. If I didn’t know better I would suspect someone just comes out and sprays the city down with a particularly large water hose when no one is paying attention. What San Franciscans laughingly refer to as “rain” is little more than a mist that seems to blow with the wind horizontally, rather than true gravity-obeying, downward-falling precipitation. It renders umbrellas virtually useless, and never quite soaks you fully. The skies don’t even get properly dark, merely a a tired gray as Gibson said, “the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” It leaves you damp. It leaves you tired. It leaves you missing home.