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Friday, July 22, 2011

What they cut in 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (2/2)

"The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius." - Oscar Wilde


1) After our Hero comes back with a Donkey's Penis, he takes a woman and we see the tattoo on his back as he thrusts (complete with Jap AV moaning and her slapping him)

The Prince hits the erection of a watching soldier and asks him to call Dongmei.

As Dongmei enters a girl is trying to mount another missionary style in the background.

Dongmei tears her robe off and pulls the Hero away from the girl. She is shocked seeing the Hero's front aspect, then swallows her reservations and impales herself on him while the first girl hugs him from the side. The first girl then goes behind Dongmei, which puts me in the mind of 2 girls riding a Bactrian Camel.

Dongmei tries to stand up but is pulled back down. The first girl hugs her from behind as they bounce.

As the Prince watches on impassively, a woman behind him gets excited.

Now we see Dongmei below the first girl as our Hero attacks them from the rear. The first girl collapses in exhaustion as Dongmei continues at it. She endures for only a little longer.

Our Hero smiles at them both and emits the usual Insincere Chinese Laughter. He waves a finger at the Prince and demands ten. The Prince orders the woman who was behind him forward. Two two-girl couples break and move towards him. They all swarm him on a yellow glowing stone (there are definitely more than ten girls now).

The screen goes black, and when we return it's to various scenes of him doing the girls and tiring them out. The Prince is infuriated and his eyeballs bulge. He straightens his robe in anger and storms off.

We see exhausted women lying around, then one sucking a hand.

Our Hero, despite having serviced more than 10 women, is still walking around with a cloth covering his member. It looks like a Koteka (penis sheath).

2) When the concubine threatens to kill herself, and Yuxiang says they don't have to leave, we see Yuxiang and the scholar (who has the most wives in the land apart from the Emperor) doing it in the cowgirl position after foreplay. While the concubines watch.

One concubine asks what they should do. Yuxiang asks them to join in and they disrobe and gather around the couple, stroking the scholar. As Yuxiang collapses on him and we fade to black, we hear the Hero calling her name (this is where the cinema cut to after the foreplay).

Our Hero now looks less jealous as he wakes from his nightmare, as he was upset not over his ex-wife and the scholar indulging in foreplay, but actually engaging in nooky.

3) In the uncensored version they cut the Hero scraping his wound, and the Prince saying that if the worms hit reach his bone he'll die.

4) They cut the Prince forcing the Hermaphrodie to eat the Pill. Instead we get a scene of him doing Dongmei while grabbing her left breast hard and then pushing her chin up. This segues into his almost strangling her.

Then he slaps her, then her breasts (maybe he's pissed off that she's not big enough for paizuri). He then squeezes both hard and together like stress balls and oscillates her like a sine function.

He turns her over and slaps her butt. Then uses a whip. He throws her onto the floor and uses the whip to strangle her, then enters her again (maybe he heard about the sampan girls in Hong Kong harbour).

Dongmei throws the whip off her neck and runs from the Prince.

He flings a blanket over her and pulls her back. Despite entering her again he still is not satisfied.

She stops moving, and no matter how hard he thrusts he cannot finish. He removes the blanket and finds her dead.

His eyes glower and he enunciates her name painfully. Now we know why he's so upset with the hermaphrodite.

5) When the Prince is torturing the Hero's (ex-)wife instead of a simple flogging he has a horse brought out.

The horse has a rotating flower on its back from which springs another rotating flower (like the Pear of Anguish). The guards then strip her and force her on it, putting a ball on each foot, chaining her waist and forcing her down onto the rotating flower (incidentally this is the same rotating flower which pierces the Prince's throat later, killing him).

One guard then flogs her as another turns the horse's tail as if it were a crank (presumably operating the rotating flower). We see very fake blood oozing down her leg, looking like jelly worms.

6) The poison the Prince give the Hermaphrodite takes effect in 6, not 12 hours now.

7) When the Abbot finds nothing wrong with the woman sent to seduce him, he tries to get help but she grabs his shoulder to stop him and tells him some strange story about a congenital disease giving her stomach pain on the first and fifteenth of the month.

"Your belly and my belly stick together. I will soon eliminate the pain"

The Abbot protests that he's never heard of this, and she says it's a friendly gesture and pushes him over, positioning herself above him and starting to dry hump him. He tries to push her away but is too weak.

"Other people say Well good belly"

The Hero's friend rushing on the horse to warn/save the abbot now takes on more urgency.

8) 2 muscular men in metallic masks tear off the Wife's robe and fling her backwards with chains.

This is followed with a scene of the seducer on top of the Abbot (both are clothed). She then undresses as he asks why she is doing so. The abbot displays the typical Chinese drama obliviousness about women in men's clothing and realises she is a girl after seeing her breasts.

She then motorboats him slowly while hovering over him. As she forcibly kisses him he cries weakly for help.

She moves south, removes the sash tying his robe together then sucks his neck while he protests. She continues to catbath him. She whacks his member, then takes up a needle and jabs his stomach.

While she buries her face in his robed crotch, he chants and counts beads:

"Sex is zero, the color is empty"

9) After the knife-thrower scene, we are back in the Main Hall of the Prince's complex. Three masked men are holding the Wife aloft by her limbs. The Prince does her while she cries.

We see the abbot chanting the same line again. At this point the hermaphrodite appears outside the hut and blows a colourful smoke inside (apparently Buddhist Abbots respond to attempted rape by chanting and counting beads, and not with self-defence).

As the smoke attacks the Abbot, he stops chanting and counting and embraces the seductress. He starts acting like the other men in this movie, attacking her breasts. He then disrobes her and gets at it.

As he climaxes he has a sudden realisation and chants "Amitabha" repeatedly.

"Sex is zero, air is the color"

She asks if he is empty now and all he can do is say "Amitabha" miserably.

10) As the Hero is making his love vow to his wife after her chastity belt is fastened we see scenes of his depravities over the monologue. Of course since all of these depravities were cut in the cinematic version they weren't present in flashback either.

11) When the Prince says his guards can flee and one moves to leave, he cuts off his head. This was offscreen in the cinema and is the only cut gore I have noticed.

12) The uncensored version seems to have cut miscellaneous gore from here and there.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What they cut in 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (1/2)

"The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today." - James Carvillee


It was big news that 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy was not cut for distribution in Singapore.

What many miss is that the international version is 33 minutes shorter than the original cut, and 27 minutes shorter than the Hong Kong version.

Though I am informed that "this "international cut" also varies when compared to other versions censored for countries outside of hong kong. in fact, every country showing this film has had different cuts. and that 'international cut' here is a meaningless term, PR fluff"

Having had the chance to watch the première tonight, I was able to see exactly what got cut. And believe you me, it does make a difference - though not enough to explain why John Lui of the Straits Times gives it One Star while CNNgo loves it.

Here're the parts that were cut (this won't make sense unless you've already watched the film):

1) At the start, the Prince fondles the breasts of the statue of Guanyin. That's why the people in the temple are so pissed off.

2) During the wedding night scene, they probably cut most of his fondling and very possibly all of his sucking of her breasts and remarking "so fun". My movie partner said he noticed a cut during this scene so I am probably right.

3) The instrument with which the Prince smashes the Red Jade Coral is first used by him to stroke the breast and face of the girl whose breast he earlier uses as a floormat

4) Before our Hero consumes the tea before entering the magic orgy chamber, there's a gold confetti-covered vision of 2 girls making out and groping each other.

Some of the scene introducing us to the orgy chamber was pobably cut also, like where we're introduced to the guy with 127 wives (he later gets a 128th) who knows our Hero. He's the Prince's friend so he has free access to the place.

5) Part where more than 2 people are humping on a rocking horse in the background seemed to have been cut - the scene where the girl who can boost your yang is being introduced. This was possibly a pan and scan cut as all of the dialogue couldn't have been squeezed into the remaining time. Either that or alternate scenes were filmed.

6) They cut the sex between the yang boosting girl and our Hero. She uses a needle in her hairpin to do acupuncture on him, so it's not [just] her private parts that are magic in boosting your yang.

They also cut an implied handjob she gave him, and where she jabs a needle into his back and he screams in pain and then realises something.

Then you see them doing cowgirl, and doggy style between the two - that's why the Prince fondles a green jade figurines of lovers in doggy style.

The two of them then fuck on top of the penis fountain. They cut that bit before where they copulate with her touching the priceless painting. The part with the priceless painting where her breasts are swinging as she's being thrusted into is cut.

7) The tattooing scene is cut because they start by tattooing a woman and she fondles her breasts during the tattooing, and she seems to be enjoying the pain.

The Hero asks the Prince how come it didn't hurt for her:

Prince: "Suffering is a certain Produce the illusion of climax is worth"
Hero: "So amazing"
Prince: "You try to know"
Hero: "I do not engage in"
*cuts to painting of a river valley*
Hero: "Royal Highness. Can I take a look at that picture"

Girl being tattooed: "Strong points" *tattoo is being finished by rubbing edges*
"Vigorously" *she grabs her crotch*

The Hero points out that the painting he asked to look at is a fake, and examines it with a magnifying glass. He says it's off by 300 years.

It's Southern Dong (?) the world's oldest painting, but "this solitary Dongshan people try to be smart. Get hold of fake printed up". Apparently it's misidentified (and so worth more than they originally thought)

Meanwhile the girl being tattooed is moaning like in a Jap AV (she's probably an AV idol). As the Hero and Prince leave the Hero looks at the girl being tattooed with a curious eye.

Then they go to the treasure chamber you cannot enter or you'll be executed for doing so, and the Prince puts the painting inside the treasure chamber (now we know why he's doing that and why it's so valuable)

8) The part when the Prince gives the girl to him after he keeps the painting was partially cut; she poses less in the cinema and I don't remember her pseudo-mounting (going on top of him while he's clothed).

(this is the girl who yawns and plays mahjong when being serviced by him)

Possibly some of his servicing her while playing mahjong is cut.

9) When the Prince makes fun of the Hero for having a small dick he throws the chain in his hand so it fastens on the penis sculpture (on the fountain?), and takes the girl up and thrusts into her while swinging in mid-air on the chain.

The mahjong girls are amused and the Hero flabbergasted.

She bites his shoulder while they're swinging until there's blood, then he lets go and they fall to the floor and they do it standing up with him behind. Then he lifts one of her legs up and he goes in front of our hero and everytime he thrusts into her, the girl's moaning face is thrust into our hero's, and she puts an arm on his shoulder for support.

Then the Prince does her doggy style and stares pointedly at our Hero, and even turns the girl so she faces the Hero directly. Then blood drips from his shoulder onto her back.

He finishes off and throws her forward with a mixture between a grunt and a cry of triumph and disdain, then he insults our hero for having a small dick (it makes much more sense now - in the cut version it's just "I have a big dick, you are small").

However in the cinema we caught a brief closeup glimpse of a tiny penis, but not here for some reason. Instead they Japanese AV pixellate his genital region (in a medium length shot - not a closeup), then we see a focus on the murals of sex in the background.

10) The divorced wife is remembering [Ed: her maids'] sapphic bathhouse pleasures while she's picking up the coins she threw onto the floor - no wonder there's female moaning when she's stringing the coins.

And the girls smile coquettishly at and clean what looks like a double sided dildo (though we only see one end).

Then we see one woman jerking the dildo while behind another, and both moan (in fact the one in front moans more). Although from the angle it's only going into the one behind.

The implication is women can't satisfy her (the wife) She's using the moaning as a backdrop to her masturbation - the rape scene later makes more sense, as does the flashback to her husband kissing her breasts.

Also when she's thrusting the string of coins into her we see the 2 women in contact front-to-front and their jiggling against each other, and more Jap AV pixellation.

11) The hermaphrodite flashes her breasts at the Hero and presses them together, and they're unnaturally squishy.

12) The rape scene was shortened in the cinema. She doesn't seem to be putting up a very hard fight and her blows are like massages.

After a while the sex becomes consensual - but then we've seen that she misses men (and previously ogled at her rapist)

When he thrusts from behind water splashes at the screen. No doubt this looks better at 3D, and is supposed to resemble something.

He even eats her out and she's long stopped hitting him. Now she's just rubbing his head, and she flings her hair around like a shampoo model before he goes reverse cowgirl on her.

After he comes she puts a hand tenderly to his neck - no wonder the villagers were trying to drown her later. It was consensual.

13) When the Hero tells the disciples he's getting a cock swap you can't hear what he says - it's only when the disciples repeat it that it becomes clear.

14) They even AV pixellate the dropping penis and the horse penis.

As you can see, the cuts do add something to the content.

I will probably do Part 2 tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quand je serai vieux

"Il y a des choses, tout au long de ma vie, je me disais : « Je ferai ça quand je serai vieux « , des livres : « Je lirai ça quand je serai vieux. » C’est ainsi que je me suis constitué une liste de choses passionnantes à faire, une bibliothèque de livres à lire, de quoi occuper une bonne douzaine de vieillesses hyperactives dotées d’un appétit de lecture insatiable.

Un jour, ayant décidé d’effectuer je ne sais plus quel menu labeur de maçonnerie amusante et ayant décidé, à mon habitude, de me le garder au chaud pour « quand je serai vieux », mes yeux tombèrent, comme tombent les yeux – je signale que seuls les yeux français « tombent » sur les choses -, sur un miroir qui se trouvait là, bêtement pendu à un clou, comme souvent ils pendent.

Je dois ici, avant d’aller plus loin, signaler une par- particularité qui, je n’en doute pas, doit être l’expression d’un profond trouble psychique, mais je ne vois pas bien lequel. Voici : je ne me regarde jamais dans un miroir. Je n’aime pas ma gueule. Je ne la supporte pas. Je me rase en me forçant à ne regarder que le petit carré de peau strictement de la largeur délimitée par la lame.

Je me voudrais plus… moins… Je ne sais pas, en fait. Quand, par mégarde, mes yeux tombent – encore ! – sur un miroir qui ne devrait pas se trouver là ou sur -le reflet de ma déplaisante personne soudain apparu sur la vitre d’une devanture de boutique réfléchissant le soleil sous un angle insolite, un haut-le-coeur me fait sursauter, je blêmis et, vite, je regarde ailleurs. C’est ce qui m’arriva le jour dont je vous parle. Je me vis.

J’eus l’habituel haut-le-coeur suivi de l’habituel sursaut, je blêmis. Je blêmis deux fois. Une fois pour me conformer au symptôme psychique dont je vous parlais, une deuxième fois parce que venait de me frapper une évidence à laquelle je n’avais pas pris garde jusqu’à ce jour. Cette évidence, la voici. Deux-points, à la ligne : Ce type que j’avais vu dans la vitrine, ce reflet de moi, oui, C’ÉTAIT CELUI D’UN VIEILLARD."

--- Lune de miel / François Cavanna

MDA: 4 years out of date?

MDA claims anal sex is "abusive unnatural sexual activity"

But then it was decriminalised (for heterosexuals) in 2007...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Negligence of Male Rape: what you get when you're obsessed by Privilege

"The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it." - Frank Herbert


The rape of men

"Often, she says, wives who discover their husbands have been raped decide to leave them... "They ask, 'If he can be raped, who is protecting me?'"...

Men aren't simply raped, they are forced to penetrate holes in banana trees that run with acidic sap, to sit with their genitals over a fire, to drag rocks tied to their penis, to give oral sex to queues of soldiers, to be penetrated with screwdrivers and sticks. Atim has now seen so many male survivors that, frequently, she can spot them the moment they sit down. "They tend to lean forward and will often sit on one buttock," she tells me. "When they cough, they grab their lower regions. At times, they will stand up and there's blood on the chair. And they often have some kind of smell."

22% of men and 30% of women in Eastern Congo reported conflict-related sexual violence...

International aid organisations are failing male victims. Her study cites a review of 4,076 NGOs that have addressed wartime sexual violence. Only 3% of them mentioned the experience of men in their literature. "Typically," Stemple says, "as a passing reference"...

"The organisations working on sexual and gender-based violence don't talk about it," he says. "It's systematically silenced. If you're very, very lucky they'll give it a tangential mention at the end of a report. You might get five seconds of: 'Oh and men can also be the victims of sexual violence.' But there's no data, no discussion...

There's a fear among them that this is a zero-sum game; that there's a pre-defined cake and if you start talking about men, you're going to somehow eat a chunk of this cake that's taken them a long time to bake"...

"I know for a fact that the people behind the report insisted the definition of rape be restricted to women," he says, adding that one of the RLP's donors, Dutch Oxfam, refused to provide any more funding unless he'd promise that 70% of his client base was female...

When I contact Stemple by email, she describes a "constant drum beat that women are the rape victims" and a milieu in which men are treated as a "monolithic perpetrator class".

"International human rights law leaves out men in nearly all instruments designed to address sexual violence," she continues. "The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 treats wartime sexual violence as something that only impacts on women and girls... Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced $44m to implement this resolution. Because of its entirely exclusive focus on female victims, it seems unlikely that any of these new funds will reach the thousands of men and boys who suffer from this kind of abuse. Ignoring male rape not only neglects men, it also harms women by reinforcing a viewpoint that equates 'female' with 'victim', thus hampering our ability to see women as strong and empowered. In the same way, silence about male victims reinforces unhealthy expectations about men and their supposed invulnerability""

Amusingly, one feminist complained in the comments (ignoring what was the most disturbing part of the article for me: how feminarchy is trying to silence, sideline and ignore male rape):

"Why the hostility toward feminists in some of the readers' comments? Are feminists to blame for male rape (as well as every other evil in society these days)? I doubt any feminist reading the article feels anything but revulsion with regard to the rapists (who were not feminists - just in case you were confused) and I'm quite sure all of us feel nothing but sympathy for the victims. Blame the perpetrators."

Someone pointed her to one of her previous comments:

"Really - should society allow men to comment on crimes of sexual violence?"

She "clarified" that she meant "Should society allow men to comment on crimes of sexual violence against women?", but this just exposes feminarchy even more blatantly.

A good characterisation:

"Typical conversation:

A: We must end violence against women and girls
B: I agree, but what about men and boys too
A: How dare you marginalise women and girls
B: Well, I did say too. And actually, men and boys a fair bit too
A: Yes, but it's perpetrated by other men and boys
B: What difference does that make to the victims?
A: (snarkily pretends not to understand)

I'd say that's about where we are, A?"

Another commenter points out (in response to an affirmation that "the perpetrator class *is* monolithic. In these countries, in these war situations, it *is* exclusively composed of men, acting out masculinity's obsession with the use of sex as violence and power over"):

"Women also use sex as a means of violence and power. Research conducted in the US show that 95% of male victims in juvenile detention centres are abused by women http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/mar/11/the-rape-of-american-prisoners/ and that another report highlighted that women raped in US prisons were more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted by another woman than a man"

He later adds that: "I have it on very good and high authority that when some UK Rape Crisis centres began to accept and help male rape victims they received death threats and even threats of having their offices fire bombed. Apparently these threats came from volunteers at other rape crisis centres"

Of course there's someone accusing them of "liberal condescension, which habitually appears in their reports on developed countries", but that's another problematic matter...

Keywords: women men victims of war, international law feminist group men victims war, women innocent, war crimes, women = victims, feminists war deaths campaign

N. China - Day 10, Part 6 - Hanging Monastery, Datong

"What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books." - Thomas Carlyle


N. China
Day 10 - 8th November - Hanging Monastery, Datong
(Part 6)

The monastery was very narrow, which was probably why photos weren't allowed - but then again it was late so there was no crowd to hold up, and when in China... Unfortunately narrow passages lead to bad pictures of the inside (if one does not wish to risk falling off).

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View of eaves

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A door panel

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Eave and (I think) fire protection symbol

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Battery recycling box (???)

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Eagle above a door

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Monastery from below

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Me clambering around the bottom of the Hanging Monastery

I went to the toilet, and there was not one but TWO vendors outside:

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Toilet vendors

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Bleak carpark landscape

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Depressing mountainside

There was some black pillar erected:

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It's something about the Hanging Monastery. There was also poetry on it, but who's going to read it (it extends quite far up)?!

There was a wooden pagoda (Pagoda of Fogong Temple) which our driver told us was Asia's oldest (given that Horyu-ji in Japan has one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world which was a few centuries older, I really doubted that). We could've reached there 20 minutes before it [officially] closed but we passed. The Malaysian tried to persuade me to stay a day more and look at the pagoda and a section of the Great Wall made of earth with him.

On the way our driver stopped us at a 500 year old cave inhabited by a "老头" (Old Man). He'd lived there since 1980 and was in his 70s. The government pays for his food and he likes tourists. The government repaired his lodging this year. He wasn't in when we arrived.

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Taxi driver at hovel entrance. The cave has satellite TV. Well done.

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New York Times article on the hermit: Bridging Generations on North China’s High Plateau (he's Zhang Dehua)

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From Datong Respectful Taxi Team"
("Datong City Respect the Elderly Car Team Sends
Everyone respects the Elderly
Every house has old people")

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The others in the hovel

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Around this point the hermit returned. He said he'd lived here before the highway was built and was very friendly to visitors. He said he felt lonely at the start, but not now as he was used to it. He came here because of "条件" (circumstances).

Our taxi driver told me he was on the net and people contacted him after reading reviews of his service, which was very good. Unfortunately I can't remember where my China 2010 travel things are (with his card). Luckily I'd anticipated this problem 8 months ago in November, so: 陈杰 (Chen Jie). 13097592185. 普 BT 9119. Unfortunately he only speaks Mandarin.

Our taxi driver only speaking Mandarin put me in a very interesting position. The English guy had learnt Mandarin for 4 years but Hong Kong was not a good place to practise. The Vietnamese had learnt it for 6 months and the Malaysian knew a few words. As such, I was in the rare position of having the best Mandarin in the group, and thus the group interpreter.

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Hovel from afar

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"蚂蚁便利 Ant Commerce"
Apparently a better translation is "Ant Facility" (?). I assume they're exterminators.

The taxi driver was playing a Mongolian CD with a Mongolian [female] singer and our Vietnamese companion really liked it and wanted to buy the CD from the driver (in the end the driver said he'd buy another to send to him via the Malaysian, who'd meet him later).

This guy was cutting noodles and making them fly into the pot but stopped as soon as I started recording

For dinner we went to a restaurant. Which only served tea, beer and spirits. Very good.

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家常豆腐 (Homestyle Tofu, vegetarian as it turned out)
The woman wasn't happy that the 4 of us ordered this and tried to get us to order beer also.

There was a group of students in the restaurant and they were quite amusing.

Youth is when you act this way when you're not drunk!

I prefer the part when they respond to the singer to the part when they sing in unison

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土豆丝 (Shredded Potato)

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刀削面 (Scissors cut noodles)
They were not very good - the least food of the 3.

Chinese TV news is a lot more internationally oriented than US TV news.

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They said our English companion was 帅 (shuai - handsome) and he told the girl in blue "我不知道你在说什么" ("I don't know what you're talking about"). She replied "我也不知道你在说什么" ("Me neither").

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My notes read: "'随便'. Someone say 狗肉. Hidden item?"
I think this means someone ordered "anything" and someone else said it was dog meat - an off-menu item.

Observing the TV, I was surprised to find:

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Carl Sagan on Chinese television

Three of us were departing that evening, but the Malaysian was staying behind to view the Earthen Great Wall. We thus slacked in his hotel room (the one with the CITS office) and I FINALLY got to bathe (which I hadn't done for 48 hours due to the stupid supposedly top-rated Beijing hostel).

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"Waiting ROOM for Mothers With Children"
Maternal privilege. Apparently Chinese women also like crossing their legs.

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This is called "pandemonium" - people queuing to board the train. Even by the Chinese standards I'd experienced this was bad. They said they were checking tickets but I saw no movement, just a giant clusterfuck and a whistle blowing now and then (not that it worked).

Our taxi had no license plates.

Our driver told us the police are not 24 hours, and after they knock off the traffic jams become worse. He said there're 70-80km long traffic jams, and people sell food and drinks to people stuck in the jam.

Someone asked how much a massage (all-in) would cost, and our driver said 168¥. However this was for "打炮" (firing the canon). So if you wanted full (proper) service after a massage you had to ask for a 小姐.

My travel mate who'd been to India said that it was more chaotic than China and had worse infrastructure. Also more people try and con you, and not just by marking up the price. They will agree on the price and then add in extras. At least PRC Chinese are honest crooks - once they agree on a price they will stick to it. Also Indian bureaucracy is like British bureaucracy gone crazy - even train tickets are hard to buy.

More euphemisms for sex shops: "情趣保健" ("Feelings & Excitement Health Maintenance"), "爱偘" (?).

I asked the CITS manager Mr Gao a thing I'd been wondering for a long time: the difference between 素 and 斋. 斋 is Buddhist while 素 refers to normal vegetarianism.

Both the Malaysian and the Vietnamese saw snow for the first time in Datong. I was very sad for them.

A lot of people code-switch between Standard Mandarin and regional Mandarin Dialects.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Links - 18th June 2011

"Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality." - Bertrand Russell


David Sedaris: Chicken toenails, anyone? | Eating in China - "Our only expensive meal was in Beijing... The place was located in an old warehouse and had been lavishly decorated. There was a wine expert and someone whose job it was to drop by every three minutes and refill your water glass. We had the Peking duck, which was expertly carved rather than hacked and was served with little pancakes. Towards the end of the meal, I stepped into the men's room to pee and there, disintegrating in the western-style toilet, was an unflushed turd, a little reminder saying, "See, you're still in China!""

Using sex surveys to calculate the extent of paternal discrepancy - "This paper uses the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) in Great Britain to calculate PD among births in 1990 and 2000. It describes procedures adopted and the assumptions made to arrive at a PD rate in the UK of 1.4-1.7% in 1990, and 1.9-2.3% in 2000... Medical researchers around the world used serological techniques to investigate various conditions, and inadvertently identified significant levels of PD. Some reported especially high levels – from 10-30%"

‪Darwin Nightmare.mp4‬‏ - YouTube

Harvard grads turn gym business model on its head; fitness plan members pay more if they don’t work out - "[They] in return for a free membership agreed to work out at least four times per week. If they fail to follow the schedule in any one week, the participants pay $25. If they leave the program for any reason other than injury or illness, they will pay $75... “The interesting thing about these kinds of companies is that they could not have happened in Silicon Valley,’’ he said. “There, they think you solve problems with technology. But these companies that have innovative business models and are based off behavioral economics have proven to be extraordinarily successful.’’"

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Serving rabbit meat to usher in Year of the Rabbit is distasteful - "The House Rabbit Society (Singapore) HRSS, opposes the consumption of rabbit meat – be it in the Year of the Rabbit or at any other time. Animal welfare groups have uncovered the severe suffering and brutality involved in the rabbit meat industry... Rabbits are intelligent, social animals that enjoy interacting with people. They should be loved and treated as pets and companions instead of having to endure such torture. By purchasing rabbit meat, people are encouraging these cruel, inhumane acts. We urge all Singaporeans to boycott rabbit meat. When the buying stops, the suffering will."
Amusingly, ALL the displayed comments (as of the time of writing) showed a lot more sense and self-awareness than the original poster. Duh.

Only porn theater in Tohoku reopens after earthquake - "There have been very few upbeat stories emerging from the Tohoku area... "most towns with commercial areas had adult cinemas,” Kiyono says. “Now this cinema is the only one left in Tohoku. I have a sense of duty to continue operating”"

Why are there virtually no polyandrous societies? - "A comprehensive survey of traditional societies in the world shows that 83.39% of them practice polygyny, 16.14% practice monogamy, and .47% practice polyandry. Almost all of the few polyandrous societies practice what anthropologists call fraternal polyandry, where a group of brothers share a wife... the most successful type of polygyny is the sororal polygyny, where all the co-wives are sisters"

Zuckers! Facebook Has Secretly Been Giving User Info to Cops - "Neither Facebook nor law enforcement is obligated to tell people when their accounts have been legally compromised. But other tech companies, like Twitter and Google, have official policies that say they will alert users before allowing police to comb their profiles... Nathan Kuemmerle, a psychiatrist, was being accused of dealing prescription drugs when a police officer submitted comments he'd made on "Mafia Wars" as a reason he should be denied bail"

In China, 1.3 Million Websites Were Shut in 2010

Would You Fire Someone for Eating Company Party Leftovers? - "What happens when an employee disregards--or doesn't hear--a manager's instructions to save the company's Fourth of July barbecue hot dogs for a Labor Day soiree?"

Microsoft Security Center Delivered Adult Content Links - "As far as website exploits go, returning adult content via the Microsoft Safety and Security Center search results scores obvious points for irony"

Zuckerberg closes off google+ account so he can't be tracked - "Interesting that Zuckerberg, the man so happy to gather and share so much of everyone else's data on Facebook, is suddenly so protective over his own"

‪Jayesslee in CHC 1 (on 9 Jul 2011)‬‏ - YouTube
Lyrics: "Money can't buy us happiness... It's not about the money money money... We don't need your money money money"
Comment: "I love how the irony is lost on all 20,000 of them."
Also they don't understand the meaning of "a cappella"

Rhymes With Rich - "Once they have the proverbial loudspeaker, how much social good do affluent, successful, powerful women really do (other than treating their wonderful full-time nannies like members of the family)? I didn’t notice any successful career women in the book mentioning specific campaigns they’re waging on behalf of the less fortunate, nor did I catch to what women’s or children’s charities proceeds from the book will be given... These days, I suppose, it is feminist enough an action to edit a women’s anthology, get on Oprah, sell a million copies, and make a pile of cash, all of which you keep, presumably so that your investment-banker husband can’t move the family again... Wealthy, powerful left-leaning women will never be able to admit that they have much more in common with wealthy, powerful men than they do with their poor, disenfranchised pseudo-sisters"
This is a good example of the "vacuum cleaner feminist"

Dog meat festival bites the dust - "A South Korean dog meat festival has been cancelled after outrage and protests from animal rights activists... The event at the market, well known for selling dogs for meat, would also have featured products such as cosmetics and spirits with canine ingredients... the festival would have displayed video clips and pictures of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions, contrary to public perceptions"
Cultural Imperialism!

The Only Sci-Fi Explanation of Hominid Aliens that Makes Scientific Sense - ""

Lady Gaga's gay Gillard gaffe - "Lady Gaga was forced to re-shoot her response to a question about Julia Gillard's stance on gay marriage because the pop diva gave her first answer believing the prime minister was a lesbian... The singer was asked if she thought Gillard was a hypocrite for living with her "partner" while being an advocate for 'traditional' marriage, but not gay marriage. Thinking Gillard's 'partner' was a woman, Gaga responded passionately, called her a hypocrite"

Why Is a 70-Year-Old Woman Being Sued for Porn Piracy? - "The anonymous 70-year-old was named as part of a lawsuit against multiple users for illegally downloading adult material, but she believes that someone else was using her unsecured Wi-Fi to do so... 'If Sony can get hacked, if the Pentagon can get hacked, my goodness, what chance does an individual have?'"

Very, very expensive farmland (updated) - ""Urban farmland" would cost between $13 million and $43 million per acre. I don't know exactly how productive this super-duper advanced hydroponics system would be, but I doubt it's 4,000-14,000 times as productive as $3,000/acre farmland in Indiana. That locally-grown broccoli had better taste really, really good... The vertical farm people claim you can feed 50,000 people per year with just 13 million square feet of floor space. This extrapolates to 21 million square feet for 80,000 people. As best I can tell, they get there by assuming that hydroponic techniques will yield 10 to 100 times as much as dirt farming. (Someone should tell the farmers.) Fine. So we really need just 21 million square feet to feed 1% of NYC's population for one year. No sweat. That's just eight Empire State Buildings. And, for another 792 Empire State Buildings, we could feed the other 99% as well."

Straitjacketed cosmopolitanism - "Not only does Singapore want brain-cauterised Singaporeans, we want all foreigners coming here to contribute their skills and labour to our society and economy, to put on straitjackets on entering. We want them decontaminated of political impulses, and become, like Singaporeans, mere economic and consumerist automatons. Unless, of course, they support the single party that dominates this state. In that case, please speak up and laud our tremendous achievements."

Ready to Take a Faithful Leap - NYTimes.com - "She called me selfish. And it’s true. I was selfish for denying her the opportunity to be belle of the ball, at least in her fantasies. But more precisely, I was selfish because I aspired to a life outside her world"

France/Spain 2011 - Day 3, Part 5 - Strasbourg

"Like the Germans, the Dutch fall into two quite distinct physical types: the small, corpulent, red-faced Edams, and the thinner, paler, larger Goudas." - Alan Coren


France/Spain 2011
Day 3 - 19th March - Strasbourg
(Part 5)

Taking an alternate route back to my hostel, I ran aross "Little Tokyo".

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Retro games at Little Tokyo
They also had Star Wars and other figures. I'm guessing that just Japanese stuff woldn't have paid the bills, especially since they didn't sell Tenga Cups or stuff like that.

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Little Tokyo on the street

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I tried Schweppes Agrum. It was citrus flavour, and a little bitter.

After slacking (napping) in the room for a while I left again at night for a €15 concert.

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"At the start, God created the rail and the tram. If all the trams in the world wanted to join hands, it would be nothing - it would be a tram which drowned" (?)
Much ado about trams

At the Place Kleiber, people were celebrating the Kurdish New Year.

Kurdish New Year celebrations

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Sad future of education. I'm wagering this was linked to the demonstration earlier in the day.
This listed how budget cuts would affect educatio

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Coffin for "L'école juste" ("Just school")

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"Ici se rassemblaient autrefois les hardes de cerfs de la Forêt Noire à l'époque des amours"
("Here the deer herds of the Black Forest assembled in the time of love" [?])
Sign for Grand Rue

Before the concert (at St Thomas Church) I had a Red Bull for energy (there were other brands of energy drinks but I stuck to Red Bull). Also because of my nap I didn't fall asleep despite my long day.

There was an Alsatian restaurant near the church which closed at 9:50pm (Winstub aux deux gourmandes). The concert was to end at 10pm, so I decided to leave earlier if I was hungry. Luckily I'd chosen to depart the next morning, or I wouldn't have been able to attend the concert.

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"Passion Cantatas - Easter
Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV 4, Himmelskönig, sei willkommen BWV 182"
I think I passed by the church earlier and took some pictures of the side

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Biographies and Program

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"Musiques de la Passion, Passion de la Musique"
("Music of the Passion, Passion of the Music")
This was an advertisement for Bach's St John's passion

End of instrumental introduction to Cantata 182, start of second movement

I really liked the Flûte à bec (Recorder)

The stone of the church was too echoy for multiple voices. Hard acoustics are okay for instruments and solo voice.

Start of alto aria (or lament, rather). Heinrich Bach: Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug which ended on a hanging note
Google credits this to JC Bach instead

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About the church of St Thomas

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Mauritio Saxoni heroic monument

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Concert crowd

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Tomb with skeleton

After the interval I changed my seat, and chose one at the side of the church so it would be easier to leave. However most of my view was blocked. However it was also the best seat in the church as the pew was just on on top of a heating duct. It was very shiok. Though it was near the door so there wa a draft.

When the organ piece was on, I couldn't see the organist. I tried to solve the mystery of where he was sitting. I couldn't see him at the controls where he played during the ensemble pieces. Everyone was looking straight, but I saw nothing even when going to the back of the church and peeking. I didn't see any telltale shadows moving either.

I then left for dinner. Just as the church door closed, the chorale ended.

While ordering dinner the waitress switched to English because I was confused about "salade de pommes de terre chaude". Apparently potato salad translates directly. She then explained some other item and I exclaimed "haxe" ([pork] knuckle) and ordered it.

Waedele braisé sur salade de pommes de terre (apparently the same thing) and choucroute were my other options but they didn't sound as good.

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Apéritif maison - crémat (like champagne) with crème mandarine, and jambonneau braisé au munster (braised pork knuckle)
Actually I'd have preferred a roasted (i.e. crackling one) but somehow "braisé" didn't register. No matter, it was still good though a bit bland (but not as bland as choucroute). I could taste the mustard in the potato salad and the pork knuckle.

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Armée du Salut = Salvation Army

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"No placement of bicycles"

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Apparently someone dragged a dog under a car and killed it so a protest was called

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River View

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Pont de Paris / Nussbaumbruck
Again the name didn't translate - understandably (given Franco-German animosity)
Assuming the French name came first, the Germans should have called this bridge Berlin Bridge out of spite

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Palais de Justice

I felt quite happy after a night of good music and good food (the alcohol couldn't have hurt), taking a nice walk in a peaceful and quiet city - and no one had tried to swindle me all day (unlike in China). Also it wasn't too cold. This was the life!

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Some building across the river opposite Palais de Justice, at Pont de la Fonderie

I was informed that it was both Alsatian and African culture to eat a lot. At lunch I already asked for less and still got a lot.

I was suspecting that I was a victim of racial profiling. In my hostel room I had slept with a Japanese, a Taiwanese and a Hong Konger. I almost thought it was the Asian room, except that the first night had a French guy and on the last morning I found a white guy in one bed.

The Hong Konger came in on the 8+pm train (originally it was scheduled for 5+pm) and was leaving at 10+am. I don't know what these guys were thinking.
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