26 June 2011




Peking Opera in English!!!

Unconventional...Out-of-the-box thinking...Radical...First...But doesn't quite do it for me.

24 June 2011

Corporate Double-Speak...

This is the message I got from Verizon.com

FiOS Internet is available in your area.

However, FiOS Internet is not available.

Yeah, interesting corporate double-speak.

19 June 2011

The Problem with K-Pop

By Bian-lian Huang

Korean popular music, or K-pop, has been spreading throughout Asia like wild fires over the last 15 years.  Legions of crazed teenage girls line up in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Manila, HCM City, Jarkarta and, of course, Seoul to welcome these K-pop idols whenever they come to town.

At its core, K-pop consists of very good-looking kids (boys and girls) singing beautifully written songs and executing flawless dance choreography.  Often these kids are cosmetically enhanced and always dressed in the most amazing clothes/costumes which would make any L.A. fashionista green with envy (because we can't get them here in America!)

Therein lies the problem.  K-pop is too perfect and formulaic.  It is so because K-pop is a product of the massive South Korean pop industry.  In fact, most K-pop idols physically live under the same roof -- the company dorm -- where they rehearse the songs and dance routines hours on end.  One can say that K-pop stars are trained like Chinese Olympic athletes.

The result:  perfect, cookie-cutter boy and girl bands that wow Asian audiences.  However, the same bands have yet to win over American and European audiences, except for the niche crowd.  Why is that, Mr. Fairbank?  Because K-pop has no soul.  It's a mass-produced product -- just like widgets or Hyundai cars.  

Western audiences, for the most part, have gone beyond the sleek dance routines of the 1980s (a la Michael and Janet Jackson) or the good-boy image of the 1950s and 1960s.

We want something more organic and genuine.  We like performances that are rough around the edges.  We want a few scars on our performers' faces to signify maturity and a real life that has been lived.  We are way beyond the bubble gum era of the 1950s.

K-pop has yet to experience its versions of the Rolling Stones, the Doors or the garage band phenomenon.  In this regard, K-pop is invariably stuck in the 2010s-version of the 1950s And it will remain there and continue to produce cookie-cutter pop stars who execute sleek and technically superb dance routines that are still soulless and mesmerizingly mechanical...

14 June 2011

Sino-Vietnamese War (Again)?

So tiny Vietnam is ratcheting up the tension with P.R. China over the disputed islands of Nanxia (Spratley and Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea.  The Vietnamese navy is carrying out war game manuevers. 

Earlier Vietnam had accused China of cutting its petro-mining cables whilst the Chinese countered that the Vietnamese navy was harassing their fishermen and threatening their lives.

12 June 2011

Long Lunar Eclipse

From MSNBC.com

This month's full moon will pass almost directly through the center of Earth's shadow on Wednesday in what will be an unusually long total eclipse of the moon.
The lunar eclipse will occur just two weeks after a June 1 partial solar eclipse, when the moon blocked part of the sun as viewed from Arctic regions. The eclipse won't be visible from North America due to its timing, which places the event in the daylight hours when the moon is behind the local horizon.
But the Eastern Hemisphere of Earth will be facing the moon during the eclipse. This hemisphere, centered on a spot in the Indian Ocean to the east of the island nation of Madagascar, will have a ringside seat for this event. [ Video: Inside the June 15 Total Lunar Eclipse ]
Since the Earth rotates during the several hours of the eclipse, more than a hemisphere sees stages of it.
Where the best views may be For all of the places mentioned below, next week's lunar eclipse will be taking place during the morning early hours of Thursday as they are west of the International Date Line.
For moon-gazers in Russia's Sakhalin Island, moonset virtually coincides with the moon's entry into the umbra (1823 GMT). The beginning of penumbral eclipse starts about an hour earlier, before the moon sets, but this is only a theoretical matter since the outer part of the penumbra (the Earth's shadow) is imperceptible even high in the sky. [ Blood Moon: Photos of 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse ]
Skywatchers in Central Siberia, eastern Mongolia, northeast China, and most of Japan, Korea, New Guinea, eastern Australia and New Zealand will see the moon entering the darker shadow, called the umbra. But only as it's going down in the west-southwest at the end of the night does the moon becomes totally eclipsed (at 1922 UT).
On the other side of the globe, a slice of eastern South America, Western Europe and the west coast of Africa will see the moon emerge from above their east-southeast horizon on the evening of Wednesday (June 15), already in total eclipse.
As the moon climbs higher in the sky, skywatchers may be able to watch it slowly emerge from the Earth's shadow beginning at 2102 GMT.
You may recall that in early January, European cities such as Oslo, London, Paris and Madrid were all treated to a solar eclipse at sunrise. Now, just over half a year later they'll all see a lunar eclipse at moonrise.
What to look for In the sky, the moon will crossing through the non-zodiacal constellation of Ophiuchus and will be positioned roughly halfway between the bright red star Antares in Scorpius and Nunki, the brightest star in the handle of the Teapot asterism of Sagittarius. The star clouds of the summer Milky Way in this particular region of the sky are bright and spectacular; sweeping with binoculars or a rich-field telescope reveals a mass of innumerable stars. 
Of course, before the eclipse begins the moon will completely obscure these faint stars of the Milky Way, but as it gradually becomes more and more immersed in the Earth's shadow, the sky will correspondingly darken.
During totality, the moon will appear 10,000 to 100,000 times dimmer and will seem almost three-dimensional; like an eerily illuminated ball from a non-light polluted location, the beautiful summer Milky Way appears nearby as a striking backdrop.     
And as a bonus, according to Phillip S. Harrington in his book "Eclipse!" (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1997) during totality, the moon will occult the 9th magnitude globular cluster NGC 6401. Notes Harrington: "The best place to see the event will be in central Asia.  There, as well as in eastern Europe and northeastern Africa, observers will see the moon occult the cluster in a comparatively dark sky."
A long lunar eclipse At mid-eclipse (2013 GMT), the moon will be passing just to the north of the center of the Earth's shadow.
As such, the duration of totality is an unusually long 100 minutes, which is just seven minutes shy of the absolute maximum for a total lunar eclipse. In fact, over the last 100 years, only three other eclipses have rivaled the duration of totality of this eclipse : The total lunar eclipse of July 16, 1935, lasted 101 minutes; the eclipse of July 6, 1982, lasted 107 minutes; the eclipse of July 16, 2000, lasted 107 minutes.
The next total lunar eclipse of exceptional length will come on July 27, 2018, and will last 106 minutes.
On Dec. 10, 2011, another total lunar eclipse will be visible before the moon sets over the western United States and Canada. After that, the next total lunar eclipse that will be widely visible across all of North America will be on April 15, 2014.
If you plan to observe or photograph the total lunar eclipse of June 15 and would like to share your comments and images with SPACE.com for a possble story or image gallery, contact Managing Editor Tariq Malik at: tmalik@space.com.
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y.

04 June 2011

04 June, 1989

How innocent the Chinese people were back then...

From the BBC

Holy Sh*t: Our "It" Girl Wang Ludan Scarred in Auto Accident

Is there no God?  According to reports, Miss Wang was injured in a car accident in Beijing, China.  She now has a scar on the left cheek!!!!!  Nevertheless, she will always be our

美 女 (meinu) -- now and forever...

美 女: 王璐 丹 (Wang Ludan)

Chinese actress Wang Ludan (starring in the critically acclaimed drama Lala's Promotions)... Wow... Post-1980s Chinese girls are so hot!