Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown

I can't forget it, which is why I'm returning in about 10 days. Today I had my last VA appointment with my cancer surgeon, a lovely, skillful and thoroughly professional Kashmir-native female surgeon, Dr B.

I've had a small crush on her since the beginning, mostly fascinated by her accent, dark eyes, caring but objective bedside manner and the careful way she must tweeze her eyebrows. As she examined my stoma (what's left of my colon poking through my stomach) and pronounced it "lovely" and certified my surgical wound as healed (as if I had anything to do with either of them) I focused not on my surgically mutilated midsection, but on her eyebrows and imagined watching her tweeze them carefully preparing for a night out away from the VA hustle.

"Good luck in China!" she said cheerfully. "But if there are any complications, you know where to find us."

Uh huh. I told her I'd done my homework for cancer care and ostomy supplies in Beijing and said I was glad to meet her despite the circumstances, gently shook her hand and left hoping I'd never see the place again, though her gentle Kashmir lilt and eyebrows will stay with me forever.

Got to think forward. Bob Marley, himself a cancer casuality, was earworming through my head, "Exodus, movement of Jah people" ... along with Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers to Cross.

Back at my sister's place she'd gone through one of her physician prescribed amphetamine day-off cleaning frenzies and inadvertantely thrown out a white garbage bag I stow my clean clothes in onto the curbside trash. This did not deter me either. I simply hacked her hands off with a machete and rescued the clothing before the garbage truck swung through and then I began trolling through emails.

There are few job interview possibilities, nothing rock solid yet, but I will prevail even it's writing copy for incomprehensible pirated Chinese IT supply catalogs. And a nice email from C. A rare treat. I told her I'd be staying in Beijing temporarily in the apartment of an elderly widow of an American communist journalist who'd elected to make China his home after the revolution.

He's a lesser figure than Edgar Snow but, like Snow, one whose memory is still honored by the PRC. For this he also served a few years in jail during the Cultural Revolution but emerged saying he'd learned from his mistakes. Whatta tool, I think. But I'm not him and can't imagine what he was thinking except he'd prefered hard time in China to returning to live in the USA.

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but part of me understands it in an odd way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Loan Me a Dime

I was in the backseat of a car cruising from Skaneateles, NY courtesy of my ‘cancer buddy’ a woman I’ll call E, and her husband G who had graciously taken me out on a short daytrip beyond the rancid boundaries of Syracuse for an afternoon and early evening of life on rarified side of the Finger Lakes.

G is a blues fanatic and was tuned to a satellite blues station that due to some kinda cosmic blues miracle started playing ‘Loan Me a Dime’ a neglected 12:45 masterpiece by Boz Skaggs and slide guitarist Duane Allman and a horn and Hammond B3 and piano section on loan from God.

It’s a bittersweet song, and just a tad dated but it holds up and surpasses the years in a way. Boz pleading for a dime for a pay phone to call his ‘old time used-to-be, little girl’s been gone so long it’s worrying me.’
G and I briefly riffed on updating it, “Somebody loan me a cell phone…” but soon forgot about it and fell into the groove.

I know that feeling too well. How many ‘old time used-to-be’s’ have I moronically drunk- dialed for dismal results? Better let the song say it instead.
It was a farewell, too. Since coming to Syracuse and meeting E and G courtesy of one of my oldest colleagues and best friends, M, who is E’s brother, we’ve daily talked daily since, what? Maybe March? I’ve never talked so often and regularly to even a wife or girlfriend that I recall. It’s heartening.

We talk about our days and trials and chemo and blood tests and asshole doctors and nurses and the good ones too. The empty sympathies received from peers, acquaintances and the heartfelt ones too. And sometimes about relatives and no cancer talks at all, though it’s the reason for our bond. I know her now better than I do her brother, I think, weirdly thanks to this scourge.

It’s probably the last time I will see them before returning to China next month. But if so, it was a good sendoff. E and I will still call daily til the miles and phone rates interfere. In the meantime, somebody loan me a dime….

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Generation

I never intended this to be a “living with/surviving cancer” blog, of course. Since the breakup with C I'd posted on several Chinese-western lonely hearts sites all focused on new love, new opportunities and accentuating the positive. I just wonder though how many people, western and Chinese alike, present themselves in a totally honest manner.

Prior to my cancer surgery, I used to smoke, though I ignored confessing to it when my first lovelorn notices were posted. Drinking too much sometimes? Guilty as charged. Two marriages and a few broken relationships before advertising my desirable single status? Also guilty of withholding evidence, your honor. Maybe not worth mentioning initially, but it’s significant baggage I carry and I think some weight any potential new partner would want to consider.

There’s the crucial age difference, also. I’m 59 this month and most of the Chinese women I’ve been with or am just friends with are a decade or more younger than me. I’m puzzled by this – but have also figured out that I often have more in common culturally and socially with a newer generation of Chinese than ones closer to my age.

I wish it were different. But growing up in the Cultural Revolution as the older ones did while I simultaneously grew up in the pampered western “Youthquake Revolution” were completely different experiences and sent us to different futures and reference points in which we’ve only really partially connected within the last 20-30 years.

While I can talk about the Grateful Dead, Chinese my age may talk about how grateful their parents and grandparents were not to be dead due to the Cultural Revolution.

But it works both ways. I’ve got a lot of down time now healing from surgery and waiting to return to China and recently decided to do something useful that I never did during my previous 7 years in China – I’m taking Chinese lessons.
A no-brainer, but I’m a slow learner, I guess.

My tutor is a late 20something Shanghaiese video art graduate student at Syracuse University – a patient understanding teacher besides being a cutting edge artist. Her works range from an ongoing documentary about a blind 5-year-old girl in Shanghai and satiric Chinese social commentary to a meditative performance art piece inspired by Japanese monks that was filmed in Holland.

Our time together allows me to concentrate on something other than my own woes and has led to some talks where she told me her filmmaking may be creatively/genetically linked to a grandfather who was a Shanghai movie maker in the ‘40s and later until the Party clamped down. Among his early acquaintances he told her casually was a budding actress in the early Shanghai movie clique, Jiang Qing, later better known as Madame Mao and the demonic force behind the Cultural Revolution, which eventually led to her grandfather’s professional and creative downfall. There were other, less historically significant players in his film group, all notable talents at the time whose memories and works have long since been lost.

“Wow,” I gushed. “You need to record his memories. As many as he’ll let you. It’s important. Sit him down, get him comfortable, get it all documented. There are so many stories out there and his generation (he’s 85) is dying fast.”

She seemed politely neutral though. Agreeing to be agreeable but I sensed it was territory she didn’t want to tread, whether it for his comfort or other unspoken reasons.

And it’s not my place to push it, just to work on mastering the four tones.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


C just called from Jerusalem to ask how I’m doing with my cancer.
There. There’s a sentence – a thought, a concept – I could and would not have imagined a year ago.

She’s now working for the Israeli consulate in Guangdong Province and – since I met and wooed her and we later parted – has traveled almost more in the almost 10 years we’ve known each other than I have in my 58 years.

Oh. The cancer. That’s a whole new country, too. One no one should have a visa for. A terrorist state. Not sunny Jerusalem, where she said, laughing a little, that locals were asking to be photographed with her. “Chinese are everywhere in the world, but not so much in Israel, I guess.”

“Now you know what it’s like to be a foreigner in China,” I said, recalling the countless times I’d posed with Chinese tourists for photo and video shots waving and smiling, white hairy arms around smooth shorter shoulders.

She mentioned an Asian classical musician who’d held a concert near her hotel who was advertised in a yellow dress. “I’m wearing yellow today. Four people have complimented me on my ‘performance’ and asked for my autograph.”

I avoided details about the colon cancer. Kept it vague. I’m on the mend, I just said. Getting better and hoping to be back in China by the end of the year. Didn’t mention the bag I shit in now and how I can’t recall my last erection, and the gauze packed surgical wound crossing my belly aches continually looks like a ragged combat zone.

It’s new territory after years of feckless and occasionally responsible living. Completely unexpected, unwelcome, of course, and nothing like the fund raising ads I see of cheerful ordinary and famous people holding signs saying things like “Cancer, you’re out!” I’m still in the “Cancer, what the fuck?” stage. I can do nothing but wait.

I try to block it all out for a minute and instead imagine eating oranges in Jerusalem with my ex dressed in yellow, nudging her a little to sign some autographs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doctor, doctor, gimme the news....

Been back in the ‘Cuse for awhile now between a lifegiving trip to NYC with some GT ex employees and a new China pal whom I met in Syracuse but who wisely has relocated to El Manzana Grande.

While there I felt rejuvenated despite spending money out the gazoo for basic lodging. Trips to the Museum of Sex, random encounters with Hare Krishna Parades (amazed they still exist) with grinning, chanting multiracial devotees hauling 30-foot pagodas like human oxen in a Cecil B. DeMille production down the street with friendly cop car escorts as an Austin BBQ fest competed with a Hamburg-era early Beatle tribute band playing….then a Puerto Rican Independence Day parade.

Plus Chinatown with a fabulous meal, walks to see all the "dissident" Chinese papers reporting what is under wraps there and a worthwhile sweaty trek for Taiwanese “bubble tea” for dessert… all in all, amazing slice of another life and lives past, especially after gaping at the incredibly lovely Persian waitresses at dinner and irresistible Dutch models in our cramped hotel elevator, I could’ve slept on looks alone and happily woken up dead the next day.

Reality hits hard on the budget Megabus back when one whacked out passenger kept hassling me for hours about whether I was a “professor” or not and mercilessly haranguing his hapless woman between pandering to a young fat white kid enjoying his hiphop and patronizingly dubbing him as “DJ Get It On.” Finally ditched the ride at the Syracuse station to confront a gaggle of harmless, slow, inbred Amish clogging up the entrance.. Hmmm. Slam, bam new reality zones.

Now the waiting is the hardest part, as Tom Petty famously sang, and it’s true whether you’re love, waiting for a drug delivery, an interview, a bus or taxi, an open bathroom, meal, job offer, whatnot and in this case it’s a firm date for my surgery. That may be settled tomorrow, Friday. Between few appts at the VA to renew scrips, what I’m waiting for is a cut me open and let’s get this deal done and send me back to China.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dipatches from the medical front

My immersion the VA system has its bright sides. Most of the female staff with the exception of the Asian Indian staffers speak somewhat like they're out of "Fargo" typecasting and are as relentlessly cheerful.

Two incidents today gave me some grim joy. The first was an elderly cranky guy with a prostate procedure on the books who wanted reassurance that he wouldn't be immobilized for longer that 24 hours because he was in charge of NASA and the Federal Security Agnecy -- both of which he had originally "established." He was reassured that his duties would be covered before being wheeled off to lahlah land, but not before good naturedly warning a nurse who greeted him, "Hands off, toots! I'm spoken for."

The second came after I was being discharged for a test (negative) to see if my colon tumor was "communicating" with the bladder. "What are they talking about?" I asked the surgeon. "Invading Poland?" Apparently not and as the nurse was giving me my discharge orders she noted "No sex for 24 hours" No problem, I thought. A strange distant concpt anyway, this "sex."

Free Ai Weiwei and Wen Tao

Most of you outside China readers have never heard of Ai Weiwei, but he’s an “activist” of sorts and artist and cat and animal protection force who was recently detained while trying to board a flight to Hong Kong to Taiwan on April 1 for unspecified “incomplete departure procedures” and hasn’t been heard from since.

As a snide and largely incoherent editorial in my former employer Global Times tried to point out: “Ai Weiwei likes to do something "others dare not do." He has been close to the red line of Chinese law. Objectively speaking, Chinese society does not have much experience in dealing with such persons. However, as long as Ai Weiwei continuously marches forward, he will inevitably touch the red line one day.”

I guess he has, though no specifics have been revealed to date. It is troubling and mysterious in more than several ways. He is an older, large plump man with a full head of grey hair and respectable beard, easily recognizable which is why as he was being squired through the Global Times newsroom by the assistant managing editor, a rat phlegm-brained self-serving cretin with at least one in-house mistress who worships at the altar of GQ, several of us foreigners stopped to make a point of meeting and greeting Ai Weiwei, a wry wise, and pragmatic man, some to have photos taken with him.
I stuck with simple conversation, thanking him for coming and asking him what he thought of GT. “I like the youthful energy,” he said. “Many youth, but we need more experience,” I replied. And then we made a bet on which one of us is older and he was swept away by Mr GQ.

Why he was there remains a mystery and where he is now is a larger one. To further complicate the mystery, a former GT reporter fired for tweeting excerpts of a staff meeting and who has gone on to become an assistant to Ai Weiwei has also been snatched. His name is Wen Tao. For a full gist of the “official” take on Ai Weiwei check this out And if you’re googling him in China I guess you already know what my freelance journo friend D said, “everytime I input his name my computer behaves like its got a hedgehog in its innards.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celluloid Heroes

At loose ends and in medical and employment limbo now, I've picked up some freelance editing work from China, specifically a last minute, rush job editing Chinglish synopses for an "ethnic minorities film festival" in Beijing.

For those who've been in China awhile, the movies are no surprise.

It's an effort to showcase the "benevolent ethnic diversity" policies exercised by the Chinese Communist Party/Han majority regarding the official 50something "ethnic minorities" living there, largely the (troublesome, sensitive) Tibetans and Muslim Uhygurs.

Minorities in general are still publicly showcased as "colorful," "warm-hearted" simple and naive folks who like nothing better than to sing or dance in their "traditional native costumes." Kinda like the happy Negroes and Indians in the US before the Civil Rights Movement.

There's also the obvious simplistic political propaganda angle in these flicks, particularly the ones after the 1940 "Liberation" when as late as the mid-50s movies were still being made about nefarious anti-CCP "spies" (all named "Mr XXXX") thwarted by earnest minorities with the supreme aid of Han comrades.

I've mucked my way through nearly 60 by now and believe me, most end with someone crying with joy despite losing loved ones who frequently fall off cliffs.
Submitted are a few samples for your enjoyment

08、Mongolian Ping Pong (Mongolian)
Production: Kunlun International Film & Media (2005) Color
Script writer: Ning Hao
Director: Ning Hao
Photography: Du Jie
Starring: Huricha Bilige, Dawa, Geliban

When Bilige finds a mysterious white ball floating in the creek, he picks it up. It feels a bit hard and also a bit soft. It is a little transparent too. What is it? Is it the long lost Night Pearl of the grassland? Bilige and his two friends start exploring the secret of the white ball. Grandmother at her spinning wheel recognizes it as the Night Pearl, while on the screen in the open air, the white ball also becomes a golf ball…

After these encounters, they finally learn that the white ball is called a ping pong ball and it is a "national sport!”

So, like legendary heroes they decide to return the ball to the State. They start with great dreams towards the east where the sun rises. After they fail to return the ball, they then disagree about who it belongs to. Their fathers get the boys together and solve the problem using traditional Mongolian friendship -- dividing the ping pong ball in half.

13、The Turpan Love Song (Uygur) Color
Script writer: Zhang Bing
Director: Jin Lini, Xierzhati
Photography: Mulati M
Starring: Aziguli Rexiti, Mulading Abulimiti

Anaerhan, a beautiful, vigorous young tour guide, is good at singing and dancing. One day, she is robustly performing for tourists when she receives a call from her brother.

She runs to the road and stops the guests who are going to make a marriage match for her sister, Kangbaerhan. Her moving performance persuades them to go back home.

It turns out that her 34-year-old sister still loves her ex-boyfriend Kelimu, who is an armed police officer and always away from home living in an army tent. On the way back to the city on the travel agency bus, Anaerhan comes across an emergency where Kelimu is repairing the road and a reporter is holding Kelimu’s son, Tuerxun, who is mute following a sudden car accident.

Kangbaerhan hardly meets Kelimu again when she dies of leukemia. Anaerhan understands her sister’s love and happens to know that Tuerxun is an orphan adopted by Kelimu. She takes him back home and formally announces that she will be his mother. Her mother, Halike also understands her daughter’s kindness and treats Tuerxun as a grandson.

During an accident, Tuerxun loudly shouts: "Grandpa!" and later with his restored language ability takes a cup of water to Anaerhan, saying, “Mama, have a drink…” which moves Anaerhan very much.

In the fall, Anaerhan enters the armed police camp and the soldiers stand up and call for her brother-in-law as she bursts into tears.

001. Victories in Inner Mongolia (Mongolian)
Production: Northeast Film Studio 1950 Black and White
Script Writer: Wang Zhenzhi Director: Gan Xuewei Photographer: Du Yu, Li Guanghui
Starring: Yun Cun, Bai Dafang, En Hesen, Fang Hua

During the Liberation War, a Kuomintang spy named “Mr. Yang” sneaks into a banner (an Inner Mongolian military unit) in Inner Mongolia, conspiring with his assistant Tusulageqi to dethrone Prince Daerji in order to collaborate with the Kuomintang government.

At the same time, Su He and Menghebarter are delegated by the district government to establish a Communist democratic regime in the nomadic area. Menghebarter’s younger sister Wuyunbilege, and Dundebu, Prince Daerji’s herdsman, are lovers, but cannot marry because of obstacles set up by the prince.

Dundebu hates Han people and suspects Menghebarter of betraying his own nationality. But after conveying the Communist Party’s ethnic policies to Prince Daerji and Dundebu Su, He wins their trust, and his protection of Dundebu’s mother in a rain storm further dissolves Dundebu’s hostility.

Mr. Yang, hiding in a Lama temple, commands Tusulageqi to go to the Kuomintang Commission to deploy troops for aid and Dundebu is angered when he sees Wuyunbilege being molested by Mr. Yang.

Soon the nomadic area is surrounded by danger. A gang of troops sent by Tusulageqi kills Menghebarter as he rides away for aid. Tusulageqi urges Dundebu to assassinate Su He, but Dundebu discloses the plot to Su He.

Mongolian-Han joint troops led by Su He arrive as the Kuomintang troops march into the prairie.

The Kuomintang troops are wiped out, Dundebu catches Mr. Yang alive, Tusulageqi is arrested and Prince Daerji stands at Dundebu’s side as he joins the People’s Liberation Army while the crowd cheers.

002. People on the Prairie (Mongolian)
Production: Northeast Film Studio 1953 Black and White
Script Writer: Hai Mo, Malaqinfu, Li Guanghui, 特•达木林
Director: Xu Tao Photographer: Wang Chunquan, Fu Hong, Li Guanghui
Starring: Wurina, En Hesen, Chao Lu, Shu Hai, Zhang Juguang

Sarengewa, an Inner Mongolain herdswoman mutual-aid team leader honored as a Model Worker for two consecutive years, is in love with Sangbu, another mutual-aid team leader.

Mr. Baolu, a spy, plots to destroy the mutual-aid teams by persuading Sarengewa’s father Ziyire to quit the team.

In a snow storm, Mr. Baolu cuts a rope on the herd fence and releases sheep and horses. In her effort to save the animals, Sarengewa falls off a cliff with her horse, but luckily Sangbu comes to her rescue.

After the storm while Sarengewa is vaccinating injured animals, Baolu poisons a well killing more than 20 sheep and blames it on Sarengewa. At the Model Worker election some complaints are raised about the dead sheep incident on Sarengewa’s team.

After the meeting, Sarengewa sees Mr. Baolu acting suspiciously on a hill slope and finds the prairie on fire. She rides through the smoke to catch Mr. Baolu and the League Chief joins others in extinguishing the fire. With the help of Sarengewa and Sangbu, the police round up a handful of spies, including Mr. Baolu.

At a Model Worker awards meeting the League Chief commends Sarengewa for her great contribution to the prairie.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Singing the blues

My new situation is taking some adjusting and a slow mental toll. I initially figured I'd be here three weeks, max, and now three months seems optimistic given the unexpected cancer diagnosis.

I'm family and houseguest both in a home where I feel often like a social anthropologist observing my sister, her husband and their 18-year-old son interact - "N., the graybeard alpha male whose interests center primarily around Youtube, Facebook, drug legalization, Argentinian tango and the 'stupidity' of politicians and religion quietly affirms his authority, while A., his long-suffering mate and primary source of hunting-gathering currrency exhibits occasional distress regarding 'working, going back to school, doing the taxes, their son's college applications, the laundry and the grocery shopping list...' Their offspring, M., seems however unusually well-adjusted and much like Jane Goodall's first breakthrough physical contact with a chimpanzee, he and I have bonded over the Keef Richards autobiography."

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to interfer with the daily routines and rituals but also knowing my presence is affecting a delicate choreography the three had long established before I dropped \like a disease ridden freeloader into their daily lives.

Then I got an e-mail from a Chinese friend in his 50s whom I've known since I first arrived in Shenzhen. He and I had been exchanging thoughts on our situations; his American wife and mixed race daughter have both abandoned him for the USA and he's also had some ongoing health problems.

Here's a recent one. It all kinda put my situation in better perspective.

Last month one of my friend's wife try to introduce her close friend to me after she learns that I am single. My friend lives in Fuzhou and we know each other for years. I do not know too much about his wife. They both are in their second marriage. It is not my friend's ideal, so I ask him to let me talk to his wife in phone. I am older than both of them, They are in their forty something.

First she keeps telling me how good is her girl friend, who is over 40 but still looks like in 30 ......
Then I told her, since I am your husband's good friend. I have to tell you all the truth,

First of all, I have no money, no saving, no house under my name, no property.......)
(this statement destroy the first line)
To knock the second wall, I continue

Second: My health is in a shaky condition, I have to take high blood pressure medicine every day, My neck spine has problem, the connections of my neck spine will lose the right position to cause balance problem and I will pass out from time to time.

I did pass out 2 times. Pass out will not kill me, but the sudden pass out will result in an accident. The first time is 2004, after the first pass out, I can't even stand up to walk, I can only sit there and move around very slowly, If I try to walk then I can't keep my balance. After a week, the phenomenon is gone.

When I passed out in front of (my wife), it scares her to death. She thought she is losing me. At beginning, I do not know it was caused by neck spine. The phenomenon just come and go all the time for years.

I also did not pay attention on it. It is like driving an old car. You know the old car has problems all the time, so I just did not feel well all the time.
Until one day, the phenomenon came back so I check in a small hospital to get a IV. It happens that the Dr. has nothing to do so he spent more time on me. After his serious check, he told me, "Maybe your neck spine causes the problem, not the middle ear, ( for I thought it was the middle ear has problems for years)" so I took x-ray.

The pictures shows is normal problems.
According to western way, I should have a surgery. It is risky and I can't afford it for I have no insurance and never have.

The Chinese way is to use a needle to penetrate into my neck to some extent and shake the needle to hurt me. The more hurt I got , the more cure I have. It will just last a few seconds. How much pain you can take it, it depends. Then Dr. will pull out the needle and press a vacuum cup to suck the blood out from the needle hole. To take how many needles. it is all up to you. He will charge the same any way.

To make my money worth so I always take the most I can take. Of course, if you are in a weak condition, he will not give you so many needles. Usually I will ask at least 5 to 6 needles.

After the needles and sucking some blood out then I feel much better immediately, The pain and the pressures on neck decrease a lot , even my eyes can see more clear. Then he puts a few band aids on my neck, It looks ugly.

This is not a hospital place, this guy works in home, A small apt in a village. this village is full of young hookers. Every thing is illegal in the village. the hookers are illegal business, the buildings are illegally built and the treatment is illegal too.
At first, I went once in a week for about 6 times. Now my condition is under control, because I know the pass out is caused by neck so I know how prevent it.

I stop going there, first, it is too expensive, he charges 200 RMB for every visit. if I want the needle in other place, he will ask more.

Second, he is an old man, his hand is not steady. I worry if he can hold the needle good every time. what if he miss and neck is a very sensitive place.
Now I go to the official hospital to get the therapy, they do not use needle, they press my neck . The treatment is not so effective as the needle but it is more safe and cheaper. Every visit is 60 RMB. Now I just have to watch my neck and if I do not feel well, I go to the hospital at once.

Except the neck spine, I continued telling her, I have to wear a mask to sleep every night, the mask connects to a air pump machine.Because I have the sleep disorder. It is sleep Apnea. I do not know it is CSA or OSA , any way, I have to wear the mask to sleep.

The most terrible thing I am afraid of is no power. If the electricity suddenly be turned off, I will be forced to wake up for no air. What if I can't wake up again. Remember my nose surgery, it does not work so I still have to use the machine to get to sleep.

There are other small problems, I do not bother to tell her, I only have 2 teeth left on upper jaw. I had 5 teeth pulled last year from upper jaw. I just have a new denture with 13 teeth on it after new year. It only cost me 1007 one thousand and 7 RMB. This is a killing price, no one believe it. Any way, next time I meet you, I will open mouth to smile to you.

Most of the time my dick is in coma. Of course I will not tell her .
After my confession, she become speechless.

I am thinking, if I give the story to Opera, her reaction will ask every one to pray for me.
So I would rather meet Jerry Springer, he will give me something to rock hard.
The other problems are too small to mention it.

No one wants to stay in a sinking boat. I have no life insurance, no property....., every day life looks like a ugly picture. under this condition,Of course (my wife) and (daughter) want to leave. No one wants to sink down with you, it is normal and acceptable.
This is my attitude: My loneliness and sadness are not shareable.

On the other hand, their departure is a relief to me. I am sad but easy.
One morning a moron called me, he wants to threat me , ( the other way is to say you win the lottery). In the phone, he threaten to against my family then I began to laugh , laugh very loud.

That is the best part of my tragedy. I have no fear already.


At least I have all my teeth, no needles in my neck and legal cheap medical care, though hookers might be nice... Others have urged me to get out and meet people but lacking a car and job at the moment, I'm not really feeling like prime socializing material, though I've worked out an honest opening line.

"Hi! I'm Justin. I'm here for colon cancer treatment at the VA and living with my sister. I'm unemployed with dwindling savings and dependant on her and my marginally employed bro-in-law for transportation! Wanna do lunch sometime?"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back in the USSA

To condense a long story, I came back to the USSA for hernia surgery at the Syracuse VA hospital (my sister lives here so I can stay with her and the VA is good, not like in "Born on the 4th of July") but was urged to undergo some other tests that "men and women over 50" should do and I hadn't and it turns out I have colon cancer.

Who knew? I didn't - no symptoms, overt, at least - which is a good thing as it is still in early stages I guess. So I wont start shopping for a designer virgin Spanish calf skin Rolling Stones colostomy bag yet.

Anyway, Im gonna be here for a few more months at least with stints at another va facility in fabulous Albany for chemo and radiation etc. My unintended tour of upstate NY continues...

At least there are good herbal connections here so I can use those to stave off the nausea. No medical m here.

And I didnt have to undergo what is literally called "an occult blood test" - no idea what it is but it was briefly mentioned and I imagined a dark hooded and shrouded "Balthazar, Lord of 10,000 Demons" coming into the examining room with candles to shove a crucifix up my ass while reciting the Lord's Prayer backwards or something.

So it well and eat lots of fiber, my friends.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Reason No. 317 Why China Will Never Be a True World Power
All dialogue guaranteed verbatim

I was waiting at my apartment for my China Air ticket back to the States to be delivered today when my phone rang.


"Hello? Is this Mr Peter Justin Mitchell?"

"Uh...yes. Justin Mitchell, anyway... Who is this. please?"

"This is China Air. You have a ticket delivery today?"


"I am very sorry. We cannot deliver today."

"Oh? Really? Why not? What is the problem?"

"Um...(silence) How to say? Our delivery bicycle is broken."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Like Starting Over

It was Wednesday February 2, Chinese Lunar New Year (Year of the ‘Wabbit) and I was at J’s apt with her husband, big brother, his girlfriend, an aunt and two uncles to for a traditional new year dinner.

Television was playing the CCTV New Year Gala – this year heavy on saluting migrant workers who’ve built these cities, if not on rock ‘n roll, on sweat, tears and blood and disenfranchisement, though you wouldn’t know it by the upbeat song and dance numbers – but no one was really watching.

It was only the second time in my years here that I’ve spent a traditional New Year’s night; the first was in Shenzhen where a “host family” – a wealthy, raving alcoholic I dubbed the “Strawberry King” because he apparently controlled the entire Guangdong Province strawberry trade at the time and who I later learned had been nabbed for corruption – and his long suffering wife and 16-year-old daughter hosted me.

That visit ended the next day when The Strawberry King began showing me his massive cognac collection and (presumably illegal) WWII-era Japanese shotgun and rifles. Guns and alcohol, I thought at the time. Not a good mix.

This was low key. Food – succulent fish, beef, and vegetables – was laid out when I arrived, though one uncle was “hiding” as J put it in a bedroom as I arrived.

“Where’s your other uncle?” I finally asked.

J smiled a little. “He is scared. He is hiding in the bedroom. He has never met a foreigner before.”

“I’m not here to loot the Summer Palace. Ask him to come out, please. I’d like to meet him.”

Who emerged was a stout, short grizzled guy of indeterminate age, though graying a bit in a buzz cut and what appeared to be a uniform of some kind. He smiled shyly. I smiled back and we shook limp hands and exchanged nei-hou’s.

He sat next to me on the couch and through J I learned he was working in BJ as a security guard after retiring many years ago from a grain distribution factory during the years when rice and other grains were rationed.

“So, his family perhaps got some extra grains?” I asked. She translated and they both laughed. “Yes, maybe,” she replied.

During dinner he and the other uncle broke out homemade “wine” (baiju) – more like white lightning steeped in ginseng and I joined them as J’s more urbane husband sipped some Great Wall red.

Toast followed toast as he almost simultaneously carved up a fatty succulent ginger flavored pork hind passing portions on to me saying how he never imagined he would meet a foreigner. Photos documenting the occasion followed and then he was on the phone telling friends and relatives he’d met a foreigner.

It was bittersweet for me, though, a closure that had repeated a beginning when I first arrived here and I was fresh to meet Chinese and seemingly they me.

What was really weighing was the fact that I’d just been let go at Global Times two days before, contract not renewed due to circumstances involving a delusional, power mad American charlatan, apparatchik Chinese chicanery, miserable management and my equally miserable misreading and mishandling of the whole situation as it unfolded and ended. I have several new employment possibilities, though none certain, nothing is here, and am returning shortly to the US briefly to regroup and re-enter.

I left with handshakes, loose hugs and smiles to a motel J had booked for me near her apartment to hole up as Chinese New Year blasted in. New Year doesn’t ring in here. It is a non stop barrage of artillery shells packed with paper instead of shrapnel that thunders throughout four nights and thuds and sputters during the days.

A few of the motel staff were laying out a 10-15 yard long line of high voltage fire crackers at the entrance like army machine gunners as I staggered in. I stepped over it just as the fuse was lit, hit the elevator, hit the sack and cried.