Aug 16, 2008

China's Image

Bernardo Cervellera of Asia News writes of Chinese hoaxes at the Olympics to preserve the Chinese image, including:
...the fireworks displays seen on television all over the city were not real, but were generated by computers. The illusion was necessary because on the evening of August 8, the Beijing sky was cloudy and hazy - because of the pollution and heat - and visibility was poor.
The Washington Post also reports that ethnic children were not really members of Chinese ethnic groups, but were actors. [Well, if your historical practice is to deceive, it takes a while to learn to stop the deceptions.]

I often turn into China English TV to see what is going on and if China may be changing for the better (it is, but it takes someone smarter than I am to see how much of the change is both real and good). Invariably their TV ads are directed to showing China as a
tourist's paradise with peaceful blue lakes, green forests, scenic mountains, and clean air. Obviously, these are very selective pictures--as is the news that is reported.

A couple of days ago I was surprised that CCTV.COM presented a TV feature on the Catholic Church in Beijing that showed the South Cathedral, including Mass offered by a "patriotic priest." The program was unusual in that it displayed the addresses and telephone numbers of at least five Christian churches in the capitol city.

Retreating to Youth

This afternoon I pretended to be much younger than I really am (very dangerous!). Two ear buds were inserted and tuned to a local Kansas City country music station while I cleaned the car from top to bottom, just like I might have done 50 years ago (substituting a Sansa mp3 player for the car radio).

So what did I learn? First, I learned my arthritis and other problems don't bother me with lively country music sounding in my head. Second, my car really needs to be cleaned more than once every three years! Third, hazards are associated with ignoring REALITY, as taught by some country songs that I heard.

Country music is usually a good bellwether of civilization (or the lack thereof). One song by Brad Paisley struck me as a sorrowful window into the souls of many young people who (1) are lonely, (2) are unsure of their own worth, (3) want to be more than they are, and (4) are driven to exchange acting for reality.

The lyrics to Paisley's "Online" are sung by an overweight, five-foot-three, asthmatic youth who works at the local pizza place. On MySpace, he pretends to be six-foot-five, lives in Malibu, and drives a Maserati. Obviously, he gets the girls' attention with his lies and exaggerations. When he logs in every night, "I grow another foot and lose a bunch of weight."

Unfortunately, this sung fictional autobiography is typical of many young people today who waste their free time by sitting in front of computers, eating snacks, and making up stories about being someone they are not. I wonder if they can ever stop telling stories when they eventually get a girlfriend and wife. Doesn't anyone ever talk about "bad habits" anymore?

A second song may illustrate the unwillingness of modern souls to accept growing old and the reality of dying. "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" by Kenny Chesney ends with:
Everybody wanna go to heaven
Hallelujah, let me hear you shout
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now
I think I speak for the crowd.
A third song by Rodney Atkins, "Cleaning this Gun (Come on in Boy)", is more my type. A daughter is now old enough for dating and the father recognizes the young man needs a reminder, "she deserves respect, that's what she'll get!" Of course, the father is cleaning his gun as he talks to the boy! There will be REAL consequences if the boy does the wrong thing!

Lastly (if you've gotten this far), P_L_EE_AA_SS_EE listen to the music about two roosters walking arm in arm by Lewis and Lewis, two Christian country singers. My husband laughed and laughed--even though this is a very serious song.

Summer Vacation

My husband really enjoys vacationing in the mountains, his favorite cool place in the hot summertime. This year, the temperature in Kansas City was almost as good as Colorado, so we really didn't need to travel to avoid the heat.

We camped with two of our children and their families which turned out to be a great trip. The kids didn't want to come home!

The most beautiful scenery was on the the gravel road from Paonia Reservoir east to the town of Crested Butte. We saw aspen groves like I've never seen before. See the photo which is meant as a belated "Happy Birthday" card for one of our daughters-in-law!

For me, the best parts of our vacation were climbing to the top of the sand dune, hiking up the side of a steep mountain canyon to reach the top and further to a shaded, woody glen, and finally returning home quickly on a private plane.