Culture

China: Part VI – Feels Just Like Home

By Stump Connolly

I opened The Shanghai Daily at breakfast this morning to find the police yesterday seized 43 kilos of methamphetamine in a raid on a west side warehouse. Local officials are promising a crackdown on corruption. Real estate developers are being investigated for evading billions of yuan in land improvement taxes. And, below the fold, there is a map of street closings Sunday when 35,000 runners are expected to compete in the Shanghai marathon. Feels just like home. MORE...

China: Part V – The Silk Screen Version

By Stump Connolly

There is a version of China that lives on silk screens. Babbling brooks roll over smooth stones under century-old cypress set beside misty mountains. Peace, happiness, serenity and longevity live together in harmony, and our job as human beings is to appreciate it. MORE...

China: Part IV – A Potemkin Village

By Stump Connolly

I went to Xi’an looking for China’s past and came away with the eerie feeling I’d just seen its future. MORE...

China: Part III – A Visit to The Great Wall

By Stump Connolly

On the way out of town to see The Great Wall, we stopped at what are now the remains of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Staging the Olympics, showing the world China’s prowess as a world leader, was a major plank in the country’s economic plan for the new millennium. It led to massive new building projects, and none were more spectacular than the Bird’s Nest stadium where the opening ceremonies were held, the aquatic Water Cube for swimming events, and the dragon-headed office tower with its tail of three more buildings that dominates the skyline. MORE...

China: Part II – The New Economics

By Stump Connolly

One of my favorite China commentators is Peter Hessler, the longtime New Yorker correspondent who first came to China in 1996 as a peace corps volunteer assigned to teach English in the small town of Fuling along the Yangtze River.

In his book River Town, Hessler tells of arriving in Fuling on the day of the celebration of Mao’s Long March. All the townspeople were gathered at the university for a concert, so Hessler joined them. He watched as, one after another, each class took to the stage to sing a song celebrating the feat. The odd thing, Hessler noted, was that they all sang the same song. And as one group left the stage and another came on, they would exchange jackets so they were all singing it in the same uniform. MORE...

China: Part I – Follow the Flag

By Stump Connolly

At the Beijing airport, our guide Nina from Affordable Asia met us holding the flag of her touring company. She checked us in, putting a sticker on my passport to indicate that now and for the rest of the trip I would be #G6, and began lining up luggage carts for the 61 other people on our tour. When the last of our group arrived, we fell in line behind our flag, crossing paths with other tour groups with their own flags on the way to the tour bus parking lot, and I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if someone from Affordable Asia should get confused and wind up on a China Spree vacation. MORE...

BOOKS: The High Price of Anecdotal Evidence

By Bruce Jacobs

If all you know of methamphetamine is what you learned over five seasons of Breaking Bad, you are not alone. Solid scientific research on the effects of major illegal “drugs of abuse” on human subjects is rarely funded and even more rarely publicized. MORE...

Me, I’m Faceless

By Scott Jacobs

I was standing on the back porch on one of the last pleasant nights of the fall when I saw him through the gangway reading the newspaper over a garbage can. I watched silently, and he read silently –– for what must have been five minutes. Finally, overwhelmed by curiosity, I went out and introduced myself. MORE...

That’s Our Bernie

By Scott Jacobs

Last week, Chicago’s notables gathered at the Shakespeare Theatre to celebrate the life (and death) of Second City founder Bernard Sahlins. Actors flew in from Hollywood to laud their mentor and friends told funny stories. And I have a couple of my own that I don’t think anyone has heard before. MORE...

As Seen on TV

By Scott Jacobs

With all the filming going on in Chicago this fall, it should not have come as a surprise that the cast and crew of Chicago Fire would eventually find their way around to visiting my favorite Bucktown diner, The Fullerton. MORE...