Monday, August 18, 2008

More Olympics

Alice watched the ladies marathon 'tother day as they ran through the Temple of Heaven gardens and as they whizzed through Tsinghua University. I object to the whole Olympic thing - still put off by the fact dogs are not welcome. Not one in sight. I suppose it is too hot for dogs?
Random thoughts by Alice-- That white Pekingese in Beijing with a summer clip seen by Irene. The Tibetan Spaniel Alice saw her first morning in Beijing, trotting along on leash outside the Temple of Heaven wall. White with chestnut spots. Fluffy.
The two Papillons near her hotel. One white. One pale chesnut. Little tongues hanging out, panting.
Apparently in Beijing, dogs are not very welcome. All must be rather short. All must be walked only on certain streets at certain times. Always on leash. Always accompanied by their person with the dog papers. "Papers! Now! Show your PAPERZZZZ!"
The Olympics authorities demanded dogs be taken off the menus in that Northern Capitol city for the duration of the Olympics. As I say, not a place for dogs.

Alice is still mad she did not hear Ode of Joy at the Olympic Cermemonies. Lip-synching by an actress replacing a singer whose teeth were not approved at the very last minute by a Politburo member. (You just can't make this stuff up, says Alice.) And, she really can't stand the medal ceremony music. Bland-o-rama, she said. Loops too quickly, too.

The horses at the Olympics seem to be having a good time. Lots of vets. Lots of air conditioning. Water misters. They all looked great and seemed to be happy. Alice approved of the orange jacket worn by a Dutch rider for the stadium jumping contest.

Must think ever more positively, I say! So, Alice says she liked the fact a lady runner ran in a short skirt yesterday instead of in her undies as many seem to do. Would be interesting to see a lady dressed like this riding or throwing a javelin.
Better, of course, to be walking a dog INSIDE the wall of the Temple of Heaven. Stretching out for a cool under the covered corridor by the temple watching the man water paint on the smooth stones.
How about this idea: a marathon dog walk event? With stops allowed for tea and water breaks for walkers and dogs. Wouldn't that be great! Wouldn't that be better, humans, than running in your undies without your dog and collasping from heat and pain? Paper parasols for sunny days could be allowed.
And forget rhythmic gynmastics. Dancing with Your Dog would be much, much better.

PS All us dogs got word from Herman, the bulldog, that he is glad his person - the Young-Man-Who-Smells-ALWAYS-of-Chlorine, can relax and hopfully have more time for his dog very soon. For the record, Herman would endorse any product that removes 100% that smell of chlorine from his person and does not make his person or himself itchy. And, yes, Herman would like to see a dog event at the Olympics, too. Walking? Crate napping?

And, of course, dog skateboarding. That white clipped Peke in Beijing needs a skateboard. Now!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Beethoven in Beijing

Here is Alice, fourth row from the back, fourth in from the right, at the Great Hall of the People last month. Ready to sing Beethoven's Ode to Joy and a new piece by Zhou Long in honor of the Olympics. She said the audience liked best an encore piece they did of a famous Chinese folk song about a jasmine flower.
But, a month later, what sticks in Alice's mind about that afternoon of practices and an evening performance is the Janitor-Banana Man. Under the stage by the performers' dressing rooms and don't-go-there-you-don't-want-know bathrooms, was a man handing out bananas from Del Monte cartons. Most everyone wanted one. Alice remembers getting one, saying thank-you in her best Chinese, and him looking at her like a sheepdog would a wolf while guarding a flock.
A bit later, some fellow singers got trapped on the "wrong" side of the Hall while looking for clean bathrooms for the audience VIPs. Three layers of uniformed soldiers prevented them from getting backstage despite their performers' passes until Mr. Janitor Banana found them and escorted them backstage. Alice does not think he is simply a Janitor.
The Great Hall of the People will always remain in Alice's mind as the Domaine of Mr. Janitor Banana, the savior of some fellow singers, and a man who outranks all soliders there.
Tomorrow, Ode to Joy will be sung at the Bird's Nest. Perhaps some of the singers from Peking University and Tsinghua who sang with Alice that night will be in the Olympic chorus? And maybe also with some of the wonderful soloists they had: Don Mingxia, Zhu Quiling, Chi Liming and Yang Xiaoyong.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Been thinking about Pika today. Normally, I ignore her. Haven't figured out yet what she sees in that "funky kitty" toy. Everytime she starts to explain it while clamped on the kitty she just makes sounds like, "Wuurf,hmmm,liiiiick."

Still I kinda miss her. Got used to having her around in my big grass yard last month.

Charlie Checkpoint and a Charlie Card

Alice has been singing the old Kingston Trio song, "M.T.A." to cheer herself up about that thin brown wall.
Poor old Charlie, who couldn't get off that Boston MTA subway train, stuck below without a nickel during a fare increase. A couple of years ago, Boston created the "Charlie Card" to allow riders to avoid having to deal with coins and tokens. Alice got to use one last year!
One day that thin brown wall will no longer have its East/West Berlin style Charlie Checkpoints and instead have simple Charlie Cards with a song as catchy as the "M.T.A.". Maybe there is already a good mariachi song for that? Or Texan cowboy lament?

Monday, August 04, 2008


Alice said the ground where she was this past weekend was 128F. Ouch! Why would any creature want to go there? Just "Mad dogs and Englishmen", said Alice. She took a photo for me. A thin brown wall, canals, huge fields with alfalfa, carrots on one side, smaller fields on the south. The smaller fields get less water than the ones on the north side of the wall. Alice said one day the people on the south side will start thinking Nanking. Unequal treaties. Mr. Diaz and his money in exile in Paris, France.
She was thinking about another wall - which did no good in the long run but become a tourist attraction long after people decided it was a waste of time to maintain it... She pointed an umbrella up to a tower where she walked on a misty and smoggy day. She only went up as far as the cloud floor.
Months beforehand, when the sky was clear on a cold Winter day, some other people had fun there singing.
Alice and I can't see people wanting to travel half way around the world to sing at the thin brown wall. If only 100's of mariachi bands could play at once, like Jericho's horn, that wall might come tumbling down. Yes, that is what I will dream about for that place.