There is a cycle within the Greek myths that I feel particularly close to, and that I find myself returning to with some degree of regularity. It’s the one from which I’ve taken the name I blog under (Icarus), one of my past girlfriends had a Lavtian derivative of the main female character (Ariadne), and I regularly used one of the stories from it when I was teaching (Theseus and the Minotaur).
Back in a previous life time (high school) this little blogger was an altar boy at his local Catholic church. I have no idea how I was roped into it, but it was a pretty good deal actually. For starters, you got to drink the wine come Communion time, and there was always an excuse during mass to go and hang out in the sacristy and have a bit of a chat and a drink with the other guys. This was particularly true when I graduated from junior to senior altar boy (from red robes to purple ones) and got the responsibility for swinging the incense burner, which had to be serviced continuously to ensure the coals were burning properly. Continue reading Out the Back for a Quick Swig of Red
I came across this last week (no pun intended) and thought it was worth sharing: Russian chess-grandmaster-turned-politician Garry Kasparov had a press conference interrupted by a flying penis. Some of the subtitling towards the end is a little lame. Continue reading Garry Kaspar’s Flying Penis
Six down, four to go. I’m not drawing out getting to number one because I have a tendency for melodrama (even though I do) but instead because in the great tradition of holiday slide shows, I didn’t want to bore people with hundreds of photos at once. Plus it would have been a pretty long blog entry and would have taken me ages to edit all the photos down to a manageable size.
I think we’re down to number four, which would have to be The Slightly Odd and Kitsch:
This first snap is from the zoo near Xian where we saw the panda, and also the monkeys in horrible conditions. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but there was a spruiker out the front (this picture isn’t the spruiker, it’s mum. Sorry mum, I bet you hate this photo. Just be happy I haven’t posted the one of you posing as a terracotta warrior) and they were trying to get children to come inside. So it’s either a day-care centre or a haunted house, I’m guessing.
And then we have a couple of dwarfs hanging out by their cottage. I found this in the middle of one of the beautifully peaceful gardens close to the Forbidden City. They were having a tulip festival at the time, as you can see from the foreground.
My uncle, Tony, is a bit concerned that I’ve got a thing for women with guns. That’s not entirely true. Demi Moore in GI Jane does absolutely nothing for me. I have though, developed a liking for oil paintings of Asian women in communist military uniforms holding some kind of machine gun. I can’t explain it really, and it’s probably best if I don’t try.
Number Three is Dragons:
I was in love with dragons long before I discovered that it was my animal in Chinese Astrology. Maybe it was because of The Hobbit. In true Libran arrogance, I’ve always thought the dragon was the best animal of all to be, because it’s the only one that isn’t real.
China played right into my hands here. The lovely beasts were everywhere, and evidently only the Emperor was allowed to wear dragons on his clothing (I think I might go put my dragon shirt on). This first one, in royal yellow, is at the Temple of Heaven Park and is made entirely of flowers.
When I was wandering around the Shanghai Museum, where this next picture was taken, I had a real ‘oh-my-god, I’m-an-idiot’ moment. It happened when I realised that there was a pretty good reason that the English called ceramics like this ‘China’. What can I say? It’s lucky I’m so pretty.
Dragons were all over the place. This next picture is some stonework on one of the walls of the Forbidden City.
And this one’s just outside of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
In Chinese mythology, the Dragon had nine sons, and the eighth one was a lion. Chinese Buddhism adopted these and so you can see lions like these stone ones all over the place. Usually, they come in pairs – one with its paw on a ball (like this one) or else on the belly of a baby lion.
Drum-roll please for Number Two in SansIcarus’s Highly Subjective and Totally Arbitrary Top Ten Reasons to go to China: the Bund Tourist Tunnel:
The Bund is a strip of colonial buildings alongside the river in Shanghai, and on the other side of the river is Pudong, which is high-rise heaven. You can take a boat across, or the subway, but that’s no fun! Instead, why not take a Halflife-esque capsule through a laser wonderland?
I’m sure that Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s heart is in the right place. He thinks a 7o% increase in the price of pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, like Bacardi Breezers and Vodka Cruisers, is going to decrease the amount of binge drinking that teenagers do. I’m not so convinced. Probably the best he can hope for is that he’ll reduce the consumption of Bacardi Breezers and Stolis, which isn’t such a bad thing. Those things are as much an embarrassment to quality alcohol as cask wine is. Continue reading Taxing the Night Away
Albert Einstein, arguably the best known scientist of the twentieth century and well deserving of the title of genius. He was a Nobel Prize winner in 1921, according to Time Magazine in 1999 he was the Person of the Century , and he’s also the creator of the special theory of relativity, which I kind of understand, but not really. Pretty impressive CV. Continue reading Genius vs God
So here is the second instalment of my Top 10 Reasons to Go to China, basically an excuse to post photos and video from my recent trip there. If you missed the first instalment, you can check it out here.
I’ve been to more weddings in the last month than I normally go to in a year – and the suit I bought a few months ago is getting more uses than any other suit than I’ve ever had. I’ve learnt to tie a bow tie, I’ve waltzed and I’ve met kooky uncles and aunties, which surely are a necessity for any successful wedding. Continue reading Goldfish in Love (or How to Tie a Bow Tie)
Leaving aside the obvious highlights (like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, which are good, yes, and certainly reasons to visit China), here is the beginning of the countdown of my China Top 10.