Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Song Binbin.

In the past two years there have been three anomalous increases in readership of Public Occurrences characterized by an intense spike on one day and tapering off after a few days.  This "Song Binbin Effect" has followed writing here on the subject.  The last such post, mildly positive, eighteen words long, on February 15, 2012 produced no "Effect" but rather a persistent, sustained number of hits, 261 so far that, like a persistent cough, never went away but was neither curious enough to follow up on.  I hadn't googled Song since.  Then at 3:00 am today I got wide awake, decided to go to the computer and saw that of the minimal half-dozen or so readers, four had clicked on that February 15 post. Now with time to be curious I googled Song and saw the Bloomberg article. I felt the old familiar frisson rise in my gut. I bet there are other articles out there but I didn't check. I had deliberately not googled Song since February but like the persistent cough, the subject will not go away.

Elitism is prominent in Song's story as it is in China's. Both have been written about extensively here, most recently on the Bo Xilai affair.  Bo and Song are both "princelings," scions of powerful, revered "Red" families. Still, I did not know until I read Bloomberg that Song's family is one of the "Eight Immortals" in the People's Republic hierarchy. And so admixed with the familiar intensity of learning something new about Song was resignation as I stared at Bloomberg's graphics and realized how incestuously powerful these families are. How Song Binbin even got into the United States in the first place, the exasperated question that first drew me in, was answered with the clarity of getting hit in the face with cold water at 3 am. There is guanxi  and then there is Eight Immortals 关系 . I have been to the "headquarters" of Copia, Song's "Beijing-based technology company."  She didn't put her son through Phillips Andover or Stanford on profits from Copia. The office was a front, the only technology they had was a phone.  Nor did she pay for Jin Yan's education with her salary working in environmental protection for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Song and her family, like Bo and his, crossed the seas as Eight Immortals through guanxi.

Guanxi, deeply resented in the PRC, got Song Binbin everything she ever got in life.  She got into the best girls high school in the country because of her father the general; in which school Song became leader of the Red Guards;  in which school the first teacher was murdered by her Red Guard students at the start of the Cultural Revolution; which leadership got Song onto the rostrum overlooking Tienanmen Square thirteen days later; where Song pinned a Red Guard armband onto Mao Zedong. Youqin Wang, from the countryside, got into the High School for Girls attached to Beijing Normal University too--by getting the highest test scores in the entire country. Different strokes for different folks.

Song Binbin ran from her past in China as Song Yaowu, crossed the seas all the way to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, changed her name to Yan Song,  lived a comfortable suburban life in Lexington and Concord, cradles of the American Revolution, and educated her son. She then went back to China to live in wealthy retirement. It has been a life without consequences.

On Song Binbin

From Bloomberg News, December 26.
The Song family
Purged in the 1960s, Song Renqiong lived in a mud-brick house on a labor farm, later returning to power with Deng Xiaoping. Three of his daughters left in the 1980s to study in the U.S. and became American citizens: Binbin, a famous Red Guard, worked for the State of Massachusetts. Zhenzhen lives in San Francisco and is developing an e-commerce company. Zhaozhao is a nurse in Michigan.
Back to patriarchs


Huang Haixin

Song Qin


Song Xiaoping

Wang Tianxi


Cao Xiaochun

Miller Song
Song Binbin

Jin Jiansheng

Jin Yan
Song Yunfei

Guan Nanfang

Guan Chen

Song Zhenzhen

Chen Fang



Alan Lee Knaus

On Song Binbin

This and the following post are from Bloomberg News, December 26.

Immortal together
Like any aristocracy, the families of the Eight Immortals often intertwine. Connections found by Bloomberg News include business dealings, employers in common, ties to the same private or state-owned companies and diplomatic organizations, and even an intermarriage.
Hover on a section to see an entire clan’s connections, or click to see the clan’s family tree.
Hover on a circle to see one family member’s connections.
Hover on a line to see details of the connection.
Sources: Hong Kong corporate and stock exchange filings; Chinese corporate filings with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and stock exchange filings; interviews; Chinese off

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Space, the Final Frawn-tier.

Like ornaments on a Christmas tree planets suitable for human life are suspended in space in this artist's rendering. "Exoplanets" is the ugly name for these beautiful worlds. is engaging in another end-of-year tradition, predicting events in the coming year. 2013, tells us, will be the Year of the Exoplanet. "I'm very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year," predicted Dr. Abel Mendez.

If an "Earth twin" is found what will we do? Who's we? Chinese will do nothing. Will Americans, more broadly in Churchill's phrase, the "English-speaking peoples?" The British explored the world and peopled the "New World." The British exploration gene was magnified in transmission to their American offspring. Americans are the most inquisitive people on this earth. American We's are leading the search for Earth twins. Are we still young? Are we still energetic?  If we find other habitable worlds will we go there?

Friday, December 28, 2012

We express positive emotion in noting on this Blog of Record that a Youtube video has reached the 1,000,000,000,000 (that's billion) views mark. "Gangnam Style" is the first video to do this. The undersigned blog-of-record correspondent became aware of this achievement after approximately 999,999,999 views by others. He has since viewed the video. He notes that "Gangnam Style," which he initially understood to be "Gangman Style" until corrected, archly, by his 23-year old son and 16-year old daughter, is performed entirely in the Korean language. He does not understand Korean. He finds the video entertaining. That concludes this expression of positive emotion.

I Will Live Forever.

"Expressing Negative Emotions Could Extend Lifespan."
                                                                 -Science World Report.

Headline of the day.
It's after Christmas and before New Year's day. To be consistent with every other media source in America Public Occurrences will do a "Year in Review" consisting of the "Top Ten" in the following categories, for which we are open to nominations:

-Top Ten Most Boring Posts on Public Occurrences.
-Top Ten Most Stupid Posts on Public Occurrences.
-Top Ten Most Memorable Performances of The Nutcracker suite.
-Top Ten Best renditions of the "da-da-da-da-da da da da" part of The Nutcracker.
-Top Ten outrages contemplated on the Sugar Plum Fairy.
-Top Ten reasons why you dislike your iPhone, which I got for Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fifty-three thousand veterans attended the Great Reunion at Gettysburg in 1913, including 8,750 Confederates. 53,000!, which is still not as many times as I've heard the "da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da" from The Nutcracker but  I had no idea there were that many there. The reunion was capped by a reenactment of Pickett's charge immediately below which was followed by fraternal hugs and handshakes between the former combatants. The Civil War is the most written about subject in American history and only Jesus and Shakespeare have been more written about than Abraham Lincoln. I have been to Gettysburg twice, once as a child and once, a couple of years ago with mi amor CCC. Carmen and I walked across that wheat field. I remember standing on Pickett's end of it beforehand and being...overwhelmed. I called one of my brothers and choked up. To see what the Confederates had to do, the hopelessness of it. "Run ol' hare; if I was an ol' hare I'd run too," said one of them according to Shelby Foote. It was that way with my ancestor at Fredericksburg too. What were the generals thinking? The Civil War is difficult to comprehend, so much killing, so much destruction, but the most surreal is the 1913 reunion and how the nation bound up its wounds and became a singular noun, the United States.

You know what I'm doing now?  I've just listened to the (former) Soviet Union's national anthem and The East is Red. Nice musical accompaniment for Christmas Eve. Frigging Tchaikovsky.
The whole frigging thing. Not just that execrable "da-da-da" part. There goes that station for however long that thing lasts. Probably a couple of hours. Ah jeez. 

It just came on the frigging radio again.
Nice. Nice, really nice Christmas Eve thought. 

Is anyone else sick of The Nutcracker? If I hear that frigging "da-da-da-da-da da da da da" one more time I'm going to perform perversions on the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Two thousand years ago a child’s birth was celebrated. Throughout Christendom children have been celebrated during this season since. Believers and unbelievers together can celebrate that.

Merry Christmas to all readers and especially to members Melinda, Frida, Alix, Kenneth, Woyuanwoyan, 白日放歌须纵, Genxium and Yingxia. I am Benjamin Harris.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"I am not an ideologue," said President Obama to disbelieving Republicans in an early budget showdown. And he is not, on domestic issues.

He is on foreign policy.

In Obamaworld calling terrorists "terrorists" is discouraged. They are...differently-abled. In the president's State Department under Hillary Clinton, Pakistan was an ally and "Fight, Talk, Build" a strategy; Tahrir Square was filled with democrats and Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were moderates with whom the administration could work, and who were still deserving of American aid.

Clinton has now departed, Republicans (and some others) vigorously opposed the president's first choice, Susan Rice, as replacement. The president has now nominated Senator John Kerry. Under the foreign policy ideology of Obamaworld Kerry is the perfect choice. Influential Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham like the choice (and Republican Scott Brown's chances of being Kerry's replacement in the Senate). Foreign leaders like Kerry, they know him, they've talked to him.  John Kerry has got the "talk" part of Obamaworld strategy down; he'll talk to anybody. He was for talking with Bashar Assad before he was against it; he was for funding the Iraq war before he was against it.

Who amongst us doesn't like John Kerry for Secretary of State?  Here.

We're still here. What a relief. Sorry about that, Chinese. Ark as fishing boat?

Friday, December 21, 2012

This is the page they accessed:
Among visitors today was one from Reston, Virginia, United States Department of State. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of World. 结束的世界.

The end of the world has begun and it has begun in China. This is the first "live" image:世界末日已经开始,并已开始在中国。这是第一个“活”的形象:

Fly to the ark!  Fly to that red ark of those comrade guys! 飞方舟!飞同志的那些家伙,红色方舟!



End of World.

The word has gotten to some of the Chinese people. These guys have built this...craft in preparation. Bravo! CHINESE PEOPLE, IGNORE YOUR GOVERNMENT!  FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THESE COMRADE-GUYS!


End of World.

This is the last day; as this is written potentially the last eleven hours and thirty-three minutes (no one knows exactly when on December 21). Numerous credible reports have it that the end of the world will begin in China. Selfishly, I am hopeful that the beginning will end in China or at least that my condo is spared as it is paid off. The godless Chinese communist (really fascist) government has arrested 1,000 Christian members of the Church of Almighty God for telling the truth about this being the last day. The Chinese government just never misses an opportunity to save themselves. I hope the Chinese people don't miss this opportunity. Chinese people: THE WORLD IS REALLY ENDING TODAY. I'll put that in Chinese in the hope that the message gets to them:


Monday, December 17, 2012

I was an uncle at a very young age and was around my niece and nephew a lot. I remember once when I was in fifth grade, we had to sing a class song, My Bonnie lies over the ocean, and I teared up because my niece and nephew were moving away; my brother had been drafted and they were all going to the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Loved them to death. When my own first child was born it was like that part in the Wizard of Oz when everything changes from black-and-white to color.  My whole world changed. Talk about love, it’s a wonder my son ever learned to walk I was picking him up and playing with him so much. Peekaboo games, making faces, play “fights.” When he did learn to walk we’d play “hop on pop.”  I’d lay on the floor and he’d jump up and down on my stomach as I held his hands. I’d make “ooh” and “aah” sounds as if it was killing me. His friends too. And my daughter after that. When they’d hurt themselves I’d hit the floor or whatever they fell on and say “Bad floor!” and then pretend I had hurt my hand. That turned the tears into laughter. I could always make kids laugh.  I just love playing with kids. All kids. All those goofy games I used with my own kids I’ve used on others. I remember a park at dusk in Santiago de Cuba. I saw a little girl with her parents across the way. I smiled and bent over and clapped my hands twice. The little girl looked at her parents briefly and then ran to me and straight into my arms. I swooped her up and tickled her tummy with my head. I remember an outdoor art class on a Saturday in Beijing, China. I saw two little girls—twins.  I gave them my mischievous Dad-grin and they squealed and laughed and ran off while I mock-chased them. When (if) I ever retire I want to be a playground monitor at the grade school my kids used to attend. So the massacre of twenty six and seven year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut was the worst public occurrence of my life.

These are pictures of six Newtown kids I was able to quickly find online. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Susan Rice, American ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn from consideration as Secretary of State. The New York Times cited "relentless opposition from Republicans" over her handling of the September 11, 2012 attacks on America.

It wasn't all from Republicans.
The organizational meetings of the Egypt thing and the Berkeley thing will be on December 20.
They will be over by midnight.

End of World.

The world will end on December 21. As the end of the world is a public occurrence and this is Public Occurrences we note it.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

And the "Bishop George Berkeley Society for the Advancement of Knowledge of Bats."

Public Occurrences is pleased to announce the formation of the "Egypt-America Friendship Committee."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is he pointing at?  What are you pointing at dopey, stupid person?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Or would it?   Ah, you see, that is a good question. "If a tree fell in the forest and there was no one around to hear it did it make a sound?"  That was Bishop Berkeley's question. That is a different but similar question. Bishop Berkeley's question went to the nature of the physical world and of human knowledge. Sound is detected by one of the five senses. If no homo sapiens heard it did the frigging tree make a sound? Not to us homos. What if a frigging bat heard it? Then in frigging bat world it made a frigging sound. Who cares? Now, a Berkeleyan formulation incorporating protesting Egyptians would be "If an Egyptian protested and no one was around to hear him (or her) would he (or she) make a sound?"  This is a tremendous formulation of the question because it incorporates modern content-blocking software which was not available in Bishop Berkeley's time. As in Bishop Berkeley's original formulation incorporating trees the answer would be no as to humans, however it would be as to bats. But the point of Bishop Berkeley's question went to the nature of all human knowledge, not just what we hear. So, I, Benjamin Harris, have not heard with my own ears a single frigging protesting Egyptian. But I still know about it, i.e. it is within my knowledge as a homo, and is no less aggravating that I don't frigging actually hear it. So Bishop Berkeley's literal question reduces human knowledge to the sense of hearing which is really frigging stupid of Bishop Berkeley and is also aggravating. However, Bishop Berkeley's question is more fundamentally inapposite to our question which, reformulated, is "If protesting Egyptians are public occurrences are non-protesting Egyptians public occurrences?"  This question leaves out bats and confines itself to humans. It is a less stupid question than Bishop Berkeley's because it deals with all five human senses. It is also a more subtle question because it confronts us with the relative importance of all the zillion frigging things comprising human knowledge. So, protesting Egyptians have been public occurrences because it was unusual, it was outside the norm. Normally Egyptians just sat there looking at the Pyramids with their fingers up their asses. Egyptians with their fingers up their asses was not a public occurrence. Then they started protesting and that was unusual. Protesting Egyptians became public occurrences, Egyptians with their fingers up their asses ceased to be public occurrences. Now that Egyptians have been continually protesting for two years protesting Egyptians are relatively non-public occurrences and non-protesting Egyptians are, relatively, public occurrences. So that's the answer to the frigging question. 
No protests in Egypt, now that would really be a public occurrence.