Thursday, January 24, 2013




BEIJING, Jan 24, Huaxin News Agency - Beijing is to institute a new system of “naming” heavy smog days in order to make it easier to historically identify them, officials announced today.

With days of choking air pollution becoming more frequent, and with authorities having recently begun tracking developments long term, it has been agreed upon that a better means of identification is needed, similar to the naming of hurricanes and cyclones. These will be enacted for days when the pollution rating is a ‘hazardous’ 300 or higher.

“In order to chart the progress of harmful particulate matter in the air, it is necessary to have a clearer system to remember the worst days,” said Mr Hao Kongqi, spokesman for the People’s Municipal Consultative yet Autocratic Citizens’  Council for the Monitoring of Airborne Matter that Could Cause Cancer and God Knows What (PMCACCMAMCCCGKW).

“It is not very specific or useful to merely say: ‘The day when it was 500 or 600’. I’m like: ‘Which one?!’”

As of February 1 heavy smog days will be given a male or female name in the same way intense wind events are given names, such as Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Tracy.

“For example, a day like we had on January 12 where the pollution rating reached 755 might be called ‘Motherfucker Bob’,” Mr Hao said.

Mr Hao said the list of names was currently being drafted, with different categories used to reflect different levels of pollution. Real names might also be borrowed to reflect intensity. Days in the 400-500 band, for example, could be named after some only slightly nasty historical figures.

“A 600 might be called ‘Joseph Stalin’, ‘Pol Pot’ or 'Jack The Ripper', whereas a 450 might be called ‘Junk Yard Dog’, ‘The Undertaker’ or “The Young Sean Penn’. We could also have Chinese ones – a 500 day called ‘Gang of Four’ for example.”

Mr Hao said an initial list of 1000 names would be drafted, “which should last us a couple of years at least.”

January 13, 2013: 'William the Bastard".

Meanwhile ...

Amazing! This pollution reading was sent
in by avid reader Stone Cold Paul McKenzie.
The fanciful zero reading was seen as proof
that Chinese authorities had hacked the US
Embassy's pollution monitoring website. The
Tiger Father got all hot and sweaty and was
all set to bring you this scoop, when
McKenzie contacted him again to say he'd
forgotten to press the 'load' button. When
he did so, numbers filled the screen!
Thanks for nothing, Stone.

However, this was the true reading today.
Typical! I'd just written this piece
on a naming scheme for smog days, when
a stiff nor-wester came in! Still, we love
windy days. As we sing over here
Let it blow, Let it blow, Let it blow!

A favourite face mask of mine, modelled
in our home by our Chinese teacher,
the beautiful Han 'Howlin' Wolf' Xiwen.
And that's the last we'll say on pollution.
Promise. Unless it hits 800.


(Or outside of Canada, 'Out and About').

Seen on the same shopping strip ...

Are you one of those people who likes to make your
own generator at home? Look no further!

Decorate HER license plate this Mother's Day!

For the woman who likes to be reminded of whales
when she's out buying clothes in China!

And just around the corner, it's the ...

For when you need to get
really f**ked-up!

Meanwhile, remember this?

Yes it's those crazy folks who like going to Ikea for a sleep, featured in my old post "What are these people thinking, going to Ikea for a sleep????"

(Simply search for IKEA in the search window at right, or copy this link If the hyperlink function on this blog platform ever starts working I'll let you know).

Well this week we can report that the bar has been well and truly raised, thanks to these magnificent Ikea pics sent in by frothing-at-the-mouth readers Brooke McConochy and Juliet London-Fog.

The poor thing must have travelled a long way to get to
Ikea, only just having enough energy to get to the bed.

In this critic's eye, this is a great pic which, for its depth-of-field and feeling of sheer desperation, evokes memories of this all-time favourite from a McDonald's restaurant.

Mid-text, mid-burger aaaand zonk!

But the winner, for composition and sheer gall, has to be this Ikea fan:

"Can you tell me when all these people are going to leave?"
"Well they're shoppers, sir. We don't close til midnight."
"Oh for the love of God!"