Jokes about a desperated town

It’s the third day of this new semester. Today, I finally got to meet the teacher and classmates of an independent study course.

During the class, a classmate brought up a topic about Flint, MI. Well, I used to think this is a lovely small town since it is the hometown of one of my previous roommates. However, all I knew from this classmate today is that, this town actually became a place of high murdered rates.

“You will get a one out of nine chance being murdered if you choose to live there!”

Then, jokes were brought up on how to survive in there.

“Before you making a decision on living there. First, you got to check about your roommates, see if you can run faster than they do. Even if you cannot outrun them, you should make sure you can trip them! YOU CAN NEVER OUTRUN A BEAR!”

When classmates were laughing on the jokes. I was wondering what happened to Michigan. Before I going back to Ohio, I had read the news that Detroit was declaring bankruptcy and Detroit was a pretty dangerous place in the US on local newspaper in Shenzhen, China. But now, Flint? How many other towns in Michigan or Ohio are facing the similar situation?

It is really sad to see a town becoming this because of its financial problem. For Michigan, maybe that’s because of the falling down of automobile manufacturing. But for the booming real estate business in China, which was described as the biggest economic BUBBLE ever in human history by some experts, I hoped what happened in Michigan won’t be replayed in China.

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LA Express

Sunshine, Coconut trees, Clean. That’s Los Angeles!

That’s my second visit at LA. On my way to my motel, I chatted with the cab driver who is from Hungary. She had blonde hair with a strong English accent and had her cab parked in a parking lot instead of the common expected place by tourists. To be honest, that made me feel unreliable when she said she was a cab driver and willing to drive me to my destination right out of the airport (without sitting in a taxi). She has been in US for 25 years, she can speak several languages, such as English, Hungarian, German and Russian. She said she had been to lots of cities, and she loves LA the best. She said she liked the way people live in LA, living alone (not close to any family member), driving to anywhere, meeting lots of International visitors and getting different cuisines from all over the world. Even though she expressed how much she loved this city, I still can feel that she lives a kind of busy life. “Work, Sleep, then Pay the bills.” Since I am from the place that housing price is ridiculous high, I ask if she owns a house in LA. “NO, NO! That’s impossible! But I keep staying in the same place, even the landowner raise the rent.” I was shock, even in LA, driving a luxury taxi, still have to live like this? This is just the way how people in Shenzhen or Hong Kong live. “Work, Commute, Sleep then Pay the bills.”

We also talked about food. She strongly recommend me not choose any GM-food. “Get organic food, although they are 3 times more expensive, it tastes really different and make me feel good and different.” “Do you know why there are so many fat people in US? Because they eat those poisoned food. Hungary is getting more and more fast food restaurants today, lots of young people are pursuing American lifestyles, and that’s not good.”

Lots of people are pursuing their favorite lifestyle all their lives by visiting lots of place and getting to know lots of people. Maybe after years, they might find that a simpler lifestyle is the best.

You will never know how HUGE a park can be until you are in Central Park

When I was in NYC, I visited Central Park three times. However, I only visited 2/3 of it.

The first time I visited Central Park, it was a nightfall when I just finished walking around the whole Chinatown and Little Italy in Manhattan. Since it was pretty late, I just walked through a corner of the park. However, beyond my imagination, carriage with horses pulling before was appeared. I was trying my best to figure out it was the year 2013 then because stuff like a carriage should be something be seen in 19th century before Model T was created. This was my first experience with Central Park.

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For the second time I visited Central Park, It was a sunny morning. There were lots of food stands selling hot dogs, waffles, gyros, coffee, etc. around the Sherman Statue. Most of the food stands’ vendors were foreigners (at least have strong accents). The park was very beautiful in a sunny day. There were visitors feeding ducks beside a lake, musicians playing instruments. Something interesting was that there was a cowboy dressing guy playing John Lennon’s song next to the Strawberry Fields. That’s almost where I decided to end up my second trip and started taking a visit to the upper west.

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For the third time, I forgot why I visited Central Park. Maybe it was because I failed to get into the American Museum of Natural History. It was a chilly afternoon, I stopped my trip along the reservoir. I found that New York City has a really great walkability and its totally different from a typical Midwest town.

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A lonely Thanksgiving

As was introduced by a Texan when I was in Shenzhen, Thanksgiving Day is a day about family hanging out together, eating turkey, watching the parade and American football. Yes, it is true, however, not really a good day for foreigners, and for some Americans as well.

The campus was literally a ghost town on Thanksgiving Day. When I was walking around and trying to get some food, I did think about some scenes in The Walking Dead. Very unfortunately, all the stores were closed on this meaningful day, which started from the story that Native Americans giving food to the Pilgrim colonists who almost starving to death in their first winter on this new land. Maybe they do have a bad memory, because apparently Native Americans became their enemies afterwards. And on this Thanksgiving Day, all the dining halls were closed. Don’t they have any idea that they still got foreign students on campus? Therefore, I had to end up eating popcorn and donuts all day. What made it even more ironic was, Charlie Brown was serving his friends popcorn on TV when I was eating popcorn. By the way, the commercials on TV about Black Friday made me sick! Yes, buy more, and throw all the stuff away in the coming year and welcome to the malls again in the next Thanksgiving.

Hopefully this will not happen again.

American football game

我相信,在美国,无论您处在哪个地方,不接触任何与美式橄榄球(美式足球)有关的事物是几乎不可能的。从电视节目到新闻网站,到报纸甚至到超市的日常用品等等,您都能接触到美式橄榄球的痕迹。如果您了解美式橄榄球,甚至是某个球队的球迷,相信您一定能和很多美国人有很多话聊。

当一个地方要举办美式橄榄球赛时(特别是大学联盟的橄榄球赛),无论那里平时多么冷清。在比赛前,那里会变成欢乐的海洋:游园活动;免费的食物摊;拉拉队表演;军乐团的演出;城镇居民全家老小的聚会;各种商家的宣传活动等等,基本成为了一个城镇或者社区的节日。

比赛的排场很大,各种造势仪式也很宏大。比如说,一般都会组成一个上百人的军乐团演奏激昂的乐曲(球场太大了,很多地方还是听不到百人乐团的演奏)。球场的观众席在重要比赛时座无虚席,很多人还只能站在走道上看比赛。进场的球迷通常会穿着其支持的球队(通常是主队球迷占据绝大多数)的比赛服或者纪念衫,或颜色接近代表支持球队的颜色的衣服;戴上各种夸张的假发;甚至不穿衣服只是在身上涂上代表支持球队的颜色等。当然,球迷的声音永远是比赛中最重要的一部分,声势一致的加油口号,各种脏得不能再脏的脏话(无论男女老少都喊)都能在观众台上听到。当然骂脏话也是球场文化的一部分,我在深圳看足球赛时也遇到过类似的情况。据说,疯狂地骂脏话主要在死敌之间的比赛(一般死敌的定义是:两只球队所在地相距比较近,比如2小时车程。由于距离近,死敌之间比赛时客队也会带上自己的军乐团和拉拉队在主场观众面前『耀武扬威』)时比较常见。

美式橄榄球的规则相对简单,在我看来就是力量和速度的较量。由于过于『暴力』,在历史上曾屡次更改规则以减小球员的严重受伤、甚至是死亡机率。在大学联盟里表现出色的球员有机会入选美国职业橄榄球联盟从而成为职业球员。在美国,一般橄榄球队实力较强的学校同时也是教学实力较强的学校。因为只有这些学校才有更多的资金、资源去挑选更好的学生(素质更佳的球员),同时提供更好的训练条件。

Big 10 联盟(这是NCAA里头在中西部较有影响力的一个American football联盟,最牛的联盟是SEC):(学校/昵称)

  • University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign/Fighting Illini
  • Indiana University/Hoosiers
  • University of Iowa/Hawkeyes
  • University of Michigan/Wolverines
  • Michigan State University/Spartans
  • University of Minnesota/Golden Gophers
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln/Cornhuskers
  • Northwestern University/Wildcats
  • The Ohio State University/Buckeyes
  • Pennsylvania State University/Nittany Lions
  • Purdue University/Boilermakers
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison/Badgers

(数据来源:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ten_Conference)

美国体育和中国体育的差别,我感觉还是不小的。在美国,无论大城市还是中小城镇,都有球队能把居民给凝聚、串联起来,有比赛的日子往往就变成了一个城镇的节日。同时,我认为当地的体育活动也很好地促进了当地的经济及就业。而在深圳,有几个深圳人知道深圳有一个Shenzhen Ruby Football Team (soccer)呢?而Shenzhen Ruby的比赛观众席通常都是空荡荡的,即便免费也没多少人愿意去看。也许,时间能改变一切吧。