Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Picture this.

Nasa, United Newsreels, Department of the Interior.
As Gavin says, hours of fun.
National Archives
Thanks, Gavin!

Monday, February 27, 2006

MTR system map

Above is a regular map of the local mass transit railway (click on image to enlarge). However, there's now a meme going: devising anagram plans of assorted tube, metro, mass transit and underground train systems.
The idea may have been inspired by Simon Patterson's The Great Bear, purchased by London's Tate Gallery in 1996: Tate/Bear.
But whoever it was decided to do their own version -- an anagram one -- and put it online for general enjoyment.
Evidently, what is suitable for a public gallery is not suitable for elsewhere: Transport for London has unleashed its legal rottweilers. So, the site has now gone down. No problem. The London Tube anagram plan is now mirrored here.
Lots of people have joined in -- a new Tubeway Army -- and it's fun if you know the places concerned.
If you're going underground, why do you need bother about geography? It's not so important. Connections are the thing.
Harry Beck, designer of the classic Tube map
For more about the London Underground:
Mapper's Delight and Tube Map Variations
As of today, there are two, yes, two versions for Hong Kong. Who ever you are, thank you!
Invisible Company
Notes from a Cube Dweller
Cube Dweller's has stations on the Island line which go from A Hen Swung, through Cal Rent, Dirty Lama, Inca Haw, A Saucy Way and all the way to Wah Inca. Oh, and the/an anagram for Lantau Island. . . who knew?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

In praise of sushi

Mentioned a couple of weeks back how sushi is available from one of the food hawkers after 10pm on the waterfront of a little island in the South China Sea.
Well, guess what? Now there's a history of sushi, evolution of sushi, sushi goes global, local sushi.
Today's Guardian/Observer Food Monthly has a great article about, yes, sushi.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Belatedly, Happy Birthday!

Who wrote this?
Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.
Yea, verily, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It's from the first section of what is popularly known in English as the Communist Manifesto. A pamphlet, it was first published in German on 21 February 1848. An English edition quickly followed, most other European languages soon after.
Twenty-first February!
One hundred and fifty-plus years later, The Manifesto of the Communist Party is online at numerous sites, including: Marxists.org

Friday, February 24, 2006

Path finder

One of my regular ports of call is An Overgrown Path.
If you want to see why, click here.
One recent Overgrown Path post really caught my eye: Eric Whitacre outsells Mozart
Lots of stuff about Mr Whitacre.
Apparently, he is quite famous.
I had never heard of him.
Which says something about me, I suppose.
Anyway, it's a good read.
Toward the end of Overgrown Path's post, there is a link to an mp3 download.
So, I downloaded.
And listened.
Go down the path some more?
The CD is called Cloudburst.
It's on the UK's Hyperion label.
Hyperion: Cloudburst
Fourteen poems set to music.
Choral works. Choral, works.
What works opens with a poem by E. E. Cummings.
It's E.E. Cummings, not ee cummings, nor e.e. cummings, by the way.
Don't believe me?
Brothers and sisters, see here: NOT "e.e. cummings"
Anyway, I recognized the title of the poem, and decided it deserved a public airing.
A websearch will easily find it, but Cummings was a stickler for typography and whatnot, and several versions out there in cyberspace (does anyone say "cyberspace" anymore?) are somewhat careless.
So. . . what follows is what I studiously transferred from my E. E. Cummings 100 Selected Poems (Grove Press edition).
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Cool, eh?
Cloudburst CD?
My birthday is coming up soon. I may just very well treat myself.

One for the Brighton crowd:

10 February 2006:
Ensconced with Norman Cook, Simon, Tom, Jim and others at Norm’s studio overlooking the Channel in Brighton. My previous impression of Brighton was when I played here at the Dome a couple of years ago in the summer. At that time my daughter was appalled and slightly frightened by all the drunken women in town, weaving and tottering and vomiting on every street. Now it is quiet and peaceful and the sunsets are glorious.
Life, according to ex-Talking Heads' David Byrne
(You might also like to check out some of the rest of Byrne's site, including Radio. Lots of good music!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mao: symbolic acts

In May 1989, protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing handed over to the security police three activists who had thrown red paint at the portrait of Mao which overlooks the square.
Convicted of sabotage and counter-revolutionary propaganda, journalist Yu Dongye was sentenced to 20 years, bus driver Lu Decheng was sentenced to 16 years, and friend Yu Zhijian was sentenced to life.
Almost seventeen years after that symbolic act in the Square of Heavenly Peace, Yu Dongyue, the last of the trio, has now been released from prison.
During his detention, Yu was very badly mistreated. As well as suffering bouts of brutal beating, Yu was subject to electro-shock treatment, and spent long periods in solitary confinement. Sadly, Yu has been reduced to a babbling shell, a wreck of a man. He is now 38.
According to the human rights watchdog Dui Hua Foundation, this leaves about 70 political prisoners still serving time for the 1989 protests. Tiananmen's broken rebel is freed: Times Online

(Amnesty International? Please, press the button that's in the column on the right)

Neil Young?

And Crazy Horse.
Live in New York City, 1970.
Mister Bijou's hot pick: Cowgirl in the Sand, all 14 minutes and 42 seconds of it.
Hurry now while stocks last.
For A Perfect Echo mp3s.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hong Kong: Spiderman in court

The junction of Queen's Road Central, Pedder Street and D'Aguilar Street has long been the whirling kernel of Hong Kong's central business district. Lunchtimes, those streets and the ones adjoining are packed with office workers going about their own personal business.
Last 3 June, pedestrians and road traffic came to a halt when someone dressed as Spiderman appeared on top of the huge video screen on Queen's Road Central and unfurled a banner about the 1989 Tiananmen Square 4 June bloodbath.
The multitudes watched as Spiderman was soon joined by the members of the fire brigade (left) and police. Meanwhile, a huge yellow inflatable cushion was set up on Queen's Road Central. Road traffic was diverted.
Mr Pearce finally came down after his request for dim sum was granted. Whereupon the multitudes returned to the tedium of their fluorescent-lit, air-conditioned, windowless workplaces.
Now, Spiderman, aka Matt Pearce, is having his day in court. He is charged with causing a public nuisance:
Prosecutor Bina Sujanani said Pearce had failed to take into account the rights of the owners of the TV screen; the advertisers who paid for the use of the screen; the rights of the public to watch adverts on the screen and to shop; and the rights of the nearby shopowners who were affected by the disruption in the height of "golden" business hours.
Sujanani said Pearce's actions were not lawful ones that can be reasonably tolerated. She noted that a total of 44 policemen, firemen and ambulancemen were engaged for his action. She said his stunt was "nothing more than a prank."
Burkett replied: "Shopowners have to acknowledge there's no legal obligation on Hong Kong citizens to shop during their lunch break." He noted that anyone with the intention to make a purchase could still have accessed those shops.
"Thank Heavens," Burkett said, that Pearce offered lunch-time browsers an alternative to shopping, "either to shop, or watch the man on the TV screen. They chose to watch the man on the TV screen."
Report: Standard

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hong Kong inquest: Annie Pang

Although Annie Pang's (decapitated) skeletal remains were found in a Yau Ma Tei apartment owned by former chief secretary Anson Chan's brother in October 1999, it is only now that a coroner's inquest is taking place. This after previous decisions by both the police and coroner's office not to investigate the death.
Yesterday was the first day of the inquest. The story is all over the front pages of all the Chinese- and English-language newspapers. Standard.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hong Kong: Don't Touch Live Poultry

Hong Kong Government TV announcements have always had a flat-footed yet je ne sais quoi quality about them. That, and the near-ubiquitous John Culkin doing the voice over.
The official avian flu TV announcements continue that fine tradition, including the Grand Award winner in the Best of Public Service Announcements at 2005 Questar, New York: Prevent Avian Flu
Better yet: The Avian Flu Collection
Or, how about Social Harmony? Take Care of Your Own Belongings? Your Vote Can Make Hong Kong A Better Place? Hungry Eyes need look no further: TVapi.

BBC cartoon news

(to enlarge: click on image)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ferry fares up 6.5%

Price hike announced 16 February 2006. New fares take effect as of 21 February 2006.
Despite strong protests from islanders, New World First Ferry will increase its fares by an average of 6.5 percent from next week, affecting 30,000 passengers daily.
Read more: Standard
Central/Cheung Chau; Central/Peng Chau; Central/Mui Wo
(Adult fare: one-way)
Ordinary ferry
Regular: HK$11.30
Deluxe: HK$17.80
Fast ferry: HK$22.20
Sundays & Public Holidays
Ordinary ferry
Regular: HK$16.70
Deluxe: HK$26.00
Fast ferry: HK$32.00
Peng Chau/Mui Wo/Chi Ma Wan/Cheung Chau
(Adult fare: one-way)
Inter-island ferry: HK$9.20

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hong Kong battles bird flu

Or something.
Ban on backyard poultry: Hong Kong's Standard

Hong Kong Marathon: only one death

On Sunday, the 2006 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon took place in much less than ideal conditions: that day the local air pollution was the worst in the past five months.
Over 38,000 people ran. The men's full marathon was won by Simon Bor of Kenya in 2:14:18, and the women's by Dire Tune from Ethiopia in 2:35:01.
One of the other runners was 53-year-old Tsang Kam-yin, who apparently had a history of respiratory illness. He died early Tuesday morning at Princess Margaret Hospital , after collapsing unconscious Sunday at Ting Kau Bridge, Tsing Yi, during his third marathon, having completed about 13km of the 42.195km race. At time of this writing, cause of death unknown. Inquests, medical and otherwise, to follow. Meantime, condolences to Mr Tsang's family.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Shipping News

No, this is not about that fine book by Annie Proulx. This is one of those 'six degrees of separation' thingies. And one of those 'if a butterfly beats its wings in the Amazon' thingies.
So Nick G is on an island-bound ferry and bumps into a M, who works for a shipping company on the Big Island. So far, so good.
As well as her regular grind, M, it turns out, has been dealing with the collateral damage that happens when a very big container ship runs aground on the coast of Mexico.
Among the customers who had cargo on the grounded vessel is one who had a container-full of frozen Thai shrimp. Sure enough, the refrigeration soon went down.
The shrimps? They gently cooked as they sat in the container that sat on the ship that sat on the sea-washed sands that sat on the sun-bathed coast of Mexico.
Result? Extra paperwork, phone calls and emails for the harried Ms M.
But ship ran aground, you say? Turns out it is one of those huge 550ft-long, ocean-going behemoths that weigh 15,000 tons and carry 30,000 tons of cargo. Takes five miles to stop, etc.
Unless you run it onto a beach, that is.
Or, rocks.
Usual story: sailing under an Antigua and Barbuda flag, owned by a company based in Bremen, Germany, chartered by a global transportation company, APL. The 25 men board were also an international group with the captain and officers from Croatia, first engineer from Poland, crew from Myanmar (Burma).
The ship went aground at Ensenada, Mexico.
On Christmas Day.
Christmas Day? Too much Christmas cheer? Who knows?
San Diego Union-Tribune is covering the story:
Tugboats tug and pull (14 January 2006)
Crew's Testimony (23 January 2006)
After helicopters, plan B (9 February 2006)
Another view: Gringo Gazette North
It's rough out there, the cruel sea. Plus, there are all sorts working the shipping lanes. A year or so ago New York Review of Books carried a review of a book about that -- The Outlaw Sea: Chaos and Crime on the World's Oceans, by William Langewiesche
The NYRB review is now in its pay-per-view archive. No matter. The book was very recently reviewed in the Guardian by Nicholas Lezard: the wide anarchic sea
Thanks for the news, Nick G!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Truth in advertising

Feeling hungry? Lots of good stuff here. For starters, try Treet

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spring Lantern Festival

Being the fifteenth day of the first lunar month in this the Year of the Dog, let the multitudes go forth and celebrate Spring Lantern Festival.

Consumer watch: the only red lanterns on a little island in the South China Sea are the ones left up from Chinese New Year. Oh, and I think they made this up:
During the festival, singles gather to play matchmaking games with the lanterns, to determine who will be their lover.
Switched on swingers? Here? I ought to get out more.
Anyway, tonight, there is a full moon.

Midnight munchies

Midnight, Saturday.
Feeling peckish, I took myself down to the waterfront to buy some sushi off the hawker who sells the stuff between 10pm and 2am.
Take away.
Salmon, eel, fish roe, and some shredded octopus.
Ms Hawker always sprinkles soy sauce over it all, then always asks me if I want wasabi. As usual, I reply in the affirmative, adding that I only want a little. She proceeds to drop a great dollop of the green stuff onto the sushi-laden polysterene tray. I smile, say 'thank you', and hand over my money. She puts the tray into a plastic bag, hands me the bag. We both say 'thank you'. In English and Cantonese.
Come home, eat the stuff.
Germ killer

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Serenity Prayer

Ah, the so-called Serenity Prayer.
The first time I came across that prayer it was in a novel I read a long time ago: Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. A great book.
You know what? Thirty years later, Vonnegut's book is still a great read.
And that prayer? First time I read it? All those years ago? It never registered. Words on a page. Read, forgotten.
A good long time as well as a lot of water (and other stuff) had to pass under the proverbial bridge before I was re-presented with that prayer. But at the moment that happened I knew I needed to know it. I didn't fully understand it, but I knew I needed it as one might need a compass to traverse unknown territory.
Ever since, I have meditated on it, studied it.
What does 'God' mean?
Good Orderly Direction?
What does 'grant' mean?
What can I change?
What can't I change?
What about 'me'?
Me, physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Attitudally? Intellectually?
What does 'accept' mean? What does 'serenity' mean? What does 'courage' mean? And 'wisdom', what about wisdom?
And I have asked all in supplication, in moments of need.
Used that prayer, let it use me.
So it goes: Wikipedia
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971): Wikipedia

Friday, February 10, 2006

Imelda coming to Hong Kong

One of life's mysteries -- or is that one of the mysteries in my life -- is why Imelda Marcos was never hung from a lamp post on one of Metro Manilla's fetid, rundown, ramshackle, trash-ridden streets. Neither her nor her husband, Ferdinand.
(Plundering politicians: the Top Ten)
Instead, they were allowed to flee the country for Honolulu, courtesy of the US military, in late February, 1986. Ferdi died of ailments in 1989. Imelda?
Alive and well, and back living in the Philippines. Actually, she's not so well:
In recent months, the ex-first lady has suffered from various ailments, among these are her recurrent dry cough and persistent knee problem.
The solution? A spot of medical tourism:

The 76-year-old widow of the late Ferdinand Marcos faces a string of civil and criminal charges relating to her husband’s $683 million (euro 571 million) Swiss bank deposits, and needs court permission to travel abroad.
Marcos’ physicians, Dr. Roalito Anastacio and Dr. Christopher Lai, medical practitioners based in Manila and Hong Kong, respectively, made the recommendation for her to seek alternative medicine in the Chinese territory.

For bail conditions: Manila Standard Today

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tittle tattle

This will probably be of interest only to those who have ever had a drink or three in Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club.
In the High Court, Clare Hollingworth vs Ted Thomas.
Report in Standard.
Better report, I don't rob old ladies, says PR guru. SCPM, via UCLA's AsiaMedia.

Unscheduled outage

No idea how the blogger/blogspot one-hour 'scheduled outage' went on Monday, but Mister Bijou woke up the following morning with a swollen and sore throat, watery eyes, nasal congestion and a racking cough. Not much of an appetite for life, nor even for a mug of fresh coffee.
By late afternoon of the same day, exhausted and whacked out, only bed beckoned as the best place to be: fully clothed, under two duvets; mostly drowsy, past caring.
However, somewhat more chipper by Wednesday lunchtime, a trip to the Out-Patients Department at the public hospital on a little island in the South China Sea seemed like a good idea.
Possibilities of avian flu, and all that.
Whatever, I felt dreadful.
A doctor's diagnosis? The common cold.
Yes, acute nasopharyngitis!
Wah, I rarely get such things! I thinks that's partly because I eat fairly well most every day -- plenty of fruit and veg.
But also because I lead a quasi, hermit-like existence -- only occasionally venturing into Hong Kong and so am not regularly and constantly exposed to the myriad things that circulate in the city's mass transit, buses, ferries, offices, restaurants, cafes, classrooms, lift lobbies and lifts.
Anyway, back to business.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blog maintenance: scheduled outage

The people who host this blog -- Blogspot/Blogger -- are doing some network maintenance between 7-8pm Pacific Standard Time, Monday, 6 February 2006.
They call it a 'scheduled outage'.
Just so you know.

Opening lines

Yet another list.
This one is the '100 best first lines from novels'.
I hazard the people who did this ranked them as they sought fit.
Mister Bijou's favourite is at #15.
A novel list: LitLine
Make this Mister B's 101: We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. -- Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971)

Mister B, phone home. . .

Looks like the life of my mobile phone's rechargeable battery is just about spent. No surprise really, I have had the phone (and battery) for at least four years. A standard Nokia, it has provided good service.
So, replace the spent rechargeable battery or buy a new phone?
Buy a new phone. During the lifetime of my mob, battery power has got better, newer phones have increased memory and can hold more phone numbers -- I have nearly a 100 in mine, and could easily input more -- and text messages.
But which mob? Much as I covet my neighbour's phone, a mob with a camera and video, I am reluctant to lay out the humongous amount of cash required.
Time for a little online research.
First, with my network service provider.
Then cast a wider net.
A barebones, no-nonsense Nokia 1110
Even better, I can order by telephone, locally: eXpansys
And they'll courier it to a little island in the South China Sea, even better and better.
It'll take nine days to arrive, but I can make-do with what I have till then.
Cool, eh?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hey, dude!

Met and spent a good amount of time with a guy in the late 1980s who was from Irvine which, I learned, is in southern California. He made me laugh a lot, taught me much, and I will be forever grateful to him. My SoCal pal used the term 'dude' with all and sundry. Also, memorably, 'chump dust' for cocaine. Awesome, dude -- with and without the comma.
Anyway, although the David Bowie song All the Young Dudes made famous in 1972 by Mott the Hoople is unaccountably absent, here now is the story of dude - its rise, its role, its rich history as a word: Guardian.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Household bird-keeping ban imminent

There was a time when it was quite common, on a little island in the South China Sea, for people to keep and raise chickens on their rooftops or balconies. That time is long ago gone. With the passing of the generations, such poultry keeping fell out of fashion. These days people keep their poultry in the freezer.
But, most surely, things are different in the New Territories, which has its fair share of poultry people, Arthur Daley-type second-hand car salesman, and farmers who have grown rich through filling in their rice paddies and turning the space into storage for shipping containers of uncertain origin.
Anyway, household poultry-keeping is set to be banned to reduce the risk of a bird flu outbreak in Hong Kong: news.gov.hk
Ah, but racing pigeons may be exempted: news.gov.hk
Within the past several weeks, dead wild birds -- a crested myna and two oriental magpie robins -- have been handed over to the authorities in Hong Kong. The three deceased tested positive for H5N1.
Several chickens in the New Territories have also now keeled over. Mind you, they were in that dodgy border area near Shataukok.
Notwithstanding, plucky Hong Kongers continue to shop.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disney theme park in trouble, again: IHT

Record fine for Hong Kong-based miscreant

MSC Ship Management Limited, a Hong Kong-based container ship company, has pleaded guilty and sentenced to pay a [US]$10 million criminal fine after admitting to engaging in conspiracy, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, false statements and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
MSC Ship Management admitted to charges that a specially-fitted steel pipe, referred to as the “magic pipe,” was used on the MSC Elena, a 30,971 ton container ship, to circumvent required ship pollution prevention equipment and discharge oil sludge and oil contaminated waste directly overboard.
Environment News Service
MSC has an office on Queen's Road Central: Hong Kong Shipowners Association
A private company, MSC's headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland: MSC

Friday, February 03, 2006

Final flight

At first glance it looked like ominous evidence that bird flu had struck at the heart of Europe: 40 songbirds were found dead in a residential district of Vienna with no obvious explanation for their sudden demise.
Guardian. Thanks, Barb!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Those cartoons

Mo 'toon porn: over here
Plus, thoughtful analysis by Mona Eltahawy in Lebanon's The Daily Star

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The True State of the Union

Paul Craig Roberts:
Gentle reader, if you prefer comforting lies to harsh truths, don't read this column.
Read this column: Counterpunch

Make mine a Curry

Excellent review by William Grimes in today's New York Times of Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, by Lizzie Collingham.
What could be more Indian than chilies? Yet before the Portuguese arrived at the beginning of the 15th century, Indians had never seen or tasted a chili, a New World spice that Columbus called "pepper of the Indies." The heat in Indian dishes came from a red pepper known as long pepper or from the black pepper familiar in the West.
In addition to chilies, the Portuguese brought carne de vinho e alhos, or pork cooked slowly in wine vinegar and garlic. Local cooks in Goa, Portugal's trading headquarters, reinterpreted the dish. They fashioned an ersatz vinegar from tamarind, and threw in lots of spices, especially chilis. Thus vindaloo, a corruption of vinho e alhos, was born, and with it a new traditional Indian food.
Ms. Collingham, the author of "Imperial Bodies: The Physical Experience of the Raj," ranges far and wide. Her subject is much larger, in fact, than curry. She traces the evolution of Indian cuisine, its often bizarre cultural exchanges with the invading British and its eventual export to the world outside. She roams geographically from the northwest frontier to the shores of Sri Lanka, and historically from the culinary innovations of the Mughals in the 15th century to the triumph of chicken tikka masala, which Robin Cook, the British foreign minister, hailed as the new British national dish in 2001. Along the way, she sometimes loses the narrative thread, but the byways and even the dead ends tend to be intriguing.
Curry is not, strictly speaking, Indian at all. It is a British invention. From the Portuguese, the early British traders learned to apply the word "caril," or "carree," incorrectly, to sauces made from butter, crushed nuts, spices and fruits that were then poured over rice. (In various South Indian languages, "karil" or "kari" referred to spices for seasoning or to dishes of sautéed vegetables or meat.) Eventually, the word evolved into a catchall. "Curry became not just a term that the British used to describe an unfamiliar set of Indian stews and ragouts," Ms. Collingham writes, "but a dish in its own right, created for the British in India."
Read more: New York Times
A quick check of the Guardian shows that the book was published in the UK in August 2005, with the title Curry: A Biography. The Guardian's reviewer, Kathryn Hughes, it has to be said, turns out a bit of a dog's dinner: Guardian
What else? The NYT review mentions the culinary impact of the Jesuits in Goa, India, in the 1400s. It has been a habit of mine at dinner parties, for some years now, to openly speculate about the impact the Portuguese had on Chinese cuisine.
After all, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci arrived in southern China in 1582, in Beijing in 1601, and died in Beijing in 1610. What link, if any, did Ricci, or other Jesuit missionaries, have with today's spicy, chillied, hot Sichuan/Szechuan cuisine? Still no answer, yet.
Heck, a bit more of Grimes:
In their clueless search for palatable food, the British managed to invent curry powder, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup (made from mushrooms until tomatoes became popular in the 19th century). Most impressively, they also turned India, where scarcely a cup of tea was drunk before 1900, into a nation of avid tea drinkers.
No mention of Marmite or Weetabix, though.

Interactive Mona Lisa

The several moods of La Giaconda: The interactive Mona Lisa - Mona Lips-synch - Exhibition Images in Paris - Cité des Sciences, France

Grave concerns

A four-man team equipped with drills, electric saws, knives, and toy guns had a crack at the grave of Li Ka-shing's wife during Chinese New Year. Tomb raiders story: [Hong Kong's] The Standard. The newspaper's report ends:
A fung shui expert was quoted in a Chinese newspaper as saying that a vandalized grave will lead to obstruction of fortunes for later generations, while the act of vandalizing a grave will lead to those responsible dying without sons.
Shareholders of Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, Hutchison Whampoa Limited, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited, Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited, Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited, Hutchison Harbour Ring Limited, Tom Group Limited, CK Life Science International, (Holdings) Limited, Tom Online Inc as well as youngest son Richard Li Tzar-kai's PCCW Limited and Pacific Century Regional Developments Limited, take note.
Li Ka-shing: Wikipedia