Dec 3 2019

Ukraine, Burisma and Hunter Biden

I was out for a walk after the first snow of the season while listening to the podcasts. I’ve been listening to NPR for a long while but never figured it out how not to replay what I’ve heard. And have no idea which and when the past episodes reappear again. One of the Planet Money episodes (#868) Moneyland came up today. I was about to change then I stopped, dead in my track. I remembered this piece well from last October (2018), because of the subject matter and lavishly interesting anecdotes.

Ukraine is a gut-rotten corrupted country, even the government couldn’t do a thing without bribery.

The reason for the episode was to a British journalist Oliver Bullough’s book, under the same title. Moneyland is an imaginary country where ill-gotten money around the world is resting safely and peacefully. The 12 minutes long episode on Planet Money was aired on 2018.10.05, (the 37 minutes Fresh Air on 2019.5.01) opening with the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014’s Euromaidan revolution (wiki). The protest began small, as he decided to ditch the EU and cozy up to Putin. As the protest grew bigger, Yanukovych was toppled and he fled his palace, hunting lodge… etc. in a hast where the gates were left wide open. The Ukrainian protesters and British journalist Bullough went in and saw the unbelievable lavish lifestyle, vulgar, trashy,  bling – the escaped president lived while the country was in ruin. There was the giant tv in front of the toilet, golf course, hunting lodge and sauna room where they dried the documents rescued from the bottom of the swimming pool. The docs showed Bullough the money trail. Having bitten by Yanukovych’s female press secretary once (on the shoulder, trying from stopping him asking touch questions) Bullough wrote, some the property isn’t even owned by Ukraine but England and layers of shell companies.

Ok, enough tidbits of the story to show how corrupted Ukraine was (or maybe is), which is what has stopped me dead in my track: it’s about the same time that Hunter Biden joined the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. Hunter has no experience in Ukraine, except he’s the then Vice President’s son. Does it matter if Joe the VP has talked with his son Hunter about Ukraine? I don’t think Burisma’s boss Zlochevsky paid Hunter $50,000 a month cared if the father and son had talked. All he needed was the fact, the son of the VP of US was on his board and that simple fact, worth $50,000 a month.

As I’m writing this, US Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of presidential race. Hmmm… IF president Trump has any legacy, I would like to think, he is very inspiring. He inspired twenty able and smart adults to believe they could become just like him, to live in the White House. And the fact that Michael Bloomberg is running at such late time, is because, even as the impeachment proceeding is going on, he feels none of the 20 comrades could NOT beat Trump. Just sad.


第一场小雪后出去走走,边听播客。收听这个台很久了,但一直不知道怎么设置不重复。 今天 Moneyland 金钱乐园 (?)又跳出来了。我正要删但是一听到’乌克兰‘我突然决定再听几分钟。这个去年的采访给我留下的印象挺深的。

乌克兰是一个烂透顶的腐败国家,不贿赂连政府都无法做任何事。英国记者奥利弗·布洛夫(Oliver Bullough)的香肩曾被亚努科维奇的女新闻秘书咬过一次(试图阻止他提问题 – 嗯 没有伤到肉 但是外套咬破了。。。咱中国大妈还有段路要赶喔)。 2014, 亚努科维奇决定倒向普京 (欧盟你见鬼去吧!)。刚开始只有少数人在抗议 但是慢慢大到‘欧洲革命’把他推翻了。速度之快他只能裸身奔向普京。他的宫殿,狩猎小屋等都来不及处理。 给他贫穷的臣民一个难得的机会去开开眼界 他们总统难以置信的奢华生活方式,粗俗,肮脏,金光闪闪。马桶前有电视机,高尔夫球场,桑拿房 – 喔在那里他们烘干了从游泳池底部救出的文件。亚努科维奇的贪和洗钱的轨迹一览无余。

简单的故事但是今天 另我想起来。。。大约在同一时间,亨特·拜登(Hunter Biden)加入了乌克兰能源公司Burisma Holdings。Burisma的老板兹洛切夫斯基(Zlochevsky)每月给小拜5万美元,他才不在意美国副总统与儿子有否谈过乌克兰;小拜在乌克兰没有任何经验也不会乌语也无所谓, 他那5万美金买的是副总统之子的牌子。

就在我胡言乱语时,美国参议员卡玛拉·哈里斯(Kamala Harris)宣布她退出总统大选。嗯…如果大嘴巴床铺有什么总统丰功伟绩的,我想是他很鼓舞人心。他启发了二十位有才能和聪明的成年人,让他们相信他们可以像他一样进驻白宫。20个人,去角逐一个提名 妈妈咪呀。彭博(Michael Bloomberg)这么晚才宣布他也竞选, 是不是因为,即使在弹劾程序还在进行中,他仍觉得20个同志中没有一个能击败床铺?真伤心。

Nov 26 2019

A winter sunset

The sun sets at different angle in different seasons – here was during the summer months. I sat out by the water to read, on a 60 degree day. 



Nov 24 2019

Night Falls on Manhattan

The sunset is beautiful. And where is Andy Garcia?


Nov 10 2019

Library’s sun rise

The sunrise @ the library. The bay is eerily quiet before the sun rises.


Oct 30 2019

Tianjin Museum 天津博物馆

62 Pingjiang Rd, Hexi
Tianjin, China

It was opened in 2008 within the Tianjin Cultural Center 天津市文化中心, which is centered on a man made pound. The locals aren’t too happy about the project because they took away a youth activity center or playground. 

The museum has 金石书香沁后人 周叔弢捐献文物与古籍特展 exhibit since Sept 29, displaying the rare books and collectibles donated by Zhou Shutao. Zhou was an able entrepreneur and top rare book collector in the country. Over the years, he had donated portion of his holdings to this museum and National Library in Beijing.  The past Zhou’s exhibits and lectures at TJ Museum:

The compound is large. An event was about to take place there. The admission to the museum is free but need ID card.


Afterward, we went to Zhou Xuexi’s former home

According to zh wiki, 天津市文化中心,是位于中国天津市河西区的市级行政文化中心。天津市文化中心四至范围为友谊路以东、隆昌路以西、乐园道以南、平江道以北的整个区域,总占地面积约90万平米。天津市文化中心的项目包括天津图书馆、天津博物馆、天津美术馆、天津大剧院、天津青少年活动中心、天津银河购物中心等。原有场馆有天津博物馆、中华剧院、天津科技馆。其中,原天津博物馆将改为天津自然博物馆的新馆址。天津市文化中心已于2011年陆续封顶,于2012年5月投入使用

Oct 14 2019

Sichuan Archives

A pretty depressing place. The guard at the entrance demands your photo ID. Entering the archives building, the bag scanner is asleep, so is the scanner.

档案馆 11:30-2 午饭;一天只能要求提交看档案一次 (馆员说 你可以提20条呀)… 他们什么也没有. 说 看晚清 还是去北京一档.

Oct 9 2019

Kailuan Museum, 2019

It’s my second time visiting Tangshan.

Last year I went on a Monday which is the Museum’s off day. Oh well, it says a lot about my ability. But thanks lord one of museum staff was very helpful and the rest was a story. This time, it was planned so I went on Wednesday -:).


Sep 29 2019


It’s my first time taking Delta to China. It offers direct flight from JFK to Shanghai (14:50). There are stopovers from JFK to PEK. My experience is both good and not too good.

A little jarring to see Elizabeth Holmes and Beethoven being side by side. They both were genius… 

The goodies: It’s inexpensive, especially when using my mileage. The food is pretty good: their  shrimp cocktail has the biggest shrimp in the sky. The service is very efficient. The wifi works for a little while then it disappears.

The bad: the entertainment screen is small and hard to use (the touch isn’t sensitive). They almost lost my two checked in luggage.

The lady who sat in my row from JFK to Seattle, asked me if I’m going home.

“Oh, no. I’m going to meet my DNA cousin.” I said.

Her eyes lights up and she grabs my hand tight, “I came to New York to meet my mother and siblings – I found them through DNA too.”

We hug and cry … and talk non stop.

As the door is closing, a young man came by our row, and sits down between us… and says politely, “please continue … Very interesting … I’m a documentary maker.”

On my way back home from Beijing, I ran into the same flight attendant who asks, “Where’s your companion?” She thought we were traveling together.

A small world, indeed.


Finding Nemo

小插曲 去西雅图的路上我旁边的女生坐下后客气的问俺是不是回家. 

俺 “不是喔 … 是去见基因找到的亲戚.”

她眼睛瞪得大大的 抓住我的手说 “我来纽约是见我基因找到的妈妈和姐妹…”

我们二个 哭做一团 笑在一起 … 记不清她是怎么找到家人的.

在飞机就要关门了 一小鲜肉气喘吁吁的坐下 在我们中间… 然后说 “妳们继续聊.” 停顿一下说 “我挺感兴趣的 我是拍纪录片的.”

下飞机时 他们告诉其他乘客 “让她先下 她去见家人…”

大家倒真是让俺先下了 …

回家的路上 从北京起飞又碰上了同一个空姐, 问 “你的同伴哪?” 


Sep 29 2019

Cutting the lines

JFK Delta (terminal 4)

China trip begins at JFK. It’s my first time using the service by the curbside. People working there are very casual and happy – they joke all the time and laughing. On top of that, they actually check you in, take your baggages and issue you your boarding pass or passes, in my case. But at the end, they also ask for a tip. I was a little dumbfounded but I thanked him and gave him $5. (The cart is $6 – airport charges cart … hmmm) Once in side, I saw the line to Delta check in counter is packed. Guess I was lucky to have chose the curbside service. I asked one Delta lady, “oh, they’re legit, our contractors …” And on the tipping side, she said they’re aware of it and will do something about it. “They’re being paid very little..” If tipping is expected, either raise their salary/wages or post it visibly so travelers wouldn’t be surprised?


Sep 19 2019

Blue Lobster Grille 

15 Dock Square
Rockport, MA 01966

Will return.

The decoration could be better but we certainly got the best table in the restaurant. The service is good and the food is even better. The fried Haddock is excellent!

I enjoyed a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Line 39, without any trouble – alcohol wasn’t too welcome in this little dry town:

In 1856, a gang of 200 women led by Hannah Jumper swept through the town and destroyed anything containing alcohol in what is called “Rockport’s revolt against rum” and banned alcohol from the town. Except for a period in the 1930s, the town remained one of 15 Massachusetts dry towns. The town remained dry for many years until 2005, when it was voted that alcohol could be served at restaurants. Sales at stores were not allowed until March 2019, when a local market was granted a liquor license and began to sell beer and wine.

Oh may I go at the right time -:)