The Howdy TOP 10 (as chosen by, well, me!)

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…”

That was Walt Whitman, the famous “Song of Myself”, encouraging me from beyond the beyond not to be shy to tell you what I like, even if it’s me. Alrighty, then.

Even by Chinese standards, I’m a little slow to jump on the New Year’s Look-back train. Still, it was a good excuse to browse through some of my 2012 posts, and enjoy them as a reader. Here are ten posts that might be worthwhile reads for you, too, in reverse chronological order. )Some of them have pictures, my newest baby-step into on-line competence.)

1. February 1. “Not My Brother’s YMCA” starts as a Hong Kong travel piece, and ends in memory of a friend.

2. April 12. “Hessler’s Rivertown is a book review, part of a series I call “Better Read Than Never”, about a young American’s first two years in China. Peter Hessler went on to write two more books on this country, and he’s graceful and good. I reviewed four other books under the “Better Read” rubric last year.

3. May 19. “Why Do Men Love Sports So Much?”   is a lengthy answer to a question that is more important than it may sound. I put it in the “On Second Thought” section, ’cause it’s long and I’ve sweated over it. I should sell it. I should develop it into a book. I think it’s pretty good, but be warned: it’s not a tweet.

4. June 16. NBA Finals: It’s Morning in China” is another long piece, but sits in the “It’s All About Sports” section of the site. It’s a play-by-play, commercial-by-commercial, digression-by-digression log of watching a big NBA game from the other side of the globe. It tells as much about me, and about my views of China, as it does about LeBron. It’s a bit wacky.

5. August 15. “Driving Miss Piggy (Crazy)” is a light-hearted account of my pitched battle with the Chinese language, and some of the collateral damage from it. (Again, apologies to the lovely Ms. Zhu.)

6. September 19. “NINE-EIGHTEEN: Face to (Losing) Face in Asia” is a local glance at a consuming, nervous-making bit of political intrigue in the East.

7. November 17. “Is China Really Upside-Down?” takes a look at childish ideas of geography and global orientation in the light of my lived experience of what makes China deeply the same and profoundly different than my ol’ Canucky home. It got me thinking so much I had to post “Another Thing!” a few days later.

8. November 23. “Afternoon on an Overpass” brought me face to face with injustice and the bitter banalities of every day.

9. November 28. “Old Guy Glory: Still Got It! (One day.)” recounts the stirring and inspiring tale of an old guy showing the youngsters a thing or three. (Well, had fun.) One of these days there’ll be photo evidence. This giddy piece makes a good counterpoint to my recent court misadventures, and my scarred forehead is a fair argument against further foolishness. (But not a persuasive one!)

10. December 8. “Lightning in My Living Room” is my retelling of a remarkable, head-scratching, where in the world is this going evening in Apartment 902, a close encounter of the sectarian kind.

Are these my best? Heck if I know! as they may still say in the valley of the Grand River, back home in corn country. They’re ten I’ll stand by, anyway, which makes it a little easier to sing along with Walt.


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