Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sex, Denial, and Rain, in no particular order

The Mandarin is in Bellevue, Washington for a few days, attending the annual meetings of the American Literary Translators Association (or ALTA). Think rain. For an airplane book for the flight from beautiful downtown Burbank, the Mandarin splurged on a copy of Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. The Mandarin was hard-pressed not to think of Hot Shots, Part Deux, but managed to keep from giggling as he paid the $30.00.

Well, reaching page 180 out of 560, the Mandarin has got to say, some of us knew all along these guys were incompetent idiots, but reading it chapter and verse is kind of a vindication. If it is Mark Foley's flirtatations that are the last straw for the Republicans next month, well, whatever it takes. But compared to a pitiful middle-aged pedophile IM-ing teenaged boys about their "wood," the stuff in this book is effing dynamite.

By the way, the opening night of the ALTA conference was led off by a group in Swedish costumes singing Swedish songs in Swedish. No subtitles. The roof was leaking above my table, and the little drops hitting the tablecloth every minute or so became a kind of a bilingual version of the Chinese water torture. (Or agressive but fully legal Chinese water interrogation method, as Shrub now calls it.) But despite the Mandarin not understanding much Swedish (the Mandarin has owned eight Saabs, though), it was great fun and a good way to get into the spirit of the conference.

Tomorrow, things should liven up a bit. The Mandarin is giving a bilingual reading in Tibetan and English of some poems by the Sixth Dalai Lama of Tibet (died 1706), an extract from a much larger set of poems coming out in book form next year, if the Mandarin can get time to review the page proofs. And later that day, unless James Dobson or Jerry Falwell shut us down, the Mandarin's explicit presentation on sexual themes in Classical Chinese poetry should bring a blush to the tender cheeks of the masses.

Film at eleven.

And, way to go, Jeffrey Sebelia, winner of Project Runway and actually a really nice guy when you meet him in person.

No comments: