Work on my own, Free Lance Author

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Culturally Which Item would you like to recommend and share genuinely from your country?

Whereas culture is a universal language and thanking the international platform that TED provides us. I would like to propose a new topic of conversation. Interested participants could inform about the more outstandind of their country: music, pictures, traditions, books, even films, all culturally open. If the references are visible through internet in a simple search that would be most appreciated.

Closing Statement from paco lopez

I want to thank all participants for their valuable contribution and to TED the opportunity to exchange views among so interesting people, really it has been a nice experience. Thanks to all of you.

  • Jan 24 2014: How about Copland's Fanfare for the common man or Appalachian Spring.

    How about Broadway shows, West Side Story, King and I, Oklahoma, South Pacific,

    Movies: The best days of our lives, on the waterfront, the grapes of wrath, the ox bow incident
    • Jan 24 2014: Good recommendations Indeed!! thank you wayne-
  • Jan 25 2014: Thank you Greg for your interest. I know your libraries are really excellent. In Spain good bookshops or libraries are mostly in the universities, not everyone has acces to them. I have seen in London some very good but for the rest of Europe humbly I don´t know.
    In Spain, we, culturally, have to educate ourselves because our Governments do very little,This country is in perpetual crisis. The spaniards generally read very little but who does it choose wisely.
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    Jan 21 2014: America is comparatively such a young country it's hard to forward anything as a lasting cultural contribution. Given that, I'll offer Rock & Roll music and American movies as our addition to world culture

    Johnny B. Goode (1957) - Chuck Berry

    Casablanca (1942) - directed by Michael Curtiz
    • Jan 22 2014: Many thanks Lawren. Firstly for your Thumb and secondly for your recommendations. I´ve watched Casablanca many times and in terms of Johnny B.Goode is one of my favorite songs, I like also the Elvis Presley alive version and overall that of Johnny Winter. As for you say that your country is Young, Yes, I would say "fortunately" because it is a relay in the cultural race. My opinion is that the U.S. culture is as valuable as the old one. The music of Philip Glass or Gershwin are very important. I felt excited listening to An American in Paris
      because for me it is a reflection of the dynamism of your country and the american people. I also admire Hopper and Rockwell paintings. We could spend hours talking about American Culture.
      Thank you again Lawren and I love your country music too. (even Dolly Parton!)
  • Jan 28 2014: This is my last contribution: Pete Seeger has just died. I´am very sorry. Where have all the flowers gone. We Shall overcome. He´s gone but his song and his memory remain with us.
  • Jan 28 2014: This conversation ends in a few hours. I want to thank all participants for their valuable contribution and to TED the opportunity to exchange views among so interesting people, really it has been a nice experience. Thanks to all of you.
  • Jan 28 2014: Hi Yoka. Thanks for your valuable contribution to this conversation. See you around here. to Know you has been my pleasure.
  • Jan 27 2014: Hi Greg. yes because this is now in the newspapers. Let´s see. This book was written by a Fench airman who lived in New York and it was in N.Y.where the value of the work was recognized and release worldwide. In Europe this book now is very important, is studied in schools for children but also in Universities: Now the original manuscript has been discovered at N:Y: Morgan Library. In Spain There is a saying that says "no one is a prophet in his own land"
    This is also valid for the whole Europe. This saying is what distinguish América as the land of opportunity.You, americans, appreciate what in other countries is ignored. So. This french writer and his book due to América its succes.
    The second point is that it is too bad that the Spaniards don´t read. Love gossips, football and sports is generally the main topic of conversation but number one is political corruption. My country is going through a very serious crisis and people prefer not complicate more their own lives.
    Many thanks Greg for your interest. All The best.
  • Jan 27 2014: Thank you yoka, a very spectacula video. I know the Beijing Opera and was very impressed but one of the things most impressed me of China was the real place of Emperor Qinshihuang´s mausoleum. In Xian. In a point of the journey the guide showed us a kind of mount where is supposed to be the tomb that may contain mercury rivers and sky made of gemstone.They think it might be one of the wonders of the universe. for discover.
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      Jan 27 2014: Yes, thee're so much good cultrual legacy in China.But when I said"last", I meant your thread had little time for me to introduce more,I'm on my trip to a hot spring far from Shanghai now.And I 'll have a rest without internet.:)
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    Jan 27 2014: And maybe the last but the best are Chinese tea and kungfu.:)
  • Jan 26 2014: Hi Pabitra, nice to hear from you again! Some Music for example Ravi Shankar? and... Vedas or Upanishads? for meditation. I will confess you I wear in my wrist a thing of your country. It is a "Kara" or bracelet sikh, they say it is a sign of being married with God, the bracelet has something written in your languagei, but I don´t know the translation. However I have read some about the sikh religion and I wear this bracelet with great pride. All the best! and many thanks for being here.
  • Jan 26 2014: Yes Yoka, and also my kitchen strainer. Kidding! All The best for you.
  • Jan 26 2014: Thank you Lawren I didn´t heard "The chicken version" Very peculiar. Glenn Miller, really a genius!
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    Jan 26 2014: Music and spirituality.
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    Jan 26 2014: And our Chinese characters are definitely genuine and creative in the world too. Haha....
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    Jan 25 2014: American jazz music:

    "Sing! Sing! Sing!" by Benny Goodman

    "In the Mood" Glenn Miller
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    Jan 25 2014: I believe American libraries are excellent, but I have no basis to compare them not having used libraries in other countries. Have you used them in multiple countries, Paco? How are Spain's? Also, our librarians are very good, smart and helpful.
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      Jan 25 2014: Great recommendation! The idea of a public library was begun by Benjamin Franklin, and I'm not sure how well the idea has caught on worldwide.
      • Jan 27 2014: Many thanks Lawren, very interesting. I will keep the link. I am very fond of Benjamin Franklin specially of his quotes, they are an example of wisdom for everybody.. All The best.
    • Jan 25 2014: Many thanks Greg for your thumb. Now see if you could introduce me to one of those smart nice and very good librarians! (just kidding)
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        Jan 26 2014: right if I get one for myself first?
        • Jan 26 2014: HI Greg. I agree but don´t forget me. All the best.
        • Jan 27 2014: Hi Greg!! Another success for your librarians: Today I learned by the newspapers that the Little Prince by Saint Exúpery is really a history of New York, "says Christine Nelson, curator of the new exhibit at the Morgan Library with the manuscript and the original sketches Saint-Exupéry. Congratulations!!
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        Jan 27 2014: I'm afraid I don't know the story very well. I was just skimming it on wikipedia but it is hard for me to see how it could be a history of New York. Do you know the connection, Paco?

        Do you think it's good or bad that Spaniards don't read that much?
  • Jan 24 2014: Yes, I agree, we are half made in China, that mostly happens today in every country. But as an example your genuinely american cars Made in Detroit , were at the time the admiration of the world as the Chrysler building in architecture, just to mention two examples. Best Regards
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    Jan 24 2014: Everything in my country has components of it that were made in different countries, or were made completely in other countries. Mostly China. With that being said I think the only thing that is completely authentically american are the animals that we raise in farms. One thing that I would not recommend from the american culture is watching television shows like Honey Boo Boo. Your I.Q. drops a percentage every time you watch American T.V.
  • Jan 23 2014: Many thanks Yoka. From your recommendation I kept this: "The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it "This is from your wikipedia link. I would like to be worthy of that luck. I am very happy to have you in this topic. Culturally, from China is not only about the Dragon is about the whole that interests me. Best regards.
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    Jan 23 2014: Hello, paco, thank you for telling me you're interested in the Chinese dragon. Dragons have represented the most superior power and royalty since ancient China. If a dragon is with a phoenix bird(a fiction too),they are called a happy and auspicious couple (dragon stands for the male,phoenix stands for the female)with a very pleasant marriage or wedlock---"龙凤呈祥".
    This is the detail for our Chinese dragon's long story:

    And the image of the pattern "龙凤呈祥"
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      Jan 24 2014: Finally it all makes sense to me now why a Phoenix is capable to arise from its ashes. Which, if not this quality, comes in more handy to be able to repeatedly kiss a fiery spouse?

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        Jan 25 2014: Lejan ., I mentioned public libraries in America. How are the public libraries in Germany?
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          Jan 25 2014: Hmm, my guess would be they are of usual modern technical standard and service.

          In my town you enroll for an annual fee of 22 EUR ($30) as an adult and it is free of charge for all books (except recent bestsellers) below age 18.

          Financially weak adults get freed off this fee or price reduction.

          The library holds a stock of books at place, but all libraries are connected, so if a book or other media is not available, it will be ordered from another library, usually within one or two days.

          The main focus is on regular books, which are free of charge as long as they are no current bestsellers. Also for rent are e-books, audio books, movies, music, board games and computer games, but for those a small charge has to be payed.

          If you like you can read within the library or take home what you choose. The usual lending period is 2 weeks, but can be extended if necessary.

          To find a book you desire, you either use open computer terminals to locate it within the library, or you ask for help at a service point where librarians will help you out.

          Ordering books in advance or from another library, extend lending periods, or to reserve a book for the next lending cycle can be done online from home with a user account one gets with registration.
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          Jan 25 2014: And this is how the library looks from the outside:

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        Jan 26 2014: so are you member, Lejan ., why or why not? In U.S., public library is free.
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          Jan 26 2014: They used to be free in Germany too, since austerity programs and tax spending focus changed by the influence of the current market economy, which marked my decision not to use them anymore nor to donate my books I don't need.
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        Jan 27 2014: so when they became not free, you ceased to donate books? What is the connection?
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          Jan 27 2014: I don't know the exact time when the policy got changed, but I used to donate books in the late 90s, then paused the use of public libraries for some years and learned about the change in 2009.

          The connection is simple, as my donation is free of charge, because this is what makes it a donation, I expect this intention to be kept.

          And as this ideal still is preserved at 'social warehouses', I give my books to them instead, because there financially weak individuals may come to enjoy and also to own them.
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      Jan 25 2014: Yoka, I mentioned public libraries in America. How are the public libraries in China?
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        Jan 26 2014: Whenever necessary. Thx~
  • Jan 23 2014: Hallo, Lejan. Delicate and poetic Song. Thank you for your contribution. It has been funny your comparisons between "nationalities" and attitudes of the dragons. Best Regards
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      Jan 24 2014: Well, the poetics is quite limited, as it is a children's song after all ... :o)
  • Jan 23 2014: Many Thanks Sarah Fryett for your Thumb. I am very honoured.
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      Jan 27 2014: Thank YOU, Paco :) You've enriched my life a little. I enjoyed the lines you posted, and it made me look into Leonard Cohen a little, listen to some YouTube clips that I really enjoyed, and I'm going to keep an eye out for Flowers for Hitler. What a pleasant conversation you've started! Many gems.

      While I'm here, I'll make a New Zealand contribution: "Slice of Heaven" by Dave Dobbyn - a classic peice of Kiwiana. Makes me smile every time I hear it. It's relaxed and good-humoured - some of my favourite Kiwi qualities (that's what I really want to share). The clips in the video are from NZ's first feature length animated film.
      • Jan 28 2014: Many thanks to you Sara for participating and contributing in this conversation. Your words are very appreciated by me because they are now part of the most beautiful they have dedicated me, ever! Thank you again because these words say a lot about the sensibility and the wonderful personality of the person (you) who transmit them.
        Talking on Leonard Cohen. Do you know the songs: The Partisan, Avalanche and Who by Fire.? They are very important in both, the message and the music
        Many Thanks for your link. The second New Zealand anthem!! Nice I really enjoyed both, the music and the accompanying cartoon.
        Nice to meet you Sara See you around.
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    Jan 23 2014: Well, probably not as old of culture as Yoka's Chinese cuisine and most likely not even close to its sophistication, yet in its simplicity and 'down to earthliness' I would like to share here a fresh and crisp loaf of German rye bread.

    It may not be the most representative of all possible German items, yet to me it was the one I missed the most when I lived abroad for some while at a place where nothing similar in taste was available.

    And it may well be, that it blends fine with some of Yokas delicacies and what you, Paco, may bring to the table.

    • Jan 23 2014: Many thanks for your contribution to this party. I really appreciate your bread but... In Spain we have an old kind or proverb wich says more or less: With bread and water you walk better the road. So don´t be so austere and bring us some wine from your country. What about a bottle of Georg Breuer from Rudesheim. (nice place Rudesheim) I do not know if is well written. or a Donhoff 2003. Currywurst would also be nice to accompany the bread. Regards from Spain (nearly your second home)
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        Jan 24 2014: I am sorry, that the item that I 'like to recommend and share genuinely from 'my' country' collides with Spanish proverbs, so I better walk the road then, as I am going to stick to it ... ;o)
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      Jan 24 2014: I think the German beer and its culture is very famous and unique in the world. What do you think?:)
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        Jan 24 2014: That may well be, Yoka, but I understood Paco's idea as to recommend and share items one personally likes and not to list the usual suspects ...
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          Jan 25 2014: It doesn't matter, I was just curious about what you think of the German beer culture.
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        Jan 25 2014: Then let me quench your curiosity.

        I neither experience nor taste any specialty in German beer compared to beer of other nations. And the beer grades I personally like are lager, ale and stout, which are not typically German.

        A Czech Budweiser or an Irish Guinness I prefer over any German beer I know.
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          Jan 26 2014: Thx for your candid reply.
  • Jan 22 2014: Many thanks Yoka. Mmmmm it smells good. Yes. This conversation is like a big party, everyone brings the best of his home and we all celebrate.
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    Jan 22 2014: As a foodie and a Chinese, I'd like to recommend you our Chinese Food.:)
    Chinese has a 5000-year-old food culture and the ways of cooking are very complicated. Color, aroma,way of presenting, taste of a dish are combined perfectly as a whole.
    We have 8 kinds of cuisines representing different characteristics in different regions. Hope you'll like them when you come to China to savor the authentic tastes of Chinese delicacy .
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      Jan 23 2014: 5000 year old food culture? Well, if I was a creationist, I would then certainly order a brontosaurus steak, thats for sure ... :o)
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        Jan 23 2014: 哈哈。。。haha...
        No, we are Chinese dragon, we can't offer dragon meat to you.:)
        Don't you know that China has a roughly 5000-year-long history?
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          Jan 23 2014: 日冰 ... So long a history and you still haven't figured out a less complicated way to write?

          Hmm, all right, maybe another 5000 years will do ... :o)

          On dragons, your and my culture seem to be on opposing sides because your dragons behaved nice and brought you fortune whereas ours kept kidnapping the most pretty and beautiful princesses, which, over and over again, had to be freed by brave and stouthearted knights. And once slayed, what do you do with all the meat? :o)
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        Jan 23 2014: Yeah, I know there're diffrerent images between the Chinese dragon and the western dragon. Yours is more like a dinasour(evil image), ours is like this(total fiction- with power and auspicious meaning) :

        Moreover,our dragon doesn't have any legends about kidnapping beauties. But if I had to deal with their corpse, I think I would try to study on if their meat could be extracted into some medicine to cure people.:)
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          Jan 23 2014: Well, being 'healed' from hunger would be a nice cure for any rumbling stomach, wouldn't it? ;o)

          And as dragons can usually fly, there is a great chance that it may taste somewhat like poultry? Hmmm, roasted dragon sweet-sour-hot ... ;o)

          As of the pictures, I like the first one better, as the second one looks more like a hippopotamus than a dragon and I am now certain that Chinese princesses lived a way more relaxed life than European ones, back in the old ages ... :o)
        • Jan 23 2014: Thank you Yoka for the accuracy on kinds of dragons. It is really true. Chinese dragon is not like the european, but what we agree is that they are both dragons. I have at home a Chinese dragon (ornament of course) and i didn´t know they were of a magical or welfare meaning?
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        Jan 23 2014: By the way, what is "日冰“? Is it German?:)))))))
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          Jan 23 2014: See, as I said, not even Google translation can get a simple phrase translated correctly into those cryptic signs ... :o)

          And even though it was a stable translation, meaning, that the signs didn't change in forward and backward translation, it seems to have totally missed the point ... :o)

          The input was a simple 'hihi' as an alternative to your 'haha' which as well is a way to describe laughter.

          So in went 'hihi' and out came '日冰', which in my language doesn't exist and would be interpreted as a very short ladder and a quite poorly sketched star ... :o)

          A makeover of your written language may not be the worst idea at all ... :o)
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        Jan 23 2014: :)). Ok, if you agreed to go back to the ancient time and starve for several days, I would consider being the white knight to save your life by offering you dragon meat .:)))))
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          Jan 23 2014: Yoka, as a knight - white or not... (actually, the horse is white, not the knight ... imagine how dirty your suit of armor would get even before you reached your horse) you look after princesses, not other knights - may those starve or not, as they are your competitors in the princess saving race ... ;o)

          But I appreciate your good will and sportsmanship in any case ... ;o)
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        Jan 23 2014: 哈哈。。。。your "hihi" sounds as sly as a fox---not Chinese language.:)
        In Chinese "haha" is 哈哈(Pin Yin is also "haha"),another word of a good laugh is "hehehe----呵呵呵” this one sounds better than "hihi". 呵呵呵呵。。。。。
        We also have "xixi---嘻嘻” to express a naughty smile. We can put "xixi"and "haha"together to compose a new phrase"xixihaha----嘻嘻哈哈“ means joking and laughing off. :)))) Do you understand? Hope you haven't got dizzy. 哈哈哈哈。。。

        I prefer a black horse , in Chinese a "black horse--黑马"means "dark horse" a very prospective meaning. And I'd wear white to be the white knight to save you.
        Dust is a decoration for my fame.You mean I have competitors? No, only I have dragon meat that can make me live for a longer time and after I saved you, I would have one more person to help me because I can't speak German, the princess is a German~!.:)
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          Jan 24 2014: I am not getting dizzy as long as I don't have to sketch those signs ... :o)

          To me the 哈哈 symbols look like two Chinese people standing right next to each other, both wearing this 'typical' Chinese hats. And in their right hands they hold up a rectangular box.

          The 嘻嘻 symbols look almost the same, also hats and boxes, but it appears to be some kind of blurry as if those people were shaking a lot. Probably out of cheer amusement?

          So the question is, whats in those boxes? ;o)

          About your knighthood it remains to be seen if you could gain any fame in saving me ... :o)

          And about princesses is to say that it also remains to be seen if you slayed the right dragon, ... but this only turns out in retrospect and after marriage ... 嘻嘻
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          Jan 24 2014: As a knight I would also have a black horse, but less for its prospective meaning, than for its practical use. White horses look way to posh to me. The only difficulty would be to find a black horse at night, I assume ...


          White I would completely leave to the princesses ... :o)
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        Jan 25 2014: You've asked a good question~! You noticed the "口”,which means mouth. When laughing, people use their mouth, it's related to the meaning. And the right part"合”,’“可”,"喜” indicate the pronunciations of"哈","呵"and "嘻". This is one way of our ancestors to invent Chinese Characters( pictophonetic). Many Chinese characters were created in this way.
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          Jan 25 2014: I see. So 合 is not depicting a body with a hat it depicts a mouth 口 with a hat.

          Then 哈 is containing two mouth? The bigger one with the hat on and the elongated one at the side?

          Then the answer to what is in those boxes would be teeth & tongue, correct? :o)
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          Jan 25 2014: But wait, if the resolution of my computer monitor is not fooling me, the mouth symbol 口 is not a perfect square, is it?

          The lower horizontal line is not joining the ends of the two vertical ones, is it?

          But then this would make for two fangs, one at each side of the mouth ... which would mean, that the symbol actually depicts the moth of a VAMPIRE!

          Have you felt any bloodless lately, Yoka?

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        Jan 25 2014: :) And the happy end of the story:

        I'll leave you to the princess after we've saved her, because I think you're single and more suitable for her--that's how I build my fame through saving your life. :) And as a return, you give me some treasures with some privilege and a piece of land to live my life. And then after I do my self-inspection, I go back to those knights suffering from hunger who also intended to rescue the princess. I give them some food received from you and princess . I show them the kissing photo of you two and tell them"game is over", they needn't waste time to continue their adventure. I'll give them some money too to let them return home safely. And at last you and all the knights become my friends for ever. hahahahahah.......

        I can seek a black horse in the day time. At night, I can let it laugh so that I can find it by its white teeth. :))))))
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          Jan 25 2014: Oh dear, Yoka, you certainly have to learn a lot more about the medievalism of European knights if you want to become friends with them ... :o)

          Quite an odd breed they are, proud and stubborn and would rather starve to death than to accept any alms, leave alone princesses they haven't freed themselves ... :o)

          But maybe your ability to make horses laugh draws their attention to you, from which friendship could arrive one day.

          Because if there is one thing European knights hate even more than dragons, it would be not finding their horses after nightfall ... :o)
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        Jan 26 2014: So what's your ending of the story? I'm looking forward to it.:)
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          Jan 26 2014: Well, you could have founded a school to teach horse spotting techniques to knights?

          Or you married the princess and together you were cross-breeding Chinese and European dragons? Lucky charms with guard dog abilities, maybe?

          Or you settled in France, with the princess, to found the first medieval fashion industry for armor? Creating the first trademark of white, light yet durable composite armor with a three year cleanliness warranty?

          Or you founded the first medieval franchise chain of Chinese soup & noodles kitchen for the needy ones? And instead of giving it all for free, you let the ones strong enough work on your fields in return, to give them work and purpose?

          Or you founded a school to teach the art of traditional healing methods of your nation?

          Or all together?

          And why does a story needs an end after all? Isn't it more interesting to leave it untold, so that imagination has room to fly? What do you think?
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        Jan 26 2014: "So 合 is not depicting a body with a hat it depicts a mouth 口 with a hat."

        Yes,It's another kind of inventing way of Chinese characters called "semasiography",here's the detail FYR.

        "The upper portion of this character is made up of three lines joined together to form a balanced triangle---indicating"together". The lower part is the character for "mouth":口。 Hence "合“ depicts three mouths together. The word means unity and understanding---a very rare occurrence, as the saying goes:"if three persons can agree entirely, then the earth can be changed to gold."
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          Jan 26 2014: Well, thats beyond my logic.

          If the triangle means 'together' and the symbol 口 means 'mouth', then I see no reason why the joined meaning would form 'three mouth together'.

          Where are the other two mouth coming from?
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        Jan 26 2014: "But then this would make for two fangs, one at each side of the mouth ... which would mean, that the symbol actually depicts the moth of a VAMPIRE!"

        Hahahahah..,....I've never thought like that~! So interesting~! When we write Chinese characters, we have strokes and their orders. We don't just sketch all the characters like a pattern or a symbol.:)
        So there're joints between each stroke.Here's the link FYR:

        And I'd like to introduce you another way of creating Chinese characters called "pictograph",which is really like some sketch of things. Here's an extremely interesting video with a story made up with 36 Chinese pictographic characters:
        You should notice the comparison on the bottom right of the different forms of these characters: one is original and ancient , the other is our modern simplified one. There's also Chinese music played by our musical instrument. Hope you enjoy it~!:)

        The characters are:
        日(sun),山(mountain),水(water),木(wood),林(woods),鸟(bird),象(elephant),草(grass),田(farm),竹(bamboo), 马(horse),夫(man),刀(knife),舟(boat),鱼(fish),网(net),燕(swallow),云(cloud),雨(rain),伞(umbrella),石(stone),火(fire),龟(tortoise),鹿(deer),豕(pig),叟(old man),虎(tiger),弓(bow),舍(house),羊(sheep),花(flower),门(door/gate),犬(dog),子(child),女(woman),月(moon)
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          Jan 26 2014: Of course you 'don't just ...' do almost anything, do you? :o)

          I think this knowledge alone about your culture would make me freeze to a complete paralysis if I was in your country in sheer fear not to insult your whole nation with the very first, unconscious move I made at the airport ... ;o)

          The video was enjoyable, although I have to admit, that as a foreigner to this language and if I had to learn it, I'd prefer the traditional symbols, as they are more clear to me.

          It also seems that over time a lot of curvature was eliminated from the symbols to come to a more linear, possibly more stroke friendly form of writing and more unified appearance? Form follows function approach?

          I remember an interesting movie scene where a warrior and calligrapher sits in deep meditation in front of a wooden framed sand pit to get to the final point of inspiration to draw a symbol of important meaning in just the right and only way. He sat silent for long and finally as suddenly got it done. I don't recall if this was a Chinese or Japanese movie, but I think both cultures value the art of calligraphy similarly.

          I very much liked the idea to train calligraphy by writing in sand, as paper was probably of high value in old days and reserved for mastery only, I suppose. The hero died of course at the end of the movie, but in grace and full honor ...

          As a child I was dyslexic and therefore struggled a bit to learn how to write properly. And this with an alphabet of just 30 different letters. But what would have happen with me if I was born in China? Totally doomed, I suppose ... ;o)

          But how do dyslexic Chinese children 'survive'? Is there a certain kind of training for them?
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          Jan 26 2014: Imagine the Chinese empire would have vanished centuries ago, like the Inca for instance and the only remains we had today was its literature.

          Would science be capable to encrypt and to read this language without lucky findings such as the Rosetta stone we had for the ancient Egypt language?

          I have my doubts it could be done!
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        Jan 26 2014: "Where are the other two mouth coming from? "

        The triangle has three sides that indicates there're 3 people. And with the part "口" below, you can imagine the meaning is three people's mouths. It's not a pictue, it's combining meanings together to make a new word.
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          Jan 26 2014: I see, so its meaning is not just 'together' but 'together threefold'. Ok, that logic I can follow.
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        Jan 26 2014: "And why does a story needs an end after all? Isn't it more interesting to leave it untold, so that imagination has room to fly? What do you think? "

        Yeah, no ending is a happy ending~! It's nailed~!
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        Jan 26 2014: Yes, Chinese characters are very difficult to learn if you aren't used to them. But if you arrive at our airport, you won't be scared into paralysis because we also use English signs and notifications to guide foreigners especially in Shanghai.:)

        We have 5000years' history, so our Chinese characters have developed for a long long time. We simplified all the traditional characters in order to let people learn them and write them easily and quickly. If you have to write, you'll like the simplified Chinese better in your life. And for me, I can easily understand most of the traditional characters with their similar forms to the simple ones.Nowadays, people are all using computers to type letters and files ,so some people have forgotten how to write some difficult and little used ones. More people call on to revive Chinese characters by practice handwriting more in schools. And there's a popular competition of writing Characters on TV called" Chinese character hero" now.And our calligraphy is still popular, even when you write Chinese characters with the writing brush, there're still 5 different fonts. We can use some other materials instead of paper to practice writing too.(softwares, water writing cloth etc:

        I haven't met dyslexic children before, it doesn't seem to be a big problem in China, I think. But I heard there were many in western countries. I think this is a problem somewhat related to psychology. If I meet this kind of child, I will be patient to let them relax and encourage them to practice reading more slowly .And I think dyslexic children may have some unusual talents.:)
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          Jan 27 2014: I wouldn't freeze at the airport because of language and signs, I well expect them to be bilingual with a minimum of English, but because of the richness of meaning you tend to have in and/or around things.

          In modern terms my dilemma could be seen as a lack of inter-cultural competency, by which I would remain to feel insecure if 'scratching the tip of my nose' was capable to provoke a conflict of international proportions in between our nations ... or simply not... ;o)

          But I am just joking, as especially those pitfalls in such learning curves are what makes foreign cultures so interesting and, later on and after solitary confinement, enriching to me. :o)

          Dyslexia can be an indicator for certain talents, I suppose although I keep seeking for mine ever since ... ;o)

          Yet as your answer spawned my deeper interest, I found this interesting article and answer to the question: 'Is it possible to be dyslexic in Chinese?'.

          I hope this link is accessible to you.
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        Jan 27 2014: We have built a very long conversation, amazing!
        I've read the article you recommended~, it's very interesting indeed~!
        I agree that Chinese is usually one word with one syllable, which makes it easier for us to read, but there're linkings in English pronunciation between two words or more. And there're only 3000 commonly used words in Chinese while I've heard there could be 1million words in total in English~! And your words has much forms with different stress or way of pronunciation, for example: anxious and anxiety, strategy and strategic are different. But the interesting point is you can't change the order of words in Chinese most of time, otherwise they'll have different meanings, for example:蓝天(blue sky) and 天蓝(sky-blue),上车(get into the car/get on the bus) and 车上(in the car/on the bus).

        And"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm." I think if I'm not good enough at English, I will definitely feel confused about the meaning.

        And here's a link about a prodigy who can calculate math problems correctly and quickly which people need to use computer to get the result. He can remember any telephone number in Yellow Pages after he has read it only once. Many professors from different universities have done researches on him and hired him to help with their studies. However, he's 23 while his speaking capability is still as high as that of a 3year olds. Sorry, it's Chinese, just for fun and your curiosity.
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          Jan 27 2014: As long as we don't exchange minds on political views, Yoka, the chance for quantity of words in our conversation seems to rise.

          Regarding language and as much as I know about it, the meaning of words change more sensitively by pronunciation (melody) within Chinese than it is does in English (and German).
          I heard that the melody in pronunciation for 'mother' and 'horse' was one example on this.

          According to the Oxford dictionary, the total number of words within the English language '... would probably approach three quarters of a million' if they were counted by 'distinct senses'.
          Which would make for less headache for both of us for at least one quarter of a million words, compared to what you've heard about it before.

          The 'rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy' regarding the order of letters works in the German language as well and I was blown away by surprise when a friend of mine conducted my first encountering experiment on it.

          There I was, struggling as a child to get all those funny letters in cryptic order to cast specific meaning into them, to then learn as an adult, that this order is of less importance to the core intention of a language, to transport distinct 'information'... So after this wonderful experiment, I laughed for more than the one reason of delightful surprise! :o)

          But you are right, it needs a certain training within a language to read right trough it while catching its meaning 'on the fly', as reading 'speed' is one necessity for it to work.

          While reading through, one senses, that the order of letters is scrambled and not in order as one is used to it, but at the same time it feels as if some 'real time' decoding takes place within the brain to reconstruct and extract the meaning of the 'original' words.

          When I was exposed to my first 'experiment' and given a prepared text I was instructed to read silently through it and - especially - swiftly.
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          Jan 27 2014: I assume the 'decoding' happens on an unconscious level in our brains, probably in visual and language related parts, by which the latter forms deeper as more fluent we are within a foreign language.

          And although languages are structured and based on certain rules, most of them are not constructed logically as they have historically grown and altered. Thats why the math prodigy you mentioned can have those different levels of excellence in both fields.

          I once read, that the grammar and structure of some Indian languages are helpful to form abstractive abilities which are similar and helpful to form mathematical ones, by which the brilliance of Indian mathematicians could be explained. But if those languages could be learned easily in reverse by foreign mathematicians, remains unknown to me.
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        Jan 28 2014: :) We'd better not talk about politics. I agree. Your sharing about Indians is interesting.Thx!
  • Jan 22 2014: Brokebak Mountain turned into formal Opera now being performed at The Royal Theatre of Madrid.

    Even the play is compared with Tristan & Isolda. this is for those who think that U.S. culture is not appreciated.

    Best Regards to all of you
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    Gord G

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    Jan 22 2014: I would like to share the shear volume of unitemized nature that stretches in all directions. It is truly remarkable to contemplate the vast emptiness of my country in relationship to the cramped cognitive world squeezed into the narrow bandwidth of the internet.

    - Humbly Canadian
    • Jan 22 2014: Hi Gord! Proudly Canadian, you meant. You live in one of the best countries in the world. its nature its overwhelming,the ultimate photos of Frozen Niagara Falls have surprised the world. Best regards.
    • Jan 22 2014: I forgot: These are the initial verses of a poem by Leonard Cohen "Why I happen to be free":
      "They all conspire to make me free
      I tried to join their arguments
      but there were so few sides
      and I need several"
      The poem is one of my favourites and is included in his book "Flowers for Hitler"
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      Jan 25 2014: Gord I mentioned public libraries in America. How are the public libraries in Canada?
  • Jan 22 2014: Hi paco,from China,I would like to recomend Confucious ideas to all over the world:keep learning and contribute to education.Meanwhile I would like to recommend Dao theory:keep quiet peaceful in mind to enbrace the world.
    • Jan 22 2014: Hi Edu from Spain.. Lún Yû. I don´t know if is well written. In my country they are called Confucius "Analectas" Anyway Chapter 9:2 " A man from Daxiang Said: Your Confucius ia a Great Man" . I think the same. Very good advice is what brings peace and wiisdom to the peole.
      • Jan 26 2014: Hi Paco:)amazing,you know'Lun are exactly right:)Lots of good ideas come from Confucius,but some of his ideas we shouldn't herit anymore: for an example:children should be obeyed parents uncontiditionally,these parental authorities really not good for an innovative society.
        • Jan 26 2014: Hi Edulover. Confucius in my book "Analectes" in Chapter 17:2 says: "What the nature joins, custom separates it". So I interpret that when children they have or should obey the parents but...when adult that it woud depend on the good criteria and judgment . ie. that tt is no obedience forever. Even reached a certain (old) age, parent should obey their children.
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      Jan 25 2014: e, I mentioned public libraries in America. How are the public libraries in China?
  • Jan 21 2014: Mainly and for lovers of music. I would like recommend listening “Las Folias de España”. (as it is written)
    This recommendation is based first on antiquity since the dances come from the centuries 15th, 16th and 17th. and second: This music reflects the influences of the different cultures that co-existed and influenced the Spanish itself. Therefore I consider them as a sign of permeability and cultural mix. But also music for Kings.
    Dedicated to all of you with my greatest affection.

    You can listen it on Youtube masterfully interpreted by Jordi Savall

    For those who want more information I would recommend The New York Times article:
    and of course! Wikipedia.
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      Jan 23 2014: As my item to this music section I like to add a modern interpretation of an old German children's song, sung by Cassandra Steen, which was one of my discoveries of the year 2013 and may be enjoyable to others as well:

      Ich gehe mit meiner Laterne (I walk with my latern) by Cassandra Steen

      Shortened version

      Ich geh' mit meiner Laterne
      I walk with my lantern

      und meine Laterne mit mir.
      and my lantern with me.

      Dort oben leuchten die Sterne
      There above, the stars are shining

      und unten da leuchten wir.
      and we shine down below.

      Mein Licht ist aus,
      My light is out

      ich geh' nach Haus'.
      I walk back home.

      Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm, bumm bumm

      Der Hahn der kräht,
      The rooster crows,

      die Katz' mijaut.
      the cat meows.

      Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm, bumm bumm

      Wie schön das klingt, wenn jeder singt.
      How nice its ring when we all sing.

      Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm, bumm bumm

      Mein Licht geht aus,
      My light goes out

      wir geh'n nach Haus'.
      we walk back home.

      Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm, bumm bumm

      Full version: