Back Posts and Our Purebred Portland Labrador Retriever

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Lately I’ve been adding some older bloggy-type stuff to 大黑狗. I started doing “something new every day” on axoplasm.com five years ago (when I didn’t yet know the word “blog”). Said New Things were usually designerly or photographerly, not writerly, so don’t lend themselves well to the blogspot format. Some of the artisterly stuff is going back up on axoplasm.com (in China it’s mirrored at speakeasy.org/~axoplasm.)

A particular highlight is the abridged log of my 2002 bike ride down the Oregon coast. Start at Day 1 and work forward.

Blogspot is back up, however temporarily, in China. Go figure. At a certain point I came to regard government action as being like the weather: you can’t do anything about it, so no use wailing, gnashing teeth, rending clothes, etc.


Speaking of capricious government action: Xiamen enacted their new Dog Registration Law on Sunday, which we were fully expecting. What we weren’t expecting was the pronouncement that large dogs (taller than 40cm at the shoulder) would be prohibited. What this means for Bismarck’s status is unclear. A Chinese lawyer acquaintance told us they would likely only enforce this law for about 2 months. Any rate, Jenny is taking care of all of this, God bless her.

The registration process is, like all other Chinese bureaucratic action, hopelessly Byzantine and arbitrary. For example, despite being already, USDA-certified double vaccinated against rabies (we had him re-vaccinated last summer “just in case”), he needs to get another rabies vaccination. This is a bit like acquiring our residency permits, which required a full physical before leaving the States and then another within 30 days of arrival. The Chinese physical was a model of speed and efficiency (really!) but clearly a) unnecessary (sonograms? blood types? These things affect my residency how?) and b) locked away into a dank file somewhere never to be referenced again.

Another example: there’s a list of prohibited dog breeds that includes cocker spaniels, bassett hounds, and weimareiners, but not pit bulls or rottweilers. (Jenny and Jorge were discoursing on how random and unfair this dog law is, and I retorted that it’s random and unfair that it should rain on the Fourth of July, but it happens doesn’t it?) Jenny was pressed to provide a breed (apparently “mixed” was not an option), so he is now officially a “Portland Labrador Retriever.” I like the geographic redundancy. He’s a Labrador by way of Portland, just like I’m a Nebraskan by way of Oregon. Or a German/Frenchman by way of America. Also we have to provide (I swear I’m not making this up) passport photos of him. They’re big on passport photos here. To renew our residency permits for 2008 we had to provide 10 each of ourselves.

As I said, it’s like the weather.

Contrast with the regulations for bringing a dog into the US:

  1. Your dog must be vaccinated against rabies.

I like to consider myself to be of a libertarian ideological bent, but American bureaucracy has nothing on the way they do bizness here.

By the way, I think Xiamen was long overdue for a dog law. Snark aside, I think the city government really does have the interests of public safety in mind, they just lack a good template for how to carry out those interests. As I’ve said before: China is changing so quickly that they really are literally making this up as they go along.


I’m playing hookey from work due to a cold, so the last para in the previous post (re: Working Here) — which I penned this weekend — seems particularly poignant.