Every spring, the entire county of Luoping will transform into a brilliant golden sea of flowers.
The small county of Luoping lies in the relatively underdeveloped eastern part of the Yunnan province, neighboring Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. It sits 137 miles (220 km) east of the capital Kunming,China.
In Luoping, the local plains in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, is home to around 32,865 acres (133 million sq m) of canola flowers every spring. Spring is also honey season, the blooming canola (rapeseed) flowers attract bees and the area has become a national base for raising bees and processing honey. A few miles to the north of Luoping is NiuJie, here the flowers are grown in circular rings following the contours of the slopes similar to rice terraces.
The 9 Dragon Waterfall (Jiulong Waterfalls) is nearby, boasting a group of majestic waterfalls, the tallest which is nearly 184 feet (56m) high and 360 feet (110m) wide. Along the southeast portion of Luoping runs the Duoyi River which is formed by the water from five underground springs, the 7-½ mile (12km) river is surrounded by bamboo.
Best time of the year to visit is mid-February to early April.
The best view is atop Jinjifeng / Jinjiling (Golden Rooster Hill); many photographers set up on the top to shoot the sunrise and sunset over the sea of flowers.
Quick reminder that Patrick Stewart stole an entire episode of Tinker Tailor off Alec Guinness, in five minutes, without speaking.
Which, you know, totally fit with the whole Smiley/Karla dynamic, of course.
WHY BIG SUPERHERO MUSCLES AREN’T ‘THE SAME THING’ AS SEXY CURVES
As a man who reads superhero comics, I confess that I share a commonly-held prurient interest in big-chested, long-legged heroes in skin-baring costumes that barely cover their naughty bits — or as I like to call him, Namor.
Sadly, Namor is pretty much alone in his category. Contrary to the perception that male heroes in comics are frequently sexually objectified, it’s my experience that even Namor is only rarely presented as someone to lust over. Yet I’m fortunate that my tastes run towards the Hemsworth end of the scale. Like many straight men, I admire the kind of buff dudes that are the staple of superhero comics, even though they are rarely sexualized. If I shared the tastes of most of the women I know, I think I’d find superhero comics an even more frustratingly sexless wasteland.
Big muscles are a male fantasy. That’s not to say that women aren’t ever into them, but let’s face facts; women have never been the primary target audience for superhero comics, and male heroes are drawn with big muscles anyway. Make no mistake; women are there. But those big muscles are not there for women. They’re there for men; straight men who find male power exhilarating. If women didn’t exist, superheroes would be drawn just as buff as they are today — because as far as most superhero comics are concerned, women as consumers do not exist.
Yet I’ve seen it said more times than I can count that male heroes are objectified, sexualized, idealized, just the same as the women — because they’re big and ripped and dressed in tight costumes. It’s an idea that’s completely tied up in the narcissistic notion that androphile women are attracted to the same qualities that men find appealing.
Talk to a few women, and you’ll find that’s broadly untrue.
Friday going home music: John and Mary, “Angels of Stone”
When I won, as a high school junior, a state-wide essay writing competition, I was invited with sundry other academic winners to a celebration at the capitol. Rick Perry was to preside. All of us — champions in debate, calculus, physics, music, literary criticism, and more — gathered on the floor of the Texas state senate to accept Governor Perry’s congratulations.
Perry took the podium as he does, with all folksy gravitas, gripping its edges in each hand. But when he addressed us he didn’t talk about academic achievement. He talked about football.
“Everything you’ve accomplished here, y’know, it’ll carry you through life…it reminds me of when I was in high school, and I competed in six-man football.”
Perry said football made him the man he was, that it taught him what he needed to know to become the governor of Texas. It was our express privilege to be compared to football players. We all knew we didn’t really deserve it, that this was a gift to us. We’d all scatter at the end of the event and go back to our schools, where we would be vaguely ashamed of having won in our dorky events, which seemed not only stuffily lame but selfish in their inhospitality to spectators. It just isn’t entertaining to sit and watch someone write an award winning essay.
But football is different. If you watch, if you cheer, if you wait all day for Friday night, you too can be a part of it. Football can elevate you, it can transform you, here are scholarships to change your class and spiritual cultivation to change your nature; here’s community, here’s adulation, here’s affirmation, as long as you’ve got something to offer the team. And if you wind up used up and worn out at the end of it, you’re still lucky you had that one moment. Not everyone gets one, after all.
"I never got over those blue eyes…"