Casualty Figures

Today the government released the fireworks casualty figures
for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday in Beijing:
1 dead, 434 injured, and 143 fires started. A friend and I almost made it onto
that list the other night.  It was the 5th night of the new year, which I
guess is another particularly auspicious night for blowing things up;
nevertheless my friend and I decided we wanted some Peking Duck at a nearby
restaurant within walking distance of my house.  Going over wasn’t so bad,
but coming home we were the ones ducking and running from the explosions in the
streets, on the sidewalks, in the alleyways, and in the parking lot of my
complex.  One of the historical/cultural reasons for the fireworks at the
new year was to scare away the ghosts.  My guess is that after a week of
explosions all the ghosts have been chased out of town, and those that haven’t
are not bothered by the noise.   Actually, it’s a lot quieter
tonight–kind of like there’s been a cease-fire.  Lots of people went back
to work today, so I guess they are just too tired to blow things up
tonight.  No protest from me, that’s for sure!