Blog envy

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post (and comments).

I went to the Shanghaiist drinking beer thing tonight at Henry’s Bar and Grill. I took pictures. Mostly, of guys standing arounding drinking beer. And one picture of a toilet in the ladies’ room (Henry’s has one of those things with heated seats and a built-in bidet — very, very rare in Shanghai, where usually you’re lucky to just get a seat and actual toilet paper).

Note to self: in the future, I’m going to try to get some action shots. So, instead of folks standing around talking, holding beers, and a separate shot of the toilet, I’ll try to, say, combine the two.

I mean, I used to be a real photographer. I’ve got a picture of myself in Afghanistan in a photo vest wearing a bunch of camera equpment. (I carried a Nikon FM-2, which was famous for taking any kind of abuse and not requiring any batteries, and a Hi-8 the Sky TV guys loaned me.)

Anyway, I noticed that everyone at the bar had a cool name for their blog. Dan Washburn’s Shanghaiist, for example, And the ImageThief was there (Will Moss, with his wife, Olivia) and AsiaPundit’s Chris Myrick, and Pacific Epoch’s Sage Brennan.

“Journalism and the World” is such a prosaic name for a blog, by comparison. Maybe we can call it “JoWo.” No, you can’t really pronounce it.

I’ll have to think about it.

After a few beers, Chris mentioned that an outfit in Singapore was giving away ten free brides. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Is it like a bride of the month club? Do you pick the bride, or is it a surprise? Do you have to pay for shipping and handling? That’s usually what gets you. They say “free bride” but when you add in the postage, whoa!

Foreign correspondents are notoriously bad at relationships. Ten free brides sounds like just the thing.

Even if 90% leave, disgusted by the fact that I’m always on the road — and go out drinking with juornalists and bloggers at least twice a week — I’ll still have one bride left.

I’m thinking, Russian. She’ll be over-educated, be willing to stay home and cook, and will teach my kids the language. The whole gender thing shouldn’t be a problem – I’m from Massachusetts.

The only downside is that I won’t be able to impress her with my guitar playing. You see, while a war correspondent, I learned a bunch of Russian war songs. Old Cossack ditties, and a WWII song or two. When I play them for non-Russians, they’re usually suitably impressed. But a Russian would immediately see that I’m getting the words wrong, and that I’m not hitting any of the notes.

The other great thing about Russian women (and yes, I’m generalizing here) is that they treat their spouses like children. I could use some of that.

My Russian bride when I’m getting dressed: “Do you call those clothes? Here, put this on instead. I’ll buy some new clothes for you while you’re at work.”

My Russian bride when I’m leaving for work: “Did you remember your lunch? Here, I’ll pack it for you. And here’s your cell phone. And don’t forget to pick up some cabbage on the way home.”

My Russian bride at dinner: “Oh, you’re looking pale and thin. Here, have some borsch. Have some more. Is that enough sour cream for you?”

I would never have to go clothes shopping or cook anything ever again. She would take it as a personal insult if I even tried.

I had friends like that while I lived in Russia. Even though they were successful career women — a couple of them were also war correspondents — they would take one look at me and their mothering instincts would kick in.

It was nice.

Signing off in Shanghai,