The passing of Pat Morita, a.k.a. Mr. Miyagi of “Karate Kid” and Arnold of “Happy Days.” Fascinating obituary by Associated Press, noting:

For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and TV series such as “The Odd Couple” and “Green Acres.” His first breakthrough came with “Happy Days,” and he followed with his own brief series, “Mr. T and Tina.”

“The Karate Kid,” led to three sequels, the last of which, 1994’s “The Next Karate Kid,” paired him with a young Hilary Swank.

Morita was prolific outside of the “Karate Kid” series as well, appearing in “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “Spy Hard,” “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and “The Center of the World.” He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie “Mulan” in 1998.

Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

“One day I was an invalid,” he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. “The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece.”

After the war, Morita’s family tried to repair their finances by operating a Sacramento restaurant. It was there that Morita first tried his comedy on patrons.

Because prospects for a Japanese-American standup comic seemed poor, Morita found steady work in computers at Aerojet General. But at age 30 he entered show business full time.

“Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did,” he commented. “If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons. “

I linked to the’s version of the AP article, which also included a fascinating video clip of Pat Morita.

The passing of Hugh Sidey, the Time magazine writer/Presidential historian.

Newsweek has a cover article on Charles Darwin, the man behind the theory of evolution. Fascinating article. Almost made me want to pick up my old copy of “Origin of Species” from college to recapture that feeling of “wow, what is this Victorian era guy saying?” (the operative word behing “almost”).

China adieu — for now

Another beautiful day in Beijing… as I near the end of my visit, the weather gets warmer and my comfort level with the city gets higher and higher.

Read in the NYT about the China development – economic and social – and have faced the reality. Yes, the driving here is nuts. The amount of cars is off the wall as well. Bicycles I’m happy to say, haven’t changed, ubiquitous but slowly dying out, replaced by cars. I even saw motorized bicycles.

China certainly has caught my imagination in a big way. The meetings I’ve had with locals, expats doing business or thinking about doing business, seems to be what it must’ve been like in NYC way back when it was just a big tower of babel of people coming to trade and make money. Beijing is like that, and that’s not even talking about Shanghai and Shenzhen which arguably much more so than Beijing. Beijing is like the 3rd city behind these two. Beijing has about 18+ Million people, those “living” here and those who are “temporary” – meaning they live here but are technically migrants because they’re from out of town but have set up residences to work. That’s nearly as many people as whole of Taiwan.

Sat in an entrepreneurial meeting where startups were taking turns making their business cases in front of their peers and panelists. Given a chance to refine their business plan and talk about business issues. Talked with a consulting firm whose been in China for 25 years (that would be 1980 !!!) and learning about their views of China and business operations. Then talked with a project management firm about working together and seeing how to develop the market.

CCTV, Chinese TV has alone over 14 channels, not including the other places and satellite TV options. Man, China is BIG.

As for culture – I found out about these talented 12 Girls. Going to pick up a couple of CDs or two, for a mere 10 RMB (legit prices)

Lots to think about and consider on my flight back to Taipei.