Yao Ming Baby Birth Makes China Ask, How Tall? American or Chinese?
May 23, 2010

Wonder if Van Gundy Will be the Godfather?

Yao and Ye Li Could Be Parents Standing Tall

If you recall, several months ago, I reported that a certain member of the Houston Rockets was expecting to become a father as his wife was pregnant with their first child.  It was not just another basketball player.  The player in question was none other than Yao Ming whose popularity probably exceeds that of any basketball player in the world due to his giant fan-base found in his native China.  For that same reason, he probably ranks near the top of the list of all professional athletes when it comes to world-wide name recognition.  Now, when I reported on the pregnancy announcement, I had suggested that perhaps his child may be the catalyst for world peace.  While that mayor my not prove to be true, I’m not so sure there won’t be some rough spots before we get to that point.  See, Yao and his wife, Ye Li  had a baby girl on May 21, 2010.  But, here’s the catch: the little girl was born in Houston.  That means that, by birth, she is an American citizen.  But, China forbids dual citizenship and both of her parents are Chinese citizens.  Hmmm…could be a bit of international intrigue before we get to my ideals of global cooperation. For months now, stories have circulated concerning fans in China asking if the child would be a Chinese citizen.  So far, I believe the answer, if there is one, remains in the minds of the parents. 

Tale of the Tape: Speculation Regarding Height of Ye Li and Yao's baby

 At the time of the pregnancy news, the China Daily ran a story regardling speculation of how tall the child would be given that Ye Li is 6’2″ and Yao is 7’6″.  For the record, the baby came in at a fairly pedestrian 7 pounds 6 ounces (though some sources claim 9 ounces).  In the meantime, there have been several birth announcements in the press.  Most, like the USA Today article, are simply reprints of the AP story.   The Houston Chronicle had its own story but it included just two short paragraphs.   The Singapore Straits Times wasn’t much more helpful.   And suprisingly, the China Daily birth announcement was also not filled with much more than anything else except for one line.  In relation to the question whether or not the child would be American or Chinese, it says the Mings consider the birth a “private” matter.  I suppose that explains why there isn’t much more news on the subject other than the child was born.  I suppose it remains for pundits to determine if that small statement is particulary telling or not.

Funeral Obsessed Frances

On This Date in History: Frances Hiller was what we might call eccentric. The 18th century woman was married to a doctor who had made a fortune from a patented medicine that he had invented. Frances bought hundreds of hats and wore costly jewelry, even when gardening. Her odd ways may have dervied from the fact that she had 23 children! She was rather economical in that department as well as the 23 kids includes 7 sets of twins. That is amazing but its also quite sad because not a single child lived beyond infancy. So, she had attended a lot of funerals, which may explain her strange story.

Hiller Financed Frances Eccentricies

Hiller Financed Frances Eccentricies

While she lived, Frances Hiller planned her own funeral which included a very ornate casket. Dr. Henry Hiller hired a famous wood carver to fashion a pair of exquisite caskets. But, Hank went and died in 1888 before the caskets were finished. So, she kept her husband’s body in a vault until the work was completed. It had hand carved vines, cupids, bats, dragons and angels, which seems like a display of contrast. Perhaps the angel was slaying the dragon. If the angel was doing battle with the large reptile, it would have to watch out for the skull that featured lizards crawling out of the eye socket. When the finally got around to burying Henry, he was taken in his fabulous casket in a procession that marched to the sounds of a military band and was escorted by a procession of 2000 people.

In 1893, she married her chauffer…..a boy toy perhaps? I dunno but part of the deal was the guy had to change his name to Henry Hiller. I suppose thats not a bad trade from being a chauffer to being married to a rich widow. Anyway, she was married but kept her casket handy…even on display in her parlour. She would climb into it and show visitors how she would look when she was dead. She even had a life-sized wax replica of herself made to place in the casket so she could see what she’d look like six feet under. Finally she died in 1900 and I bet the chauffer didn’t sign a pre-nuptual agreement so he made out pretty well.

Such an Eyesore Even Photographers Kept their Distance

So, she finally got her wish and made it to the casket on this date in 1900. It was a duplicate of the one Henry had used. The wood was of the finest quality which means it was quite heavy. It took 10 men to carry it. The funeral car was drawn by 4 black horses with black netting. The funeral car sagged terribly from the weight and almost fell apart. A journalist who was on hand said that the excitement and hoopla was only matched by the local cattle fair. Frances was placed in an enormous masoleum that were quite a site…but in 1935, they were condemned as an eyesore. The cemetery tore it down and buried the couple in their ostentatious coffins. Today, all that remains are an urn and bronze plates that mark the location. This brings to mind the old adage…you can’t take it with you.

We can use some boring weather

Weather Bottom Line:  We have a summer-like week ahead.  A big fat ridge over the eastern US will prevent any major systems coming in.  Look for highs generally in the mid 80’s for the first part of the week followed by upper 80’s thereafter.  Our dewpoints on Sunday afternoon were already  in the upper 60’s and there is no reason to think it will get any drier anytime soon.  So, with that type of moisture content and pretty warm temperatures, we may get a pop up afternoon t’shower or two each afternoon but, for most, it will be a pretty boring week ahead with any rain that falls being the exception rather than the rule.  It’s okay.  After all the rain we’ve had, boring isn’t a bad thing for awhile.  Oh…BTW…I’ve seen for many days now the models trying to put a 1008 or 1004 mb low off the SE coast of the US later in the week.  With hurricane season getting going on June 1, don’t be surprised to see this feature showing up on local and national newscasts.  The general consensus  is that the hurricane season will be more active than average, which fits into the idea that we are in the midst of a cycle of a more active tropical Atlantic which has been observed and noted for a long time before the idea of global warming came to the public conscience.  So, while there may be an attempt to connect the forecast with climate change, it may not hold water.


Yao Ming and Wife Expecting Baby. Could Little Yao Bring Global Harmony?
January 6, 2010

Yao and Ye Could Be Parents Standing Tall

Wonder if Van Gundy Will be the Godfather?

Update: The Baby was Born…a Little Girl…Read More

Yao Ming is not the best player in the National Basketball Association.  But, he is probably the most popular and perhaps the best known basketball player in the world.  He is the center of the Houston Rockets and has been an all star every year that he’s been in the league.  He has never won an NBA Championship but last season, he was leading his team to  a potential upset of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers when he was injured.  Yao’s injury will keep him out of the line-up this season and his career may be in jeopardy.  But, Yao’s absence on the basketball court doesn’t mean that he has been on the physically unable to perform list.  He’s taken his game to a new level.  The internet is abuzz with news that the 7’6″ Ming and his bride, the 6’2″ Ye Li are expecting their first child. 

No Hanky Panky Yao, You're Gonna be a Dad!

Now, Houston TV station KTRK has a headline that simply says, Yao Ming’s Wife Expecting a Baby.  Up the road, Tyler, Texas TV station KETK has the story carried by Yahoo sports but they added the measurements of Mrs. Yao by saying Yao Ming and 6’2″ wife expecting first baby.  It’s probably the first time that the height of the mother-to-be was substituted for the name of the mother.  Now, both of those reports came out on Tuesday afternoon in the United States.  Curiously, the Houston Chronicle by Tuesday evening still had no word.  Perhaps they were waiting for a confirmation.  Well, the world press didn’t need any more confirmation that the word of Ye Li’s blabbermouth close friend Miao Lijie who when asked why Ye did not attend the Shanghai World Expo, she replied that “a pregnant woman deserves less public activities.”  Whoops.  I’m not sure if Ye and Miao are like Laverne and Shirley, but they are members(or were) of the same basketball team.

The blab from Miao heard round the world has scribes buzzing.  The People’s Daily is reporting on the furor over speculation regarding the height of the yet to be born child whom no one knows will be a he or she.  The Taipei Times has a similar story, as does the Malaysian Mirror and the Straits Times.  Guess there’s only so much news to print so it just get reprinted over and over again, like the world is on the US cable news cycle. 

Yao May be the only man in China who can keep a close eye on Ye at all times

That means that everyone has the same story, almost word for word, from the same source and they pretend like they broke the story.  What sometimes happen in this sheep mentality is that if the original news outlet has the story wrong, then everyone has it wrong.  I’ve seen it in several newsrooms I’ve worked at many times.  In a journalism class you get an F if you don’t check your sources.  In a tv newsroom, you get paid if you just trust the wire or network report and don’t question why it says that John Glenn was the first man in space (he wasn’t) or that the space shuttle travels 18 times the speed of light (it doesn’t, nor does the Star Ship Enterprise…but never mind…it was reported that way).  But in this case, the news was confirmed by Yao’s spokesman, Zhang Chi.  Now…Ye is expecting in July.  At least one of the reports has a small but significant line.  It says that it has yet to be determined where the child will be born.  Hmmmm….In July, Yao might be in Houston working out for the upcoming season…and if his child were born in the US, that would make him a US citizen as well as a citizen of China.  At first thought, one might think that could really anger the Chinese government.  But…on the other hand…could it be possible that the man who helped linked East and West through basketball may have a child with a dual citizenship that could further bond the United States and China, perhaps leading to more global cooperation and world peace?  Perhaps its not as far fetched as one might think.

NAM 7am Sat Snow Depth

GFS Sat 7am Snow Depth...a little more bullish than NAM

Weather Bottom Line:  Everything appears to be on track.  The strong shortwave is still looking like it will track down almost right over us from the northwest with perhaps some snow showers picking up late Wednesday night but the bulk of the Snow will occur on Thursday.  I had speculated that school would be out of Friday, which is probably still will be for many but now Thursday looks like that many school systems will probably take the easy way out and extend the Christmas holidays a bit.  Any excuse seems good enough but, to be fair, they have to consider safety and the fact that they may have a limited attendance which in some states means limited funding.  In any event, the short wave coming over the top of Louisville means that the maximum snow will not be in our area but typically is to the north.  So, while Indianapolis may pick up 8 inches or so, we’re probably looking at 2-3 inches on Thursday.  While there is some consistency with the models in conventional ratios coming out to about 2.5 inches, I suspect it may be a more fluffy snow with a greater liquid to snow ratio so it may be more like we get widespread 3 inch amounts.  Then we get flurried to death on Friday and maybe even early Saturday as the jet is almost right over us and the air gets so cold that it squeezes out whatever it can. So, by the weekend, the overall storm reports may come in close to 4 inches, though I doubt there will be much more than that.  Now, with that snow on the ground, we will be looking at single digits on Saturday morning and I bet close to zero on Sunday morning with some folks below zero.  I’m still hanging my hat on the idea that we don’t get above freezing until after Jan 15.  Keep in mind, we brought in the New Year at 23 degrees or so and haven’t sniffed the freezing point since.