Saturday, May 31, 2008

China/ Dead Bodies: Chinese transplant politics.

Two articles on the sale of human organs for transplant in China.

A careful reading will reveal that, according to these sources, both of which seem legitimate and reliable, sale of human organs for transplant was banned in China in 2006 and further restricted in 2007. Clearly, this does not make a great deal of sense and is one of the things that makes studying China so difficult. My guess is that the apparent contradiction hinges on the way in which in China, and many countries, laws are passed and then ignored and not enforced. Just one of many China-related issues that requires further study to understand completely.

Peter Huston

China Tightens Restrictions on Transplants
New Rules Aim to Curb Sale of Organs, Give Priority to Chinese Over Foreigners

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, July 4, 2007; Page A12

BEIJING, July 3 -- The Chinese government imposed new restrictions on organ transplants for foreigners Tuesday, part of an effort to curtail widely reported abuses such as selling organs and, in some hospitals, catering to foreigners looking for discount hearts, livers and kidneys.

The regulations, handed down by the Health Ministry, stipulate that foreigners visiting China on tourist visas cannot receive transplants, hospitals cannot advertise abroad and any hospital planning to carry out a transplant on a foreign patient must first get authorization from Chinese health authorities.

The tightening complemented a broader set of regulations that went into force May 1.

"Chinese citizens, including those from Hong Kong and Macau and Taiwanese permanent residents in China, should get priority in organ transplants," the Health Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. "Health institutions and personnel that violate organ transplant regulations must be severely dealt with according to the law."

Chinese health officials have estimated that as many as 1.5 million Chinese could benefit from transplants each year, but only about 10,000 can find compatible organs. The number of foreigners who receive transplanted organs in China has not been revealed. But some hospitals have launched advertising campaigns on the Internet to draw in foreigners, who often would face longer waits and higher prices in their own countries.

The regulations imposed in May said only a certain number of hospitals would be authorized to perform transplants. The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau announced last month, for example, that 13 hospitals had been chosen for the service in the capital. Approximately 600 hospitals nationwide applied to get on the list.

Transplants have long been a controversial issue in China because of allegations that organs are often taken from executed prisoners without their authorization, and thus are more plentiful here than abroad. Chinese officials have acknowledged that some organs used for transplants come from executed prisoners, but they say the number of such cases is low and prior authorization is required.

The Epoch Times, a newspaper published overseas and linked to the banned Falun Gong movement, last year accused Chinese authorities of running a secret camp in northeastern Shenyang where Falun Gong detainees allegedly were killed to provide organs for sale. The Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations as slander by an illegal cult, which is how authorities here have defined the Falun Gong, and foreign reporters taken to tour the facility found nothing out of the ordinary.

China's tradition of official secrecy has allowed such allegations to flourish, however, because no one knows how many prisoners are executed each year or how many prisoners' organs are taken for transplants.

Estimates on the number of executions range from 3,000 to 8,000 a year. International human rights groups say organs often come from executed prisoners and voice concern that the wishes of prisoners or their families are sometimes ignored.

China bans sales of human transplant organs
New laws attempt to clean up poorly regulated, profit-driven business

updated 12:10 p.m. ET, Tues., March. 28, 2006

SHANGHAI, China - China’s Health Ministry has explicitly banned sales of human organs in an apparent attempt to clean up the country’s lucrative but laxly regulated transplant business.

New regulations viewed on the Health Ministry’s Web site Tuesday forbid the buying and selling of organs and require that donors give written permission for their organs to be transplanted.

While China has long defended its transplant business as legal, little information about it is publicly available. Critics contend it is profit-driven with little regard for medical ethics.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

Chinese legislators have been pushing for years for a law to regulate and promote voluntary organ donations. However, the Health Ministry regulation — to take effect on July 1 — was officially titled a “temporary regulation,” suggesting that further legislation could follow.

The Health Ministry had no comment. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters a more permanent regulation on organ transplants was being drafted.

The true number of transplants carried out annually isn’t known, although a professional group, the Chinese Society of Transplantation, says about 5,000 kidney transplants and 1,500 liver transplants were carried out in 2003.

Written permission required
Human rights groups say many organs — including those transplanted into wealthy foreigners — come from executed prisoners who may not have given their permission, claims China routinely denies. Voluntary donations remain far below demand, partly because of cultural biases against organ removal.

Safety concerns about the transplant industry also have surfaced. Last month, Japan announced it was examining cases involving at least eight Japanese patients who received organ transplants in China and later fell seriously ill or died from infections and other problems after returning home.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman repeated China’s insistence that all organ transplants were conducted with the permission of the donor.

“It is a complete fabrication, a lie or slander to say that China forcibly takes organs from the people convicted of the death penalty for the purpose of transplanting them,” Qin said.

The new Chinese rules limit transplant surgery to top-ranked institutions that must verify the organs are from legal sources and that the procedure is safe and justified.

Transplant hospitals must keep specialists on staff and have all the required medical equipment, according to the rules. Hospital transplant ethics committees must approve all such surgeries in advance, and institutions where patients die shortly after having transplants will be banned from conducting such surgeries.

“The rule explicitly states that human organs cannot be bought or sold; medical institutions must obtain written permission from donors for any transplant of organs for clinical purposes; donors have the right to refuse to donate organs prior to the organ transplant,” the ministry said in an introduction to the rules.

The rules “aim to organize and strengthen management of human organ transplant technology for clinical use, assure the quality and safety of treatment and protect patient health,” it said.
© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Academic articles: "Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch"

It never ceases to amaze me what academics study.

Nevertheless, a truly interesting, yet bizarre, article.

Peter Huston
For full text go to

"Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch"
The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry
Journal of Manly Arts
Apr 2001

By Elliott J. Gorn

First published in The American Historical Review, volume 90, February to December 1985, pages 18-43. Copyright © 1985 Elliott J. Gorn. Reprinted courtesy Elliott J. Gorn. All rights reserved.
The Sea Tiger
A still from the motion picture "The Sea Tiger",
First National Pictures, 1927
(source - "The Strongman", Joe Bonomo, Bonomo Studios, 1968)

"I would advise you when You do fight Not to act like Tygers and Bears as these Virginians do - Biting one anothers Lips and Noses off, and gowging one another - that is, thrusting out one anothers Eyes, and kicking one another on the Cods, to the Great damage of many a Poor Woman." [EN1] Thus, Charles Woodmason, an itinerant Anglican minister born of English gentry stock, described the brutal form of combat he found in the Virginia backcountry shortly before the American Revolution. Although historians are more likely to study people thinking, governing, worshiping, or working, how men fight -- who participates, who observes, which rules are followed, what is at stake, what tactics are allowed - reveals much about past cultures and societies.

The evolution of southern backwoods brawling from the late eighteenth century through the antebellum era can be reconstructed from oral traditions and travelers' accounts. As in most cultural history, broad patterns and uneven trends rather than specific dates mark the way. The sources are often problematic and must be used with care; some speculation is required. But the lives of common people cannot be ignored merely because they leave few records. "To feel for a feller's eyestrings and make him tell the news" was not just mayhem but an act freighted with significance for both social and cultural history. [EN2]


Dutch google results:

At times, being a writer can be surreal. Here's some results about me in Dutch.

By the way, there are a couple about sailing that came up. These refer to a different Peter Huston (there are a few) who I've never met. Apparently, he's fairly well known in the sailing world.

Peter Huston
Personalized Results 1 - 9 of 9 Dutch pages for "Peter Huston". (0.20 seconds) | Boeken (Engels) | Peter Huston
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Engelse boeken > Peter Huston Verwijder verfijning. Peter Huston ... Tongs, Gangs, And Triads | Peter Huston. Chinese Crime Groups in North America ... - 42k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this | Boeken (Engels) | Yakuza, David E. Kaplan
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5-6; Peter Huston, 'China, Chi and Chicanery'. Skeptical Inquirer, Sept./Oct. 1995, pp. 6 vv. ; D. van Schaardenburg, 'Homeopathie en Energie', ...
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Tongs, Gangs and Triads available in Bulgaria.

I ran across this while ego searching. It seems "Tongs, Gangs and Triads" is now available in Bulgaria. Will wonders never cease.

Personally, I think it contains some really good information, and is worth reading to gain a background on the subject, but I'd desperately like to update it.

Peter Huston

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Tongs, Gangs, and Triads: Chinese Crime Groups in North America
Peter Huston
ISBN: 0595187544
Издател: Authors Choice Press
Дата на издаване: 06-2001 г.
Страници: 270
Език: English
Корица: Мека
Наличност: В наличност

[ други книги подобни на тази ] цена за доставка
Цена: 62.61 лв. Добави в кошницата >>

Тази книга се внася от САЩ по индивидуална заявка, времето за доставка е от 20 до 40 дни. Цената посочена тук включва доставката до България и всички дължими мита, данъци и такси.

Когато поръчвате плащате само цената указана тук и цената за доставка в България по стандарните ни тарифи за доставка.

Поръчките за книги внасяни по заявка се изпълняват след внасяне на 50% от стойността на книгата като гаранционен депозит (капаро). В случай на невъзможност да бъде доставена книгата възстановява депозираната за нея сума. В случай, че потребителят откаже книгата, депозитът не се възстановява. Инструкции за плащането ще получите по време на правенето на поръчка.
The so-called “Chinese Mafia” has earned a reputation as one of the fiercest and most brutal in the seedy underworld of organized crime. Yet does such an organization even exist? Or is there instead a wide variety of “Tongs, Gangs, and Triads” stretching across not just Asia and North America, but the globe?

Although such groups are most notorious, perhaps, for their control of the lucrative Southeast Asian drug trade, they are also known for involvement in illegal immigration, smuggling, extortion, kidnapping, home invasions and crimes of all sorts.

How much of this is Hollywood hype and how much is reality? And how can law enforcement and other interested parties overcome cultural barriers and gain an understanding of a criminal element that shrouds itself in secrecy – a secrecy that has proved to be its strength for centuries?

This book explores the rich Chinese tradition of tongs, gangs, triads and secret societies and their frequent involvement in organized crime, as well as their more recent and growing collusion with Chinatown street gangs. The result is a work that provides an excellent introduction to not just Chinese crime groups, but Chinese culture and history in general.

Author's Comments
I am the author of this book. This is an unedited, copyright 2001 reprint copy of the original 1995 Paladin Press edition. Therefore clearly it's a bit dated. The intent of this book was to fill the gap between academic tomes on the subject (such as the works of Ko-lin Chin and other scholars) and provide a non-sensationalized, easily accessible book for a reader with a general background and a need to understand the subject. (i.e. it explains terms like "Hakka dialect" and "Qing dynasty," etc., instead of assuming the reader knows them, and also contains large sections explaining Chinese and other Asian cultures in generalized terms.) In that respect, I think the book was a success and it has received positive feedback from Los Angeles gang officers and US Immigration department officials. On the other hand, the book is seriously dated in many places and, especially since I've gone to graduate school and earned an MA in Asian Studies from Cornell, there are things I would now do differently were I to write it again. Still I think the book serves a purpose and I often find myself referring people to read sections of it. Therefore, despite the fact that there are portions that desperately need an update, I have decided to leave it in print. I just wish readers to know that there are more current sources of information on the subject although this book, in my opinion, fills a niche that many others do not.

(And the four stars? Well, I had to put something there. The system demands it.)

Peace and thanks for your interest in this book.
Ho hum
I found this book to be adequate as an overview of Asian OC but lacking in any human dimension. People, whether they are Chinese or anything else, get involved in gang activity for a myriad of reasons, none of which are explored with any degree of insight in this book. If you know absolutely nothing about the subject, you might find it useful. But if you're looking for a deeper understanding try anything by Ko-Lin Chin ("Chinatown Gangs") or "Born to Kill" by T.J. English.
A Reader
A fine tome and welcome addition to a poorly researched field. I have personally met one fellow who was once part of a Chinese criminal gang, and Huston's book meshes well with that account.

The book does primarily focus upon the history and orientation of the regional concept (organized criminal societies and their close cousins, secret societies) rather than the day to day affairs. Insofar as this is not a Peter Druckeresque explaination of the inner workings of the what is being described, a serious police investigator or scholar will have to make do with _Tong, Gangs, and Triads_ as the best place to start. The selected bibliography is alone worth the shelf space with any comitted researcher.

Also, although I have not personally seen them, the academic reviews were reported to me to have been in agreement with this personal assessment.
Very general information
While I understand the inability of caucasians to get the "inside scoop" on the Tongs and Triads, this book could have been better researched. Many crucial items are left out, such as organizational structure, the "who-does-what" positions, and maybe even some first hand accounts, as has been done and done well by La Cosa Nostra researchers. Very general overview with little hardcore information.
In depth study of Chinese gang activity in North America
This book provides very interesting cultural information which leads to an in-depth understanding of Chinese gang activity in North America. It concludes with some suggestions for decreasing that activity. This book would be useful for people employed in criminal justice and for students in that field as well as for anyone interested in having a better understanding of Chinese culture in this hemisphere.

Odd Uses for dead Chinese bodies: Put them in a show.

Oh my! I'm not quite sure what to say.

Doesn't exactly make you proud to be a human being, now does it? By the way, these shows advertise heavily in both Los Angeles and New York City.

For those interested, it is my understanding that the Chinese government does use the bodies of executed political prisoners for medical transplants although it is also my understanding that the extent of the practice is sometimes exaggerated by its critics.

Peter Huston

New York settles with body exhibitor

By Cara Matthews • Albany Bureau • May 30, 2008

Following an investigation of allegations that an Atlanta-based company uses bodies of executed Chinese prisoners in its displays, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced a settlement yesterday that requires the Premier Exhibitions Inc. to document the origin of the cadavers.

Premier, which has had a human-anatomy exhibit in New York City since November 2005, will have to prove in the future that corpses and body parts it uses were obtained legally and with consent of the deceased.

That means the New York City show can continue running, but the company has to put a disclaimer on its Web site, at any New York exhibit and in its New York-area advertising that it cannot confirm bodies were not Chinese prisoners who may have been tortured and executed.

The company has to set aside $50,000 to give refunds to people who attest in writing that they would not have gone to the New York City exhibit if they had known the bodies were of questionable origin. About 1.5 million people have attended "Bodies ... The Exhibition" at South Street Seaport, the company said.

"The grim reality is that Premier Exhibitions has profited from displaying the remains of individuals who may have been tortured and executed in China," Cuomo said in announcing the agreement. "Despite repeated denials, we now know that Premier itself cannot demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals. Nor is Premier able to establish that these people consented to their remains being used in this manner.

"Respect for the dead and respect for the public requires that Premier do more than simply assure us that there is no reason for concern. This settlement is a start," he added.

The remains used in the controversial Premier exhibitions are stripped of their skin, dissected to show a part of the internal anatomy and preserved with liquid silicone rubber, a process known as plastination.

The company has to hire an independent monitor for two years to ensure the settlement is followed and pay the Attorney General's Office $15,000.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the inquiry by the attorney general of the state of New York, and particularly that our exhibition in New York City will continue operating. We are glad to have this matter behind us," Premier lawyer Brian Wainger said.

Premier has five "Bodies" shows in the United States, with a sixth opening soon, and five abroad, Premier spokeswoman Katherine Morgenstern said. (A second exhibition, "Bodies Revealed" is in a few cities.) To date, all bodies have been from China.

Premier said it must rely on the affirmations of its Chinese supplier that the specimens did not come from the remains of executed prisoners.

The bodies were acquired indirectly from the Chinese police, which deemed them unclaimed, the Attorney General's Office said.

Cuomo's investigation followed an ABC "20/20" report in February that called into question whether preserved human bodies used in exhibitions nationwide had been legally obtained.

The Washington-based Laogai Research Foundation is calling on law enforcement authorities to take similar action in other states.

"This investigation has shed light on how certain U.S. exhibitions profited from the execution of Chinese prisoners," said Kirk Donahoe, assistant director of the group, which tracks human rights abuses in China.

The settlement makes it less likely that Premier and its competitors will display Chinese cadavers, not just in New York but around the country, he said.

"Using bodies without consent, regardless of where they came from is, in my opinion, highly unethical, so it should never have started to begin with," Donahoe said.

The "20/20" report prompted state Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, to sponsor legislation that would set up a permit process in which exhibitors would have to prove to the state that they had consent from the deceased or relatives to use the cadavers.

The bill, sponsored by Manhattan Democrat Brian Kavanagh in the Assembly, would exempt remains that were more than 100 years old, consisted only of human hair or teeth, were part of an ordinary display at a funeral home or memorial, were objects of religious veneration, or were in the possession of an accredited museum.

Alesi said he wants to amend the bill to make it clear that it doesn't apply to existing exhibits.

Cuomo's settlement does not involve The Universe Within Touring Co. of Baltimore, which had an exhibition similar to Premier's at the Rochester Museum & Science Center last year.

Reach Cara Matthews at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Odd Uses for a Dead Body: Weird teenagers should not play with dead things.

(Now, I swear this really is not a big interest of mine but it is the one that brought me to Hollywood and back, meanwhile . . . Should people come here because of the MANswers appearance, well, I'd hate to leave them disappointed.)

So . . .

Remember, kids, when it comes to necrophilia, just say "No!"

"Necrophilia! Don't do it!"


"Necrophilia is for losers!"

Then again, they're not actually teenagers this time, but, garsh, they sure do look like it in the pictures, now don't they?


updated 9:38 p.m. ET, Wed., Sept. 20, 2006.

LANCASTER, Wis. - Three men accused of trying to dig up a young woman's body to have sex with it had charges of attempted sexual assault dismissed Friday by a judge who noted Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia.
Grant County Circuit Judge George Curry dismissed those charges against twins Nicholas and Alexander Grunke, 20, of Ridgeway, and Dustin Radke, 20, of Mineral Point, but they still face lesser charges.

(for more including pictures of the young wanna-be necrophiles, see:


Now if I could only find the source of the quote "I want to be the cause of new laws." (It was from an obscure punk rock singer in the RE/Search book, "Pranks, Vol. 1." )

Do I really need to put a disclaimer on this? I mean, I hate to sound controversial or judgemental but personally, necrophilia, and for that matter chewing tobacco, are both habits so dirty that not even I will try them. I suggest you don't either.

China: What Sharon Stone really said.

Although I did not pay much attention at first, compare the response (to what Sharon Stone was reported to have said) to what she actually did say.:

It's actually an interesting, thoughtful statement.

On one hand, it would be nice if the Chinese school taught critical thinking and the importance of fact checking. On the other hand, American people often act just as stupidly.

Peter Huston

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chinese culture: Chinese consume fossils

This is a subject that is touched upon in my master's thesis.

I suspect it may be what happened to the missing Peking Man bones lost in 1941.

Peter Huston

Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK

Dinosaur bones 'used as medicine'
Bones on display at the museum
Some bones are on display at a museum in Henan province
Villagers in central China have been using dinosaur bones as medicine - thinking they were from dragons.

These bones have been dug up, then boiled in soup or ground down to make traditional medicines for decades.

The news emerged this week when scientists displayed some excavated bones at a museum in Henan Province.

"[People] believed that the 'dragon bones' were from dragons flying in the sky," one Chinese scientist told AP news agency.

These 'dragon bones', found in Henan's Ruyang County, were sold for about 4 yuan (50 cents) per kilogram.

"Local people used the bones as medicine to treat conditions such as dizziness and leg cramps," said Zhang Xinliao from Henan Geology Museum.

They were also made into a paste and applied to fractures and other injuries.

Dinosaur bones (file image)
Scientists said villagers had been using dinosaur bones for years

"Some locals even made a business out of collecting the bones. One had collected up to 8,000 kg," Mr Zhang added.

Bones displayed this week at the museum were from an 18m-long plant-eating dinosaur.

These dinosaurs are 85 to 100 million years old.

Scientists have spent the last two years unearthing and cleaning the bones, which belonged to Asia's heaviest dinosaur.

Mr Zhang said the museum planned to put them together and display them later this year.

More dead stuff.

Really, this isn't a major interest of mine, TV appearance aside, but should it happen to be one of yours you might enjoy this site.

Taphophilia (dot) Com...
A repository of morbid curiosities:
Thanatology and Taphophile Issues, Cemetery,
Funeral Industry and Death Related News.

websites that should not exist

Meet drunk women . . .

Hmmmm, seems legitimate to me. Probably one of several portals to bring people into the organization. A little sleazy I suppose unless the women involved actually wish to be classified as drunks. Maybe they do. Some of my closest friends over the years have been drunks after all.


Although the site seems to be gone, you can try here:*/

Chinese history: Crying marriage.

I have a strong interest in Asian studies and Chinese history. In fact, I hold Master's degree from Cornell and a Bachelor's Degree from the University at Albany, both in Asian or East Asian Studies. At times, one runs across things in this field that are absolutely surreal.

The Custom of Crying Marriage

Updated: 2007-09-06 08:54

The custom of crying marriage existed a long time ago in many areas of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and remained in vogue until the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Though not so popular as before, the custom is still observed by people in many places, especially Tujia people, who view it as a necessary marriage procedure.

Crying Marriage in General

It is very much the same in different places of the province. According to elderly people, every bride had to cry at the wedding . Otherwise, the bride's neighbors would look down upon her as a poorly cultivated girl and she would become the laughingstock of the village. In fact, there were cases in which the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding ceremony.

During the Warring States Period (475-221BC), as historical records reveal, the princess of the Zhao State was married to the Yan State to be a queen. Her mother, on the point of her daughter's departure, cried at her feet and asked her to return home as soon as possible. Later, the story was alluded to as the origin of the "crying marriage" custom.

In west Sichuan Province, the custom is called "Zuo Tang (Sitting in the Hall)". Usually, the bride begins to cry a month before the wedding day. As the night falls, the bride walks inside the hall and weeps for about an hour. Ten days later, her mother joins her, crying together with her.; Another ten days later, the grandmother joins the daughter and mother, to cry together with them. The sisters and aunts of the bride, if she has any, also have to join the crying.

The bride may cry in different ways with diversified words, which was also called "Crying Marriage Song"; the somewhat exaggerated singing helps to enhance the wedding atmosphere. In a word, crying at wedding is a way by custom to set off the happiness of the wedding via falsely sorrowful words. However, in the arranged marriages of the old days of China, there were indeed quite a lot of brides who cried over their unsatisfactory marriage and even their miserable life.

In fact, swearing at the matchmaker used to be an important part of crying marriage, as well as the most rebellious part. In the old society, women were bound by the so-called "three obediences and four virtues", thus having no say in their marriage, which was all arranged by the matchmaker and the parents. Therefore, the brides often swore at the matchmaker before stepping inside the sedan, which was also seen as a pent-up of their dissatisfaction with and hatred of the old matrimonial system. This is also reflected in local operas and other folk art forms.

Once, there was a scene called "Yingtai Swearing at the Matchmaker" in a Sichuan Opera on the butterfly lovers. In the opera, Zhu Yingtai severely scolded the matchmaker with sharp crying words, which fully show her strong character and her hatred of the feudal system. The scene has been removed, as the custom of swearing at the matchmaker no longer exists in many places, especially in cities.

In the countryside, where the matchmakers still play an important part in marriage, brides continue to swear at them in crying marriage. However, it is said that the matchmakers never fear being scolded, but not being scolded, which means they will never get rid of the bad luck (the Chinese character for matchmaker is a homonym of that for bad luck).

Strange Uses for Dead Bodies.

Curse you! Phil Steinberg, MANswers producer!

You have linked me with an unbelievably strange subject, thus compelling me to post more on the subject on this blog. (To which his obvious reply might be, "No, I didn't. I asked and you volunteered to assist us." Alas! This is correct.

Nevertheless, should you have come here due to the MANswers appearance, you might find this CNN story interesting. "Things your body can do after you die."

Peter Huston

Literary Legay of a Vampire.

For those interested, here is a link to my short story, Literary Legacy of a Vampire.


I am not banned in Australia.

Some time ago, I was swapping e-mail with Marc MacYoung, the self defense author, and he told me several of his books were banned in Australia. Now I find this ridiculous as if one actually reads MacYoung's books you will learn a lot and walk away with the idea that violence is a bad thing and best avoided. (Hmmm, now what does this reall say about the Australian mentality?)

Still, as MacYoung's banned books and some of mine share the same publisher, I thought it might be cool to be banned in Australia, but it appears that I am not. (I'm about halfway down this page.)

[BTW, MacYoung and I have never met. I only know the man through his books and his e-mail list, both of which are good resources for those with an interest in self defense and violence prevention. You can check out his page, if you'd like, at

Peter Huston

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peking Man talk, May 18, 2008.

On Sunday, May 18, 2008, I gave a perfectly respectable talk on the history of the Peking Man digs, an important paleontological dig that took place in China in the 1920s.
The talk was held at a local library for the local branch of the US China People's Friendship Association, an organization that helps to foster ties and understanding between the US and China.
I hold a Master's degree in East Asian Studies from Cornell University with a focus on Chinese history and language, and my Master's thesis focused on the history of the Peking Man digs.
The talk went reasonably well and the audience asked many questions.

Odd uses for a dead body: Make a bong.

Now, really, my interests vary widely. I don't really want to get too linked to this one subject, but as it is the topic that brought me to Hollywood and back this month, it seems worth sharing some of the more interesting things I've found along these lines.

Particuarly if it was the Manswers appearance that brought you here.

Why is it always weird teenagers? Well, then again, who else would do such a thing?

Teenagers arrested for grave robbing

By wire reports
Friday, May 9, 2008

HOUSTON -- Three teenagers were arrested after two of them told police they dug up a secluded grave, removed the skull from the coffin and converted it into a marijuana bong.

Police found a grave that had been disturbed but were investigating the rest of the teens' story, Houston police Sgt. John Chomiak said.

Police were interviewing Kevin Wade Jones, 17, about the use of a stolen debit card when he told them about the grave theft, according to court documents. Asked why Jones would volunteer such a story, Chomiak said, "We can only speculate and guess to what goes on in the criminal mind."

Matthew Richard Gonzalez, 17, confirmed the story to investigators in a follow-up interview.

Manswers appearance 2: How to make money off of a dead body.

As mentioned, recently I was contacted by "Manswers," a SPIKE cable channel TV show. They wished to know how to make money off of a dead body and wanted me to share this information with their estimated two million (often inebriated) viewers.

First, why do I know this stuff?

Because, gentle-reader, that is what I do. When something is odd, unusual and often slightly disturbing, I note it, latch on to it, seek it out, probe into it, and then carry the information around in my head, occasionally turning it around trying to see what its implications are and what can be learned from it. From time to time, I regurgitate it, hopefully in a socially acceptable setting, often in print, but in this case on television. .

Secondly, more specifically, for some time now, off and on, I've been working on a fiction project that deals, in part, with the subject of grave robbing. In this proposed mystery novel, our protagonist has an eccentric pagan friend who is falsely accused of grave robbing and sets off to prove him innocent but along the line gets tangeled up with some crimes involving illegal Chinese aliens who are being exploited. Although I've set the project aside for the moment, (it hasn't quite "clicked" yet and keeps changing back and forth from first person to third person among other problems) I did do my research.

Therefore, I' ve spent a lot of time scanning news reports featuring the word "grave robbing." (This is how one does basic, superficial research in the computer agem after all.) I've also done some background reading on the subject, as well.

And now, oddly enough, I find that this information is actually of use to someone!

More later . . .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

MANswers television appearance: 1

Manswers appearance. 1

In mid-April I received an e-mail and telephone call from a production company that was making a SPIKE cable show called "MANSWERS" or "answers for men."
They wished to speak to the author Peter Huston.(I phrase it this way because for me writing is a part-time gig. I receive little fame and money from it, and therefore it always surprises me when people seek out "Peter Huston, the author." From time to time however, someone does, but it always takes me by surprise. I never think of myself as "famous," and always wonder how other people could. But then again, it's an interesting thing when people know of you by your works, rather than actual contact. If this is the medium through which fame is spread then, I am, I guess, famous.)

"Manswers" is described by its producers as "Maxim's Magazine meets Mythbusters." It airs Fridays, late at night on the SPIKE cable channel. The producers ask a wide variety of bizarre questions, find experts to answer them and then mix the results in with commentary from ordinary folks in the street and lots of hot models in skimpy outfits. The result is delightfully sleazy and a lot of fun if one is in the right frame of mind.

They asked me if I would be willing to speak on how one could sell or otherwise make money by selling a dead body, other human remains or corpse.

Curiously enough, they'd already done research on the subject. Therefore, when we spoke, therefore producer Phil Sternberg began our conversation by telling me three ways to do this.I responded by saying his ways were interesting, but offered three more in return.
He was quite impressed.
About a month later, I was flown out to Los Angeles to appear on the MANSWERS show.
They say the show should air in June.
Over the next week, I intend to share my experiences here.

Oddly enough, and this is one of those quirks that is my greatest strength and weakness, when asked a bizarre question on an odd topic I often know more than I'm supposed to know.

Welcome aboard

Welcome aboard!

Greetings! My name is Peter Huston and I am a writer.

From time to time, people have asked me to set up a space to publicize and disseminate information on my "so-called writing career." In other words, the things I do in public that involve sharing news, information, fiction and ideas.

Therefore here it is. Welcome aboard and hope you enjoy the ride.