Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jenny and Tony Video.

The King of Wuxi: I have a good aim 99.9% of the time.

The King of Wuxi held a surprising and dramatic news conference in downtown Wuxi today.  He answered no questions.  He made the following statement:

Thank you for coming.  An enormous cloud has descended over Wuxi Expatdom for which my actions in a public bathroom at the House of Pancakes on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada are to blame.  I don't understand how I missed.  It is something I haven't done since I was drunk at Ronnie's in Wuxi, China.  And when you consider that I have such a wide stance, a stance that is wider than the average WC, my aim is exceptionably good.  However, I do regret my attempts to deny I had made the mess on the floor to the staff at the House of Pancakes.  And of course I also regret the strong words I shouted at a female who saw my accident.  The B Eye Itch was right to scream at me. 

So now that we have closure, I suggest to all Wuxi Expats to look forward, don't look back and put this trivial incident behind us all.

I also wish to announce as a way of pre-empting  future controversies that I am a heterosexual.  I love my wife and my son in the way a good heterosexual father and husband should.

Again, I thank you for coming.

The King quickly ran to his car as onlookers shouted: "You fixed the election!" ; "You cast not a cloud but a big shadow over us all!" and "Democracy! Not Lard!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vlog #18. Baby abandoned in Hospital? Why?

Rereading Vietnam

I heard some anti-American type in a Wuxi pub proclaim that the Americans got their butt kicked in Vietnam.  Alas, that is not true.  The NVA never ever beat an American army in a conventional battle.  The Americans fought with "one hand tied around their backs".  This article "Rereading Vietnam" by Robert Kaplan in the Atlantic tries to tell some stories that the anti-Vietnam mindset can never contemplate. 

I love this paragraph in the article about Admiral Stockdale:


Moral philosophy, in particular the Stoics, helped Stockdale survive. As he puts it, after he ejected from his plane, "I left my world of technology and entered the world of Epictetus." Epictetus was a Greek-born philosopher in first-century Rome, whose Stoic beliefs arose from his brutal treatment as a slave. Stockdale explains, "Stoics belittle physical harm, but this is not braggadocio. They are speaking of it in comparison to the devastating agony of shame they fancied good men generating when they knew in their hearts that they had failed to do their duty ... " When Stockdale writes about Epictetus, Socrates, Homer, Cervantes, Calvin, and other writers and philosophers, their work achieves a soaring reality because he relates them to his own, extraordinary experiences as a prisoner in one of the 20th century's most barbaric penal programs. Stockdale reminds us about something that much scholarship, with its obsession for textual subtleties, obscures: The real purpose of reading the classics is to develop courage and leadership.

Admiral Stockdale was Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate, a victim of the t.v. medium.  Too bad, he has become a figure of fun.  He was in fact a man of great honour.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Video, video, video.

Youtube bug that I am, it would be strange if there were no videos of Tony and Jenny on the internet.  Here they are:


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vlog #16

I have a special announcement to make.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vlog #15

Waiting and waiting....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vlog #14

The wife is in hospital.  I wait and blog and vlog.

The wife is in the hospital.

The wife woke me up at 500 AM this morning.  She wanted to go to the hospital because of certain symptoms.  I was in a daze and an are-you-sure mood.  I had been expecting him to come maybe next week or the week after.  I was also thinking I should have been in a more of a oh-my-God-this-it manner, but I felt circumspect.

So, out of the apartment we went at 530 AM to quiet Wuxi streets.  I must remember to try to be up that early all the time.  So quiet and deserted did it seem.  We caught a taxi.  In the haste of the moment, something was forgotten in the apartment.  As the taxi past Xi Hui on the way to #4 People's Hospital, the wife exclaimed shit! as she realized she had forgotten her paperwork. 

At the emergency section of the hospital we registered but not before I made a return trip to home to get the paperwork.  I didn't like leaving the wife in the emergency ward by herself but it had to be done.  Once I returned with the paperwork and the wife was processed, they put her a wheelchair and pushed her to the ninth floor of the main building at the #4.  The little man pushing her was quick.  I had to run after to keep up.

After an examination in the ninth floor baby ward, they put her in a room.  She is in one of those public rooms with six beds.  Every five minutes or so, the men get kicked out of the ward as the nurses do something with one of the women.  Jenny's mother is now there with her.  Mama responded quickly to Jenny's early morning summons.  I am at home now resting and blogging.  I will return later today to the hospital with all her things.  No idea when Tony will come but my wife is now the hospital till he does.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Vlog #11

I read from a hard copy of the China Daily

Just finished supper.

Chi Bao Le.  Back for more blogging.  Are you ready?

I had a male student who first tried to give himself the name Honey.  He changed it to Malone because he said it was easier to remember.

From this blog about the 2008 presidential campaign, I came up with this choicest chunk of gobbley gook:

The Democratic nomination battle has rapidly evolved into a debate about change, but in Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, Democratic voters have distinctly different styles to choose from. The question is, who best fits what the country wants.

Clinton offers a clear break from the policies of the Bush administration and the assurance that she has the kind of experience to get things done. Obama promises transformational change and a break from the old politics. Edwards projects big, bold changes -- and an aggressive attack on Washington's culture of money and politics.

Clearly, this was written by a leftie or a Democrat partisan.  It is absolutely meaningless.  What is the difference between a clear break, a transformational change or a big, bold change?  It is the sort of language that gives politicians a bad name.   My cousin Pat is right.  This election theme's song should be send in the clowns. 

As well, Seablogger  ends a posting about about 2008 with the call of farce.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Orwell on the English Language.

George Orwell's famous essay "Politics and the English Language" is available all over the Internet.  It is a good essay and one I refer to all the time but not one I could inflict on our students. 

There is another essay Orwell wrote, The English People, which is not so easily found on the net which contains an essay on The English language which is more useful for English Teachers and Students.  I have a hard copy it of in my four volume Penguin paperback edition of the Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell.  In the essay The English People, Orwell devoted a section to the English Language. in which he talks about its characteristics.

The English Language, said Orwell, has two major characteristics: a large vocabulary and an easy grammar.  The vocabulary is larger than it appears because we can readily turn one part of speech into another.  For example, elbow, the body part, is also elbow the verb (two minutes for elbowing).  Many Chinese students may not believe that English has a simple grammar because Chinese has a simpler grammar than English.  But some Chinese students I have met who have studied German for instance readily admit the truth of what Orwell said.

Orwell also said in The English People that writing or speaking English is an art not a science.  I often correct students English not necessarily because what they say is misunderstandable but because it sounds ugly.  Chinglish is bad not always because it is misunderstood; it is really bad because it is ugly like the work of a four year old given crayons.  The problem of style is something that native English Speakers have to wrestle with all the time.  So I tell my Chinese students to not despair. 

If only I could get them to use their imaginations and stop them from memorizing things, they would have a more enjoyable time learning English and I would have a more enjoyable time teaching them.

Video Blog #10.

Silence is the theme of this Vlog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Video Blog #9

I talk about a book my Father sent me.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update IX.

This is the last pregnancy update.  I promise there will be no more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just uploaded to Youtube.

I took a lot of video near buses for a mega video project. But I have been forced to scrap it.


Hospital Tests. Edy and Pat and Gundega.

We were up early to go to the hospital this morning.  The wife had to go for routine tests.   She had an ultrasound done as well as an urine test.  The ultrasound showed a big Tony with a big head.  The urine test indicated a possible problem.  The wife will have to go back to the hospital tomorrow morning to have a blood test done.  If that test shows the same result as the urine test, the wife will have to be in the hospital till she gives birth.  The problem:   Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

I phoned my cousin Edy (Gundy's sister) and her husband Pat this morning.  I heard more details about Gundy's passing away.   Pat and Edy had to inform the nurses at the Riverview hospital in Winnipeg that Gundega was dead.   She apparently died during a fifteen minute period where no one was at her bedside.  Gundy's husband had to go and then  20 minutes later,  Pat and Edy arrived to see Gundega was dead.  The hospital was on skeleton staff because it was the long weekend.  A nurse said to Pat: "don't feel guilty because you weren't at her bedside."  He wanted to throttle her.

150 people went to Gundega's memorial including colleagues from her nursing days, class mates and members of the Libertarian Party.

Pat and Edy had had a hard time of it looking after Gundy.  Besides Gundy,  Edy and Gundy's mother Dzidra also needed to be taken care of after having had a hip operation.  Pat and Edy's every spare moment was spent looking after them.   But as Pat said, Gundega would have been the first to help them if they were in the same boat.  The best tribute I have heard to Gundy, and something for me to think about: will people said that about me when I die?

Talking to Pat and Edy, I saw that Gundy's death was a sadder thing than I imagined.

Pat's opinion on the candidates for the 2008 presidential election:  Sinatra did a song called '"send in the clowns".

Pat said this was the best definition of political-correctness he has ever heard:  it is the belief that you can pick up a turd from the good end.

Pat on the economy:  The credit market is ten times larger than the stock market.  And it is like a house of cards.  A recession is coming

Video Blog #8

I eat Honey Melon and ask the wife my plans for tomorrow.  Absolutely riveting stuff.  You must watch.

Ritma. Wonton. The 27 Bus. U.S. Foreign Policy from some Candidates.

I was trying to phone Gundy's sister, who lives in Winnipeg, this morning but I learned when I talked to my Aunt Ritma, who also lives in the Peg, that Lolita (Edy) was in Brandon, Manitoba visiting her daughter and and her five grand children.  It was good to talk to my aunt who had kept me up for a few years when I was living in Winnipeg myself.  Ritma is  always optimistic and patient.  I think she will live till she is 120.  It is the sort of impression she leaves you with.

Ritma told me some more details about the funeral.  Edy's children, and Gundy's nephews and nieces played a big part in the memorial service.  Rheagan sang Amazing Grace.  Chris did the eulogy.  The young ones of our family stepping forward, said Ritma, was a good thing to see.

Ritma was excited to hear about our baby.  I will have to buy some phone cards so I can tell her the good news about Tony's birth.

The wife made wonton last week.  She did an excellent job but I was not crazy about the fillings.  Tonight, I have gotten her to put ground beef and potato in them.  And having just tried them, I can say that I am in heaven.  Though I should have put more cumin and hot sauce in with them.

There is thundering and lightning going outside as I type: a storm that had been building all afternoon.

After I taught three classes this afternoon, I learned about the vastness of Wuxi this afternoon when I decided on a whim to see where the #27 bus goes.  At the stop where I would normally get off the bus to get to school, I boarded.  I thought that the bus would make a short circuit about downtown and get me home.  Instead, I went on a long journey.

If I had taken my usual bus home, I would have been saying "Honey, I am home!" at 430 PM.  Instead, I was home at about 545.  The 27 bus went past the Taihu Square, the Kempenski Building, the New Sports Center, and a shopping center called Tianrunfa and eventually stopped at a station.  I had to get off, get on another 27 bus and go all the way past the way in which I had come.  Very annoying.  But there was a lot to see.  There were some great photos to be taken but I didn't bring my camera with me.  It was recharging itself at home.

US foreign policy: Rudy Guilliani versus John EdwardsThe former is running for the 2008 Republican nomination for president while the latter is running for the Democratic Party nomination.  I of course support Guilliani's foreign policy vision.  What surprised me about Edwards' double speak was that he didn't say anything directly about the U.N.  Rudy gave it a paragraph and said it was mostly useless.  Edwards said nothing either way.  Both see the U.S. as being the one that must provide moral leadership with the world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Video Blog #7

We open a care package sent by my parents.  There are gifts for Jenny, Tony and I.   I should have said 2007 at the end.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Video Blog #5

I talk about my cousin Gundega who died last week.  Her funeral will take place in about an hour from my publishing this entry.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wuxi Jenny Pregancy Update VIII and Video Blog Entry #4.

This is the latest and longest video of the series clocking in at just over seven minutes.  It features some great rock music, Jenny going about her business, Andis goofing off and the strange people we meet along the way.

 This is the fourth edition of my video blog or vlog.

Loiterers are losers no matter how rich they are.


For whatever reason, our school will attract this odd sort of male who has nothing better to do with his time than hang out there.  They don't do anything to improve their English.  That would be the last thing on their minds.  Foreigners will have nothing to do with them.  They are not there to hit on girls, and if they were they would be going about it the wrong way.  For lack of a better word, they are pretty boys.  They seem to want to be friends with the female staff.  Most of these people eventually leave.  Someone has to give them "the what the hell are you doing here" speech.  But as sure as shit, you get rid of one, another comes to take its place.  This sort are like cockroaches. 

I was just giving shit to the latest example this afternoon.  The scary part is the Chinese staff seem to coddle him.  I asked him what he was doing here.  He had no answer.  I asked him if he had nothing to do, he answered in the affirmative.  I asked him if he was a loser, he understood and said no.  Other responses to my questions earned a quick retort of bullshit! from me.  I asked a staff member if they could offer an explanation for his presence.  They told me that because he was a former student, he had the right to hang out here.  When I pointed out he didn't do anything and was in fact an eyesore, the staff member agreed.  He wasn't a very good student.  And then the staff member said there was nothing we could do about it and that he would go back to school in the fall anyway.  But then the other Chinese staff were coddling the twat. 

So why do they coddle him if he is a nuisance?  A theory among the trainers is that the Chinese staff kiss his ass because he is rich.  Sad if it was true.  And when I saw this person's reaction, I could tell he had been coddled all his life.  That is the one child policy for you.

Question:  What did you do this summer?  Loiterer Answer: I hung out at an English School where all the foreign teachers didn't want anything to do with me.

I hope Tony never ends up like that boy.  If Tony was getting into trouble, he would be at least be displaying more imagination than this goofus.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Video Blog Entry #2

Official results of the August 1, 2008 special election for August 2008 Wuxi Expat Kinship.

Here are the official final results of the election:

Greater Wuxi Electoral District (3 Electoral Votes)

Candidate             Votes                         Percentage

Patterson              7,666,069                  99.904

Gorman                  1,916                         .0024

Ruis                        1,867                          .0024

Lang                       1,865                          .0024

Voekel                     1,776                          .0023

Jesperson                1,066                         .0014

Wombat                   666                             .0008

Soiled                       53                               .0001

Spoiled                     27                               .00004

Drummond               0                                       0

Total                        7,673,440                       100

Royal Residence Electoral District (100,000,000 Electoral Votes)

Candidate             Votes                         Percentage

Drummond               1                                   50.0

Soiled                       1                                   50.0

All Others                 0                                        0

Total                         2                                  100.0


Electoral Vote Count

Drummond                                                 100,000,000

Patterson                                                                     3

All Others                                                                      0

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update VI

This video has the biggest cast and the biggest star appearances of the Pregnancy Update Series as  I did Q&A with Jenny.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Video Blog Entry #1

I am giving video blogging a shot.  But I am doing it on blogspot as an exclusive for the very rare readers who visit.


Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update V2.

This video was billed as a sequel to the fifth part. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A short momentary hope.

Last night, I could get to this site without the use of a proxy.  But not this morning alas.

Testing the Quick Capture Feature.

This could come in handy.  This has possibilities.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update V

This video marked the return of Jenny to Wuxi after a twenty day stint in Nanjing.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update IV: the Nanjing videos.

These videos should have been called Update IVa and Update IVb.  As it was, IVa was originally titled Jenny at six months of pregnancy and IVb was originally titled IV.  Jenny spent 2o days in Nanjing because of the Wuxi Water Crisis.  I visited her in Nanjing on two occasions and so made two videos.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sad News

My Cousin Gundega passes away.

I received the news of my cousin Gundega's death last night via email.  I knew that her days were numbered because of a sudden and fatal onset of the breast cancer she had been fighting these past few years.  Earlier this year she had just gotten her first email address; and so She and I had been exchanging emails full of advice for Jenny and her pregnancy.  I had received a snail mail letter from Gundega last night with ominous closing about us probably not being able to see her next year. 

Gundega died before her time.  Her mother Dzidra is still alive.  Actually, all Dzidra's sisters and brothers are still alive including my mother.  Gundega had given Jenny and I lots of advice about the pregnancy including where to have the birth.  That Gundega will not receive the news of what will be the successful birth of Tony devastates me.

Gundega was the most interesting person in our family.  She traveled the world.  It was just in September of last year that she was in Paris.  She had gone all over North America snow boarding.  Quite a sight she was when all the others who were the slopes were twenty or thirty years younger than her.  She had a stint of working for a fur company in the far north of Canada.  She really marched to the beat of her own drummer.  She worked all her life as a temp nurse working evenings and weekends so she could go on her trips...

A flood of memories comes back to me.

Wuxi Rain

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update IIIa

This is really not part of the Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update Series.  Jenny is not in it.  The video shows me talking about learning the baby's sex.  Jenny had gone to Taixing to find out about it.  The doctors at #4 hospital in Wuxi would not tell her.  The King of Wuxi makes a special appearance in this video as star of a mock commercial for his wife's rental agency.  He also endorses Mitt Romney for President in 2008.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update III

Here is the third video  of the Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update Series.  The best part of the video is right at the start where you can hear the wife complaining about being pregnant.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update II

The first sequel in the series.  It  is also titled Another Jenny Pregnancy video.  I tell a lame story to my Tony or Tina.  At the time I wasn't sure what the baby's sex was.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Why I haven't been doing much with this blog.

Blogspot  blogs can only be accessed by proxy servers here in China.  I wish that this was my one and only blog site but the issue of China blocking certain sites means that I have to maintain three blog sites.  I publish photos at  I have been writing a lot at  I have been doing a few things here in Blogspot but for for now it is a minor AKIC blog.  I do try to put in original content here when I can but it is of a political nature which should not be readily available in China.

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update I

I am doing a reprise of all the pregnancy update videos I have done. This was the first video, originally titled Wuxi Jenny at 4.5 months pregnancy.  It is my most viewed video ever.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update VIII

Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation

I honestly tried to watch some Bergman movies but they were just too silly.  So I took out the Civilisation DVD box set I have and watched episode one.  Kenneth Clark hosts the 1969 documentary series that still holds up after all these years and all my viewings of it.

A blind man asked my wife for her seat on the bus.  She told him to go to an empty seat nearby.  Everybody on the bus doubted he was blind.

At the Hospital, this man tried to jump the queue at the cashier window while my wife was trying to pay.  She asked him why he didn't want to wait his turn.  The cashier heard that and she gave the man his money back and told him to go to the back of the line.  The man was angry and thought that my wife had sworn at him.  I, at this point, just having noticed, moved in to separate the two.  The man shurgged and huffed and then left.  Onlookers supported my wife.

What I am up to today.

The wife was up early this morning to go the number four hospital for a pregnancy checkup.  600 AM, she told me something before I rolled over hoping it was all a bad dream.  She later phoned to rouse me again from a nearby restaurant where she was having breakfast.  I rushed to join her and we were at the hospital about 830.

The wife's checkup was fine.  The baby is healthy but she was alarmed to be told that the baby is big and still has some growing to do.

Only thing was that my wife had a blind man ask her for her seat on the bus, and then another man try to jump the queue on her at a hospital cashier line.  I stood in between them as they fought not really knowing what the talk was about.  The second man figured he was entitled to jump the queue because he was old thought he didn't look it.

Back at the apartment by 930 AM, we went back to bed in an air-conditioned room.  I tried to watch a couple Ingmar Bergman DVDs that I happen to have but the wife found them to be boring.  There was no action and lots of emoting in the scenes we did see.  One of the DVDs had an interview with Bergman where he didn't talk about making films but instead went on and on about his feelings about his mother.

I can hear thunder outside.  It may rain this afternoon.

The news of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA has caught my attention.  I have been to Minneapolis many times.  My grandparents on my father's side lived there.  I have memories of having been on a big bridge crossing the Mississippi River.  It may well have been the one that collapsed. 

I can remember walking one day from my grandparents' house to the shores of the river.  Something that had to be done like when I stood on the shores of the Fraser in British Columbia and the Yangtze here in China.

I will spend the afternoon, looking for updates about the disaster in Minneapolis and finishing editing on Pregnancy Update VIII