Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #202

AKIC: Melamine Free

Now that Tony is napping, I can do some blogging.

I am proud to say that my blog and videos are probably the only thing made in China now that is melamine-free. The news about what contains melamine keeps pouring in: baby formula, milk, White Rabbit Candy, chocolate and the latest I heard, bread. This and the other bad news in the world today should make me negative like a banshee. But Life will go on regardless.

I followed the Twins-White Sox tiebreaker on the Major Baseball Site using the program that reports all the action without the benefit of audio or video. The game had its' moments of drama and was a pitcher's duel. The Twins had a runner called out at the plate. The White Sox hit a home run to score the game's only run. So there is a chance of a White Sox - Cubs series as well as a Dodgers - Angels series. Because of the wild card, the chances of a White Sox - Cubs World Series has actually been lessened. In the pre-wildcard format, the Cubs and White Sox both would have won their divisions. (As would have the Rays and the Red Sox would have been eliminated already.)

It must suck for the Tampa Bay Rays. They finally have a winning season and should be in the ALCS right now but they have to risk all being lost in a short best of five series.

The wild card must have been a Democratic Party idea like government provided affordable housing and mortgages.

I live in a new apartment complex but I find the garbage that has already collected here intolerable. Parts of the complex are already going to ruin and the complex isn't finished yet.

I nearly took out a pedestrian on my way to work yesterday morning. I saw a man ahead of me but he suddenly darted in my path as he ran to catch a bus. I honked my horn and swerved to avoid him, he turned and lunged back, and we missed each other by inches.

The school was in holiday mode. I had nothing but one-student classes all day. My Speakers' Corner was lightly attended.

I asked some students to tell me some things that they have to do in their lives. The first student to respond said "eat and sleep". So, I had to explain to them that I wanted them to tell me some goals in life and interesting things to do in life. I was hoping, for example, that someone would say that they had to go see the Great Wall. The next student said "run a marathon" which was more of an answer I was expecting. The next student then said "attend an important event". Could you be more specific I asked.....

September was this blog's best month for visits and second-best month for page views. Thank you to all who take the time to read my modest blog full of its', I know to be, incoherent rants.

If Tony doesn't get his way, his manner of having a fit is to drop down on the floor and scream. And tehn my wife spanks him like you wouldn't believe.

Is the financial crisis the inevitable result of Political Correctness? The idea of giving a mortgage to minorities and others who normally wouldn't get one is clearly a Democratic Party idea. But how is it that the problem festered when the Republicans, who should have known better, were in power in the house and senate? Many of the Republicans, turned out to be using their political instincts instead of their conservative-principled ones. To have done something about the bad mortgages earlier would have earned the Republicans the epithet of racist and elitist and of being only for the rich. A few, including McCain and Bush, tried to stop the debacle but their efforts were feeble and were hamstrung from not being able to be frank about the true reason for cleaning up the mess. It is sad that the story that is generally being accepted about the debacle, too much hyper-capitalism and George Bush, is so untrue.

My wife wanted to go shopping today. I didn't. And so we didn't.

The Kaulins Family

This photo was taken on Tony's birthday: August 23.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Space Walk.

Reaction to the Space Walk performed by Chinese Sinonauts seemed to be very underwhelming. Talking to the students about it, they didn't have much to say. But then I went to the School's western toilet.

In that cubicle, a sign, like you would sometime see on top of urinals, was posted commemorating the space walk at the height of a sitting person. A very curious thing to do.

Chinese National Day is coming!

To celebrate Chinese National Day (October 1), the local municipal government has hung flags on Zhongshan Road, the main drag of Wuxi, China
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

In a holiday mode.

Wednesday being China's National Day, I am mentally already in holiday mode although I still work Monday night and all of Tuesday.

At this time, I am vague on what my wife has planned for my days off , of which I will get four in the next seven days. She talked of going to her hometown Beixing but I gave her a look which hopefully put her off that idea. Having only three days to play with, going to Beixing would be such a shame. I need to relax for three days as the time after the holiday will be busy and stressful for me because I will be taking on some more arduous tasks at work. As well, my efforts to get new trainers at the school (including this) have proved fruitless. With one trainer going back to Canada, we will be at least two trainers short.

I saw, or rather heard, another accident, yesterday around noon. This time, I was in a taxi with my wife returning home after shopping in the center of Wuxi. The taxi passed a truck stop from which many trucks were merging onto a road. Merging into traffic is total chaos in Wuxi as it seems that it is everyone for himself, no yielding expected. So it was no surprise to me when I heard a loud clang behind us and turned around to see that two trucks had sideswiped each other.

Dump trucks are a scary thing in Wuxi. The ones in my neighborhood are going as fast as possible looking to me as if their drivers' incentive is to ship as many tons of dirt as possible. With these incentives, Dump truck drivers have no incentive to stop at red lights. So bad are they are doing this that yesterday I saw a fleet of six go through a red.

Wuxi Tony Update #201

Watch Tony ascend some stairs.

Wuxi Tony Update #200

I use a tripod in this WTU.

Wuxi Tony Update #199

Tony is up close and personal in this blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day off but I am still up early.

Day off means a chance to sleep in? Right?

Mister so-and-so wants to be up early!

The Reception was nothing really. Another accident with an electric bicycle.

My group was late for the reception put on by the Wuxi People's Municipal Government to celebrate the 59th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Our invitation card said it started at 1800 and we got to the Taihu hotel at 1830. We walked into a reception hall (shown above) that was half-full of people and that had half-full buffet tables.

We ate our fill, which was very nice indeed, waiting for someone to make a speech or something. But nothing happened and then some one announced that the reception was over. Talking to some other foreigners who were there, I learned nothing much happened before we arrived. We didn't know anyone and no one seemed worth talking to.
The Cynical English teachers in my group were wondering how many of the other foreigners at the reception were English teachers. We learned a great deal of them were.
The Taihu Hotel was very swank. I dropped my fork and an attendant took it away and gave me a new one. There were fifteen fountains out of the front of the Hotel's main entrance. There were abstract paintings and murals everywhere.

I saw the aftermath of an accident or a mishap with a scooter on my way home from the reception tonight. This time, I saw a smashed scooter on its side, lights still on, seemingly abandoned in the middle of a large intersection. I saw two young males who looked stunned sitting at one of the corners of the intersection and I assumed that they were on the scooter when it got smashed. How it got smashed I could not ascertain, but because there was no other vehicles about it could well be that the scooter spilled because the males had lost control. But it was a strange sight. Seeing the scooter from a distance, I was expecting to see a body beside it.

Lounge Jacket Event.

Tonight, some HyLite trainers and I will go to an event, hosted by the Wuxi Municipal People's government, at the Taihu Hotel in Wuxi, China that will celebrate the 59th anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. I will go to this event full of curiousity. I will go to this event because they want a foreign face there. I will go because the students inform me that the Taihu Hotel is the best hotel and it also has the best restaurant in Wuxi.

I will go despite the logistical troubles it gives me. Traveling on an electric scooter, I hate to wear fancy clothes but the invitation says we must wear a Lounge Jacket. I will also have to carry an extra pair of shoes because I don't wear my dress shoes when riding my bike.

Speaking of electric bikes, I ran into an acquaintance of mine from Canada who just recently had his electric bike stolen. He had lunch at McDonalds, having parked the bike in a nearby designated parking area, only to return and find it stolen. Security guards who work in the area seem to have the sole responsibility of making sure people don't park on the sidewalks. For my acquaintance, it was the second time he had had an electric bike stolen. He won't buy another.

I park my bike in the underground of my apartment building and the building that contains my school, and I believe the security guards there are more reliable.

Do you think this girl is attractive?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Van hits Electric Bike.

On my way home tonight, I saw a van hit a woman on an electric bike. What happened was that the bike tried to race through an amber and red light. The van having the green accelerated forward hitting the bike. I was going in the same direction as the van, so I saw the whole thing from behind. Going through the intersection, I had the same right of way courtesy of the green light that the van had. So, as I passed the scene, I saw the driver just getting out of his van to see what damage had been done.

I have witnessed more collisions in the four years I have been in China than I ever saw in the rest of my life in Canada.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cooling down in Wuxi.

The weather has definitely turned fallish or autumnish in Wuxi, China, as of today. Or at least, I hope it is as of today because I am not interested in enduring 35 degree weather anymore. Today was the first day I wore a jacket in four months.

Wearing a jacket is a good thing because tomorrow night, some of the other trainers and I are going to this important Wuxi government function, celebrating the approaching National Day holiday, where lounge jackets are required. When I first heard of the dress code, I worried about the heat, but it seems that that problem is gone.

Why did I feel embarrassed to say I was an English teacher to the Jordanian gentleman who was a dentist? In my life, I had held many a modest job like line cook, driver, and librarian, and I never made it past corporal when I was in the army. Try as I might, what I was in the past, says a lot about what I am. I feel sensitive about it. I became an English teacher because it was easy for me to do. Sometimes, I think it was too easy to become one, and I can never escape that feeling.

The debate about whether the U.S. government should intervene in the financial markets has me conflicted. I have heard arguments on the right from people, whose opinions I heed supporting a bailout and not supporting that I find equally persuasive. My initial reaction was to let the markets sort themselves out. But as someone said the crisis was of government making. But as another person said governments should not meddle in markets. So as a song made famous by Frank Sinatra goes: "What to do? What to do? What to do?".

Wuxi Tony Update #198

In this video, you see Tony being very socialable and me giving my two cents worth on some of the events taking place these days.

I won't suffer a loss of confidence while doing so.


The news from America the past few weeks has been distressing to this Americaphile. Obama is leading in the polls, it would seem, because of the financial crisis that he had his hands in and he could not solve anyway. McCain seems to want to be seen as a politician leading in the latest ineffectual attempts at meddling in the U.S. economy. (His maneuver of suspending his campaign in order to deal with the crisis could be a brilliant political thing to do or it could be the sign of a campaign in desperation. But since this McCain doubter has been surprised again and again by the candidate's political savvy, I will have to wait to see what happens. After all, he was no one's pick to take the Republican nomination but he did. No one thought he would have been competitive with the young star-like 0 but he has been.)

Americaphobes, on the other hand, have been having a field day. The American live-on-credit culture got its comeuppance according to one Expat I was talking to today. That the crisis was Bush's fault was of course axiomatic to this Expat as well. (I was impressed by the text of Bush's speech ,by the way). Though the truth be told, American presidents get too much credit when the economy goes well and too much blame when it goes awry. And in this financial crisis, there is plenty of blame to spread among both major American political parties.

Tonight, one of the better-spoken students I have gave me his observations on the financial crisis. He found it ironic that America, a supposively capitalist country, was talking of using the government to solve a stock market crisis while the Chinese government, run by Communists, has been content to let the stock markets fall and sort themselves out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I got some explaining to do.

A reader has asked me to explain a thing I said in this entry. I am thinking what to write.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get a recruiting site up and going.

Some photos from my ride to Work.

Early on my scooter ride to work, it is all clear sailing as the photo above demonstrates.

I can even ride past a waterway.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #197

Here is the video taken in the restaurant where I saw Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and you-know-who.

Morning Off.

I don't work till one PM today. But, doesn't mean I sleep in. No Siree. I can't do such things with a wife and child. Tony was up early which meant I couldn't sleep in if I wanted to.

I had also made the rash promise to my wife that I would take Tony for a walk in the morning if the weather was good. And since the weather wasn't bad, off we went.

Feeling weary from the heat which won't go away (An electronic message board on the train from Nanjing said the temperature in Wuxi was 36.6 degrees!), I wasn't feeling particularly adventurous. So, Tony and I did not stray from our apartment complex grounds to explore some other parts of the surrounding countryside. We went to the two playgrounds instead. The first had a lot of other kids and I find that I prefer my playgrounds devoid of other children. Children together can be dangerous to each other. Some children will take foolish risks that don't just endanger themselves. I also saw a women let her little son piss on the playground AstroTurf. The other playground which does not seem to be well known among the other parents satisfies my criteria of seemingly being always deserted. It also had a swing. Tony enjoys it when we sit on the swing, and go back and forth like people are wont to do on swings. This morning on the swing, he fell asleep on my arms which to those who have never been a parent is a wonderful feeling. Children when they are asleep are angels. And even those hard-headed atheisits among you like it when children are angel-like.

The locals will always yell "hello!" to me because I stand out like a sore thumb in a country will a homogenous population. Hopefully, these greetings are meant in a spirit of friendliness and I try to take it as so, but living here for four years I have become weary of it. Sometimes, I can't be bothered to respond or I simply ignore the "hello". One day last week, I was on my electric bike waiting at a light when a swarthy looking man yelled "hello!" to me. I tried to ignore him because I felt as if he was greeting me like he would greet a dog. It was a very rude and condescending manner in which to greet a stranger, I thought. But the man continued at me expectantly. And then suddenly he yelled "F*** Off!". There is hatred of foreigners in China.

Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao

I saw these posters in a restaurant in Nanjing. I naturally had to take photos. I have these characters displayed prominently before at a primary school in Wuxi.
You can also watch the video Wuxi Tony Update 197.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #196

The shortest Wuxi Tony Update ever.

Mohamed from Jordan

Waiting for the train with Tony, I have to take him for walks about the waiting area because the little guy can't sit still and if you leave him among the seats he will find a way to bump his head against them.

Taking Tony near the piano that can be found in the soft seat waiting area of the Nanjing train station, I saw a man, foreign looking, approach me. He asked about Tony wanting to know or rather wanting to confirm that Tony's mother was Chinese. He asked for the confirmation because he too was married to a Chinese woman and they had a son.

Mohamed, was a dentist and doctor from Jordan, doing business in China. I felt embarrassed to say I was an English teacher. Anyway, he told me that his son was on both Jordanian and Chinese passports. I was surprised at this because I thought the Chinese did not allow dual citizenship, but he assured me that because his son was born in China he could do this.

I will have to investigate.

Wuxi Tony Update #195: Tony in Downtown Nanjing

Wuxi Tony Update #194: Tony at the Nanjing Ikea.

Back in Wuxi!

I just got back to Wuxi on the 250 PM train from Nanjing. I am just in time to teach two classes this evening in the school.

Taking the bus from the train station to work, I noticed the authorities are stopping private cars from driving on Zhongshan Road. Asking at work about this, I was told that the city is doing some sort of one-day no-car event.

I will have much more to say about Nanjing in this blog and my other blog.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I see my wife and child tonight.

After work, I am catching a train to Nanjing, where my wife and son are staying with friends. I am looking forward to see how much more trouble Tony can get in and how much better he can walk. Maybe he has learned to talk in the five days I haven't seen him.

I hope Tony is awake when I arrive in Nanjing. I want to see if he recognizes me when I get there.

So, there will be no blogging till late Monday or early Tuesday.

A Xinjiang Blog

Xinjiang is the other end of China from where I am. I have just been exchanging some emails with a Xinjiang Blogger whose site deserves a look-see.

Xinjiang is a place in China I have always wanted to visit out of some weird Lawrence-of-Arabia like romance about the place. One of these days, the Kaulins family will go there. Too bad my wife doesn't like Xinjiang food because the best restaurants in Wuxi serve it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buying Train Tickets. Accident!

I bought my train ticket for Nanjing this morning at the ticket office on Renmin Road here in Wuxi, China. There was a lineup and I had to wait twenty minutes before I could purchase the ticket. I don't know if this was the usual traffic or if it was busier due to the upcoming National Holiday. I used the minimal Chinese I needed to buy the ticket only having to write out "1900" for the clerk. My train, the D448, will leave tomorrow at 19:49.

I saw the immediate end result of accident as I drove, by scooter, to work this morning. One electric bike hit another it was trying to pass or maybe it was vice versa. I did see two bikes tumble on their side. The accident was all the more stupid because there were no other vehicles around at the instance of collision. The two electric bikes were hugging the right side of the road. I assume that the bike trying to pass was sideswiped because the rider of the bike being passed was daydreaming and suddenly staggered leftwards as Chinese bike riders are wont to do. Of course, the passing rider should have given a wider berth to the bike being passed but he had no mirrors. And in China, the rules of passing are not observed. You will often see vehicles being passed on the right: a dangerous maneuver but very common here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A day of Timken. Trip preparations.

Today, I have one class at 1100 AM. In the afternoon, I will judge a Timken Speaking Contest. In the evening, I will have supper with them.

I spending the morning making packing decisions for tomorrow. I will have to leave to Nanjing right after work.

Oh yes! I have to buy train tickets this morning. I will leave the house a half-hour earlier to get to the ticket office on Renmin Road.

I finished watching the Ten Commandments DVD last night. It was alright.

I will go to Nanjing on Saturday Night.

So, I will be going to Nanjing to pick up my wife and child on Saturday night. My wife tells me that I can catch a 7 pm train to Nanjing and arrive there by nine pm.

My wife also informs me that she bought a lot of things and I will have to help her carry the things back to Wuxi.

We will return to Wuxi on Monday, hopefully in time for me to teach at 1800 that evening.

To get home from school Monday evening, I will have to leave my electric bike at the school over the weekend.

Lizards! New bike route. More regulation?

  • Last night, not being able to fall asleep, I looked out my window and I saw a lizard (about three, four inches in length) hanging out on a column near our veranda. Living out in the countryside of Wuxi, I do see some strange, to me, creatures like huge moths and butterflies, and very fuzzy caterpillars.
  • I took a different route to work yesterday morning with my electric bike. I was able ride my bike along a wide bicycle path marvelling at how it was built seemingly just for me, as I was only person riding on the brand spanking new pathway which goes along a canal and new park.
  • Are the current Wall Street woes the result of de-regulation? Does it mean that there should be more regulation? The causes of the fiasco are complex. It can be argued that some regulation caused the fiasco. For instance: Affirmative Action policies caused many of those bad loans to made. A former AIG chief was prosecuted by Eliot Spitzer. Lehman Brothers had connection to environmentalists. But it was definitely human nature that played a part in the crisis. Says David Warren: consider Matthew 5:45. The sun rises alike on the evil and the good, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust. To which we might add, that it is usually the unjust who are whining.

Baby Formula Scarce.

There has been news again of another Chinese baby formula scandal. Apparently, some chemical was put into the formula to make it stretch out longer, or something like that. It is causing kidney troubles in some babies and a few have died. The wife, who is in Nanjing with my 1 year old son, has heard the news and tells me that we have nothing to worry about, for now.

While my wife is away, I did some DVD shopping.

What to make of the AIG buyout? I say let them go bankrupt. The stupidity that the company engaged in was known for years. They often tried to defy common sense. It is a problem that can plague all large organizations and mobs: getting caught in massive exuberance of stupidity. But in a capitalist, as opposed to a corporatist economy, people can ultimately get their just desserts. People then wise up. New smarter companies take over. And life goes on. But not if the government gets involved. Problems government create never go away. Mediocrity and Stupidity are rewarded and encouraged.

My son Tony is having a good time in Nanjing, or so the wife tells me.

The wife went to the Nanjing Ikea and bought a while lot of stuff.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The students and the financial crisis.

I had a speakers corner tonight. I decided to ask them about what they thought about the bad financial news from America. A few said they were concerned and worried because they had invested in stocks. After I explained the idea of bail-out, the students gave the non-committal answer that bailouts were necessary in special circumstances but not all the time.

I then asked the students about their keys. One girl had the key to her bedroom (in China, bedroom doors have locks on them) and the keys to her parents' room, but her parents did not have the key to her room, which was very strange I thought. Another student had two keys which she needed to open the front door of her apartment. Some students had no keys at all. Another had five keys for her electric bicyle (I have three).

I asked the students about the people I have seen who put their keys on a fob and then attach the fob to the back of their pants. The same student who would not let her parents have the keys to her room told me that her grandfather in the countryside hung his keys above his ass because it was the habit of people in the countryside to do so. Not a satisfactory answer but then the girl said that maybe the jingling of the keys made the likes of her grandfather feel secure. But as another person told me, they jingle just as well on the belt loop above your hip pocket. So the mystery was not solved.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #193

The wife is away for a week. So this will be the last WTU till she returns.

This video was taken on the street in front of my apartment.

Wuxi Tony Update #192

Contrast this video with #191.

Wuxi Tony Update #191

I take Tony and you, rare reader, to the countryside.

You will want to contrast this video with the next episode (WTU 192).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #190

In this WTU, I am drunk because of cheap baijoe and other things. Afterwards, I was throwing up for a hour or so.

Should I have shown it? This series is a slice of life. And life isn't always good.

Mid-Autumn Festival random observations.

  • I got very drunk last night. I drank a mixture of gin, beer, Kahlua, 5 rmb baijoe, and other liquors at my friend's, the King of Wuxi, barbecue. The drinking binge was instigated by his in-laws. I made WTU #190 after the binge. After making WTU 190, I spent an hour by the toilet. My wife, a Beixing girl, picked me up, supported me as I stumbled home and gave me a bath - I never felt so lucky and ashamed.
  • I am listening to ESPN Sports radio. I heard that my Seahawks are 0-2, My Jets are 1-1, and a Cubs pitcher named Z pitched a no-hitter.
  • I hate the wildcard in baseball. Any excitement it generates is artificially created and ephemeral. Nothing is better than the excitement generated by an epic pennant race like the Yankees - Red Sox race of 1978. A race that could not happen now because the two teams would have sewn up playoff spots. Now, with the wildcard, historically marginal teams are engaging in pennant races.
  • Earlier yesterday, it was my honour to join my friend, the King of Wuxi, as he drove to Xi Shan island in Lake Tai Hu. This place is close to Suzhou. On the way, we saw a very modern road system that you could have seen in America. But it was lightly used. To get to the island, we drove on more spectacular roadwork as the highway ran through three islands connected by three bridges.
  • I saw a car cut off a police car and get away with it... I don't understand China sometimes.
  • With all the modernity, you still see signs of the old China. As we drove, I saw an old woman with a bent and crippled body sweeping the front of her modest home.
  • My wife and son go to Nanjing for one week. I will be by myself trying to figure out how to use the washing machine and watching DVDs of old movies like Ten Commandments and Anatomy of a Murder starring Jimmy Stewart.
  • I check out the Real Clear Politics site, and it shows McCain with a two point lead over Obama in the polls. God, I hope McCain can hold it. 0bama needs to be punished for such stupid quotes as this: This is the time... "when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” 0 said this talking about his getting the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • Canada has an election happening. The election seems to be a question of whether or not the Conservatives can gain a majority of seats in parliament. (Last election, they formed a minority government) The Leader of the Conservatives, and our current Prime Minister, is Stephen Harper. The Wall Street Journal praises him. But a very contrarian conservative David Warren does not. I can understand Warren's disappointment because of the Human Rights Commission controversies and the awarding of an order of Canada to an abortionist slash baby-murderer, but maybe with a majority government, the Conservatives can do some sensible things that would please Mr. Warren and me.

Wuxi Tony Update #189

In this video, you will see:

- The King of Wuxi.
- Andis save his son from certain death.
- How to say 189 in Chinese
- Tony flirt.

Wuxi Tony Update #188

I have to give Tony heck in this video.

Wuxi Tony Update #187

On the road in Jiangsu Province.

Wuxi Tony Update #186

The start of the Road trip.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Picnic Today.

Tony and I will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by accompanying my friends on a picnic. We will be going to Li Hu and Tai Hu. Expect dramatic commentary and photos in this and my other blog.

Tony at School.

Today was a nothing special day at my school here in Wuxi, China. But because tomorrow is the Mid-Autumn Festival Holiday in China, there was a relaxed feeling of anticipation in the air. Tomorrow and Monday will a holiday for many of the Chinese who will probably spend the time watching t.v. and relaxing. I will look after my son Tony.

I got some practice with that today as Tony came to school for a few hours while my wife was off purchasing formula for him. I let him roam about the school, supervising him all the while. All the girls were friendly to him and he often smiled back. Lately, he would be so shy that he would rather have been in my arms than that of a pretty girl between the age of 18 and 25. But not today.

I saw a foreigner wearing a bright green baseball cap today. See previous entry for the reason he shouldn't have.

Anatomy of a Modern Chinese Wedding. From an Xinjiang Blog. I have always wanted to go to Xinjiang.

There are several reason while I have had trouble recruiting more teachers to come to my school. I have heard that the Chinese government has made it harder to get visas and the prized foreign experts certificate. The bigger cities are offering teachers more money. And it has always been hard to recruit teachers to come to our school. It is probably why I got hired at my school in the first place. (But I can say I took the opportunity and ran with it).

Visit my other site for reasons why you should work at HyLite.

I hate the wild card in baseball. Get rid of it please! It has taken the drama out of September with teams sewing up playoff spots instead of engaging in titanic life and death struggles.

I have a forty minute electric bike commute everyday. Halfway through my ride, I realized I had left a slob of Mozzarella in the office fridge and my last words from my wife were not to forget it. So, I turned around and proceeded to break many traffic rules as the crazier Chinese cyclists that I have seen. I was riding down the wrong side of the street. I went through reds expecting the traffic with the right-of-way to stop for me (which they did). But I need not have bothered, my wife did not need the cheese tonight. I was thirty minutes late for no reason.

Forty minutes from downtown Wuxi puts me in the countryside. I walked into the local supermarket and everyone was saying laowei!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My son Tony's stats

My wife just took Tony to the Hospital. The doctor told her that Tony is taller than other babies his age. Tony is 82 cm tall. Usually a tall baby is 76 cm.

As well, Tony weighs 11.5 kg (25.3 pounds).

Wuxi Tony Update #185

See Tony walk!

See what a complete square I am!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't wear a green cap in China!

I knew this but I neglected to mention this before: You should never wear a green cap or hat in China because it means you are a cuckold, that is your wife is cheating on you.

This was brought up when I was doing a class on clothing. There happened to be a photo of an Oakland A's cap which is used to show the meaning of cap. One of the students asked about the colors and reminded me of the taboo against green hats that exists here.

I will have to research the origins of the taboo.

The King of Wuxi talks about an election that is afar.

The King of Wuxi has strange tastes. But he is still my friend. He says he is obsessed by Canadian Politics. And he has started a blog about the current Canadian Federal Election. I recommend you read it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #184

Taken in the countryside.

Wuxi Tony Update #183

Made on the morning of September 11.

My son: a model? III

My wife had me go through our huge collection of Tony Kaulins photographs for the purpose of sending them to some person who is looking for baby models for a diaper company. Anything to help the wife I will do, and of course I have the typical parent's belief that his or her child is the most handsome or beautiful on the face of the earth. And if there is money to be made from this, I am all for it.
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Tony: a model? II

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My Son: a model?


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Camille Paglia on Sarah Palin.

Camille Paglia has made her latest posting at Salon.com and it is about Sarah Palin. Camille Paglia, who is a supporter of Obama, amazingly, has good things to say about Palin, even calling the Alaskan governor, an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism.

Paglia is a writer like John Derbyshire and Christopher Hitchens, who I will read even when I don't completely agree with them. Many Left wingers hate her. Look at the comments made about her article and a few question why she is allowed to write. How dare she say anything good about the Republicans and Sarah Palin.

It is to these sort of Democrats and Leftists that Paglia directs this paragraph:

The witch-trial hysteria of the past two incendiary weeks unfortunately reveals a disturbing trend in the Democratic Party, which has worsened over the past decade. Democrats are quick to attack the religiosity of Republicans, but Democratic ideology itself seems to have become a secular substitute religion. Since when did Democrats become so judgmental and intolerant? Conservatives are demonized, with the universe polarized into a Manichaean battle of us versus them, good versus evil. Democrats are clinging to pat group opinions as if they were inflexible moral absolutes. The party is in peril if it cannot observe and listen and adapt to changing social circumstances.

The Democrats are intolerant like that NDPer I meet so many years ago who forever made me a Conservative. And the Leftists to this day keep up this intolerance, and in fact are becoming shriller and shriller.

She sounds so sensible at times that it is hard to believe she will vote for Obama. Her reasoning: We need a new generation of leadership with fresh ideas and an expansive, cosmopolitan vision, is weak. As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, Obama's ideas are recycled from the 1960s. Obama's support is coming from the people she criticized in the above paragraph.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Little Guy misses me!

The wife tells me that when I left for work yesterday, Tony ran to the door and then cried for a few minutes.

Nice to know!

Stop thinking aloud? I can't.

Andrew Klavan (another A.K.) wrote this article about being conservative. It opens thusly,

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to

But I am in a land where I must.

McCain leads in the Polls. Yes!! Yes!!

Dumb has moved ahead of Dumber in the Polls. Thank God. Thank the Lord. Thank Jesus, the almighty. And so on.

Hopefully, this trend of shrinking Obama support will continue and the McCain landslide, which I have questioned, may in fact happen.

Tony walking also means Tony falling some more. My wife tells me Tony stumbled on pavement today and cut his face.

Idiot parking. When at school, I park my electric bike in the underground of our building in the space behind the pillars that separate the parking spots for cars. This morning, I parked a foot from the line that marks the edge of the car parking spot. This evening, coming to pick up my bike, I saw a van had parked inches from my bike. The idiot driver parked on the line of the driver side (my side) while leaving three feet on the other. Amazingly stupid. Then I rode home and another idiot parker parked his vehicle right in front of the opening to the path I have to take to get to the underground parking spot for my bike. I was lucky I could remove a rod that was planted into the ground and so move the fence and ride on the lawn. I wanted to kick the car.

The Vikings and Seahawks lost their opening games of the NFL season. But my Jets won with Brett Favre at the helm.

Teachers wanted in Wuxi. Visit here for details.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Blog for Wuxi ESL Teachers.

I have created another blog: Teaching English in Wuxi, China. This is meant to be a team blog for all ESL/EFL teachers who work or are interested in working in Wuxi, China. If you wish to post to this blog you can email me at akaulins@gmail.com. I wish the entries to be directly related to the teaching of English in Wuxi as well as to the life of an English Teacher too.

Wuxi Tony Update #182: addendum

See my son Tony walk a long distance in a Wuxi, China Hotpot restaurant.

Wuxi Tony Update #182

Watch my son Tony walk all over my Wuxi, China apartment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #181

Tony and I go for a walk.

Video of my electric bicycle.

Watch as I show you my electric bike which I bought in Wuxi,China at Carrefour.

Canadian Election. The CBC discusses the right to be fat.

Canada is going to have an election this fall. Our election will start well after the American and finish well before theirs. Which is just as well, for as David Warren says, our election will be boring.

The attention I will give to the election in my country, while the American election takes place, will be analogous to the attention I give to the Canadian Football League while the National Football League season is on: I will practically ignore it. Personality and Idea wise, the choice of leaders we have are a joke. Steven Harper is getting respect from people who haven't got a clue. He would only be doing a praiseworthy job, in my eyes, if these people were frothing at the mouth in hatred of him and we could talk of a Harper Derangement Syndrome. The Liberals are running Stephan Dion, the French Joe Clark. The NDP, our really stupid Socialist Party (as opposed to the Liberals who steal Socialist ideas to keep themselves in power), has Jack Layton as their leader. Any purported Adult who is leader of the NDP or is a member of the NDP should be banned from any responsible conversation or organization. And then we have the Bloc Quebecois, a federal party representing the World's stupidest secessionist movement, and the Green party who have found a way to be dumber than the NDP. Like the world records that are always set at Olympics, humans find new ways to be stupid as the latter two Canadian political parties prove. (If stupidity was an Olympic sport, we would be dominating like the Chinese do at ping pong).

Any sane person has no choice but to hope that the Tories get a majority government. The admitted outrages against common sense that have occurred, while the Tories have been in power, these past few years, would surely earn them an ouster from government were it not for the fact that there is no other party who did not go along with them. No other party would quash the abortionist getting an Order of Canada, disband the CBC, CRTC and the Human Rights Commission, send forces to Iraq to make up for the stabbing of our allies in the back, and bring market forces back into Health care.

The only hope is maybe the Tories will do these things when they get a majority government. PM Harper, one could argue, has had to pussy-foot with a minority government. But there is every indication that he doesn't have the guts to change the Canadian Consensus towards mediocrity that David Warren talks about.

Speaking of the CBC, I had an opportunity to listen, for the first time in years, to it while at my friend's house. He got the feed off the Internet and using loudspeakers to pipe it into his patio. I heard parts of a documentary called "The Right to be Fat." This program was so mired in left-wing assumptions that no conservative could take part. A conservative would say people could darn well do what they please and leave argument at that. But if that is a question for you, you can go down strange paths of thought as this documentary proved. I heard one advocate complain that Fat People waste a lot of money in the Health Care System. "Why would you put trudge into the magnificent machine that is your body? You are killing yourself, you know." This could only be countered by another advocate saying that Fat People were victims. In fact, during the AIDs crisis of the 80s or 90s, Fat people were victimized even further because it was assumed that they couldn't get it because they were so ugly and all. A man from the Netherlands was then asked how they treated Fat people in Western Europe. Normally, one should laugh at this nonsense when but taxpayer money goes to it, and there seems to be a consensus that this sort of programming is sacred and should be subsidized as an act of Canadian patriotism.

Wuxi Tony Update #180

A WTU mixed in with a recruiting ad.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tony a Saint.

Tony was a well-behaved one year old guest at my friend's house warming party tonight. He slept and only wanted to be held by his parents. He had no interest in rummaging about my friend's stuff.

Why this should be so was a mystery to me. I wonder if Tony was intimidated by the other children. He is intimidated by the pretty girls at school wanting to hold him. He will regret this later in life, I hope.

I was listening to the latest edition of Radio Derb. John Derbyshire made a hilarious comment about the advocates of promiscuous buggery getting all into a twitter because Sarah Palin and her hunky husband may have done the big nasty before getting married.

I am getting there. Soon, I will have finished West of the Pecos by Zane Grey.

Canadians, even the dumb ones who vote NDP, Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, CCF and Progressive Conservative (still!) should support the election of Sarah Palin, Ice Hockey Mom, as Vice President of the Country south of them.

As I write this, I am wearing flip-flops, underwear and a bathrobe.

A spat of putting ads on the Internet for Trainers at our school has yielded two responses worthy of replying to. I am sorry but the management at our school only wants non-native speakers.

Coming home tonight just after six pm, it was very dark in my neighborhood. The street lights were not turned on. And so for a little while, I felt rain was coming because the clouds were very dark till it dawned on me that there were no lights - normally in Canada, in every place I have lived, the lights would be on, but this is China.

Dick Morris says the Democrats are in trouble. Yes!!!! I frigging hope he is correct!

With the Democrats in trouble, it is a good time to be a he-man, a red-blooded real man, a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is rugged individualist, John Wayne but real, G Gordon Liddy, meat and potatoes eater, et cetra. And what better way to celebrate manhood that the greatest rite of manhood ever invented, and of course it was invented by the Americans, the National Football League? The NFL season opened on Thursday with the Giants beating the Redskins 16 to 7. (*By rights, this should be in my other blog, but what are you going to do about it: Nancy Boy!)

Go Jets! Go Seahawks! Go Vikings!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Out of the doghouse?

Things are quiet right now at the Kaulins household. The wife is not mad at me or at least I don't detect tension in the air. However, she is quiet which is to be expected because she is after all tired from looking after Tony. I will be quiet too.

Tony was up long enough tonight to happily, jauntily walk into my arms. Then he went to sleep. I can see how my wife would resent me. She has to put up the little guy for eight hours and he hasn't the decency to eat the food she prepares for him.

I know the marriage would be in real trouble if Community Organizers came to fix it.

It takes a lot of audacity to claim Obama has more experience than Palin.

I am going to have the scour the Internet as many ways as possible to try and get teachers at our school. Really, I need a bunch of go-getting Anglosphere types to try their hand at teaching.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

From my other blog with extras.

I just wrote the four paragraphs below in my other blog. I have tried lately to keep unique content in each blog, except for the videos, but I feel today's entry is too important to have in one.

I rode my electric bicycle to work today in heavy rain. I had no choice because I don't have a way home otherwise tonight. I wore a specially designed raincoat, that came with the bike when I purchased it. The raincoat didn't seem adequate protection I quickly realized two minutes into my forty minute commute. The only good thing about the ride was the fact that the rain scared most other cyclists off the streets making for less traffic. By the time I got to school, I was thoroughly soaked.

What is my take on the Palin VP selection? I hope it works for the Republicans. I see that the Democrats are panning it severely but that the Republicans are mostly enthused by it and even talking of the names Thatcher and Reagan. We will have to see how it plays out over the next two months. The choice was a bold maneuver that could look brilliant if Sarah Palin performs well and severely stupid if she falls flat. It does in the short run take thunder away from 0.
Here is a well-written take, from Seablogger, on the Palin VP selection that may give some of you an idea why some Republicans are very enthused by it. An avid reader of Seablogger, I consider that posting to be his best ever. While his circumstances are not the same as mine, he is a Leftist turned Conservative as am I.

Forbes magazine says Hangzhou is the top business city in China and Wuxi is the third best city for business in China.

Blogspot Extra:

I shouldn't complain. Compared to my wife, I have no right to, but I will say I have a cold and sore throat. Riding the scooter in the rain was not a good idea.

In the Doghouse #2. I am in the doghouse again as of last night. Only thing that stopped it from being tragic was Tony falling asleep in my arms. The guy loves me at times even when my wife criticizes. Why am I in the doghouse? Like the people who live in Hurricane country, it is the price you pay for living in paradise. I do some wrong thing, no doubt, but I am no scoundrel. My wife is tired and I have to accept that I will have her frustration taken on me because I sometimes do nothing to lessen it. But at the same time, her bad moods are counter-productive because they leave me paralysed when I should be doing things to lessen her frustration.

Desperately seeking teachers.

Want to teach English in China? Why not come to Wuxi, China? It is a small city of 4 million one hour by train from Shanghai. It has a great downtown and many western restaurants and amenities like Expat pubs.

My school, at which I have proudly taught for four years now, needs trainers ASAP. Experience is not so necessary as attitude. If you want opportunity and a chance to improve yourself then HyLite is the school for you.

Send me an email at akaulins@gmail.com for more details about the position. Native English speakers need only apply.

Overbuilding in Wuxi?

A trainer who has just joined our school is in the same situation as me. He has married a Chinese woman and has bought an apartment in the outskirts of Wuxi. He tells me that the area of town that he lives in has a lot of empty apartments. The building in which he lives has 36 units, 7 of which are occupied. Our apartment building which has twelve units, has so far had four families move in. He tells me his area of town is like a ghost town as is our part of town, at night.

It makes me wonder if the developers here have overbuilt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #179

Taken the morning of September 4.

A left turn into the right lane.

  • As I said before and I will say now and I will say again, my bike ride to work will be a constant source of material for this and my other blog. Tonight, I had a near collision with a three-wheeled self-propelled wagon. The driver of said vehicle made a left turn into the right lane that I was proceeding down. He was going the wrong way and he darn well saw me coming but he continued with his stupid maneuver anyway. And he keep turning leftwards, not giving me, as I was trying to go to my right, any room. Because everyone breaks the rules here in China, you can never be sure what someone who is going the wrong way is going to do when encountering approaching traffic. Sometimes, these drivers won't go to their right. Sometimes they may try to get around you on their left. What the wagon driver did tonight was so bizarre, I had to wonder what the hell he was thinking. I wonder also if he understood the meaning of the word "fuck!".
  • A couple nights previous, I saw a near collision in front of me as a woman leisurely decided to turn leftwards from the center of the bike lane. Another scooter trying to pass her at that instance almost collided with her. In Chinese bicycle traffic and in car traffic, turn signals are never used or heeded.
  • I definitely have a conservative temperament. I happened to find a book of grammar that was published in 1947. Leafing through the book, I found some quite useful information. Other teachers laughed at the book because it was published in 1947 saying it was way out of date. I don't think the rules of grammar have changed in 61 years. In fact, I don't think there has been any real innovations in grammar teaching in that time. I know if anything that the teaching of grammar was far more rigorous at that time than it was in when I was going to school. I spent my years after high school being ashamed of my grammar because I had never been rigorously taught about it. I had to go out and find books on my own to learn about it. Also, teaching English I have had to think about it. And typically the older books I have come across, to me, seem to do a better job of explaining grammar, as well as emphasizing its importance. There has been an approach to teaching it, in recent times, that has lead to lazy thoughts like those Orwell complained about in his seminal essay Politics and the English Language: an essay that is still relevant even though it was also written around 1947.
  • The conservative temperament, however, does not automatically assume that everything old is necessarily better than something that is new. The Internet, for instance, is an absolutely wonderful thing because it allows one access to so much knowledge. But the conservative is justly suspicious of supposed progress and modernity. This time in history is clearly not a good time for poetry and painting and music. Modern poetry and painting and music are terrible. You would have to be a charlatan to even try to say otherwise. Movies, today while technically superior in many ways, have forgotten the discipline of plot and story telling. Watching the Dambusters, I was amazed at the quality of the acting and so could forgive the primitive special effects. The story was also told straight-forwardly with economy and I was never bored as I watched it. The only thing dated about the movie was the special effects. I have seen movies made in the 1980s that are much more dated because they were made at the moment, if you know what I mean. The actors look absolutely ridiculous in whatever the latest styles they had for clothes and hair. It may well be that people dressed better in old movies as well as took a more professional attitude to it.
  • To be conservative, I think, is to be more open-minded about the past and appreciative of it. Coming to China, I have seen people operate in ways that are directly opposite to anything I had experienced in Canada. Some of what they do here is better and to be commended, while much of what we do in Canada is reprehensible. The same goes for people of different ages.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is 0 winning or losing?

The best site I know to follow U.S. political developments is Real Clear Politics. It presents a good cross section of views about U.S. politics. It is amusing to look at the various links and you can get any take you want, favourable or unfavourable, about whoever your horse is in the presidential election. McCain's choosing of Sarah Palin as his VP/running mate was alternately panned and praised.

RCP also shows a weighted average of major polls about the election and the last time I checked Obama was six points up on McCain which would indicate he had a bounce after his convention. But you can read articles claiming 0 had no bounce at all. This article claims he has lost the election. I hope it is right but I hesitate to jump on the bandwagon claiming that. I remember thinking there was no way in hell that Clinton would win a second term and that Gore had any chance against Bush. You just don't know what the undecided or the bouncers are thinking.

By the way who are these bouncers, these people who watch the Democratic Convention and think "I like Obama" and then watch the Republican Convention and think "I love McCain"?

On a personal front, my son Tony, who is one years old, is becoming bolder and bolder in his walking. Last night, he walked about fifteen feet into my arms when I arrived home from work. An emotional moment for me.

I heard that the PLA was on high alert during the Olympics.

Family Transport

One thing about my long commute, it is my one of my few sources of material for my blog. There is also something strange to see.

Last night, on my way back home, I saw a man riding his family home on his old bike. His wife was carrying a baby probably six months old. I have never thought to take Tony on my scooter and I don't ever plan to, so you have to feel sorry for the poor souls in China that do.

On a more interesting note, I meet a man with good English on my bus ride to work on Sunday. He worked at a German company and I could detect a bit of a German accent in his English. He was staying with his parents who live in our apartment complex for the weekend. During the week, he is in Suzhou with his company. He had adopted the Western attitude to marriage: do it as late as possible. I thought it was a bad attitude on our part, but that is in fact what I have done with Jenny. I married very late by Chinese standards and even old Western standards.