Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I wait, and I trust you wait, for China to unblock Youtube. I have a backlog of Wuxi Tony Updates to upload. You will love the WTU where Tony fights a mountain gorilla to a 12 round draw.
I have no exciting philosophical discoveries to tell you about this evening. I am having a stale day. Everything seems stale. The people I see are stale. Especially their odours. Thankfully, Tony is discovering new ways everyday to astound and annoy his parents.
Tony didn't want to eat the food his mother made for him for supper. He instead found a box of crisps, on his own, and ate them instead. He can also grab little drink bottles from the kitchen, open them himself, and insert the supplied straws into them when his mother isn't looking.
I can hardly wait till he can dress himself and doesn't need to be carried when he is taken on an outing.
Tomorrow is my day off. The AKICistans no big plans. We have to wait till payday before we can splurge on anything. If the weather is conducive, I may take Tony for a walk.
Wasting away again in AKICistan.
Waiting for my something or other blah blah
Some people say that there's a woman to blame
But I know there is nothing that can be done about it....
I have this urge to watch the Wizard of Oz, Tony AKICistan's favorite movie, for the 150th time. I don't know the songs by heart yet. Tonight, I wanted to belt out the song the Tin Man did about needing a heart.
I am wearing two pairs of Long Johns. Why you ask? I had been wearing one around Casa AKICistan like it was a pair of sweat pants or pajama bottoms. This afternoon, I took the bike downtown and I obeyed the wife when she ordered me to wear a pair of Long Johns. Her order was the order of a benevolent despot because it was damn cold today in Wuxi. As well, in an effect that is analogous to the change in time that happens when you go at high speeds approaching the speed of light, temperatures are much colder when you are riding fast in the open air. Coming home, I took off my pants (I will provide photos of this privately, for a price, if you are interested) and replaced them with my sweats, aka Long Johns. And so I am wearing two pairs of Long Johns which Mrs. AKICistan finds very amusing.
Why is America so successful? As Victor David Hanson points out: there are millions of impressive Americans, who get up in the morning at 5AM, go to bed at 10PM, avoid the bars, the drugs, the crime—and carry the rest of the country on their backs. That is the way I got to be... again.
Monday, March 30, 2009
- I took the bike to work today. I survived with flying colors.
- What is Tony doing in the photo? He is unplugging something he shouldn't.
- I was tempted to talk about balding in my English Corner this afternoon.
- Tony gave me seven mao, which is seven tenths of a rmb. I was about to put them in my pocket when he grabbed my arm. I had to give the money back.
- My wife hates it when I say "just about"!
- What is the most awful thing you can think of? "A dog eating s*** and then licking your face!" I will never ask the question again.
- Do you what President' Oprah's biggest sin is? He has committed many. But he just seems so frigging boring like a guy who just won't shut up! The Americans have inadvertently created a bully pulpit so big that even the most insignificant and clueless of people can be heeded by standing on it.
- Tony has just unzipped my jacket so he could put a coin in it. Amazing!
- Tony has just found something that we, that being his parents, never knew had a magnet on it. This mini etch-a-sketch device we bought for Tony has a writing thing (I can't think of a word) with a magnetic tip. Tony just used this pen-like object to pick up the coins he has been playing with all day.
- The Mandarin for where I live is: Jia Zhou Yang Fang. Remember that! McCall!I have this idea for teaching. Suspend students from the ceiling of the classroom by convincing them they learn more if there is more blood in their brains. Rig the classroom so that that bad students get dropped on their head if they don't participate, and you have the perfect learning atmosphere for teacher and student.
- China has blocked Youtube again.
- There is a poll about the best expat pubs in Wuxi. If you ask me, they all suck!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The maid comes at 800 a.m. I get up early so I can shower before she arrives.
It will be a busy day. My first decision: to take or not take the bike.
I look outside the window. I see it is sunny - perhaps, I will take the bike.
I finished reading Airframe by Michael Crichton. It was nothing special. It was full of technical details I have not been aware of before, but the story was lame. The best thriller I have ever read is Day of the Jackal. It was tension-packed to the last page.
The family K went to Yangqiao to the evening. We were hoping to find a restaurant to eat at but most we went to were full. We ended up going to this restaurant in the downtown of Yangqiao which we had gone to before. The wife likes the food there but I find it dull and unpalatable. So while she ate, I chased Tony who wanted to run all around the restaurant. Funny, how when the Family K goes from place to place, Tony wants to be held.
Last night, I was re-watching some of the dance scenes form the Astaire movie I watched on Saturday. Trying to imitate the steps, I was tripping over myself.
I got my wife to look at Rita Hayworth. Jenny said Rita was "something else", and had big norks.
The veneer of Civilization is thin, very thin indeed.
I must have seen and been seen by thousands of people yesterday. I had nothing in common with any of them.
A way I don't think: Because I have seen cars, and even driven them, I have no need to think about the people who had to ride horses.
I have these two pieces of text in my mobile phone which I will, in a spare moment, read. They are the famous speech by Hamlet and the Nicene Creed. Both pieces of text are products of Western Civilization. They best present to an outsider, the strains that are within the West. The speech of Hamlet represents our nihilist and secular tendencies. The Nicene Creed represents our desire for order and to make sense of our existence.
I read this story by Lu Xun. Lao Zi talks with Confucius at the beginning of the story. Their exchanges make Lao Zi haughty. Lao Zi then goes on a trip but he is stopped by officials whose job it is to collect tariffs from travellers. Seeing that he is a famous scholar, the officials make Lao Zi give a speech to a group. Making speech, the listeners find Lao Zi to be boring. They can't understand him because he speaks Chinese in a different dialect and different accent. Seeing they don't understand, Lao Zi goes into greater detail, making the lecture all the more torturous for his listeners. When the lecture is finished, it is the end of the agony for all who attended. The officials then ask Lao Zi if he could make notes of his speech so the listeners can further study and try to comprehend. Lao Zi spends two days doing this. Presenting the resulting scrolls to the officials, he is free is go on his way. The officials place the scrolls on a shelf with other confiscated goods like bags or rice.....
Yangqiao Market Day, Sunday afternoon. These market days are sort of like street parties that you would see in some towns and neighborhoods in Canada. They are like a carnival. The one we went to today is best shown by the two photos I have published today. It was far too crowded to do much. If I was in a bad mood, I would have elbowed back the many people who elbowed me. I couldn't put Tony down because he would have been crushed by the crowds.
There was one point in the afternoon where the lane was so crowded, I felt trapped. I thought of those stadium disasters where the rush of the crowds leads to people being trampled to death.
Tony took the crowds in stride. Mind you, he was being carried around. He and his "laowai" Dad were a sight to behold by the hordes. Many a stranger tried to shake his hand.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I have thinking about the subjunctive mood and the pluperfect tense. I was reading a Latin grammar, that for whatever reason I had brought from Canada to China. The Wikipedia entries for the two grammar terms are very helpful.
Thinking about the images I saw yesterday of baby seals being clubbed, I recall the times I have seen chickens getting their throats slit here in China.
I watched the first forty five minutes of Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney last night. I have always thought of Cagney as the "You, dirty rat!" person. I was surprised to seem him dance, and dance very well in this musical. Still, something about Cagney puts me off. Astaire and Groucho Marx and Steve McQueen have a quality to them that no one else seems able to bring to the screen. Cagney, while talented, is the sort that makes one wish he was less talented. It is hard to explain.
'Sexiest Swimsuit Model' Joanna Krupa Inspired by Pope John Paul II's Views on Nudity.
Let's go boating on the Grand Canal.
I am no modern day shaman.
The Annunciation. I learned something this morning.
Another good blog.
Why didn't they do together? They were recently married to other people.
I ask you. What are the chances of that happening?
I found this out at the end of the class when one of them asked if the beautiful baby they had seen wandering around the school was mine. After showing them a photo of Tony, they had proof that it was. And I had been wandering what these two students seemed so chipper.
In my class prior to the newly-weds, the students and I talked about leadership. I posed the question: Is it better for a leader if his followers love him or fear him? One of the students, who studies Industrial Design at Jiangnan University said 80 percent fear, 20 percent love was the right mixture. I agreed with her readily.
I will bring my camera with me tomorrow in hopes of taking photos of Buddhists attending some World Buddhist Forum. I missed an opportunity to take a great shot of three monks asking three policemen for directions this afternoon.
On the bus this morning, the video screen showed images of curling and baby seals being clubbed. I thought I was in Moncton.
What do I love about America? Its' capacity for self-criticism. Everyone knows what is wrong with America. Most non-Americans don't know what is wrong with themselves. Anyway, here is an article, about how America could end up like Argentina, written by an American.
In the next three episodes of WTU, you will take a tour of the grounds of our apartment complex.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
It is cold and damp in the Wux today. So I took the bus to work.
Tony loves it when I sing "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands..."
With Tony up so early, I have to mind him while I let Jenny get more shuteye. Not wanting to dress him, I lay in bed with him, making sure he didn't jump on his mother. Between minding and amusing him, I thought about what I would blog about. I thought about my past. The dumb things I did. Do I have the courage to ever talk about them in this blog? I wonder. But it would do me good to relate some episodes from my past, particularly the ones that put me in a bad light. To understand myself, I have to be able to explain myself to you.
On the way to work, I ran into an old student. She was selling cars for Mazda. She now runs a small clothing shop with a partner to which I must take Jenny.
Some Thursday night a while back, I did a "Thursday K-musings". So tonight is part two.
I in fact finished watching the Song of Bernadette DVD last night. I enjoyed the film. I didn't know Hollywood made movies where Catholics were portrayed favourably but this is one. The film portrayed Atheists in their nasty true light. The question of whether the girl Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary was left open by the film. When Bernadette said the vision called itself the Immaculate Conception, you had to wonder how she could not have heard before. Surely, girls talked about such things as conception without the priests having to tell them about it. But as the movie said at the beginning: "To believers, no proof is necessary. To un-believers, no proof is sufficient."
This Yahoo list of "100 Movies to See Before You Die" doesn't include any Astaire and Rogers movies. Yet, it includes that horrid film Titanic. Also, someone pointed out that it didn't include High Noon. You could drop "the Matrix" off that list and replace it with the Gary Cooper classic.
If you are going to have a bicycle path next to the road, it is a good idea to not have a tall hedge of bushes dividing the two lanes. On my ride to work, there is this spot that is dangerous because of bushes. The bushes serve to blind cars turning from bicycles. Today, I saw the end result of a collision between a bicycle and a car that had made to quick a turn for the cyclist to anticipate. Furthermore, this spot is a blind spot for bicycles approaching each other because there is a bend in a road which makes for a blind turn. The turn is blind because no one in China seems to want to ride in their proper lanes.
Why is China blocking Youtube? I have my theories.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I will keep you abreast of other incredible things he says.
This afternoon, I watched most of this film "The Song of Bernadette" starring Jennifer Jones and featuring an appearance by Vincent Price. I hope to watch the end tonight.
At an intersection near the Casa K, I saw a couple of, what I assumed to be policeman, with a motorcycle. One of the policeman (or security guys) sat on the cycle lazily smoking. He wore sneakers, a grey uniform, and a police helmet normally worn by riot cops. His partner waved in a friendly manner at Tony. What were these cops doing on the corner? I ran into a neighbor or ours who working in the area told me that delegates of the World Buddhist Forum are staying at a nearby hotel. Her husband, who is a policeman, is working special duty for this forum.
Here is a photo of the anonymous "H" who had left a comment on my blog a few days ago. "H" is from Winnipeg.
I watch a mass on EWTN as I make this entry. I am not Catholic but I am curious about masses.
Here is an accurate description of the difference between be President Oprah and his predecessor "W": Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good. Read the quote in context here.
When I was taking Tony for a walk through the apartment complex, a man working on the third phase of the complex's construction picked up Tony. The man dropped his wheel barrow to do so. I didn't know what to make of it. I don't think you would see construction workers in North America doing that. For one thing, they would be worried that their buddies would consider them pedophiles. Secondly, they would have to be worried about getting sued. Here, I assume that the fellow thought the kid was cute.
From this article: Marx was wrong: The opiate of the masses isn't religion, but spectator sports. Well, Marx was wrong about many things. Although, it can be said that in North America, sports are a substitute for religion for many people. There are people who have shrines to their favorite sports teams in their houses and cars. I was like that. Team pennants always graced my bedroom walls. Since moving to China, I have lost track of spectator sports. I will look at the standings of the leagues I have always followed on the Internet, but I don't feel deprived if I don't watch games anymore. Not seeing the games, the teams in the standings are disembodied. That certain teams are in first or fifth or in last seems like a random thing to me. That a certain team could be in a certain place was at one time a matter of great import. Now, it is like the random permutations of a computer sports game. I now find myself moving toward religion. Christianity defines me even if I haven't followed and am reluctant to. But it is where I am coming from. Since the rare person likes hockey here in Wuxi. It doesn't define me in the eyes of the people I meet here.
In the first photo, you can see Tony at play. He is playing on a public thingie and is not destroying the private property of the K family at Casa K.
The second photo displays a level of ingenuity that while admirable to some, is horrifying to parents. Tony placed the chair near the counter so he raise himself to explore. I didn't teach him to do this. His mother said she didn't teach him either. Now we have less places to hide things from Tony's inquisitiveness and destruction.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I tried to organize my closet this morning. The problem is that I have too many clothes and not enough space. So, I have done the sensible thing and quit - no point in wasting time trying to build character.
Tony almost said "A,B,C" this morning. What he said sounded like "Ah, Bay, Zeeggh".
Looking at the numbers, I see that March is already the best month for readership ever at AKIC blogspot. Thank you, rare readers. I hope that I have upset or elated you, but never made you indifferent.
My kid brother living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada tells me about the table manners of a Chinese co-worker, asking for insight. "It is what they do." I tell him.
I just spelled my son's butt. "Pew!" said the churchgoer.
I am enjoying catching up with H.
I haven't had a chance to see what dumb things President Oprah is up to today. I do have a prediction. I am reading about these potential floods in the state of North Dakota. In '97, they had floods and of course President Clinton paid a visit to show he cared. I suppose Oprah will do the same thing and they will contrast his response to disaster as much more caring and competent than the job W did with Katrina...
I got to go!!!!
What do I do on a Tuesday night? If I am not working, I am at home with Tony and the wife. Tonight, I watched the last half of the movie The Bride of Frankenstein. I plan on showing the film in my movie salon class on Saturday. Tony watched a bit of the film with me. Together, we saw the scene where the Monster visits and is befriended by the blind man. Tony giggled at the parts where the blind man taught the Monster some words. Why he found these scenes funny is a mystery. To an adult mind, they are funny in a way. The Monster is dumb and the actor, playing him, plays the Monster woody. But I find it hard to believe that Tony had picked up on it.
Tomorrow is a day off for me. I plan to spend the afternoon with Tony letting his mother go downtown to do some shopping. I will teach Tony to read and do algebra.
Getting Youtube was a problem today for me. But, I suspect that it is a technical problem rather than a blocking on the part of some authorities.
Obama claimed to be on the side of science when he lifted the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Really, he was sticking it to the religious troglodytes who placed the ban in the first place. John Derbyshire asks if Obama will be on the side of science when it conflicts with political correctness. Derbyshire having read Oprah's biography concludes (s)he is a cultural Marxist.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Heather! You can see what I have been up to by reading this blog. Please visit AKIC as many times as possible. This month is shaping up to be a record month for numbers for AKIC blogspot. So, if you could encourage all your relatives and co-workers to visit as well.....
I should also praise Heather to the hilt. What should I say? If she was a millionaire, it would make me happy like learning my kid brother won the lottery. Some people you just want the best for and you would never think to begrudge them their good fortune. You wouldn't think to go over and sponge.
What is wealth? I briefly talked with my students last night. I told my students that, in my opinion, wealth is having a lot of what you consider to be valuable. I asked the students if having a mobile phone meant they possessed wealth. Most of them said no. When I asked them why, they told me because everyone has a mobile phone these days. It seemed that their definition of wealth was having a lot of things that others considered valuable. Even after I told them that in the palm of their hands, a mobile phone contains things that the greatest emperors of China never possessed, they didn't see a mobile phone as wealth. They even said that China was wealthier in the past than now. Their reasoning was that in times past, China was the greatest empire on earth and so at that time, it had the greatest wealth. Wealth it seemed to them was relative. I think it is subjective.
Other than that, not much to say. Tony gave me a book when I arrived home tonight. I don't know what he wanted me to do with it. He ignored my entreaties to take it back.
I watched some EWTN this morning on the computer. I will be watching more.
There was a wine-tasting event held in the library of our school today. A Chilean gentlemen did a find presentation about wine and his part of South America. I have never had a taste for wine. I still prefer a Crown and Coke when the opportunity arises. I couldn't tell a good wine from a bad wine unless I looked at the price tag. I did try some wine this afternoon but I found it quickly made me light-headed (I am out of practice when it comes to drinking alcohol) and stabbed at my delicate stomach.
This column by David Warren about Oprah's latest doltest move contains a good description of Obama and his milieu: All his life, from childhood through university through "community organizing" and Chicago wardheel politics, through Sunday mornings listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the left side of Democrat caucuses in Springfield and Washington, he has been surrounded almost exclusively by extremely liberal people, and moreover, by people who are quick and clever but intellectually narrow. He could have widened his intellect if he had actually listened to Rush Limbaugh instead of telling the Republicans to switch Rush off.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Above, is a photo of Tony taken only moments ago. As you can see, AKIC provides you live-blogging at its finest.
Above, you can see Tony eating an apple taken from the Tree of Knowledge. He didn't need a snake to trick him into doing this. He did so out of his natural curiosity. Still, it means he is a fallen creature like the rest of us.
Sunday was an uncanny day for seeing accidents. In the morning I first saw the aftermath of a bus having rear-ended a taxi. The results of the collision weren't serious. But the taxi and bus stopped in the middle of a busy intersection near the Baoli shopping mall blocked traffic. The maneuvering of traffic around the accident scene as well as the blaring of horns was something to behold. The piece de la resistance was just my just being able to catch two taxis collide on Zhongshan Road near the school as I went to catch a bus home. One taxi broadsided the other. I heard a skidding of tires and saw the moment of impact. No one was hurt but both taxis were rendered out of commission. The collision was the most jarring that I have seen in my time in Wuxi. I then saw another collision aftermath at the intersection near Baoli. A taxi rear-ended a car this time heading in the same direction as the taxi and bus were in the morning.
I asked some students about Obama and the North Koreans. They told me that the Nork leader was nuts and nothing could be had by talking to him, even nicely. He would keep acting crazy, and promise to stop if given more rice. How do you break that vicious cycle? You can't let the Norks have nukes. (I said that 'cause I like the sound of the two N's.)
Tony brings a cup to his mother in the kitchen. Why? So she can refill it with juice for him. A small thing but it is the first time I have seen him do that. Witnessing your own child make progress is enjoyable.
Chesterton said that to an older child, it is fascinating to open a door and learn there is a dragon inside. To a young child, he said, it is fascinating to just open a door and see whatever is inside. A parent is enthralled by seeing a young child open a door.
Tony is trying to eat an Apple which leads me to ask if he can eat bananas. The wife tells me he can't.
This is a site worth exploring: The Russell Kirk Center.
This morning, the best place to be on the crowded bus, if you had to stand, was behind the driver in a corner near the front seat. Facing straight ahead, I could watch traffic and only have one elbow in my back.
It is the USA and Japan and Korea still left in the running at the World Baseball Classic. I say Go America and Japan and Korea!
Gonzaga has made it to the final sixteen in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.