Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Dominion Day from Andis and Tony!

Why I am proud to be a Canadian.

Here are some reasons to be proud to be a Canadian:
  • Paul Henderson's three game winning goals in 1972.
  • Bobby Orr!
  • Rush.
  • The kick-ass performance of the Royal Canadian Armies and Navies in World War Two.
  • The Bench Clearing Brawl
  • Our formerly under-stated patriotism
  • David Warren
  • Marc Steyn
  • Preston Manning
  • Tim Horton's restaurants
  • The Ski Doo
  • Mordecai Richler
  • John Candy
  • Ferguson Jenkins
  • Frozen Rivers in December
  • Big Skies
  • Our unimportance in the big scheme of things frustrating the efforts of our statists to make it not so.
  • Guy Lafleur - the chain smoking, beer drinking, hockey superstar.
To name a few.

Happy Dominon Day, Canada!

July 1 is Canada Day (or Dominion Day as old school Canadians, ashamed of what Trudeau did to the country, call it).  Here is a list of why I grimace when I think of what has happened to The True North, once Strong and Free:
  • The Canadian Broadcast Corporation
  • The Rouge in Canadian Rules Football
  • Sheila Copps
  • Socialist Medical Care
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • The Canadian Radio and Television Commission
  • The Goods and Services Tax
  • Lotteries
  • Video Lottery Terminals
  • Tobacco Taxes
  • Curling
  • Human Rights Commission
  • The Amalgamation of the Canadian Military
  • Provincial Sales Taxes
  • Canadian Content Rules
  • French on cereal boxes
  • Policeman in Saskatchewan who can conjugate French verbs.
  • Bryan Adams
  • Celine Dion
I shouldn't actually include Curling and the Rouge (the one point given for missed field goals) on the list but I want it to be partially tongue and cheek.
I will spend the day not working.  If it stays sunny, as it is now, I will be taking Tony out on the electric bike.  We will be proudly wearing our Canadian t-shirts and underwear.
And of course, I will be taking Dominion Day photos and making special Dominion Day WTU's.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A history of Europeans having sex in Asia.

From the Wall Street Journal, comes a review of "The East, the West, and Sex". The stories of fat German tourists and over-the-hill Casanovas coming here for sex are very true. And while the article does mention the fact that many of these men are escaping Christian scolds and the like. I should also like to add that they are also escaping Western Feminism. Asia is a place where women are still in women, unlike North America where women are fat, wear tattoos, and feel the need to be vulgar like sailors.

A Wuxi Minute Radio Spot.

If you go to wuxi guide dot net, you will see a radio player on which you can hear a Wuxi Minute Radio Spot I did ages ago.

DNA test needed to get passport?

I just received a message from an American who, like me, has a Chinese wife and child thereby.  Like me, he is in the process of getting a passport for his child.  He informed me that his consulate requires he has a DNA test done.  He says he knew nothing of the requirement.  I believe him.  Consulates don't seem to make it easy to fill out their forms.

Rain in Wuxi, China. June 29, 2009.

Video of the heavy rain this morning in Akicistan.

Raining in Akicistan.

It is Tuesday so I must be in Akicistan, the most wonderful place in Wuxi, China. I look out my window and see it is raining heavily. I pity the poor schmucks below who have to be going to work.

Only problem is that I will have to stay in the apartment all day. Tony and I won't be able to do stuff.

Wuxi Tony Update #357: Tony Falls Asleep at Andis's Place of Work.

Watch this video and you will get a quick video tour of where I work and its surroundings.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #356: Putting Coins in a Can.

Monday is Friday.

It is Monday morning.  At Casa K, it really is Friday because Tuesday and Wednesday are really Saturday and Sunday for me - they being my days off, you see.  I don't have to be at work till one in the afternoon, so I can spend a leisurely time around the home.  It is raining outside so, so much for my plan to take Tony for a walk.  The wife is asleep so I can get a little blogging in.
I made WTU 356 last evening.  I am uploading it to Youtube as I make this blog.
If you are in China, www.youku.com is a useful site.  I was able to watch English language movies and t.v. shows on it.  For instance, I watched Gran Torino, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the Teletubbies, and Kenneth Clark's Civilisation yesterday.
I don't have much to say about what is going on locally in Wuxi other than it is hot and humid.  I have no idea what the expats are up to.  However, the bit I do see and hear makes me cynical about all of them.  The Chinese must think all foreigners are letches, operators, and drunks.
Ed McMahon's death went almost unnoticed.  He was seen as a sidekick.  And yet, of the three celebrities who died recently, he was the one whose life should have been celebrated and commemorated.  Ed McMahon was a former U.S. marine.  I believe he had combat experience.  He did more for people than that sorry Jackson did.

Sunday Night and I feeling alright.

I have recovered from the four beers I drank last night.  Never again.
Here is Marc Steyn's Michael Jackson Obituary.  Surely, the only one that will be worth reading about him.
In class, I asked a student if she liked listening to music.  She said "yes" and then mentioned that Michael Jackson died.  As I said, the Chinese students know about MJ.
I am reading articles on the Internet complaining about the coverage of MJ's death.  They complain the coverage has been wall-to-wall.  But it was all perfectly predictable to this blogger all the way out in China.
Strangely enough, I was able to say I was the person who did inform one expat that MJ had died.  Somehow, he had not been on the Internet for one whole day.
I also watched this BBC documentary about the JFK assassination.  The BBC slant on it was definitely left-wing.  But, I don't have time to tell you why just now.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Last night, I went to a bar in the Kempenski Hotel, a huge building overlooking Taihu square.  It was my first trip to a pub for a long time.  It was beer night for the foreign trainers at my school so I was able to get permission from Jenny to go.  The pub serves German beer, expensive but alright.  I drank four tall glasses of light and dark beer.  I feel it this morning.  Thankfully, I won't have to be going to the pub again for another long period.  A band of Filipinos played pop songs and eventually got the patrons dancing.
I ran into an expat who has a daughter about the same age as Tony.  He immediately told me that he had to get a permission slip to be out.
I took the bus and taxi home.  I would have been in no condition to drive the scooter if I had brought it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chinese reaction to Michael Jackson's Death.

Michael Jackson's death was a subject of interest to my students at my English Corner last night.  I asked them to describe him in one word.  Most of the students said "strange'; one said "cool".  Another student said he didn't like him because "he attacked children.".  They all heard the stories of Jackson's skin-dying.  I used the topic of Jackson's death to talk of the perils of fame and money.

Looking out my window....

...and what do I see? I see it is raining in downtown Wuxi, China. Below, you can see the stand-alone steeple of the church next door to the school. The pointy tall building silhouetted in the background is the MoreSky360 building. I don't know if you can see but the bicycles parked below are covered with raincoats to keep the seats dry.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Exam Results

At this time, students are getting the results of their college entrance exams.  One student, last night, reported to me that she had had the best mark in her class and sure to be able to go to the University of her choice.  She wants to study international law.  It is her dream to work at the U.N.
Asking the students what is on their minds, I have been told the heat and of course the exam results.
I am in the process of getting my Visa renewed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sex Block: Just a pretext. New Wuxi Expat Site.

The Chinese Internet block is surely not just about sex.  Last evening, I went to a grocery store in Yangqiao, a countryside suburb of Wuxi.  I saw Adult DVDs prominently for sale there.  Surely, with its excess of young males, the Chinese government would want them to have an outlet for their loneliness.
There is a new expat for Wuxi Expats online:  http://wuxiguide.net.  It is sure to give Wuxi Life (aka Wuxi Death) a run for its money.

Countryside Bike Ride 062409: The Miscellanei

This is the final quartet of photos taken on CBR 2009. Not falling into any particular theme, I dub them as The Miscellanei. I upload them for your photographic perusing pleasure.

The road near the old factory was covered with wood chips.

What photographic recounting of an expedition involving Tony could be complete without a photo of Tony? Below, you can see him on the latest Big Bridge in Hui Shan.

Tony was looking at the scene below from the bridge.

I dedicate the photo below to lily pad enthusiasts the world over. This photo was also taken from the bridge.

I suppose I could have entitled this entry: Brown, Green, and Things in Between.

Wuxi Tony Update #355: Andis takes Tony for a Magic Electric Bike Ride.

WTU Inc. is proud to be associated with CBR 062409. WTU 355 is the official video of this adventure.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Countryside Bike Ride 062409: The Newer.....

Not five minutes from the countryside lane, we came upon a big bridge. Another in the Hui Shan area, this was the first I had seen of it.

On one end of the bridge, you saw this...

On the other end of the bridge, there was a marquee with Olympic Rings on top. I have no idea what the Olympic Rings were doing there.

Countryside Bike Ride 062409: The Old....

I took Tony with me as I rode the area around our apartment. Tony, being 22 months old now, is okay to ride with me. I have him stand in the area between the steering column and the driver's seat. I hold onto him with my legs. I am certain that this practice wouldn't pass Fascist Canadian Safety Council muster but the practice of taking young children on electric bikes here is standard, not at all unusual.

I saw the old and the new of China on the short one-hour ride.

Below, a work group is planting bushes.

The lane in the photo below took us past some very poor houses. On the other side of the lane was a stream that was used as a sewer. It was fill with garbage and green algae-filled water. The smell was revolting.

The two pictures below show a old factory. I have no idea how old the factory is but it was in a dilapidated state.

So the first stretch of CBR 062409 was through neglected area....

Early Morning Photos.

I was up at five this morning. I looked outside and saw that it was brilliantly lit. So, I took a few photos.

This is the government building that is directly across the street from our third floor apartment.

Turning leftwards, I took this photo.

Wuxi Tony Update #354: Losses and Tantrums.

Not all episodes of the Wuxi Tony Update Series can be happy. WTU 354 is the saddest one to date.

AKICrapistan Tuesday.

It is Tuesday in Wuxi which means you have entered the Akicistan zone.  I lost my keys and temper today so "crap" has entered and you are now in Akicrapistan
When and how I lost my keys today is a mystery.    My wife did see me use the keys to lock the apartment door when we left for the portrait studio.  It was there that I suddenly became worried about the keys, and immediately found that I couldn't locate them .  I even back tracked to most of the places I had been to before going to the studio.  I worry now that I may have left them in the front door of the apartment this morning when we left to go to the portrait studio.  If that was the case then someone took them.  Of course, I will go back to the place I got a hair cut - Jenny, unlike me, remembered that I had gone there for a haircut.
There is no mystery about how I lost my temper.  I definitely lost it at the portrait studio.  When my wife Jenny suggested that we go to the portrait studio, she told me their having a special on.  So, I assumed we would go in in our normal clothes and pose for some family portraits.  However when we got there, the deal was that everyone was posing for discount wedding portraits.  I first wondered why there were all sorts of women who looked too homely and old to be wearing wedding dresses.  When I learned that we had to put on these costumes I lost my temper.  Being in a country where many don't speak English, you can drop the f-word gratuitously when you are angry enough.  This is not what I was f***ing expecting!"  And that is what I said a great many times at the studio even though I have to admit that Tony did look cute in the suit he was wearing. 
It was right after losing my temper and acting impertinently that I realized my keys were missing which now seems to have been an occurrence of cosmic justice.  I have spent the evening sheepishly apologizing to Jenny.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Have car; want to get rid of it. New iconic images.

A student, I taught last night, told me that he only put 15,000 km on a car he has for three years.  He hates the thing and wants to sell it to his friends.  He hates having to pay for maintenance, insurance, traffic tickets, and gas.  BTW, he didn't understand what I meant by traffic tickets.  When I explained to him that I meant traffic fines, he thought the use of word ticket in that context was strange.  I always buy train tickets, he remarked.
The K family conglomerate will go to a photographic studio this afternoon.  New iconic images depicting the aspirations of this era of history will of course be taken.

Wuxi Tony Update #353: Monday Morning WTU.

Riots in China as well.

¡°This Is the Moment¡±?

Victor David Hanson gives Obama some advice.¡°This Is the Moment¡±?

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sobering Analysis from Spengler.

In his latest blog entry at First things Spengler says this about the Iranian turmoil:  Iran will not undergo a democratic renewal. It is going through an implosion, and the only question is whether the implosion will be fast or slow.
Iran and much of the Middle East, as Spengler has continually pointed out, have  very dysfunctional societies:  The young people of Tehran who threw themselves in frustration at the security forces seem to be the group that in the great High School Yearbook of the Civilizations would have been voted least likely to succeeded.  They are a suppurating mass of social pathologies. Oil wealth has made prostitution an acceptable way for a young woman to earn university tuition. Perhaps 5% of the adult population is addicted to opiates. About two-fifths of them say they would emigrate given the chance. This generation, particularly the young people of Tehran, refuse to have children.  They do not seem to believe in Islam–their attendance rates at prayers are extremely low–and they show no sign of believing in anything. Like the youth of the former Soviet Union and its satellites after the collapse of the Berlin wall, the hypocrisy of the revolutionary generation before them has extirpated most traces of faith.
Spengler sees turmoil but nothing very good coming from the chaos, unlike David Warren, who, though predicting the Iranian Mullahs winning out in the end, sees many positive benefits from the collapse of their regime.
I will keep the green tint for now and pray to be able to triumphalist.

AKIC Friday!

It may be Monday to you, but that is because you don't have the good fortune to be living in AKIC.  One more day of dragging myself to work in the Wuxi humidity and then it will be my weekend!  Tuesday and Wednesday, I will let the wife drag me about.
I have read some wonderful pronouncements about what is happening in Iran.  Now, if only, the events there would bring about some real change.  All the buzz I have heard doesn't satisfy my got-to-be-update-to-the-second impatience brought about by the Internet and Twitter.
Twitter is boiling over with pronouncements and rumours about what is happening in Iran.  I have been reading confirmations and refutations of Mousouvi being arrested.
I can't survive in the apartment without at least having a fan on.  I am trying to remember if it was this humid last summer.
I listened to podcast where a scientist reports what he has learned after trying to get to the bottom of global-warming.  He said that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere than ever, but that no one knows sure what it means for our climate.  The move made by Al Gore was a politician exaggerating and omitting what is known for sure.  The report of the IPCC panel has been mis-used by both sides of the debate.  The IPCC report in is fact modest in its pronouncements on the issue.
I've just  walked into my bedroom to see my wife and my son asleep.  I tell myself I have to be a better husband and father.
The wife has planned for us to go get portrait-like photographs taken.  A studio near our old apartment on Wu Ai Jia Yuan has a promotion with unbelievable discounts for family pictures.  I have agreed to go but I must get a haircut first.  My short haircut is growing back so that I have very unsymmetrical-looking hair.

Is my son going to be a cannibal when he grows up?

It is a curious thing to have your son bite you on Father's Day. That is what Tony did to me this evening. I suspect he bit me because he did not like my authoritative manner of speaking to him. It was his bedtime. He wanted to leave the bed. I insisted, as is any father's duty, that he go to sleep. Sleepy and feeling the humidity of a Wuxi summer night, Tony was in a whiny mood. He rolled over and bit me on the arm. I smacked him on his bottom twice. I left him cry till he fell asleep. The humid temperatures are making us all go mad.

I ate some chips from an opened bag that was in the kitchen. I couldn't decide if they tasted stale or if someone had spilled juice on them. Then looking at the package, I saw I was eating blueberry flavored chips. I kid you not, my wife bought them.

To show solidarity with the protesters in Iran, I have shaded Tony in the green colour of their movement. I have also adopted the green tint for my profile photos on Facebook and Twitter. Read the latest Column about Iran by David Warren. There are many reasons why the fall of the current Iranian Regime would make the Middle-East and the World a better place. The price to pay will involve fatalities and the triumphalism of Bushites and Neo-Cons. But, you should be happy, Bush-haters. The Fall of the Mad Mullahs will be a good thing. And once you admit you have been wrong about Bush, a load of tension will be released and you may see the world in a new light.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Triumph of the Bush Doctrine?

Seablogger says events in Iran could lead to just that.  Of course, the Left will never concede the fact.  Already on the Internet, twitter to be exact, I am seeing attacks against Bush.  E.g.:  "Bush used bombs to topple Iraqi government; Iranians use twitter to topple their government" and "Iranians doing what Americans should have done in 2000!".  Good deeds never go unpunished.
I should monitor Chinese coverage of events unfolding in Iran.  I am sure they will take the swipe-at-Bush line.  But when I see a twitter feed about Iranian Army putting Tanks in a square, I think the coverage will be muted.

Wuxi Tony Update #352: Saturday Night WTU.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fan of. Not a fan of.

I'm a  Fan of:
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Frederich Hayek
  • Milton Friedman
  • George Orwell
  • TS Eliot
  • WH Auden
  • Micheal Crichton
  • The Who
  • Marc Steyn
  • The National Football League
  • Baseball
  • Ice Hockey
  • Crosswords
  • Evelyn Waugh
  • EconoTalk
  • Sarah Palin
  • John Derbyshire
  • Jonah Goldberg
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • The Pope
  • Free Markets
  • Liberal Society
  • GK Chesterton
  • Kenneth Clark
  • Malcom Muggeridge
  • Seablogger
  • Dean Martin
  • Cole Porter
  • Director John Ford
  • Fred Astaire
  • The Marx Brothers
  • G. Gordon Liddy
  • Westerns
  • Old Hollywood Musicals
  • The man who wrote the black swan books
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • The writer known as Spengler
  • Thomas Sowell
  • David Warren
  • Radio  Derb
  • Hugh Hewitt
  • Charles Krauthammer
I am not a fan of:
  • Rap Music
  • The Baseball Wildcard
  • Obama
  • Michael Moore
  • Communism
  • Nazism
  • Feminism
  • Golf on TV
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs
  • The Ottawa Senators
  • Lying
  • Deceit
  • Rationalizations to do nothing
  • Betrayal
  • Letches
  • Perverts
  • Sleazebags
  • Italian Football
  • The French
  • Dan Brown
  • Science Fiction
  • Movies based on Comic Books
  • Comic Books
This list is not exhaustive.  I will add more to it later when the urge strikes me.

Thug versus Thug.

  • There weren't any good guys with a chance of winning the Iranian election.  What seems to be going on in Iran is a fight between factions of Mullah thugs.  The protests on the street are from a genuine frustration with the way things are run in Iran.  This strife should be encouraged.  Clearly, the Iranian regime is evil and whatever means should be taken to see it collapse, hopefully of its own weight.  However, Obama seems more interested more in stability than in Hope and Change in this instance. 
  • Speaking of seeing four people on a bike.  The K family must have been quite the sight as it rode three on a scooter on the way home last night.  I didn't care for doing this but it was Jenny's idea.  Jenny drove.  I sat in the back of the seat holding for dear life.  Tony stood between Jenny's legs, being naughty all the while as he tried to play with all the buttons and switches on the dash.
  • The heat is more that I can bear.  I have become acclimatized to it.  However, Summer is not my favorite season in Wuxi.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't give away Tina! Black Swans.

A neighbor in the building wanted an English name for her young daughter.  My wife suggested the name "Tina".  "Tina" is a great name, but the problem is that that is the name that I have reserved for our potential daughter. 
When my wife was pregnant all those years ago and we discussed names for the children, we instantly decided on "Tina" as a name for a girl.  "Tina" was perfect.  We agreed it was easy to say in both Chinese and English.  It took longer for us to come with "Tony" as a name for a boy.  But of course, "Tony" was perfect as well.
Now we have been talking of having a second child.  We have always known ex ante, post hoc, a priori, that the second child will be a girl**.  Whenever Tony kicks me in the nuts, we like to joke that Tony doesn't want a sister or Tony doesn't want Tina.  Tina has been the name of our daughter for as long as we have thought of her so I was not at all keen on the joining in the exercise of thinking of possible names for a girl.  It is sort of like giving away your mantra or personal slogan.
In a recent column, David Warren says the following:  I am convinced that the very act of gathering, assembling, checking, publishing and analysing statistics is dehumanizing; it is a perversion of the arithmetical impulse.  This column came to mind as I was listening, last night, to a interview with the author of a book about Black Swans on a Econtalk podcast on my mobile phone.  The author did an attack on statistics using statistics saying we don't take full account of random factors in our lives.  This tendency is exemplified by the fact that someone did a study that showed that 80 percent of the results of many epidemiological studies cannot be replicated.  That is, we like to use statistics to confirm our theories that we already have.  We can't and shouldn't use our studies to make predictions.  This is a mistake that many Economic Forecasters make.
You have to like a book that calls financial analysts shamans.
** I have thought of a name for a second boy, "Phil".  Way the hay, I say!  Name my boys after the famous hockey-playing Esposito brothers - Tony and Phil.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things I saw on my electric bike ride to work.

  • Waiting at a red light, I saw the electric bike next to me had four people.  There was a man driving with a young boy between his legs.  Sitting behind the man was a woman holding a baby.  Was this in fact a family of four?  Or did someone belong to another family?  It is not uncommon to see three people on a fast-moving motorcycle.  In Beixing (my wife's countryside hometown) it was not strange to see five people on a bike - it can be done with three children and two adults.
  • A pedestrian tunnel going beneath the railway tracks is a cool shaded area and so many street sellers set up shop there.  This morning, I saw that some of the sellers had brought their children along.  I saw two infants sitting on a straw mat on the sidewalk.  
  • The streetside watermelon sellers are back for the summer.  These people will live, sleep, and sell watermelons on a streetside.  The family that had the Wuxi Bengal Dog (a video, taken two years ago, that has been seen nearly 300,000 times on Youtube) are there, but don't have any dogs. 

Back to Work.

  • Thursday is Monday in AKIC which means I go back to work.  I wonder what fresh horrors await me today.
  • Tony, you may have noticed, has ended the last two WTU's by saying "Bye-Bye"!  Slowly, but surely he talks.
  • Jenny was annoyed when Tony came back all dirty from our evening walk, last night.  But what can you expect?  Tony was having rough-and-tumble fun.  He was running around and fell down five or six times, but didn't seem to mind.
  • I will take the electric bike, more properly called scooter, to get  to work today
  • I feel a pit in my stomach, every time I leave Jenny and Tony.  If I could always spend my days with them!  Of course, it is not to be

Photos and Video from June 17th's walk in the park.

This park is a ten minute walk from our apartment. It is full of so many oddities that I couldn't hope to show in one blog entry.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wednesday Bullets.

  • I took Tony for two walks on Akicistan Tuesday.  The first one was the subject of WTU 349.  Tony and I did the second one last evening.  I took Tony through a public square where about a couple hundred or so people were roller-blading and ballroom dancing.  I then took Tony to a side street I hadn't seen before that had about eight restaurants and more shops, all within walking distance of our apartment.  There are just so many people in China!
  • We bought a 129 rmb DVD player (about 20 Canadian bucks) at Carrefour yesterday.  It replaces the 199 rmb DVD player that lasted us over a year and that Tony may have broken.
  • Freak Beijing Thunderstorm turns Day into Night.  This has happened at least twice in Wuxi that I can remember of.
  • I watched the Bachelor and Bobby-Soxer last night, christening the new DVD player.  Starring Cary Grant and Shirley Temple, it was laugh-out-loud funny in parts.
  • The wife tells me that when I am at home.  She has twice the work to do.  So much for that conceit of my helping her.
  • Tony understands what it means when we tell him to "sit down!".
  • Don't look for Obama for anything
  • This morning, I woke up having no idea what time it was.  I was so disoriented.  I had to think what day it was before I could quell the notion that I was late for work.
  • An observation I forgot to record.  I have mentioned before that I have seen the locals treat their electric bikes like cars.  That is, they perform all sorts of activities on their bikes whether, romance, ablutions, office-like duties and so-on.  On the way home Monday evening, I saw a boy studying on a "scooter".  His mother was driving and he had a notebook in his face looking like he was cramming for a big exam.  That he was doing so in the light of a late evening couldn't have been good for his eyes.

John Derbyshire on The Apollo Moon Missions and the Voyages of Zheng He

The ever-genial, conservative, Sinologist  John Derbyshire compares the Apollo Moon Missions of forty years ago and the seven voyages of Zheng He from 1405 to 1433.  Says Derb:  Manned space travel always was, and still is, a pointless extravaganza project of no practical or scientific value — a Zheng He expedition for our time.  Continues Derb:  If ( we Americans ) were wiser and more frugal, we would have just shut down the whole pointless business after the Apollo program, as the fifth Ming Emperor stopped the treasure fleets.
I have always asked students here why nothing much has seemed to happen in manned space travel since the Apollo missions.  I have also asked them if China should go to the Moon, and they have responded that it should.  But I will now bring up the example of Zheng He.  The Chinese would be smart to not go to the Moon at all.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #348: Wrestling at its finest.

No late night blogging. Mosquitoes

I made a point of it, last night, to not go on the Internet.  In fact, I think I will make a point of it to not go on the Internet in the evening at all if I can will it.  Best that I do my surfing and blogging in the morning, while at home and the wife and son sleep in.  Also, I can blog at school.  I should keep my evenings open for my wife and child, the Kaulins conglomerate as it were. 
Something is going on in Iran.  I will investigate after publishing this.  Funny how Mister Wonderful's soothing words in Cairo didn't matter a lick to the brutal Iranian regime.  The mullahs probably realized that with Oprah, they have carte blanche.  All they have to do is weather the words of strong concern.
A posting on a local BBS about Mosquitoes compels me to have my say here about Wuxi's biggest summer annoyance.  In our third floor apartment, here in Yangqiao, deep in the suburban countryside of Wuxi, the family has to fight the mosquitoes every night.  Thankfully, they are not eating us alive.  Our apartment windows have screens.  The wife uses one of these plug in the wall devices that spray repellent mist or smells into the air.  That seems to help.  And of course we have the electrified racket that provides hours of fun as bugs get zapped and fried.  We are managing.
Wikipedia impulse moments are instances when some subject comes into mind and you have to immediately research in on the online encyclopedia.  The Penguins winning the Stanley Cup over the weekend caused me to recall an old Penguin player of great promise, a contemporary of the Flyers' Bobby Clarke, who was killed tragically in a car accident after his first year.  Michel Briere was his name.  One could only wonder how Penguin and Flyer history would have changed had he not been killed.  For it was Clarke and the Flyers who were the first NHL expansionists to succeed.  A certain passage I read about Briere in a biography of Clarke, years ago, always stuck in my mind.
I pulled out my companion copy to the Civilisation T.V. series last night.  That great series never fails to interest me.  Sir Kenneth Clark offers such an overarching view of culture and history.  The only ones who I can think of who can compare to Clark are Roger Scruton and Victor David Hanson.
WTU 348 is being uploaded as I blog.  You will be able to watch Tony and I wrestle.  A sheep also makes a guest appearance.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #347

Beefcake Tony

These photos are for the ladies.

Why America is in trouble: from Spengler.

Just how does America finance a $1.8 trillion deficit? The most that overseas investors ever have invested in the US in a year is $400 billion, and it is unlikely that foreign governments will purchase this quantity of Treasury debt under present conditions. Assuming (optimistically) that foreigners buy $300 billion worth of Treasuries per year, that leaves $1.5 trillion to finance. For the American private sector to finance $1.5 trillion worth of Treasury debt, or about 11% of GDP, presumes a savings rate of 11% of GDP, something America has not seen since the early 1980s. The present recession has pushed the personal savings rate up to 6%, with painful economic consequences.

Saturday Night AKICscretions.

  • On the phone, I told Tony to give his mother a kiss and a hug.  He did so.  A first for him.
  • I was finally able to download podcasts from Econtalk.
  • At one time, I really liked David Letterman.  I watched him every night.  I loved talking about what I saw him do at work the next day.  But then I wasn't able to watch because I had to work days and couldn't stay up late.  I probably didn't watch him for ten years.  In China, I have been able to watch him once on the TVU player.  I was shocked by how blatantly left-wing he was.  After hearing about what he did to Sarah Palin, I am going to have to admit that I admired a creep. 
  • Time to make WTU 347.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Following the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Saturday morning, I was busy so I didn't have a chance to follow the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.  If I had time, I doubt if I would have been able to see the game, I would have followed the game via updates, probably on the NHL site.  I have only just found out just now that the Penguins won the cup.  Reading the box score, I see the game was very defensive.  The Penguins got two goals in the second period.  Then, it looks like they played back, letting the Red Wings try to get around their defence.  The Red Wings out shot the Penguins eight to one in the third frame.  Only one Chinese person I know cared about the game.  She is disappointed, being a Red Wing fan.
I know one player on the Penguins - Sydney Crosby.
Last night at Casa K, Tony didn't fall asleep till way past midnight.  Till he did, he was walking over and straddling his parents who were trying to sleep.

Worth Looking at again.

This morning on the bus ride to work, I watched a patriotic music video being played on the bus video screen. I saw images first, presumably from the Long March - a soldier carrying a red flag ended sinking in quicksand. Other soldiers trod through mud. The female singer wore a uniform and appeared in the scenes with the soldiers. The soldiers then attacked Japanese soldiers or at least a Japanese flag made a brief appearance. Then, one could see images of the honour guard at Tiananmen Square unfurling the Chinese Communist flag. And finally I saw the Olympic Rings appear as the opening ceremony of 2008 was shown.

I think of this as I hope you will re-watch or watch for the first this WTU I took with Tony, Jenny and Steve Wall, a rare reader from Florida, USA.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Four Shanghai Photos.

Tony looks at a reflection of himself in the train window. Almost captured a nice effect.

Tony in a tourist caravan being towed throught the Nanjing street pedestrian mall.

The happy brood poses for a photo on Nanjing Road.

The reason I go to work everyday.

Friday Thoughts about the week and life in general.

  • Shanghai is either holding or has just held the first ever Gay Pride Festival in China.  Now, I will try to be careful in what I say.  After once mentioning that I spanked my son Tony, once mistakenly attributing the creation of Hopalong Cassidy to Louis L'Amour, and several times questioning the morality of people who wrongly, in my sensible opinion, like the wild card in baseball, I can receive strange comments.  But, what the hay!  The worst readers are the one who don't read you.  Anyway, I asked some students here in Wuxi about this Gay Pride Festival.  Most of them hadn't heard about it though it had made the front page of the China Daily, English Edition.  Most didn't have an opinion about it, which I suppose is sensible if you don't know what exactly a Gay Pride Festival is.  The ones who understood the phrase "Gay Pride Festival" thought it was strange.  The best comment came from a student who said that it must have all the foreigners in Shanghai who were running it.  I responded in the manner of "touchez!".
  • It is just me or does the China Daily, English Edition, seem tailored to people who vote for the Democrats in the U.S?
  • I asked Harry Moore if he would prefer living in a Hollywood Musical or a town where everyone was three inches tall (relative to other normal things on earth) and had squeaky voices.  He immediately choose the first option by living in the land of Oz where the workday was short and everyone laughed all day, ha, ha, ha.  But I eventually sold him on the idea of the second option when I told him that these small squeaky-voiced people had missile defence systems to thwart Cat and Dog attacks.
  • I went to a Subway sandwich shop in Shanghai (in the Nanjing shopping street area).  The counter person was friendly enough but his pronunciation needed some practice.  Still, it was charming, in a way, to ask the man to confirm if he meant "cucumbers".
  • I often try to get my students to identify that there was an missing article in Neil Armstrong's famous  pronouncement "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  I found it interesting that David Warren, a must read on the Internet, mentioned that a study has determined that Armstrong had not said the missing article "a".  The controversy about this missing article is niggling, but there is a lesson to be learnt from this.  According to Warren:   "A wealth of detail lies in small things; how rich is the world, and how little of it we master."  How true.  It was quite a feat to get to the moon, and yet to omit the simple article.
  • I have heard that the curry at Kevin's Curry House (which can be seen from my school) is mild and bland.  But I will have to check it out for myself later this afternoon.
  • Photos taken in Shanghai to come soon!
  • Thanks to the person who, out of the blue, volunteered to take a photo of the K family in Shanghai.
  • Shanghai Expats asked me where Wuxi was.  Oh boy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

All caught up on Youtube.

Finally, all the missing WTU's have been uploaded to Youtube.  Here is the last batch:
Rare Readers in China can keep up-to-date with Tony by going to my youku channel.

Wuxi Tony Update #346

Here is the video taken yesterday in Shanghai.

Back from Shanghai.

The K family went to Shanghai yesterday, arriving back in Wuxi last night feeling very tired. We spent about 4 hours at the Canadian Consulate. I chased Tony around trains and malls and restaurants for the greater part of the day as well.

Tony can't stand still in restaurants, waiting areas, and trains. In a restaurant, Tony wants to leave. In a waiting room, Tony is trouble. In a train, Tony would wonder the train from end to end if his parents didn't stop him.

I spent so much time at the Consulate because I made a mistake on a form. Not having a guarantor (a lawyer or doctor or professional who has known me for two years) for Tony's passport application, I have to fill out an "in lieu of guarantor" form. I assumed I was doing this form for Tony. But it turned out I was to fill it out for myself since I was the parent making the application. This mistake caused me to go to the back of the queue and wait 90 minutes. One applicant must have been in the office for an hour and some of us took to moaning.

I saw a lot of foreigners yesterday: a lot of big bellies, big hair, big noses, and big big breasts.

There will be video and photos in a following entry.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shanghai tomorrow. WTU 309

Tomorrow, the K family goes to Shanghai. We will pick up Tony's Canadian citizen certificate and then make an Tony's passport application.

Here is a Wuxi Tony Update that deserves, I feel, another look from rare readers. Watch Tony in a Buddhist temple which happens to be near our apartment.

Wuxi Tony Update #345

Monday, June 8, 2009

AKICistan apartment photos.

Tony and I wandered our apartment complex. We wandered around the underground parking and also rode elevators. I took these photos along way.

Making history in AKICistan (or Akicistan, you decide)

I have woken up.  What historical thing can I do today?  Can I make a speech telling some people how much I respect them and then request them to be my friend?  I think that has rarely been tried before.
The only problem is that the wife has other ideas.
Right now, I am about to take my son Tony for a walk.  I will take video of a historical nature.  Photos too!  Because for too long we have dictating to others that what they do in their family life is pedestrian.

More YouTube "Ketchup" Video.

As you may know, I have been uploading many Wuxi Tony Update Episodes to YouTube because I have a way around the Great Firewall.  Here is the batch I have uploaded today:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #344: Welcome back YouTube!

Things are almost back to normal on this blog. As you can see, I have embedded the latest Wuxi Tony Update Video on this site. This site can only be gotten in China via proxy however.

Sunday Night in AKIC land. Hot Pot Buffet.

If Tuesday means AKICistan, Sunday means AKIC land.  The land of AKIC where anything is possible except when it isn't.
AKIC land made history tonight as the K family went to a Hot Buffet Restaurant for the first time ever, as a family. A week earlier, I had gone to the same Hot Pot Buffet Restaurant with Steve "the Great Wall of America" Wall - another historical, epoch-defining moment along the lines of Stanley meeting Livingstone.  Tonight's historical dinner happened on account of my wife having meet a student of mine in the afternoon.  I was told to join them as soon as I got off work.
How was the restaurant?  If you like Hot Pot, you will think it is alright.  You can help yourself to as much of your favourite ingredients as possible.
Where is the restaurant?  It is on Wuxi's European Street.
How was my meal tonight?  Having my son Tony along means I don't do much sitting.  Tony, for some strange reason, only likes to walk when we in a restaurant (otherwise, he wants his parents to hold him).  This means that either Jenny or I has to chase him about the place.  The restaurant we went to tonight has a slide and so Tony would run to the damn thing the whole evening.
Why was the evening historical, besides it being a first, sort-off?  While there, I made a speech to the Chinese World in which I credited them for inventing fireworks, lamented and apologized for their bad treatment from foreigners, and talked of the aspirations of all people in the area for dignity.  For too long, I told them, Latvian Canadians like me have given Chinese civilization a never-mind while instead looking at the evil United States as a source of hope.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eight more uploads to Youtube.

Not much to say for myself today.  It is hot and I am at work.
I have managed to upload eight more of my Wuxi Tony Updates to Youtube.  Here they are:
I haven't quite uploaded them in order, but that is okay.  Enjoy!  And help build up my stats.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stranded with a flat tire.

I had the worse case scenario happen last night as I drove my electric bike home,  A key on the pavement punctured my rear tire causing a blow-up in a bad location of Wuxi.  My immediate problem was where to take the bike.  It being late at the night, I was not likely to find a repairman.  My first thought was to push the bike back to work and catch a bus home.  However, I quickly realized that pushing the bike was not an option.  With the flat rear tire, the bike was unpushable, except for a short distance, because the rear end was bouncing like a rubber ball when I did try to push the bike.  Pumping up the rear tire with air was not an option either because the pump I had couldn't have inflated a simple balloon.  Ten minutes of pumping with no evident progress caused me to give up. 
So I started to push the bike back to school.  I came upon a back alley where I had seen shops so I took the bike there.  At the first shop I found, I was able, with the help of my wife on the mobile phone, to get the shopkeepers to look for a repairman.  But I learned the nearest repairman was asleep (so much, for one being on call and hoping to earn extra money).  Eventually, after some negotiations between my wife, the shopkeepers, and a man who had a van, I and the bike were driven home.  The flat tire cost me fifty rmb and forty-five minutes.  
With the bike at the apartment, we will be able to get the local repairman we know to come fix it. 

Simultaneous entry.

Thanks to email publishing, I can make one entry for both my blogs.  Unfortunately, I am not sure about how to publish photos.  For now, that will be something you can see at my spaces blog.
I don't have much to say other than there was just a late afternoon Thunder Shower in Wuxi.  It is now clearing up and I am confident I can go home via electric bicycle.
I  am also happy to report that I can make entries to Twitter again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Winnipeg, 1989.

Twenty years today, I remember I was in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If memory serves me correct, I was going to work at a Tip Top Tailor store that was near Portage and Main. I remember seeing headlines in the Winnipeg Free Press. A Chinese girl who was also working at that store that day was dismayed by the news.

I never lasted long at the Tip Top Store. I was upset because I wasn't getting any hours. Of course, the way I was back then, I didn't deserve to get the hours. Yes, thinking back to that time, I shudder to think how I was. I was full of a degree of self-importance and self-loathing that I realize now was stupid and self-defeating. If only I could go back and change the way I was. Now, I am more wise but I can't escape the feeling that the way I was then is still the way I am now, and that perhaps I am doomed.

I wonder if others haven't changed from that day either.

AKIC Completely blocked in China?

I can't access my MSN spaces blog, my Youtube Channel, my Twitter account, and my Blogspot account (though I can post by email).  I thought this thing wouldn't happen in an Obama administration because Bush Two was the world's lone source of evil.  Everything now was supposed to be peace, harmony, people of all colours and creeds holding hands around the campfire singing Imagine and Kumbabya.  There was to be no need for the Great Firewall of China because Obama the Messiah was in charge of the Great Satan.  I was right to skeptical.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

No Twitter.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that I wasn't able to access Twitter today.  I immediately googled the topic and was gratified to see how fast others have responded to the blocking.
This site is blocked in China but I can email entries to it from inside the GFW for posting.

AKICistan observations

  • To make my wife happy, I didn't touch the computer last night.
  • By running into someone on the street, I heard the most fantastic gossip.  Too bad, I can't repeat it to you.  Still, it was stunning.  Fewer good people in Wuxi that I have suspected.  Green Hat!  Green Hat!
  • Today, I will judge another English-speaking contest.  It will be the same procedure as last week.  Students speak for two minutes.  I and some other judges make a quick evaluation on a 1 to 100 scale.  I will try to be objective and impartial as I can even if I have lived the life of a white male.
  • Who was the boy who I saw talking to Chairman Hu yesterday on the CCTV9 news?  Tim something or other seems to have a high position in the American government.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sans Teleprompter

I am busy this afternoon at the school.  I will have a forty minute drive out to Shuofeng to make a speech.  After which, I will return to school for a meeting.  Following which, I will have supper with Steve Wall.

Monday Randoms

I realize I have been posting a lot of video but not much writing.  I am waiting for a grand thought and insight but none are coming.  Most of what I have seen I can't write about anyway but it is too close to home and has to be kept under my hat.
I have plenty of spare time at school.  So I have been studying my Chinese and Greek texts.  I will report soon the completion of the Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.  The last two days, I have also watched a DVD of the movie Brigadoon starring Gene Kelley.  The DVD I found at the Nanchang Book Market Third Floor.  I enjoyed the movie.  I liked the fact that it was filmed in CinemaScope.  The movie was a musical obviously filmed on a set.  But the set was so well designed that I didn't not mind at all the obvious unreality of it.  The movie will never be called great yet, I enjoyed more than any of the great movies of this day and age.  The movie was pure escapism with alright music and dancing.  How I wish I could just live in a musical.  It would be wonderful if my classes broke out into elaborate song and dance numbers.
The students believe that the economy is slowly recovering.  In may in China, I say.  But the Chinese are right to worry about Americans printing money.  They in fact have been grilling the Fed about it.
I told my wife to not take Tony downtown because it was Children's Day.  Better to take him downtown on another day when there would be peace and quiet, I said.  But the wife today took him downtown anyway.  She phoned me to summon me to join them at a playground.  It was of course full of screaming children of other people.  I loathed it so.