Friday, July 31, 2009


Chimerica:  a term coined to describe the current U.S.-China relationship.  This link describes a view that sees Chimerica as similar to the Britain-Germany relationship of the early twentieth century.   Conclusion:  relationship is not sustainable and the US and China are on a collision course.   Another writer sees Chimerica as similar to an America-Britain relationship.  Conclusion:  China's ambition to revive its previous glory as the world power does not necessarily lead to clashes with America.

Let's hope the latter writer is correct.

Sergeant Major Kaulins

  • Why can't students just come to class and try to learn something?  I hate having to do the Sergeant Major act but this morning I had to do it.  "Why are we here?"  "To learn English!"
  • To get to school, I have to take a bus through Wuxi's chemical alley.  I ride past squalor, rubble, and dirt.  The only thing I have seen that stands out is a sign of Deng Xiao Peng.
  • What do I appreciate about China most?  The things they don't do.  They aren't fascists when it comes to smoking, for example.  They don't restrict alcohol sales.  They don't get upset when they bump into each other.  They don't have a universal health care system.  
  • It was nice to have a host from Shire Network News make a comment on this blog.  Which reminds me.  I should say I am a Latvian who appreciates the Anglo sphere, warts and all.  The Anglo Sphere is best because it has less warts over all and it is not afraid to talk about them.
  • Which reminds me.  Time to download some podcasts!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Friday Randoms

  • For me it is Tuesday.
  • I stubbed my toe Wednesday afternoon.  It still hurts now and I am still limping around.  With my eyes going, and now this, I am feeling old.
  • I did an English Corner about Wuxi buildings.  The students had a lot to say and their opinions greatly differed.  For example, many are divided on whether or not the moresky360 looks good.  The Protestant Church near our school was praised a lot.  I also heard very clashing opinions on the new Wuxi museum at Taihu Square.  One student said it was without character.  Another said it was the best building in Wuxi.  I will have to check that place out.
  • Thursday morning, it literally rained buckets outside.  Thank God, I made it to work before the rain became torrential.
  • Most of the students told me that they were happy to not have brothers or sisters.
  • I am starting to think that Tony hasn't gone through his terrible two's phase, yet.  Lately, he has been throwing incredible fits if he doesn't get something.  As well, his love of playing with faucets and fridges knows no bounds.
  • Look at my photos on twitpic.
  • My wife made this sandwich with cheese and shrimp that tastes absolutely delicious.
  • One conservative reviewer says Bruno is better that Borat.
  • While on the bus  to work yesterday morning, I saw three depressing sights:  A man defecating, squat-style, having a cigarette under the tree; a public act of urination, and a man on motorcycle just after he was hit by a car.  The man thankfully wasn't killed but he was struggling to get up while picking up the broken pieces of his bike.  The car driver making a left turn was at fault in the collision.  I sometimes wonder if many drivers here are short-sighted.  They do things without looking but with a strange kind of faith.
  • I was listening to these podcasts of the G. Gordon Liddy show and Shire Network News which had Canadian themes.  For the Canadian, like me, who has been away from Canada for a long time (coming on five years now), it was refreshing to hear Gordon Lightfoot singing "Alberta Bound" on a show during which was an exposition of the Canadian Health care System.  Also, they played Glen Gould - the greatest musician Canada has ever produced.  Shire Network News, podcast #166 featured a tribute to Canada from a Kiwi who understands why Canada Day is best called Dominion Day.  Canadian music was also played.  I got to go back to Canada no matter how stupid it has become.
  • The G. Gordon Liddy podcast also lead me to watch Kraftwerk videos (an exposition on the German Health Care System) on, of which there are many including many live videos.  Four guys standing at keyboards look rather strange and static for a pop concert.  So I tapped in Beatles in the Youku search engine and came upon a film about the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium.  It comes with an introduction from Arthur Fieldler who says he loves the Beatles.  When I have spare time, I will be watching the video today.
  • I was at the Blue Bar for a short time last night.  I was watching some cricket on the tele.  From what I could see, Australia was beating England.  Somewhere on the Internet is a great article comparing Baseball and Cricket written by someone who loves both sports.  One big difference in the games apparently is the centrality of the pitcher and batter.  In baseball, the pitcher is central.  He must keep mowing down batters.  If he screws up, the game is over for him.  In cricket, the batter has to keep producing runs.  As soon as he stops, it is game over for him.
  • I would be following baseball more closely but I hate the abomination of the wild card.  Pennant Races are must more interesting than looking at the standings to see who has sown up playoff spots.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #374: Tony and the Fritz's at the Cultural Revolution Redux Restaurant.

Of course, I took a video at the CRR.

More Photos from the Maoist Restaurant.

Blogging from China with a VPN, I can only publish four photos per blog entry. So here are two more photos I thought worthy of publishing from my evening at the CRR restaurant last night.

It costs 50 rmb to put the flowers around the singer's neck

These children were huddled near the stage watching the show.

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Another Evening at the Revolution Redux Restaurant

It was another evening of Maoist Chic at what I call the Cultural Revolution Redux Restaurant. We showed the restaurant to a family from Tucson, Arizona who were looking for things to do in Wuxi. These Americans were great. Very friendly and we will hopefully meet on a regular basis. And I found out they are Catholic. You will see them in WTU 374 which is being uploaded as I type. Here are some photos I took.

I would like to think that Tony confronted the boy with the red flag above to warn him of the dangers of Communism. Alas, he was being friendly, was all. The look on the boy's face was not a stern revolutionary fervour, it was a quizzicalness about the foreigner taking a photo of him.

I hate to say but the girls look cute in the Red Guard getup.

That people can do this sort of thing in this day and age is sad. But then again, they elected Obama so anything is possible, no matter how foolish.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jello in Wuxi, China!

  • Read about it here.
  • Mulroney versus Trudeau.  I take Mulroney with all his faults because ultimately they were less than Trudeau's.  Mulroney may have actually liked Canada.  Trudeau never did.  What a shame that Mulroney was as blind to Western alienation as Trudeau was.  What a shame also that Mulroney couldn't have done more to stop the rot that Trudeau started.
  • Become Catholic, I am thinking.  Why?  The likes of Chesterton, David Warren, Evelyn Waugh, William F. Buckley, Paul Johnson, Seablogger, and the current Pope are.

Masa's Kitchen. Don't mess with my wife, especially when it comes to Tony.

Tuesday afternoon, the Family K, the first family of Akicistan went to Masa's Kitchen.  Here is Herr Kaulins's review of it in bullet form:
  • The first thing that strikes you about Masa's is the decor.  It is very nice.  The chairs struck me as being elaborately decorated.  I was thinking rococo because I remember seeing such stuff in Kenneth Clark's Civilisation and boy,was it fancy.  A little bit too much detail for my taste but you had to admire the craftsmanship.  Although the chairs in Masa's were most certainly carved by someone using a CNC machine.  But whatever.  The decor of the restaurant was nice.  The place was brightly lit and offered a great view of the downtown Wuxi skyline.  I would love to go there at night.
  • On the walls were some photos of some foreigners I had never seen in Wuxi.  Some of them looked like people who were stuck in the siege of Stalingrad.  I don't why I say this but the thought just came to mind when I looked at the photos.
  • I never used the bathroom so I have no comments to make about it.  I held off till I got home.
  • I had the curry chicken set.  The dish was cooked Chinese style.  I was hungry so I ate it.  And I feel okay now six hours after the experience. 
  • I am sure the cool, sophisticated, urbane Wuxi Expat types would poo-poo the place for lack of authenticity.  But I would go back regardless.
  • The service was fine.  One of the girls working there indulged Tony by assisting as him with his letting-faucets-run phase that he is in.
  • The restaurant had a game set involving disks and slots that kept Tony from wanting to run away.  In fact, when it was time for the Family K to leave, Boy Tony threw a fit, so fascinated with the disks and slots was he.


Don't mess with Mrs. Kaulins.  If you do something to my mother, I will kick your ass.  If you mess with Tony, then you will have to deal with my wife - I pity you, if you do.  Monday afternoon at McDonald's playground, the McDonald's near my school that is, somebody's kid gave Tony a bleeding lip.  My wife freaked because of another time when Tony cutting his lip resulted in him spending a few days at the hospital.  Monday, Jenny had the parent of the  child responsible for Tony's cut follow her to the hospital and pay for the antibiotics.  Thankfully for all involved, the medicine didn't cost much.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Science Fiction and possible China-America War.

I figure this particular blog entry is worthy of comment from me, as well as my linking it.  Not that my linking it will do much for its circulation.  After all, I don't have much influence with this blog really, and hopefully I am modest enough to really know it.

Anyway, the blog talks about a few bugaboos of mine:  science fiction and China (since I am living here, I should call it a bugaboo of mine but, don't let that mean I consider myself a Sinologist.  There are plenty of self-considered Sinologists out there.  Another one is not needed.  Hopefully, by saying this, I am being humble and not being above-the-fray cool).  I think the writer points out what is wrong with science fiction.  A lot of science fiction is one dimensional.  Anyone who takes it seriously is a fool.  But the author also adds another argument to my arsenal of the unworthiness of science fiction:  it is a rejection of the beautifulness that is right in front of our noses. (Now I know that is a hard thing to say in Wuxi, but in my case, I had an ephihany of this sort when I was sitting in bed watching Tony fall asleep - it was utterly fantastic.)  Furthermore, science fiction is a dehumanization of the people who created it....

The writer also talks about the possibility of a China-USA war.  I actually had a student tell me that the U.S. and China would go to war in the future just a day before I came upon the particular blog entry.  Could the U.S. and China go to war?  Well they do have a Love Hate relationship.  I have seen American Pilots from World War Two treated as guests of honor on CCTV9 for their help in the war of liberation against China.  The Chinese love Washington, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Bill Gates.  But then you read what Mao said of America in the Red Book.  Go to the military museum in Beijing, and you will see the Chinese version of what happened when they clashed with the Americans in Korea.  So it is love, hate, and who knows?  No one wants a war, but then most people never do, but they happen anyway.

"And I could have calibrated those words differently...."

Quote from President Obama:  Because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I wanted to make clear in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could have calibrated those words differently.
What the hell is that supposed to mean?  It means that I never have say I am sorry or said a wrong thing.  I can say my words were miscalibrated.  Thanks Oprah!

Obama's Birth Certification

The issue of birth certificates is one I am very intimate with having been born in Germany and being a citizen of Canada.  I have been questioned in the good old days before 9/11 by U.S. border guards over whether I was an in fact a Canadian citizen. (I could have gotten out of the jam by lying when asked where I was born but that just wouldn't do)  Eventually, they let me with a warning to get some document proving I was in fact a Canadian citizen.  Of course, that has all changed.  I wouldn't be let in. But, it shows that the stringency on paper work in this world has increased.  Obama might very well have taken advantage of slackness in document enforcement to have his birth place officially listed as being in the U.S.A.

But I think the fact that his birth was announced in a local Hawaii newspaper is hard to explain away for those who are convinced he wasn't born in the U.S.A.  I was listening to G. Gordon Liddy confronted with this fact on Hardball and he seemed stymied on the point.  I think the whole birth certificate issue should be dropped.  And yet the left-wing  pundits who were berating Liddy of course went too far and in fact gave Obama's foes ammunition to keep on.  Just when they had Liddy stymied, one of the commentators went on about the Republican hate machine (like there has never been a Democratic hate machine), Racists, what an honest Guy Obama was (really?), and how we shouldn't stop Obama from working for the American people with health care reform.  Then said Liddy:  "What does all this have to do with the issue of Obama's birth certificate?"  If stoking the birth certificate controversy can stop Obama from working on health care reform, I say continue on with it.  That government works on making things better for the citizens, and that we should get out of the way and let scumbags like Clinton work for us is patent nonsense.  Obama has to be stopped because he is full of wrong-headed ideas as the pundit who overstated his case clearly showed.  

And I wouldn't be using the racist label if I was a Democrat especially after the POTUS's mis-step on that Gates incident.

Here we go again!!!

I had a bit of a panic this afternoon as Tony cut himself at the playground of McDonald's.  My wife phoned me to run over to the M's that was near my school.  Tony and somebody else's kid had had an accident of some sort.  My wife was hysterical and immediately recalled the incident last year that lead to Tony spending a week in hospital.  Then, you may recall, Tony cut the inside of his mouth and then got an infection that put him in the hospital for a few weeks.  Today, he was taken to the hospital and was prescribed some anti-infection potion, and he will be fine.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Latvian Canadian in Maoist China reads A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

As I was saying I finished reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  I decided to read it after reading this review of it.  I found a copy of the novel, for an affordable sixteen rmb, subsequently in Shanghai.  I liked the novel and I have a few thoughts about it. I will answer some questions the novel posed for me.

Did you enjoy it?
I enjoyed it very much.  It was funny.  The Yankee (Hank Morgan) combined the wit of Don Rickles and the practicality of many a businessmen.  Twain's choice of having a businessman make the time trip was excellent.  I could imagine a modern writer having an academic sociologist type making the journey.  I couldn't see the sociologist lasting the day in this world.  I couldn't imagine the novel with the Morgan, the academci, being interest or having anything to say.

Was the novel realistic?
Who knows for sure.  But, Mark Twain was a writer of tremendous imagination.  And whether or not Knights from King Arthur's time would engage in stock market activities is irrelevant.  The novel has a lot to say.  It is food for thought.  The incomprehension of the two cultures ring true from my experience here in China.

Does the novel contain messages for Neo-Cons, particularly about the invasion of Iraq?
The main character Hank Morgan's schemes to turn Arthurian England into a Republic result in a Civil War.  Superficially, the connection could be made to Iraq.  But there is a case to be made that Iraq was much more ready to be a Democratic Republic than Arthurian England.  I think the real lesson for Neo-Cons is that heroism and blood-thirstiness go together.  It was a pipe dream to think change could be brought to Iraq without some bloodshed.  Hank Morgan remarks on the brutality of Arthurian England but is equally impressed by the heroism of people from that age.  The modern sociologist probably wouldn't make that observation.  
Does the novel have parralels to your experience as a Canadian in China?
A few.  At the beginning of the novel, Morgan is stared at and made fun of by people who he thinks are from a mental hospital.  That parrallels my experience in China exactly.  Morgan sees the people of the Arthurian age as completely gullible - a feeling I sometimes have here in China.  Morgan remarks on the general goodness of the people he meets in Arthurian England while at the same left shaking his head at some of their attributes which seem so alien to him.
Will you read more Mark Twain?
Of course.  Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, here I come!
Does Culture make people seem alien to each other?
Twain's message in the novel is yes.  From my experience in China, I agree.

Wuxi, China Oil Spill.

  • Just when I think I don't have something to write about in this blog, something out of the ordinary happens.  This evening, on the bus ride home from work, I saw a woman spill a couple gallons of, what I assume was, some sort of cooking oil on a crowded bus.  This woman had done some shopping at Carrefour.  She managed to park herself and her bags of purchases in the center of the bus.  I was standing about ten feet away listening to a podcast on my mobile when suddenly I was pushed by a crowd of people avoiding what I first thought was a prone body laying on the ground.  I quickly realized that they were all looking at and avoiding a puddle caused by the tipping over of a plastic container of the oil.  The woman whose container spilled had quite the mess and embarrassment on her hands.  She first had to pick up the bags that she lying near the oil.  Her shoes were drenched in the oil and she had no paper with which to clean up the oil.  Others whose shoes had been immersed in the oil were sliding.  The area of the puddle being about six feet round caused the crowded bus to be intimately cramped.  I was waiting to see someone slip and fall heels-over-head in the puddle.  The closest thing to this that I did see was a woman holding to the riding strap for dear life as the bus lurched forward after dropping off some passengers at a stop.
  • I asked the students to tell me someone they knew who was very opinionated.  One of the students said I was the most opinionated person they know.  When I asked her why she said this, she said she read my blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2009



Wuxi Tony Update #372: Trying to spy on Tony.

Tony turns into Sean Penn attacking a cameraman.

Wuxi Tony Update #371: Tony dances, takes videos, and throws a tantrum

This video has an ominous development.

Tony and I go on a beer run.

Tony and I went on a beer run last night, a pineapple beer run that is or that was.  I drove the scooter with Tony standing on the floor board to nearby Yangqiao, a seven minute ride from the apartment.  There is a fairly big grocery store in Yangqiao that serves most of the Kaulins needs very well.  It has a bigger stock of Pineapple beer than Yangqiao would have and these milk cookies that seem unavailable in the stores near the school.

Tony knows the grocery store well because it has those one rmb rides that he is addicted to.  When I got to the store, Tony got off the bike and ran straight to them.  I had to hurriedly lock the bike and catch up to him.  

I pulled him away from the rides, and took him to the shelves to find the pineapple beer.  I got  eight king cans, and those cookies as well.

Paying for my purchases, it was all I could do to restrain Tony from running to the rides again.  But I rewarded him for his patience by giving him one rmb coin - he can insert the coin in the slot to get the ride operating.

While he was on the ride, I loaded up the bike and then unlocked it.  He took the bike to the store entrance so Tony could see me.  Seeing me, Tony panicked, got off the ride, and ran towards me.  I was able to get him home with minimal fuss.

Saturday Evening Bloggins

I had a couple of long entries I wanted to make but alas it ain't going to happen.  I just don't have the time this day.  Duty has always been beckoning.  I have to give time to real people and not cyber passers-by-in-the-night. 
  • I made some comments here.  Explore the site to find them.  I am WTU.
  • I finished Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  I have a blog entry, A Latvian Canadian in Maoist China comments on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, that I wish to make.  Not tonight alas.
  • The last month I have been made to feel the celebrity in China again.  I don't why that is but the feeling keeps me going.
  • There was this other entry I was going to make about Science Fiction and a possible China/America war.  Again, not tonight.
  • Obama is going down the toilet faster than I thought he would.  If he was in a parliamentary system, I don't think he would win a vote of confidence.  In the British system, the cabinet would do him in.  I can get no satisfaction from Obama's failure.  Too many people are going to suffer because of it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Things you don't want to say.

A fellow trainer tells me that one of his students wrote this: "we would like the teacher to give us more aids."  Aid is an uncountable noun and so can't be pluralize.
I had a student tell me that she loved her father but "he was very strict and he molested me and my sister all the time."  I had a hard time explaining to her that she didn't want to say "molest".

Wuxi Tony Update #370: Happy Birthday Dad!

The most rollicking WTU ever!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friday Quickies

  • I have to go the Bank of China because my signature I made yesterday does not look like the signature on my passport.  
  • I sometimes mention things I have seen the locals do on their bikes.  Yesterday, I saw one local take a nap on the bike.  She was leaning her head against her friend's back who was pedaling.  Or should I put that under locals sleeping in strange places?
  • Yesterday, I saw a bus driver clear bicyclists out of his bus's turning radius by making the turn and slowing tapping the bicyclists with the side of the bus.  The cyclists didn't protest at all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #369: Tony on a Tricycle

Happy Birthday Dad! I took this video on Tuesday. I will try to make WTU 370, your video birthday card tonight!

Wuxi, China Solar Eclipse

Because it rained, I could only take this time-lapse video of the Solar Eclipse yesterday.

Happy Birthday Dad! Twenty Three months of Tony!

I have two milestones today to make note of:

My son Tony is officially twenty three months old today. Here is he was before I went to work this morning.

It is also my father Arnis's birthday today. Here are Dad and Mom. They live in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. They have been married over forty six years now. I am eternally grateful for them for not having divorced. My father was an artilleryman in the Royal Canadian Army and served the Queen well. I hope by having Tony, I have somehow made it up to them for all the good have they shown me, even when I didn't deserve it. Here is another tribute to my father.

My goal is for Tony, Jenny, and I to see them next year in Brandon, Manitoba.
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Welfare state of mind.

Nothing can be finer than taking your son for a walk and listening to Sinatra.  I did this evening as I hoisted the boy on my shoulders and turned on the music on my mobile phone's MP3 player (what I was doing is probably ancient technology now, but so be it - to have the music at the tip of my fingers is much better than what I had in the 1980's.)
Anyway, I was thinking to myself that it is a welfare state of mind to think of children as something you have to pay for; they are in fact assets.  The state in deigning to take care of us has made us think of taking care of others as a chore and a punishment.  And so I hope Tony can be an operator as soon as he can.  One thing I have noticed is that few of the students we have at the school have any business sense.  They mostly have this sort of pass an examination, get a good job mindset.

Good news on a glum day.

Visit here to see what Solar Eclipse 2009 was like here in Wuxi.
This column by David Warren was one of the few cheery parts of this day.  It includes this choice quote:  From Trudeau's Omnibus Bill of 1969, forward, I have found, consistently, all my adult life, that this is how the Left operates: in the slimiest and most deceitful available way, in order to short-out public discussion and manufacture the fait accompli. And I cannot think of an exception: not one piece of left wing legislation that I can recall, in the last 40 years, in Canada or the U.S., that was placed before a legislature plainly with adequate notice and no administrative tricks.  The big Conservative initiatives taken by Mulroney:  Free Trade and the Charlottetown Accord were put to elections and referendum.  And somehow, Mulroney gets rated the bastard, when it was Trudeau all along.  Amazing!
While that is glum, he does end the column on a cheery note:  Rejoice and be exceeding glad. Or at least, let us be fairly cheerful, for in the longer view, God continues to work through nature, and what is unsustainable cannot be long sustained.  For me, the rain today blocking the solar eclipse was just as well, considering I have 23 month old Tony in the house.  The thought of him looking at the solar eclipse was enough to make my wife not want to have anything to do with it.  Some peace of mind is something to never be taken for granted.  (But if you want peace of mind, you have to make sacrifices.  No power can give it to you on a plate)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Solar Eclipse 2009

The Eclipse is to start as I type this entry.  Unfortunately (or fortunately says Jenny who worries about Tony), it is raining heavily now.  And I have just heard some thunder.
It is probably just as well that we don't see the Eclipse.  I wonder how many would suffer retinal burn in this country if it did.

An afternoon with Tony Boy

Tuesday being my day off, I took Tony Boy to downtown Wuxi. Here is what we did:

My mission was to go to the Bank of China and deposit a money order sent by my parents. I failed to accomplish my mission by bringing Tony's passport instead of mine.

From the Bank we went to Chong An Market which was practically deserted on account of the intense day time heat. The heat didn't stop Tony from wanting to go on this one rmb ride. I can hardly wait till he gets bored of them. Of course, I don't understand why he isn't bored of them already. But anytime he sees one, he runs to it and stretches out his hand for the one rmb coin which he can put in the slot himself.

Tony also went on this two rmb carousel ride.

From Chong An Market, we walked to Parkson's. I recorded WTU 369 in the toy department. There, the sales girl showed Tony this great toy that I want to buy. A authentic-sized pistol which shots light beams at a round light-sensitive target. Hit the center of the target and it starts to revolve and play music.

It was all I could to get Tony out of the Toy department. I thought I could bore him by taking him to the cookware department, but he thought it was the greatest thing to play with the lids, taking them on and off the pots and pans.

Got him out, I did and we then went to the Xinhua book store. Several locals practiced their English on me, and I regret I couldn't give them my full attention because Tony was running every where. Funny how when I wanted to go somewhere and let the locals mind Tony for a minute, Tony became hysterical with fright and ran after me. I guess the boy loves and relies on me in his own way. It is a loving, slapping relationship we have.

I should never get jaded about the locals wanting to speak English with me. That is why I am here. And frankly they treat you more sincerely than most of the Expats you meet here.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday Morning Akicistan bloggins

  • The forecast says a chance of thundershowers tomorrow for Solar Eclipse Day.  This going blind worry makes me wish it does in fact rain tomorrow morning.
  • I have tested my viewing equipment.  With the glasses, I was able to see solely the sun.
  • The fortieth anniversary of Chappaquiddick.  A drunken Ted Kennedy trying to drive a young girl home (right!), drove the car off a bridge.  He left the girl in the car to die.  He has managed to get away with it all these years.  Ted must have been Bill Clinton's role model.  It is a bigger scandal than Watergate ever was.

Friday Night! Eclipse is on Sunday!

  • It is Friday where I live.  And I live in the realm of the real.  The next two days are my weekend, and I am looking forward to the Solar Eclipse on Sunday Morning.  I was able to find a pair of special viewing glasses for the once-in-a-lifetime event at a shop downtown.  And so I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow (Saturday) so I can test the glasses out.  It being China, one has to worry about the possibility of being sold fake or low quality glasses.  Josie, one of the study advisors at our school, tells me I can test the glasses by trying to see the sun with them.  If I can see only the sun, then the glasses are legit.
  • With Tony around, I may well have to pass up a chance to watch the eclipse because I don't want Tony looking at the sky.  Tony's future is much more important to me than seeing the eclipse.
  • I paid 12 rmb for the glasses which was probably too much, but whatever I could have paid a hell of a lot more.
  • I have heard students say that it may well rain on Sunday Morning.
  • This site has become dead.  Was it something I said?
  • Tony has this annoying habit of always wanting DVD's to be changed.  Just now, I had put in a new DVD for him but forget to press the play button to start the movie.  What does Tony do?  He runs into the computer room with the DVD player remote.
  • Not much else to say today.  Nothing stupid that Obama has done has been brought to my attention.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Qingming Canal Cruise: Yet More Photos

You see a lot of this on the Qingming Canal Cruise which departs from the Nanchang Temple Market in Downtown Wuxi, China. But you should see while you can. Many of these buildings will be demolished and replaced by commercial development.

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Sunday Night Whatevers.

  • Tony did an amazing thing tonight.  We were about to go for a walk.  Tony was ready to go right away.  But I had to go use the toilet.  I mentioned this to Tony saying "Tony! I got to poo!"  Tony understood me and he followed me to the toilet and he assisted me by lifting the toilet lid.  Good thing to happen, especially as I will be sixty and incapacitated in the seeming blink of an eye.
  • I haven't been playing the guess how old I am game much lately.  Something about being forty-four causes that.
  • The kids are getting younger at school.  I have had a few that were too young to remember 9/11. (Now, you could say Andis you are getting older. Well you can.  I won't stop you.  But you will just keep being wrong, reciting a blood libel that I will have the magnanimity to ignore.  The fact of the matter is my age is fixed.  I am not getting any older than 39.  Everyone else is just going to have to get younger to accommodate this fact.)
  • I have been reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  A grand novel, I say with a Connecticut Yankee that is part operator and part Don Rickles.  I can find parallels in the novel to my situation here in China.  Twain's Yankee talks about being looked upon like he was an alien by people whom he considers to be dressed like mental patients.  The credulity of many of the people living in King Arthur's age, where they never would question anything that was said, to me has direct parallels with the credulity of many who voted, and still support Obama.
  • On the bus ride home, I saw a man with several pairs of special glasses surely meant to view Wednesday Morning's eclipse with.
  • The students all thought that gambling under the guise of charity was nuts.  Better to give directly they concluded than to seek to rationalize a bad habit by cloaking it under the guise of charity.
  • I can't count how many times I have done the moonwalk in class these past two weeks.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Qingming Bridge & Ancient Canal Cruise: Bridges.

We did see a few bridges on the Canal Cruise. Here are the photos:

I really like this photo below.

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Saturday Night Bullets

  • I took Tony for a bike ride.  I took him all the way out to the canal near the Hui Shan Big Bridge.  The canal has brick walls on its' side.  I let Tony walk down a slope leading the the canal's wall bank but I made sure to hold him tightly when he stood on the edge.  From the canal, we went back to the apartment complex and all three of its' playgrounds.  I am more and more confident of Tony being able to sit on the swing.  I also witnessed Tony play on a see-saw for the first time.  The kid can jump now.  And if you say "dance" to him, he will grab you by the hands and jump-dance with you.
  • I can't remember if I have reported this, but Tony likes to watch Pee Wee's Playhouse.  Unaware of Paul Reuben's notoriety and disgrace, Tony finds the show compelling.  This morning, he watched two episodes in a row without leaving his chair.
  • How do Chinese grandparents feel about Modern China?  I asked some students this question in an afternoon class.  To a girl, for the class was all girls, they said that while their parents often pined for the simple times of thirty, forty years ago , things are much today, although people are often too busy.
  • It being the fortieth anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing, I feel like saying something about it.  I have read a few comments from conservatives about how the fact that nothing much has happened in the space program since the moon landings.  Some see it as proof positive that Socialism doesn't work.  Some lament that the Apollo Space program represented the end of the American can-do spirit.  As John Derbyshire observed the time between JFK's pledge to put a man on the moon and the actual accomplishment of it was about eight years - a fact which can be contrasted with the non-construction of anything to replace the towers of 9/11 which were downed nearly eight years ago.  The inability to have something built on the World Trade Center site is a sad testament to the bureaucracy that now runs rampant in America.  Derb suggests, with depressing plausibility, that America 2009 could not put a man on the moon.  Think of the environmental impact studies that would be done and the worries about having a proper ethnic balance on the Moon Landing crew.  America would not stand for Buzz Aldrin being a black man and there being no woman on the crew.  Neil Armstrong couldn't get away with talking about man and mankind.  The American Flag would be too nationalistic - the U.N. flag would have to be put on the moon instead.  One could also say that the Apollo landing was an example of government waste - as an investment, the missions yielded nothing.  No colonies were put on the moon.  The moon has not been used for raw material extraction and there are no plans to do so.  The technological benefits may at best have been an acceleration of already existing breakthroughs.  Combined with the Great Society programs of the Johnson Administration, the Apollo program may have lead to the economic malaise of the seventies.  America did manage to conquer and occupy a country in the middle-east in 2003 which was a feat of American can-do but the end result of it was a lose of will comparable to the decision to continue the space program with the Space Shuttle.  I would suggest that the American space program would best have been run by the private sector.  The Americans putting a man on the Moon was a great accomplishment of Civilization like the Pyramids of the Egyptians and the Great Wall of China.  But the price paid for the grandiose public projects was too much.  What would have happened to the personal computer, if Ronald Reagan had declared it the mission of the U.S. government to develop a computer fast that a 386?  I probably wouldn't be writing in the blog entry in China now if he had.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Check out my twitpics.

There is a nice application for Twitter, I have discovered.  It is called twitpics and it is a cool way to show off some photos.  Check out my twitpics page and my photos therein.  Even though Twitter is blocked in China, you can still access the page here in China.

Qingming Bridge & Ancient Canal Cruise: On the Boat.

Here are photos taken on the boat of the Qingming Canal Cruise.

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Mr. and Mrs. Kaulins Studio Photos

These are photos of Jenny and Me taken in the studio last month.

In Search of Chinese Science.

I wonder, sometimes, if the Chinese lack creativity.  Here is an article about this topic by John Derbyshire.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #368: Qingming Canal Cruise

Here is the video I took on the Canal Cruise. More photos to follow.

Pre Boat Cruise Photos

I took a lot of photos on Wednesday. Here are some photos I took before we went on the canal cruise.

Below, Tony and Jenny wait at a bus stop near our apartment. Notice the riders who are squatting as they wait.

Look at all the bikes parked in front of the computer market on Renmin Road.

Tony at Nanchang Market. He is trying to get Jenny to follow him to a playground that he knows of.

In this photo, I laid the camera on a pedestrian bridge and pointed it toward Zhongshan Road.

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The Kaulins Family Studio Photos

It wasn't easy getting Tony to stand still for these shots. Most of the session, he was miserable.
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Friday (AKIC Tuesday) randoms.

  • It is not yet 800 a.m., and already it is sunny and bright outside - so much so that I rather stay in my air-conditioned bedroom.
  • As the Solar Eclipse approaches, the students are showing more and more interest.  Some have asked me to spell the word "solar eclipse" for them.  The students have told me that the special glasses you need to watch the eclipse can be purchased in eye glass shops.  If the weather is like today, the solar eclipse will be something to watch.
  • There is an aquarium in Wuxi at Lihu Park.  The students, that have gone to it, gave it a bad review.  "80 rmb and you can see all you can see in five minutes!"
  • I will eventually upload my Qingming Canal Cruise photos.  Right now, I will bask in the glory of having uploaded the Studio photos.
  • I give the Canal Cruise a passing grade.  For this family man with son, the cruise was a wonderful way to keep Tony in one place.  The boat being air-conditioned and enclosed made the cruise worth it in my eyes.  It was nice to sit and vegetate in comfort on a Wuxi canal.  Granted, I didn't see any spectacular. I did see Wuxi from a whole new perspective.  The boat didn't serve beer which may be important to some.  And of course, there are probably hundreds of these cruises all over China that would be better.  I liked it but I can see others not.  It depends if you are a J.F. or not if you will like it.
  • To take my bike to school.  That is the question.
  • I had a frantic arrival home last night.  I couldn't get into the apartment.  If the front door is locked from the inside, I can't open the door from the outside.  Or I should say if you turn a bolt inside, a key can't open it from the outside (though you can use a key to close the door from the inside allowing you to be able to open the door from the outside).  When I arrived home, I could see that the door was locked.  I knocked having to wait for Jenny to open the door from the inside.  But instead Tony came to the door.  He turned the door handle trying to open the door but couldn't or wouldn't turn the bolt.  I waited for Jenny to come but she didn't.  And then she still didn't come.  And I began to panic.  I had images of her lying unconscious on the floor.  I started knocking on the door frantically.  I could then hear her voice and I thought she said something about blood but wasn't sure.  I pleaded for her to open the door until Tony finally turned the bolt and I could come in.  Tony had locked her out on the balcony.  With the A/C on, we have to close the balcony door.  My wife had gone out on the balcony to get something, when Tony, as he is wont to do, decided to play with the balcony door lock...  The little bugger.  After that episode, I went straight to bed, relieved.

Studio Photo Slide Show

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #367: Tony wanders around an electronics market in Wuxi, China.

This video was taken on Wednesday.

Studio Photos of Tony

The photos, the K family posed for at the end of last month, were ready for pickup yesterday. I will be publishing them to this site over the next few days. Below, are the photos taken of Tony. He is looking cute even after having eaten from the tree of knowledge.

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Long Day.

Wednesday, my only day off this week, was a long one.  I have a lot to put on the blog from this day.  But it being Wednesday night, I don't feel up to it.  Suffice to say, I have two WTU's, studio portrait photos, and photos taken on the Qingming Bridge & Ancient Canal Cruisde to show you.  You will seem them eventually.  The first thing to be uploaded will be the videos to

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

People's Hospital #7

  • I went to do a demo class at a company called Areva.  To get there from downtown, a driver took us (that be Summer, Lisa, and me) past Mei Yuan Park not too far from Taihu.  We took a different route on the way back going past a mountain on which Xi Hui Park was on the other side.  It was on the way back that I saw a complex of buildings about which I had to ask was their purpose.  I thought I was looking at a school.  My question caused giggles from the female passengers.  "Have you heard of Hospital Number Seven?" they asked.  I replied "Have I!  It is the hospital for crazy people and where the KoW spent some down time in his first years in Wuxi!"  They then pointed out a crematorium that was across the street.  "Is that smoke coming from the chimney, burning bodies?" I asked.  "Yes" they replied, and I thought to myself, the crematorium is across from the mental health hospital - you can go crazy and die there if you want.
  • If Chuck Norris came to Wuxi, all children would be named after him, even the girls and the children whom he didn't conceive.
  • If Chuck Norris came to Wuxi, Chairman Mao would be posthumously called Chuck Norris I.  The Chairman would hit hereto be referred to as Chuck Mao.
  • If Chuck Norris came to Wuxi in summer, the sun would retreat a bit making the weather much more tolerable.
  • Tony knows the meaning of the word "dance".
  • Wuxi has an aquarium.  I never knew but an email correspondent told me it be so.  Jenny just confirmed it.  Admission is 80 rmb for Adults.
  • I will finish A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain.  It has already given me a working title for a WTU:  A Latvian Canadian in Little Emperor Jia Le's Court.
  • I managed to make it home tonight before my electric bike ran out of juice and it started to rain.
  • I took Tony for a walk Tuesday evening.  He played on the swing.  I am becoming more confident of his ability to hold on and so have been pushing harder and higher and faster. 
  •  I have just introduced Tony to the joys of throwing stones in water.  Tonight, I went searching for rocks to throw in the canal near our apartment.  Having found one and letting Tony throw it in so he could laugh at the resulting plop, I saw Tony immediately run to the spot I had found a rock so he could find more.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What if Chuck Norris came to Wuxi? A Thought Experiment.

What would happen if Chuck Norris, noted political columnist, movie actor, and all around he-man came to Wuxi?  A question like this is not simple to answer, it would require feats of human thought similar to scope to the feats of strength that Chuck Norris has performed and is capable of.  So expect much speculation about this question from AKIC over the next few decades.
So, off the top of my head, here are a few things that would happen if Chuck Norris came to Wuxi:
  • Wuxi, China would instantly adopt the three child policy.
  • The moderator of and Chuck Norris would engage in a belching contest.
  • The moderator of and all his buddies would be drank under the table by Chuck Norris in a drinking contest.
  • We would all be living in the Chuck Norris Dynasty.
  • Wuxi would become the capital of the Chinese Republic of Chuck Norris.
  • Some of my dumb students would at least learn one sentence:  "Please don't kill me!  Chuck Norris!"
  • Wuxi would have to change its' Chinese name from "Without Tin" to "With Steel".
  • Wuxi Life Magazine would profile only one Wuxi Expat:  Chuck Norris.
  • The moderator of  would be calling himself the Queen of Wuxi.
  • The current Chinese government would give Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan to Chuck Norris in hopes of appeasing him.
  • The Solar Eclipse would happen on Friday, July 25 at 730 PM, just after Chuck Norris has finished his dinner.
  • The locals would learn how to line up in McDonalds.
  • Chinese society would become harmonious alright.
  • The Great Wall would be moved to Xihui Park.

Moory Harre. Where are you?

Long time, I heard from you, have not.   Email, please can send?

Henderson Scores for Canada! AKIC Friday!

  • Henderson scores for Canada!
  • Here is the miracle of all miracles!
  • Both the above links depict events that happened in 1972.
  • Tony loves to dance.
  • Tony was on a boat near Nanchang Temple Market.  My wife wants to take this boat which goes on a one hour cruise around the downtown.  Maybe, Wednesday.
  • It is Friday night in AKICistan!
  • This Wuxi Expat site seems to be falling in the trap that the other Wuxi Expat site has fallen into.  It is going to be perceived as a Expat site for only certain cliquey portions of the Wuxi Expat community.  Especially if it starts talking about terrorist groups in Ronnie's.
  • Search for the Trojan War Part 1  This documentary series is almost as good as Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation.  And that is high praise coming form me.  If you are into more historical and literal tv dramas, you can watch The Fall of Eagles or I Claudius.
  • Tomorrow afternoon.  Areva!
  • The results of the photo shoot, which unfortunately resulted in me losing my keys, are ready for pick up.  You may seem them in this blog or the other or both.
  • I have finished reading the Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  It is a book I will reread and reread again like Kenneth Clark's Civilisation companion volume, With Charity towards None:  A Fond look at Misanthropy by Florence King, the Holy Bible, and anything by Evelyn Waugh.  Taleb has written the ultimate bullshit detector.
  • The fading of Iran from the news seems to be a welcome relief for Obama.  He hopes many will escape the realization that:   The notion that appeasement is the only path to peace has always had great power over the minds of people who lack moral character. Like Neville Chamberlain and all the less famous freely-elected disasters of history, they think they are being very clever, and that they are morally superior to the Churchillian and Reaganite "peace through strength" types.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Night Whatevers.

  • I feel I should be blogging but I don't know why.  I will just type away for a hour and you can judge if anything happened.
  • Obama is Forrest Gump with a Thesaurus.  I saw the comparison here.  I rather like it.  You know I agree with it.
  • Two great BBC documentary series,  The Search for Troy and Kenneth Clark's Civilisation can be watched at as well as this rare video.
  • The wife bought a third a/c unit for the apartment.  This one is now in the main bedroom.  Only problem is that it took the workers three hours to install and at the end of the process, it was found that the electrical plug-in needed to be repaired.  My wife was pissed.
  • I am chicken boy.  See previous entry.
  • The VPN program I have on this computer (I am working at home) angers the wife.  She claims it slows down the computer.
  • Tony likes dancing.
  • Tony seemed to like watch episodes from Pee Wee's Playhouse.  I wonder if Paul Reubens ever went to Never Never land.
  • Rare Readers may know that I like to fiddle around with titles.  For example, Tolstoy wrote Peace and War.  DH Lawrence wrote Lovers and Sons.  Orwell wrote 8419 and Farm Animal.  I have been working through Beatles' song titles.  So far, I have come up with: Man Tax, 8 weeks a day, Belle My Michelle, I wanna hand your hold, Madonna Lady (kind of like saying military intelligence),  and USSR in the back.
  • It rained heavy at about five this afternoon.  We learned that a lot of builders in China didn't take drainage into account when they constructed their buildings.
  • If I am any kind of boy, I guess you can call me Blogging Boy.  Tony I call Poo Boy.  The KoW I call Bullshit Boy.
  • The solar eclipse is happening on Wednesday, July 22 at 800 a.m.  I will not be working that day so I will probably sleep in and miss it....   Not!  Instead expect one of the greatest WTU's ever.  And I mean ever.
  • I like asking the students when they say never if they mean never, ever.   And if they yes to that, I ask if they mean never, ever, ever.
  • The neighbors, I see, have a fridge next to their sofa in the living room of the apartment.  I am thinking to take a photo but the man is in his undershorts.
  • On the way to work, when I take the bus, I see this outside poster of Deng Xiaopeng, the great reformer.   It is located in this factory that looks to have been constructed along the lines of worker communes.  Old and decrepit as these factories are, I would have to say they probably were built as communal places.
  • Could I live in this country without the Internet? I doubt it.
  • Reading the Black Swan book has provided me with some support to my contention that the Nobel Prize Committee is screwy.  Taleb, who does knock down Economics several pegs as a science, sees the fact that there is a Nobel Prize for Economic Science as a vain attempt on the part of Economists to make their profession have the certainty and scientific feel of Physics.  Many of the Nobel Prize winning Economists says Taleb are frauds (except for a few like Hayek).  In the Black Swan, Taleb  listed a few Nobel Prize winning Economists who engaged in the filthy habit of Econometrics on Gaussian terms.  I believe that one Taleb  listed was responsible for the horrible IS-LM curve, an attempt to graphically present Keynes's General Theory.  Whether I am correct in this assertion or not, the economist Taleb mentioned did managed to destroy the basis of Keynesian Economics which employed, Taleb said, an understanding of uncertainty.
  • I always see people who should know better.  Every time I look in the mirror I see one as well.
  • There is no bread and sugar in the house.  And there is nowhere close I can go to buy some.  I will just have to do without.
  • The runner of this site seems overly obsessed with nationalities.  He has proclaimed the universal ugly tourist is no longer American but French.  I suppose he had to do after I pointed out to him that he definitely was an anti-American.  He tried to use the Ernst Zundel free speech defence to cover the fact.
  • Does hanging out with people and Expats from all over the world make one more cosmopolitan or wise or something?  I suppose it depends on the people you hang with.  Many Expats assume they are world wise or something and so a joy for everyone else to behold... not.  I think it would be better to hang with a bunch of good sorts at something like a monastery than to hang with self-proclaimed wise guys convinced beyond doubt of their ineffable worldliness and big view.  All that this travel to another continent has taught me is that the world is full of assholes.
  • I look at three Micheal Crichton novels with eager anticipation.
  • As for students, I prefer teaching girls to boys.  Girls are just better behaved and make for better students.
  • Says Taleb, if one has to resort to Ad Hominem attacks, one should realize that one is winning the argument.  One should in fact try to be attacked Ad Hominemly as much as possible, especially when make assertions of facts and logic.
  • I haven't looked at the Papal Encyclical yet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I am Chicken Boy!

I was doing a conversation class about food, and was trying to be jocular and affable with the young male students, of whom we have many in the Summer.  Trying to achieve jocularity and affability, I suddenly got it into my head to call the students "_____ boy.".  "So you like pork eh?  Okay.  You must be pork boy! 
 I had already called some of the kids: banana boy, apple boy, McDonald's boy, ice cream boy, egg boy, egg man,  broccoli boy, cauliflower boy, and yogurt boy when I got around to talking about meat.  "What meat do you like?" I asked one of the male middle-school students.  He replied "Oh!  I am chicken boy!" getting laughs from his buddies, the rest of the class, and me.

Wuxi Tony Update #366: The impact of a highly intolerable boy in China

This video is a tribute to the bestselling book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The Black Swan: The Impact of the HIGHLY IMPROBABLE.

Just a thought.

One on my majors in school, Economics, is getting whacked about these days.  Reading the Black Swan book by NNT, I am learning about how Economists are terrible at making predictions.  I am also hearing that Nobel Prize winning economists are on both sides of the fence when it comes to the massive spending of the Obama administration.  Some economists are saying that the massive spending is foolish; some are saying there should be more.  Some economists are also saying that the seemingly high unemployment in America would be worse if it wasn't for the stimulus spending!
Why is a Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Free Market, Libertarian economics type to say for himself?  Taleb does say good things in his book about Hayek, Libertarians, and F.A. Bastiat.  I can also recall William Buckley reporting that Milton Friedman did not make predictions.  I also say that if economists were good at predicting then Socialism and Communism would work.  They don't and economists shouldn't make predictions.  Simply put, there is too much going on and so much subjectivity in the world economy that no one could know it or control it.  As for all these Nobel Prize wining Economists disagreeing, I say that the Nobel Prize committee doesn't know what the hell it is doing.  After all, it gave a peace prize to Yasser Arafat as well as Al Gore.  Sure, they gave a Nobel prize to Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek, but that just goes to show that sometimes even bad organizations do correct things.  It may have also been a plot by the Nobel Committee to discredit the two in a strange attempt to confuse intelligent people.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Top Forty Tweeters to follow about China.

I am not one of them but here is the link.

Why China can't internationalize the Yuan.

For the benefit of readers inside of China, I will post the entire text of the article that can be found here:
China has a long way to go to internationalize its currency, Yuan. For one, China does not have a foreign exchange market for Yuan outside China and this would be troublesome for its trading partners to manage currency risk. Also, China's Yuan is tied to the US dollar. It can hardly offer any more stability than the US dollar.  Here is a short analysis from WSJ.

If the dollar's role in the global economy is under a cloud, the yuan isn't the cause. At least not yet.  China this week began allowing trade between companies in five Chinese cities and Hong Kong, Macau, and the ASEAN member countries, to be settled in yuan.  Starting just days before a G-8 summit at which the dollar's status could be a hot topic, the trade settlement moves are China's most tangible step toward promoting the international use of its own currency.
In reality, Beijing may find that its remit to mold market forces doesn't extend much beyond its own borders.  China certainly has some good reasons to invoice trade in yuan, not least as a way to slow the growth of its $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.  But for the practice to take off, key counterparties outside China must be willing to buy and sell using yuan. This is where the plan runs into hurdles.  Some trading partners may find they have no choice -- like those buying high-end machinery for which China's prices are so competitive it's in a position to dictate the settlement currency.

But with China's capital markets off limits to foreigners, firms dealing in yuan can only deposit funds in low yielding accounts in Hong Kong. The yuan isn't traded outside of China so companies won't have a way to manage their foreign exchange risk.  Beijing counters this limitation by trumpeting the yuan's stability. Given the currency's effective peg to the dollar for nearly a year now, it actually offers no more stability than the greenback -- the currency it would seek to replace -- something that won't offer much encouragement to Malaysian or Thai exporters, for example.  Certainly, being able to tap China's flush banks for trade financing is a draw but there's always the risk that avenue may dry up if Beijing tightens credit as it has in the past.  In truth, appreciation, rather than stability, is the yuan's only draw. China's currency regulator said as much in a recently published report, arguing that a rising currency is a prerequisite for yuan settlement.  These days, given the ongoing slump in Chinese exports, that's hardly worth betting on.

Time to get serious?

  • Is it time to get serious?  I suppose.  But, about what?
  • Reading the Black Swan book by NNT.  It is very interesting.  However, I wonder if 9/11 is in fact a Black Swan.  Throughout the book the event was used as a primary example of the Black Swan phenomenon.  My recollection of 9/11 was that before a big terrorist attack was always expected to occur in the United States.  How and when was the question.  The manner in which 9/11 occurred was novel.  But I remember later on 9/11 exclaiming "so that is how they did it!"  The attack itself was probable.  What wasn't highly probable was the manner in which it took place.  And the attacks have kept occurring around the world, not unexpectedly, like in the U.K. on 7/7.
  • I am going to have to read the Papal Encyclical.  Some on the Left are gloating saying it puts the Pope to the left of Obama and Chavez.  But the chances are these types are cherry-picking.
  • It is hot and sticky in the house.  I have to drag myself up to ready to go to work. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More disjointed recollections

  • Sleeping in Summer in Wuxi with a two-year old boy is not a continual seemless activity.  Nights are filled with constant interruptions.  Tony, like many other children his age, flops around a lot in his sleep, adopting many positions other than the simple, head on the pillow, feet at the base of bed, position we all eventually adopt.  If you want to sleep with your children, you will have to get used to being kicked in the head.  I wasn't expecting however to be slapped in a manner that didn't make it seem an accident.  Tony looked to take his arm from his side, slap me on the cheek with his hand, before returning his arm to his side.  Awoken from an uneasy slumber, I gently slapped him back but it didn't upset him in the least.  I also had vague recollections of Tony wanting to watch television at 530 a.m. to which I made him formula and put him back to bed.  But I then vaguely recall falling sleep on the sofa at 730 am. after having put on the DVD for Tony.  I think I also slapped him on the feet a couple of times but I can't recall why.
  • The parents sent us some Smarties in the care package.  Smarties are candy coated chocolates, like M&Ms, only better, way better.  I remember the Smarties jingle I always heard growing up.  "When you eat your smarties, do you eat the red ones last?  Do you stick them up your asshole and try to make a lot of gas.? Do you stick the green ones up your nostrils and pretend to make a sneeze?  When you eat your smarties, do you eat the red ones last?"  Or something like that....
  • I saw this expat I hadn't seen in a while.  Thankfully, I saw him from a distance because I didn't want to do a "stop and chat".  Not that he would have either.

More Randoms

  • With so many other things intruding into my waking hours, and now having Tony intrude into my sleeping hours (he dragged me out of bed at five this morning), I will have to do blog entries in this bullet form.
  • Yesterday, I received a care package from my parents who live in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.  The package, they sent, was full of books and other things.  Tony got a whole lot of children books which I eagerly await being able to read to him.  I received three Michael Crichton novels, a Holy Bible (King James Edition), and the non-fiction work The Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  I read about fifty pages of The Black Swan last night.  The first thing I turned to in the Bible was the Psalms.  We also received chocolate which may be all consumed by this afternoon.  I also received a pair of trousers which I desperately need.  I have had five trousers become fit for retirement in the space of two weeks.
  • Many students told me of having watched the Michael Jackson funeral on the Internet.
  • The students don't seem all that interested in the solar eclipse which can be viewed in Wuxi on July 22 at about eight a.m.  One student told me that if forced to make a choice, they would rather watch the MJ funeral than the solar eclipse.  But that is not so astounding when you take into account how cloudy and smoggy it is in Wuxi.
  • I shouldn't but will also mention that I received a stick of Deodorant:  Speed Stick with odour of Irish Spring.  It is getting these things that make life bearable here in humid Wuxi.  I don't how many times  a stick of deodorant in the backpack has been pulled out to restore my confidence.   I don't want to be like the many stinky ex-pats I have had to experience.  Whooo!!!!
  • Thanks now to the extra books coming in, I now can say I have four books on my currently-reading plate.  I am in the midst of this translation of the Iliad, the Mill on the Floss, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and now the Black Swan book.  I suppose I will plow through the Black Swan book before returning to the others.  Although, neglecting the Iliad and the Mill on the Floss may mean getting the characters mixed up.
  • (Exclusive to Blogspot readers outside of the PRC)  I asked the students about Xinjiang but there really wasn't anywhere I could go with the topic other, than to ask them if they had heard the story and had any opinions.  The students had heard about it and were following it.  Though some said they were more interested in the Michael Jackson funeral.  I asked them how they thought the Xinjiangren in Wuxi would be treated and one student expressed a fear of them saying they were always trying to steal bags and wallets (this I have witnessed myself).  No idea if the Wuxi locals would go to Xinjiang Noodle houses of which there are many in the city.  Another student told me he had to Xinjiang for two years around 2001 for business.  He said the place was beautiful but he didn't tell me anything about how the Xughurs treated him.  I finally asked the students if the events in Xinjiang would impact Wuxi and all seemed to agree that Xinjiang was too far away to worry about.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #365: Basketball Tony!

Watch Tony attempt his first basketball shot and pass. This video was taken at a basketball court in our apartment complex. Tony loved what was going on even though he didn't understand fully what he was looking at.

A few more things about Shanghai...

Whilst in Shanghai on Tuesday, I did take a few photos.

I saw some Urban landscaping sort of stuff:

It will be hard to go to Shanghai and not see this for the next few years. It is the mascot for the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

I took the following two photos at the Shanghai Museum. These figures seem to be posing and strutting on top of babies. But I don't know what they are supposed to represent.

While in Shanghai on Tuesday, I also experienced the annoyance of trying to board and deboard the subway. One time, the door shut stopping me from getting on. Another time, I had to shove to get off the car. It seems that boarding passengers won't wait for other passengers to get off before trying to get on. It is annoying and it wouldn't surprise me if fights don't occasionally result.