Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #477: Double Decker Bus

Tony saw a double-decker bus and he insisted that we ride it. I saw it an as opportunity to take another WTU.

Wuxi Tony Update #476: Interesting Exhibit

While I am in Nanking, you can also watch this video. It was taken at our Xihui Park trip at a museum on the park grounds. There was an exhibit of interesting figurines or statuettes.

While AKIC is in Nanking, you can look at these quotes and links.

In the column linked above, George Will makes a case for not giving gifts at Christmas.  It is actually an enormous misallocation of resources causing tremendous damage to the economy.

I have to admit that I would have a hard time making a list of five. I can think of some James Joyce stories from Dubliners that would go on my list as well as one from Lu Xun. I have been reading some of the stories on the list linked above and they are all very good. And so should you.

According to Spengler, Obama's foreign policy has two peculiar characteristics:

The first is that Obama runs his administration out of the Blackberry in his vest pocket. The second is that everything that he has done in foreign policy has failed. The result is a poignant feeling of univeral failure, with no telephone number to call (except Obama's) to learn what to do next.

Monday for you, Friday for me Headlines

Daddy Pajamas
To set up this Tony anecdote, as told to me by my lovely wife Jenny, you should know two things about my morning routine.  First, I get up much earlier than the other two thirds of the K family, who are still asleep when I leave for work.  Second, I leave my "pajamas" on the bed -- with the colder temperatures, Casa K needs many layers of clothes to be easily procurable meaning every available spot to drop a t-shirt or sweat-shirt is occupied, leaving me little choice but to put my sleeping wear on the bed.
Anyway, my wife informs me that Tony, when he gets up, will point to the pajamas and say Daddy!
Going to Nanking
Living in China for over five years now, place names have become local for me and the exoticness has been lost.  Suzhou or Nanjing have taken on the localness of saying Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Minnedosa in Brandon, Abbotsford in Vancouver, and Jiangying in Wuxi.  So, to make the place seem exotic again, to give me the feeling of being a million miles away from where I normally am, I will go to Nanking tomorrow -- not Nanjing.  Nanking hearkens to a time when China was on the other side of the Earth and part of the mysterious Far East.
Haircut hopefully
I will leave Casa K earlier this morning because I will go to a place on Wu Ai Road in the downtown of Wuxi where the hair-cutters have electric shears.  I am looking like a goddamn leftist -- all unkempt and disheveled.
Comb your hair!
Evidence of oncoming senility, full-blown Alzheimer's, or my becoming the absent-minded professor type?  The last few weeks, I have been taking showers and then forgetting to comb my hair.  Imagine my horror when I am just about to leave for work and look in the mirror to see dry hippie hair!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


AKIC sends its condolences to rare reader Maralin from Tuscon, Arizona, U.S.A. whose mother has just passed away.

Wuxi Tony Update #475: Tony on the chairlift going down

This is the second video taken on the great Xihui Park chairlift trip.

Wuxi Tony Update #474: Going up on the chairlift

Tony and I went on the Xihui Park chairlift ride. This is the first of two videos of the trip

Sunday (AKIC Thursday) Headlines

Standing between seats on the Bus
Saturday morning, I saw this young person standing between two seats on a bus.  He was doing this at the back of the bus.  The back seats on the bus  were above the engine so the there was no space under the back seats. The space between the back seat was taken up by a surface that one can stand on.  So standing on the surface, the young man had his arms spread out wide grasping onto two poles used by people standing in a normal way.  To stand out more, this fellow was talking to his friends loudly.  Many on the bus were giving him a curious, cursory glance.
All the Xihui Park videos I took on Wednesday have finally been uploaded to Youtube.  Uploading isn't so easy from here in China.
Saturday night, Tony went to bed quietly, in my arms, with no wrestling.  Wonderful!
Podcast Saturday
Saturday afternoon, I download them off Itunes.  The rest of the day when opportunity affords I listen to them. 
Yesterday, I listened to John Derbyshire, PJM political, JWisdsom, and Econtalk.  I learned that Woody Allen is still alive and made yet another movie about an old guy having an affair with an attractive young woman.  John Derbyshire talked of a report that America, the most obese nation on Earth, has 50 million people starving -- the Obama administration was on the ball talking of getting Americans to be in touch with the problem.  Richard Posner said the current economic crisis was caused by unsound monetary policy, and bad, lax regulation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Saturday (AKIC Wednesday) Headlines

Thankfully, I don't include many photos of myself in this blog.  But this morning, as I stood at the bus I got to thinking.  I didn't start thinking that I should put more photos of myself in the blog.  No sir!  Tony's photos will do fine.  No one really wants to see how age how crept up to me. But I thought that if there was one image that would encapsulate my experience in China, it would be of me standing at a bus stop  waiting along with lots of locals for the bus.  I guess you could also take a photo of me standing in a crowded bus but it would just be my head you would see.  The bus stop image would do it.

The Kaulins family may be going to Nanjing this next AKIC weekend (that be Tuesday and Wednesday).  The wife has to see a close friend and wants to go shopping at Ikea.  I just want to go to eat hot dogs at Ikea, and sit in the cafeteria there and read some Louis L'Amour or Michael Crichton.

Something big in the works?
I am feeling kind of I-can't-think-of-the-word.  My mind seems a blank.  I have to really think hard to find something to talk or blahg about. Not much has happened lately.  The mediocrity of Obama and the Left is boring.  Life with Tony and Jenny is good but not newsworthy - thank God.   My favorite blogger has a similar feeling of sorts.  He said this:  

I spent a good part of the morning reading news stories, and I simply didn't find anything blogworthy. I don't know whether there's something wrong with me or the news. I have an odd feeling that this moment in history resembles an indrawn breath. Nothing seems to be happening, except for wrangles over ludicrous legislation, ludicrous treaties. It feels empty and meaningless. Nothing seems to be happening, but something is about to happen, something momentous, something that will put all these trivia out, as city lights extinguish the stars.

 In my life, I do have a nagging feeling about a bill about to come to due -- a bill I have thought constantly but procrastinated about all the while.  I pray to have the courage to deal with any tests life will throw me and my family.  Personal disasters scare me more than World disasters  -- I don't know why this should be.  

Wuxi Tony Update #473: Tony and a Camel

Tony thought it was funny when I touched the Camel's butt.

Full of gas!

I asked the students to tell me the meaning of this English idiom: Empty vessels (Containers) make the most noise.  The students always seem to read idioms too literally even when you tell them not to; and the students did do that yet again this afternoon.  None could tell me what the idiom meant in a general sense.  However, one student inadvertently said something profound: she said that the vessels made the noise because they were full of gas.  Who, pray tell, has been making empty gaseous speeches the last year?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #472: Tony at Nine Dragons

If you are good to us, Tony will give you a kiss.

Friday (AKIC Tuesday) Headlines

Flat Front Tire
Poor Sleek.  Last night, she got a flat tire as we were trying to get home after my having taught the last class of the evening.  We were fortunate as to where the flat occurred  -- it wasn't too far from work.  I pushed Sleek back to work with the plan of having it fixed today.  However, Sleek is a big girl -- much bigger than most other electric bikes. Pushing the girl with a flat front tire proved to be more difficult than pushing her with a flat back tire.  It didn't seem to be a good idea to push her back to the underground parking garage.  I was probably going to have to leave her on top in the open air exposed to the elements.

But passing the shop where I sometimes buy cigarettes, the lady shopkeeper pointed me in the direction of a bike repair shop that was nearby.  There I was able to get Sleek a new front tire, and be on my way home.

All's well that ends well, but I had to get my wife on the phone to communicate with the repair woman who didn't understand my Chinese.  I also got home so late that Tony was asleep.  So it worked out that I didn't speak to him all day.  He was asleep when I left for work and when I arrived from work.

700,000 Youtube Views
With the amount of video I have uploaded to Youtube, the number 700,000 seems like small potatoes.  Still, I will one day say I have had a million views on my channel.  I may be able to say so within a year -- assuming I get a thousand views a day which is what I have been getting.

Uploading to Youtube is not easy from behind the Great Fire Wall.  I have to use a VPN and cross my fingers that the upload actually goes through; and it is a very time-consuming process.

Christmas Package
We received the Christmas Package from Canada yesterday.  I opened it when I got home.  Of interest to me were the photos and this book of Latvian short stories my parents included in the parcel.  

The photos took me down memory lane.  I now have a black and white photo of my parents getting married in 1962.  My parents also sent me some photos from my teenage years.  One of the photos, taken when I was in junior high school, shows a very ugly looking pimply face teenager with a Ringo-haircut and a cheesy adolescent mustache.  I am thinking of having the photo scanned and showing it to you.  It may be embarrassing to me, but I figure what the hell.  You can't forget where you came from and who you were. 

The book of Latvian short stories written by a Latvian exile from the Soviet Union included a history of Lativia in the introduction.  For me, to read this was to delve into the past of my ancestors.  And I forever damn the Soviet Union for occupying Latvia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Late November Links and Quotes

I had a big debate on a local expat forum about the use of the word ""teabagger".  The linked article backs up all I have been saying.
Lu Xun has been called the George Orwell of China. The students have told me that they find him very grim.  But if you are equipped with Orwell's clear sightedness, a writer, observing the China of the early twentieth century, could be nothing but grim.

An Incident by Lu Xun

Six years have slipped by since I came from the country to the capital. During that time I have seen and heard quite enough of so-called affairs of state; but none of them made much impression on me. If asked to define their influence, I can only say they aggravated my ill temper and made me, frankly speaking, more and more misanthropic.

One incident, however, struck me as significant, and aroused me from my ill temper, so that even now I cannot forget it.

It happened during the winter of 1917. A bitter north wind was blowing, but, to make a living, I had to be up and out early. I met scarcely a soul on the road, and had great difficulty in hiring a rickshaw to take me to S-Gate. Presently the wind dropped a little. By now the loose dust had all been blown away, leaving the roadway clean, and the rickshaw man quickened his pace. We were just approaching S-Gate when someone crossing the road was entangled in our rickshaw and slowly fell.

It was a woman, with streaks of white in her hair, wearing ragged clothes. She had left the pavement without warning to cut across in front of us, and although the rickshaw man had made way, her tattered jacket, unbuttoned and fluttering in the wind, had caught on the shaft. Luckily the rickshaw man pulled up quickly, otherwise she would certainly have had a bad fall and been seriously injured.

She lay there on the ground, and the rickshaw man stopped. I did not think the old woman was hurt, and there had been no witnesses to what had happened, so I resented this officiousness which might land him in trouble and hold me up.

'It's all right,' I said. 'Go on.'

He paid no attention, however -- perhaps he had not heard -- for he set down the shafts, and gently helped the old woman to get up. Supporting her by one arm, he asked:

'Are you all right?'

'I'm hurt.'

I had seen how slowly she fell. and was sure she could not be hurt. She must be pretending, which was disgusted. The rickshaw man had asked for trouble, and now he had it. He would have to find his own way out.

But the rickshaw man did not hesitate for a minute after the old woman said she was injured. Still holding her arm, he helped her slowly forward. I was surprised. When I looked ahead, I saw a police station. Because of the high wind, there was no one outside, so the rickshaw man helped the old woman towards the gate.

Suddenly I had a strange feeling. His dusty, retreating figure seemed larger at that instant. Indeed, the further he walked the larger he loomed, until I had to look up to him. At the same time he seemed gradually to be exerting a pressure on me, which threatened to overpower the small self under my fur-lined gown.

My vitality seemed sapped as I sat there motionless, my mind a blank, until a policeman came out. Then I got down from the rickshaw.

The policeman came up to me, and said, 'Get another rickshaw. He can't pull you any more.'

Without thinking, I pulled a handful of coppers from my coat pocket and handed them to the policeman. 'Please give him these, I said. 

'Even now, this remains fresh in my memory. It often causes me distress, and makes me try to think about myself. The military and political affairs of those years I have forgotten as completely as the classics I read in my childhood. Yet this incident keeps coming back to me, often more vivid than in actual life, teaching me shame, urging me to reform, and giving me fresh courage and hope.

(*Recently, I reported an incident where a man fled on motorcycle after he had hit a man on a bicycle.*)

The Needle's Eye

Spengler co-writes this article  -- a good analysis of Obama's Economic Policies.

David Warren on Obama and other things
Some memorable quotes from the past week of David Warren Columns:

How blessed we would all be to be ruled by men or women who do not want the job and are aware of their limitations.

There is longing for some kind of "Eurobama" to titillate the political palate. But the last thing Europe needs, especially now, is a spineless, incompetent narcissist with a gift for rhetorical enchantment.

While I've taken two uncharacteristically subtle digs at the current U.S. president already, and would not hesitate to take more at the man Charles Krauthammer referred to this week as "baby Jesus," after reviewing the president's latest narcissist performances in Asia -- surrendering U.S. interests in Taiwan, Japan and India that his Chinese hosts hadn't even asked him to surrender -- Barack Obama is only a foreground illustration.

And we can hardly sneer at the Americans, after we accepted 16 years of Pierre Trudeau. There will always be demagogues, as there will always be people eager to follow them, into new "promised lands."

I think we are living in a society that has -- through lovelessness, in fact -- lost sight of what they are.

Pope Benedict XVI on Beauty

...the experience of beauty, beauty that is authentic, not merely transient or artificial, is by no means a supplementary or secondary factor in our search for meaning and happiness; the experience of beauty does not remove us from reality, on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful.

Indeed, an essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that it gives man a healthy "shock", it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum -- it even makes him suffer, piercing him like a dart, but in so doing it "reawakens" him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft. Dostoevsky's words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He says this: "Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here." The painter Georges Braque echoes this sentiment: "Art is meant to disturb, science reassures." Beauty pulls us up short, but in so doing it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest for beauty that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism.

Wuxi Tony Update #471: Approaching Xihui Park

Thursday (AKIC Monday) News

Twankle Twankle Litt L Star!
I don't know if Tony got if from t.v., or if my wife taught him, but he made a pretty good stab at singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star last night.  He almost knew all the words.

Charging the Scooter Battery at Work
Sleek's battery ain't what it used to be.  Now, I am going to have to charge her battery at work, otherwise the ride home is mighty slow.

A Foggy Day in Wuxi Town
I can say it was fog not smog that was thick this morning in Wuxi.

Photos taken Wuxi's Xihui Park

A chairlift.
Tony in a tunnel built in the 1960s as a shelter against a nuclear attack. Tony is telling me he has to go pee.

If you look closely, you will see a terracotta warrior guarding the entrance to the tunnel.

This was one of many striking figurines at a show the park is hosting. I took a WTU of it which will be uploaded to here, eventually.
Posted by Picasa

Tony goes to Wuxi's Xihui Park

Seven WTUs (Boy Tony videos) taken
Since I took a lot of video, I will talk about the things that happened today that aren't on video.
Monkeys make Tony laugh
To see things through the eyes of a child is to see things anew.  I am paraphrasing someone, probably Chesterton, when I say this.  The Wuxi Zoo is nothing special.  But Tony appreciated it nonetheless because he was seeing things for the first time.  He loved the baby elephant, the Zebras, and the leopard that growled at him, and feeding the monkeys.  But he was particularly impressed by the monkeys playing in the cage  -- watching them engage in hi-jinxs, Tony laughed and laughed and laughed.
I, taking Tony's view, was impressed by the strength and grace of the Tiger.
Look at the Laowai
Someone actually took a photo of a Laowai and child.
Fog or Smog?
The view from the top of Hui Shan (mountain) was disappointing.  I don't know if it was because of fog or smog.
Gratitude, Acknowledgement, Request
I have been trying to do this for a minute every hour the past few days.  I haven't been consistent.
Thanksgiving in America
What I liked about American Thanksgiving, being a Canadian, were the Thursday Thanksgiving NFL games.
I have got some uploading to do:  WTU 471 to 477.
Wuxi Ikea to open in 2013

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #469: Tony in the Shopping Cart

This sets up WTU #470 which is shown in the previous entry.

Wuxi Tony Update #470: Tony pushes a shopping cart.

Must-see video as Tony shows determination and a little toughness

Tony Boy Update

I have the following things to tell you about Tony:
  • He wants to be a help.  After using the toilet, he flushed it.  At Carrefour, he was pushing the shopping cart and was angered when I tried to help him.  He also threw a fit when I told in which direction he could push the cart.
  • He is tough.  He did a face plant on one of those flat-surfaced escalators.  He had a red spot on his face because of it, but apparently didn't cry at all.
  • He was very affectionate towards me.  Usually he would want to sit by his mom as well as fall asleep in her arms.  Tuesday night, he was doing this to me.  I was stunned.
  • He can say Pee Wee.

They are back!

My wife and son are back.  Lots of video has been taken.
I haven't disappeared or done a runner.
Tony and I may go to Xihui Park on Wednesday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finished watching GWTW

It has taken me nearly 45 years to finally watch Gone With The Wind.  Some things are just so famous you fool yourself into thinking they have seen them.  Anyway, GWTW is a fine film.  Clark Gable gave a dynamite performance, as did the woman who played Mammy.  Still, the movie is a chick flick.
Now, I will go read up about the movie on wikipedia.

Wuxi Tony Update #468: Tony and Steam

Tony is coming back from Beixing tomorrow. This is the last video I took of him before he left.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things I saw today.

  • A father carries his child through a busy intersection by going diagonally across it, ignoring traffic signals.  It seems suicidal to me, but then I see the father is taking his child to the hospital.  In those circumstances, you don't worry so much about traffic and traffic signals.
  • A couple, with a motorcycle-wagon combination used for carrying garbage and old cardboard look, like they haven't washed in weeks.
  • A woman besides me waiting to make the same left turn as me, decides to not wait for the left-turn signal, and proceeds to sneak through the intersection forcing a car have to veer around her  -- the car honks it horn and a few seconds later the left-turn signal is green.  Was it worth it to do that?

Monday for me, but not for you

One more day to go
One more day and I can tell you it is Saturday because I don't work Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I am writing this blog entry on what you would conventionally call Monday morning.  Kapeche? 
J and T back on the 24th
The 24th which is tomorrow, as I type this, and which is Tuesday by your way of thinking and Saturday by my wonderful, effervescent, truthful, paradigm-shifting, currently unconventional way of thinking, will see my wife Jenny and son Tony return to Wuxi.  They will arrive tomorrow afternoon at the secondary bus station, which is close to Baoli but doesn't share the same plaza with the train station as the other bus station that you may know.
Gone with the Wind
AKIC spaces live readers may know that I was watching GWTW last night.  That is, if they watched Vlog Seven.  As I type this, I am two thirds of the way through the thing.  It looks like history written by the losers.  Only in America.

Wuxi Tony Update #467: Bye Bye

Tony's vocabulary is getting bigger.

Wuxi Tony Update #466: Playing with a Toy Truck

In this video, you will see Andis and Tony playing with a toy truck.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, or Sunday?

Tomorrow is Friday or Monday?
In AKIC, the last sane world in the world, it will be Friday on November 23.  Which means that I don't work on November 24 and 25.  Jenny and Tony will return on one of those two days.  

Not so Cold
Waking up this morning, I could feel immediately that the temperature had risen.  I was sweating under my 2 quilts; and I didn't need to wear long johns.

It Happened One Night
This was the title of a classic movie I watched on DVD last night.  It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Corbet, was made in the 1930s.  It was a light comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed because it took me to a different time and place, and offered sensations not provided by current films.

Several thing struck me about the movie which I will list for you in no particular order:

  • Clark Gable was cool.  No doubt about it.  I could imagine the presence he had at the time the film was first released in the theatres.  I was prone to think that you can't trust guys with mustaches and that they also had no style, but Gable changed my mind about that.  I now regret that the colour of my facial hair doesn't allow me to grow a thin mustache.
  • Everyone riding on a inter-city bus was wearing a suit and tie.  You wouldn't see that on a inter-city bus in China or Canada.  In fact, the passengers on the bus, in the film I watched last night, were dressed better than many suit-types you would see today.  I wonder if that was the way that people always dressed in those days.  Of course, I think of how people were dressed in the footage I saw of the Kennedy Assassination  -- Ruby was wearing a suit and tie when he shot Oswald -- and I can say that people these days dress much more casually, and perhaps they dressed that well on the bus in the 1930s.
  • Passengers on the bus engaged in a sing-a-long.  Did they actually do that?  Would anyone dare try that today on a bus?  He flies through the air with the greatest of ease!  The daring young man on the flying trapeze!
  • Claudette Corbet had nice legs.  She didn't initially strike me as beautiful, and she seemed average by my modern tastes, but she grew on me as the film progressed.  I think of how someone said that Evolution means that people are having more attractive babies, and realize what a stupid thought it was -- standards change.
  • There was spanking in this movie!  Clark Gable spanked Claudette Corbet because she said something particularly stupid.  Nowadays, the woman has to be slapping or spanking the man because he talks oafish.  Alas!  How standards change, and often for the worse!
  • Alan Hale, who played the Skipper on Gilligan's Island, made a brief experience.  He picked up the two hitchhiking stars of the movie, and proceeded to sing as bad as I do in WTUs.  A young couple in love is never hungry!  It was my favorite scene in the movie, nonetheless.
  • I liked the movie because of the high standard of dress and behavior.  The Gable character earned the love of the Corbet character because he behaved on principles.  The Corbet character's father actually encouraged her to not marry a rich man because he was a skunk.  And everyone wore suit and tie  -- even in the woods.
Crowded Bus
The bus in China is not as civilized as it was in the movie.  With the bus is crowded in China, it is everyone for themselves.  This morning on the crowded bus, I was grabbed and shoved, and I had a shoulder and elbow hard pressed against my back for the longest time.  Anywhere else in the world, it would have upset me.  Here, it was material for my blog.  I have even thought of joining the locals and using my size-advantage in the shoving competition to get on the bus first.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Questions I have

    • Is the lint of the West different from the lint of the Orient?  I suppose the lint here has more polyester in it.  Does anyone who travels frequently between China and the West have any opinions?
    • Why don't the Chinese know how to chop meat?
    • Why does the KoW have such horrible taste in movies?
    • What is with people who come 1 minute before an appointment, or just two minutes after?  Are they just fucking stupid?
    • If a fat guy tells one lie and a thin guy, at the same time, tells one lie, who is being more truthful?  Does a lower lie to weight ratio make the fat guy more honest?
    • Who watches Tennis?  What is wrong with them?
    • Obama is such a obvious phony.  How can so many people not see this?
    • Women.  Many.  What do they want?  What do they think?
    • Why are there only 28 or 29 days in February?
    • Why did they give Nobel prizes to Al Gore and Yasser Arafat and Obama?
    • Was Bill Clinton a rapist?
    • Why do people from Denmark have some ridiculous accents?
    • What is with the Germans?
    • How does having more torque benefit one?
    • Do Chinese cannibals like to eat human feet?
    • What is with the French?
    • Was is wrong with the whole human race?
    • If a fat guy says ten words and a thin guy says ten words, who is more talkative?  Is the thin guy more talkative because he has a higher words per pound ratio?
    • Where did I put my book about the Dynasties of China?
    • Where did I put my keys?
    • Did I turn off the gas on the stove?
    • How would _____ react if I kicked him in the _______?
    • If eagles could be humans, what famous human would they like to be?
    • Does the KoW have my copy of Homage to Catalonia?
    • If the Fat guy eats eleven hamburgers and the thin guy eats ten hamburgers, who is more of the glutton?  Could the thin guy be considered more of a glutton because his greed to weight ratio is higher than the fat guy's?
    • What is cool guy's favorite colour?
    • Iron man, Super man, and Spider man have a Texas Cage Death Match.  Who wins?
    • What is thirty three times sixty seven in base eight?
    • How do the Chinese manage to park their bikes so close together?
    • What should I take photos of today?
    • Should I even take photos?
    • Why are we here?
    • Does God exist?
    • Why haven't I ever meet someone who is a Michael Jackson fan?
    • Where is a good hiding place?
    • How often do people shower?
    • Why do some people run reds in heavy traffic?
    • Why do I always lose my mojo?
    • How can I rid myself of my constant need to be on the Internet?
    • If you saw a rhinoceros in your path, what would you do?
    • What would anyone want to be a polygamist?
    • Do you ever step back from what you doing and ask "why"?  Do you contemplate existence?  Does it all seem sudden strange and distant?  Do you go sometimes to a higher level of consciousness?
    • Why do I lose my temper?
    • Why in this world, do I keep my temper?

                            Hectic Morning

                            Get us to the bus station on time!
                            It feels warmer today (Saturday).  I felt it to be so when I took Tony outside this morning.  Carrying him and then getting on a very crowded bus had me  feeling sweaty.

                            Jenny and Tony went to Beixing for four days which was why I was carrying Tony.  This morning, he wasn't very enthused about having to get up four hours earlier then had been his habit, which because of the cold weather had been to get up very late.  I wasn't very enthused because Jenny didn't get up when she said she was going to  -- she told me to wake her up at 730, but because she lingered in bed till 800, she had me thinking she was going to catch an afternoon bus instead of the 930 am bus to Beixing.  Getting up as late as she did caused us to have to rush and run to get to the bus station on time.  

                            The bus going downtown and the bus station was also packed to the gills.  Saturday morning is the worst time of the week to take the #25 bus.

                            What a morning it was!

                            What will I do now?
                            With the wife and son away, I will have to choose between DVDs, MP3, writing, or reading a book.  I will probably try and do all at once, and so not get anything out of the experience.

                            Thursday, November 19, 2009

                            Wuxi Tony Update #465: Toy Truck

                            Cold Tuesday or Friday, depending on the way you look at it

                            And it is wet too
                            It is cold and wet in the Wux this morning. My morning shower ritual now involves me putting on heaters and heat lamps for a while before I disrobe.
                            Round Rooms
                            No one is with me on this one. I asked the students if they ever wanted their rooms round instead of square and rectangular.
                            They didn't seem interested.
                            Family News
                            It really hits you when you hear news that your parents are getting older. My mother is having trouble walking she tells me.
                            Giving Tony Orders
                            Generally, Tony is defiant of his parents' wishes when he understands what we want and this something is something he doesn't want. He has even learned to make his point, to argue, in a short, sharp, exasperated tone of voice. Still, it was nice yesterday when I was able to get him to pick up some things he had thrown on the floor. His manner of putting the things back, a careless non-chalant throw, will earn him admonitions in the future, but for now he did listen which is progress.
                            He can also understand sit in Chinese and English.
                            For now, it is cute but Tony can say DVD when he wants to watch one. Yesterday, I was in the kitchen when he came up to me with a DVD disc in his hand. Saying DVD, he lead me to the player and then handed me the remote so I could set up the Disc for him.

                            Was Obama even talking to students at the Shanghai town hall meeting?

                            I have been told that none of the students at Obama's Shanghai town hall meeting were actually students.  If my source is to be believed, they were all youth leaders in the Communist Party and they were told what to ask.  They didn't want real students asking embarassing questions.

                            Approaching the End of November 2009 Links and Quotes

                            Thomas Sowell
                            "One of the common failings among honorable people is
                            a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable
                            some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them."

                            It has always been a pet peeve of mine that when people think of Frank Sinatra, they think of the song My Way as being his signature tune.  In the podcast listed above, a rabbi does the same thing.  However, he does give some very good reasons why "My Way" is a terrible song with some of the dumbest lyrics ever put to paper.

                            Yiddish Proverb

                             "The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks."

                                Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe 

                            "One who desire the attention of others has not yet found himself."

                            I found this gem of a story in the comments to the article about Karen Armstrong:

                            I think a story about Mother Teresa is applicable here. One day, Mother Teresa attended a theological conference. She was later asked, “What did you think of the conference?”
                            “Too many words” was her reply.
                            “But Mother, they are theologians….all they have is words.” was the response.
                            Mother Teresa quibbed, “I would be more impressed if they picked up a broom and swept the place”.

                            Academics love creating committees, coming up with high minding sounding statements which they trumpet as being significant. History is littered with such ideologist statements. They have no backbone. They have no passion. They have followup. They’re just words which disappear into the wind.

                            True compassion happens outside the ivory walls.

                            The idiot twins of American idealism

                            Here is another thought-provoking essay from Spengler: this time on American Foreign Policy:

                            Former president George W Bush thought that the United States could turn Kabul into Peoria, the archetypal American city in the state of Illinois. President Barack Obama thinks that Kabul is just as good as Peoria. America has shed idealist delusion - that imposing the outward form of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan would implant its content - in favor of an even stranger delusion, which refuses "to elevate one nation or group of people over another", as Obama told the United Nations on September 23. 

                            It was mad to believe that America could remake the world in its own image. Given that more than half the world's languages will go extinct for lack of interest during the present century, it is even madder to turn foreign policy into an affirmative action program for disadvantaged cultures. 

                            But those are the idiot twins of American idealism: either one size fits all, or size doesn't matter. I do not propose to draw a moral equivalence between presidents Bush and Obama: Bush wanted to elevate American Power and Obama wants to diminish it. Bush had better motives, but he was no less destructive of American influence. 

                            America, says Spengler, has been lacking in Foreign Policy Realism.

                            • When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

                            Wednesday, November 18, 2009

                            Vlog Five: Microwaved Video

                            I test my theory that putting the camera in the microwave makes for better video.

                            The results of the experiment are successful, I think.

                            Monday for Me

                            Watching Tony watching
                            I derive pleasure just from watching my son Tony watching t.v.  I know it is probably blasphemy to say that, but he is sitting still.  When he gets too curious, oh my god, I have to look out.
                            The Jam at Newcastle Gig
                            Tony and I sat together and watched that seminal punk band The Jam do a concert in Newcastle.  The concert footage is on a DVD of the band's videos I bought in Canada.  Tony and I never seem to get tired of watching it.  Last night, it was cute because he fell asleep just before the concert's end.  Fell asleep in my arms, he did.
                            Tony wounds me
                            Currently, I have got a red gash on my nose courtesy Tony.  He had grabbed my nose, digging in with his nails.  On four other occaisions over the AKIC weekend, he threw toys at me hitting me in the face.  I can't count the other times he missed.  My wife says it serves me right.  I have been teaching him lessons in how to engage in horseplay, violently.
                            Sleek will stay parked
                            It is still cold and damp.  Poor Sleek won't be able to roam with me.  What a shame.


                            Tony likes Morrissey
                            Tony likes to watch this DVD I have of music videos of Morrissey, the ex-lead singer of the Smiths.  He especially likes that song Every Day is like Sunday.
                            My Man Michael
                            There is someone in Hui Shan who can speak English.  Michael is his name and he lives at the Forte apartments.
                            Hui Shan Tesco
                            Michael tells me that the Hui Shan Tesco supermarket will be opening on or abouts Christmas Day.  This is great news because the K family is a ten minutes walk from it.  Presently, the closest, Baoli Carrefour, is thirty minutes way by bus.
                            The founding of Wuxi
                            Many probably already know that Wuxi means "Without Tin" in English.  I have told been that way-back-when the rulers choose to call this area Wuxi to stop factions from coming to the area and finding over the tin that could be found underneath the area presently occupied by XiHui Park.
                            I am a birther
                            I believe Obama was born after being conceived in an normal act of coitus, unlike some who seem to believe his was immaculately conceived in the manner of Jesus Christ.

                            Tuesday, November 17, 2009

                            Monday, November 16, 2009

                            It is the Weekend!

                            Maybe not for you...
                            but definitely for me.  Tuesday and Wednesday, I stay away from the teaching place I go to Thursday to Monday.  But it looks like I will be staying close Base Casa Kaulins, playing with Boy Tony and maybe getting in some reading.  It is wet and cold outside.
                            What can AKIC Readers expect?
                            Hard to say what you can expect from me the next two days.  I will take some video which I will upload here most definitely, but maybe, maybe-not to here.
                            How Cold is it?
                            I won't bore you with numbers.  Instead, I will tell you what Tony didn't do the last two nights.  It has been his habit to squirm and move all over the bed, in which ever direction twisting himself like he was the big hand on a clock, kicking his parents in the head, kicking his blankets off, all while supposedly sleeping.  But the last two nights, he has laid as still as a log, under the quilt.
                            Momma, Momma
                            That is Tony's favorite phrase.  I don't know if that means he is wanting his mother or is protesting some other imagined injustice.
                            Bring it on.
                            Obama in China
                            The students I talked to were dimly aware of his recent visit.
                            Living in Heaven
                            I asked the students if there was anything wrong with the places they were living.  They all said no! 
                            Did any of them want ot move?  They all said no!
                            So I asked if the place they were living in was perfect, a heaven as it were?  Again, affirmative responses.
                            I was teaching a class about housing and neighbourhoods.
                            One woman even said that as long as she lived close to her mother, she was happy.
                            No Big Thoughts or Observations
                            My mind seems less expansive in the cold.  I must sit on the bus muttering to myself, not bothering to look up at things.

                            Mid-November 2009 Links and Quotes

                            I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with some choices in the linked list.  My over-rated choice would be Citizen Kane.  Watching it can be like having to eat the whale oil or whatever that nutritional supplement was the Children used to have to eat.  My under-rated choice would be Saturday Night Fever  -- that movie is constantly spoofed but it was a serious movie with strong characters.
                            I respect and admire Canada. Although we have chosen certain diverging paths since the days of the Revolution, we have been, and always will be, the best of friends despite our differences. Canada is unquestionably as decent, modest and good a society as exists on Earth today. And yet while Canadians frequently point out that they are free of our vices, I perceive that they are free of our greatness as well. You can't have it both ways.

                            Canada is free of many of the foreign policy disasters and failures of vision that the United States has been correctly charged with, but they are free too of the satisfaction and pride of being history's singular bulwark of freedom and prosperity, and the eternal, unintimidated scourge of tyrants and murderers from the Barbary pirates, through the armed might of the 20th Century's parade of totalitarians and right up to Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and the criminal lunatics that run North Korea.

                            Milton Friedman
                            "The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment,
                            was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent
                            instability of the private economy."

                             Churchill said

                            "No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism."
                            I can remember when the wall fell, that many, out of hate, did not want to give Ronald Reagan his due.  They instead wanted to laud Mikhail Gorbachev, a hier to Stalin, anyone but that Yankee Cowboy President.  Well, asGeorge Jones so eloquently observed:
                            The Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago. This week the last of the Soviet emperors, Mikhail Gorbachev, 78, commemorated the event in the London Guardian. Considering that it used to be his wall, it was a somewhat ironic exercise. Mr. Gorbachev got around the dilemma by referring to the Berlin Wall as "one of the shameful symbols of the Cold War" -- which is rather like referring to the gate at Auschwitz as one of the shameful symbols of World War II.
                            "[Gorbachev] just wanted to open the window a crack... But the wind has yanked it out of his hand, broke the glass, and now there's a hurricane raging inside."

                            Men open windows. Hurricanes come from elsewhere.

                            From my copy of "Verses from Tang Poetry"

                            Laughing to the sky, I go out the door,

                            I'm not an ordinary man at all.

                            Cut running water with a sword,

                            The water will faster flow;

                            Drown your sorrow by drinking,

                            The sorrow will heavier flow.

                            There is a political aspect to talking about this long-time-ago event.
                             I'm going to give you a quote from a different writer, something of a favorite of mine, though not much known in the West. This is the Chinese writer Lu Xun, who flourished in the 1920s and 1930s. He died in 1936. Like you and me, gentle listener, Lu had the misfortune to find himself living amid the collapsing wreckage of a corrupt, dying civilization, where politically well-connected playahs amassed stupendous wealth while the common people sank into poverty and impotence. Sometimes called the Chinese Orwell, Lu was honest and clear-eyed, and kept despair at bay only with difficulty. He marveled at the way people were able to ignore the stink of rottenness all around them, and persist in dreams and illusions that contradicted every reality of their lives. Well, here he is in 1922, trying to explain why he took up writing. It's a longish quote.
                            Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to waken a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn? But if a few awake, you can't say there is no hope of destroying the iron house.

                            End quote. So perhaps there's some reason, at least, to go on writing and talking. And then if, as I believe, we are going into a great darkness, we can still, at least, sing as we go. In the days of public executions in England, the condemned man on the scaffold was greatly admired if he could sing a popular song, or make a comic speech, while the hangman was testing his knot. It was the same in China, according to Lu Xun. The hero of one of his stories is vexed because, about to be executed, he can't remember the words of the operatic aria he wanted to sing.

                            (*This is from the transcript of the latest episode of Radio Derb.  You can get the podcast for John Derbyshire's show on i-tunes.*)

                            Sunday, November 15, 2009

                            Wuxi Tony Update #463: Tony and a Ball

                            This is the second video that was taken on Saturday night.

                            Wuxi Tony Update #462: Saturday Night with Boy Tony aka Tony Boy

                            I took two videos on Saturday night. This is the first one.

                            Traffic Pragmatism

                            The Chinese have a very pragmatic approach to traffic rules and signals, that is, if you define pragmatism as I am going to get to work as fast as I can without causing any accidents, hopefully.  I see no problem with going through a red light if you know that it is safe to do so.  I see no problem with sneaking through traffic barriers, making u-turns, and the occasional short wrong way maneuver.  But pragmatic doesn't mean suicidal and it seems to me that the Chinese are taking crazy risks.

                            I list a few examples of this suicidal behavior:

                            • Oncoming traffic has a left turn signal.  Cyclists will go straight and skirt these fast-moving turning trucks and buses.  And they will do this in rush hour!
                            • Drivers will make left turns from the the right lane.
                            • Pedestrians will run in front of buses, counting on the fact that the buses will slow down.
                            • Cyclists will drive the wrong way down Freeways.
                            • Drivers will not stop at uncontrolled intersections.
                            • Drivers will cut off each other within inches to get ahead.
                            • I have seen pedestrians walk and forget to look at the pedestrian traffic signal.
                            • et cetera....

                            That is the way I thought, but then I heard stories about the horsemen of the steppes.  I was listening to a podcast recently from a series called Hardcore History (look for it on i-tunes) and it told stories of the incredible feats of these horsemen -- they could do things on a horse beyond all boundaries of safety and prudence that a Westerner like me has.  Could you imagine being able to hang onto the neck of a horse and shoot arrows accurately at 200m?  I couldn't.  And yet these horsemen were able to do it.

                            Thinking of these ancient feats, I realize I should give the drivers and cyclists of China a break.  They are on another planet that the limitations of my imagination would never have taken me if I hadn't listened to that podcast.  I continue to talk of the things the Chinese do in traffic  -- but I will see them as incredible feats.

                            Saturday, November 14, 2009

                            Wednesday (Sunday) Sermonizing

                            Tony grabbing and pulling
                            Tony likes to grab Andis, pull him to the living room, and get him to dance to the Teletubbies.  Andis grabs Tony to dance to the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack but he gets no cooperation.

                            Andis and Tony take a bath
                            Tony and Andis took a bath together on Saturday night.  Tony liked pouring water on Andis.  Tony didn't like Andis  pouring water on him.

                            I eloquently defend a great man from blood libels.  As well, I offer the world hope for 2012.

                            If Andis were a woman,
                            He would marry a man like himself.

                            Andis wears a Sweater
                            Does CNN or or tell you this?  Of course not.  That is why you should go here for your news and opinion.

                            Andis organizes his socks
                            Video and Pictures later.

                            Wuxi Tony Update #461: Scientific and Pseudo-Scientific Wrestling

                            Friday, November 13, 2009

                            Wednesday (Saturday) Blah Blah Blahings

                            The subject of history doesn't seem to interest many of our students.  Last night, what I thought was a whiz-bang interesting topic turned out to be like having to perform a tooth extraction.  Two students in the class said flat-out, they weren't interested at all in the subject.  I asked the students to tell me what they thought was the most memorable historical event of their life times  -- one told me the founding of the PRC in 1949 was -- only problem she wasn't alive then.
                            The only thing I could think of to explain the disinterest was the fact that China's recent history, till about 20 years ago, has been very, very, bad.  Perhaps, they want to forget it.
                            I am bringing out my gloves, scarf, and toque (Canadian for knit-cap).  It is that cold now.
                            I received a nice email from the operator of the site linked in the headline above.  Just looking at it, I see it a great site.

                            Thursday, November 12, 2009

                            Tuesday (Friday) Ramblings

                            Singing in the Chinese Rain
                            There is that famous scene from the movie "Singing in the Rain" where Gene Kelly dances and sloshes on a street in heavy late-night rain.  I always wondered if rain ever got as heavy as it did in that scene, and of course it does, but I can't say that I had really experienced it.  Now, I have actually had the experience, on many occasions, as I did last night, but unlike the other times, last night's rain and my experiences therein did hearken me back to that famous scene.   I was not actually dancing last night, but walking down this side street, strewn with garbage and lacking in drainage, I might has have well have been.  

                            A foreigner dancing in the rain would have struck more than just a lone policeman as strange.

                            Why was I walking the street in the cold, depressing rain?  I was looking for formula for Tony.  We ran out, unfortunately.  And it was past nine so the stores I went to were closed.  I wandered down this long narrow market that thrives in the day and sun but late last evening, it was a cold unfriendly place.  There, I tried a small convenience store and could make out all the locals watching me with interest and disbelief.

                            After my fruitless search, I took a motorcycle taxi home.  I felt sorry for the poor sot driving.  Even though, I was freezing, it was but for a short interim.  This guy was eking out a living driving in those conditions all night.

                            Yao bu Yao Chu Zhu Qu?
                            I believe that's what these fellow in a van yelled at me as I walking to the bus stop near my apartment.  He was asking if I wanted a ride for some fee.  I of course wasn't interested and was put off a little by the "look at the foreigner" attitude coming from that person, but you have to give these people credit for trying to make some cash.  I have often thought how better off we would be if the government did regulate the taxi and bus industries, and how people would have been more naturally inclined to make their own travel arrangements.  Just think, a man with a car could easily pick up three other people going his way.  Instead you have this divide between private and public cars which government imposed on people right from the start.

                            Taking the bus today
                            Poor Sleek.  She hates to be parked.  She aims to ride free on the road.  But the rain ain't good for here.  It gives her rheumatism.

                            Wuxi Tony Update #460: Tony in a Taxi

                            This video was taken soon after Tony's latest return to Wuxi from Beixing.

                            Tony's Return

                            Tony's returns to Wuxi are always filled with dramatic and emotional moments. And lately, Tony has become a bit of a ham for these moments adopting grand postures, like in the photo above which is the latest photo taken of him.
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                            No Senior's Tea at McDonalds?

                            I can distinctly remember when I was in Canada that you could always count on there being a table of old men sipping the Senior's coffee at McDonalds.
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                            A Walk in Wuxi, China #10

                            This video was taken in a downtown Wuxi, China park.

                            Wednesday, November 11, 2009

                            Monday, Monday (Thursday, Thursday) Bloggings

                            Thursday is my back to work day
                            Oh! The freshly, newly-minted, never-ending horrors that await me!

                            Cool things Tony has been doing lately
                            • Arriving home by taxi, Tony got out first and tried to open the door for me. It is great when he tries to be of help. The little man can be the little gentlemen.
                            • Last time I took him to school, he kissed all the girls. And he was a real gentleman about it.
                            • Tony tried to carry the shopping basket when we went shopping last evening.
                            • Jenny couldn't find her phone so I phoned it. The ring came from a Wheaties box where Tony had been packing things. I laughed while Jenny looked miffed.
                            • Pushing my bike up the flat ledge that you will see on the side of stairways, Tony didn't cry because he had to walk. Having learned the procedure, he duly and happily ran up the side of the stairs himself. He is showing understanding.
                            • Tony was pointing a toy gun. I know not cool in the West but whatever....
                            I am taking the bus today
                            Sleek is acting funny in the rain so I am going to have to take the bus to and from work. The last time I rode, Sleek shorted out because it was dank.

                            Wuxi Tony Update #459: Tony says E I E I oh!

                            I have taught Tony one thing and that is how to sing that nonsense phrase from Old McDonald had a farm.

                            Streetside Ear Cleaning

                            Near the Chongan Market Area is a street corner where you can get you ears cleaned, as the gentleman above is having done. The ear cleaner will use more than just a cotton swab to probe deep into your ear to remove wax and dead skin.
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                            Wuxi Tony Update #458: What's your name?

                            I have been screwing up the numbering on these WTUs. Really, WTU is in the four hundreds.

                            They're back!!!!

                            Jenny and Tony return to Wuxi
                            Like Douglas MacArthur, before them, they said they would return, and they did.  Jenny and Tony arrived back in Wuxi at about 330 PM this afternoon.  If Andis had known earlier the exact time of their arrival back in Wuxi, he would have watched the Doris Day and James Cagney musical he had on DVD instead of listening to the Hardcore History Podcasts the evening before, but such is life.  You make decisions and you have to accept the consequences; and not go off on some rant about how we just have to change the institutions and everything is going to be alright and get mad at the country you happen to be living in the time of the said little bit of trouble you had which if you had really thought about it you could have had anywhere in the world, and why complain about not being able to temporarily do something that your ancestors could not have  dreamed of doing at all.
                            Video has been taken.  You have been warned.
                            Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
                            Forced between having to watch the latest movie by the Borat guy or a cheesy musical filmed in CinemaScope in the nineteen fifties, I'd watch the latter every time as I did last night.  7B for 7B is a kind of movie that may never ever get made again, and that is such a shame.  Watching it, I said to myself that there was a time when one could go to the local cinema and see such a film.  The movie has violence, singing, dancing, strong practical female characters, great scenery, bible-thumpers, avalanches, and men being able to find wives by kidnapping them.  The movie manages to break every contemporary P.C. rule without descending into crudity and vulgarity.  Watching it with a modern but sympathetic mindset, I could only imagine how they would feel compelled to make the movie modern.  One of the brothers would have to be gay.  Seven straight men wouldn't do in this day and age.  And all this men are white  -- they would have to make one black or Chinese or Latino.  And a family of seven being bad for the environment -- the family would have be shrunk so that all that would be left was the gay character and the black man.  And of course there would have to be an orgy scene...
                            Seven Bride for Seven Brothers was an enjoyable movie.  If you live in Wuxi, run, don't walk to the Nanchang Book Market, third floor and look for your copy of the movie there in the bin where the DVDs have green labels.  Or I could lend to you.
                            One thing about CinemaScope, it took me ten minutes to get used to the screen width.  I honestly thought I would have to watch the movie twice -- first, watching the left half of screen and then the right on the second viewing.
                            No using the right side of my mouth
                            I am not going to stop talking like Rush Limbaugh.  No, that won't happen.  Once you know what's right, you don't stop knowing it.  What I am talking about is my final trip to the dentist would took place on Wednesday.  I have got an filling and I was told not to eat with the filled-up tooth for 48 hours.
                            The whole operation was painless.  One time, I thought I was going to choke but overall it wasn't the crude primitive process I had been lead to believe.  The dentist knew a little English.  The nurses were pretty.  And the whole staff were interested in seeing the dental work I had had done in Canada.

                            Tuesday, November 10, 2009

                            Lest We Forget

                            Wuxi Tony Update #457: Tony clubs Andis

                            In this video, we use weapons.

                            On, where I have also uploaded this video for domestic Chinese consumption, a comment was made that Tony and I were naughty boys.

                            Nanchang Market being redone

                            Those of you who may be familiar, with Wuxi's Nanchang Market, may not know that it is being all redone. Here is the view from the KFC restaurant taken on Tuesday. This ditch was once a square with a playground and small stalls.
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                            Holmes and I

                            That's Holmes and I in the photo above. Holmes (that is his English name) is a student at our school and he's one of my favourites. Anyone who can speak English and is old enough to me what it was like during the Cultural Revolution is someone I want to know.

                            Holmes is planning on moving to Canada. His application for landed immigrant status is currently being decided upon at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.
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                            Wuxi Tony Update #456: Ultimate Fighting Two

                            The second match between Tony and I.

                            Monday, November 9, 2009

                            The Fall of the Berlin Wall Anniversary in China

                            Being in Wuxi for the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall is a bizarre thing.  On my computer here in the heart of the People's Republic of China, I can read all sorts of stories about the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall -- proof, surely that Communism was a grand and colossal failure.  Rising from my chair and looking our my apartment living room in China, I see a government building.  In the general area of my apartment there are many government buildings with the Red Flag of the Chinese Communists in front of every one.  On many of the buildings, the government seal is the seal of the Chinese Communist Party.  So there is a big conflict between thought and reality. 
                            Being here in Communist China in the post Communist era one has to divide oneself into two halves:  one part of you thinks that China is making progress -- the dictatorship is surely benevolent; the other part must willfully be blind the evil aspects -- you can't talk about the famines, Tibet, Xinjiang, the riots, and the fact that Chairman Mao was the greatest murderer of all history.
                            A foreigner spending so much time, as I have, here must being doing something to his soul -- he has made a pact with the Devil.  I deal with it by keeping to myself.  I married and gave up a bachelor life.  I find myself railing from afar at Obama because I wouldn't dare say anything about the government here. 
                            And yet I can't say China hasn't been good to me  -- for it has given me Jenny and Tony.
                            But I don't thank the Chicoms for them.  I thank the China of the 300 Tang Poets and the Buddhists for my two blessings.

                            Early November Links and Quotes

                            Sure the pollution is bad, but the traffic is the bigger killer of Expats, or so says the article linked above from the Atlantic.
                             I have often said that the sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. (*I know how and I will show it while Tony and Jenny are away.*)

                            There is something to be said for no being busy and not even bothering to make a pretext about it.  Being really busy where you don't have the time to think what it is you are doing is terrible  -- no one should want that for themselves.

                            GK Chesterton Quote

                            Life is always complicated for someone without principles.

                            ...there is one thing that is infinitely more absurd and unpractical than burning a man for his philosophy. This is the habit of saying that his philosophy does not matter,

                            David Warren Quote

                            We should not allow ourselves to be moved by the cold hearts of professional tear-jerkers because when we reward that kind of thing we help perpetuate an emotional order that is dangerously false. We should instead be annoyed by attempts to manipulate us.

                            Falsehood has more consequences than the revelation of personal insincerity. What happened at Fort Hood was no kind of "tragedy." It was a criminal act, of the terrorist sort, performed by a man acting upon known Islamist motives. To present the perpetrator himself as a kind of "victim" -- a man emotionally distressed by his impending assignment to Afghanistan or Iraq -- is to misrepresent the reality.

                            Amma Theodora

                            Amma Theodora lists these qualities for a teacher:
                            – Have no desire to dominate
                            – Have no interest in vanity or pride
                            – Never be distracted by flattery or gifts
                            – Be in control of the stomach
                            – Be slow to become angry
                            – Be as patient, gentle and humble as possible
                            – Be properly examined and without political ties
                            – Be a lover of souls

                            Wang Wei

                            High beyond the thick wall a tower shines with sunset 
                            Where peach and plum are blooming and the willowcotton flies. 
                            You have heard in your office the court-bell of twilight; 
                            Birds find perches, officials head for home. 
                            Your morning-jade will tinkle as you thread the golden palace; 
                            You will bring the word of Heaven from the closing gates at night. 
                            And I should serve there with you; but being full of years, 
                            I have taken off official robes and am resting from my troubles.

                            Du Fu
                            A VIEW OF THE WILDERNESS

                            Snow is white on the westward mountains and on three fortified towns, 
                            And waters in this southern lake flash on a long bridge. 
                            But wind and dust from sea to sea bar me from my brothers; 
                            And I cannot help crying, I am so far away. 
                            I have nothing to expect now but the ills of old age. 
                            I am of less use to my country than a grain of dust. 
                            I ride out to the edge of town. I watch on the horizon, 
                            Day after day, the chaos of the world.