Friday, December 31, 2010

Initial AKIC Thinkings for 2011

  • There must be a local Chinese dialect that says Happy New Year in the following manner: Shin Ninny Cole Slaw!
  • Perhaps instead of appearing on her reality TV show shooting animals, Sarah Palin should sit in the pews of a certain church and listen to the sermons of one Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I am sure the left would forgive her for listening to the ramblings of a racist and anti-Semite, they may even take a liking to her. It has been done before.
  • With the coming economic apocalypse in 2011, I suggest that you always have a bungie strap tied to your ankles. Because if you are going to go off the cliff, you do want to be able to bounce back.
  • I still feel surges of anger when I get starred at by the locals. I sometimes fantasize about grabbing some of these gawkers and twats by the ear, and then twisting their ears to give them a lesson they will never forget. Like most of my fantasies, though, this wiill never come to pass.
  • There is something to be said for obsessing about the little things. We don't have control over the big things.
  • I hope Sarah Palin can become president of the United States. She is the right person for the times we are living in. Unfortunately, it won't happen. I am afraid Obama will be re-elected. Like death though, one must fight against the inevitable.
  • I believe that the Ressurection happened, and the Catholic Church is right in its teachings.
  • The Truth will out. The Truth shall set you free.

AKIC's 2011 predictions that you can take to the bank

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators won't win the Stanley Cup. (Don't let anyone tell you I am a complete pessimist).
  • Gorzo the Mighty will be the best monarch Wuxi, China Expats have ever had.
  • I will wear gray underwear.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays won't win the World Series.
  • Sarah Palin won't be elected President or even receive the nomination of the Republican Party, even though the Dems want to give it to her.
  • Obama will be said to have lost his mojo, and then regained it, and then lost it, and then regained it, and then....
  • The North Koreans will do something outlandish.  President Obama will stop the Sorks from invading.  O will then give the Norks a chocolate bar and tell them to play nice.
  • AKIC will write the great novel about teaching English in China.
  • The Vancouver Canucks won't win the Stanley Cup (I am not happy about this.)
  • The Wuxi Subway won't be completed.
  • AKIC will get 300,000 views on his Youtube Channel.
  • A few Wuxi Expat will get lice or boils.

Happy New Year!

So far, I haven't gotten drunk this year!
 
Neither should you!
 
Expect the best only from AKIC in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Barry Botteril R.I.P.

I have just been informed that Barry Botteril passed away on Christmas Day.  It was only in June 2010 that I saw and spoke to Barry when I made a quick visit to, the DHL Depot, my old place of work, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.  I can imagine that his passing away was very sad news, for his family, the people at DHL Abbotsford, all the customers on his route (it was designated V7 when I was relief-driving it), and all others who had the pleasure to know him.  It certainly is sad news for this ex-relief driver of his living now in China. 
 
It is no exaggeration to say that Barry was a genuinely pleasant guy.  He had a quality of unflappability to him that I could only envy.  For anyone who had relief-driven for Barry can tell you, his route was difficult.  And yet for one with such a difficult route, he always did it with no fuss and a smile on his face.  He knew how to be, which makes his passing away all the more sad for the rest of us.
 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Blast from the Past: Wuxi Tony Update #503: Wu Culture Park One


This video was taken about a year ago.

Wuxi China Hui Shan District (中国 无锡 惠山区)Traffic

Bloguendos and other thoughts.

  • If you want to make revolution, you are going to need a well-equipped kitchen with the best cookware that Capitalism can provide.
  • When it comes to Western New Year's, I am becoming Chinese.  None of my students has any big plans for the December 31st New Year's eve.  For them it is just another night.  Some may watch the end-of-the-calendar special on Chinese Central Television, but nothing more.  I will be working till nine that evening and taking the bus home.  I will bee spending midnight in bed with my family.
  • If you really want to know what it is like to be in another man's shoes, you should wear his undershorts -- that way, you will know the true fabric of the man.
  • A reader tells me that the revolving doors at the Moresky360 building are working fine.  Hmmm, maybe I was fed  load by someone from the Hongdo building.  Whatever.
  • I have watched the first four episodes of the Sons of Anarchy series.  I am enjoying it, even though it is over the top, and I feel I am being manipulated to like bad guys.  The show is about a fictional motorcycle gang that resembles the all-too-real Hell's Angels.  The series is full of sex, violence, tattoos, crime, and macho-posing.  The series writing is generally pretty good, though one time I thought it was unintentionally funny when one of the SOA gang members said the series star character Jax was having a rough two weeks -- besides having his crack-addict wife give birth to a premature baby, Jax had engaged in several gratuitous acts of violence, had lots of sex, seen three or four people die, had run-ins with his boss, and had an argument with a cop -- apparently the premature baby thing was weighing on his mind.  And I find myself feeling compelled to cheer against the only figure who believes in law-and-order -- the deputy to the corrupt sheriff of the country that SOA are based in.  My personal experience with motorcycle gangs is minimal.  I have seen Hell's Angels on the roads.  I once had a Hell's Angel sign for a delivery -- he was one of the nicest people I had ever sign for a parcel.  I also made deliveries to a bike shop in Pitt Meadows British Columbia called Haney Hawgs -- the people there were heavily tattooed, and one time I saw the cops making a visit -- the verbal sparring resembled what I have seen in SOA.
  • It's an eerie feeling to have one of those coach-style buses come to a sudden stop.  It happened on Wednesday night when the company bus I was taking home from a Compart company class.  It looked like one coach had cut off another, and so the driver of the coach I was in decided to block the other coach off, to make a point.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Does this Ezra Pound Poem make you think of Wuxi?

Funny thing, I was cleaning up my pile of books on my bed stand, and found a volume of poetry by Ezra Pound. I opened the book and read the following poem at random:


N.Y. by Ezra Pound

MY CITY, my beloved, my white!

Ah, slender,

Listen! Listen to me, and I will breathe into thee a soul.

Delicately upon the reed, attend me!


Now do I know that I am mad,

For here are a million people surly with traffic;

This is no maid.

Neither could I play upon any reed if I had one.


My City, my beloved,

Thou art a maid with no breasts,

Thou art slender as a silver reed.

Listen to me, attend me!

And I will breathe into thee a soul,

And thou shalt live for ever.



I think the the last six lines of the poem could be written by a Wuxi Expat about Wuxi, the city.

Top Ten Wuxi Expat Moments of 2010

Wuxi Expats had many reasons to be grateful in 2010.  Here are the most important:
 
  • Stewart Dingle was seen wearing shorts.
  • AKIC appoints Gorzo the Mighty to be the King of Wuxi Expats.
  • The #25 bus hours of operation are extended.
  • The former KoW leaves Wuxi only to be replaced by another SoB.
  • The Hui Shan Tesco opens.
  • AKIC finds out about the #635 bus that goes out to Yanqiao in the evenings.
  • AKIC doesn't go to the Shanghai Expo.
  • AKIC bought the complete writings of Flannery O'Connor in Winnipeg, Canada.
  • AKIC buys the first three season of the show Sons or Anarchy.
  • The Wuxi Red Guards win the last three games of their fantasy football season to finish in second place in their division with a record of eight wins and six losses.
  • **Bonus** Wuxi Andis dips KFC fries into KFC mashed potatoes creating a new Wuxi Expat treat. 

Tony and Jenny win World Musical Chairs Championship

Andis and his son Tony and a Latvian flag.

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Tony says "yes!" twice, making history for the tenth day in a row.

Tony is the history-making phase of his childhood.  Just now, he said "yes!" when he was asked if he wanted to look at water.  Till now, his favorite word has been "no!".  Otherwise, he has stayed silent which has been taken as a form of assent.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Moresky360 is sinking!

Here are two memorable movie moments for me:

Oklahoma!  Here are some lyrics from the song "Everything's up to date in Kansas City":

Everything's up to date in Kansas City

They gone about as fer as they can go

 They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high

About as high as a buildin' orta grow.

Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail  Here is a funny bit about building a castle in a swamp:

When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.

 

I relate this information to you because of what I have heard about Wuxi Subway Construction and the Moresky360 building in downtown Wuxi, China.

The Moresky360 building is sinking into Wuxi's all too soft earth (Wuxi terrain is mostly canal and soft ground).  Now, the revolving doors at the building's main entrance can't be used -- they are stuck because of the building sinking. 

Engineers have recommended that the building be torn down.  That won't do.  The building in Wuxi's center has become a landmark.  As well, the Moresky360's trouble would delay or stop the construction of the Wuxi Subway.  It has been said that the ground of Wuxi is too soft for tunneling.  The Chinese Central Government apparently would tell Wuxi to stop subway construction if the Moresky360 has to be torn down or seriously renovated.  The Wuxi Mayor is committed to the construction of the subway and so pressure is being applied to keep the Moresky360 standing.

So the building will be monitored, for a year, in hopes of finding a solution to its sinking problem.  The Moresky360 will probably have to be renovated.

 

 

My nine most agonizing moments as a sports spectator

Apropos this article, I submit my personal list of agonizing sports moments.

1981 Canada Cup Final: The evil Soviets trounced Team Canada 8 to 1 in the final game.  Anytime, the Commies win, it is a bad thing for humanity.  I still get a sick stomach thinking about this game.

1998 Minnesota Vikings lose the NFC Championship game.  It looked to be the Vikings year.  They were 15-1 and had a magnificent offence.  Still they were in tough in the NFC title game against the Falcons, but if Anderson had made a field goal, they would have been on the way to the Super Bowl.  As it was, Anderson missed -- it was a very rare miss for him  that season and it couldn't have come at a worse time.  The Vikings would have had a ten point lead and a spot in the Super Bowl.  Instead, the Falcons came back to tie the game and then win in O.T. -- the ugly, ungainly Falcons.  (At least, I had the satisfaction of seeing the Falcons trounced in the Super Bowl.)

1980 Mike Schmidt's home run against the Montreal Expos in the 161st regular season game.  The Phillies and Expos were tied for the National League East division lead entering the final weekend of the season, each having played 159 games.  Their final three games were to be played at Montreal's Olympic Stadium -- it was essentially a best of three playoff series.  The Expos lost the Friday game.  The Saturday game went to extra innings.  Mike Schmidt hit a home run off Stan Bahnsen to give the Phillies the second game of the series and the NL East Division Title.

1981 Montreal Expos lose the National League Championship series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was Mike Schmidt all over again as this time Rick Monday hit a ninth inning home run, in the fifth and deciding game, off stater turned reliever Steve Rodgers to put the Dodgers in the World Series.  It was to be the closest the Expos ever got to the World Series.

1985 Toronto Blue Jays lose the American League Championship Series to the Kansas City Royals.  The Blue Jays blew a three-one series lead.  Again, a Canadian team was denied a berth in the World Series.

2001 Seattle Mariners  The Mariners won 116 games in the regular season only to lose to the Yankees in the ALCS.  The Mariners still haven't made it to the World Series.  A Seattle radio station played "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra the day after they were eliminated.

1982 Winnipeg Blue Bombers  The Bombers could have made it to the Grey Cup that year if their kicker hadn't missed two field goals in a 24-21 Western Final loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.  The Eskimos went on to win their fifth consecutive Grey Cup.

1990 Winnipeg Jets Lose game six of a playoff series to the Edmonton Oilers.  It was game six of a first round playoff series and it was played in Winnipeg.  A Winnipeg victory would have put them in the second round against a weak L.A. King team.  The winner of this Oilers-Jets series would most surely have won the Stanley Cup that year.  The Winnipeg Arena was packed with fans expecting what would have been a historic victory for the Jets.  (Winnipeg had gone into incredible ecstasies when the Jets had won a game in O.T. to take a three-one series lead.)  But game six saw the Jets came out flat, and the Oilers jumped to a three nothing lead in the first period.  But brought on by their rabid fans, the Jets fought back to tie the game at three.  Late in the game, however, an unguarded Jari Kurri was able to skate to the Jet net and score the goal that broke Jets fans hearts.  There was simply no way that the Jets were going to win the seventh game that was played in Edmonton....

2003 Chicago Cubs There was moment in their National League championship series where the Cubs seemed to be on the verge of gaining a berth in the World Series.  It was game six of the best of seven and the Cubs had the lead late in the game.  The Cubs were leading the series three games to two. But the Marlins, a franchise that should never have come into existence, scored eight runs in as agonizing and painful a sequence of events that I can ever recall.
 
Other moments that could be on the list:  Don Sweet misses a field goal late in the 1975 Grey Cup game; The Yankees beat the Red Sox in 1978; The Blue Jays lost the last seven games of the 1987 season; and several NCAA basketball finals.




Wuxi China Metro Construction Update #2

December 27 Blogaminations

Hungover.
Of course, some of the drinkers were hungover when they came to teach after Christmas.

Tony? Tony!  Tony?
Visit here to find out how my son is doing.


The Most Beautiful Word in the English Language?
I asked the students this, and they told me that "money" is.


What was it like to live in the Industrial Revolution?
Pour a can of 10W30 motor oil on your elbows, knees, and feet -- that's what it was like to live in the Industrial Revolution.


I get to play Scrooge for a Chinese New Year Dinner.
Scrooge, one would know if one actually read the Christmas Carol by Dickens, would have been a progressive, had he lived today.  For one thing, he cited the welfare programs currently in place as reasons to not give to charity -- a practice that Progressives follow in deed, though they would be loathe to admit it.  Furthermore, Scrooge meanness was a result of an emotional trauma he had suffered in his young adult days.  So he had a meanness that would have been celebrated if it had been of a Black, a Palestinian, or a welfare case nursing a grudge against white, rich society.

Anyway.  Why do I get to play Scrooge?  I have a reputation for not spending money.  I have earned it, but now that I have a family, I have no money to spend.  And I don't have the time.  Giving up my life to my wife and child, is more than the people who say I don't spend money are willing to do.  It is all fine talk these childless people spout. 

Also, I suppose it could also be because of my conservative political beliefs that I have been given the honor.


Embarrassed and Ashamed, but not traumatized.
I have this to say when I look at my past.  What I mean is:  I have no excuses for the bad and selfish things I did.  I did them and I need to repent.  There is a trauma-like sting in finding out one did wrongly, you could say; but that shouldn't be an excuse to find an excuse.  I should have some gratitude that my mistakes were never monstrous.


Gummy Left Knee
I have a gummy left knee.  It feels like it will buckle when I climb the stairs, and so I limp.


Prove there is no God!
Can Atheists prove there is no God?  Of course not.  But they try to switch the burden of proof by saying that Theists need to prove the existence of God.  We can certainly reason that there is a God, but there is a reason that the Theists call their belief faith.  Atheists need to realize they have a faith too.


Where's the poetry and magic?
Christianity can be a lovely thing to believe in.  Can the same be said for Atheism?

I know so and so!
A student has told me that he has seen drivers tell a police officers that they don't care about getting a traffic ticket because they have a friend who can cancel it for them.

I forgot to mention!
For my birthday, I bought myself a copy of Mark Twain's Autobiography at the Xinhua Book Store -- it was the only book worth buying in the place.



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wuxi, China Metro Construction Update #1

Ten great things that can be said about Wuxi, China.

10)  It has a lot of canals, and so it is a great place to watch boat traffic.

  9)  It has a lot of bridges.  You have to be a real cretin to not like a good bridge.

  8)  It has a baseball stadium.  Believe it or not, it does!

  7)  It is not Shanghai.  Shanghai is a wannabe world city that has too many foreigners living in it.

  6)  You can go days without seeing foreigners.  And that is a good thing.

  5)  Wuxi is spread out.  It is not so small and not so easy to take in as the Lonely Planet would have it.

  4)  HyLite Language School.  That is where Wuxi Andis works.  The best English School. Period.

  3)  Wuxi Tony and Wuxi Jenny:  Two thirds of the great Wuxi Kaulins family.

  2)  Wuxi peaches.  In season, they are sweet and soft.

  1)  The 2010 Wuxi Red Guards NFL Fantasy Football Team.  Visit this site to find out their inspirational story. It is a story only bettered by the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John.

Lordy, Lordy! I forgot to mention that someone turned forty!

I forgot to mention that my son Tony turned forty -- forty months old that is.  December 23 was Tony's big day.

Imagined bit of conversation

"What is WHN up to?
 
"I don't know."
 
"You don't !?!  Why not?"
 
"I just don't."
 
"Well! Don't you think you should?  I thought you were the best of buds."
 
"Who are you to say?  And besides, if you are so curious, why haven't you found out for yourself, instead of happening to ask me on a chance encounter?  Hmmm?!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Must see photo of Tony!

See it here.

Wuxi China Christmas 2010

The view from Casa Kaulins


Jenny and Tony talk to my mother and brother via MSN.


Jenny at Pizza Hut.


Tony at KFC.


Boxing Day Jottlings

  • One of these names was the real name of a real head coach:  "Elbows Elroy"; "Rollie Fingers"; "Blue Eyes Sinatra"; "Ankles Anderson"; "Toe Blake", "Knee Smith"; and "Feet Ford".  Can you guess which one is correct?  Email me at akaulins@gmail.com if you want to know the correct answer.
  • Is the founder of Wookie Leaks, a kinky deviant sex criminal?
  • If a Hate Crime deserves a more severe punishment than a normal crime; does it mean that a Love Crime deserves a lesser punishment?
  • Tony did sing Happy Birthday on my Birthday that was on December 24.
  • I like to think that you can verify an idea by checking to see if it has an opposite.  For example, does Hate Crime mean there are Love Crimes?  Name and No Names?  Does Commitment to Excellence mean there is a commitment to failure?
  • Barriers around the church near our school.  Is it how Christmas is to be celebrated?  Are the powers that be here in China afraid of crowds of Christians?
  • On my bus trip downtown on December 24th, I saw two traffic jams.  Being Chinese traffic jams, it was interesting to see the actions drivers were taking to get through them.  None of the drivers seemed to believe that waiting in line was the way to get through the jam.  It was every driver for himself trying to get an advantage for himself, and so more confusion and jamming was created.
  • What was it like to live in the renaissance?  It was like being naked after wearing prickly, woolly clothing for a week -- that's what it was like to live in the renaissance.
  • What were the 1960s like?  Stick a wiener up your bum -- that's what it was like to live in the 1960's.  What were the 1960's like in Canada?  The only man to wear sandals and turtleneck in Canada saw someone put a wiener up their bum and decided to bring the practice to Canada -- that's what the 1960s were like in Canada.
  • To walk into the Wuxi Baoli Carrefour on December 24th was to briefly experience the sensation of being in the West for the Christmas shopping season -- the stores were crowded and Christmas music was playing.
  • Tony said "Thank you Daddy" at least ten times on December 24 and December 25.  One time, he thanked his father for giving him a chicken nugget.  Another time, he thanked father for giving him a M&M.
  • The highlight of the Kaulins family Christmas Day in Wuxi was to be able to talk to the family in Canada, via MSN.  Otherwise, the Kaulins Wuxi China Christmas was not (traditional).  Tony played with his new train set all day, while Dad did some reading.  Andis read an inspiring article about Chesterton's standing up for fairy tales, and the Pope's summation of the year 2010 -- "Only the truth saves" will become Andis's motto.  About 330 pm, Tony wanted to go out.  Andis took him to the Hui Shan Big Bridge to watch boat traffic.  There was not much luck with buses this day.  On the way to the bridge, Andis wanted to take the 602 bus.  It was just their luck that the bus just left the stop as they were coming to it -- this meant a twenty minute wait for the next 602 bus.  Thankfully, Tony didn't seem to mind.  He seemed content to sit on Dad's shoulders.  Andis saw a foreigner come to the bus stop, and pretended to not see him -- it was the first time that Andis ever shared that stop with a "laowai".  Andis didn't want his exile ruined by some drunken-looking yob which was the what the guy looked like. Andis even wondered if the guy was Russian.  (Andis could tell he was a foreigner a mile off)  The 602 bus finally came and the K boys got their seat.  Off the bus, they had a nice walk under the tracks of the Wuxi Metro being constructed over Hui Shan Da Dao Road.  Andis took a good video showing the tawdriness of it.  Near the Hui Shan Big Bridge, Andis needed to take a piss.  He put Tony down and so Tony started to wail and flop and kick.  Andis got really mad at Tony telling him that he needed to take a piss and wasn't abandoning him.  Andis finally took his piss in the bushes as Tony cried.  Tony calmed down when his Dad picked him up again.  They then walked along the canal shores and Andis took another video of the bridge being constructed that would take the Wuxi metro over the Hui Shan Big Bridge Canal.  They next walked on the Hui Shan Big Bridge.  Tony liked watching the boats travelling the canal, but Andis started to feel really cold and decided it was time to go home.  It was just his luck to see the 602 bus drive past as they were walking to the bus stop -- this meant another twenty minute wait.  Tony fell asleep sitting on Andis's shoulders at about this time.  So, Andis had to hold on to Tony for about twenty minutes till the bus came.  It wasn't such a bad thing at the beginning -- Andis liked the experience of having a little soul relying on him.  It was what Christmas was about -- being in modest circumstances like the Christ child.  But just before the bus finally did come, the holding onto Tony was a burden that no longer seemed to have a Christmas glamor to it.  Andis had to rest on a knee for a few minutes.
  • I took an online quiz which pegged me as a moderate conservative, politically.  Damn!  I hate the word "moderate" being attached to "conservative".  It is about as kooky as the label "Progressive Conservative" that the Tories gave themselves before finally amalgamating with the Reform Party.  Words like moderate, centrist, and progressive imply a lack of passion or thought in the person who chooses to label himself this way.  I would prefer to be labelled indifferently conservative.  Indifference in this instance implies a true feeling about something -- a "I don't care!" or "have no interest!".  To say you are a moderate or a centrist or an independent means you are afraid to define yourself on your own terms -- you can just "reacting" to the thoughts of others -- being pushed or crushed by them, as it were.
  • Scraggy "Christmas Day" cat -- my compassion goes out to it.
  • Instead of a "no labels" movement which is the result of fuzzy thinking, why not a movement for "truth in labeling"?  No-labelists would best be labelled as idiots.  Moderates would best be called fence-sitters.  Progressives would be best called Big Central Government Supporters.
  • My life is dreary, but not my thoughts.  People who recount their "exciting experiences" are often the dreariest of thinkers.  They always say "I saw", "I saw", "I saw", "I heard", and "I went to"...  Never, I thought.
  • Poetry and Fairy Tales -- proof that Atheism can never be and just won't do.
  • Atheism means no miracles -- only luck and coincidence.
  • I ask the students what workers are overpaid.  They always answer government workers.

Wuxi China Christmas 2010

Tony blows out the candle on Andis's birthday cake.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from AKIC blogspot

AKIC Blogspot, the blog which prides itself on being Wuxi, China's most reactionary blog, wishes all its rare but excellent readers, a Merry Christmas.

AKIC won't have any entries for December 24 and December 25. AKIC leaves you with a photo of Jenny trying to wake up Tony so he can go to school.

More views of Wuxi, China Metro Construction from the #25 Bus.

15 degrees celsius is today's high in Wuxi, China.

That is, if the weather reports are to be believed.  I wish it was a little colder.  The problem with the weather now is that it fluctuates between being cold enough to wear long johns and warm enough to wear a t-shirt.
 
Being Canadian, I don't care how the weather is in winter. The one thing I ask is that it be consistent.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bloggy, Bliggy, Bluggies; or should AKIC say Bliggin, Blaggin, Bloggins?

  • I am living in the PRC!  You don't know what's it like to live,.... in the PRC!  Wuxi girls really knock me out!  They have no weight problems!  And Taixing girls really knock me out! And Beixing is always on my my my my mind!  Take me to economic development zones way down south!  Show me to your new apartment!  Let me hear your erhos blaring out!
  • Welcome to AKIC -- a reactionary commentary on the human comedy as seen in China.
  • Imagine success in terms of other people -- and this doesn't mean they die or fail.  Something to be said for this because I have always imagined succeeding as an individual -- and look where that has got me.  But to find a kindred soul -- there's the rub.
  • My 2010 excuses for having a lame Christmas.  I would readily assent to the idea that Christmas is really about Christ's birth because it does put me off the hook for not having too much to do with the Santa Christmas.  So, there aren't many Christmas decorations in Casa K.  But at the same time, it doesn't excuse my inactivity for celebrating the birth of Christ.  I have done nothing to broach the topic with my Chinese wife.  I also have an inertia brought on by years and years and years of not doing any Christmas preparations.  Because for the longest time, I was just a bachelor.  With Tony in my life now, I do have to think of actually doing some Christmas preparation.  But Tony is too young and the logistics of decorating Casa Kaulins requires time I don't have.  I spend at least two hours a day riding buses and I don't intend to carry Christmas things with me. And I am in China where they have grasped the commercial and vulgar aspects of the holiday, anyway.
  • Mind and action.  I have been of one mind about most things -- however my actions have been inconsistent.  There is a wide gulf between my actions and my beliefs.  Changing the idea of a gulf into the image of a long canyon rift, I say that the sides of the canyon come close together when my beliefs require inaction or avoidance.  Lack of courage to do action keeps the rift so often wide that someone standing on one side of the canyon would have a hard time seeing the other side.  You don't believe in sentimentality?  Knock me over with a cheese stick.
  • I can go to a bus stop, and look for the Chinese words for the places I want to go.  I can then take a bus I have never before been on, or even been told of.
  • What's wrong with Chinese culture?  Some students said it was perfect.  A few said it was too authoritarian.
  • Said Kenneth Clark: "If I had to say which was telling the truth of a society, a speech by the minister of housing, or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings."  With this quote in mind, I asked the students what the current state of architecture in Wuxi said about its state of culture and society.  One student said it showed Wuxi was getting rich.  Another student said it showed that Wuxi wanted to be Western.  Yet another said it shows that Wuxi doesn't know what it wants to be.  And finally, another said "it shows what the government wants!".  Clark when talking about French Classicism said  this: "This is the architecture of a great metropolitan culture; and it expresses an ideal: not an ideal that appeals to me, but an ideal nonetheless -- grandeur achieved through the authoritarian state."

Zach, Eugene and AKIC

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It is this big!

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Wuxi, China HyLite English School Christmas Party Mingling #3

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wuxi, China HyLite English School Christmas Party Mingling #2

Stay Cold! Damn it!

When temperatures were around zero degrees Celsius last week, I happily embraced them as an opportunity to wear heavier clothes like jackets, sweater, and long johns.
 
But then it had to get warmer by about eight degrees in the recent days.  I found I was wearing too many clothes and feeling oppressed by their weight.
 
The temperature ruined the the clothing idiom I had so chosen for myself.

Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

I told the students I wanted an Ipod 32g for Christmas.

I had a girl tell me that she wanted a husband.

HyLite English Oops!! Number Two!! Dah! Doh!


Silly me! I didn't realize that I had the camera in video mode.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wuxi, China HyLite English School Christmas Party Mingling.

AKIC and TKIC at the 2010 HyLite Christmas Party

AKIC:
  • Destroyed a popular Chinese song, and...
  • Cut the cake and was temporarily mobbed.
  • Posed for photos with many students.
  • Took many photos and videos.
  • Drew numbers for special draw.

Thanks Connie!

AKIC and TKIC thank Connie for the gift of a train set for Tony.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Connie!

HyLite English Oops!!

Hey! Where is everybody going?

Saturday morning, I was so concentrated on reading my Chinese textbook and so closed-off from my surroundings because I was also listening to a podcast with earphones, that I didn't notice that the bus, I was on, had broken down.  I just happened to look up to see everyone leaving the bus.  Since the bus was by the train station, I had first assumed that this large departure was the normal bunch going to catch a train or bus.  But then I saw I was the only person still sitting and the departure was absolute....

Friday, December 17, 2010

My school is looking for a full-time trainer

Visit here or email me at akaulins@gmail.com for more details.

My school has Christmas Party tonight.

Tony and Jenny will be there.  I have been forced to sing a Chinese song for which I don't know the words.

Expect photos and video.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

John Derbyshire is Heartless?

During a recent Radio Derb podcast, John Derbyshire really laid into W for his program to fight AIDS in Africa.  W's program was successful on Progressive terms, though most Progressives would be loath to admit that a White Christian Texan could do such things.  Derb objected not so much to what Bush did, then to the fact that Bush used the money of others to do it.  Said Derb:  Bush seems not to understand the difference between private giving from one's own pocket, and the giving of other people's money that governments can do by taxation.  Derb would have no problem with W having using his own money, or money raised, without coercion, to fight AIDS in Africa.

However, supporters of what Bush did in Africa brought out a quote where Derb said he didn't care about some Egyptians drowning.  Derb said the following:  I learned that the ship was in fact a ferry, the victims all Egyptians. I lost interest at once, and stopped reading. I don't care about Egyptians.  The Quote was in bad form, but there is an undeniable truth behind it:  so many bad things are happening all that the time, that we have to not give them much thought if we want to live our lives.  And no Egyptians should be expected to shed tears if John Derbyshire drowned -- he wouldn't expect them to take the trouble. 


Tony and Jenny reading in bed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christopher Hitchens is an Anti-Semite?

I heard Hitch mock the Jewish ritual of circumcision in he recent religious debate with Tony Blair.  I didn't know what to make of it -- I did wince -- for I do like to dabble in Jewish religious thought on the Internet.

The debate came to mind as I read an article, on a Jewish ideas site, accusing Hitchens of being an Anti-Semite.  Part of the article's claim rests on his atheism which, of course, would detest religious or orthodox Jews.  The article did not go as far as to make Hitchens as bad as Hitler, it instead says he has Jews he likes and doesn't like -- Good Jews and Bad Jews.  And, of course, the Bad Jews for Hitchens, are Zionists.  

So the article ultimately boils down to the question of whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.  I would say it is.  To me, the Jews are ancestors of Moses.  But, at the same time, I don't suggest Hitchens advocates Holocausts and Pogroms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wuxi Kaulins Family Update: December 14, 2010

You hate black people!

The wife said this to me on Tuesday, to which I responded: "What are you talking about?  When have I ever said such things?"
 
She told me about how I have never bothered to meet the one black person who does live in our apartment complex.  Well, I can at least say she didn't say what she did because I didn't care for President Obama.  And as far as meeting the black fellow, I just can't be bothered because I don't have much choice in the matter as there is no time, given my current work schedule; and because meeting people puts me in a nervous state.  Also, I have grown cynical about people and maturity has taught me that the more you get to meet people, the uglier they become.
 
I just want to keep my isolation splendid.
 
After thought:  I have just had someone send me an unsolicited application email in which the first sentence said "White Native English Speaker".  An email like that obviously gets deleted and receives no response.  And there is another reason, I hate to meet people.  You might run into people like that.  Furthermore, my school only hires Anglosphere types, and I am ashamed to tell certain people about this.

Box of Beer

If I am being surveiled then the people following my every movement must be wondering about a change in routine for me.  Yesterday for the first time ever, I bought a box of Tsingtao Lager Beer -- that be twelve 750 ml bottles of amber goodness.  I had been buying 24-cases of pineapple beer, but for some reason -- not a directive from the CIA -- I have been drinking beer at home these last few months.
 
Jenny hates the fact that I leave the empties in the kitchen.  It was actually on her urging that I bought the box for putting in empties.
 
Don't worry, AKIC loyal readers, I am not a drunkard.  It will probably take me a month to drink through the box.
 
 

Tony pours himself some water

Want to see more of Tony? Visit here.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Third day of miserable rain in Wuxi.

  • Cold, cold, go away!  And don't come back.  (I'm talking about the cold I have).  It really isn't so cold in Wuxi.
  • I have just read this disturbing story from Wuxi.  The government here is treating Wuxi like a table full of apartment models.
  • I am reading for the umpteenth time, the companion volume I have to Kenneth Clark's Civilisation.  I brought the book along with me to China from Canada.  The book is a great record of what the West was like.  Reading it, I am able to escape from the social media world which is so short-term in outlook.  Clark looks at the world seemingly from outside time.  How I wish I could look at the world in a similar manner.  I am sure Clark looking at China today would be saddened.
  • Then, I will again read Ulysses by James Joyce.
  • Tuesday is my one day off this week, and I don't know what I am going to do.  I would like to do a lot of reading and DVD watching.  But I got to go to the store with Jenny.
  • Clothes are taking three days to dry.  Jenny wants to buy a drying machine.  I can't blame her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Walk in Hui Shan, Wuxi, China

Rain and other observations

  • It is currently raining in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China.  I have been told by my students that this spell will last three days, which is long enough for me.  Rain and Wuxi and December can make me like a very dull lad.
  • I feel the effects of my month-long cold in the morning just as I wake up.  I need to blow out all the "stuffiness" that has accumulated in my head overnight.  Then, taking a hot shower, taking some medicine, and drinking hot liquids make me feel top-notch till I have to go out, ride the bus, and then talk. 
  • The Halls company is making a mint as I have been buying two packs of their throat candy a day.
  • Sunday night, my son Tony, Wuxi's #1 Expat Child falls asleep in my arms.  Nice.  It makes my withdrawal from the normal life of a Wuxi Expat worth it.
  • I was reading an online piece from the Conservative American Spectator site about John Lennon, who died tragically thirty years ago, December 8, 1980.  The piece opened recollecting a moment I will never forget, as I was watching Monday Night Football game in which Howard Cosell announced John Lennon's death.  At the time, I was a high school student in Shilo, Manitoba.  It was three years earlier that I had bought the Beatles Red Compilation of their songs from 1962-66.  The death was a sad thing. Still, I have had mixed feelings about John Lennon.  I don't care for the movement that made him a sort of Saint, based on the song Imagine, the song Give Peace a Chance, and his lying in bed for peace,  Those things were silly and repugnant.  The piece I have linked to talks of a Lennon, who before his death, came to regret those days of political radicalism. Getting away from an alcoholic and drug-induced haze, says the article, Lennon spent his final years as a responsible house husband.  What Lennon would have been like had he lived through the eighties, ninties, and odds, we will never know for sure.  Would have he been a tad more conservative?  Would he have spoken the truth about in the infantileness surrounding the election of Obama?  Who can say?  The posit of the article of a more-mature Lennon could well be the rationalization of a conservative who did like most of his music.  But none would disagree with Howard Cosell's words: Lennon's death was an unspeakable tragedy.  The man who had no father was seeking redemption by being a good father to his son Sean, but was tragically prevented from doing so.  Lennon the father cut down, is an image I can appreciate more than Lennon the Pacifist.
  • Lennon's example of withdrawing from public life to be a father certainly appeals to me at this time in my life.  It was so wonderful to be able to take my Tony to school van this morning.  The little guy was quiet and shy, and so attractive to all who laid eyes on him.  The security guards and street sweepers were smiling at the sight of him.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Chairman of the Board


Frank Sinatra, the voice of all-time, was born December 12, 1915.

Who was the source for wookieleaks?

Who was the source for wookieleaks, the top secret cables of Chewbacca to Han Solo, that have changed all we know about the narrative of the Star Wars saga and forced intelligence services all around the galaxy to change their ways? 
 
The founder of wookieleaks, Julie Andrews, is familiar to everybody, because he has the same name as the woman who even more people know as having starred in the famous and wonderful (if you like kids) musical The Sound of Music.  Julie hated the movies because he was a constant source of ridicule so that everyone would sing "The hills are alive..." at him while stepping on his head.  In revenge, he vowed to do the movie industry in one day under the guise that he was saving citizens from being brainwashed by films.  Initial attempts he made, to prove that the makers of The Sound of Music were part of George Bush's 9/11 conspiracy, were unsuccessful. 
 
wookieleaks was a big failure till a disgruntled hairy woman named Rebecca Manning, tired of being nicknamed Chewbacca Womanning decided to give so-called secret cables, about Star Wars, to Andrews.  Andrews thinking they were a means of ridiculing Ronald Reagan in turn gave them to the New York Times who in turn thought they could use them to besmirch the memory of Reagan.  Having not read the cables, they didn't realize that they were blowing the lid of a previously secret love relationship between the partners of the Millennium Falcon.
 
Julie Andrews is now in jail in England, waiting extradition charges from Swedish authorities, who are taking seriously allegations that he conned two lesbians into having sex with him by claiming he was a woman.
 
Rebecca Manning is living in her parent's basement and feeling really bad about her hairiness.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Waiting for Wuxi Tony, Wuxi Andis watches traffic go by...

Crazy Man

I am Crazy Man.  I wear a toque when teaching classes.

You see I have a cold, and it just makes me feel better.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Friday, December 9, 2010 Notes

  • Jenny's father will buy a three-wheel car in the countryside of Jiangyin.
  • I have been listening to a BBC podcast about the life of Malcolm McClaren, the manage of the Sex Pistols -- my fascination with the Sex Pistols is renewed.  Right Wingers, said a guest on the podcast, were attracted to Punk Rock in the '70s.  So McClaren was a genius, at the time, for recognizing the spirit of the generation.
  • Can I make a splash in my late forties?  I shouldn't try -- I have no ability.  Still, if I was able, should I?  Do I want to be Catholic or famous?  The first choice would be easier and practical.
  • My handwriting is bird scratch.  My teeth are yellow. 
  • I have been wearing a toque in the house.  (Canadians will know what I mean).
  • Obama is despised by his opponents because of his ideas and beliefs.  Sarah Palin is hated by her opponents because of what she is -- a  White, Church-going American.
  • Questions for Hitchens.  Is Atheism a pose?  Has Atheism benefited mankind?  Is Atheism reasonable?  Were the Nazis and Communists Atheists? 
  • What can replace the religious urges that mankind has?  Celebrity worship?  Sports fandom?  

An Insane Walk in Wuxi, China

The two latest videos of Tony on www.youku.com


Wookieleak revelation #1

Top Secret Information gleamed from the secret cables of Chewbacca the Wookie:
 
  • The Empire deliberately blew up the Death Star so they make  war on the ice planet seen in "The Empire Strikes Back".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Construction, Farmland, Parkland, and other stuff

Bloggin Bliggin Blaggin

  • I am reading Brideshead Revisited, slowly but surely -- I have been devoting most of my reading time to studying Chinese.  I am also reading Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer by installment on the Internet (and the Cathecism of the Catholic Church).
  • I was told by some Chinese students that the French don't like speaking English.  I told them that this was akin to Chinese workers having to speak Japanese at work.
  • The Chinese also find Indians speaking English hard to understand because of their accents.
  • In the midst of Hui Shan's urban scape, I found farmland that I hadn't known existed.  The view of the farmland from an area I am always in, is blocked off by walls and rows of planted trees.  I will soon have a video uploaded to YouTube showing this.

Insane Hui Shan Photos



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Workers doing what they got to do.


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Andis and his son Tony


To learn more about Wuxi China's #1 expat child, visit here.
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Father-in-law is in town to buy a car!

Wow!  I would have thought they were too old for such things.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Time to do some bliggy-blaggy-bloggins

A collection of assorted observations and thoughts:
 
  • On December 25th, will progressives celebrate the birth of Barack Obama?  AKIC guesses that they will be less inclined this year.
  • I reading wookieleaks: the secret letters of Chewbacca to Han Solo.  Apparently, Chewie advised him to stay clear of Princess Leia.  There is speculation that Chewie was jealous.
  • I have been watching a fictional news show called the CNN channel.  I hope they can hire Morgan Freeman to replace the actor they now have playing the president.  The current guy can't seem to remember his lines and can't seem to portray gravitas in a believable manner.
  • I was listening to the latest Slate political gabfest (google it yourself).  No mention of conservative charges of the hypocrisy of the NYT publishing Wikileaks, but not the Climategate emails.  The hosts of the show also made the fantastic claim that Obama has spent all of his presidency trying to be bi-partisan.  When will they realize that Conservative and Progressive beliefs about fixing world problems are often incompatible.  It seems their idea of bi-partisanship is Conservatives agreeing to their stupid ideas.
  • Students tell me that Wuxi is being completely done over.  I believe them.  The amount of construction going on here never fails to astonish me.  Everywhere I see a new construction project or an hit hereto unseen area of cleared urban scape.  It seems so economically unwise.  Shouldn't the current retail and residential spaces be occupied, or somewhere near occupation before new construction is even contemplated?  There is so much malinvestment, in the form of unoccupied retail or office space, to be seen.
  • I thought Tony Blair was sounding too defensive in his religion debate with Christopher Hitchens.  You can't score points playing defense unless you play American Football.  In other sports, you have to attack, attack, attack.  Blair should have attacked Hitchens' Leftist Trotyskism.  Hitchens is a vocal atheist for two reasons:  he had a tragedy with his mother that fulls him with righteous indignation, and he has a Leftist past that he would not have too much light shone on.  Leftists are good at saying what is wrong with everything without an idea of what is beter.  Leftists think everything is poisoned.  And if you beleive in utopias, everything is poisoned.
  • Is man perfectible?
  • Catholicism talks of Love, Truth, Man, and God.  Chesterton talks of the paradox of existence.  Atheism talk of reason -- whatever that is.  So much of we say, that appears reasonable, is not when put under close scrutiny.  Much of what we say that first appears fantastic is reasonable in a counter-intuitive and paradoxical manner.
  • Man is not great:  How Humanity poisons everything.
  • Nothing is sacred?  No religion would mean no sanctity?  Anything goes?
  • Does Religion cause Racism?
  • Is there love in atheism?
  • At Tesco on Monday, I saw someone buy an "Xmas" decoration.  That is, the decoration did not say "Christmas".  I loathe the use of the "X" instead of "Christ".  I'd advise students not to use the "X" either, while telling them what the two sides of the issue of this are.
  • Chinese sleep on the bus.  I can't do that.
  • Cost to ride the bus in Wuxi: 1 or 2 rmb.  That's not even forty cents Canadian.  Is it sustainable?
  • How many foreigners did I see on my day off?  None.
  • I look at the NHL standings regularly.  But I might as well be staring at standings randomly generated by a computer program.  I don't know any of the personalities involved on the teams.  In my mind's eye, I look at Montreal in the standings and the teams of the 1970s appear, with no helmets.
  • Blueberry flavoured Halls throat candy.  Mmmmm!!!
  • I have yet to see a NHL game that has been decided by shootout.

 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Seen in Wuxi, China.

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December 6 Notes

  • It is cold in Wuxi.  It looks like winter has arrived.
  • Mmm!  Ham and Cheese sandwich!  I was watching an episode of Breaking Bad watching the teacher-turned-drug-dealer make a cheese and meat sandwich for a man imprisoned in a basement, and I was so hungry for such a seemingly simple thing which is not so easily obtained in many, many parts of China.
  • I am winning my week 13 fantasy NFL football matchup.  If the lead holds after the completion of the Monday Night game, the Wuxi Red Guards will have a 7-6 record, good for second place in the Central Committee Division.
  • Now, I am eating beans. 
  • I bought a matchbox car for my son Tony.  It is a blue '68 Mercury Cougar.  It turns out Tony already has a silver '68 Mercury Cougar.  Oh well!  The more the better.
  • This is now my #1 video on Youku.  This is my latest youku video which I believe deserves to be #1 in all of China and the world.
  • Another sign of my ageing:  my knee seems gummy when I ascend stairs.  If the sensation grows, I will have to use a cane.
  • Jenny is going to visit her friend Ling Ling who just had a baby.
  • A student's English name:  Jellicoe.
  • Some Wuxi people like Sichuan food, which is spicy, and hate the local cuisine, which is sweet.

Article says Bud Selig messing with the essence of baseball

I am almost willing to defend Bud Selig in his decision to expand the MLB playoffs to ten teams.  Two wildcard teams having to play a best of three series to meet a division winner does make winning a division title more urgent, if you are going to have a six division set up with wildcards.  However, Selig is quoting as saying the following:  the wild card worked out far better than I ever dreamed. If the wildcard was ultimately his responsibility, he deserves to have a special place in a baseball hell.  As the article, I have linked to, says, Selig is messing with the essence of baseball.  And the wildcard has ruined baseball.  The pennant races of '78 (Red Sox -- Yankees), '79 (The Expos that year),  and '80 (The Expos again) that really turned me onto baseball, and the Jays string of pennant race disappointments before ultimate triumph (the final years before the Wild Card) can no longer happen with the wildcard setup as good teams have playoff spots sown up instead of having to deal with possible heartbreak over an extended period of time.
 
I remember a while ago, saying that people who liked the wildcard in baseball couldn't be real baseball fans, and I got some heck for it.  Someone even sent me a statistical study that was beside the point (it was the equivalent of using statistics to prove poetry is not necessary).  And I stand by what I say, even if these people are season ticket holders.  Baseball to be really appreciated requires time and patience.  The attempts by Selig and his ilk to make Baseball like Football, Basketball, and Ice Hockey (Can the NHL do anything right?) are stupid and short-sighted.  Baseball will continue to fall in popularity because it can't be happy with its niche.  It would be like the Catholic Church trying to become Anglican or Protestant -- years of tradition ruined by trying to be in fashion.  Baseball should weather the storm, regain its virtue by abandoning the wild card, and wait for the next wave of popularity.  These things go in cycles.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 5 Notes

  • It is my brother Ron's birthday today.  He is lives in Winnipeg, Canada.  You can see his photo at all my blogs.
  • I have a new video on my youku channel:  Wuxi, China Kung Fu Fighting.
  • What is Tony up to?  Visit here and here to find out.
  • Have you been going to the doctor lately? I asked students in a class about going to the doctor.  One girl said she was.  I said "Oh!" and thought that maybe she was pregnant -- for she was an attractive girl and at about the right age....     And then she told me she was one month pregnant.
  • I taught a conversation class about divorce.  It just so happened that one of students had divorced parents.  I felt weird talking about the topic after.  And I didn't raise the question of whether or not divorce was bad for children.
  • I had a fit of coughing so bad that I had to end a class prematurely.  My cough sounded wheezy and I was gasping for breath.  I was teary-eyed afterwards.  I had been feeling stuffed-up with a headache.  I hadn't taken any medicine.  I hadn't bothered to blow my nose.  I had assumed that the cough was going away.  But it seems now that it is coming back with a vengeance.  The cough reminds me of the long lingering winter coughs I had in Manitoba, Canada.

Happy Birthday Ron Kaulins!


That is my brother Ron with Jenny and Tony. The photo was taken in June 2010 in Winnipeg, Canada. He was born on a December 5 in Quebec all so long ago!
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Wuxi, China Kung Fu Fighting


Can a Youtube video win an Oscar? I think this video, that I have just made, should. It is perhaps the finest family video ever uploaded to Youtube. This video has it all: violence, kissing, love, generosity, screaming, pain, gratitude, family love, children, kung-fu, and candy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Three Wheel Taxi


A three wheel cab drops off a passenger at the bus stop near Casa Kaulins.
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A Lit-up building near our apartment.


Dang! I couldn't hold the camera steady enough!
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Look at this photo taken on December 3, 2006. What does it mean?


It means that it is Jenny and Andis's Fourth Wedding Anniversary.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Instead of devaluing a currency why not change its name?

As a Canadian, I can tell you that confusion can result from the name of a currency.  Canada's currency happens to have the same name as that of our great neighbours to the south, the Americans -- both countries have dollars.  And because of this Canadians read too much into the value of our dollar not being exactly one to one with the American.  When our dollar was equal to 60 American cents (.6 of a USD), you should have heard the whining.  At the time, I suppose there was reason to whine because the change in value did mean that there were changes taking place in our respective economies which did affect some people adversely.  But often these changes benefit everyone in the long run (e.g. like computers replacing older technologies).  But if our dollar was always equal to 60 American cents which would indicate a kind of stability -- Canadians would still complain. Why isn't our dollar equal to their dollar?  Wa! Wa! Wa!
 
I say these confusions and the unnecessary esteem issues would be lessened if we changed the name of our currency.  I would call it the beaver.  A USD equals two Canadian Beavers.  I'd feel prouder to be a Canadian being able to hear that, as would most of my fellow countrymen.
 
I would like to add that currency name changing should be a tool of every central banker's monetary policy.  In cases where governments feel pressure to devalue their currency, I would advocate that they first rename their currency. Now, of course in the case of many European countries, who are stuck with a common currency, I would first advocate doing a feminist name change.  Where women can call themselves Chris Evert-Lloyd, Countries like Spain could have a Conquistador-Euro or a Dago-Euro. The Italians could have a Wop-Euro.  The French could have the Bastard-Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkey-Euro.  The Germans could have a Wiener-Schenetz-Euro.  Now if the Euro goes into the toilet like many seem to think, these countries could  adopt my suggestion without the "Euro", or find a name for a currency to top mine.  I bet they can't! 

For other countries, I know, that already have their own currency here are some more suggestions:  Russia: the Borkov or the MiHaiDollarhov; China: The Confucius or the Haoqian; Japan: The Yamamoto;  Australia: the Kangaroo or the GulaGulaguladollar; Poland: the Poundski; England: the Akhbar;  Mexico: the Yanquidollar; and Ukraine: the Perogy.  And the brilliant thing about my scheme is that you can change the name all the time if you get bored of it.

And why restrict my idea to changing Currency names?  Why not change the names of Countries?  Nothing wrong with a little re-branding.  Spain could become "Sectasy"; Ireland could become "Cheerland"; Greece could become "Lubrication";  Italy could become "Wetaly"; and Portugal could become "Portuguy".

Little Notes

  • Jenny tells me that another foreigner is riding the #25 bus.  She says the fellow is older than me.  I don't know if I care to meet this guy.  I like to think of the #25 bus as being my turf.
  • I am lacking for material at the moment.  Perhaps, I should go watch traffic.
  • I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt that said this Piss Me Off Whatevers
  • My sweat spot is bigger than my sweet spot.
  • I don't have Obfever.
  • Thursday morning, I took the #610.  It meant having to transfer to another bus and so having to pay more to get to school.  But I would have had to stand, ff or thirty minutes, on the #25 bus that takes me directly to school.  As it was, I got in twenty minutes of Chinese study.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What would China do to Misanthropes?

I hope no one sees this entry as being the entry of a whiner.  I am making this entry because I just happened to pick up one of the books I brought with me to China called With Charity Towards None:  A Fond Look at Misanthropy by Florence King.  It is a book I have read from cover to cover at least fifteen times.  It is a quick read full of dead-on hilarious observations about the human race (particularly Americans, but King is not to be confused a self-loathing American Leftist -- her complaints about Americans are more often about the types who staunchly vote Democrat.) 
 
King's defining and classifying of Misanthropes is pretty precise and elitist.  For example, Hitler, Stalin, aren't Misanthropes because they did have to try and court popularity with some people to keep their power.  These two even tried to portray themselves as father figures to their nations.  Misanthropes prefer to be loners without a smidgen of regret that they are not loved and are unpopular.  As King says, Misanthropes think solitary confinement is not a bad thing.  When not alone, misanthropes do enjoy watching others make fools of themselves -- they have a highly civilized idea of how humans behave.  And yet Misanthropes like saying what they think starkly and directly without a hint of sugarcoating.
 
AKIC likes to think of himself as being misanthropic, but he realizes that he likes the misanthropic intellectual pose because it is a way of blinding himself to his weaknesses, his selfishness, and his foolishness -- better to hate the human race than to examine oneself should be his motto. 
 
AKIC wonders what China would do to a true misanthrope.  With so much of the human race living in China, AKIC wonders if a misanthrope would want to flee the country, or enjoy the Chinese all the more because more humanity does mean more foolishness.  Of course, it would depend on the attitude of the misanthrope in question because, far from being in a narrow human perspective, misanthropes do come in all ranges, tastes, and sizes.  I suppose some misanthropes would think the Chinese rulers are geniuses for having maintained themselves in power by making their subjects wallow like pigs in the so-called human paradise of consumerism.  I suppose some misanthropes would laugh at the passivity of the Chinese population.  Other misanthropes would marvel at how so many foreigners, for the sake of getting along, are dealing with the Chinese rulers by being so obsequious and willfully blind, not daring to speak frankly about sensitive topics. 
 
So, it would seem that Misanthropes, if they can stand it, would have a field day in China.
 
AKIC does have a field day in China everyday.  There is always something he observes that provides material for his blog.  If this blog wasn't so public, he would have a lot more to say about the foibles of the people he has seen.  As it is, he lives smugly in the boonies of Wuxi only leaving the house to get to work.  He doesn't have to communicate much with others and has the luxury of being able to sit in his office much of his time at work.  He no longer concerns himself with the petty concerns of the Wuxi Expat "Community".  The Chinese stare at him but are generally polite.  He has matured from having been deluded to having no illusions.

Yikes!

I said something. along those lines when I turned over, in bed, to see it was 7:55 a.m. on the bedside clock.

What was the significance of 7:55? Tony's school van was to come pick up him at 8:15. We were going to have to boogie to get him dressed, washed, fed, and at the van stop in time.

Now, I am happy to report that we did get him there, but Tony was still sleepy when the van arrived. Standing, he bowed his head and closed his eyes. Being picked up, he put his head on his father's shoulders. He didn't protest or show he had any spring in his step.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Listening to the 98th Grey Cup...

 
The Grey Cup is the Grand Final of Canadian Rules Football.

What I am going to do with this coffee-maker?

Well, I guess I could make coffee with it.  But using a coffee-maker has never been a life-style choice of mine, and of my Chinese wife.
 
This Siemen's brand coffee maker was given me today as a gift for helping a Siemen's dealer show locals how to use an oven.  I was happy to get it, but I doubt if I will ever get a chance to use it.
 
It reminds me of the other time I had a coffee-maker in China.  Someone asked me if I wanted it and I unthinkingly said yet.  A little later, the people who I thought had given me the coffee-maker, in fact, asked me to give them some money for it.  They had thought I was buying it.  Not wanting to seem a dummy, I gave them money.
 
For two years, this coffee-maker stayed in my locker at school until I "gave" it to another trainer.  We were in the same office, and I saw the coffee-maker stay on his desk for a month until this part-time trainer came to our office to tell me she was here to pick up a coffee-maker that the other trainer had given her.
 
"Oh!" was all I said as I saw that she took the thing out of my office.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't cut him off!

I should be thankful, sometimes, for Chinese driving because it provides constant material for the blog and it allows me to be self-righteous.  Be that as it may, people can get killed needlessly by this bad driving which is usually the result of driver ignorance, driver inexperience, and/or driver inconsideration.  I find it hard-to-believe that the Chinese can usually take it all in stride.

So I was surprised, as I rode the bus home Saturday evening, to have a close call because of driver anger.  It started when the bus, I was riding in, got cut off by a truck pulling a long trailer.  The trailer was very long, and it seemed to me that the truck driver didn't realize this.  The bus, which was already in the right turning lane and cut off, had to move closer to the curb to avoid being struck by the trailer -- this meant a jolt for the passengers.

This sort of thing happens a lot -- I remember being cut off, while riding a scooter, by a van.  I was incensed and had revenge fantasies of having been able to get back at the van driver.

So I understood the emotion compelling the bus driver to what he then did to the truck driver.  When the light turned green, the truck and trailer made a wide right turn, and got into the left lane.  The bus, which was following, got into the right lane, and overtook the truck and trailer.  At this point, the bus driver did a fuck-you maneuver.  He swung the bus toward the cab of the truck -- I happened to be sitting on the driver-side of the bus on the seat above the wheel well.  The driver swung the bus within inches of the passenger side of the truck's cab -- if there had been a collision, I would have been right there.  As it was, I cowered in fright as I saw the cab right beside me.  

After the bus swung away, the truck passed the bus and the passenger, in the cab, pointed and glared at the bus driver, who frowned back.

I had never seen a bus driver make a fuck-you maneuver before.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Top Ten Youtube Videos

I have uploaded over 1100 videos to Youtube. Most of them maybe get thirty views. But a few have garnered thousands of views, one may well be viewed a million times very soon.

10. Street Food on European Street



9. Wuxi, China Electric Bicycle




8. Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update IX




7. Wuxi Jenny at 5 months, 19 days of pregnancy



6. Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower and World Financial Center




5. Boat goes under bridge




4. Tiananmen Square Honour Guard



3. Wuxi Jenny at 4.5 months pregnancy




2. Wuxi Jenny Pregnancy Update: Postscript #1



1. Wuxi China Bengal Dog

Internet Shopping and the Chinese Work Place

Chinese women love shopping on the Internet.  I was talking to a female student about this on Thursday evening, and I asked her if she had someone at home who could receive the deliveries (my wife loves Internet shopping too, and is always at home to receive her purchase orders).  She told me that she had them sent to her work.

And then I remembered all the time I have seen the girls at school doing the same thing.  I have on many occasions observed a big group of the girls opening parcels and trying on the clothes they just ordered.  

After my conversation with the student, I see this happens at workplaces all over China.

Drunk like a skunk, it is hard to catch a taxi in Wuxi, China.

I don't know this from personal experience, but from observation.

On the evening of Thursday, November 26, 2010, I observed two very drunk men try to flag down a taxi.  Twenty-or-so empty taxis drove past them without stopping.

The pair then crossed the street.  The drunker of the men sat on the curb, and waited for the other man to catch a taxi.  This the other man was then able to do very easily, and so the drunker man stood up and crawled into the back of the taxi.