Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tony Sings; Andis protests the Wild Card.

Tolerate Andis's rant, and you will see the songs Tony can now sing in this video.

Tony's Grandfather pays a visit.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

FMLB Season Eight

The Red Sox won their second FMLB World Series (they also won the FMLB 3 W.S.), matching the feat accomplished by the Dodgers (FMLB seasons 1 and 4).

The Red Sox swept the National League Champions Reds in the World Series -- the first time an FMLB World Series has ever seen a sweep.

American League

Team      wins      losses       PCT      G.B.
Red Sox     97            57      .630
A's              91           63      .591        6
Senators     91           63       .591        6
White Sox    81          73       .526      16
Tigers         74            80      .481       23
Yankees      66            88     .429        31
Browns       61            93     .396        36
Indians 55 99 .357 42

National League

Team wins      losses PCT   G.B.
Reds 101 53 . 656
Giants 96 58 .623 5
Cubs 96 58  .623 5
Dodgers 70 84 .455 31
Braves 69 85 .448 32
Phillies 67 87 .435 34
Pirates 62 92 .403 39
Cards 55 99 .357 46

World  Series (best of nine)

Game Score Score
       1 Red Sox 6 Reds 5
       2 Red Sox 9 Reds 0
       3 Red Sox 1 Reds 0
       4 Red Sox 8 Reds 1
       5 Red Sox 8 Reds 4

Red Sox win five games to zero

How to say Nanchang market in Chinese?

I got in the taxi and said Nanchang Xu to the driver.  He looked at me with a blank stare and wanted me to write the word down.  I had to try to say the words a few times before I was able to get the tones right....

...after all these years!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FMLB20 Season One

FMLB hasn't expanded.  The sixteen version of it will appear again.  I have decided to have a FMLB with more teams.  You will also see a FMLB 24 with four divisions, a FMLB with 28 teams, and so on.

But for now: FMLB20 Season One

The Braves and Cardinals ended, for the second time (previously FMLB Season Six), a regular season tied for the pennant.  To break the tie, they played a special best-of-three playoff.  The Braves won the series in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 1-0 deficit to win the series in three games. The third and deciding game was a thriller won by the Braves 8-7.

The Braves then went on to beat the Angels five games to three in the World Series.  The Eighth game was highly dramatic as again the Braves ended a post season series with an 8-7 victory.

The World Series was the National League's seventh victory of the eight played to date.

National League

Team       Wins  Losses   PCT    GB
Braves        95      67       .586
Cardinals    95      67        586
Phillies        89      73       .549         6
Giants         88      74       .543         7
Mets           87       75       .537        8
Astros        84       78       .519       11
Pirates       79        83      .488       16
Dodgers     75        87      .463       20
Cubs          74        88       .457       21
Reds          44      118      .272        51

Playoff (Best of Three)
Game            Score                     Score
      1   Braves 5           Cardinals  7
      2   Braves 7           Cardinals  1
      3   Braves 8            Cardinals 7
 Braves win two games to One

American League

Team       Wins       Losses      PCT      GB
Angels        111               51      .685
Tigers         108               54      .667         3
White Sox     90               72      .556       21
Twins            86               76      .531       25
Orioles          86               76       .531       25
Red Sox       77               85       .475       34
Yankees       75                87      .463       36
Indians          64                98      .395      47
A's                57               105     .352       54
Senators       56               106     .346       55

World Series (Best of nine)

Game                Score               Score
        1      Angels  6      Braves       10
        2      Angels  7      Braves        1
        3     Angels   1      Braves         7
        4     Angels   0      Braves         2
        5      Angels  2      Braves         0
        6      Angels  0      Braves          6
        7      Angels  4      Braves          1
        8      Angels  7      Braves         8
Braves win five games to three

Later July 2010 Observations and Thoughts

Two Collisions  Going home from work Saturday evening, I saw two collisions between a bike and  a vehicle.  In the first collision, a turning van hit a scooter carrying two young men -- nothing resulted other than a glancing blow to the scooter which was snaking its way through traffic anyway.  The second collision was more interesting.  A taxi hit a police motorcycle carrying a cop and a security guard.  The security guard was knocked off the motorcycle though he didn't fall to the ground.  The taxi sped off and the motorcycle went into quick pursuit.  The security guard was left standing and he had to run to catch with the motorcycle.  I didn't see the result of the chase but the taxi most certainly got caught in traffic and the motorcycle caught up to him and the security guard showed up a minute later.
We are Fallen Creatures  Man is a fallen creature.  What proof do I have of this?  Many a man, I have meet, seems to have fallen a hundred feet and landed on his head.
The difference between Naturists and Nudists Here is the best way I know to explain the difference between Naturists and Nudists.  Adam and Eve, before eating the apple and  being expelled from the Garden of Eden, were Naturists.  They became Nudists after the Fall.  Naturists possess the divine attributes; Nudists have genitals, public hair, and assholes.

An English Teacher's wish  To be able to talk about his existential angst with the students.
A thought:  Why breed?  he asks.  What do you breathe? I reply.  It is something that people always did because it was expected of them and till recently, it would have been thought selfish to think otherwise.
A prayer In China, my wife tells me, seventy eight is a big year.  If one can get through, one can live many more productive years.  I pray you make it.
What's wrong with me?  Full of rage, I didn't want to talk to this girl, who, was on the bus, wanted to practice her English, and meant no harm at all.  What a bastard!  And a voice in my head was telling me I was being so as I was doing it.
Crickets Creeping  So loud they are in my part of Wuxi that they drown out the music playing from my phone.

Greedy Moment  I had a pleasant minute with Tony before I had to go to work.  I sat on the bed and he snuggled up to me.  Unfortunately, I could only reflect on how the moment was too short and how I wished it could last much longer.  I suppose I have an inability to enjoy the finer things in life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Harry interviews Andis

Good-evening, it's Harry, here, and no, I'm not your 'foreign correspondent', but I'm here, metaphorically-speaking, with some questions I'd like to put to Andis (or, whom some of you know-better, by his acronym, 'AKIC'):-

1. Andis, you have, of course been in China, in Wuxi, for several years now. Could you describe some of the things you felt, when you first arrived there? Just for a moment, rather than talking about your day-to-day work-tasks at that time, did you then have other, more-personal, wider expectations, goals, or perhaps, objectives, that you set for yourself when you first arrived?  (and to what extent have you achieved these?)

I was full of verve and optimism when I arrived  here, but I was amazed at how quickly some things turned out disappointing -- so many disagreeable people -- new varieties of A-holes.  I had left one lunatic asylum (British Columbia, Canada.) and entered another -- I should have known better.  

And yet I should add that the Chinese exceeded my expectations in many ways -- the students generally are wonderful people.

My goals were to find a wife and become a good teacher.  I have achieved one of those goals.  I also wanted to improve as a person.  I don't know if I have but I have become more aware of my inadequacies, which I suppose is going along a ways on the road of self-improvement.

Oh yes, there was this other goal about learning to speak Mandarin.  How did that work out for me?  Ai ya!  I have lots of excuses.

2. We all know that you now have a family, - wife Jenny, and your son, Tony. Do you think there are any significant differences, in being part of a family-system there in China, in contrast to the 'atypical' family-type relationships, in your Canadian home-country (or in other western societies, generally)? And in this regard, to what extent, (if any), have you adapted yourself, in your role as a husband, and father?

To answer the last question first, Jenny would say I have adapted horribly.  She's right.  The only thing I have sacrificed is a pub life.  Jenny has exhibited a level-headedness about family that I have ever seen before.  Many expats have scoffed at the idea of the Chinese respecting family, but frankly it is true. 

I would say that the Chinese respect family and parents more than Westerners.  To hear a Chinese teenager say he is beholden to his parents is a stunner to a westerner used to jaded Western teenage thinking.

3. When you get home in the evenings, can you give me some idea of the evening (or week-end) routines, or activities, that you would usually share (in the family-context)? For instance, what kind of topics would you be discussing, at the meal-table?

I find my attention at home is split up between my books, the computer, and Tony.  I am constantly telling myself to get my priorities right -- that is my routine.  
We don't discuss politics and religion at the table -- other than that anything goes.  Number one topic:  Tony.

4. In your travels in China, is there one specific city, town, or location, that has impressed you (or bewildered you!) more than any others? If so, why?

I am impressed by the riverside park in Jiangyin. It is on the Yangtze River near a large suspension bridge -- a wondrous view of Modern China.  It reminded me of Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada except that the Jiangyin Park has more modernity and more history.
Beixing, my wife's hometown, baffles me -- but that's where my in-laws live!

5. Do you regularly keep yourself-informed, of news, current affairs, or sports, that are taking place in the global-sense? I'd be interested in your views about the 'big melt-down', the GFC, and, what is your assessment (or forecasts) for the economies in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region?

I stay informed through the blogs though I tried not to follow a news site if I can help it.  I believe the dictum that following the news everyday keeps you dumb.  

The world is going to pot but then it always has been going to pot and always will.  Personally, I worry about North Korea.  And I also worry that the area of relative peacefulness we have had will come to a crashing end like the recent period of economic growth did.

America's economic problems, particularly its debt, even not fixed soon will be bad for the world.  

As well, Europeans will have to start having more babies.  The culture of death and leisure of Europe is unsustainable.

China will grow old before it gets rich.  Lord knows, what trouble that will cause.
Sports,for me, is now looking at the standings and imagining the teams as they looked in the seventies and eighties.  I was horrified to see how the aesthetic of my favorite sports had changed when I went to Canada -- so many boys now and so few men.

6. Do you believe that the Obama administration is pursuing a centralist, or 'Keynesian-model' approach to addressing the financial woes that America has experienced, in the past two years? Do you know of any alternative policies, that you believe would be preferable, for sustained economic-recovery?  And, do you think that the more-recent financial 'tremors', in Europe, could (as some analysts fear) present the risk of a global 'double-dip'?

I say Obama is not a centrist.  Economically, he is to the Left of Bush who is looking more and more in retrospect like a centrist because Obama has doubled and trebled down on everything Bush ever did.  

Contrariwise, Paul Krugman, a Keynesian, says Obama hasn't been Keynesian enough.  But the problem with Keynes is that everyone has their own idea what Keynes actually believed.  Keynes had a habit of thinking aloud and so some people have lashed on to these thoughts and construed them anyway they wanted.  Who really knows what Keynes would have thought of Obama.  I am sure, he would have thought that Obama is out of his depth on Economic matters.

I would have taken a libertarian approach to the crisis, let the pieces fall where they may.  What has happened in America, is that all of Obama's meddling has gummed up the works -- there are valid questions being raised about  the rule-of-law, this concept of too-big-to-fail, and how Obamacare will change the relationship between American citizen and government.

We can only hope that the Republicans can take both houses of congress and maybe common sense will prevail.

7. On a scale of one, to ten, where would you rate Barack Obama's administration? (Could you give specific rankings, perhaps, as regards the economy, foreign policy, domestic-issues, etc?)

I have to admit that I have a visceral hatred of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's "former" parishioner.  As far as I am concerned, he is a left-wing airbag who has advanced far above his station in life. He has done nothing to change this opinion.

On Foreign Policy, I give him a one or zero (you said one to ten).  Obama seems ashamed to be American sometimes, and has a bloated regard for foreigners.  On the economy and domestic matters, zero, but what do you expect from a McGovernite Democrat?

What is particularly distressful about his presidency is how all the racialist talk has not abated.  America electing a black president is not enough to grant America absolution for its racist past.  Neither, it seems does judging a person by the content of his character and not the color of his skin a way to avoid being called racist.  The charges of racism against the Tea Party movement -- nothing can be so blatantly untrue, and it again demonstrates the inability of the Left to honestly confront ideas of people who oppose them. Why isn't Obama, the guy who boasted of being able to transcend partisan squabble, telling everyone how false the charges of racism against the Tea Partiers are and telling Tea Party opponents to defend government involvement in the economy?

Anyway, I will try to give the devil his due on some points.  His wife has kept her mouth shut for the most part since she became first lady.  Obama has shown himself to not be a pacifist.  He did give a good speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony (of course, he didn't deserve the award!).  And....... (I am thinking)........ tweet!  tweet!  tweet!

8. In your years there in Wuxi, have you ever met any people in the expat-community, whom you'd have liked to have seen catapulted (or the trebuchet, maybe!) out of China? (NO names please!). Do you and your family have close-relationships, or friendships, amongst the expats? (Perhaps describe both the positive, and negatives, of the expat social 'scene'?)

You meet people you want to see catapulted everywhere you go on God's green earth.  So the question for me is really is the proportion of the people that I want to see catapulted in the Wuxi Expat community greater than the places I have been before?  I would say yes.  For one thing, I have meet many people from Ontario Canada here than I have meet in the other places I have been.  For another, I have encountered many Germans and Frenchmen.  Anti-Americanism is rampant here in Wuxi.  So I have to say the proportion is greater. 

I have exiled myself from the Expat Community by getting married and moving out to the Wuxi boonies.  The best relationships I have had in Wuxi have been due to my blogging and Youtubing.

A mistake I made in coming here was not getting involved in the faith community.  I hope to correct that oversight this Fall.

The Wuxi Expat Community is a small town slash lunatic asylum full of petty rivalries and gossip.  I have seen the same sort of things that plague human relationships here as do anywhere else in the world.  Some people do like to take a custodial attitude to China like they are the experts and every one else is the newbie.  Expatdom here is often plagued by that insidious group think habit of anit-Americanism (this day and age's antisemitism).  I have never forgotten being told not to wear a USA t-shirt to the pub one time. (Now, I won't wear it till the American electorate show up Obama)

9. This is a hypothetical question, similar to the old 'Desert Island Discs' radio show, in which guests were asked to name perhaps three, or four, recordings, and books, that they'd take with them to that isolated atoll. Could you please list which 3 specific books, CD music-recordings, and DVDs,  that you'd find it impossible to live without?

The Holy Bible, King James Version and a suitable Catholic translation.  Other than that it is hard to say.  I say I would have to bring Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O'Connor, James Joyce, George Orwell, Thomas Aquinas, Florence King, GK Chesterton, Mark Twain, Gibbon, Dickens, Blaise Pascal, Shakespeare, and a lot of poetry along -- but to narrow it down to three books!  I can't do it.  I would have to have the biggest anthology every published.  
Any musical artist, even Sinatra, would grate after awhile, but I have would have to bring a box set comprising recordings from Frank's three record company relationships -- Columbia, Capital, and Reprise.

10. 'What is the one thing, in all the world, that you really hate'? (or, conversely, and more-positively),:- 'What is the one thing, in all the world, that you really love?'  

I love my family and God.  I hate militant atheists, socialists, progressives, and people who can't come to work on time.  (Sorry!  I love my family and hate militant atheism)

11. (Oops, sorry, may I pose just one or two more supplementary questions?)
You and your family have very-recently returned from Canada. Can you talk about any striking, or surprising, changes, that you may have seen, or experienced, there, after your absence of several years?
There was the eeriness of familiarity that really struck me.  Other than that:
The place was more built-up.  
Abottsford had a franchise in the American Hockey League. 

The government was thinking of more and more fascist ways to extract revenue from innocent citizens.
I realized how polite Canadians are.

12. Another 'just imagine'-type question, what things make you really happy? Imagine, if, you had say, about 50 million dollars, what would you really like to be doing, right now - and where? (and why?!).

If I had all that money, I would try to find a way to be two places at once, for I feel that one has to transcend the saying "the grass is greener."  You could do this but being happy where you are but if I had the money I would try to be in two places.  

The two places would, for now, be Wuxi, China and Brandon, Canada -- I want to be with my family and Jenny's family.

I want to thank you Harry for asking me these questions!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

FMLB Season Seven

When future FMLB historians look over the results of FMLB, they will surely rank the FMLB Season Seven Giants as having had one of the greatest single seasons of all-time.  The Giants won 125 games taking the National League Pennant by 37 games!  In the World Series, they demolished the American League Champion A's in five games to one, making for a overall record of 130 wins and 30 losses - 100 games over .500.

The Giants World Series victory was the sixth in seven seasons for the National League.  The A's won their second American League pennant but again fell short in the World Series.

National League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
Giants 125   29        .812
Braves 88   66        .571 37
Phillies 83   71        .539 42
Cards 82   72        .532 43
Cubs         81   73        .526 44
Dodgers 75   79        .487 50
Pirates 43  111        .279 82
Reds         39  115        .253 86

American League

Team wins losses   pct.   G.B.
A's            95      59  .617
Senators    90      64  .584     5
Tigers    90      64  .584     5
White Sox    87      67  .565     8
Browns    71      83  .461    24
Yankees    64      90  .416    31
Indians    63      91  .409    32
Red Sox    56      98  .364    39

World Series (best of nine)

Game Score Score
       1 A's 5 Giants 6
       2 A's 3 Giants 5
       3 A's 9 Giants 0
       4 A's 1 Giants 7
       5 A's 6 Giants 8
       6 A's 8 Giants 9

Giants win five games to one

Reply to comment on Another July 2010 Blog Entry.

VPN trouble means I can't reply to Orient Express's comment in the comment section.

I will respond to it below:

Orient Express has left a new comment on your post "Another July 2010 Blog Entry":

"Thought Some things about the West you can't explain to Chinese students because they don't make sense -- the simplest language possible is unusable because the Western thing transcends common sense and simplicity".

That is an intriquing thought - can you please give any examples? 

Try explaining the following to Chinese students:
The difference between Punk and Heavy Metal Music
Why we sit on toilets
Why we have a safety fetish
Why we  are so obsessed by sex
Woody Allen
Roman Polanski
Oprah Winfrey

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another July 2010 Blog Entry

Arsenal (movie)  I bought the DVD of this 1928 Soviet film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, at the DVD shop in Nanchang Market.  For two rmb, it was a good buy.  The film is of interest to history buffs, but its narrative is confusing. Still,  It images were quite stunning -- as a commentator from a center-right podcast, Ricochet, pointed out about many early Soviet films.

Ezra Pound  In Durance (1907)
I AM homesick after mine own kind,
Oh I know that there are folk about me,
friendly faces,
But I am homesick after mine own kind.
I sometimes feel this way except I don't know who my own kind are.
The Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball  I have to admit that I don't follow baseball like I used to.  In fact, I find the sport impossible to watch now because I think its' aesthetics are all wrong (the players are too muscular, and those ugly uniforms they wear -- why those stupid dark tops?) and I loathe the wild card (I have an antipathy to it similar to those of Catholics who loathed the changes brought on by Vatican 2).  I still make it a point to follow the standings daily, and as rare readers of one my blogs may know, I like to dabble in creating fantasy standings based on MLB before 1969.  And I will always like to deal in lore about the sport's history.  My heartbreak was the Expos in the late seventies and eighties -- it could have been assuaged by a wild card but that misses the point -- the pain was the point.   Strange how when the Blue Jays won the Series, I felt there was no need to cheer that team anymore -- I now hate the Jays as much as I hate the three interloping teams below.  My team then became the Mariners but they have fallen into mediocrity, and now I am in China, and so I feel I don't have a team.  I am cheering for the Yankees to beat the Rays in their pennant race, but the Rays have a wild card position so the race may not be a race after all -- Damn the wild card!  I feel the Rays, the Marlins, and the D-Backs are pretty boy franchises that don't deserve to be in a man's game (The Rays, the Marlins, and the D-Backs are Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Every other team looks like Clint Eastwood in my eyes).  Anyway, these thoughts spring from reading this article about baseball on First Things.  Relating this to P.R. of China, I am saddened that a country with so much history has no sports lore to speak of.  They are best at a Ping Pong, a soulless sport if there was one.  They are taken up with soccer and basketball -- sports for Ninnies and Thugs that lack metaphysical splendour.
The Violent Bear it Away: a novel by Flannery O'Connor.  An interesting story of a broken family that I had to think long and hard about after  reading it because its characters' actions seemed so inexplicable and yet the characters all seemed to suffer from real human weaknesses that propel their inexplicable narratives forward.  In one episode in the novel, you know that a character is going to die but the person who should stop it can't because he is stuck in the situation, is tired by it, and weakened by his personal beliefs and conceit -- you saw it coming but there was nothing to be done -- the human condition without the benefit of grace.

Dumb Driving:  There is construction work being done on a road near my apartment.  Normally the road is four lanes, two going either way, but because of the construction it is only two lanes, one lane going each way.  The two lanes are separated by pylons and temporary metal barriers; the area of road being worked on is surrounded by ten foot high metal sheeting.  This arrangement causes confusion and chaos because of the Chinese driver's desire to cheat, and the blind spots caused by the sheeting.  Many drivers are trying to cheat by going into the opposite lane when they think there is no on-coming traffic -- this maneuver is a gamble because there is always a chance that vehicles will turn into the lane from behind the high metal sheeting.  One time, I saw a truck going the wrong direction in the lane a bus, I was on, was turning into -- the truck had to back up which was hard because all the traffic in the truck's proper lane wasn't letting it back up.  Saturday morning, a motorcycle trying to sneak quickly down the wrong lane nearly caused a collision  because it was heading the wrong way straight into a car making a right turn as well as a bus making a left turn into that lane -- the motorcycle swerving and the vehicles swerving to avoid one and than other caused the bus I was on to come to a quick passenger-sprawling stop.  One other thing I have notices:  the pylons that are used to separate the two temporary lanes have a short life -- most of them are crushed within a week of placement.
Flinging Garbage  A young man on a bicycle throws a straw and empty paper cup in the air.  Another young man walking down the street throws his empty plastic bottle in the air in what looked to be a fit of pique.  Why?

Angry Rear-ender  In Canada, it is understood that in fender-benders the driver of the rear vehicle is always considered to be at fault because he should have maintained an adequate following distance.  Apparently, not in China.  Saturday morning, I saw a driver of a  rear-ending black Honda waving his fist at the driver of a rear-ended grey Hyundai type car.  Apparently, the Hyundai driver was at fault because he didn't get out of the Honda's way or he had stopped at red light that the Honda driver would have ran as a matter of course.

Thought  Some things about the West you can't explain to Chinese students because they don't make sense -- the simplest language possible is unusable because the Western thing transcends common sense and simplicity.

Don't Read on the bus!  My wife says this to me but she might as well be asking me to stop breathing.

What would you do if I died?  Would you marry someone else?  my wife asked me.  I responded that I would marry someone who would do a good job looking after Tony, and then scolded her for even having thought the thought.
You have been in China for a long time:  when 1) You go to the supermarket without a shirt 2) You leave footprints on the toilet seat 3) You run red lights 4) You elbow your way on the bus

Blaise Pascal   Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavour, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.

Jewish Saying:  "Pride is a mask for faults."  So I take pride in nothing.

Disgruntled Worker caused Bus Fire  That's the latest story I saw on the Internet about that bus fire that killed 24 people in Wuxi. The story doesn't make sense I told the students.  They told me that they thought it was suspicious too but they don't believe all the news that gets fed to them, they tell me.
Seen on First Things Long ago Aristotle recognized that our moral character is shaped by the company we keep. What has hanging out with Tony and Jenny done to my moral character?

Thought Oh oh!  I don't want to scare you.  So I won't bother right now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FMLB Season Six

The Cards and Braves were tied at the end of the FMLB regular season six for first place in the National League, and so had to have a best of three tie-breaking playoff.  The Cards dominated the Braves to take the National League Pennant thereby thwarting the Braves third potential trip to the World Series.  The Cards then came back from a 2-0 deficit to rout the American League Champion Indians five to two games in the World Series.

For the Indians, FMLB Season Six mirrored an actual season they had in the nineteen fifties, where after beating the Yankees for the pennant, they suffered an ignoble World Series defeat (in 1954, they were swept by the Giants).

The National League has won five out of the first six FMLB World Series winning 26 of 41 games.

American League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
Indians 112 42 .727
Yankees 99 55 .643 13
Browns 81 73 .526 31
Tigers 73 81 .474 39
Red Sox 70 84 .455 42
Senators 68 86 .442 44
White Sox 58 96 .377 54
A's 55 99 .357 57

National League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
Cards 101 53 .656
Braves 101 53 .656
Reds 93 61 .604 8
Cubs 83 71 .539 18
Phillies 71 83 .461 30
Dodgers 69 85 .448 32
Giants 63 91 .409 38
Pirates 35 119 .227 66

Game Score Score
1 Cards 5 Braves 2
2 Cards 10 Braves 2

Cards beat Braves 2 games to zero in special tie-breaking playoff

World Series (best of nine)

Game Score Score
1 Cards 2 Indians 10
2 Cards 9 Indians 10
3 Cards 8 Indians 7
4 Cards 6 Indians 3
5 Cards 7 Indians 2
6 Cards 10 Indians 3
7 Cards 3 Indians 1

Cards win five games to two

Family News

  • Happy Birthday to my father in Brandon Canada-- July 23.
  • My aunt Ritma is out of the hospital in Winnipeg, Canada.
  • My son Tony is 35 months old -- July 23.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The KIC family (J, T, and A) goes shopping at the Hui Shan Tesco

Something about being a foreigner makes one quite the sight in China.  So, I was quite the sight when there I was, last night, driving the electric scooter to Tesco, my wife sitting behind, and Tony sitting between my legs.
I would have been more of the sight, but it was dark, when the family returned home after shopping as there were all three of us and our groceries being carried back by the same scooter.
Matter of fact, we would have been more the sight if we were in Canada doing such things...
....if we could have gotten away with it.  We probably would have violated every safety code and regulation passed by every department and level of goddamn safety fascism that Canada inflicts on its citizens.


I don't get many comments on my blogs which shows how rare readers are at AKIC.  So the few comments I get are appreciated, especially this one:
You are obnoxious. Honestly, never seen a video with an English teacher so annoying and with such a complete lack of a sense of humour. That in itself is breathtaking. Poor colleagues of yours! ***, your fellow teacher in China
My fellow teacher probably has a point, but it is good to know someone reads and watches my tripe.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My summer time collection of names, so far.

We have a lot of students come to our school every summer.  These students give themselves some interesting English names.  I have made it a habit to collect them.  Here is what I have for Summer 2010, so far:
  • Aki
  • Alladin
  • Anakin
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Ava
  • Bone
  • Brent
  • Bria
  • Che
  • Cherry
  • Daisy
  • Duffy
  • Flyer
  • Haine
  • Hugh
  • Jelliceoe
  • Jerrisca
  • Jinson
  • Joe (This was a girl.  She didn't like Jo.  Then, She wanted Jo-e.  Spell it Joey! I said.)
  • Jordge
  • Josh
  • Journey
  • Joy
  • Juice
  • Kaiser
  • Kiki
  • Kin
  • Libra
  • Little Bear
  • Marder
  • Mickey
  • Poplar
  • Rain
  • Randy
  • Seven
  • Smile
  • Tiffy
  • Watermelon
  • Wolf
  • Xanxus (How to pronounce?  For this little bastard, the x's are silent)
  • Yao Yao
  • Zoey

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hear me!

I don't know what to say
still Hear me, Hear me, Hear me
I wish to seem profound
so Hear me, Hear me Hear me.
Before I go away
please Hear me Hear me Hear me.

When I die
please read me, read me, read me.

When I'm dumb
ignore me, ignore me, ignore me.

Whenever  I opine
critique me, critique me, critique me.


This is going to be a rant.  He he.
I may have mentioned that I had recently seen the musical Oklahoma! on DVD.  I remember mentioning to someone that I had bought the DVD and gotten a sour look from him.  Apparently, Oklahoma! is something that "someone's grandfather liked", and so is not to be taken seriously as an entertainment option.
Thankfully, I ignore the attitude of the modernist philistine.  (I remember another one - a goddamn Greek who didn't like Sinatra -- no wonder Greece, the land of Plato and Aristotle and the first edition of the Gospels, is going down the sewer.).  I watched Oklahoma! and was, to borrow a modernist phrase, blown away!  The songs were terrific!  I have this urge now to memorize some of them by heart.  I also now harbour a secret resentment against those who had seen the musical and not told me about it.  Even having discovered Sinatra, I still feel that so much of my music listening in my life was a waste of time and bad for my soul.  Why was I listening to the Stones and the Pistols?  Such vile, artless, and soulless tripe pumped from a musical sewer -- and it is an insult to the smart engineers who build sewers to say that they would be used as a place to make that sort of music.
The movie does darkness right by using contrast.  The baddie Jud, played by Roy Steiger, looks vile by being contrast against the decent, but ideal, others.  Making the film today, the modern film makers would probably think it is necessary that the Jud tortures and rapes some girl on camera -- modern audiences would be too dumb to figure it out on their own, they reason.
I am thinking of making a musical called Wuxi Jiangsu!  Some of the songs would include:  Everything is up to date in Wuxi City!;  Can't you see you are not in love?;  Aussies and Kiwis should be friends;  Oh!  What a steamy morning!;  The QQ with the fringe on top!; and You're okay Wuxi, Jiangsu!

FMLB Season Five

FMLB Season Five, which ended with the Phillies rout of the Red Sox in the World Series, was the season of the super bad and super good in the National League.  The Phillies set the FMLB record for wins in a single season with 121.  This was unfortunate for the second-place Reds whose 116 wins also exceeded the previous FMLB record of 113 wins which had been set by the White Sox and the Red Sox. 

But if you are to win so many games, someone has to lose them and so the Cardinals and Giants battled to avoid setting the all-time record for single season futility.  The Giants would edge the Cardinals by two games: 119 losses to 121.

The National League has now won four of five World Series. 

American League

Team           wins  losses     pct.   G.B.
Red Sox         99     55        .643
Indians            85     69        .552     14
Senators         81     73        .526     18
White Sox       76     78        .494     23
Tigers              76     78        .494     23
Browns            68     86        .442     31
A's                   68     86        .442     31
Yankees           63     91       .409      36

National League

Team      wins    losses      pct.        G.B.
Phillies      121       33         .786
Reds         116       38         .753           5
Pirates        92       62         .597          29
Braves        80       74         .519          41
Dodgers      74      80          .481          47
Cubs           65       89         .422          56
Giants         35     119         .227           86
Cardinals     33     121        .214           88

World Series (best of nine)
  1         Red Sox 5      Phillies 6
  2         Red Sox 8      Phillies 1
  3         Red Sox 7      Phillies 9
  4         Red Sox 6      Phillies 10
  5         Red Sox 1      Phillies 5
  6         Red Sox 3      Phillies 8

Phillies win Five games to One

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mid Second Half of July Blog Entry

Green Water:  Summer in Wuxi means lots of algae in canals and ponds.  Sometimes the algae is so thick, that one can mistake it for a hard surface.  I have heard stories of two foreigners mistakenly stepping into the algae thinking it was artificial grass.

Fantasy Football  My NFL fantasy football team will be called the Wuxi Red Guards.

Multiple Choice Discussion Questions  It is hard to ask Chinese students questions that may require imagination in the answer.  And sometimes, they have a hard time even coming up with, what one would think, would be the most obvious answer.  So what do I do?  Often I give the students multiple choice questions.  And I try to get them to justify their choice.  It gets them talking.  Now, I have been looking on the Internet for more of these discussion questions but I haven't been able to find a site about it.  Am I on to something?

Thought  What does it mean to be tolerant?  Does it mean to be tolerant of everything?  I prefer to be intolerant of the intolerable and the intolerant.  By what do I mean by intolerant?  Do I mean someone who is intolerant of something and thus not tolerant of everything?  And so going from that question, I find that the whole Progressive concept of tolerance is contradictory and arbitrarily selective in its application.  I tolerate the good and don't tolerate the bad.  Full stop. (But even then.... I waver).

KTV?  Also known as Karaoke.  If invited, I say no thanks.  The catalog of English songs in Wuxi KTV's is slim.

Do you laugh?  "No, I don't!" said a male student.  "I just smile."

Describe Your Enemy  He is oafish, fat, short, and smelly. He has three eyes, eight legs, purple and blue skin, and acne.  And so on.  Another exercise to do with students.

Sight  Old man picking at his toes on a park bench.

Wuxi  What is unique about it, other than it is a place in space and time?

Thought  What is my mind closed to?  Somethings you can only receive, it is said, if you open your mind to them.

Short Foray into Countryside:  I see a kid yell "laowai, laowai!"  to his parents.  In the old South, would kids have yelled "Nigger, Nigger!!" if a black man passed?

What does it mean?  I saw a student leave the bathroom.  He almost walked directly out, but then he quickly stopped and went to the sink to wash his hands -- he nearly forgot to do so.  But he then rinsed one hand in a very quick and perfunctory manner.  Why?  What had he been doing in the bathroom that was one-handed?  Was he cutting corners?

A delicious passage from Flannery O'Connor's  short story:  The Displaced Person:
"If I was going to travel again, it would be to either China or Africa.  You go to either of them two places and you can tell right away what the difference is between you and them.  You go to these other places and the only way you can tell is if they say something.  And then you can't always tell because half of them know the English language.  That's where we made our mistake," he said, "--letting all them people onto English.  There'd be a heap less trouble if everybody knew his own language.  My wife said knowing two languages was like having eyes in the back of your head.  You couldn't put nothing over on her."
Being the offspring of DPs, an English teacher, and having traveled to China, I can't help but laugh at what this character says.

Blaise Pascal:  We are fools to depend upon the society of our fellow-men. Wretched as we are, powerless as we are, they will not aid us; we shall die alone. We should therefore act as if we were alone, an din that case should we build fine houses, etc. We should seek the truth without hesitation; and, if we refuse it, we show that we value the esteem of men more than the search for truth.
Thought: All these people staring at me -- it drives me nuts sometimes
Experience:  I woke up after a five minute nap on Wednesday afternoon, and I panicked.  I didn't know where I was and had a feeling I had overslept and missed an appointment.
Garbage:  Wuxi often looks like a garbage dump with buildings.  The Ramada Plaza, a supposedly swank place, has piles of trash at one corner of its property.  Try walking into an empty field without seeing a pile of garbage.
Bus Driver:  I gave a bus driver the finger.  He wouldn't yield to me and Tony, as we attempted to cross the street, so I saluted him -- hopefully he was looking in his rear view mirror, passenger side.
One Cow, Two Cows, No Cows:  I asked the students what people would want in the following situation:  Their neighbor has one cow and they have no cows.  I then gave them the following choices:  You get two cows, you get one cow, or your neighbor has no cow.  I first asked the students what they think other people would want: many thought others would choose the no cow option.  I then asked the students what they themselves would choose:  They were split on the two cow or one cow option; but a few did choose the no cow option.  Many choose the one cow option because of equality concerns.  Some wanted two cows to show up their neighbors or to promote competition.  One student said he would choose the no cow option if his neighbor was greedy or selfish with his cow.

Audi Neighbor, QQ Car Neighbor:  I told the students that one of their neighbors had an Audi car and that another of their neighbors had a low-end QQ Car; and then asked them which neighbor they would like or choose to associate with.  Some choose the Audi neighbor because they thought he would be a person of outstanding abilities.  Some choose the QQ neighbor because they thought the Audi Neighbor would be a snob.  Some choose the Audi neighbor because they thought the QQ car was unsafe.  One student choose the QQ neighbor because the neighbor was showing he preferred Chinese products to foreign.  Another student said he would prefer to have a neighbor with no cars because Chinese drivers were crazy.


A scene from an expat bar

This is an excerpt from the story "From the Bar to the Yalu River", soon to be published at an outlet near you.

List of Characters
Dom Deluise, the King of Wuxi Expatdom
Wuxi Sexpat and Wuxi Sexpat 2
Orwell, a friend of Dom Deluise
An Australian, owns a pub

Scene 1

A Wuxi Expat Bar (Orwell, by himself, sits at one table, among many)

Wuxi Sexpat:  Look at my beautiful body!
Wuxi Sexpat 2:  If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
Bargirl bats her eyes
Bargirl (aside):  Ai ya!  These fools! These pigs!
American 1:  ...So I says to them  Chairman Who!  Who is the Chairman?  Hardy Hardy Har Har!
English Teacher:  I watched the latest Tarantino movie.  It was quite sublime.
AnotherEnglish Teacher:  Of course!
Another English Teacher:  Undeniably!
Yet Another English Teacher:  Indubably!
Yet Yet Another English Teacher:  Gorily Wonderful!
An Australian:  How are you doing you bloody bastard!
Orwell:  Fine!
An Australian:  Is All Right English all right these days!
Orwell:  Yeah!  We are getting a new teacher ……..
An Australian (interrupts):  Oh look!  It is Dom Deluise!  How are you doing Oh Domsy Womsy!  Are you still the King of Wuxi?
Dom Deluise  (wearing a blue cocktail dress):  I am alright.  Evidentally, I forget to do my laundry! 
An Australian:  That's okay!  We love you!  And we will love you more!  (He pinches Dom's bottom)
Dom:  Okay!  I got to go.  See you later.
An Australian:  Okay!  The river is dirty!
Dom:  Right!  (he steps over two Wuxi Sexpats trying to look up a barmaid's skirt).

FMLB Season Four

The Dodgers won their second FMLB championship in four seasons (they were previously season one champions).  They beat the White Sox five games to two in the World Series.  

 For the White Sox, the World Series  loss was a disappointment.  In four seasons of FMLB, the White Sox have had three 100 win seasons, but only one pennant and no World Championships to show for it.  Their FMLB record regular season win total in season four didn't translate into a World Championship, as well.

The National League has won three of the four FMLB world series.

American League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
White Sox  113    41        .734
Browns    89    65        .578 24
Tigers    82    72        .532 31
Indians    71    83        .461 42
Red Sox    70    84        .455 43
Yankees    67    87        .435 46
A's            66    88        .429 47
Senators    58    96        .377 55

National League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
Dodgers  106      48       .688
Pirates    95     59       .617  11
Phillies    95     59        617  11
Braves    93     61       .604  13
Reds            76     78       .494  30
Cards    58     96        377  48
Giants    47    107      .305  59
Cubs      46    108      .299  60

World Series (best of 9)

           Score      Score
White Sox        5 Dodgers 6
White Sox        7 Dodgers 6
White Sox        3 Dodgers 7
White Sox      10 Dodgers 7
White Sox        5 Dodgers 8
White Sox        4 Dodgers 10
White Sox        2 Dodgers 5

Dodgers win 5 games to 2.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Big Entry coming soon

Or you can visit here.

Weather today in Wuxi:  sunny and humid.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tony loves me; he loves me not.

Last night, when I arrived home from work (about 10 p.m.), Tony came to the door to greet me.  He was bashful when I asked him to kiss me, but eventually he did, after which he retreated to the bedroom.

This morning, he was in bed when I asked him to say good bye before I went back to work, and he said "no!" and turned over away from me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FMLB Season Three

Things I do in my spare time.  I have had this obsession since I was a child.  Then, I generated results using coins.  Now I can use random number generators.  I am surprised at how lop-sided my random results are.  For instance, look at below.

Who do you pity more in these results?  The White Sox who won 109 games but didn't get to the World Series; or the Indians who finished an astonishing 78 games out of first place?

Anyway in these results you see things that rarely happened in the real MLB.  The Red Sox won the World Series in the sixteen team setup and the Dodgers lost over 110 games (two years after winning the World Series in FMLB season 1.)

The World Series was a rout.

American League

Team wins losses pct.    G.B.
Red Sox  113    41         .734
White Sox  109    45         .708        4
A's           91    63         .591       22
Senators     79    75         .513       34
Yankees   72    82         .468       41
Browns   62    92         .403       51
Tigers   55    99         .357       58
Indians   35    119 .227       78

National League

Team wins losses pct. G.B.
Braves 99    55        .643
Cubs         94    60        .610     5
Reds         93    61        .604     6
Phillies 83    71        .539    16
Giants 78    76        .506    21
Pirates 66    88        .429    33
Cards 65    89        .422    34
Dodgers 38    116 247    61

World Series (best of nine)

Score Score
Braves 1 Red Sox 4
Braves 7 Red Sox 3
Braves 6 Red Sox 9
Braves 6 Red Sox 9
Braves 2 Red Sox 6
Braves 1 Red Sox 8

Red Sox win 5 games to 1

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday with Tony

  • AKIC took a bath with TKIC Wednesday night.  TKIC enjoyed pouring water on AKIC's head.  However, when AKIC tried to do likewise to TKIC, TKIC protested something vehement.
  • AKIC and TKIC ran with abandon around the apartment, which isn't an easy thing to do in an apartment that is 90 square meters.  It was the perfect son and father activity -- both got exercise, TK was laughing, TK wasn't watching television, and TK tired himself so he went to Bed early and AK could read Dune and the The Violent Bear It Away in peace.
  • AKIC was also reading Teach Yourself Latvian.  AK figures that he since he is very good at Chinese, he might as well not be very good at Latvian also.

Father and Son: stills from a video.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Rome by Ezra Pound

O thou newcomer who seek'st Rome in Rome
And find'st in Rome no thing thou canst call Roman;
Arches worn old and palaces made common
Rome's name alone within these walls keeps home.

Behold how pride and ruin can befall
One who hath set the whole world 'neath her laws,
All-conquering, now conquered, because
She is Time's prey, and Time conquereth all.

Rome that art Rome's one sole last monument,
Rome that alone hast conquered Rome the town,
Tiber alone, transient and seaward bent,

Remains of Rome. O world, thou unconstant mime!
That which stands firm in thee Time batters down,
And that which fleeteth doth outrun swift Time.

— Ezra Pound
Reading this poem, I could see it being applied, in a way, to China today -- especially its' first stanza.  The China that I see in the Tang Poetry, seems to be only in Tang Poetry.  Whatever I see in what is called China now is a best a shell or a husk of that spirit.  Certainly, China isn't on a Roman-type decline anytime soon, but recent times have done something to it that would make it apt to replace "China" with "Rome" in the above poem's opening passages.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rain and more Rain

  • It has been raining steadily for two days straight.  One area my bus passed through in Wuxi was flooded because of it.
  • I watched the World Cup Final.  It was ugly but at least someone scored so that the match didn't have to be decided by penalty kicks.  And there were scoring chances, even a couple of breakaways, but because the flow of the game was ruined by constant fouling, yellow carding, and arguments with the ref, these scoring chances had no build-up, and thus brought on no excitement.
  • I saw a variation of the lone-shoe-abandoned-on-the-street phenomenon as I walked to work: two shoe soles laying at a street corner -- why the soles were there and where the rest of the shoes were could be a source of endless speculation if one thought about them too much.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The final is Monday morning!

I get up, Sunday morning, early expecting to see the replay of the World Cup Final.  Instead, CCTV5 is showing the third place game between Uruguay and Germany.  And so I was cursing CCTV5 till I thought that maybe I was the mistaken one.  For I hadn't bothered to check the score of the third place game on Saturday -- if I had, I would have discovered it hadn't been played yet!
So, one more day of getting up at a ridiculous hour.
I had been telling all the students the final was Sunday morning and that Uruguay was on the southern tip of South America. 

Friday, July 9, 2010


Beat the Landlord 
There is a popular card game played by the locals called "Beat the Landlord".  The player designated landlord gets more cards than the other players, and so all the other players try to take the cards away from him.  Whether this game originated in the People's Republic is something I haven't yet to determine.

What do Chinese students think of Prince Charles?
He is ugly.  He has big ears and small eyes.

Vomit Day
From the bus I was in, I saw rice and brown spew on the side of a bus below a window over which leaned a very sick person.

Someone later vomited  on the bus I was on.

Trouble comes in three.  When will the next Vomit episode occur?

God!  Not with Tony I hope! (It didn't thankfully)

Bus Books or Books I read on the Bus
Currently, Dune and the Collected Poems of Ezra Pound.  I am re-reading Dune.  I remember being quite taken with the novel in my early twenties but I couldn't remember the plot.  Pound writes mesmerizing poetry.

My home book or book I read at home is the Collected Works of Flannery O'Connor.

One Choice at any time
All these people I see on the street -- they can can only choose one thing to do in any instance.  And yet they drive like they do.  They can't see the forests for the trees.  They are so stuck in their situation that they can't step back.
The locals in repose
I saw a man sleeping on a traffic median.  His bike parked near by, he lay a mat on the median, which was in the shade.
I saw a man lying back asleep on his motorcycle that was parked at an intersection.
The strangest sight of a local in repose I saw at the bus stop near my home.  Behind the bus stop, is a sidewalk which runs beside some grass which borders against a metal fence.   On the other side of the fence there are trees which hang over the fence and shade the grass.  In was in this shaded grass that I saw a young man, maybe in his early twenties, wearing no shirt and probably no shoes, sitting and playing with his mobile phone.  He looked like an animal (pardon me for saying so) hiding in the grass.  I thought of all the people I seen doing their business near and around where was sitting.

Empty Bus
On July 8, 2010, I boarded a #25 bus that was empty and stayed empty when it got me downtown -- so remarkable that I must make note of it.

Feeling after Canada Trip
Family is most important.  And I have my feet in two camps but don't feel like I am part of either.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Long Live the Queen!

When at the Vancouver International Airport  last month, I bought a 10 dollar (60 rmb) souvenir magazine full of photos of Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her visit to Canada.  I bought the magazine to show to Wuxi students as well as to prove that Latvians can be Monarchists.

And so I also bring your attention to this article by John Derbyshire, the great Sinologist and Conservative.  As he says,  "Elizabeth was born into a world where certain things were expected of her, as a matter of duty."  This observation counters all those people who think it is an inconvenience to have children, or even to be or stay married.  Thankfully, my parents have stayed among these old-schoolers, and hopefully I will too.