Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What does Wuxi Tony want?

Standing on a street in Wuxi, China (Hui Shan District)

Wuxi Subway Construction Photos

Taken from the #25 bus.

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Can you see a man sleeping in this photo?

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Old Man at a Wuxi Bus Stop

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View from the Balcony of Casa K: the official residence of the Kaulins Family in China

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.


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.

There are two kinds of people...

Those who use "glockenspiel" in a blog entry, and those who don't.

Those who wish something happened and so say it happened, and those who admit that they wish something happened but didn't.

Why "they" need to hate Sarah Palin so much.

I was listening to a Tony Kornheiser podcast.  TK and his honchos were discussing Bristol Palin's being tossed off some Search for Star show.  That whole BP thing is a circus, but it is something to do with SP, and  so "they" become obsessed. 
TK said that he didn't hate BP, and in fact felt sorry for her.  She had a baby young and a crazy mom -- BP's mother, he said, was trying to get herself elected God.  Liking SP, I rankled at this and immediately thought how SP's rival BO had himself elected on the platform of being a God.
But then I came to a realization.
"They" hate SP so much because "they" see her as having all of BO's faults.  The observations that many Conservatives make about BO being over his head are ultimately unanswerable, so "they" see SP as a way of transferring their unspoken knowledge of BO's weakness to something, or somebody else.
"They" do this because they can't counter the self-assurance of Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives.  "They" hate her because their own ideas are bankrupt, and they would never stoop to admit it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Muslim Noodles

Thursday at lunchtime, I was feeling peckish.  My first thought was to go to  KFC to eat french fries with mashed potatoes and gravy -- dipping the fries into the small cup of mashed and gravy is something I like to do because it reminds of my always ordering fries and gravy at KFC's in Canada.

I was all excited by this prospect till I looked in my wallet.  I had little money.  If I blew my wad at lunchtime, I would have nothing for supper.  And it was my longest day of the week at the school.  I realized I had to find a cheaper option.  I thought of the rice shop down the street which served cheap food but it was so unappetizing -- no way could it fill the spot like fries and mashed potatoes and gravy.  

So then I thought of the Muslim Noodle place nearby.  I hadn't been there in a while.  I could really go for a bowl of their fried noodles -- Chow Mian Pian -- I think it was called.  But I felt reluctant because the place wasn't so clean, and I would have to wait, and be stared at by the other customers and staff.

What the hell!  I thought and I went.

I tried ordering Chow Mian Pian, but the man working there told me in Chinese, that I could understand a little of, that that dish couldn't be done.  So, I went to a big picture menu posted on the wall and pointed at a photo of eggs, tomatoes, and noodles.  That could be made was what they indicated to me.  And they ushered me to a chair to wait.

While waiting, I observed the following:  Authorities looking at the contents of some one's cart -- apparently they don't want people with carts trying to sell things downtown.  Fifty uniformed students walking two abreast.  A hunch-backed man working in the Muslim Restaurant.

I ordered the food for take-out (I say something like "da-bao" to have this done) and ate it back at school.  It hit the spot.

Sex and the Grey Cup

The Grey Cup is Canada's version of the Australian Rules Football Grand Final, England's F.A. Cup Final, America's Super Bowl, the World's World Cup Final.  The 2010 Grey Cup game is this Sunday and will feature teams from Saskatchewan and Montreal.  

In anticipation of the game, I have been visiting the CFL's website.  I was surprised to find this article speculating about whether the players will have sex before the big game.  

Apparently this is an "issue".  Why?

中国无锡 惠山区 人民园 Wuxi, China: Hui Shan.

November 25

  • Tony went back to school today.  Read about it here and here.
  • I saw a lot of military in Wuxi Wednesday morning.  Why they were there I had no idea.  I in fact saw two convoys.  One I saw near my apartment; the other I saw near the Wuxi train station.  I had never before seen the military in Hui Shan city.  The convoy of military in fact ended up at the train station.  That second convoy consisted of a lot of troop carrying trucks, one of which had a troop of drummers who were pounding away as they proceeded through traffic.  Many of the troops were wearing what looked to be dress uniforms, with white gloves.
  • Whether this has anything to do with the recent incident in Korea, I can't say.  The troops gathering in front of the train stations is not unusual -- I have seen it before.
  • I asked some students about the Korean shelling incident. "Does it mean war?"  I asked.  The most articulate of the group said it didn't.  Other students then said the same thing.
  • I asked this same group of students to tell me things they hated.  They told me the Japanese, the South Korean leader, a Taiwanese leader, a Japanese leader, and some pop or more stars.
  • I found another interesting podcast.  In this episode of Surprisingly Free,, popular economist Tyler Cowen gives some provocative interesting, and intelligent answers to some listeners' questions.  Especially interesting was his answer to the question "Where would you stay in Asia if you had to be there for five years?".

Make time stop!

The old family is dying.
I am a million miles away.
God oh up so high, make time stop,
Have it go in all directions.
God who is so high, make space shrink
I want to be closer to you
I want to linger in my bed
I need to escape the onrush
of responsibility
and my my own reckoning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some November 24 observations

  • In this article John Derbyshire says this: the disdain for manual work encourages the infantile fantasy that all citizens are entitled to well-paid middle-class jobs, with the consequent need to import unskilled foreigners for the rest, putting further demands on government resources in healthcare, education, and law enforcement. It gets me to thinking. I made that infantile mistake. And boy did I pay for it!
  • Looking across the dinner table at my wife Jenny, I thought to myself that she more than I deserve! I hope I can ensure that she and Tony have the best for the rest of their lives.
  • Self-examination. How do I explain myself? I have had a silly desire for celebrity and comfort, mixed with silly expectations.
  • I watched the second episode of the first season of Breaking Bad; I watched the movie No Country for Old Men. Both shows featured characters tossing coins to make decisions, as well as the DEA. It was a coincidence. Breaking Bad, by the way, seems like a funny show. I regret now, having only bought the first season. No Country for Old Men seemed truncated, story wise. I feel I have to buy the Cormac McCarthy novel to get the full meat of the story.
  • In Chinese kindergartens, the students are made to stand for the national anthem of the People's Republic.
  • Wuxi is getting a radical face-lift. What three years ago was an empty field has become a park full of bridges and paths for strolling. (I went past an area for the first time in a few years today).

Wuxi China Hui Shan District (中国 无锡 惠山区)

The Shadow goes for a walk in the Hui Shan New City area of Wuxi, China.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ten WuxiAndis videos a day keep the doctor away.

It's true!  Clinical medical studies, which have had their results replicated, have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that watching videos on my Youtube channel will cure all your medical and mental problems.
I recommend you start your program of mental and physical rejuvenation by watching ten videos a day for a week.  Every week thereafter, you should increase your daily dosage of WuxiAndis videos by five.
Before you know it, you will feel yourself to be in your mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual prime.
And don't forgot to tell all your friends!
Again, visit here or email akaulins@gmail.com for more information.

中国 无锡新区 Wuxi New District

Hui Shan New City

Don't lean on me! Man!
Just because you don't live in the Hui Shan Economic Development Zone of Wuxi City!
It's alright!

I got a bad cough.

Boy, do I have a bad cough.  For me, it is unprecedented, or perhaps I had such a cough in Brandon, Manitoba.  This cough started off wet and thick.  Now, it has gotten deep into my chest and I feel like I have a sore diaphragm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Give the lady a hand!

To see an "overload" in China means to see a motorcycle, wagon, or electric bicycle carrying goods that take up a ridiculously large amount of space compared to the size of the vehicle.  And to accommodate these loads you will see drivers and/or passengers performing all sorts of strange contortions -- I have seen cyclists carrying pails in one arm while using the other arm to control the bike.

This morning, I saw a middle-aged woman with scooter knocked over by another electric scooter that had a long and wide load. The driver of the scooter with the wide load merely adjusted his load and went on his way, while the woman was brushing off her clothes beside her overturned bike.   When the woman finished brushing herself off, she had to pull the heavy bike up by herself -- you would have thought that the other driver would have helped her.  Pulling up the bike, one could see she had some of her things still on the pavement.  Her trying to pick these things up resulted in the bike falling on the pavement again, but the other way.  As she struggled, no one tried to help her -- everyone narrowly  swerved to avoid her.

中国无锡惠山 Wuxi, China: Hui Shan. Andis walks to his bus stop.

Tony to go back to School on Tuesday?

That's the plan.  But we will have to see what happens.  Because of what ever Tony had, that put him in the hospital last week, Tony has had to stay away from school for half a month.  But he still has a bad cough, which his father and mother have now caught....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Questions for myself.

What is your favorite book?

The Bible.

What are some your other favorite books?

I love With Charity towards None by Florence King.  I have read the book many times.  It provides a cool, but sensible, stance toward life: Misanthropy.  Other favorite books include Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, and Scoop by Evelyn Waugh.

What do you hate?

Atheists, Leftists, Perverts, deliberate laziness, the Wildcard in Major League Baseball, Rap, and tardiness.

Are you going back to Canada?

Probably.  But for now I am shirking on the logistics of it.

Will you have another child?

I hope so.  But I am getting old.

Best person you have ever known?

My wife.

Best person, you have ever known, who is an acquaintance?

I don't know.  I really don't know.  When it comes right down to it, I have been a loner and bystander.  This is not to say that I haven't meet good people.  I have known characters who have very pronounced character traits.  When I think of those who would have no regard for me -- I can say, honestly, it has been no loss.

Are there people you want to meet?

Catholics.  I didn't like them the first time.  But I know better what to expect.  I shouldn't expect them to do anything for me.

Have you found a consistent narrative about your life?

Not yet.  But, maybe this is because the narrative is one I should be ashamed of.  I am weak and fear confrontation and only confront myself occasionally.

Tony gets a haircut.

Tony wears Jenny's pink hat.

A day missed

No blogging on Saturday.  I am ashamed.   But, I was busy; and I wasn't able to have the time to concentrate on an entry.  But, I was able to do this at another AKIC Blog.
I was at Siemens in the Maccallane Mall baking.  More about this anon.
For now, I got's to goes to work!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patience: Ritma Jurevics

I will never forget my Aunt Ritma's patience.  When I first moved in with her, back in 1987 or 1988, she was looking after this old W.W.II vet who had lost his mental faculties.  She would spend hours on end with this fellow, when an ordinary person would have been hard-pressed to spend thirty minutes with him.  My one memory of "Fred" was a silly exchange where we talked about how crazy the Italian campaign had been.

In all my time with Ritma, I can't remember her losing her temper or her patience -- this is all the more unbelievable, but yet true, when you take into account the fact that I lived under her roof for five years.  I wasn't all right at that time.

中国无锡惠山 Wuxi, China: Hui Shan.

A creme de loop de loop。

The 313 and 635 bus routes run in opposite directions on a portion of European Street in Wuxi, China**.  Their routes then diverge at an intersection where the 313 continues straight through and at where the 635 makes a turn.  I have to take the 313 before I can transfer to the 635.  It was not good to see the 635 bus while I was on the 313 bus because it meant that I would have to wait 30 minutes for the next 635 (which would get me home).

But I then learned some more about the two routes and how they actually ran together on many roads in Wuxi.  So more recently, after seeing the 635 from the 313, I decided to take the 313 a little further in hopes of it getting to a certain stop before the 635.  What I then knew was that the 635 after making the turn at the intersection quickly made another turn after a block, so that it ran parrallel and in the same direction as the 313 -- there was a one block separation.  So the 635 and 313 routes would ran parrallel and then converge as both routes made turns in the same direction, but only a block apart.  The first stop after this convergence was where I got off in hopes that the 313 bus, I was on,got there before the 635.

And so I waited....

And a minute later, my gamble paid off.  I was on a 635 and had saved myself 30 minutes of waiting.

**It is more accurate to say that the 313 route runs in both directions along European Street while the 635 only runs in one.  But this detail will complicate the story.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now you're cooking with gas!

  • I don't know if I will have the time to do a proper obit-like piece about Ritma.  I am busy and distracted.  I will just have to  spend the next few days giving some reminisces.  The title of this blog entry was an expression she often used when things were going one's way.  And she said it often because she had this optimistic way about her which makes her death seem so unbelievable, even though we all must go sometime.
  • There won't be a funeral for Ritma her will stated she didn't want one.  Her cremated remains will be placed in an urn beside her husband Leo.  Perhaps in the Summer of 2011, a memorial service will be held for her.  My brother Ron is helping with the cleanup of her old home.
  • I went to a Siemen's dealer in the Macallane Furniture Mall, across from the Wuxi Metro.  I am going to help show some Chinese how to cook Western Food, using an oven built by Siemen's.  
  • Of course, my mother is very saddened by the death of her sister.  Half a world away, I wish I could be with her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Whateveryoucallems

Ritma's passing away has put my normal blogging on hold.  Here are some notes from the past week that I made:
  • On the way to work Saturday morning, I passed an accident scene.  I saw a truck and trailer with its' cab crushed.  The contents of the trailer, some huge piece of metal, overturned beside the trailer.  and there was the usual crowd of onlookers.
  • I did the squats in a Chinese restaurant.  I had no choice because I had to go.
  • I am now watching the Fourth and final DVD of my three-season set of Mad Men.  I wondered how the Yanks would deal with the Brits -- taking them out with a John Deere Lawnmower seemed a crude way to do it.  I heard someone say that Don Draper was a fuller character than the main character from The Wire (what the hell is his name?).  I think Don Draper is an amoral poser.
  • Saturday Evening on Wuxi's European Street, there was a police incident.  I couldn't determine what was happening though as there were hundreds of spectators surrounding the police.
  • I was listening to a Slate political podcast during which the three hosts said some jaw-dropingly absurd things.  One of the hosts was asked if he thought of himself as an advocate or a unbiased reporter, and he, without a hint of irony, said he was the latter.  And when it came to discussing Obama, they couldn't help but be uncritical kool-aid drinkers.  Obama thinks long-term, they said, unlike all their opponents (who do worry about expanding deficits).  And they conveniently forgot all his campaign promises of being bi-partisan, overlooking the irony of the fact that opposition to the health-care bill was in fact bi-partisan.  And they never dealt with his lack of executive experience.  Talk about living in a bubble!
  • Here I was praising Tony Kornheiser.  I feel like taking the praise back now that I know he has that mumbling, witless Clinton political operative James Carville making football picks.
  • On Sunday, November 14, I saw even longer lineups of trucks trying to get diesel.
  • I saw an electric cyclist make a left turn from a bike lane to a crosswalk without looking.  The bus I was on had to slow down screechingly and I crushed the person who sat beside me.  Even the Chinese shook their heads at this traffic maneuver.
  • I went downtown with Tony and Jenny on Tuesday afternoon.  Tony, the lazy bugger, wanted me to carry him everywhere.
  • Life is like a prison where everyone is on death row, but the cells aren't the same size.
  • I am not finished watching the first three seasons of Mad Men.  The 11/22/63 episode was interesting and actually made references to things in my life.  One character joins the army and talks of having to go to West Germany -- my father was doing this sort of thing at about the same time -- I was born in West Germany.  Children said, another character, are still being born despite the JFK assassination -- I know people born that date.
  • Riding the bus home Monday evening, I see a couple fighting -- the woman was walking, the man was trying to grab her, the woman would push him away.
  • I tried to yield my seat to a woman and child only to have another woman take it.  I would have said something right away if it weren't for the fact that I thought the women knew each other.  I couldn't be bothered when I did realize the women didn't know each other.  Someone else eventually yielded their seat to the woman and child;  I stood beside the seat, I had yielded, thinking evil thoughts of the women, but I let it go....

Wuxi China Kaulins Family Update: November 16, 2010

Wuxi, China Wu Ai Road 中国 无锡 五爱路 #1

Photos taken at Wuxi, China bus stops.

Zhongshan Road about five p.m., one can see a lot of students catching the bus home.
This group of men would have made for a great photo if I could have gotten closer. Four of them were wearing Mao suit like garb.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tony is out of the hospital; Ritma.

  • Tony is out of there, as of Monday Morning, but he won't be going back to school for a while yet.  So, Tuesday Morning, the K family was able to linger in bed, if only for a while (apparently, Tony was in bed at 730 Monday evening!) -- both Andis and Tony didn't have to go anywhere in the morning -- a rare concurrence.
  • Tony's father is still trying to process his aunt Ritma's passing away.  He got choked up when he heard about it.  He passed on the sad news to some friends of his  from his time spent in Winnipeg in the nineteen eighties.  They all mentioned what an interesting and grounded person she was.  Andis always thought of Ritma as indestructible because she seemed so unflappable about most things.  Andis will work on a proper piece about Ritma over the next week.
  • Yesterday, Tony went on a journey, of sorts, with his parents to a restaurant.  During the journey, Tony demonstrated both an ability to point out things that he wanted, and a knowledge of where things he wanted were. 
  • Andis needed some paper to blow his nose.  He mentioned this to Tony who promptly provided some -- a first that Andis feels is needed to be mentioned to the world.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two things

  • I am going to help Jenny and Tony get out of the hospital.
  • I just got very sad news -- my aunt Ritma has just passed away in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  I was able to see her on my recent trip to Canada, however, I didn't see enough of her in the years I have been in China. 

English Trainer Questions Himself

What did you run away from you?
You travelled half-way around the world.
Here you have status - no big deal.
(So far for a fleeting sensation)
You should have left after one year.
But you didn't. You have overstayed.
But where can I go in this world?
So little here,  nothing at home.

Silly Conversations: An Interviewer talks to an Irishman about fighting

"How much do you love fighting?"

"I love it more than drinking or love-making.  In fact, I only do these activities because they can lead to fighting."

"How can that be?"

When I sleep with my mate's wife.  We duke it out afterwards.  And when he sleeps with my wife, likewise.  And when we head down to the pub, we fight all our friends.  Which is not to say that we don't like to fight people we don't like, but our enemies don't get the benefit of our fighting skills -- we just pulverize them.

"Do you like fighting with family members?"

"Of course.  We always ask if a fight is a family fight and whether we can join in.  Some of my best fights were with my mother.  I would tell her her cooking was terrible so she could whack me and we could start fighting.  And of course, I can't say how much my fights with my father taught me about fighting.  He showed me how to be a dirty fighter but all in good fun."

"What about your siblings?"

 "When I haven't seen my sister in a while, there is nothing I like better than to phone her up and call her all sorts of names so she can send her husband to my house to brawl.  Of course when I am in her presence, I do her the honor of having a fight with her -- she can use broken bottles if need be.  My brothers -- we like to have fights with people on the vague pretext of insulting our sister.  We often sleep with and insult each of our wives just so we can have a fight.  In fact, I would say that I enjoy fighting with my brothers more than the British".

"What about your other relatives?"

"I give my aunts left hooks and round-houser rights all the time.  Otherwise, they would beat me on the head with a crock pot or kick me in the groin.  And as for my uncles, I have to defend them when my cousins (his children) attack him with sledge-hammers.  But it is all the family, and so it as wholesome a beating as you will ever get on God's green earth."

(Irishmen punchs Interviewer)

"Why did you do that?"

"I think you are a capital fellow" (kicks interviewer in the groin)

"Thank you.  I am honoured!" (Shoves microphone in Irishman's mouth.  Irishman gives thumbs up! sign.)

(Interviewer looks at camera and says:)  Well!  To-da-lou from Donnybrook, Ireland."  "Take that Paddy!  Let's see if gerald fitzs ya!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tony Kornheiser, Tony Kaulins, and the two Tonys: a day of coincidences

Saturday morning, I was listening to a podcast of the Tony Kornheiser Show -- it was a show that I always listened to when I was in British Columbia and could pick up the ESPN Radio affiliate from nearby Washington State.  The show is an entertaining mix of banter about sports, entertainment, and life -- if Jerry Seinfeld had a radio sports show,  the TK show is what it would be like.  I always sing the TK Show's theme music to my TK.  Just recently, I have been able to find podcasts of the Tony Kornheiser show.  I recommend it along with my many other podcast choices (Econtalk and Radio Derb, to name a few).

Saturday morning, I had my Tony K sitting on my lap as I read to him from a Dr. Seuss book.

Later, I had a class in which two students were named Tony.

Coincidence or what?

A long hallway and three shots

It was my good fortune to be invited to lunch with some local couples who are immigrating to Canada. Lunch was in this fifth floor restaurant that consisted of many private dining rooms and that was longer that an American football field. I hope the photo below conveys the length.

The couples will be immigrating to Quebec and Prince Edward Island. The couple that is immigrating to PEI has a house in West Vancouver -- 3,000 miles apart. They have been told that even though they are expected to go to PEI, they can move away eventually. The couple going to Quebec was curious about how they could get by there without speaking French. One of the men had lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick for a while and found it to be very small.

It took me three tries to get this photo, taken in the dining room, right.

More tales from the 101 Hospital

  • Friday night, Andis went to the hospital to visit Tony and Jenny.  Tony will be the hospital for a few days yet.  Jenny does not know when they can leave.  The doctor said Tony was not allowed to leave his room for fear of catching further infection.
  • Andis bought Tony a matchbox dump truck.
  • Andis came to visit Saturday morning before he had to go to work.  He brought Jenny some magazines.  She said she was bored with nothing to watch or read.  Tony happily sat in Daddy's lap and listened to Andis read from a Dr. Seuss book.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wuxi China: Zhongshan Road (无锡中国中山路)

This is the first time I have used Chinese Writing in a Youtube video title (I do it all the time on my Youku site). I am curious if this will get more viewer-ship.

Wuxi, China street scenes

Tony has a few more days in hospital. So, I will publish some photos just taken on the streets of Wuxi, China.

Thoughts or Tweets

  • The worst thing about religion is that it creates atheists.
  • David Warren says political independents are ditzs.  From another column of his, where he says forty percent are solidly on the right and forty percent are solidly on the left:
In crude proportions, this leaves 20 per cent of "Independents." The views of these people cannot be characterized, because they really don't have any. They aren't political; for those who form any political interest at all immediately begin migrating to some place in the spectrum. The typical Independent is more like a genuine free agent, and the word that comes most easily to mind is "ditz."

These are the people who were capable of voting for Obama two years ago, and for a deep draught of Tea this week. They can be swayed easily by the media, and by whatever else is in the breeze. 

  • The better independents only create cleverer rationales for not believing in anything.  The better class of independents are zealots of the belief that there is nothing you can believe in.
  • I realized I made a muck of things in my early life, so I set my goals low -- I achieved them but they weren't such low goals after all.
  • On the way to work one morning, I saw an accident aftermath, I saw luggage drop out of a bus,  a lineup of trucks and buses at the diesel pump, and another old man wearing a Mao suit.
  • I saw the staff of a hotel doing a morning run.  They were wearing dress pants, bright red sashes, and leather work shoes as they did so -- all forty of them.

FMLB ideas for the next baseball season

Here are some ideas I have for my Fantasy Major League Baseball leagues:

  • Thirty Two Teams.  Two leagues of sixteen teams.  Each league divided into two divisions of eight teams.  If the the two division winners have the best two records in their league, they will meet in a best-of-seven championship series.  If a second place team has a better record than one of the division winners, then that second place team and the division winner, with the poorer record, will play a best-of-three play-in series.
  • Thirty Two Teams. Two leagues of sixteen teams.  Each league divided into four divisions of four teams.  If the four division winners in each league have the four best records, then the four teams will advance to best-of-seven division series to determine the participants in the league championship series.  If one second place has a better record than a division winner, than the second place team and the division will play a best-of-three play-in series to for a place in the division series round.  If two second place teams have a better record than two first place teams, then these four teams will play two best-of-three play-in series for places in the the division series round.  The four teams would be seeded as follows: 1: Division winner with best record, 2: The other division winner, 3: the second place team with the best record, 4: the other second place team.  The first seed will play the fourth; and the second seed will play the third seed.  A regular season tie between a second place team and a division winner of different divisions would go to the division winner - no tie-breaker to be played in that circumstance.
  • Thirty Two Teams.  Two leagues of sixteen.  No divisions.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

David Warren on insane politicians

David Warren says something that I have always noticed about politicians but have never been able to articulate properly. I have thought this:

  • There is no point talking to politicians. They don't say anything. They are slippery. They run out the clock if you want them to answer a direct question.
  • If you stick a politician among a group of pundits, the politician seems to be emasculated and missing a common human trait -- an opinion.
Warren says this about politicians:

the sanest of them can be disconcerting to converse with, at close quarters. The need to maintain various pretences, from sanctity to infallibility, contributes powerfully to habits of mental aloofness -- to the point where no question can be answered candidly.

The full David Warren column is here.

True as this is, is there anything that be done about it? In some ways, you can't fault the politicians because it seems that each voter wants a politician who is everything to him or her, and each voter seems unwilling to compromise.

I was going to say that we expect too much from our politicians, but I quickly recall that everyone I know is cynical about politicians. And so it can't be that we have unrealistic expectations about them. In fact, a lot of people don't bother to vote.

I could say that the population has to be more educated about the political system, but really, we want a society where politicians matter little instead of a society where politics is all for everyone all the time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tony in the hospital

Just now (Tuesday), I took this photo of Tony before he went to the hospital.

Why is he going to hospital? The story is here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thoughts about what politics is.

I read an article somewhere on the Internet asking what Politics is for and also what it is. Good questions.  I will try to answer.

  • Politics is sports for the nonathletic.
  • Politics is for many a means of having something to concern themselves. (Why should I care about American politics or even Canadian politics for that matter?)
  • Politics is not about virtue.  Castro, Stalin, Mao, JFK, Clinton,...
  • Politics is about power.
  • Politics is a way to suspend true debate and true questioning.  Politicians dare not think aloud.
  • Politics is a means of selecting decision makers.
  • Politics is questionable if it is a means of selecting true leaders.  Clinton, for example, was always taking the pulse of the public -- he had no ideas himself and so never lead us anywhere new.
  • Politics is a way of tribalising ourselves.  If I learn what some culture figure's politics are -- they become part of or separate from my tribe.  I have a hard time interacting with leftists.  I fear that people, I do like, are not part of my political tribe -- I shudder to ask them about their politics.
  • In this day and age, politics replaces the sectarianism of religion.
  • Politics satisfies an urge for wanting the improbable and suspending the laws of physics.  Politics and Economics shouldn't mix, don't mix, and yet people say they vote because the more the government does about the economy, the less it can do to really improve it.  It is like a cowboy trying to ride a zebra.
  • A skyscraper built in the middle of the prairie -- stimulus?
  • The Left, in practice, is opposed to what it professes.  The Right lacks the courage to do what it professes.
  • What kinds of problems can politics solve?  Fewer than it tries to solve in practice.
  • Politics should be local.  Why should some federal executive have so much say in our day-to-day?  We should know who are local politicians are.  Why should we care so much what some federal executive has to say.
  • Should the wise have more say in politics than the fools?  And who is wise?  And who is the fool?  How do we determine?
  • Conservatives take themselves too seriously?  And Progressives have the ability to laugh at themselves?  Hah!!!
  • If libertarians are into hip-hop, then I am a conservative.  Listening to the Creative Destruction Podcast, I wonder how any libertarian could support Obama?

New Tony Kaulins Video

Watch it here!

English Teacher and Chinese Student with very long name -- a silly dialogue entry.

English Teacher and Chinese Student with a long English name

"Tell me Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang. Where did you get such an English name?"

"My first English teacher gave it to me."

"What was his name?"

"Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable(whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat (laughs) (squeaker) Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat (sings) 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith"

"Where was he from?"

"He told me: Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel on the Thames."

"Oh! Anyway! Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang! Make a sentence with "septic tank"."


"I said make a sentence with "septic tank"."

"You mean me? Or do you mean Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Huang?"

"I mean you! Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang"

"I thought you said Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Huang!"

"Sorry about my pronunciation. should I say Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wong, or should I say Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang?"

"My English name is Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang. You are not saying the last word right."

"Sorry! Now what is it that I wanted you to do? I can't remember (looks at watch). And it doesn't matter because we only have enough time to give you an assessment. I will have to fail you Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft Wang. We didn't cover any of the material."

"Oh Nuts!"

"Who taught you that"





"No. Hu!"

"Look. I am asking the question! I asked Who? Now answer the damn question!"

"Hu is an answer!"

"No. Who is a question!"

"No. Hu is my Chinese teacher in middle school."

An Ontario, Canada male and an Continental European male take a shower together in Wuxi, China

"Hans, Strudel. Slappy, slappy, eh!"
"Let us reenact Appollo-Soyuz '75"

"Darling! Like it is so fun, like pretending we are gay eh?"

"Who's pretending?"

"Oh no! That is not good! That is not a weiner shintzel in my slot? That is bad dude!"

"Johnny. Didn't you know?"

"No. I will have to return to Sudbury in shame!"
"You should move to Garmish Parsnip where everyone who is enlightened person does it. You North Americans are so gauche!"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Sunday of WAIGTWA.

What is "WAIGTWA"? Visit here to find out. It is a problem, I will tell you now. And below is how I intend to solve WAIGTWA:

  • Here is an entry you should check out.
  • This article suggested that the Chicago Bulls have the coolest sports logo of all time. I have to disagree. Some of my favorite sports logos are shown below:

Friday, November 5, 2010

It is Saturday and I don't know what to blog about.

Blogging is something I feel I must do every day. Like marriage, it is a commitment and you got to stick to it.

People who quit blogging should be shunned and not allowed in respectable company -- though in this day and age, respectable company is becoming harder and harder to find. What is acceptable today is not respectable in an eternal sense. What seems to be deemed acceptable today involves a lot of sneering at common folk who don't have much time to think about what is acceptable or not. Sorry for that. I am going off on a tangent.

Today, I look at the blank canvas of my blogging software with anxiety. I don't what to blog about that is not self-referential gobbly gook.

I will try to fill in my daily obligatory blog entry with some observations:

  • I saw line-ups for diesel at two spots along my bus route this morning. Twenty trucks and buses at each station were lined-up.
  • I had no seat on the bus this morning. As I stood I listened to podcasts. I heard from CJOB Winnipeg that the Blue Bombers may get a new stadium. I heard John Derbyshire lament the election of Harry Reid in Nevada. Derb asked the same question, I did, what is wrong with those Nevada people?
  • Keith Olberman has been suspended by MSNBC because he contributed money to Dem political campaigns. Much as I don't like Olberman -- his is an idiot and basically not nice, I think he has been treated unfairly. I couldn't care less if he contributed to political campaigns. His biases are well known, and it is ridiculous for him to maintain the pretense of unbiasedness. In fact, I think FOX news should hire him. Like the animal rights activist who goes to rodeos every year, he is part of the political show that Conservatives would miss -- wonder they do what Olberman's takes on things are.
  • If I had been able to sit on the bus this morning, I would have studied my Chinese. Funny how these days, I am not immersed in a novel. I started reading Nostromo by Joseph Conrad but I haven't picked it up lately. I have to recommit myself -- Nostromo is good. I am going to have to not be distracted by articles I find on the web. (My Google reader had 700 unread articles as I type this.)
  • I was talking about Life Philosophy just now in class. I asked the students to list people who influenced their life philosophy. I put up Confucius and Jesus Christ as examples. They told me Chairman Mao, Chairman Hu, and Helen Keller.
  • This blog entry has been made in my office at school.
I will also add some photos to this blog entry.

In front of a restaurant, two doors down from my school, the staff are lined up in rank as the manager talks to them. A common sight in China -- never seen in the West.

This is an intersection near my school. The roads: Xueqian and Zhongshan.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Son is a Genius of Chaos.

Also, you can watch Wuxi Tony the Refusenik.

Wife not on board with my two-birthday plan.

Rare Readers may recall this entry where I proudly told the world about my Lunar and Georgian calender birthdays. I thought I had a great deal this year because on the Georgian Calendar, my solar birthday is December 24th and my lunar birthday is December 26th.

Last night, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday. After rejecting my Ipod wish, she then thought my two birthday plan was ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 4: The day after observations.

  • The day after what?  The U.S. election of course.  What do the U.S. election results mean?  I believe they are a repudiation of Obama.  I think the Repubics have benefited from the lame performance of the Dems.  The fact that there was a Tea Party showed the Repubics had been hopeless as well.  And even then, it could be argued that the Tea Party's showing in the election was modest.  Clearly, if you accept these assumptions, the election was a repudiation of Obama.  (But it could be said that the elections were a repudiation of Pelosi and Reid -- but still the voters were not forgiving of Obama)
  • Spasms of anger -- the devil briefly gets a hold of me.
  • Bystander -- that's me.  That is how I feel when I see Tony and his mother asleep together.  I say this not because I resent this -- Tony already plays one parent off another when it suits him.  I say I am bystander because I feel I am not doing enough for Tony and Jenny.
  • Company students, leaving work and so not going to class, get an embarrassed look on their faces when I spot them.
  • On the bus ride back from the Company, I saw a young shirtless man pick a brick off the street and chase another man down the street.  The company shuttle bus, I was on, was stopping to drop off some workers when the young man picked up a brick that looked to have been leftover from a temporary construction barrier.  The sight caused workers, who were about to get off the bus, to freeze in their tracks.  We all then saw a man run away, from the brick-carrying man, taking flight down the street and crossing at a crosswalk.  The young man and a companion sprinted after that man.  They caught up with the man near the crossing, and a scuffle ensued that I couldn't see from my vantage point in the bus.  The bus then drove toward the scene of the scuffle.  The man, being chased, had ran away down a narrow side street.  I then had a close up look at the young man, bearing a look of triumph as he returned to where he had picked up the brick.  The last time I can recall witnessing people attack others with weapons in their hands was in 1984 at a Brandon Wheat Kings -- Lethbridge Bronco playoff game.  Street fights, however, are not a rare sight in Wuxi.  I have probably seen at least a dozen in my time here and much more than I ever saw in all my time in Canada.
  • I am not halfway through my third DVD of Madmen.  I assume I am in the third season.  I eagerly anticipate the 11/22/63 episode.  I just read an article about the Don Draper character written on the completion of the fourth season of the series.  It asks what Don Draper's motivations are.  I think he is motivated by whatever the writers of the series want him to be motivated by.  Certainly, it is hard to find any consistency to his behavior.  He has mistresses; and yet he at times has been the exemplar of virtue (he has nothing to do with his silver-haired colleague's shenanigans).  He is very professional in his work, and yet he goes AWOL for two weeks on a California business trip.  He has fallen into his role because of a tragic mix-up in the Korean War, and so it could be said that he is finding himself, which is how the writers get away with having a character that is all things to everybody.
  • I saw a woman and a man having what looked to be an argument, or perhaps the man getting a scolding, as they rode an electric scooter down the street.  I was on the bus going home, when I witnessed them as they just happened to take the same route.   The man was driving the scooter as his female companion rode with him.  I saw the woman appear to punch the man in the temple, and then I saw her do it again.  And it became periodic as the woman struck him three more times.  The last time I saw her do this, my bus was besides them.  I saw the woman with an angry look, then saw the man wince as he was struck, and I then saw the bike swerve.  Not a good time to hit someone, Lady!