Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My 4001st entry

This is entry number four thousand and one at AKIC blogspot.

To put this in perspective, Joe Namath passed for 4,007 years in the 1967 American Football League Season -- then a professional football record.

Monday, November 28, 2011

AKIC Weekend observations and observances including a defense of classical economics

  • My weekend is Monday and Tuesday.  I hope you don't have a problem with that! 
  • I type the previous in a moment of defiance.
  • These moments of defiance, I notice, are so easy to have at home.
  • I have tried to make edited videos again.  Watch here and here.
  • Those of you who live in the Hui Shan Economic Development Zone or Yanqiao may be keen to know that the 25 bus route has changed again.  A part of a part of the route that had been closed off for subway construction has re-opened, and the route now goes downtown a little bit quicker.  No more does the 25 go along part of the 610 route.
  • By the way, if you are a laowai living in the Hui Shan or Yanqiao area, you are welcome to send me an email.  We can share some of my Crown Royal or just have a chit-chat.  Email me at
  • Train!
  • Photos taken on our trainspotting trip.
  • The study of Economics has been taking some hits lately.  For example, this article which states that Economics should construct its theories on the basis of evolutionary biology.  Classical Economic Theory, the article insists, has been discredited because it couldn't predict the Economic Meltdown of 2008. Classical Economics also needs to fix itself of the rational behavior assumptions used in its models -- this is what I get from the article.   And if this is what the article's author is stating,  I would say it is weak stuff. 
  • Evolutionary biology, as far as I can understand, hasn't been able to make predictions either.  The life that evolutionary biology has had as a field of study, simply hasn't been long enough, if my assumptions about it are true, to have been able to make predictions.  The changes it says happen and will happen take place over many lifetimes -- no evolutionary biologist could see his predictions come to fruition or to naught.  Economics, similarly, can't predict with complete certainty what will happen in the future.  I recall reading somewhere that Milton Friedman said that he didn't make predictions because the mere fact of his predicting something would cause people to react in a way that was both unpredictable and negating of his prediction.  Any economist that would try to make predictions, with complete authority, is making a logical error.  For example, let's say that an economist tries to predict which businesses will fail and which won't.  If every business heeded the economist's predictions, would this mean that there would be no unprofitable businesses?.  Of course not!  One can take a guess, and there is a good chance that the economist is right but there is also a chance that he will be wrong.  Economics is not deterministic and it is logically impossible that it could be. 
  • This talk of Classical Economics changing its rational behavior assumptions is also a dead end.  The classical models are built on the fact that people are subjective in their economic-decision making, not rational.  And what is rational or irrational is a subjective matter.  People who complain of this rationality assumption, don't seem to notice this -- at least that is what I have seen. 
  • Hope for somewhat more realistic model of economic behavior has been invested its hopes in Behavioral Economics.  I just recently listened to an advocate trying to defend Behavioral Economics lack of simplifying assumptions, what he called its many theories or complexity, by comparing B.E. to an the operation of one's eyes.  Our eyes are very complex things.  Our eyes are good.  Therefore, B.E. is good because it is complex.  This is a charlatanistic or pseudo-scientific argument.  What first sprung to my mind, when I heard the B.E. advocate say that, was how Freudists had to resort to more complex theorizing to explain away what wasn't consistent with their theories.  The other point I make about the argument about eyes is this:  they can't see everything.  We can use our eyes to look at elephants.   A lot of theory, built up through observation about how Elephants exist and operate is correct.  And yet we can't predict with absolute certainty what any elephant will do in the next minute.  B.E., is trying too hard, to do something with economics that just can't be done.
  • Try as they might, Classical Economics is the best tool out there to analyze Economics, because it isn't deterministic and its assumptions are built not on rational behavior, but subjectivity.  This is unfortunately not understood by so many.   
  • My son Tony climbs and slides.
  • Tony on a bridge.
  • Photos I took on the bridge that were not of Tony.

Extra Photos taken on my Trainspotting trip

Watch the video of the trip.

During the trip, I took these photos:

Train near Casa K

Trainspotting with the Kaulins Family China

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Monday Notes

  • I have discovered that by going into my program files and deleting files named zh_cn (zhongwen China) that I can get many programs to have English interfaces.  I am now able to easily use Windows Movie Maker and the Video Camera on my new laptop.  
  • Tony and Jenny spend Saturday and Sunday evenings in Changzhou, about 15 minutes, by fast train, from Wuxi.  Tony, I heard, was really excited to ride an electric car and bicycle belonging to a Changzhou cousin.
  • While they were away, I didn't do much except watch a DVD (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and try to play with video editors.
  • The Blue Bombers didn't win the Grey Cup game.
  • Wuxi Expat marries Battleship.
  • Some Wuxi Expat severely punished for violating curfew.
  • Wuxi, China now  has some old American West style saloons.

Andis picks up Tony

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grey Cup and Links

Grey Cup
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will play the British Columbia Lions in the 2011 Grey Cup Game which is at the Lions home stadium in Vancouver, Canada.  I hope the Blue Bombers win the Grey Cup, and that Vancouverites and Lower-Mainlanders don't trash their city again when the Blue Bombers do win.  You may recall that after Vancouver's hockey team lost a home game, where the Stanley Cup was on the line, causing Vancouverites and Lower-Mainlanders to riot.

I imagine that this time, Vancouver police will be deployed.


Can we do this.... yeah?!?

For the last three days, Tony has been using the above-mentioned grammar pattern.  Anytime he wants to suggest a course of action for us or me, he has been stating the hoped-for action and then adding a "yeah" which is either exclamatory or interrogatory.

I assume he picked up this annoying pattern from school, but from whom?  Are the teachers teaching him this?  Is there some young foreigner, drunk when not teaching, who taught him this?

If I had the time, I would investigate.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thank you America!

A thought crossed my mind.  I must thank America for the fact that I married Jenny and we have our beautiful son Tony.  Sure, I can thank China, and I do.  China is my in-law after all.  But America by being America, by being capitalistic, won an important battle of ideas that did lead to my being in China and meeting Jenny. 

China, after throwing in the towel in 1979 by getting away from socialistic planning and taking up markets, opened up to the world.  Ultimately, this was America's doing, and the fervency with which some would deny this fact, only proves my point.  I have seen many for whom America-hatred is an obsession.  (I have the opposite obsession which is to defend it.)  They go out of their way to say and think the worse of America.

This opening up by China is why I am here.  And since I am have been here, what I have seen shows that there is no denying that Chinese people want what America has.  The Chinese want shopping and cars and computers.

America, by standing up for South Korea, a Democratic China, and rebuilding Japan left China with no choice but to change its ways.

Thank God they did!  What would I do without Jenny and Tony?

I took Tony for a walk on Sunday Night

It is becoming routine, but what the hell! He is my son and all. I just wish he would go where I wanted to go. I was only able to get him to go to the Hui Shan People's Square, where I took the photo below, after prevailing in a battle of wills at a nearby shopping plaza.

Then Tony impressed with his feats of daring.

You can see more of the photos of Tony that I took Sunday evening here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Random thoughts and observations for November 2011

  • Am I an expert on China?  Hell no!  The more time I spend here, the less I know.
  • Am I trying to learn about Chinese culture?  Yes. 
  • Am I trying to learn the language?  Yes.  But I am not learning very quickly.
  • Why does America defend the weak and the small?  Great column by VDH!
  • An employee at Carrefour starts at 1400 rmb a month.  A cashier gets 1500.
  • Things I am looking forward to:  Giving Tony his Christmas presents, and the death of Pierre Trudeau's pallbearer Fidel Castro.
  • Things I am devoutly hoping for: the defeat of Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential election.
  • Will it be Romney versus Obama in 2012?  The Squish against the Marxist?
  • Friday, November 18 was a foggy day in Wuxi.  This meant traffic was heavy as the elevated roads were closed.  It took me 30 more minutes to get to work.
  • Check out this site from a Shanghai Expat.  His connection to Wuxi is that he has a Wuxi wife.
  • The problem in life is you are what you do; not what you want to do.  Your interior life is invisible to others.
  • But then again, if one's interior life is rich, who cares what others think!
  • Saturday, November 19, the bus I was taking to work broke down -- a not uncommon occurrence.  I had a seat on that bus so I noticed as I pulled my head out of my Chinese textbook, and saw that the bus driver was outside examining something.  I shrugged in a mental way and thought  "I am going to have to get off and catch another bus and I will have to stand the rest of the way."  But I waited till others got off because it meant that the driver had given word.  Then as I joined the others who were getting off the bus, I noticed  that it had stalled in the worst possible place for other traffic.  Because of subway construction, the road, the bus was on, had been narrowed from three lanes to one lane going each way.  The first thing I saw as I got off the bus was another bus, right behind, unable to pass the stalled bus I had just been on.  There was no room to go around.  And behind that trapped bus, I could see a long lineup of traffic and several more buses stopped and unable to move.  These were all the other buses I was going to take!  I realized that I was going to have to walk down the road to a bus stop past a major intersection and hope to catch another bus going downtown.  But I didn't know of buses I could catch down that road.  I thought to catch a taxi, but I instead walked twenty minutes to get downtown and to a bus stop where I knew I could catch a bus.  Thankfully, it wasn't raining so heavily.  And I didn't see any buses go down the road that the bus was to have proceeded.
  • Walking an area you frequently drive or ride through is a radical change in perspective.  Many areas become tawdry when seen close up.  Walking on my bus route, I saw trash, dog turds, and muck.  I was going through an soul-less industrial and market area.
  • I now have two laptops.  The IT guys at school have fixed my old one.  I would like to give it to Tony, but Jenny probably has some other ideas about what to do with it.
  • I hear that the U.S. Army is deploying in Australia.  My reaction to the news?  Bloody good thing.  Those Australians need some civilizing.  I know the Australian anti-Yanks in Wuxi will hate it, but they prove my point.  Anti-Americanism is akin to Antisemitism, and is therefore barbaric.
  • I trust that my friend Harry Moore in Brisbane will welcome the U.S. Marines with open arms.  He may even buy them a few drinks.
  • One of the Chinese staff at my school spent six years in Vancouver I learned.  I grilled her with questions.  She knew nothing of Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Langley, Surrey or Pitt Meadows. She spent all her time in Richmond.  Her excuse for not knowing of these places?  She said she was Chinese.
  • Who do I want to see win the Republican Presidential nomination?  All of the Republican candidates, even Jon Huntsman, would be better that the current occupant of the White House.  But of course, anything in the product line of Lay's potato chips in China would make for a better president than Obama who is running the worse administration since the invention of electricity.  I will stick with Herman Cain as my first choice.  His gaffes are unimportant.  His so-called sexual harassment misdeeds are inconsequential legally.  The one concrete allegation against him seems to have come from a very questionable accuser.   My second choice is Michelle Bachman.  It is a shame her campaign has gotten no traction.  Newt Gingrich, I hear, was getting money from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and his excuses for doing this are making him sound like a Democrat.  This disqualifies him.  I like Gingrich but he is a Republican Clinton.  Clinton, who was a pervert and probably a rapist, was an idea guy in a way.  Of course a lot of Clinton's ideas were Democrat-stupid.  But Clinton was able to embrace Republican ideas that gave him the veneer of competence.  House leader Gingrich, an idea guy, probably gave President Clinton a lot of these Republican ideas and like Clinton he had a lot of personal baggage.  Unfortunately for Gingrich's presidential aspirations, Gingrich is a Republican and so he has to be held to higher standards.  Gingrich was no rapist, of course.  But the things he did in his past, which he has tried to redeem himself through by converting to Catholicism, though of no importance to Democrats, are disqualifying for a Republican.  I would take Romney over Huntsman or Paul if that was the choice, but I would do so holding my nose.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking Tony for an evening walk cures my ennui

I was feeling depressed Monday.  No sleep the night before and spending my whole day off in front of the laptop had me thinking what's the point.

As four p.m.approached, I found I couldn't get myself primed for Tony coming home from kindergarten.  I dragged myself to the rendezvous point.  It was just going to be him and me as Jenny was in Taixing.  When the van from the kindergarten did come, I put him on my shoulders and found out that he wanted to play with the train simulator program I had on the computer.  I was hoping he wouldn't say that, so I took him for a walk first before I took him home to turn on the computer.  Still, I wanted to get home quickly.  I wasn't interested in watching him play at a playground.

Within minutes of arriving home we were playing with the train software.  I found I couldn't stop myself from letting him try my patience.  Within minutes, we were bickering about who was to control the train and what train we were going to control.

When Jenny arrived home, Tony and I went went to meet her at the local Taiwanese restaurant where they were now serving Hot Pot.  This new addition to their menu turned out to be a disappointment because we served too much soggy and boiled lettuce, and little succulent meat.  Tony added to the dismalness by not being interested in sitting in the restaurant, and by causing me to rise every two minutes to see where he had gotten to.

Walking home from the restaurant, I decided to take Tony for a walk because the evening was cloudless and comfortably coo,l and because I felt a sense of duty. 

I decided to take Tony down a road that passed some neighboring apartment complexes and lead to a park.  We passed about fifty shops before we got to the park, and this made my spirits rise.  My 'hood was interesting I realized, even if it was in a nowhere part of Wuxi.

When we got to the park, it was dark, but Tony recognized it from previous trips, and ran to where the slides and other climbing sets were.  He ascended an exceedingly steep and tall play tower -- full of marvel and concern at his daring, I kept close to him.

I was to be pleasantly surprised as Tony readily acquiesced to my desire to walk on a boardwalk built around the park's lake.  Overlooking the dark park were tall apartment towers under construction and a canopy of stars.  Tony was strangely calm and uncomplaining as we did a circuit of the park and of the nearby apartments.  One time, we did stop throw rocks and clumps of dirt into the lake.  I enjoyed observing the concentric waves formed from my tosses.

Tony was on my shoulders through most of our walk.  But as we were headed back to our apartment and Jenny, he told me that he didn't want to sit on my shoulders and instead wanted to be held in my arms.  He said "Daddy bao-bao! No 1-2-3!" The walk had made him sleepy and he wanted to put his head on my shoulders.  Even though Tony had become too heavy for me to carry in my arms for more than fifty meters, he made my day and wiped out my ennui.

Tony jumps and shots and lies down

Tony jumps and shots and lies down

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 14, 2011: I'm a little bit country. My Republican Love Match. Lunch with Paul and Lilly. Accident aftermaths.

  • After listening to this podcast, I have decided to seek out country music on the Internet.  I think of this new interest as a sign of my continuing intellectual maturity. I feel now that if you really want to open your mind, you have to listen to country music.  Pop Music is generally an urban and pretentious things -- it is noisy and about style -- lyric matters little to it.  Country does express ideas -- not stylish postures.
  • Who is your Republican Presidential candidate love match?  I took this quiz to find mine.  The quiz shows the taker a quote from each of the GOP candidates on nine topics, and so you must pick the one you like the best or most agree with.  The only problem with the quiz  is that you may find yourself agreeing with seven or eight of the quotes, and so you can only choose one based on really uncertain criteria.  The quiz, after my first taking, told me my love match was Mitt Romney which only shows that he can't be trusted to be a true conservative when push comes to shove.  You have to judge Mitt by his actions and his flip-flops, not what he says.
  • Not being satisfied with the quiz result, I took it again and my Republican Presidential candidate love match was Jon Huntsman!  WTF!
  • Clearly the quiz is flawed.  Huntsman, disqualified himself in my book, when he said he was a moderate!  You might as well say you come to work moderately drunk or are moderately honest.
  • The one or two sentence statements, that the quiz asks the taker to decide between, don't really completely encapsulate my thoughts and beliefs about an issue.
  • Third time taking the quiz, my match is Sarah Palin!  Yes!  
  • Will Gorzo the Mighty become the King of China Expats?
  • Yesterday, we had lunch with Paul and Lilly at Mama's on the top floor of Wuxi Yaohan, formerly Ba Bai Ban.  Paul has a blog somewhere on the Internet.  And as soon as he provides me the link I will pass it on.  He, like me, met his wife in Wuxi.  He is very tech savvy, and so unlike me, he is not in this English teaching racket.  I am hoping he can fix up my laptop and websites.
  • Anyway, he is a great guy, he loves China, and he has found a job in Shanghai.  His wife Lily's parents live in Wuxi, and I will get to see them periodically.
  • Tony managed to sit still throughout that lunch because he was able to play with an Ipad.  He gave the evil eye to a boy who stopped to watch him.
  • And the food was good!
  • Wife tells me she saw an accident aftermath scene at an intersection near Casa K.  She saw a man on a motorcycle laying on the ground with a open-eyed and stunned look om his face.  I immediately recalled the time I saw two men laying with similar looks on their faces on a freeway after they had been in a collision with a flatbed truck.  I assumed they that were dead.  Jenny wasn't so sure with her sight.  She said she saw no blood.  I remember seeing blood trickling down the forehead from my incident.
  • Tony has a gun: see this here, and here.
  • Restless Sunday night:  I lay awake.  I was soothing my depressed mood -- it really seemed to be a physical not mental manifestation -- with comforting thoughts.  It was battle of my will and soul against my body.
  • How to get Chinese students to talk.  It is not easy.  I try to talk about things that they have experience with, but even then you have to deal with their natural reticence or shyness.  I think that the educational system forces many of them to be quiet.  Some of the students can barely talk about a whisper.  One kid was so bad that I had to call him mumbles.  Thirty admonitions in the class couldn't change.  I should have put his genitals in a wrench.
  • Another girl gave me the impression that she had never been asked direct questions by a teacher ever.

Andis and his son Tony

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Student has snake. Hides fact from Grandfather.

A student of mine has a pet snake.  Recently, I have been having a class with her every weekend so I have learned a lot about the snake and monitored its status.

The student ordered the snake on the Internet.  She showed me pictures of it.  It was long, thin, and with with dark spots.  As far as I could tell, Blackie was harmless.

When she ordered the snake, she also ordered about a dozen mice to feed it.  But for the first two weeks, she said the snake wasn't eating.

Yesterday however, she reported that the snake had eaten one mouse.  The other mice, she told me, she put in the fridge.  I asked how it was that her grandparents (not her parents,) who she lives with, let her do that with the mice.

I found out that her grandmother lets her do this and doesn't have problems with her having a pet snake.  However, she keeps the fact from her grandfather who she says thinks snakes are bad luck.  Her grandfather normally doesn't enter her room and she puts the snake in the closet.

Friday, November 11, 2011


  • 11/11/11:  To the Chinese it meant singles day.  To me it meant three elevens.  I congratulated a girl at school, whose name is Eleven, on the day.  Even she thought of it as singles day, not triple eleven day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wuxi Tony Update: November 2011

Shut-Up Toy

  • Shut-Up Toy: a toy bought for the purpose of making a child shut up. A shut-up toy is not readily given but held back until the parent thinks that aren't any options to get the child to be quiet.
  • I bought a shut-up toy for Tony yesterday, and I was able to hold off giving it to him for about 30 minutes.
  • Marxism makes whole classes of people illegitimate irregardless of whether as individuals they are good or bad. I know a Thatcher-hater saying she was from a certain class. I remember a self-described Democratic Socialist telling me that a Venezuelan critic of Hugo Chavez, who I had met in China, was probably from the wrong Venezuelan class.
  • Walking with Tony at the People's Square near Casa Kaulins, I saw a man practicing his trumpet playing, another man roller blading with tiny pylons, a woman practicing a goose-step style of sprinting, and the moon shining through the clouds.
  • The infrastructure around here is crumbling so easily. Everything quickly becomes cracked and crumbled.
  • I spent three hours on Monday listening to some very interesting WGN Extension 720 podcasts about Stalin and the Soviet Union. It is hard to wrap my head around how evil Stalin was and how some people in Russia today still think of him as being a wonderful man -- I use the word "wonderful" instead of "great" purposely.
  • Stalin was a man of the Left whose actions were a result of the logic of Marxism. One author said he was an Islamic Fundamentalist in his Marxist zeal. Stalin knew that building a Socialist society required lots of bloodshed. I have had people tell me about "the crimes of America" and they were never as bad as what Stalin as a Leftist did in the Soviet Union.
  • One more thing. The Soviet Union never redeemed itself. Russia hasn't either. America has.
  • The logic of the people who take the Palestinian side of the Israel -- Palestine conflict hold that view, it seems to me, that Israel is not perfect and should be condemned for being so. They never seem to have anything positive to say about the Palestinians. They never say that Palestine is capable of running its own state. They further state that Israel supporters see Israel as doing no wrong -- I can't imagine any Israel supporter readily saying that Israel is perfect, but then the people who are against Israel are engaging in the typical Leftist tactic of saying something, they don't like is not perfect and so it is no good. Israel is the better country in this dispute. Israel is Civilization. The Palestinians have the victim mentality and few, if any, virtues -- a deadly combination.
  • I make the previous point after having listened to this Slate Political gabfest podcast. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the podcast participants said, was a lout. They didn't mention his recent prisoner exchange with the Palestinians -- proof positive that Israel is civilized and Palestine isn't. They then speculated about why the Palestinians haven't tried to further their cause through non-violent means and protests. They shrugged off that thought by saying that Palestine was the product of a culture that was violent. So much in that to make an Israel supporter shake his head.
  • Another smashing column from David Warren. I quote this passage from it: There was no point in arguing with the workman about what he was being paid to do. On near approach one could anyway see he has attitude problems. I would, too, if I had his job; especially if I was as incapable of performing it as he is. For on closer inspection he'd been making a dreadful mess. A tremendous pile of waste rock was accumulating; it took him four or five tries to make any stone fit; and those already laid had irregular gaps between them. I can make similar observations about the quality of the work I see here in China -- Warren observed workers in Canada. Warren's point of describing the worker with the rock is that our current view of Economics is statistical and not practical. The workman had been using a power tool to do his work ineptly when in the past a workman could have done it with a chisel and with great skill. The older workman probably would have added little to the GDP. The modern workman would have had added multiple times more to the GDP. Becoming statistical ciphers instead of true workman instead interested in making durable things, people then go for a tacky consumerism which involves endless acquisition of useless crap. Warren so concludes that the Tawdry Consumerism of today, which has gone gangbusters in China, has stripped labour of its dignity. In my school, I see that most students would consider it beneath them to be a craft worker, but they want all the latest stuff. The workers on all the construction projects in China want the same consumerism, and they have no problems with cutting corners -- put it up as quickly as possible, whatever happens after that isn't our problem.
  • I find many of Warren's columns to be sobering in that I look at myself and become so much more aware of my limitations. I would be more inept that the worker Warren observed. I would be more slip-shod than the workers I observe here in China.
  • I talked to my mother and sister on the phone last night. Dad, I heard, spends most of his time in bed and hasn't been eating. Mom is back home but we worry if she will be able to look after herself over the winter. Chances are they will be selling their house in Spring so they can move into an apartment.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two days off! Oh boy!

  • What am I going to do?  I don't know.  The wife and I will do some grocery shopping.  I am will try and convince her that we should go to Menzhidao, the computer market place, to see if I can get the Operating System to work in Chinese and English.  I asked some of my students who work in IT about this, and from what I understood, they said it was possible.
  • Mom is going to have to sell her home in the spring.  My father is going to have to go into a care home.
  • I think I should teach Foreigners how to understand Wuxi English.  Students keep telling me that they understand my English, but not that of many other foreigners.
  • Is my 4 year old son Tony a playground bully?  Read about it here or here.
  • KFC currently has a Thomas & Friends promotion:  buy a meal, get a Thomas toy.  Tony loves Thomas, as many rare readers may know, and so when we took him into KFC, he got very excited when he saw the promotion signage.  Only problem was that they had run out of toys.  Tony cried and cried when we carried him away.
  • A lot of great podcasts to be downloaded from here.  That is the link for the WGN Extension 720 Show.  Be sure to visit the Audio archives.  I have downloaded some podcasts about Munich 1938, Stalin, and Country Music. 
  • BTW, Here is my list of top ten podcasts:
  1. Econtalk
  2. Radio Derb
  3. Mark Levin Show
  4. The Ricochet Podcast
  5. WGN Extension 720
  6. EWTN podcasts featuring Mother Angelica, Father Groeschel and others.
  7. Charles Adler
  8. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History (I don't recommend his common sense podcast)
  9. Podcasts from Outloud Opinion (Editorials read aloud)
  10. Podcasts from the City Journal (Articles read aloud)
  • Other podcasts that I listen to out a regular basis include the Slate Political Gabfest, some ESPN podcasts, G. Gordon Liddy, In Our Time with Melvin Bragg, History of Rome, the Napoleon Podcast, and Wiretap from the CBC.  The Slate one I listen to just to confirm my notions that Leftists are as silly as I think they are.  I have just started listening to some podcasts which I recommended in an earlier entry.
  • Sorry, I didn't provide links.  I download all these shows through my RSS Reader.  If you can't find the shows send me an email (
  • Tony and I played with the Microsoft Train Simulator last night.  He is getting around to the idea that the steam locomotives are a pain in an ass to play with.  He did spend some time watching the modern commuter trains in action.  I let him try to figure out the software on his own.  He does know how to get out of a simulation he doesn't like.  He just doesn't know how to get into a new one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Should China bail out Europe? Broken Down Bus. Sinica Podcast. My son is a bugger at bedtime.

  • Should China bail out Europe?  That was the question I asked students at my Friday evening English Corner.  None of them said yes.  And when I pointed out to them that China was still a much relatively poorer place than Europe, that the Europeans work but 37 hours a weeks and that they get six weeks of holidays, the students were even less inclined.  I then mentioned the European occupation of China over a hundred years, and the students attitude could then be summed up in two words:  "Screw them!"
  • Saturday morning, the bus, I was taking, broke down.  Everyone got off and caught another one.  I don't think any of the passengers were compensated for their trouble unless they told the driver on the next bus what had happened.  I should have done that but I couldn't be bothered.
  • My son Tony is a bugger at bedtime.  Here is the photographic proof.
  • I have found and recommend to you two informative podcasts about China.  Previously, I mentioned the China History Podcast.  I will say it is very informative.  My only quibble is that I wish the host Laslzo Montgomery would stop telling us about his travel itinerary.  Just get to the history!  please!  The other podcast I have found is the Sinica Podcast.  I have listened to a couple episodes. I will say it is informative, but I can tell that the hosts are generally on the left wing of the political spectrum with their NPR manner of speaking.  As well, they suggested, in one podcast, that North Korea would change if the Americans had a kind of "Nixon goes to China" moment with them.   A patently ridiculous suggestion, of course, coming from the stupid notion that Americans are responsible for all the trouble in the world.  Here is a link to the Sinica Webcast.  I use a rss reader so here is the rss feed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tony on a school field trip

Tony is in the back row, fourth from the left.

You can see more photos of Tony on the field trip: here and here.

No headphones

I took the 610 bus to work Friday morning.  I got a seat as far back in the bus as I could.  

Once seated, I took out my Chinese textbook, and read, all the while wishing I could hear the podcast playing on my mobile phone.  I had just about destroyed another set of earphones.  I would have to put off buying another set for a while since the idea of asking my wife to buy another earphones would be met with her exasperation.

Looking at my book, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the guy besides me was cranking his neck to see what I was looking at.  I just wasn't in a foul-tempered mood just then so I ignored him. 

I then heard him muttering.  I thought he was singing along with music on his mobile phone.  But as I arose from my seat to get off the bus, I noticed he wasn't wearing any earphones.

He was slightly mad, like me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Car Sick

I took a taxi, with one of the Chinese teachers at my school, to an on-site company class.  When we arrived, the Chinese teacher told me she was car sick.  This taxi driver, she said, drove very recklessly.  I was surprised at her reaction because I didn't think the taxi driver had been particularly reckless.  But then I was listening to my podcast and my mind was elsewhere.

I did notice that the taxi driver who took us back to school was crazy, however.  Wearing a baseball cap backwards, this driver looked like a stereotypical western car-thief on a joy ride.  He swerved through traffic, and almost brought on a moment of fright for me as he just missed striking a car, he was passing on the left, that had its turn signals on and was starting to change lanes.  There was no way that car could have seen our taxi until the last instance -- it was the second car to be passed in a quick weaving maneuver being performed by our "joy-driver."

It seems to me that the taxi drivers have become more and more reckless in the time I have been in Wuxi.


I got on the 25 bus Wednesday evening. I took a seat in the back corner of the bus on the side farthest from the exit door. I pulled out my Chinese textbook. I was content to study it as I listened to a podcast on my mobile phone. But, I noticed that this woman and boy sat beside me. The bus was very empty so passengers boarding had a choice of seats. The woman exchanged seats with the boy so he could sit next to me. The boy, wearing coke bottle glasses, noticed my book and he tried to practically stick his head in it. This annoyed to me very much.

Locals staring at what I am reading happens a lot, and I usually try to ignore it, though I am always fighting a feeling of annoyance which prevents me from concentrating.

Wednesday evening, however, I lost my temper. I screamed at them. "Fuck off! Do you think I am some kind of monkey for you to show to your kid!" I also made a rude gesture towards them. I remember looking into the woman's face and not being able to tell if my anger was registering with her. She looked to have an amused and quizzical look on her face.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another empty seat over the bus's rear wheel well, and rushed over to it. I then tried to concentrate on my book, and didn't bother looking back to see how the pair reacted. But the concentrating didn't happen. I felt sheepish as I always do after a burst of anger.

Now, I regret what I did. The detail of the child's glasses which I noticed at the time, I now realize, stupidly you would say, show that he looked in the intrusive manner he did because of his poor eyesight. All I can say in my defense is that the being stared at is hard at times, and I don't like my happy world intruded into. I am too weak sometimes to fight my evil inclinations. I must always keep my guard up – against myself.

This happy world of mine is one where I am king and the lies to myself are unquestioned – but that is another story for another time.

Back to Work

  • I spent my last two days off at home.  Nothing seemed better to me than to play on the Internet and listen to podcasts.  I did take Tony for a bike ride, which I think I just mentioned in a previous entry.  We, that is Jenny and I, went to the nearby Tesco to shop.  There, she successfully talked me out of buying a HDMI cable that would have allowed me to connect my laptop to our big-screen television.  Jenny gave me an ultimatum:  I could have the cable or I could have bread and biscuits.  Thinking about it for ten minutes, I realized that the computer-television connection was probably something that I wouldn't be doing so often.  Tony would get involved so that he and I would start arguing.  I opted for bread and biscuits.
  • Herman Cain had a spot of trouble.  My instinct is that he will get through it.  My suspicion is that he violated some left-wing taboo way back when.  They say Cain is a gentleman, and he has a direct manner about him that Romney doesn't have.  Gentlemen, in this day and age, will do things that are not in keeping with leftist orthodoxies.  Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Obama have done worse things that didn't disqualify them -- it helped that they were Democrats, of course, and so they had lower moral standards to adhere to.  I just don't think Tea Party supporters are going to be cowed into going along with what the establishment types want them to believe.  Cain will probably come out of this stronger.
  • Tony and I played with the Microsoft Train Simulator again.  We were less annoyed with each other than the last time I put on the software for him.  Tony didn't have a fit begging for me to put on the software after supper.  He sat at his little table and used crayons to color for two hours.
  • The Europeans are begging the Chinese to help them with their financial trouble?  This is the continent happily marched into WW1, and that tried to stop wars from ever happening again, only to have to fight WW2.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Ramada near Casa K

Here is a link that tells you all about the big hotel that is next to our apartment complex (which I recently discovered is called the California Villa).

I salivate to hear about their American breakfast.  But it is probably far too expensive.