Friday, December 16, 2011

It isn't cold cold

  • It isn't really that cold in Wuxi these days.  It is cold enough for me to wear long underwear, but I fear I may be overdoing it with my fake Anapurna Jacket.  I find myself wishing it was another five degrees Celsius colder.
  • Christopher Hitchens has died.  I got this news from another trainer at school who then asked if I had heard of him.  I told him I had of course, and how I had read many of his books, sought out his writings on the Internet, and listened to him speak on many a podcast.  Hitchens, was a guy I agreed with about fifty percent of the time.  I wished he could have repudiated his previous Leftism more strongly.  I wished he wasn't such a rabid atheist.  Still, he was a guy you wish was on your side of any intellectual debate.  He supported the Iraq war as I did.  He saw Bill Clinton for what he was: a liar and a rapist.  He saw the vacuity of Obama's 2008 election campaign.  I wonder about his legacy.  He never wrote a classic book despite being a great writer.  His contradictions will always cloud the way many people look at him.  I can appreciate the many who hated him through and through.  But yet, I am with the many who admire him with reservations.
  • A student who I tried to teach on Friday evening told me he had just recently become a father.  I spent some time asking him about the details of his son's birth.  I learned that he wasn't at the hospital when his son was born.  His wife was in his hometown while he was working in Wuxi.  He heard that his wife was in labour about nine p.m.  She gave birth about six a.m. the next morning.  Hearing the news, the student immediately took leave from work.  He took a bus to his hometown -- the ride was five hours.  Try to imagine what it would be like to take a five hour bus ride to see your son for the first time!  I would be pushing the bus to make it go faster, or saying "screw this!  the bus is too slow!", and running to my hometown.  The student's wife was in his hometown so she could be looked after by his mother.  The student will be seeing his son once a month now that his maternity leave is over -- that I would find hard to take.
  • Podcasts I have listened to twice.  You make think of Marc Steyn as an arch right-winger -- not that I think that there is anything wrong with that.  But he does do these excellent podcasts about music that can be found on his website.  I have repeatedly listened to these two podcasts (part 1 and part 2) he has made about Hugh Martin who composed the song "Have yourself a merry Christmas!" -- Steyn manages to get Bob Dylan, Twisted Sister, and Judy Garland into the same podcast.  Steyn's taste in music is wide and wise, without being too snotty.

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