Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chickens, Pigeons and Ducks for Sale

Mice for Sale

Chicks for Sale

September 24 to September 30 Blog Entry

This week was a short work week for me due to the October holiday.  It wasn't all good though.  Problems with my VPN have kept me from uploading videos to Youtube.  Fuck the Great Firewall!

Gratitude  Thank God for holidays!

Acknowledgement I am the villain in my life story.

Request  I need an opportunity to help my wife and Tony.

Canada ain't cool
Canada is better than cool.

Canadian Hockey Players weren't able to keep their cool in the 72 series against the Russians.  But Hockey has never been a game to keep one's cool.

Links of the Week

Quotes of the Week.
Most people just won't re-think, period. Henry Ford famously said hat 95% of people would rather die than think. Weidner's corollary to that rule is that 99% of people would rather die than re-think. (from Random Jottings)

Economics, as Keynes and Hayek( and Marx) knew well is subject to politics, morality, human desire and self-discipline (or the lack of it) habit and tradition. Not to mention the existence or non-existence of the rule of law, the thing which I tend to feel is vital to any truly successful state, and which is itself founded on Christian principles.  (Peter Hitchens -- the brother of Christopher.)

The Wuxi Corrupt Officials
The official NFL Fantasy Team of Wuxi Expats:  The Wuxi Corrupt Officials are 2-0 to begin the 2012 NFL Fantasy Football Season.  They won their second match-up 120-57.

I finished reading Our Mutual Friend, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

I have begun to read the Devils by Dostoevsky and a History of the Long March.

I have discovered  more podcast of interest on Itunes:  Three Martini Lunch, Russian Rulers History, Popup Chinese and Grammar Girl Quickes.  The first Three Martini Lunch podcast is a short and concise right wing and conservative podcast telling the listener all he needs to now about U.S. politics.  The Russian Rulers History podcast is as good as the Chinese History Podcast and Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.  Popup Chinese is useful.  I like its ten minute Mandarin lessons.  They are very informative.  However, when you download the Popup Chinese podcast, you get the Sinaca Podcast where a group of journalists talk about Chinese current affairs.  That podcast can be useful but I have been turned off by its Leftist tone.  Listening to the podcast about the Japanese Chinese island dispute, one of the guests compared a nationalist movement in Japan to the Tea Party.  The guy didn't know WTF he was talking about.

Death of Brutus and the Death of My Dad
Reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the character Brutus has to confront the fact that he is going to die.  He did it seemingly bravely.  I thought about my experience of death - my father's, and I recalled how my father, when told he was going to die, was brave about it too.

Fingerprint taken at work
Instead of swiping a card when I check in and out of work, I will be giving the finger.  That is, I will be inserting a finger in a machine that can recognize my finger print and indicate that I have clocked in.  The school is using this technology because its Chinese workers have found a way to abuse the card-swiping machine.  One Chinese worker will swipe in say three cards: one for his or her self, and the cards of the other workers who can then come in later.

Chicken Hot Pot
I made a video of our trip (that is Jenny and I) to a Chicken Hot Pot Restaurant on Wu Ai Road.  At these types of restaurants, there are cages of chickens by the restaurant entrance.  Patrons can choose or see the chicken that is to be killed and then cooked for them.

If I resolve this week's VPN issues, you will be able to see the video, There's Good Eating in Wuxi #2, on Youtube.

No seat on the bus for Tony & Dad
So an old man beckons Tony to sit with him.  Tony looks with fear at me.  I tell him its okay.

This is a common practice in China for an old person to put a stranger's child on his or her lap on a crowded bus.

Tournament #8
I don't play computer games like many other English teachers in China, thankfully.

What I do is stage multi-team tournaments where the results are determined by the tossing of coins.  I have done this for over forty years.  I remember one time in Kunming where lacking for company, I staged a tournament in my hotel room.  I amused myself with hotel stationery and a coin.

Now, I toss coins on my Ipod Touch and have custom made printed forms to record my results.

This week,  I started my tournament #8.  It has 32 teams divided into eight groups of four, and two leagues of sixteen.  

The tournament starts with each group playing a three game round robin tournament.  Each team's standing in the four team group will determine what competitions they can participate in for the rest of the tournament.  The first place teams gain berths in the tournament championship and in its league championship (League #1 comprises groups 1 to 4.  League #2 comprises groups 5 to 8)  The second place team in each group earns a berth in the league championship and in a tournament championship qualifying playoff.  The third place team earns a berth in the tournament qualifying knock-out tournament.  The fourth place team is eliminated from further competition.

In Tournament #8, the two league championships will be eight team single knock-out affairs. So there will be quarterfinals, semifinals, and a league championship game.

There will be twelve teams in the tournament championship.  The eight group winners will earn berths in the tournament.  The other four berths will be determined as a result of knock-games involving the sixteen second and third place teams.  The second and third place teams from Groups 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8 will each have one berth to compete for respectively.  So three teams from each of the pairs of groups will qualify for the tournament championship.

The championship tournament will have three rounds.  

The first round will have four groups of three teams.  Each group will play a single game round robin.  The top two teams from each group will advance to the second round.  The third place teams will be eliminated.  

In the second round, there will be two groups of four teams.  The two groups will play a single game round robin with a game already played in the first round between the two qualifying teams in each group being counted as a round robin game for the second round standings.  

The first place team in each of the second round groups will earn a berth in the semifinals of the third round: the Championship playoffs.  They will play the winners of the qualifying playoff games between the second and third place teams in each group.  The fourth place team is eliminated.  The semifinal winners will advance to the tournament championship game.

Only once has a team achieved a triple; that is: a group title, a league title, and the tournament championship.  Team G did in this in tournament #2.

Team Y won tournament #7.  They defeated Team P 5-4 in the final.  Trailing 4-0 early in the game, Team Y tied the game with their last toss, and then went onto win the game and the championship in extra tosses.

  • Three days till my holiday begins.
  • I found a podcast about Canadian History.  The podcasts are about eight minutes long.  I download about four at a time.
  • The VPN hasn't been working so well lately.  I worry that I won't be able to upload my videos to Youtube.
  • I did an English Corner about fathers.  One student told me her father died when she was seven years old.  Another told me she hated her father because he had a bad temper.
  • I say someone in a photo looks like someone else.  The person I was speaking to said I was insulting that someone in the photo because the someone else was ugly.  Talk about Chutzpah!  And me being slow on the take, I didn't point it out.  It wasn't I who said anyone was ugly.

  • The sign of which I took a photo, has been filled with signatures.  Reminds me of 1972 when Team Canada was getting posters filled of signatures from Canadian hockey fans.  Although, the nationalism on display in 72 was far more innocuous than what I just witnessed in Wuxi.  I can never see Canadians, even in these days of fatuous "Canada Kicks Ass" nationalism signing posters saying Hans Islands belongs to Canada.
  • While having breakfast at the McDonald's at the corner of Xueqian and Zhongshan roads, I saw a old bearded man with one crutch pulling a cart through the intersection against traffic.  It was astounding sight because the man looked like he had just come from the 19th century and he dodged traffic like Eddie Murphy in the movie Bowfinger.
  • I had a class with a Japanese student in the morning.  I asked her about what had been happening in China vis-a-vis Japan, and she didn't seem to be at all worried.
  • I told the students I liked to travel by train.  They thought me nuts.  It seems their only experience traveling the train is during the holidays where any kind of travel is torturous.

  • Riding the bus, I sometimes pass this huge construction pit.  I would say it is about 30 meters deep and the width of several football fields laid side-by-side.  I didn't notice until today that a canal was running right next to the pit.  How is it that the water or even the canal itself is prevented from flowing into the pit?  Shows how much I know about engineering.
  • I realized I have mixed feelings about the local traffic cops.  Chinese driver, pedestrians and cyclists do awfully selfish things in traffic and my sense of Canadian order wants to seem them punished.  But these cops represent the state which is often high-handed in its dealings with the population who can't be blamed entirely for ignoring the rules the state tries to impose on them.
  • I pass this old man on Zhongshan Road.  He was sitting on the front steps of some business, and looked at me with the curious look that I often get when I pass a local.  He had a slight built and was dressed like a teenager.  His wrinkled face and the glasses he was wearing gave him a dignified and thoughtful countenance.  So his whole being looked so incongruous to me as I passed.
  • It is the 40th anniversary of Paul Henderson's three wonderful game-winning goals against the hockey team of the Soviet Union.  I have made entries, breaking my weekly blog entry habit, to celebrate it.
  • Fa Piao.  Every time, I go to the restaurant, I have to get the Fa Piao, a tax receipt that I must give to the cash lady at school in order to reduce the amount of social security tax I have to pay.  Sometimes, asking for Fa Piao seems to really put out the restaurant.  One restaurant has lost my business because it takes it time in giving me the Fa Piao.
  • The topic for this afternoon's English Corner will be about friends -- something I don't know much about.  Ha Ha!  I will try to segue or segueway to segway to the topics of misanthropy and lonerliness.
  • A holiday for me, but Tony had to go to school.  When I sent him off to school, I promised him we would go trainspotting in the evening.
  • I am happy to not be going to school.  Lazy students drive me mad and make classes pointless.
  • I must have arthritis in my hip.  Some days, it hurts something fierce and it is hard to stand up.  Then, inexplicably, the pain goes away.
  • I complained about neighbors across the way having a dog.  This morning, I heard the honking of duck.  Someone was probably going to cook it today.
  • Team Z defeats Team BB 8-7 in the first round robin game of the group 7 round robin.  Team Z is the defending group and league #2 champion (Tournament #7).  BB won league #2 championships in Tournament #4 and #6.
  • At the local Tesco, I saw a foreigner.  Unfortunately, it was a foreigner I knew and didn't like.  He was once a teacher at our school.  We had fired him and were glad to see the last of him.  Last I heard, he had left town.  So I was stunned and disappointed to see him shopping in my part of Hui Shan.  Some English teachers wander around China, getting fired from one school and then easily finding another school that will hire them.  Hopefully, I and this example of this school-jumping teacher never come close to crossing paths again.  He seemed like a nice person at the interview and the true darkness of his personality came out as soon as he started working.
  • Mashed potatoes for supper.  That makes my day.
  • Tony thought I had asked him to play train videos.  We didn't go out.  Tony wanted to watch train videos on my computer.
  • We will get up at eight a.m. says the wife.  I didn't believe this would happen, and as it is now 830 a.m., my disbelief has been shown to have been justified.
  • The plan: go to Li Hu. (I have a yodeling story idea for my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog).
  • Later: we do go to Li Hu.  On the way, Tony and I looked at the animals in the Nanchang Pet Market.  At Li Hu, we wandered around.  We went into an amusement park that had a very tall Ferris Wheel.  Tony was upset because he wanted to ride the cool rides in the park, but couldn't because he was too young and short.  He eventually rode the rides that his age and size permitted him to ride, like the Ferris Wheel.  I took lots of photos and video of course.
  • Scene:  Newly built road.  Area through which the road runs is full of half-demolished houses and fields of rubble.  Red China flags have been hung on the surrounding street lamps for national day.
  • Two of my favorite writers, Peter Hitchens and David Warren, are anti-car.  They like to mention in their columns that they don't have cars, and I think they have enough money that they could if they wanted.  They both say that they hate cars for the ugliness and anti-humanity  they bring to urban environments.  Of this, they are undoubtedly correct.  In China, where more and more people have cars, and the normal civilized rules of parking and moving on the road aren't followed, government urban planners have created environments full of concrete that are very ugly and depressing to behold.  The planners have created these environments to conform to an idea of a modernity that they believe is car-friendly.  The end result is that any free space has a car parked on it and you can't walk anywhere without having to make way for a car or cross four to six lanes of traffic to get anyway.  The New China will no longer have the compact neighborhoods full of narrow lanes that I love to walk through.  Instead, it will be consist of apartment complexes with tall buildings separated by roads and grass that quickly deteriorate into rubble and muck.
  • The brakes of the 25 bus doth squeak too much.

Tony & Andis at Li Hu

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 28, 1972: Henderson Scores for Canada!

Forty years, I was living in  236 Place Biloudeau in Val Saint Michael, Quebec.  I remember the Canada Russia series was being played, but at the time, I wasn't paying much attention to it.  I have a memory of playing in the back yard while my father was watching the game on a small black and white television which he had put outside.

I wasn't a hockey fan in 1972.  But by 1974 when the Russians played a WHA Team Canada, I was a hockey fan.   in '74, I remember going to the school gymnasium to watch the games, hoping there could be a replay of the magic of 72.

In 1974, the 72 Series was already legendary.  To my young mind in 74, 1972 was a different age, it was eons before.  

In 2012, 2010 was only two years ago, a mere blink of the eye.

Though I wasn't involved with the Summit Series at the time, I have been able to watch replays of all the games since.  I have felt very emotional watching them.  Watching game 2 of the 72 series, I can say that I have never watched a game with more tense atmosphere.

Last week, I watched a documentary of the series, and I was full of adrenalin as I imagined what it must have been like at the time to have watched the series.

Canada beating Russia in the 72 series was like Alexander the Great defeating the Persians.  Like Alexander's soldiers, the Canadian hockey players were tough bad asses.  Like the Persians, the Russians were effeminate and lacked heart.

The Canadian ferocity shocked the Russians who were certainly not unfamiliar with brutality.  Were the Canadians dirty?  No doubt.  But the games in 72 were more than just games.  The Russians were an evil force.  Extremism was no vice in 72.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 17 to September 23 Blog Entry

The week begins with my NFL Fantasy Football Team's first game and my wondering about what will happen between Japan and China, as the Chinese have been stoked by their government.

All are looking forward to the upcoming October holiday.  I will have six days off in  a row.  Most Chinese workers will get eight.
Here are the weekly regular features:

Thank God for all the buffets in Wuxi.

I am an unfriendly sort.  My first instinct when I see someone I know walk down the street is to avoid them.

I want my son to be a good kid who will fight for himself but never bully.

Canada Ain't Cool and not as Leftist as some want it to be
If cool as be thought of as a synonym for interesting, that I thank God that Canada ain't cool.  With things getting interesting between China and Japan, I yearn for the dullness of a Manitoba Provincial Election.

More thoughts about the 1972 Canada Russia Hockey Summit.  If Canada is supposed to be so pacifist (according to a Canadian Leftist), why is it that Canadians and not Americans are prominent in hockey?  How can it be that Americans and even Russians are shocked by the ferocity in which Canadians play hockey?

Links of the Week
Forty things you didn't know about the 1972 Canada Russia Hockey Summit Series

A Love Story in Twenty Two Pictures

This writer is frosted by the support that Obama gets.  
She writes well about her being frosted.  (I would have to say that I am saddened.)

Marc Steyn masterly puts down one Geoffrey Dunn of the Huffington Post  
Steyn had a lot of fun with Leftists seeing racist code-words and dog whistles in everything Conservatives and Republicans say, especially during the recent Republican Convention.  Dunn responded to Steyn by doubling down on the racist assertion and then called Steyn an idiot.  A racist, these days, is really a Conservative who has won an argument with a Leftist.  But I will continue to use it in the old sense.  I abandoned Leftism because I actually took the time to listen to Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, and realized that they weren't racist at all.  In fact, I realized that Conservatives are the ones who have made strides toward creating a color-blind society.  Given the past history of racism in America, America isn't racist but racialist.  That is, nearly all people look at people of different hues and are aware of the different hues, but don't look upon them with animosity.  However, in the case of the most rabid of Leftists, they look at people of minority hues with a patronizing air, and they look at White people with an animosity that is racist.

A book review by Florence King:  one of my favorite female writers.
Below is a collection of thoughts and experiences collected during the week:

Jenny and I go to the Jinling Hotel for a buffet.  I get an idea for my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog:  Buffet Reconnaissance.

In the evening, at the Hui Shan Century Plaza KFC, Tony and I sat across from each other eating chicken wings.  A truly wonderful father-son moment.

Later in the evening, Tony and I had the most incredible wrestling match.  He was trying to grab hold of My Ipod Touch so he could make the car in this driving car game app pink; I was trying to stop him and make the car a black color.  The match ended a draw, as Mom confiscated the Ipod.

The Wuxi Corrupt Officials
As I type this, my fantasy football team is trailing 80 to 68 in its first game of the season.  My opponent's players have all played.  I have one player who hasn't:  my quarterback.  He is Matt Ryan from Atlanta.  He did well in week one, and there is a good chance, he could get me the 13 fantasy points I need to win the game....

...Later.  The Corrupts Win!  The Corrupts Win!  89 - 80!

(The Corrupts are, as I type this later sentence, winning their second game.  I will let you know how they ultimately did, in next week's blog entry.) 

I finish Scenes from my life in Wuxi China #23.

I eat Chao Mian Pian at a Jia Zhou Yang Fang Muslim Restaurant.

I hear nothing about Japanese protests.  I spend my time listening to podcasts with North American concerns.

I do pass a Honda, a Mazda and A Nissan car and notice that none of them has been vandalized.

I was told that a small group of 50 students staged a protest against the Japanese on Zhongshan Road.  There was a much larger gathering in the Wuxi New District.

Civil War Podcasts
I am listening to podcasts about the American Civil War courtesy Itunes.  In one of the podcasts, I heard the speaker gave a passoinate defence of Lincoln against those who say he was a reluctant emancipationist.

I will make a short video about traipsing around Wuxi:  Scenes from My Life in Wuxi #24.

The Chinese version KFC has Wifi and is next door to my school so I go there to update my Ipod touch.

Thursday Evening
One of our Japanese students came to school.  I asked him how he was doing, and he shrugged and sighed.  I told him that I worried about him.  Apparently, Chinese have demanded  war with Japan in his presence.

Paul Krugman is a geek!
Who is Paul Krugman? He is a Nobel Prize Winning Economist of the Keynesian persuasion.

What is a geek? A clever person of limited scope, lacking social skills and practical wisdom about the world.

This explains Krugman's warped Economic views.

I say this because I have come upon this episode of a podcast, called the Geek Galaxy, which had Krugman as a guest.**  Krugman talked about his interest in Science Fiction, and not so much his Economics. Krugman said he was truly steeped in Sci Fi, and I didn't doubt it. He said he read Dune and the Foundation Series – things I have read. He mentioned how people looked down on Sci Fi as literature, and how they shouldn't, but he didn't really talk about why people looked down on it.

Science Fiction, the fiction of Geeks, is looked down on because it isn't very realistic and because it is superficial. Sci Fi often forgets about humans as much as it forgets about science. But Sci Fi is the literature of Geeks after all.

And Krugman's economics is the economics of geeks. What I heard of it in the geek podcast was enough to confirm it. His economics was highly impractical and unwise. Krugman actually posited a future in which people would not need money. In the podcast, he talked about the evil of corporations – a theme from seemingly every science fiction movie ever made.

After the Krugman interview, the podcasts hosts or geeks continued to talk about economics. They talked in an appalling ignorant way about economics mouthing the usual leftist claptrap about evil corporations and about inequality like it meant a neverending unimproving state of poverty for the poorest.

**Why can't Krugman be a guest on Econtalk?  The host of that podcast, Russ Roberts, has said he wants to have Krugman on, but Krugman has declined to do so.  Krugman it would seem is chicken wanting to talk about science fiction with economic ignoramuses.

Friday Evening
One of the students tried to make sentence referencing Japan when I asked him to make a sentence with the word "dangerous."

Talking about Europe, I told the students how evil Karl Marx was.  One of the students then told me that all of the Chinese were Marxists.  Really?!? I replied.

Wore a Long Sleeve Shirt on the Wrong Day
Saturday, it was cool enough for me to say I should have worn a long sleeve shirt.

So, I wore one on Sunday.  Only problem was I shouldn't have.  It warmed up really good overnight.

The Brooklyn Nets
I don't much care for the NBA.  However, I do think it is cool that they have a team in Brooklyn now, called the Brooklyn Nets.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 10 to September 16 Blog Entry

This week:   Another weekly entry where you get your week's dose of AKIC in one dump.  

The world looks to be entering a dark period:  
  • Israel and Iran could go to war.  Japan and China could go to war. 
  • I have has students tell me about their brouhaha with Japan without my asking them.  On the bus and on large video screens around Wuxi, you can see images of the islands.  
  • They are also going nuts again in the Middle East about some stupid movie that no one had heard of till the U.S. ambassador was killed.    Mitt Romney who didn't make the film that the Muslims are mad about, who didn't organize the attacks on the U.S. embassies, who wasn't the person responsible for not reacting to warnings about the attacks, and who didn't make that cowardly statement about tolerating religions, is a bad guy for pointing out the last fact.  And then there is the economy and the NHL could suspend operations because of a strike. Obama could very well be re-elected.
  • Obama could very well be re-elected.

At least, the weather has cooled down in Wuxi.

The school is the school as it has always been since it began to be.

In two weeks, there will be a National Holiday in China.  I will get six days off in a row.  Most Chinese workers will get eight.  I hope to spend the holiday in Wuxi.  I will happily go to Beixin in February.
And now for the regular weekly AKIC features!!!

Gratitude:  Thank God the temperatures in Wuxi are cooling down.

Acknowledgement:  When I get a seat on the bus, I hope that others will yield their seats to the old person who just got on.

Request:  Visit my Youtube Channel and increase my view counts.  I want to be able to say that my videos have been watched over two million times! (In fact, they have if you count my Youku views, but what I am trying to say is that I want two million Youtube views).

Canada ain't cool
It isn't and it shouldn't bother trying to be.  And I am saying this out of affection.

Not having any other Canadians to talk to Wuxi, I find I never talk about Canada at all.  I follow it via podcast.  The concerns of these podcasts are very Canadian and so very provincial, and yet I feel more and more homesick for them.

I wonder if Australians feel the same way, that is about Australia.

Anyway, the Chinese view of Canada is that it is a nice place. They don't know much else about it.  They know a little more about America, but they most always conform to the idea that they think they are the Middle Kingdom.  

The obscurity of Canada in the world suits me.  Canada has a good thing going, being close to the great country of America.  It doesn't have to suffer the burden of greatness that the Americans have and so it can skate through tough times with little effort.

Curling:  can you think of a more uncool sport?  I can.  Synchronized swimming.  Still, Curling is very uncool.  

Curling is a Canadian obsession that will never make it worldwide.  I don't really care if the rest of the world plays it.  It is our excuse to drink.
And now, everything else:  a collection of observations and tweety bird thoughts.
Monday was Teacher's Day
I got one email from a student.

Douche Bag Drivers
From this headline, you may guess that I have been listening to Adam Carolla.

Anyway, there are lots of these kinds of drivers in Wuxi.  Some of them take their expensive sports cars and drive them very fast in traffic.  When I see these cars weaving through traffic, I hope that they have accident -- hopefully with another douche bag in an expensive sports car or a light standard.  

Who are these people?  Are they the spoiled children of kleptocratic parents?  Probably.  

And why don't the police stop them?  Wuxi Police seem to be more into using road blocks than having their cruisers chase speeders.

I have also heard that these children of the kleptocrats laugh at the policemen who give them tickets.

Podcasts I have discovered recently
So many podcasts, so little time!

I have subscribed to:
  •  Alison Rosen is your New Best Friend?  Alison Rosen appears on the Adam Carolla Show which I have started listening to in the last month.  The first episode was stupid modern girl dating and growing-up talk.
  • Donald Kagan's lectures on Ancient Greek  I highly recommend them.
  • The David Pratt Show  He is a talk radio show on Vancouver's CKNW.  I listened to five minutes of the first episode.
  • The Dave Dameshek Football Program  This is the NFL podcast I have chosen.  There are many such podcasts.  I have chosen this one because I have heard Dameshek on Adam Carolla.

Tuesday I had breakfast at the local KFC
I drove the e-bike to it.  

They got my order wrong.

Links of the Week

I don't have them.  Thank God and Knock on Wood!

But I have heard others in the downtown have the problem, even an Expat who owns an apartment in Wuxi.

The problem where I live is ants.  There are so many of them here that when they gather together, they clump.  The solution:  baby powder.

My golden week holiday
I will have six days off from September 29 to October 4.  I hope to stay in Wuxi the entire time, but we got invited to wedding in Beixin on October 2, and it will be hard to get bus tickets for October 2&3.

Tony wasn't a happy camper when I took him to the van that takes him to kindergarten.  Mom and Dad had just scolded him for not wanting to put a shirt on.  When he said good bye to Mom, she said "no good bye!" to him.  I had slapped him on the hand.  And he wasn't all keen on my telling him to behave better.  He gave me the "Oh yeah whatever" look when I kissed him goodbye.

I shoot another commercial for the school in which I have to wear a tie.  I walk into an office and tell the receptionist I have an appointment.  I did just one take.  I would like to have done it again, but it probably would have been worse.

My sister tells me that she is going to Morrissey in concert in Bellingham, Washington State.  Do I wish I was there?  Hard to say.  Morrissey has put on weight.

Cairo and Benghazi
America had coming to them!

Anyone who knows me, knows I don't agree with that, but I know many feel that way.

What thoughts do I have about it?  It looks like a failure of Obama's foreign policy.  It was in Cairo that he made his famous make-nice-to-the-middle-east speech.  In was in Libya, that some Obama sympathizers said that he had found a new foreign policy paradigm.  Come on!   I thought that Obama would make everyone love America.

If any good can come from it, let's hope that it results in Obama's defeat in November.

Quote of the Week:

"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others." - Blessed Pope John Paul II

Friday on the Bus
Sweatpants and pullover.  For the first time since April, I wear them in the house.

My eyes and the Bus 617 driver met as he prevents me from crossing the street.  I was halfway through  crossing when he turned his bus right in front of me.

Nothing to say to some at work.

No seat on the bus.

I didn't observe 9/11 this year.  I should have.

Time to wear a jacket?  Others on the bus have started to....

A car passes our bus rather foolishly I think.  The car driver, a male, cuts it close, weaving between an oncoming meridian and the bus to get ahead.  But he then comes to a red light and the bus pulls up beside.  Hah!!

Friday at School
Oh God!  More talk from some students about hating Japan or wanting to fight Japan over the islands.  Then, a teacher tells me that he is constantly being asked about what he thought about the island controversy.

I had been paying attention to the middle east flareups.  I hadn't though much about the Island controversy.

There is normally no point, or rather no urgency, in following Chinese politics that closely.  It is a dictatorship.

Saturday Blogging on the Bus Ride to Work
Friday evening in one of my classes, a young girl tells me that she was accompanying her friend to the hospital.  Why? I jokingly asked.  To have an abortion she replies.

Oh! I says.  I didn't want to know that.

Anyway.  I do get a seat on the bus.

Saturday: Later
  • Cultural Difference:  Just as the bus was approaching my destination, I saw two boys, probably middle-school aged, share a seat that had become free.  One sat on the other's lap.  
  • McDonald's:  The girl gets my order wrong.  I say nothing.  The mistake wasn't grievous:  instead of getting a double sausage sandwich, I was given the breakfast hot dog.  I knew that mistake was made as soon as the girl entered the order into the register.  I was charged less than I was expecting.  Sometimes, it isn't worth the trouble, and perhaps I would get the girls in trouble, I reason.
  • The Islands are Chinese:  Near the McDonald's on the corner of Zhongshan and Xueqian is a huge video screen.  Going for lunch, I noticed they had pictures of the disputed islands, and I could make out from the Chinese writing that they were saying the islands were Chinese.  This was all in big letters and something is going to happen on September 18th.  Oh my!

Saturday Evening Bus Blogging
Make a sentence with organize I tell the student and so I get:  Students will organize a demonstration against the Japanese  on the 19th.

Then, I tell them to make a sentence with shower:  I can tell you take a shower every day.

Got a seat!  (I have an urge to blog something so I mention this trivial fact!)

Will the bus station big screen say those islands are Chinese?  I just see advertising.

Sunday Morning Bus Blogging
I accompanied Tony, the previous evening, as he rode his bike (with t/w).   I first had to get the bike's tires fixed.  We went to a nearby bike repairman.  Tony knew the way.  All that was needed was to put air in the tires.  The man did it for us and refused payment for the service.

We then went to the square where Tony rode about with the skaters.  Just as it was time to leave, this female skater, a little girl, pushed Tony knocking him and his bike over.  Tony got himself and his bike up.  The girl pushed him down again.  I saw this from a distance and as I walked over, it happened again.  I screamed at Tony angrily and told him to fight back.  He stared at me and just pointed at the girl who watched our scene and backed away.  There was no sign of her parents.  It was time for us to go home anyway so we left the square.  I continued scolding Tony but he didn't understand.

As we walked home, the foreigner and his son were quite the sight.  So much so that this one teenage girl, who was walking ahead of us with two older women, kept staring back at us.  This happens all the time to us in Wuxi, this being stared at, but the way the girl smiled, like she was looking at freaks or clowns, made me feel furious.  If she had been closer when she had given us the look, I would have said WTF to her.

I stand on the bus.  Sunday morning, the 25 bus is always packed.

Sunday at School
Another student asked to make a sentence with a lesson vocabulary word, made a sentence talking about the conflict with the Japanese over some islands.  "They are going to war!" said another student.

What would I do if China and Japan go to war?
I don't know.  It would be an experience.  

But at the back of my mind, I have always wondered what would happen if trouble happened here and I was  in danger.  I have about the time I swore at the locals and imagined them getting back at me.

Whatever happens, happens, I suppose.

Sunday Night and the 1972 Canada Russia Hockey Series
I ran into an American named Ian who lives in my area.  He speaks good Chinese and tells me that Chinese television is showing nothing but the Island controversy, and so the Chinese will talk about nothing else.  He seemed a much nicer fellow that this Canadian guy named Ian who lived in Wuxi for a while.

I  then find my 1972 Canada Russia Hockey Series Documentary DVD and watch it.  I felt very emotional as I watched the video, even after all these years.  There was nothing finer done by Canadians than to put those Left Wing Commie Soviets in their place.  

One thing really struck me about the documentary was how the Canadian players were so emotional and violent during the series.   The violence of the Canadians shocked even the Russians who surely must have been dulled by the brutality of their regime.  That series was more than a sporting competition, it was a war.  M

Mild-mannered Canadians can be violent when the situation demands.  That's why they were the best soldiers in World War Two.

The Canadian Players had some really temper tantrums during the 1972 series.  Watching JP Parise want to beat the referee Kampala in game eight, I thought of my occasional tantrums against the locals here.  Parise checked himself as I have.

Much as I admire America, I will always be Canadian.

September 28 is Paul Henderson Day, or it should be.

The Guards at The Security Shack of the Casa Kaulins Apartment Complex

Don't F@@@ With Me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 3 to September 9 Blog Entry

This week:
  • I signed on for another year with my school.
  • The Wuxi weather started to cool.
  • Tony, I noticed, was sitting on the toilet to take his poos.  He puts a stool in front of the toilet (the stool you sit on!  Not s*** out!) and rests on it while he does his business.
  • The NFL season started.  My (your or Wuxi's) official NFL fantasy football team is called the Wuxi Corrupt Officials.

Now for my regular weekly features:

  I should be thankful that the locals haven't run me out of their country.

Acknowledgement  I am no leader.  I hate having to make people do things they are reluctant to do, and I shirk having to do it where the opportunity arises.

Request  To the power that is:  I hope Tony learns his lessons well, and that his father has the patience to help him.

Canada ain't cool.  It has triumphed via substance!
Here is another attempt on my part to get in the good books of Canadians, but on my terms.

I hate to say it but I can't think of ten Canadian bands that I am really like.  You would think that if I like x number of British Bands, I should like 1/2x number Canadian bands, but I don't.  I might like 1/10x.

But then rock being about coolness and the triumph of style over substance, this lack of famous Canadian Rock Bands is probably a good thing.

There was a provincial election in Quebec.  The separatist Parti Quebecois were elected.  This is the third time for the PQ to form the provincial government.  They may try to hold a another referendum on whether their province should leave confederation, but not having a majority in their legislature, they may not get the chance.  

Listening to Canadian podcasts, I detected sadness about this election result.  From my vantage point in China, it is kind of ridiculous.  Quebec Separatists are the strangest secessionist in the world. 


Below, are the other things I thought to put in this entry as the week of the 3rd to the 9th passed.  Really, a series of tweets.

Itunes U
I am listening to lectures on the American Civil War and Ancient Greece.  The professor lecturing on the American Civil War is no conservative so one has to wait for him to quit his sermonizing and get back to the narrative.  The lectures done by Donald Kagan on Ancient Greece are excellent.  But he shows the deficiency of the University lecture method.  Lectures can be great to sit through like movies but they don't really help you learn much.  Good education involves having coaches and disciplinarians.

Can I think of ten American Rock Bands I like?
The Brits are great at producing Rock Bands.  The American are just okay in comparison and so I wonder if there are ten American bands that I can say I really like...

Here it goes:  Velvet Underground, R.E.M., Dead Kennedys, Van Halen, Husker Du, the Replacements, 

What is currently in the News?
I asked the question in one class.  They are fighting over islands, the Chinese and the Japanese, said one student in a class in which there were six Chinese students and one Japanese student.   As the Chinese student said her bit about the dispute, the Japanese student laughed embarrassingly.  The Chinese student asked me my opinion on the matter but I declined to offer it because I really wasn't aware of the details of the dispute, which was true. 

I should have said they belong to Canada.

I later had a lower level student try to make a sentence with the word "represent" in which he said he wanted to go to the islands and represent China in the fight.

Thursday entries entered into my Ipod as I stood on the bus
A T-shirt, I see, says:  Where is life there is hope!

The Democratic Convention. 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre.  Democrats drop support for Israel on their policy platform.  Can we say that the terrorists of Black September have prevailed?

Traffic on Hui Shan Da Dao, the road to Casa K from Downtown, is heavier than it has ever been.

Put 100 rmb on the bus card which I use to ride the bus.  

I ask a student to make a sentence with the word "young."   She then says:  Some children are young?

Friday entries entered into Ipod, while I was on the bus, and later edited
Woman brings  four  heavy bags onto bus.  It takes her a few minutes to load them on the bus.  

First, she throws the piece of wood that she uses to carry the bags, coolie style, on the bus.   Then, she lugs the four canvas bags  on the bus steps.  They rest at the very front of the bus, blocking the entrance, and so one by one, she then carries them to the back of the bus. 

Links of the week:  anger & Munich.

Tony begins printing letters & numbers.

Quebec has an election.  PQ wins minority.

I get a seat!

Bus sits in traffic at the railway underpass.

Traffic cop waves traffic to turn.  I wonder if it is necessary for him to do this.

Saturday entries entered into the Ipod as I stood on the bus
John Kerrey says America can't afford to outsource the presidency.  Really?!?

To be fair,  he is right but not how he thinks.  He made an argument for not electing Obama which I am sure is not what he meant.  Obama is loved by anti-Americans.

Students always say:  I am so boring!

Students also say things like this:  My mother.  He is short. (They aren't used to feminine and male pronouns.)

And students also say things like this:  I have a travel this weekend.

Narcissist? Moi?  I write a blog so I must be halfway there.  Except for the fact that I just wrote this.  But then, maybe, I am being one of those really cynical narcissists who are well aware of the idea of narcissism, but can lie to oneself and think he isn't a narcissist when he is and knows, but is too proud to admit it.

Saturday night
The name of your fantasy NFL team?  The Wuxi Corrupt Officials.  

My NFL fantasy league draft has taken place.  

My starting quarterback is someone I had never heard of.

Sunday night
The teachers, at my school, went to two bar on the Nanchang Jie Bar Street.  I drank eight beers.  My 2012 alcoholic consumption record.  Usually, I drink one beer per sitting.  I only drink more when I make a video.

Obama or Romney?  Who's gonna win?
I hope Romney wins.  But that is predictable coming from someone who is perceived to be a far-right Republican nut-job.  Be that as it is, Obama is just so wrong, especially on matters economic, that Romney, really a Rino-Squish, looks wonderful by comparison.

(Speaking of the election in China.  One student, when I asked if any students were following the U.S. presidential election, said that Romney was a rich guy, which told me all I needed to know about how the election was being covered in China.)

But back to the question of who is going to win.  I hesitate to make predictions.  People who don't have said that Romney will win in a landslide, Romney will win in a squeaker, Obama will win in a squeaker, and Obama will win in a landslide.  They have good reasons to make these predictions, I am sure.  But I am not so sure, having made so many wrong predictions about what would happen in elections past.  

One person in Wuxi confidently predicted that Obama would win.  But then I remember, hearing a person, in Wuxi, confidently predicting a Kerry landslide in 2004.  Perhaps, this is a good sign.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dad and his Mom

I haven't forgotten about my father.  I just recently added the photo below to my page dedicated to him.

He walks with his mother.  I believe the photo was Quebec about 1972 or 73.  Dad had bought a house in a new subdivision near Quebec City and Valcartier.  The town in which we lived was called either Val Belair or Val St. Michelle.

Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #21: There's Good Eating in Wuxi #1

Sunday, September 2, 2012

August 27 to September 2 Blog Entry

Here, I am at 700 a.m. Monday morning, trying to finish off this entry before my self-imposed deadline!

For me it was just another week, so I have been reduced to writing some descriptions of some things I have seen.

First my regular scheduled features:

Something which I would previously thought to be wonderful is now no big deal.  (See below.  Hint: it happened on Thursday)  Nothing like getting perspective!!

Acknowledgement  I don't buy cigarettes because it is easy to bum them in China.  All I can say in my defense is that if no one around me smoked, I wouldn't feel the urge to smoke.

Request  I ask the powers-that-be to give me more a backbone.

Canada ain't cool, it is full of substance
Another attempt to prove my love for my country, while at the same time, reserving my right to criticize it.

It is cool to be anti-American.  Of this can there be no doubt.  A lot of Canadians fall to this temptation and their hatred of America is probably their quickest reflex.  Strangely, some Americans also fall to this temptation and become self-hating.  This bunch along with the world anti-Americans were absolutely elated when Obama was elected.   Obama was so cool they said.  Some even gave him a prize -- the Nobel Prize for his coolness.

Of course, many Canadians don't share this anti-Americanism.  Many loathe it as much as I do.  I will never forget selling an American Flag I had at a garage sale I held before I came to China.  "This will annoy our Leftist neighbors said the purchasers!" said the purchasers.

Many anti-American Canadians don't do what the logic of anti-Americanism dictates -- boycott all that has a taint of being American.  They couldn't.  So much of what they love about being Canadian comes from the fact that they live so close to America.  They couldn't abandon their favorite TV shows and movies and restaurants.

When it comes to practicalities, no Canadian is anti-American.

So why isn't Canada cool?  It is America's best friend.  Canada and America have a relationship that the EU is trying to impose on Europe.

And now......

The Weather Spites Me
If we had gone out on Monday, it would have rained.  If we had stayed at home, which we did, it wouldn't have rained.  

It didn't rain.

Tuesday Bus Blogging
250 hits for my Niel Armstrong piece.  It was a record for Wuxi China Expatdom Wordpress.  I wrote the piece and published it just before the announcement of his passing away.  I published it late at night and woke up to read of his passing away the next morning on my RSS Reader.

So a trick to getting hits is to write about someone just hours before we know he as died.

Listen to this John Derbyshire Podcast.   It contains a great tribute to Niel Armstrong and America.

Americans versus Americans in the War of 1812.  I listen to a podcast.  I learn that a lot of Canadians, on the American side, were actually Americans who had come to the Canadian colonies to get land -- they weren't loyal to American or the English King.  They were in it for their own self-interest.

I see a t-shirt that says:  Is it too late to be good? 

Looking for observations to make:  
  • A lot of Chinese Woman wear high heel shoes.
  • There are long-haired Chinese males but they have never gone to our school.  The students, especially the females, hate males having long hair.

Traffic cop won't let car go down bike lane.  I don't see how the standoff ends.  I cheer for the traffic cop.

Tuesday Evening
What to do when I see another child hit Tony?  I would hope Tony would fight back so I don't have to.

What to do if a child repeatedly calls you Waiguoren baba?  Hope, I take it gracefully and resist the urge to slap him.

Students say the darnedest things
"I like to watch skyscrapers," said one student.

Another student said "Juice is more fantastic than mineral water!"

I asked the student if mineral water was fantastic, and she replied "no!"

Thursday morning
I wear my black slip-on shoes, black socks and shorts!

I get a seat on the bus.  My machinations pay off.

I see a man wearing jeans, no shirt, and a tattoo of a wolf on his chest.

Pull out my Chinese textbook.

Thursday Commercial Shoot
I was chosen to appear in a commercial for the school.  These commercials are shown on the local transit system video screens.

The idea of these commercials now to show role plays.  Instead of talking about Canada as I had done the previous commercials, I have lunch with a "student" after a class. 

The novelty of being in commercials has quickly worn off for me.  I want to get the things over with so I can prepare for my classes.   When we record them, there is too much standing around for my taste.

And I would have thought it so remarkable, ten years ago, to be have been doing that.  The co-star of the commercial is very pretty was for one thing.

Thursday evening on the 635 Bus
I am listening to the audio of Milton Friedman's TV series Free to Choose.  An interesting thought:  No government created language.  Language was created by people freely associating with themselves.

Student lived in Oz for four years for school.  He could have stayed but he choose to return to China.  Why?  He said he didn't like the life style.  He was lonely.  He also missed his mother.

Paul Ryan shown on bus TV  Still, none of the students would be able to tell me who he is. (The appearance of Clint Eastwood at the Republican Convention was talked about by the teachers at school.  I detected that they were disappointed by what he did.  I, of course, was elated.  I will put him in the Wuxi Expat Hall of Fame.)

Moresky360 hasn't sunk yet.  I remember I wrote a blog entry about it after being told the building had problems because it was built in soft earth.

Friday Evening 
I thought I had put my Ipod Touch in my backpack as I left from school to catch the bus home.  But a thorough search backpack didn't locate my Ipod.  So, I spent my forty minute bus ride home having to think and all I could think about was the question of where I had left it.  Did I leave it on the desk?  Or did I leave it on a table at the restaurant where I had brought it but never used it because I ended up talking to someone?

Saturday Morning
It turned out that I had put my precious Ipod Touch in my backpack.  

As I was getting ready to get to work so I could retrieve precious, I heard its alarm coming from my backpack.  Happily rifling through my bag I was relieved to locate it.

I saw that when I put the Ipod in my bag Friday Evening, I had buried it very well.  After hearing its alarm, it took me two minutes of rifling through my bag to locate my precious.

Sunday morning bus ride
I see a  t-shirt that says:  Don't forget me simplicity man from HK.

Woman smiles at me with look of familiarity.  I don't know who she is.

I stand on bus as sun blares through window.

It is Standing Room Only on the bus.  As it approaches the next stop, I see that  ten people await.  Oh God!  I think, how are they going to find space for them?  

The bus stops.  I hear the bus driver and the trying-to-boarders have a discussion.  

Eventually, the bus moves.  I look to the front and see that the passengers there are more scrunched together.

And more await at the next stop.  This time, the driver quickly opens and closes the door.  He says something which must have gone along the lines of "No Dice!" with a "Wait!" thrown in.

At the next stop, some passengers get off.  Not being able to close the door quickly ,  the driver can be heard arguing with a trying-to-boarder.

A seat near me becomes available.  Another passenger beckons me to sit.  I refuse and pull a nearby old man to the seat.

The day before, I had been beckoned to a seat by old man.  I,  believe-it-or-not, decline to sit and insist that the old man do so.

The locals are sometimes far too kind to me.

Chinese Traditional Values
I readily tell the Chinese I am married.  I don't tell them that I married late, however.  It is my shame. If I was Chinese, I couldn't have married at my age.  I was lucky that I had a status that I couldn't have had in Canada and that the girls in China were traditional.

The Chinese view of marriage and the pressure that is put on the Chinese to get married has existed in most cultures for most of human history.  Western civilization has evolved to the point where many of its members think it is some kind of imposition to be asked why they aren't married.  It is unique in that view in human history.  To not put pressure on young people to marry is unnatural and inhumane.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Kaulins Family of Wuxi, China all Get Haircuts

When I say get haircuts, I don't mean that they lent their money to Greece, I mean they all went to the Salon on Saturday night and had their coifs reformed.

Tony Kaulins

Jenny Kaulins

Andis Kaulins