Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Entry for January 14 to January 20, 2013

Gratitude: Despite the complaint in the next section of GAR (Gratitude, Acknowledgment, Request), I am not as lonely as I make myself out to be. I have enough contact with others on the Internet to keep me going, for which I am most thankful. Any more contact and I may take it for granted.

Acknowledgment: I don't have any close friends at the moment. I have made a point of cultivating solitude. But if I wasn't, it wouldn't make much difference. There are other reasons why I have no close friends – I am not a good friend. I have had a talent, since my middle school days, of not being able to make any. (I am listening to a podcast series: Aristotle's philosophy of friendship, and it has got me to thinking.)

Request: I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want. So, maybe I need to know what I should want.

The Week Basically: I got my Ipad Mini and I saw a woman do a rather strange thing with chicken breasts.

What AKIC Is Reading this Week

Don Colacho Quotes that I Like This Week

I have created an ebook with approximately 3,000 of Don Colaco's aphorisms. I try to read at least ten of them a day. Here are a few that I have read and pondered this week:

423 Man is more capable of heroic acts than of decent gestures. This is why so many people are assholes. When obvious bad things are there to be combated, they have to make a point of being in the center of everyone's attention when they battle them. But in day-to-day life, their instinct is to demean others as much as they can. Pompous and petty.

424 Modern man calls his ambition a duty.
This describes the need I have to blog.

425 The preaching of progressives has so corrupted us that nobody believes that he is what he is, but only what he did not succeed in being.
This explains this need of many to "find themselves."

427 The first step of wisdom is to admit, with good humor, that our ideas have no reason to interest anybody.
Too often, our ideas aren't our ideas anyway. We got them from someone else and like to show them off in hopes that they make us appear interesting.

476 He who abandons himself to his instincts degrades his face as obviously as he degrades his soul. Maybe this explains the permanent frown I have on my face.

497 To live with lucidity a simple, quiet, discrete life among intelligent books, loving a few beings. This is a life that is devoutly to be wished for... I have that life now! Strangely enough! I just have to learn to be more comfortable with it.

Other Quotes AKIC Likes or Found Interesting

David Warren: I have often suspected that "art history" serves Progress more than it can ever serve Art; that it is like a museum guard who tells you to keep moving. This leads me to think what a stupid cliché "He was ahead of his time" is.

Taki Theodoracopulos: Bill Maher. His political correctness aside, he has a repulsive face, a nose that closely resembles a penis, and a mind so fine that no original idea could violate it. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Geoffrey Miller: China has been running the world's largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China's ever-faster rise as the global superpower. What will the Chinese do with all their old people?

Anthony Esolen: Who is Abraham not? ...He's not Achilles, nursing his wounded pride in his tent, and spitefully praying that the enemy would mow down his fellow Greeks...  Abraham is exceptional for being unexceptional. Don't be like Achilles! Be like Abraham. That's a message for AKIC.

E.D. Hirsch Jr.: It isn't overstating the case to say that the most secure way to predict whether an educational policy is likely to help restore the middle class is to focus on the question: Is this policy likely to expand the vocabularies of 12th-graders? I try to talk to Tony like he is an adult.

Two Interesting Links

  • Intelligent Life on Mars? This entry was made by my sometime co-conspirator HM. As always what HM does is much wittier and well-written than anything I can do.

  • The Edge asks 152 really smart people what they are worried about in 2013.

Things I Don't Like about Living in Wuxi

After having read my list of things I like about living in Wuxi, you were probably thinking Wuxi was the land of milk & honey, the streets were surely paved with gold, all the women were Victoria's Secret models, and you needed to quit what you were doing, abandon your current family, and move here. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but Wuxi isn't perfect – in fact, it is far from it. Here, with apologies to the nice people I have meet from Wuxi, is my list of things I don't like about living in Wuxi:

  1. Drivers never yielding to pedestrians.

  2. Cars cutting off pedestrians crossing the street.

  3. Pedestrians ignoring don't walk signals.

  4. Cars being driven on sidewalks.

  5. Cars being driven on pedestrian paths in public parks.

  6. Cars being driven the wrong way.

  7. Cars and trucks being driven in bicycle paths.

  8. Being watched constantly.

  9. Constant construction.

  10. Commies.

  11. Gray and brown days.

  12. Piles of rubble and garbage everywhere. You can see this in the better parts of town.

  13. Lack of central heating in buildings.

  14. Fireworks.

  15. Brown clothes.

  16. No sense or atmosphere of history. You would ever know that Wuxi has had thousands of years of history.

  17. The obliteration of anything that is old in Wuxi.

  18. Vomit puddles on the street.

  19. Phony temples and phony historical sights.

  20. Public spitting and urination.

  21. Occasional sights of defecating in public.

  22. Shoddy workmanship whether it is in one's apartments or on the roads.

  23. Nerdy Chinese Men. I never meet people who would admit to liking Michael Jackson till I came here.

  24. Would-be Expatriate Sinologists.

  25. Would-be Expatriate Anthropologists.

  26. Pervert Expatriates.

  27. Conspicuous consumption

  28. Line-ups in McDonald's. The locals can screw up a two person lineup.

  29. Queue jumpers.

  30. E-Bikes being driven too fast in pedestrian areas.

  31. Boarding a public bus. It is a fight to which you must bring your elbows.

  32. Locals saying hello to you after they passed by you.

  33. Hearing locals in vehicles saying "laowei" when they pass by you.

  34. It doesn't have a sports team to cheer for.

  35. The locals favorite spectator sports are soccer and basketball.

  36. The locals favorite participation sports are ping-pong and badminton.

  37. Lack of central heating.

  38. The locals habit of opening windows for fresh air in winter!

  39. When I see foreigners, I want to avoid them. I didn't use to feel that way.

  40. In hot weather, the local men will roll up their pants to reveal shins, or their shirts to reveal their abdomens.

  41. Standing on the bus.

  42. There is no cottage cheese.

  43. There is no Tim Horton's.

  44. There is no Wendy's.

  45. It is hard to get good bread.

  46. Holidays are Hell here.

  47. Crowds in Supermarkets.

  48. The lack of imagination of the locals.

  49. The Wuxi local dialect.

  50. Smoking in apartment hallways.

  51. Littering being left in apartment hallways.

  52. Idiotic parking.

A thing or things I like about Wuxi that I may not have mentioned

The list I made of things I like about Wuxi was not complete. In the next few weeks, I will make a point of doing what I am doing here: listings some things about Wuxi that I may not have mentioned:

  • I like walking down Wuxi side streets. I feel then like I am really in the China of my imaginings.

  • Tony's seeming celebrity status.

Monday (the 14th)

  • A day off.

  • I am too proud to try to make friends. Pride is another one of my sins.

  • The plan: the K family will go to the Jinling Hotel for a buffet.

  • We say with a perverse sense of pride that we are no good or ugly. Why do we need to tell people that of our defects? Do we think they can't see them? Do we think that they think that we aren't aware of our defects and have never had a chance to become aware of them? Are we imitating people who are our superiors who tell us of their defects? Pride hasn't been expunged and we may well raise our pride by pretending to be modest.

  • What do I want? I have to fight being drawn to things that I know that I shouldn't be drawn to. I find myself in a state where I stay away and feel pain that I stay away, and yet am well aware of the futility of not staying away. I want something that I can't see while being drawn to things I can't see and know will do me no good.

  • Last night, Tony threw a fit, throwing his arms up in the air. I can't remember what he was mad about.... He got over it.

  • Simone Wiel. Was I attracted to her life or to her thought?

  • Is God an absolute good? It is assumed. What if he wasn't? He would have made the world as it, not changing a thing from that done by a God who was absolutely good.

  • 520 PM: We did go to Jinling Hotel Buffet. I ate my fill. Most of the food was unpalatable but there was enough Western style food to satisfy me. I made myself a vegetable salad with lettuce, chick peas, and Thousand Islands Dressing – something I can only do on a quarterly basis. I had about nine serving of Roast Duck. I ate the one loaf of French bread there was to be had.

  • We, the K family, then went to Carrefour. In the meat section, I saw an old woman take thawed and slimy chicken breasts, and lay them in the bottom of her shopping cart – that is right on the metal grill! I will be telling everyone this anecdote for years to come. I told my wife about it, and she told me that was why she didn't want Tony sitting in shopping carts.

  • We then went to Tesco – the one in Hui Shan near Casa K. Tony was finding the things he wanted and putting them into the shopping cart. Thankfully, he didn't want chicken breasts.

  • How many foreigners I have seen on my days off which are now Sunday and Monday? None.

  • Aristotle's philosophy of friendship by Mark Vernon, a series of twenty podcasts based on lectures done by the great philosopher in 330 B.C., earns my highest recommendation. I found the series on Itunes. The podcasts are no more than five minutes long and very informative. I am bad at friendship, being so selfish and benefit-calculating, so I should listen to this series twice. I have never come close to achieving the highest kind of friendship that Aristotle lectured about – the kind of friendship where one simply enjoys the pleasure of another person's company and all worldly considerations matter not even a fig.

  • I saw an old man walking down the street. He was wearing a long great trench coat and a fur cap. He looked like PLA or from the pre-1980 era. I tried to take a photo but it didn't turn out well.

Tuesday (the 15th)

  • I work 1300-2100 today.

  • Monday evening, I listened to episodes 116 & 117 of the Rejoyce Podcast.

  • In the morning at Casa K, I got up about 730, which is major sleeping in for yours truly. For my wife and son, however, waking up then would be like rising from death. So, while they were sleeping, I was getting ready to go to work and listening to some podcasts.

  • I arrive at work and was surprised to see that there were no classes for me on my desk. It turned out that there was a mistake made by the scheduler. So, I take some classes from the other teachers and go home early.

  • Just as I was arriving at work, I encountered a beggar on the street. Unfortunately for her, I wasn't sure she was begging until I passed her. She was seen by me to have brought out a grasping hand, but her hand was seen from the corner of my eye. That grasping hand struck my arm rather hard and my instincts told me it wasn't worth the bother to go into my bag full of one jiao coins and give her some.

  • I got an email from China History Podcast host Laslzo Montgomery – a response to an email I had recently sent him. I learned his computer is on the fritz and he was forced to use an Ipad to answer emails. When I saw him call me "And is," with the annoying space caused by the IOS spell checker, I knew he wasn't kidding. For the longest time, the Ipad and Ipod would not recognize my name as a valid sleeping and was always splitting it up into "And" and "is."

  • I thought I had put my Jan 14-20 blog file on Evernote. But it wasn't there when I synched it.

  • 215 PM: I spent about two hours preparing my 2013 Best Wuxi Expat Pubs entry.

Wednesday (the 16th)

  • I actually have time to blog at home before I go to work today.

  • 900 AM: The wife and son are asleep.

  • Last night, I had a student who taught German at University. I could tell he had three languages swirling around in his head. I know a wee bit of a French. My Chinese study has caused me to make mixed French-Mandarin statements when trying to speak French. "Je peux parlez yidian francais!" I said once.

  • The Alex Jones confrontation with Piers Morgan that I enjoyed last week has been called a fiasco by some conservative commentators I have listened to. Jones, they said, was a paranoid conspiracy nut and Morgan only had him on his show to discredit the gun-rights cause. Am I discredited? I have never been credited so it doesn't matter. But it goes to show you how labeling is so much important than actual argument in debate. Jones was 95 percent right in the things he said. The way he said them was over the top, but how often are people who don't look nuts, who acted acceptably, 95 percent right in what they say? Obama, when he isn't obscure or meaningless, says more certifiably nutty things. Not to say that I would want this Jones guy to be anywhere near a position of huge responsibility but Obama shouldn't be near any either.

  • Some things are true even when Comrade Borkov says them. They are even true if Alex Jones, President Obama, Piers Morgan, or Andis Kaulins says them. (I saw that a few other bloggers agreed with my assessment of Jone-Morgan Rumble.)

  • 1135 AM: I have arrived at school. I work 1300-2100 today.

  • As I stood on a corner this morning, waiting for a signal telling me it was safe to proceed, an old man on a bike approached me. I had been pacing to and fro, as I am wont to do, but seeing the bike coming I stood still. This confused the old man, and he yelled something along the line of "Woh!", stopped his bike very quickly and jumped off. I have seen many a Wuxi cyclist perform a stop-quickly-and-jump-off-the-bike maneuver in traffic. This is because they won't yield space unless they absolutely have to. In my case, this morning however, the old man was expecting me to do something, but what it was I wasn't sure, though I have a vague theory. I don't think I was in the wrong. I think the old man was expecting to cut around me but I wasn't giving him the space. That is, I decided to stand still at a spot that the old man was expecting to make his turn.

  • I feel aches coming on from old age. But as a friend of mine made me realize, I shouldn't complain that much. He told of having to always take pain relievers on account of having broken bones and separated his shoulders. I haven't broken any bones that I know of.

  • 1205 PM: Today could be the day that the Ipad Mini arrives at Casa Kaulins. But then again, it could arrive tomorrow or the tomorrow after that...

  • I mentioned earlier I like walking down Chinese side streets because they teem with Chinese life that I find agreeable to observe. Here is a photo I took this morning on a side street.

  • 310 PM: I have just finished my English Corner. I felt awkward doing it. All I was doing was running through a list of discussion questions I had made a year ago. Funny how they all look good on paper before the show, but as soon as I am "up on stage," they become clearly inadequate or not worthy of an answer other than "yes" or "no."

  • 545 PM: No more Italian restaurant. I ordered two small pizzas at 500 and I was still waiting at 535. I had to ask for my money back. I shouldn't have sworn at them, but it was a fine way to treat a regular customer. Refer to Don Colacho Aphorism 476.

  • 910 PM: Getting on the bus, I wanted to kick a queue-jumper in the sensitive spot of the back of the leg. I was still fuming about the pizza incident. I almost gave up on the Italian Restaurant before, but I am afraid that this time it is for good.

Thursday (the 17th)

  • I work 1000-2100 today.

  • McDonald's didn't screw up my order.

  • Following along with the Rejoyce Podcast, I am in the third chapter of Ulysses – a chapter that is dense with interior monologue and obscure references. A lot of character Stephen Daedalus's thoughts are blasphemous, but I came upon two arresting lines. First line: --Mother dying come home father. Second line: The aunt thinks you killed your mother. Through the character Daedalus, James Joyce was referring to the death of his mother. When Joyce's mother was dying in Dublin, Joyce had to be summoned from Paris via that telegram message. When my father died, I just happened to be there. There was no summoning email. However, I remember two things at the time of my father's death. I walked into the hospital room. I am sorry, Andis, your father has died... Why weren't you here?!? The sentences were said by two people. I wasn't actually at my father's bedside when he died. I next thing I remember about the instant, was seeing my father, his eyes closed, his head resting toward his left shoulder. His countenance was of someone who was absolutely spent.

  • I was listening to episode #119 of the ReJoyce Podcast. Delaney actually ended the podcast with the first of the two lines I just mentioned. In #120, which I haven't listened to yet, he will talk about the second line.

  • 1100 AM: My morning so far? I prepared for a one student class at ten. The student didn't show up but I could have sworn I saw him sitting in a downstairs office around nine o'clock. So, I do some blogging – all you have seen for this day so far – and then I work on my 700 daily Chinese flashcards.

  • 105 PM: My idea for Tournament #9. There will be 40 teams split into two 20-team leagues. Each league will be divided into four groups of five – the usual four team groups with an expansion team added. Each group will play a single round robin. The first place team earns an automatic berth to the championship tournament and an automatic quarterfinals berth in the league championship. The second and third place teams in each group qualify for the first round of the league championship. In this first round, the second place team will play a sudden-death game against a third place team from another group. The winner of the game advances to the league championship quarterfinals as well as earns a berth in the tournament championship. The fourth and fifth place teams are eliminated from further competition. All the matches in the league championship playoff will be one game sudden death affairs. Ties will be settled by extra turns. The tournament championship will have sixteen teams: the eight group winners from the two leagues as well as the eight winners of the second place – third place playoff game. The first round of the tournament will see four four-team groups play a single round robin. The first place and second place teams will qualify for a eight team sudden-death playoff tournament. The winner of the playoff is the tournament nine champion.

  • I will print out the Tournament #9 sheets today. Tossing will start some next week. Two games a day for almost two months!

  • 130 PM: I am still awaiting the arrival of the Ipad Mini. My wife told me it is being shipped from Fujian province. Just great! If the Mainland and Taiwan went to war, I would be doubly instead of singly screwed!

  • 350 PM: I have just listened to episode #120 of the ReJoyce Podcast. It is the first time, I have listened to it while at school. I will go to Subway for my supper – I mean dinner! (I have said this to the students for eight years.) Fucking prick Kiwi telling me I should say dinner. The guy was angry like an ex-Catholic who wasn't molested by a priest but wish he had been!

  • 445 PM: I have gone to Subway. I got a foot-long B.L.T. 43 RMB! It is more expensive than pizza at the Italian Restaurant but I have made it so I can't return to that place, ever. On the way to and fro, I listened to episode #120A – a baker's dozen episode of the ReJoyce Podcast.

Friday (the 18th)

  • I work 1100-2100 today. No classes till 400 PM.

  • I had a student yesterday tell me she hated seeing cars being driven on sidewalks and the drivers using their horns to make pedestrians get out of their way. When a car doing this would come up behind her with its horn blaring, she wouldn't get out of the way and would instead deliberately walk at a slow pace to delay and stay in the car's way. I loved her me telling me this. I know that my instinct, when in the same situation, is to act as she would. The annoyance I feel is cross-cultural! Thank God!

  • I got up at 715. I meant to get up at 630, however my son Tony was snuggled up to me and it was such a pleasant sensation that I pressed the snooze button five times.

  • Listening to podcasts, my mine swirls with thoughts of Gresham's Law (bad money drives out good), Adam Smith (the idea that gold and metals are wealth is fallacious and evil, and is the guiding principle of Mercantilism), pre-Socratic philosophers, and Aristotle (confidence is a result of hope).

  • 1035 AM: The Ipad Mini still hasn't arrived. I wait for my phone to ring with news that it has. Since my wife is the only one who phones me, I hope to hear the phone chirping when I come back from teaching a class. I know she will phone me when it arrives.

  • Tonight, my English Corner Topic is Books.

  • I made further preparations for the tournament. I named the eight new teams in the tournament – the expansion teams you can also call them. They are A1, B1, C1, D1, A2, B2, C2, and D2. I then created the scheduling format I will use for the five-team group stage. I seeded the teams based on their tournament eight standings. So, the first place team are one seeds, the second place teams are two seeds, and so on. The expansion teams, for scheduling purposes, are five seeds.

  • He had read a really good book. He wanted to tell everyone about it. But the attempts to describe the thoughts and interests he had been so immersed came out flat. Lesson: there is often no point in sharing your joys. Words escape one.

  • 300 PM: I have just listened to the ReJoyce Podcast episode #121.

  • The scene. I sit at the desk. I face toward my laptop which rests on the desktop at an angle from the desktop's edge. Above me to my left, and maybe a little behind me, hangs the jacket I wear for the day. (Today it is my thick and long red parka – it is a little cold out.) The walls of this office are glass. Next door to my left is the money girls office. I hear the two girls chatting away. Across the hallway sit Cici and Elsie – two study advisers. To the right of Cici and Elsie's room is what used to be my old office – Kathy, a marketing girl, sits at her desk. To my right is a metal book shelf. It is full of my assorted papers, magazines, books and things collected over the years. Behind the shelf is the other next door office – the IT guys do their things. On the other side of Cici and Elsie's office is a hallway leading away from my office and the money girl's office. On the hallway's left is the foreign trainer's office. I can hear the laowai chattering away. On the hallway's right and behind Cici and Elsie's office is a larger office where all the other study advisers sit.

  • 305 PM: I don't think the Ipad Mini has arrived. My phone has not rung.

  • 345 PM: The phone rings. I expect good news. Instead, Jenny immediately tells me bad news. The company from which we ordered the Ipad Mini tells her that she would have to wait till Monday (not Monday the 21st but Monday the 28th!). Jenny tells them to go jump in a lake. We will try to buy an Ipad Mini at a shop tomorrow.

  • 500 PM: The female student tells me she is having her period. That's a first for me in my teaching career.

Saturday (the 19th)

  • I work 1000 to 1800.

  • Last night I learned from my wife that she had been scammed on Monday. Thankfully, it was only 100 rmb but it was upsetting. Last Monday, we were coming out of the Hui Shan Times Century Plaza. By the exit was a table with China Mobile signs. My wife went to the table and gave them 100 rmb to put on her phone account. When she gave them her number, she got a message right away on her phone indicating that 100 rmb had been added to her account. So, she didn't bother to get a receipt. The next day, she saw that 100 rmb hadn't been added to her account. She had been scammed. She wasn't the only one – a lot of shoppers had been taken in. What was very disconcerting about the scam was that the scammers had put their table at the main entrance of the Shopping Mall – they could be seen by practically everyone who went there. They had to have been allowed to occupy the such a high traffic spot with the approval of the plaza operators. Either that, or the plaza's security was frightfully lax.

  • 930 AM: Maybe today we will buy an Ipad Mini in the shop. Or rather, we may be able to get the thing. I am expecting to be told that Ipad Minis are out of stock at the moment.

  • .........

  • 1200 Noon: Wife tells me that she bought the Mini for me! I tell her not to bring it to school but to take home. I can wait the five hours!

  • 230 PM: Tony phones me. He wants to unwrap the Ipad now. I tell him to wait.

Sunday (the 20th)

  • I don't work today.

  • Yesterday, I arrived home, from work, at about 530 PM. Tony was waiting for me because he wanted to play with the Ipad Mini. It wasn't to be taken out of the package till I got home.

  • Tony was very impatient. After I opened the package containing the Ipad Mini, Tony didn't seem to understand that I had to spend a few minutes setting up the Ipad, synching it, and putting Apps on it that he might want to play with.

  • Tony got the first crack at using the Mini. After playing with it for three hours, Tony let me play with it – just then, he wanted to watch cartoons and play with his train set.

  • My first observation about my new gadget: the Mini will be a great e-book reader.

  • I was amazed at how much was synched from the Ipod onto my Ipad. The bookmarks in my e-books were brought over.

  • The top ten pubs in the Wuxi China Expatdom. (I made all the banners myself).

  • Last night at midnight, Tony was taking a bath. I wanted him to get out because I wanted to go to sleep. He refused to leave the bath so I had turned off the lights in the bathroom. He cried but finally got out so I could dry and dress him.

  • This morning, all three of us got up about eight. Tony had a drawing class to go to downtown.

  • While Tony was at class, his parents went to Starbucks on Zhongshan Road. From where they sat, they had a bird's eye view of Subway Construction. Andis played with his Ipad Mini and did manage to listen to episodes #122 and #123 of the Rejoyce Podcast.

  • After Tony's class, Jenny went to get her hair washed at the Salon. Tony & Andis went to Parkson's. Andis realized he had forgotten his mobile phone. So, he & Jenny had to arrange to meet at a certain place, at a certain time – the last time people probably did such things on a regular basis was in the Middle Ages. So while Jenny was getting her hair done, Tony & Andis went to the Parkson's and ate at the Burger King. The two of them then went into the department store and visited the toy department – thankfully, nothing turned Tony on. They slowly made their way to the hair salon – it turned out that Jenny had to wait twenty minutes for them.

  • Jenny then had to get her shoes fixed. While she was to do that, Andis & Tony were to spend some time at the Xinhua Bookstore. There, Tony bought another Ultraman book. After about an hour, there was no sign of Mom. So Andis decided to go back to the Starbucks – without a phone, he had to find a place with Wifi in order to communicate with Mom with the Ipod that he hadn't forgotten. Andis learned that Mom had gone to Nanchang Temple Market. So, Andis & Tony slowly made their way toward Nanchang stopping at a Dico's on the way. The Dico's, which is near the school, has Wifi. There, Andis learned, through his Ipod touch, that Jenny was then on her way home. So, Andis & Tony did the same. Jenny got back to Casa K before the boys did.

  • Not bringing the phone made the Sunday afternoon in downtown Wuxi a p.i.t.a. It also didn't help that there were lots and lots of people.

  • 700 PM: Looks like it is going to be another evening of Tony hogging the Ipad Mini.

  • I was listening to the Charles Adler podcast as I am wont to do. One podcast got me to thinking or at least, to observing. Some mother was not happy that Earl's, a preppie upscale Canadian restaurant chain, didn't have facilities for parents of young children. Her complaints garnered attention and were a subject of discussion on the Adler show. Restaurants don't have to be child-friendly if they don't want to, and customers have a right to complain. So there was nothing to debate on that matter as far as I am concerned. What struck me about the podcast was the modern anti-child attitudes of the speakers. Most cultures tolerate children. The idea that a childless person had some rights to not see other people's children would seem strange in most cultures. It would also be thought of as selfish, I am sure. Still, children have their place where they should be seen and not heard. Then, one of the speakers complained about the nerve of people bringing their children to weddings where the invitation clearly stated the wedding was to be children-free. Who would have a children-free wedding? I wouldn't go to such a wedding on principle. People are supposed to have children after they get married right? Isn't that the whole point of marriage? But it sounded like the speaker didn't want to make the same mistakes she made in her first wedding and maybe even her second... I shouldn't be surprised. This is also the modern Western culture that selfishly puts its old people in Care Homes. There is no place for children and old people in mainstream Canadian society – they are inconveniences that stop us from having adult good times! (I am guilty as most Canadians – I am afraid to say.)

  • One of the 152 smart people in above's Edge link, said he didn't believe that humans had free will. He was scientist who was very familiar with the human brain. Certain components of the brain, he said, when damaged or altered in any way, can change our moral decision-making. He sounded like he was going down the genetic determinism road, but he denied it. Anyway, I hope he is wrong about humans not having free will. I think they do though I will readily admit I want this to be so. I think, first off, that his idea of free will is of a will that only a God can have. We aren't gods. We have limitations to deal with. We can't be everywhere. We have to eat. We age. But within these limitations, we do have lots of freedom. We can debate whether we have free will or not. We can think wrong thoughts. Furthermore, the scientist said a free will brain component hadn't been discovered and it seemed very unlikely that it ever would. I say that only a God would be able to discover such things. Scientists aren't gods.

  • The whole question of Free Will is also rather paradoxical. We don't have pure freedom – we are the product of our environment – and yet we can imagine transcending it.

  • 800 PM: Tomorrow, there won't be water in the apartment – is a planned maintenance thing. We will probably stick around the apartment, only going out to eat. We will have to do a lot things with water tonight to prepare. 

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