Acknowledgment: I am turning into a boring person. Perhaps, I have always been a boring person and I shouldn't say I am turning into one. I only admit this because it has really struck me so this week.
Request: I have nothing to ask for this week. I have demands for myself, and I can't ask anyone else to do anything these for me.
The AKIC Week in Brief: Not much to say for myself during the week of the Spring Festival holiday and the historic resignation of a Pope. I stayed in Wuxi. I didn't go to my wife's home village. I read a lot of books on my Ipad when Tony would let me. I didn't do much writing. In fact, I had a very lazy week. I didn't get out of the apartment much and I found on many nights, while I was on one of my electronic devices, that I would be startled by noticing how late it was. Last night, for instance, I was reading until two a.m.
What AKIC Is Reading this Week
Don Colacho's Aphorisms: there are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled myself. I read ten aphorisms at a time. I cut and paste the better ones – they are all profound actually – and I put them in my weekly blog entry.
The Life of Johnson by Boswell. I love to read about Johnson spouting his opinions and thoughts – many of which are memorable like the following: If (said he,) I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation. I have cut-and-pasted a few more passages from the biography below.
Ulysses by James Joyce I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's modernist novel. Delaney is making the novel more understandable and enjoyable. Delaney figures he will do his last ReJoyce Podcast in 22 years. It has been serving as a counterweight to the Catholic works I have been reading.
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. An adventure set in Medieval Europe. A young monk, a rebellious monastery reject, and a soldier-of-adventure team up and join the White Company. There is more to Arthur Conan Doyle than Sherlock Holmes.
History of the Conquest of Peru; with a preliminary view of the civilization of the Incas by William Hickling Prescott. I am really enjoying reading this history. How could a rag-tag bunch of Spaniards conquer an empire? It boggles the mind as one reads.
Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. I finally got my hands on a copy of the e-book! Except for the fact that they don't want to kill Jews and eschew violence, the modern Liberal agrees with pretty much everything that the Fascists and Nazis of the 1930s stood for.
Ancient Rome : from the earliest times down to 476 A. D. by Robert F. Pennell: Finished. A nice concise overview of Roman History. If the author was alive today, I am sure Cole's Notes would have employed him. At the end of this book, there are sample exam questions which I find very intimidating. Maybe there should be exam questions at the end of all books. It would encourage readers to read more attentively, and maybe even encourage them to read the book again.
Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter: From 1958 to 1962, China was a Hell because of insane economic policies. The period isn't talked about much (here) and reading this book, I think of all I have seen in Wuxi in a different light. Why is it that I don't seem to live in a place that is supposed to have thousands of years of history? How is it that anything built here can be so easily flattened and replaced by something new? Why is it that the ancient town near Xihui Park seemed so phony? Simply put, so much of China's past was destroyed in a revolutionary zeal during my lifetime, and this zeal to change carries on.
This Week's Don Colacho Quotes
I will say it again. He is turning me into a reactionary!
998 Certain things are interesting only when lived, others only when imagined.
1035 The imagination is the only place in the world where one can dwell.
1051 A life that has been lived to the fullest is one which delivers to the grave, after long years, an adolescent whom life did not corrupt. My adolescence was my undoing in my life. I have spent my adult life trying to forget what I was like when I was an adolescent. And yet everything that I was when I was an adolescent, I am still now. And I as think about how I am becoming old, I am becoming more comfortable with being that adolescent.
1054 Observing life is too interesting to waste time living it.
1055 The cultivated man is not someone who walks around loaded with answers, but who is capable of asking questions. My way to lesson plan is to make lists and lists of questions. So, there is something that I can say for myself.
1076 To search for the "truth outside of time" is the way to find the "truth of our time."
Whoever searches for the "truth of his time" finds the clichés of the day. This is why I label myself conservative or reactionary. This is why I like the Pope. This is why I hate the Obamas of the world.
1079 The appearance of nationalism in any nation indicates that its originality is in its death throes. I think that I have cut-and-pasted this quote before. It applies to Canada where we no longer celebrate Dominion Day but Canada Day.
Nicholas Farrell: Think about it: Who better to tell white liberal lefties to fuck off than a black pope? I hope that the next Pope is Catholic and not Protestant as many Lefties are demanding.
Doctor Johnson & Boswell: JOHNSON: He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him." So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.' BOSWELL. 'The proverb, I suppose, Sir, means, he must carry a large stock with him to trade with.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir.' On this score, I came to China poor. Not as poor as others I will add, but certainly poorer than someone like Doctor Johnson
Doctor Johnson & Joshua Reynolds: JOHNSON. 'Sir, this is only saying the same thing over again.' SIR JOSHUA. 'No, this is new.' JOHNSON. 'You put it in new words, but it is an old thought. This is one of the disadvantages of wine. It makes a man mistake words for thoughts.'
Monday (the 11th)
I don't work today. It is the third day of my seven day CNY holiday.
It was a do-nothing day. I stayed in bed and read for two hours in the morning. Normally, I would have gotten up but I realized if I had done so, I would have earned my wife's wrath because I wasn't planning on doing any housework. So, I stayed in bed and didn't get into any trouble.
When we did get up, Tony was wanting cheese cake and I was wanting to get out of the house. The wife suggested that we go downtown to buy cheese cake at the 85 degree bakery. We did and I took this photo from the bus. I showed the photo to my wife and she told me that they were in fact selling boiled pears.
In tournament #9, I finished play in Group 1D. So, I am halfway through the group stage of the tournament. With all four groups (five teams in each group) of League 1 finished play, I will now play through the four groups of League 2. Then, I will play the two league championship playoffs. Once they are completed, I will play the 16-team Tournament Championship.
I should have taken a photo. I saw a local fellow with one of these mohawk-like haircuts on the bus. I say mohawk-like because really the fellow's hair was long except around the temples which were shaved. This wouldn't have been so bad to my sensibilities if he hadn't worn, what I thought was, a preposterous all-white outfit which included white jeans and a white fur coat that looked like it was meant to be worn by females. The coat was fur-covered except for the sleeves and had a fur-lined hood.
Tuesday (the 12th)
How did I learn the Pope resigned? From National Review's Morning Jolt. Of course, I was surprised and immediately started surfing the Internet for reaction. I was most eager to hear what David Warren had to say. And he gave the best line: "Lord, do not send us the Pope we deserve."
I liked this Pope. I am sorry to see him go. I liked Benedict as soon as I heard the usual Catholic haters moan his election. The same ones wanted make hay of his having been in the Hitler youth. Like, he was still a Nazi or something! How the experience shaped his faith seemed to be completely beyond their understanding. Anyway, he was a stick-in-the-mud, staunchly conservative, and a reformer. He willing to adapt to what was good about modernity while at the same pointing out what was terribly wrong about it. I pray that the next Pope is of the same mold.
In Tournament #9, I started play in Group A (or Group 2A).
I looked out the window towards the other apartments in the complex. They were so dark, I thought that there surely must have been a power failure. Jenny assured me that all the people weren't home and had left the California Villa complex for the holiday.
Wednesday (the 13th)
The holiday continues.
We will get out of the house today. We will meet a couple, a Brit and a Wuxi girl, downtown at the Grandma's restaurant in Ba Bai Ban, for lunch. Paul, as I like to say, is the eleventh greatest Englishman of all time behind such great ones as Shakespeare, Dickens, Thatcher, Waugh, and Churchill.
I have got Cormac McCarthy on my e-book reader! So many e-books! So little time!
I now classify myself as a teleologicalist and a reactionary.
Thursday (the 14th)
The holiday goes on....
I may get out of the house again.
Wednesday was the busiest day of the holiday for us. We met Paul & Lilly at the Ba Bai Ban Grandma's where we had a wonderful repast. We then proceeded to a teahouse that was near and across the street from the street where Gigi's was once located. The teahouse, which was well-appointed, was also down the street from the former locations of Ronnie's Pub & the old Homemart. We got a tiny private room, and drank tea and ate all sorts of delicious snacks all afternoon. Paul put a VPN on my Ipad and Jenny's Ipad; and straightened out my Apple ID problem – I should have just gotten my own Apple ID to begin with. Paul is a repository of Tech knowledge, the 11th greatest Englishman of all-time, and a drinker of Crown Royal. An enjoyable time was had by all.
About six pm Wednesday, the K family returned to Hui Shan. Tony had a hankering for some KFC, and so I took him. Afterward, we walked through the Hui Shan People's Square and took photos in front of the Year of the Snake display that was there.
Thursday, the K family slept in. I was up early because I had coffee with Hui Shan Michael – a businessman who lives near the Hui Shan Times Century Plaza. He gave me a good low down on Wuxi history. Wuxi's importance comes from it being near the Grand Canal and Lake Taihu. Consequently, Wuxi, said M, was a shipping & receiving point for a great deal of important commodities because of its location. M had many interesting things to tell me about current affairs as well. His feeling about the economy is that it will improve next year – he tells me he has been getting more orders recently. He told me about a businessman living in Phoenix, Arizona who had his sick 85 year old mother airlifted to the USA for medical treatment. The businessman, who moved from Canada because of high taxes, didn't want to deal with the Canadian medical system which was just another NHS.
I talked for M for two hours. I then had to do some shopping at Tesco – we had had coffee at a nearby "western" restaurant. At the Tesco, I had an experience which I swear had never before had happen to me while in a supermarket in China – I saw a cashier not serving customers. I was looking for the shortest line to pay for my groceries when I saw a clerk sitting behind a cash register. That I even noticed her was something of a miracle for, as I said, I had been looking for the shortest line – a cashier not serving any customers was beyond my wildest imaginings. When I saw the clerk, I looked to see if a barrier, used to tell customers the register was out of service, was up. It wasn't. And it was still with trepidation, bordering on slap-myself-in-the-side-of-the-head disbelief that I approached the cashier, and got served. It was so remarkable, I thought, that I told my wife about it, as well as YOU my far-and-in-between readers.
If you don't mind, I have made myself a Crown Royal & Coke. I have been accused of reveling in drunken behavior because I like to make entries like this. I have one beer on a day I don't work.
I am trying to get Tony to do some homework. He is incapable of sitting down and copying out some numbers. He writes one number out, stands up and runs around for ten minutes while asking Mom & Dad all sorts of stupid and repetitive questions, before he is finally coaxed to sit down and can write out one or two numbers and demonstrate yet again that he is incapable of sitting down and concentrating on something other than a computer video.
Friday (the 15th)
Last day of my holiday.
I slept in.
I tried to get some video files to play on my television with no luck. I think I know what I can do now that I have talked to my Shanghai tech source.
In the afternoon, Tony and I took the bus to the new "ancient" town near Xi Hui Park. I took a lot of photos which you can see here.
Tony's behavior was annoying. He only wanted to play the Ipad or with the Ipod. He wasn't the least bit interested in looking at the sights, until we actually got to one. Then, he was kept asking me to buy him a toy which I didn't do because HE HAD ENOUGH TOYS ALREADY! His most appalling act was his wanting to play with the Ipad while we were in the front seat of the #81 Double Decker bus.
In the evening, we had a Facetime conversation with my Tech Source, the eleventh greatest Englishman of all-time, who was in Shanghai.
Saturday (the 16th)
I work today 1000 to 1800.
It was a miracle that I got up in time to get to work. I was lingering in bed in the morning when all-of-a-sudden I realized I had to go to work. After exclaiming shit! I checked my watch to see I had overslept but that if I quickly got ready, I would at work on time with plenty of time to prep for classes.
I got an email from Laslzo Montgomery, host of the China History Podcast. He tells me he will be doing a podcast about the Wu Kingdom. He will make mention of Wuxi he tells me.
Jacko, a student, went to Hong Kong for the Spring Festival so he could buy his fiancee a diamond ring. The students who are nurses were working during the holiday.
Most of the students, like me, were lazy and played with their electronic devices.
On the way home from school, I saw about four foreigners in quick succession. They weren't together. They were just by themselves, but I saw them in a space of four minutes – very unusual in Wuxi.
Tournament #9: I finished play in Group 2A.
Sunday (the 17th)
No work today. I think it is going to be a lazy day.
Last night, Tony & I watched the Wizard of Oz on the Ipad.
These torrents are taking up too much of my time. I have no time to read all the books I have downloaded.
The books on my Ipad all disappeared! There I was, minding my own business, when the pages in the e-book, I was reading, started breaking up – it is the best way I can describe it. I shut the book I was reading at the time and opened another, and the same thing happened. So, clearly there was a software problem and not a corrupt book file to blame. I rebooted the Ipad, and the problem didn't go away. I then noticed that all the books in my collections had disappeared! I had to sync the Ipad with the Itunes program on my laptop to get the books back. It could well be that I have too many books on the Ipad, and I should delete some. But searching on the Internet, I discovered the problem has happened to many another Ibook user. Perhaps, I should use another e-reader app. Perhaps, I should stop playing around with torrents.
I also wasted time because I had inadvertently downloaded some browser-kidnapping software. I had to spend an hour looking through browser preferences and program files to stop the bad effects that the program was having on my browser. And yet the .exe file for the software can't be deleted!
There will be a van to take Tony to school again! Jenny says the school probably had to give hongbao (a red bag full of money) to the government.