Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: September 2 to September 8, 2013

Gratitude:  I am thankful for food and beer. I am also thankful that I saw the Obama was no good from the first time I heard of him. So there is one thing I don't answer for!!!
Acknowledgment: I am one of those passive-aggressive types.
Requests: Please visit Views of China from Casa Kaulins! Lots of interesting things to be seen if you spend a little time exploring it. Also be sure to visit the page dedicated to my father and my new fantasy football site. Also, let's pray that Obama can do the right and honorable thing vis-a-via Syria. [Be that as it may, I am bashing Obama every chance I can in this week's blog entry. I have been holding back the last year or so. I think it is fine time I let some steam off!]

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was Tony's first week in Primary School and a radical change in our schedule. Tony has to be at school at 7:20 AM, and so he goes to bed before I arrive home from work. I started up a new blog for my fantasy football team. With a shrug of my shoulders, I observed the stupidity of Obama in the matter of Syria.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things you don't know about, like places and people I mention in the entries below, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China!  我住在惠山新区。再回山,我和我孩子很喜欢看火车。

I am Canadian! On two separate occasions, I lived in Oromocto, New Brunswick.

I am Latvian (sort of)! Isiah Berlin was born in Riga. He is the most famous person to have come from that country.

I am a product of the Latvian diaspora.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! Living in the Age of Obama, one has to think of eternal things in order to keep one's sanity.

I am not a freak! Perhaps in the age I live in, I am.
I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
Don Colacho's Aphorisms.  There are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for 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. (See below)
Ulysses by James Joyce.  I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #170 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead of Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished my reading of it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   I am reading a chapter, or more, a day of the greatest book of all-time. I have finished the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus, the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Philemon and am now reading the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place its contents on the Dotdotdot app.

Diary of a Nobody by Weedon Goldsmith. Finished. I don't know if I got this book because I liked the title or because I found a recommendation for it on the Web. Either way, I like it. It is funny! Mister Gowing is coming, and Mister Cummings is going! What fun! And I now know of a manner in which to write my diary...

The Limits of Pure Democracy by WH Mallock. I am reading this book on the recommendation of David Warren who says it is essential reading for students of political science. Pure Democracy is logistically impossible says Mallock who provides countless detailed examples of how attempts at democracy always seem to lead to a situation where some sort of oligarchy is required. I won't be able to look at talk about Democracy in the same way because of what I have read in this book so far.

General Gordon by Seton Churchill. This is the General who helped in the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion. This biography, subtitled Christian Hero, depicts a military Christian who wouldn't stand muster among modern PC types. But I can help but find Chinese Gordon to be a more humane and a genuinely decent man than even the least selfish of today. Gordon is a genuine hero who puts the likes of Barabbas Obama and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton to shame.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
Here are the Don Colachoisms that I cut and pasted this week:

57 Spasms of injured vanity, or of greed trampled underfoot—democratic doctrines invent the evils they denounce in order to justify the good they proclaim.

61 The momentary beauty of the instant is the only thing in the universe which accords with the deepest desire of our souls.

62 In medieval society, society is the state; in the bourgeois society, state and society confront each other; in the Communist society, the state is society.

67 Vulgarity consists in striving to be what we are not. [This blog must be a veritable fountain of vulgarity.]

76 Whoever does not turn his back on the contemporary world dishonors himself.

78 We only have those virtues and those flaws which we do not suspect.

79 The soul grows inwards. [I wish this was true.]

82 Write concisely, so as to finish before making the reader sick. [Good advice!]

92 The prestige of “culture” makes the fool eat though he is not hungry. [I have noticed this phenomenon and asked my students about it in some my classes about culture.]

94 History shows not the inefficacy of actions but the futility of intentions.

96 The arguments with which we justify our conduct are often dumber than our actual conduct. It is more tolerable to watch men live than to hear them spout their opinions.
102 To think like our contemporaries is the prescription for prosperity and for stupidity.

106 We need people to contradict us in order to refine our ideas. [Oh God! My life is bereft of people contradicting me.]

117 Mankind believes that it corrects its mistakes by repeating them.

118 He who understands least is he who stubbornly insists on understanding more than can be understood.

119 Civilization is what old men manage to salvage from the onslaught of young idealists. [That could be a purpose of this blog and the latter stage of my life.]

120 Thinking does not prepare one to live, nor does living prepare one to think.

124 To depend solely on God’s will is our true autonomy.

125 Eloquence is the child of presumption. [That is why it is best to keep one's mouth shut.]

129 The idea of another only interests the fool when it touches on his own personal tribulations. [That is why complaining with others is such a joy.]

132 Who does not fear that the most trivial of his present moments will seem a lost paradise in years to come?

135 Despair is the dark valley through which the soul ascends toward a universe no longer sullied by greed. [Makes me happy to feel despair, this aphorism does.]

136 Nothing is more dangerous than to solve ephemeral problems with permanent solutions. [Ever notice how government programs designed to solve some social ill never go away?]

Here is one quote from David Warren: To my mind, the election of Obama was a mistake; his re-election an unforgiveable mistake, on the part of the American people. Neither USA nor allies could afford eight years of hollow at the centre of Western power. [I am in complete agreement with this quote. Here are some thoughts it causes me to have: I despise anti-Americanism. People who spout such beliefs are to be shunned like Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen or Socialists. I believe America is a decent country which has done its best to use the power it has in a good way. When anti-Americans like to talk of the faults of America, they are missing the point. So America isn't perfect but it is lot better than the rest of the world who envy what America has and has been able to do... But then the Americans had to elect Obama. Now, anti-Americans love Obama. What is a person who likes America, Americans, and despises anti-Americans to make of this? It would seem that maybe the anti-Americans are right and America is irredeemable. After all, America did elect Obama – a dumb thing to do. But anti-Americans praised his election. So it is ironic, that the election of Obama, an event of great joy to anti-Americans, is proof that perhaps America now is irredeemable.]

I fashion myself to be a 21st Century Pepys
Monday [September 2]
Tony is at Primary School now. God, I hope he is doing okay.

I don't work today.

I got an email form Laslzo Montgomery of the China History Podcast. He told me he had a good writeup in the South China Morning Post.

I launched my Wuxi Peach Maoists website this morning. The Peach Maoists are Wuxi's official NFL fantasy football team. Why the name Wuxi Peach Maoists? It is tongue-in-cheek but I have my reasons. Where my mother lives in Canada, the team's main sports team is called the Brandon Wheat Kings. Brandon has a lot of wheat; Wuxi is famous for its peaches. Brandon is located in a country whose system of government evolved from a constitutional monarchy, hence the Kings; Wuxi is located in a country created by Maoists, hence the Maoists. The logo which is a pop art image of Mao superimposed on a peach is meant to resemble the logo of the Washington Redskins who I hope will not buck into PC pressure and change their name.

Tuesday [September 3]
[Home Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today.

Yesterday, I spent the day at home. With Tony having gone to school so early in the morning, there was a change in the Casa Kaulins routine which required a day at home to recover from. I took the time to start up my Wuxi Peach Maoists website, convert about six movies from avi to mp4 format, watch the rest of the Japanese film Shall We Dance, produce and upload Scenes from My Life in Wuxi China #46, and read.

Yesterday, Jenny had a visitor who wanted to see the photos I had on my laptop so I pulled out the photos I had scanned from my family photo albums. Looking at the photos from my past, the visitor thought that we were rich. I told her that in the Canadian context, we weren't. I also came upon a photo of myself wearing a graduation cap. I was probably about six or seven, Tony's current age, when the photo was taken so, using a photo software program, I put the old photo of me and a photo taken of Tony wearing a graduation cap together.

Yesterday evening, I took Tony, on his request, to a park. He brought along his push-bike but unthinkingly threw it to the ground when alternative chances for fun appeared. He instead grabbed a thin branch and ran around with another little boy; and they took to whacking bushes. He also got on some other boy's bicycle and rode it around while that boy played with his push-bike. He drove me mad!!

While Tony played, I read Don Colacho on My Ipod.

Shall We Dance was a charming movie. This Japanese office worker sees a melancholy but pretty looking woman standing in the window of a dance studio, and decides to take up ballroom dancing. He keeps the fact of his doing so from his wife and child. While dancing, he meets an interesting cast of characters, overcomes his infatuation with the pretty woman, who is a professional dancer, and becomes a decent dancer himself.

Tony fell asleep, my Ipad in his hand, at about 8:40 PM! Wonderful! Cross our fingers and hope that this become his new routine!!

This morning, Jenny and Tony were on the road at 7:00 AM!

[School Laptop]
I took the 602 bus (not the 602!) and the 81 bus (a double-decker) to school today. I noticed that the 81's windshield on the second deck was cracked on the top passenger-side corner. If there is ever going to be a smashed windshield on a double-decker bus, that top passenger-side corner is the place that you would most likely see a smash occur.

At the 85 Degree Bakery, I chanced to see a young girl, quite pretty, wearing shorts that were beyond what I would have thought was the acceptable level of modesty. She might just as well have been wearing her underwear. [LECTOR: You are a pervert for having noticed that and then deciding to write about it in righteous terms! ANDIS: True enough, but I needed something to journalize about. I couldn't help, even at my advanced age, to have noticed and been struck by it.]

Wednesday [September 4]
[Home Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today.

Last night, Tony was fast asleep when I got home. It has been a rare thing but I expect to see more of it for the school year.

I have downloaded two episodes of Views of China from Casa Kaulins; episodes #15 and #16 to be exact. I did this despite reading a Taki's Magazine screed against the tweeting habit which correctly pointed out that constant exposure of one's self to the Internet was narcissistic.

Hey world! Look at AKIC and all its subsidiary blogs, and see what an interesting life I lead! That is the basic theme of all of I do on the Internet. [LECTOR: Amen!]

Hey world! See what a beautiful child I have!

Hey world! See what profundity I am capable of!

I finished watching The Naked Spur, another James Stewart Western. The film had a good story and was shot in the Rockies of Colorado. I downloaded it via torrent.

[School Laptop]
I took the #25 bus to work today. If I see the 602drive by while I am on the way to the bus stop, I know that I would be in for a long wait for the next one so I hop on an empty 25 if one happens to show up.

Sight of the day: A red headed Chinese person or perhaps an albino man boarded the 25 bus. He was dressed for business and was carrying a bag with a shoulder strap. He had this mischievous grin on his face and for a brief moment, he suspended himself above the floor by hanging onto to the overhead bar used for passengers who have to stand..

I just listened to the China History Podcast 123. It had a rather obscure topic I thought: the history of the Chinese diaspora in Mexico, but listening to it, I could not help but be engrossed. The Mexican Chinese became victims of nationalist forces unleashed by Mexico's 1910 revolution.

An engineer from Johnson Controls talked to me of PM, by which I think he meant Planned Maintenance or Periodic Maintenance. My thoughts then gravitated to the PM of my creation: The Wuxi Peach Maoists. My PM's will have their first match-up this upcoming weekend.

今天,我开写中文在我的日记。今天,我有五个课。第一课,我受教英文的衣服的词。I mean to say that today I will begin to write Chinese words in my diary. I have five classes today. My first class, I will talk about English clothing words.

I just noticed that I haven't smoked a cigarette in a while. The last time I may have smoked one was in late July. How I have managed to do it? I have made the spending of money on smoking anathema to my very being and I have avoided being near people who may offer me cigarettes.

Are they “the students” or “my students?” I call them “the students.” I hear other teacher use “my.' This practice on the part of other teachers seem self-aggrandizing to me. Other professions talk of “my clients” or “my patients” and so teachers hearing this want to create similar aura of importance for themselves. I will have none of it. [LECTOR: Thereby creating your own aura of righteousness...]

He doesn't look me in the eye. Coward. [LECTOR: You are not the only one! Ha!]

Thursday [September 5, 2013]
[School Laptop]
Last night, a student told me that there had been a great explosion at Hynix in the Wuxi New District. The fire was black and lasted for at least two hours. This is not the first time I have heard of this: I had a student tell me that there a tire factory in the WND that had been on fire as well months ago.

今天,下雨。Today, Rain.

Last night, both Tony and Jenny were asleep when I arrived home. At supper time, I had tried to phone Tony just so I could talk him other than at the short time in the morning when he is getting ready to go to school.

Thanks to my Wuxi Google alert, I read a story about corruption involving land in the Binhu District. That district government, said the article, was flipping land in order to get cash. As well, the government was stealing land from residents. I have been told that the Hui Shan New District, where I reside, is having similar problems. I was told that the local government there had made its money by selling all its land and now was lacking in cash sources. It seems Bin Hu has tried to solve a similar cash problem by land flipping which sounds eerily similar to the real estate flipping that was taking place in America before 2008.

我看书在我的IpadI read books on my Ipad.



Friday [September 6] 星期六【九日六号】
[School Laptop]
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today. However, I will be home early. I will do a demo class between five and six this afternoon.

It is raining this morning, not in summer torrents but in an autumn shower. Jenny & Tony rode to school via e-bike in the rain but they won't be doing so next week when Tony will have a ride to school.

This new early morning routine has everybody, even me, feeling tired.

I was listening to this podcast about plastic bag bans in the U.S. In Wuxi, you have to pay a few extra maos if you want to get a plastic bag; in many American cities, they have banned plastic bags entirely. I can't imagine how people could function. The podcast talked of shoppers driving a little extra distance to go to jurisdictions with no plastic bag bans. As well, relatives are bringing plastic bags from jurisdictions without the bag ban to relatives in jurisdictions who are subject to it.

I can almost say that I don't have loose lips. I do however have loose typing hands with which I may not commit any slanders against anyone in particular but I do slander groups as a whole. So my silence though laudatory is not accompanied by any corresponding virtuous action; and I don't use my lips in even the smallest way to promote virtue.

Since I will continue to prep for this demo class, this is all I will do today for journalizing.

Saturday [September 7]
[School Laptop]
I was at on the grounds of Jiangnan University yesterday evening. The first time, in my nine years of being in Wuxi, to have been there. I saw a lot of buildings and a stadium, but I didn't leave the place with any impressions.

I was near campus in order to do a demo class for a software company whose offices are nearby.

I got home about 7:30 PM last evening, and of course Tony took the opportunity to play with my Ipad. He feel asleep with it while having placed it on a pillow so he could watch it will falling asleep – it made for a great photo.

I finished watching the Far Country, another Western starring James Stewart. I enjoyed it. It was set in the Yukon and Alaska territories but, as I suspected it, was actually filmed in Alberta.

Last night, I started watching Bend of the River, yet another Western starring James Stewart. I will have to put him in the pantheon of Western Stars which includes John Wayne. I can't help but be taken with Stewart's aw-schucks and taciturn acting methods, and his tall & lean physique which is not in fashion thanks to that modern cult of body. It is probably true to say that when acting in movies, less is more, and Stewart does this to a tee.

Last night, I was told of a young men, just getting out of university, whose rich factory-owning fathers were buying them Audis. I commented that if I had the money, I wouldn't be spoiling my child in that manner. I will spoil him on the cheap...

If you want to ruin the society from which you benefit, spoil your children.

Is the word “than” a preposition or a conjunction? I had stupidly thought that it was a preposition, and hence I told the students that you could say “I am happier than him” or “I am happier than he is” and not say “I am happier than he” based on the assumption that the “than” was a preposition. If “than” is a preposition then you couldn't say “than he” because “he” could not be the object of a preposition.

But then this morning, a student told me that he was told that “than” was a conjunction. I told him that I had assumed that it was a preposition, but I immediately went to look at my references and search on the Internet to check. It seems that it is okay to say “happier than he” because the “is” is often assumed, and that maybe “happier than him” is incorrect because the “than” is said to be a conjunction. Swan's Practical English Grammar says that “happier than him” is correct in an informal style, but “happier than he” is correct in a formal style. On the Internet, I read that some grammarians say that “than” can be thought of a preposition, and there may even be controversy about this, but most of the time “than” acts like a conjunction, a coordinating conjunction in fact. The fact that “than” is in fact a coordinating conjunction is the cause of the confusion I had on the matter for you can really slap two independent clauses together with a “than.”

So, lets look at the following phrases using “than:”
  1. I am happier than he.
  2. I am happier than him.
  3. She likes me more than him.
  4. She likes me more than he does.
  5. She likes tea more than him.
  6. She likes tea more than he.

From what I have learned, sentence #1 and #2 are correct, although I would say I am happier than he is, and not assume anything. Sentences #3 and #4 have very different meanings. In #3, it is a question of “she likes me” or “she likes him;” in #4, it is a question of “she likes me” or “he likes me.” The same problems arise with sentences #5 and #6. Sentence #5 is a question of whether she likes tea more or she likes him more; while Sentence #6 answers the question of who likes tea more. So, I am going to have to be more careful when I talk about comparisons. Now, I think that “than” is a conjunction in #4 and #6 most certainly; the other four examples, I am not certain. And #6, I would say as follows: She likes tea more than he likes tea.

Sunday [September 8]
[School Laptop]
Last night after work, I went straight to a restaurant in the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza. This restaurant was so big that it had two floors, each about a football field long, and its own elevator. I went there because Jenny was treating the family who will give Tony a drive to primary school and back.

The food was standard China banquet food. Okay but boring if you have eaten as many times as I have. I ended up drinking about four bottles of beer and felt sick for the rest of the evening and through the night where I couldn't sleep. I woke this morning with a headache and my day's opening bowel movement was a wet and dark one. Clearly I had had something that wasn't good for me last night.

It is now evening:
  • I lazed around all day more or less. I did vacuum around the house and clean behind the toilet where I discovered the plunger that I had thought Jenny had thrown away.
  • I took photos for my Casa Kaulins Blog.
  • I filmed, edited, and uploaded Views of China from Casa Kaulins #17.
  • I read some of the General Gordon biography. He was a hero who exhibited real courage unlike Obama.
  • It took a while to coax Tony but I got him out of Casa Kaulins and onto the Kaulins Family China E-Bike which we took to Jiangyin for a bit of train-spotting. We went to the area near the Xiake park where I had recorded some scenes for Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #46.
  • Tony acted strangely on the outing. As soon as we got to our train-spotting spot, Tony wanted to leave. He first talked of going to the Wanda Plaza but I would have nothing of that. He then told me that it was going to rain. Making our way back, Tony then insisted on stopping at a few places on the way.
  • Dogs that we passed were not very friendly. We even had one chase us a ways.
  • We did encounter this friendly old woman who was on a pedal bike. Seeing Tony run on the road, she expressed concern when she saw him stumble onto the pavement.


No comments: