Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: September 9 to September 15, 2013

Gratitude:  Thank God that time sometimes flies.

Acknowledgement: In the bio I recently read about “Chinese Gordon,” I highlighted this quote: Among the false reports that have been circulated about General Gordon is one that he was very unsociable and morose… I hereby acknowledge that I am unsociable and morose.

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.

The AKIC Week in Brief: Towards the end of the week, I had some great news. Other than that, it was just another week. I went to work, didn't talk to anyone except students, played with Tony when I could, saw my Wuxi Peach Maoists struggle,and spent a lot of time on the Ipad.

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!  现在,在无锡,我的家在加州洋房。加州洋房 有很多汽车!

I am Canadian! I have met a lot of Chinese who want to immigrate to Canada. Canada has worsen in some ways, but it is not a bad place to live compared to many other parts of the world.

I am Latvian (sort of)! I just got an email from a Latvian wanting to teach English. Unfortunately, he has a Latvian passport.

Wuxi Peach Maoists Update: Visit here to find out how Your Peach Maoists did in week one.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! Much as I hate to see America humiliated as it has been in the past week. I can take some satisfaction that it is President Obama who has the mud on his face.

I teach English! It pays the bills and I can afford to have a son and a stay-at-home wife.
I am not a freak! The fact that I am insisting I am not a freak may well mean that I am. But then again, my acknowledging that I may well be a freak may be a mitigating factor against my not being one!
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 the Hebrews and I am now reading the the General Epistle of James.

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.

The Limits of Pure Democracy by WH Mallock. In this book, I read of numerous experiments in Socialist living that were conducted in the 19th century. All of them ended in disaster and eventually these communities had to become normal capitalist communities. So many lives could have been saved if more people had heeded the lessons of these experiments. For in reading of the 19th century socialist experiments, one could see the traces of the massive human tragedies that resulted from Socialist experiments in China and Russia. For all the contradictions, the inconsistencies, and the eventual having to go back to Capitalist methods that took place in China and Russia took place in these experiments in Paraguay, America, and Australia at least a half-century earlier.

The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence. The Donglin Building in Wuxi, China gets a mention at the start of this book. It was a place where intellectuals in the late Ming Dynasty debated how to save China.

General Gordon by Seton Churchill. Finished. Gordon was a genuinely heroic figure, the likes of which we don't see in this day and age.

Mao Zedong: Man, Not God by Quan Yanchi. This book was translated into English by the Foreign Language Press in Beijing. Chairman Mao was in tears during the Great Famine of 1959 to 1961. I am reading this hagiography because it was a gift.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
From the General Gordon Biography:
Among the false reports that have been circulated about General Gordon is one that he was very unsociable and morose, shunning society in general... [If they said it about me, it would be true.]

Here are the Don Colachoisms that I cut and pasted this week:
136 Nothing is more dangerous than to solve ephemeral problems with permanent solutions.
149 Nothing is rarer than someone who affirms, or denies, but does not exaggerate in order to flatter or to injure.
150 How routine insults are today proves our ignorance in the art of living.
151 Those who are partially wrong irritate us; those who are totally wrong amuse us.
[Socialists and Leftists irritate me.]
157 Nobody is completely lacking in qualities able to arouse our respect our admiration, or our envy. Whoever might appear unable to give us an example has been carelessly observed.
161 In the midst of a thousand noble things we sometimes pursue only the echo of some trivial lost emotion. Will my heart rest for eternity beneath the vineyard's shadow, near the rough, unfinished table, in the sight of the splendour of the sea?
163 What cements society together is mutual flattery. [This sentence explains to me why I am a failure at society.]
169 Modern man has the ambition of replacing with objects he buys what other ages hoped to obtain from the methodical cultivation of the sentiments.
181 Man hobbles through disappointments supported by small, trivial successes.
184 Legitimate ambitions become shy and resigning amidst the throng of fraudulent ambitions.
187 Triviality is the price of communication. [It is also why I have to be paid to teach English!]
191 To think that only important things matter is the menace of barbarism. [I don't socialize much these days because I have meet so many people who think this way. And many of these people do make a lot more money than me.]
192 The only influences on our life are small truths, miniscule insights.
196 We live because we do not view ourselves with the same eyes with which everybody else views us. [This answers the questions about how people can live with themselves.]
198 Speech was given to man not to deceive, but to deceive himself. [The person who talks a lot lies. I hate being lied to. So I find it strange that these blabber mouths don't hate themselves.]

From the General Epistle of James:
1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

From David Warren:
  • Those of a non-criminal disposition should be able to live long lives without much worrying about government agents. [I can truthfully say that I am of a non-criminal disposition and that I do worry about government agents both in China and in Canada.]
  • ...I retain some respect for George W. Bush, & have none for Barack Obama. Bush thought the whole thing through, [Iraq] even if he made misjudgements & miscalculations. Everything about his behaviour suggested that he took very seriously alike the lives of his soldiers & all other lives. He did not act “for show,” nor did he make threats that were empty. At huge political cost, he did not walk away when things went badly. He did, however, foolishly bite off more than the American electorate could chew. [I was listening to a recent episode of Econtalk which had the guest Nicolas Tassem Taleb of Black Swan fame. Talking about his latest writings about the idea of having skin in the game, Taleb took some pot shots at Bush for Iraq. If you have skin in the game said Taleb, you will act more prudently. An argument that is appealing to Libertarians who hate, justifiably in most cases, how government uses tax payers money. Bush, because he didn't see combat action when he was younger, said Taleb, had no skin in the game when he made his decisions about Iraq. I thought Taleb was misapplying his idea in Bush's case. You don't have to be in the military or to have seen combat to realize that you have to be very prudent when you use your military forces and risk the lives of young men. But if you use Taleb's line or reasoning vis-a-vis, you would have to conclude that Hitler and Chairman Mao had skin in the game when they fought their wars. Hitler had been a victim of a gas attack in WWI so all he did in WWII was prudent. Chairman Mao's decision to waste hundreds of thousands of lives in the Korean War was justified because his son was killed in that War.]

Despite being defenestrated by National Review, I am still a fan of John Derbyshire and greedily read all his articles as soon as they appear on the Internet. I also listen to his weekly podcast as soon as I can download it. In the September 14 podcast, Derb had to say about Barabbas Obama :

Here is a guy who was wafted up far above his level of competence on thermals of affirmative action; who spent his youth lolling around in Academia soaking up all the claptrap of 1970s college radicalism; who then spent his young adulthood in the company of anti-American agitators and white-hating black preachers; who, while his mother who raised him was dying of cancer, wrote an autobiography dedicated to the father who abandoned him in infancy; who was elected to the Presidency with no executive experience at all, a deeply undistinguished legislative career, and no knowledge of the private sector beyond a few months he described as being, quote, "behind enemy lines"; who has never said or written a memorable or interesting thing; whose signature legislative initiative is being described even by some of his own supporters as a slow-motion catastrophe. Here he is, this emptiest of empty suits; and seeing him with egg all over his face, it's hard even for a patriot not to smile. [I should memorize this. It is a sheering indictment. I find what Derb said about Obama's writing of the book Dreams of My Father quite revelatory. Why did he write about his father while his mother was dying? Perhaps because his father was black and his mother was white.]

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