Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: October 28 to November 3, 2013

Gratitude:  I have oh so much to be thankful for that I don't know whom to thank and what to thank them for. I will mention that I am extremely grateful that a Muslim Noodle House has opened forty feet from the entrance to our school. I also wish to publicly thank a student named Sonia who bought me lunch there. [Sonia makes me think of a Sinatra song that goes as follows: So you meet someone who set you back on your heels? Goody Goodee!]

Acknowledgement: I should stop making vows to myself because I immediately assume that I have kept my vow. For example, I will say to myself that I will never lose my temper ever again and I will just keep it in check. Reality is that the vow is broken within two weeks or at the first hint of tribulation.

Requests: I ask for your forgiveness.

The AKIC Week in Brief: Another dull week in Akicistan (AKIC-i-stan). Here are the few highlights: Jenny, Tony & I posed for family portraits on Monday but Jenny thought the photos taken were horrible. On Thursday, I agreed to move out of my solitary office at school and back to the room with the rabble that is that other foreign trainers who I don't talk to at all. Saturday, we found our e-bike knocked on its side after having had dinner at the Wanda Plaza. Sunday, I went out with the trainers to help send off a trainer who the school is letting go. After hearing of the death of Lou Reed, I listened to a lot of his music on my Ipod.

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

If there are things about AKIC 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!  我很喜欢新疆的菜。我觉得它是很好吃。我觉得很多外国人在中国是不好人。他们很喜欢念经女性。我不可以听的中文。

I am Canadian! I have heard about two fat Canadian guys fighting for their reputations. One is Mike Duffy, a media guy who turned Senator and who is said to claimed too much money from the public tit for travel expenses. The other is the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, who is said by the police to have been caught on video smoking crack cocaine. And speaking of fat guys, there was this guy from Ontario who worked at our school for a short time..... The whole time with that person only showed that there is no paradises to be found on earth. Guys like that operated on the assumption that there were.

I am Latvian (sort of)! Andis is a Latvian name. My son Tony has a Latvian middle name: Arnis.

Wuxi Peach Maoists Update: Visit here to find out how if your Peach Maoists (0-7-1) have finally won a match-up.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! The Democrats as well as their leftist brethren in non-American countries are almost beyond redemption. They have nothing intelligent or compelling to say about anything. Unfortunately, Republicans and their ilk in non-American countries are of sort who should know better, but who one would think don't know better when you judge them by their actions and cowardly compromises.

I teach English! So often, I have to explain to the students that they use “too ___” expressions in the wrong way. When you say a thing is too big, you are saying that you want the thing to be smaller. You are not saying that you are impressed by the bigness of the thing when you say “it is too big” -- in that case, you should say it is very big.
I am not a freak! But then why is it that I have clammed up at work? To make an effort to be sane in this world is to appear to be a freak.
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 try to read at least one aphorism a day.  I cut and paste the better ones -- they are all profound actually -- and I put them in the AKIC Weekly. (See below)
The Niomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Now that I have finished the Catechism, I will read this and then begin to read the Summa. I have cut and pasted a quote below that I very much need to heed.

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 #177 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 have decided to change the version of the Bible I am reading. I read a comment on the David Warren website stating that the KJV was heretical. That may be overstating it, but since I was in Genesis anyway in the KJV, I don't see the harm in switching to a more Catholic Bible. I have to admit that sometimes the grammar of the KJV confuses me, particularly the pronoun referencing. I will read either the RSV-C2E (which I got via torrent) or the Douay-Rheims which I got via Project Gutenberg, or maybe both.

Mao Zedong: Man, Not God by Quan Yanchi. A Hagiography given to me by a local.

Quo Vadis by Henrik Sienkiewicz. Finished. One of the first Catholic novels if my source on the Internet is to be believed. It takes place at the time of Nero; and the Apostles Paul and Peter are featured as characters in the novel as well. The Christians are subjected to cruel tortures and death by order of the Emperor.

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson. I found this book on the Internet after I had read Ferguson's nice little scride against Paul Krugman. In this book, Ferguson compares developments in the West since 1500 with the rest of the world. It is a very libertarian take on history.

Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum. What struck me about Applebaum's account of the early years of the Iron Curtain was reading about the efforts of the Soviets and their puppets to crush any kind of independent civil society outside the Communist party. They did it very quickly. Today in the West, there are many examples of this kind of crushing happening, though at a slower pace. In Canada they subsidize favoured organizations; and in America, there is Obamacare which threatens the freedoms of Catholic organizations. Here in China, however, despite the consumer freedom, the government frowns on any other independent organizations. In Wuxi, I see the Chinese going to shopping temples because they don't have much to do otherwise. If an activity is not arranged by their company or the government, they are probably not allowed to do it. The party needs to have its hand in everything just like in the West now, any independent organization trying to do some good has to register with the government.

I like to take photos
I publish them in the following blogs:  AKIC wordpress , TKIC blogspot, TKIC wordpress, Views of China from Casa Kaulins Blogspot and Views of China from Casa Kaulins Wordpress. It is my habit to take a least one photo of Tony a day and publish it in TKIC wordpress. I also try to capture interesting things that pass by the Casa Kaulins apartment, either on video on still image, and publish them in Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

I like to make videos

I like to cut, paste, and sometimes give my take on quotations:
Nicolas Gomez Davilla

422 To be Christians is to find ourselves before one from whom we cannot hide, before whom it is impossible to disguise ourselves. [Those who feel no need to accept their guilt should be ashamed of themselves.]

It is to assume the burden of the truth, no matter whom it injures.
[How do I deal with the truth of my situation. I keep my mouth shut.]

423 Man is more capable of heroic acts than of decent gestures.
[I take gestures in this aphorism to mean everyday common actions. People have a need to do things on the big stage and forget that they live in the commonplace, thus taking everything and everybody in their lives for granted. It would be a much better world if men were content with decent gestures.]

424 Modern man calls his ambition a duty. [Nothing is more annoying that people get high and holy about their business and even their interests. They feel entitled to put a chip on their shoulder and be rude and self-righteous to everybody because of their business.]

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. [So true. This corruption has ruined my life.]

427 The first step of wisdom is to admit, with good humour, that our ideas have no reason to interest anybody. [If I was wise, I would quit blogging.]

429 In the dismal and suffocating building of the world, the cloister is the space open to the sun and to the air. [Try as I might to cloister myself, the world still suffocates me.]

444 To make a catastrophe inevitable, there is nothing more effective than to call an assembly to propose reforms to avert it. [Cynical but true. I recall reading of the grand peace conferences that were held in Europe in the 1930s. Medals commemorating the events were minted.]

446 In this century of nomadic crowds profaning every illustrious place, the only homage a respectful pilgrim can render a venerable shrine is not to visit it. [In this day and age, there are businesses catering to these nomadic crowds so they can go on package tours. They profane the idea of travelling.]

455 To mature consists not in renouncing our desires, but in admitting that the world is not obliged to fulfill them. [Intellectually I am aware of this. I admit this. And I will confess that I spent a great deal of my life operating under the immature desires that Gomez Davilla talks of in the aphorism. However, I am not free of the physical immature desire and my mood is sour accordingly because of this inability to surgically remove the desire.]

456 To be intelligent in politics, it is enough to go up against a dumber opponent. [There is a reason the Republicans are the stupid party. Bad as Obama is, the Republican leadership are like deers in the headlights.]

David Warren: has only to transfer to the political science department to find people who read Latin, Greek, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac; are impressively acquainted with traditions ancient & mediaeval, & often contemptuous of Modern. [I would like to be a fly on the wall in such places. I couldn't take an active part, but they are the sort of people I would make an effort to get to know. What a wasted life I lead because I didn't know of these people earlier. In a way I was a victim of the the times I lived in.]

It is a point of pride, I confess, but I am a slow reader, and more generally a slow learner. A habitual, even willful slow-wittedness, was instilled in me at an early age, by a beloved teacher. Miss Quinn constantly warned her pupils against thinking too fast. A kindly if paradoxical woman, she would actually lay snares to entrap the smart, and took a strangely mischievous delight in the phrase, “The quick and the dead.” [The quick can look like they are winning debates, but winning a debate does not necessarily mean that the debate winner is the one who is closest to the truth. Not having debated much lately, I recall feeling like I was a slow wit in ones that I did have. Sometimes, I wish I could have been given a day or so to think through what someone had said to me. So often, thinking about what was said, I was able to find a flaw in the illogic of what was said to me but unfortunately it was far too late for me to achieve a rhetorical victory.]

truthfulness, acceptance, patience, justice, reverence, loyalty, disinterestedness, asceticism, courage, kindness, understanding, courtesy, gratitude, unselfishness, recollection, silence, and justice before God

Aristotle. “The Nicomachean Ethics Of Aristotle.” Sulky men are hard to appease and their anger lasts long, because they keep it in. For so soon as we retaliate we are relieved: vengeance makes us cease from our anger, substituting a pleasant for a painful state. But the sulky man, as he does not thus relieve himself, bears the burden of his wrath about with him; for no one even tries to reason him out of it, as he does not show it, and it takes a long time to digest one’s anger within one’s self. Such men are exceedingly troublesome to themselves and their dearest friends. [I must heed all that is written here.

The AKIC List of the Week: AKIC's Top Ten All Time Canadians
  1. Preston Manning (There are two politicos on this list. Preston was the best Prime Minister Canada never had.)
  2. Mordecai Richler (Canada's best novelist ever.)
  3. Marc Steyn (Canada's best political commentator ever.)
  4. David Warren (Canada's best blogger ever.)
  5. Conrad Black (The only person on this list who has been to prison. Passionately hated by Leftists therefore he must have more virtue in his thumbs than they do in their whole over-inflated sense of their compassion.)
  6. Bobby Orr (It wouldn't be a list of top Canadians if it didn't have one hockey player on it.)
  7. Guy Lafleur (It wouldn't be a list of top Canadians if it didn't have one Canadien on it.)
  8. Deborah Gray (If wouldn't be Canadian if I didn't satisfy a quota. Here is the first great Canadian woman to come to mind. She was the first Reform Party MP.
  9. John Candy (He had a great screen personna.)
  10. Stephen Leacock (He is my favourite Old Canadian. He's a great reactionary writer as well as being absolutely hilarious.)

I fashion myself to be a 21st Century Pepys

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