Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dispatches from Akicistan #2

Gratitude:  I should be thankful that I am surviving the Wuxi Smog Crisis.

Acknowledgement: I have said that I am ashamed to be an English teacher because of its high proportion of perverts and alcoholics. I can now say that I am feeling shame to be living in Wuxi because of the smog crisis.

Request(s): There is only one thing to ask for, and that is for the smog to go away. I would also like to get more time to read the many books I am reading and want to read.

What is Akicistan? It isn't a place. It is more a state of mind that places cutting-edge state-of-the-art sticks in mud. The word Akicistan is formed from the initials AKIC and the root stan.

Akicistan news in brief: There is only one item of news in Wuxi but it is a big one. Wuxi is the midst of a smog crisis.

Important Akicistan Links:

In Akicistan:

Some of us can speak Chinese!  我会说一点点普通话,但是我的发音是很不好。

We sometimes pay attention to China. I actually visited the Wuxi Life site to see what the word was about the Wuxi Smog crisis.

We are fond of Canada! I miss its fresh air.
We are fond of Latvia! I miss the accents of my Latvian relatives.

The Politics are Conservative and Reactionary! What is Akicistan's opinion of Nielson Mandela? I remember watching the live broadcast of his first public appearance after he was released from jail. I can't remember anything he said but there was a Communist flag displayed prominently near him as he made his speech. Unlike other Communists he wasn't vindictive to his political enemies and rivals which is to his credit, but unfortunately, his left wing policies left South Africa with many, many social problems.

English is taught! More often than not, I talk, I edit, and don't teach much.
Citizens aren't freaks! Akicistan exercises its sovereign right to decide who can live in its territory and who can be granted Akicistani citizenship. Freaks are denied entry to Akicistan.
Reading is the #1 Pastime! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
Don Colacho's (Nicolas Gomez Davilla) 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.

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 #182 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 (RSV-C2E version, aka the Ignatius Bible, and Douay-Rheims version).  I will read the two versions in conjunction. Last week, I was reading the Book of Genesis.

Is Life Worth Living? by WH Mallock Mallock is attempting to show that the contention, made by the positivists of the 19th century, that a moral and happy life can be lived without religion is illogical.

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. Someone in s Vatican Radio podcast said that she could be the greatest 20th Catholic writer.

Reclaiming HistoryThe Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi. This book is over 4,000 pages long. Being a Kennedy assassination buff I find the book engrossing.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I read this book all so many years ago and it changed my way of thinking on a lot of things. Unfortunately, it didn't much change my actions.

Memorable quotes are presented and discussed!
Nicholas Gomez Davilla:
573 When respect for tradition dies out, society, in its incessant desire to renew itself, consumes itself in a frenzy.
580 Fleeing does not protect against tedium.

To save ourselves, it is necessary to domesticate that flabby, lumbering beast.

In tedium freely assumed bloom the noblest things.
[That's why I go home every night. That's why I am a family man. That's why I don't go to the pub.]

581 As a new problem is born out of a problem solved, wisdom consists not in solving problems but in taming them. [Quick! Someone tell this to socialists!]

589 Whoever feels he is the spokesman of public opinion has been enslaved. [The people want this! The people want that!]

594 The true aristocrat is the man who has an interior life. Whatever, his origin, his rank, or his fortune. [This aphorism will be added to my short list of personal credos. My exterior life is dull. I wouldn't change my interior life for anyone's.]

Pope Francis:
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ. [I am full of resentment, anger, and have become listless. I have either going to have to transcend or escape some aspects of my situation. I could change the place where I am but I won't be able to do it by himself. Do any sensible people enter the ESL English teaching profession? I am afraid not.]

David Warren:
...the “roadmap to Utopia” .... could follow an itinerary like this: Henry VIII, Bacon/Descartes, Hobbes/Locke/Rousseau, Jefferson, Robespierre, Marx/Darwin/Freud, then Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, environmentalism, &c.  One could draw other squiggly paths — this list needs more Prussians, and adoptive Prussians. From American shorthand we are supplied with the term “Positivism,” in the sense of legal positivism. The word is in itself already an essay in reductionism, which involves anachronism, too. But it does give something of the Baconian bouquet, albeit with that ghastly Comtian finish. [I particularly like that bit of placing environmentalism after Pol Pot. Pol Pot, as we should know, killed lots of innocent people to bring about a utopia. Environmentalists want to do the same thing whether they realize it or not. For many environmentalists, it is an article of faith that there are too many people on the Earth.]

CS Lewis:
That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended-civilisations are built up–excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans. [That explains the Obama and Clinton administrations.]

Lists are made:
Here are some of my favorite things in do in Akicistan:
  1. Eat Muslim Noodles.
  2. Watch high speed trains.
  3. Cross bridges.
  4. Contemplate the evil of Leftists. [It makes me feel better about myself.]
  5. Contemplate God.
  6. Drink Crown Royal.
  7. Put together Tomica Plarail track for my son.
  8. Drink Pineapple Beer in Summer.
  9. Read books on my Ipad.
  10. Read the aphorisms of Don Colacho.
  11. Eat at the Grandma's.
  12. Look at the slim young local women.
  13. Write in my blog.
  14. Make videos and upload them to Youtube.
  15. Study Chinese and not speak it.

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