Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dispatches from Akicistan #4

Gratitude:  Thank God for the birth of an infant boy in Bethlehem all those years ago.

Acknowledgement: I am a miserable s.o.b.
Request(s): Peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

What is Akicistan? It isn't a place. It is 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.

If Akicistan was an empire, it would comprise China, Canada, the Red States of the USA, Latvia, and the parts of the world that comprise Modern Christendom as well as ancient Christendom.

Akicistan news in brief: The Kaulins family may go to Hong Kong after the Spring Festival.

Important Akicistan Links:

In Akicistan:

Some of us can speak Chinese!  祝你圣诞快乐!!!

We sometimes pay attention to China. I was listening to an audiobook The Politically Correct Guide to Socialism on my Ipod – I got the recording via torrent. Socialism, said the author Kevin D. Williamson, has this thing for gigantic-ism. That is, Socialists like to construct buildings that are much bigger than economic necessity requires. I see this gigantic-ism taking place in Wuxi where they are erecting at least four more fifty storey skyscrapers.

We are fond of Canada! Andis wishes he was there for Christmas.

We are fond of Latvia! I am sorry to hear that Latvia is having a economic crisis at the moment. I have mixed feelings about it joining the Euro zone.

The Politics are Conservative and Reactionary! Down with Obama! Down with Trudeau! Down with Socialism! Down with Progressivism! Down with Public Sector Unions! Down with the Clintons! Down with Feminism! Down with Gay Marriage! Down with Atheism! Down with Freudian-ism! Down with North Korea! Down with Nancy Pelosi! Down with Hugo Chavez! Down with the Castro brothers of Cuba! Down with the fools who wear Che Guevara t-shirts! Down with the wild card in Major League Baseball! Down with Medicare! Down with Darwinism! Down with Scientism! Down with Liberalism! Down with the NHL giving one point for overtime losses! Down with Micheal Moore! Down with Communism! Down with the cult of the body!

Up with Love! Up with the Pope! Up with Reactionary attitudes! Up with Phil Robertson!

English is taught!
I am studying this old-school English grammar which lists thee and thou as commonly used pronouns. This grammar says that “shall” and “will” are used in future tenses. For mere futurity, this grammar states that will is used all the personal pronouns, except I and we which use “shall.” For determination, command, and promise about the future, “shall” is used for all the personal pronouns except I and we which use “will.” An example sentence to help remember this goes as follows: “I will be drowned, no one shall save me.” I am not determined to drown. I am not commanding myself to drown. I am not promising to drown. I am merely predicting I will drown because no one is to save me.
This use of shall or will is now archaic. But it is useful to know about this.
Citizens aren't freaks! We just average people trying to get through life best we can. And I am stuck in the wrong age.
Reading is the #1 Pastime! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week or so:
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. After this, I will read Aquinas's 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 #183 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.

Reclaiming HistoryThe Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi. This is a long book. I have no plan to read it in its entirety, but I will read most of it. As I have written before, I am a JFK assassination buff.

Spoiled Rotten! The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality by Theodore Dalrymple. Finished. A great book. It confirms a thought that I have had that victim-hood is coin in this day and age. I suppose Dalrymple has a lot of opponents who say he is mean, heartless, a curmudgeon, overly-negative, and prone to exaggeration. They are wrong. I see evidence of muddle-headed sentimentality in the few foreigners I meet.

Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 by Sir John George Bourinot. I feel a need to bone up on Canadian history.

The Rise of Modern China by Immanuel CY Hsu. David Warren recommended this history of China which pegs Modern China beginning with the fall of the Ming Dynasty.

Memorable quotes are presented and discussed!
Nicholas Gomez Davilla:
627 The majority of men have no right to give their opinion, but to listen. [It doesn't matter what I think. But it does matter to me if I am thinking the truth.]
629 Triviality never lies in what is felt, but in what is said. [There is a reason that I can verbalize the best moments of my life.]
632 Men disagree less because they think differently than because they do not think. [Many things that we disagree about aren't really worth the time to argue about if we really thought about them. What argue if people are racist if there isn't a chance in hell that any of them aren't going to bring back slavery or try to perpetuate the Holocaust.]
634 The goals of all ambition are vain and their exercise harmful. [Beautiful women, expensive cars, good nights at the bar. All bullshit.]
635 A man is wise if he has no ambition for anything but lives as if he had an ambition for everything. [Live each moment of life to the fullest.]
638 The future tense is the imbecile's favourite tense. [I had a student tell me that they didn't want to go to back to the past for a visit and there wasn't a time in the past that they would have liked to have lived. They said they wanted to go to the future. This was in a class where the topic was history.]
639 Modern artists are so ambitious to differ from one another that that very same ambition groups them together into a single species. [Bohemians, those ultimate individualists, move in flocks.]
640 As poor and needy as it may be, every life has moments worthy of eternity.
646 There is no stupid idea which modern man is not capable of believing, as long as he avoids believing in Christ. [What are some of the stupid ideas that Positivists have had? Socialism, Communism, Hedonism, Fascism, Public Sector Unions, Barack Obama is the Messiah....]
650 In no previous age did the arts and letters enjoy greater popularity than in ours. Arts and letters have invaded the school, the press, and the almanacs. No other age, however, has produced such ugly objects, nor dreamed such coarse dreams, nor adopted such sordid ideas. It is said that the public is better educated. But one does not notice.[One reason to watch older movies is that they are better looking.]

David Warren:
The old lady [an illiterate woman in Asia] had remembered, it seemed, every word I’d spoken, or rather tried to speak, on my last visit — so precisely that she could now do an elaborate parody. The sun shone when I heard what sounded like my own voice, played back as if on a tape-recorder. She had my number. I did not have hers. Her mind, uncluttered by the impedimenta of literacy, had taken everything in.

Teacher unions, in anything like their contemporary form, only become possible once the vocation of a teacher has been abandoned. That vocation actually required personal poverty, and simplicity of life: of being, oneself, a scholar. In that sense the unions are symptoms, not causes. [Real teachers don't go to pubs.]

By preaching moral responsibility instead, we could save about 3/4 of public spending, & at least 1/2 of the rest.

Theodore Dalrymple:
  • Not very long before the publication of Ariel [A book of poems of Sylvia Plath], at least in historical terms, self-pity was regarded as a vice, even a disgusting one, that precluded sympathy, though of course a permanent human temptation. [I am sorry for the mistakes I have made. I have come to the point of view that I have no one to blame but myself for my modest circumstances.]
  • activism is responsible also for a lot of the evil in the world as well as the good, so that activism is not in itself a good thing. The idea that activism is intrinsically good, and therefore excuses a lot, is itself a deeply sentimental one…

Lists are made:
The Reasons I Became an English Teacher and the Reasons I am Still an English Teacher.
  • My wife is Chinese.
  • My prospects in Canada are bleak.
  • Canada is still much too much of a Leftist country.
  • My job in Canada was boring. I was surviving, had a car, but no family or social life.
  • I have a son.
  • Canada is cold.
  • Chinese students are well behaved.
  • China is a traffic accident in slow motion. I can't help but have a morbid fascination about it.
  • I am too old to start in another profession.
  • I am no longer physically capable of doing my previous job.
  • I have a scholarly desire.
  • I like books. I don't like cars.
  • Teaching is a vocation and I can't become a Priest, although there are times that I wished I did.
  • There is nothing else I can or could do in China.
  • Wuxi has good public transportation.

Thoughts are thought

  • Above all else, a person should stay away from self-pity.

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