Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dispatches from Akicistan #5

Gratitude:  I am thankful for vacations even if I can't get afford to get out of town on them.

Acknowledgement: My vacations are boring. My life is boring. I am boring. [However, I am not bored. Better to be boring than bored.]
Request(s): I hope someone can tell me the one place I would want to see in Hong Kong. The K family will be going there in early February. I want to see something with a Bruce Lee or Historical theme.

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:
  • New Year's in Akicistan was uneventful. Andis didn't do anything on New Year's Eve.
  • Andis began a two week vacation. Andis won't be busy for most of January and the first half of February because he will be taking the three weeks vacation he has coming to him and he will also have a one week long holiday for the Spring Festival.
  • Andis was able to watch some NFL playoff games live for the first time in ten years.
  • Andis didn't publish a Dispatches from Akicistan for two weeks.
Important Akicistan Links:

In Akicistan:

Some of us can speak Chinese! 新年快乐!元旦快乐!Andis 不可以说的中文。 TonyJenny 可以的。

We sometimes pay attention to China. The smog is so bad. I heard that it was forty times above the lowest danger level in Harbin and twenty-five times in Shanghai! I also read in the Duff and Nonsense blog that Xi Jing Ping wants to rehabilitate Chairman Mao. I don't see how he could do it without killing the golden goose

We are fond of Canada! However when I hear about the cold spell in Manitoba where temperatures and wind chills are so horrendous that you would die if you were exposed outside for more than five minutes, I am happy to be in Wuxi, even it is polluted.
We are fond of Latvia! The idea of Latvia adopting the Euro Currency which they did on January 1, 2014, doesn't thrill me. Listening to a Vatican Radio report about it, I was pleased to hear that a sizable majority of Latvians weren't thrilled about it earlier. It seems like getting a berth on the Titanic after it hit the Iceberg.

The Politics are Conservative and Reactionary! Three more years of the Obama presidency! Uggh! I also think the world is getting gayer.

English is taught! I've been working my way through a old-time English grammar I downloaded from the Internet. It is informative, though in some ways obsolete, about the spoken English language. For example, the grammar says that the auxiliaries shall and will are used in very specific and exclusive ways in the future tense depending on whether the speakers is speaking about mere futurity or is expressing determination, command, or promise. Now, we just use will, to be doing, or going to be doing with out much regard to what sense the speaker intends to tell us about the future.
Citizens aren't freaks! According to the recent Akicistan census, the population hasn't increased one iota. The number of freaks remains at nought. No immigrants! No Freaks! That is the Akicistan motto!
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 #186 recently 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. Finished. This was a long book. I had no plan to read it in its entirety, but I read most of it. The biography of LHO was particularly interesting. I didn't bother with Bugliosi's refutations of the more popular conspiracy theories.

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.

The U.S. Civil War by John Keegan. Dan Carlin, the host of Hardcore History, has expressed a disliking of Keegan so I am now wont to think that Keegan has many merits. Carlin's idea about U.S. Healthcare was to have a bunch of experts get into a room and design a system. Anyway, the book is good so far.

Memorable quotes are presented and discussed!
Nicholas Gomez Davilla:
652 A man is wise not so much because he says the truth but because he (who) knows the exact scope of what he says. Because he does not believe he is saying anything more than what he is saying.
653 Whoever acquires experience in politics trusts only in the classic maxim: do not do today what you can leave for tomorrow. [RINO's think the maxim is good politics, even if they have power.]
657 The new catechists profess that the Progress is the modern incarnation of hope. But progress is not hope emerging, but the dying echo of hope already vanished.
659 Liberty lasts only so long as the state functions amid the indifference of its citizens. Despotism threatens when the citizens agitates for or against his government.
663 A man is intelligent only if he is not afraid to agree with fools.
664 Nobody finds himself by searching merely for himself. Personality is born out of conflict with a norm. [What does Davilla mean by personality?]
665 Everybody feels superior to what he does, because he believes he is superior to what he is. Nobody believes he is the little that he really is. [This aphorism always leaves me suitably chastened. Is being an ESL teacher the best I can aspire, or am I not even capable of that?]
676 In finding out what an intelligent man said, it is customary only to listen to the fool who mimics him. [Even I really cared what Progressive Leftists thought, I would read the New York Times. I don't bother talking politics with the ones I know.]

David Warren:
The honest observer must acknowledge that it is not happiness that awaits this emancipated woman. Already I see them warehoused in the nursing homes, waiting for their end, unvisited except by professional minders, and utterly alone. Nor was it happiness in that morning, I am told, when each ageing woman found in the mirror, that the dance of youth had moved on and passed her by. [I have often thought that if I went back to Canada, I would like to volunteer at the care home where my father lived for a month before he died.]

Even if we were not looking, we saw something in passing, and it haunts us still. Perhaps it was a vision of old age, in a season when long past memories were rekindled, and people were remembered who are no longer here. For that memento mori becomes a part of the “twelve days of Christmas,” as the years pile on. And with the summoning of memory comes the summoning of sorrows, especially sorrow in irretrievable events. (A woman weeping outside the nursing home, six months ago: “How many stupid last words I said, when all I wanted to say was, ‘I love you’.”)

But for the present the experience of “density” is enough. Something has passed by that we did not act upon. Something happened that we did not prevent. Something didn’t happen we had the power to make happen. Somehow, we missed it, when we had our chance. I would call this a form of “survivor’s guilt,” that exists within us at the metaphysical level, though confirmed in events, day after day.

To put this most plainly: we have seen good and evil, and not chosen the good; we have seen beauty and ugliness, and not chosen the beautiful; we have seen true and false, and not chosen the truth. We have chosen instead, with a grieving resignation, to “get on with it”; to play it safe; to avoid any kind of overreaction. Or as Christ put it, with spectacular poetry: we have taken our places with the dead, and are the dead, burying their dead. [I feel something like survivor's guilt when I think about my father dying. I should have told him I loved him. I should have been like Jenny who pleaded with him not to die.]

Robert Royal
In his novel Sybil, nineteenth-century British Prime Minster Benjamin Disraeli described a character as “distinguished for ignorance” because he “had only one idea and that idea was wrong.”  The idea – promoted for decades by high-minded social engineers – that a national healthcare law would benefit all Americans qualifies for the 2013 Disraeli Award.

A liberal commentator on an David Warren article in the Catholic Thing:
 I’d love to see someone say government budgets are moral documents and Paul Ryan's budget is obscene. [Pure poppycock. Personal budgets could be moral documents. Government budgets are impersonal and abstract documents. To think they could be moral is obscene. Everyone has to deal with the faces of the poor they do actually see. When a politician like Obama sees a poor face he is like Che Guevara, in a legend, entering a religious place full of poor people, getting angry at their fate, and then moving on to government to try and fix the problem he saw. While Che leaves in glory, like Obama taking a vacation in Hawaii, the hated Catholic nuns are left to deal with the poor. To deal with the poor, one has to abandon the calculus of central planning and government budgeting. We have to help the poor ourselves. Government budgets are tools for moral posturing, nothing more. And plus what the commentator said violated the Catholic Church's principle of Subsidiarity.]

Cardinal Newman:
. . .The one peculiar and characteristic sin of the world is this, that whereas God would have us live for the life to come, the world would make us live for this life. . . .not for the next. It takes, as the main scope of human exertion, an end which God forbids; and consequently all that it does becomes evil, because directed to a wrong end. . . .

Kathy Shaidle (in a year in review article)
This is the part where a normal person would nominate their favourite movie of 2013. Except the best movie I saw this year came out in 1953. [99 River Street which I was inspired to watch.]

Somehow, millions of supposedly intelligent viewers bought into Breaking Bad, a show about the only public-school teacher in the Western world who didn’t have health insurance. [Breaking Bad was quality television. Tony thinks it is like Mister Bean.]

Lists are made:
AKIC's Most Memorable Moments of 2013:
  • Read two books by Theodore Dalrymple.
  • Wuxi Peach Maoists had a 2-11-1 record in Andis's Fantasy Football League.
  • Andis got an Ipad Mini.
  • Tony graduated from Kindergarten.
  • Tony and Andis had a train day in Shanghai.
  • Andis got a demotion at work.
  • Andis didn't bother talking to his co-workers at work for nine months. Ended the year by discovering it was a wise decision.
  • Andis split up the AKIC weekly into two parts. One part was a diary. The second part was a weekly magazine.
  • Andis decided to label himself a reactionary.
  • Andis was able to order Crown Royal on Taobao.
  • Andis may have been called a cunt by another English teacher. Andis didn't respond.
  • The Hui Shan Wanda Plaza opened near Casa Kaulins. So there was now a McDonald's within walking distance, as well as a Starbucks.
  • Andis discovered that eight or nine foreigners teach at a High School in his area. He never did meet them.
  • Andis decided to become more overtly Christian in his blog.
  • David Warren's blog became Andis's most visited page.
  • Andis never did find a satisfactory replacement for the Google Reader.
  • Andis noted the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination.
  • Andis renewed with his school for the tenth year.
  • Andis stopped writing articles for his Wuxi China Expatdom blog. He didn't have the time.
  • Tony started primary school.
  • Andis saw the Wuxi City Hall and was taken by it gigantic-ism.
  • The Hen Long and Suning Plazas opened up in downtown Wuxi within weeks of each other. Andis spent the end of the year asking if it was necessary.
  • Andis stopped making entries to his Wuxi China Expatdom blog.
  • Andis started a blog called Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

Predictions for 2014:
  • Queen Elizabeth II will pass away.
  • The Wuxi subway will have problems.
  • There will be more smog problems in Wuxi.
  • The Maple Leafs won't win the Stanley Cup.
  • The Republicans will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the 2014 mid-term elections.
  • Rob Ford will remain the mayor of Toronto.
  • Winnipeg won't win the Grey Cup or the Stanley Cup.
  • I will continue to be indecisive.

Thoughts are thought

  • Why is that Progressive Left Wing Liberal types like to say that they are on the side of science? They can't say they are on the side of Socialism anymore because it had been proven over and over again to have failed. They need to hold onto something that has been successful.
  • Socialism isn't scientific. The system that it assails: free market capitalism in fact is. Capitalism conducts experiments. The hypotheses are that there is a need for some product or service. If the experiment show the hypotheses is wrong, the hypotheses is quickly abandoned. Governments have a having of ignoring the results of their experiments and acting like their hypotheses are true regardless of experiments showing they aren't.
  • Tolerance does not mean approval. I would think that tolerate means putting up with things you don't like.

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