Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016 Notes

This is my longest entry in a while.


July 1 should be Dominion Day in Canada. The fact that it is called Canada Day is the result of historical ignorance of present day Canadians and boneheaded Trudeau style Canadian nationalism.

Good Canadians should curse Trudeau every July 1st.


I drove up beside some local driver, a guy, and gave him the one finger salute. His offense had been to make a right turn without looking, right in front of me, so that I had to brake quickly and take evasive action. I think he noticed me. As we continued on in traffic, I was beside him again and I repeated the gesture, but he was looking away, had a stoic look on his face and was wearing ear-buds. The latter sight might explain his crazy driving.

It just goes to show you the evil effect that cars have on people. This guy was very much in his own world in his car.


No local driver I have talked to will admit to making a turn without looking, but they won't deny that other local drivers do this.


The late part of June and the early part of July, it seemed like the rain would never stop in Wuxi and so I began to increase the threshold as to when the rain was heavy enough for me to bring out my umbrella.


Along with all the rain in early July, I saw a couple aftermaths of e-bikes and automobiles colliding. One collision at an intersection, was the result of a bicycle and car lane being side by side. The car had made a right turn without looking for e-bike traffic. The other collision was surely the result of an e-bike running a red light on which the automobile had a green left turn light. E-bikers in Wuxi are always taking enormous chances at intersections. I have skirted many an e-bike ignoring a red light and trying to sneak through the intersection when having the green.

The level at the Xibei Canal, as a photo I have published to my wordpress blog will attest, was about two meters higher than usual on account of all the rain.


Tony in early July:

Tony said he hated Japanese.

He expressed this hatred because he had been playing too many World War Two computer games.

He had also been watching some episodes of the famous World at War documentary: the one I grew up on in the 70s and 80s and featured the narration of Sir Lawrence Olivier.

One evening, I ordered takeout from Pizza Hut and Tony ate more pieces than me for the first time ever.

Tony was watching the World at War documentary about Pearl Harbour and getting upset as the Japanese were destroying American ships.


July 4, Tony & I took the train to Shanghai for a daytime visit.

Upon arrival in Shanghai, I took Tony to a Mister Pancake House so he could have pancakes and bacon.

After that, he said he wanted to go right back home to Wuxi. He wasn't happy when I told him that our train would be leaving in six hours and I had planned to take him to two museums after the pancakes.

First, we went to the Shanghai Propaganda Art Centre, which was a trick to get to it. We had to take three trains, that is two transfers, to get to a spot where we could catch a taxi that would get us to the museum. Which was located in the basement of an apartment in the back of an apartment block on a long street in the French concession. After the taxi dropped us off, we had to do a bit of walking to find the exact location. I first started going in the wrong direction on a long street and didn't determine that I had done so until after having walked a whole block and made Tony even more upset.

All the trouble of getting there, however, was worth it for me because I very much enjoyed the museum. Though the museum was only three rooms big, the posters and other displays were incredible. I found it interesting that I was looking at posters denouncing American Imperialism on the fourth of July. I suppose if I was younger and in my full conservative phase, I would have felt extreme unction at the messages. As it was, I shrugged my shoulders. Much as I despised everything the displays stood for, I couldn't help but admire their style.

For his part, Tony thought the place was okay.

Tony was his whiniest, however, as we walked from the poster centre to the nearest subway stop from which we could then proceed on our way to the second museum I wanted to go: the Shanghai Metro Museum. I have to admit it wasn't a bright idea for us to walk five blocks in scorching Shanghai summer heat to get to the subway stop. We both ended up soaked with sweat. Tony was also soaked with his tears as he complained of sore legs and he repeatedly stated that he very much hated Shanghai.

The long trip to get to the second museum on our itinerary was a waste as it turned out. We took three subway trains (actually four because we got on the wrong train of a route that had branch lines) and got to the museum location only to learn that it wasn't open till mingtian, that is tomorrow.

Of Shanghai's 18 subways lines, we rode six that day. Combine that with the subway line in Wuxi we took to get to the Train station, and the trains we took back and forth from Shanghai to Wuxi; and you can say that July 4, 2016 was a nine train day for the Kaulins boys!


An anecdote that I can finally relate to you:

A foreign trainer took a student to the pub for a period where he should have been teaching him a class at the school.  I found this out when the student in question came to my class, which was scheduled in the period after 50 minutes late, and told me and the other students where he had been.  I later learned I was the bad guy in this affair, the blade as it were, because I mentioned the strange incident to the other trainers.  The trainer who took the student to the pub confronted me the next day and said I was a blade because news of what he had done had circulated through the school. I was in fact not the reason that the news had circulated through the school, but be that as it may, the news did deserve to circulate through the school and I was astounded at the shamelessness of the accusation.

I was also said, by this so-called teacher, to not have a life because I choose to go home to my wife and son every evening instead of going out, presumably with the dissolute bunch of other unmarried adult thirty and forty something teenagers that he did.

Anyway, this piece of work is finally no longer working at our school.  Good riddance.

My only regret is that I should have told him it was good that he was gone when I had chance.  I would then have done the Christian and decent thing.


Cars are the work of the devil.  They bring out the worst in people.  In China, they make the lack of consideration the Chinese have for other Chinese more dangerous and deadly.  In the West, they bring on Road Rage and an increase in the size of government oversight.

No libertarian should support the car.  Cars don't so much increase human freedom, as encourage a government-corporate crony relationship which reliably herds people onto freeways and traps them in car jams.  And this herding has the effect of separating people into solipsistic units, solipsistic sheep who can be relied to not mount opposition to the regime in which they have been herded.  Indeed, cars congregate and separate people.

And then there is the land taken up by parked cars.  Talk about ruining communities!


Portugal won Euro 2016. They really did. And yet, it didn't seem right.


Gun Control doesn't lead to a reduction in murder rates. It never has. It never will. In countries, where Gun Control laws have been enacted, the murder rate has not gone done. Why? Guns are just one of many ways we can murder people. We can use knives, car, explosives, poisons, arms, bottles or any blunt instrument. And in America, guns aren't the most popular way to kill people; knives are.


Should Expatriates be missionaries? Depends on the cause for which they are proselytizing. Otherwise, they are a bunch of self-regarding egotists.


As I have complained before, local drivers are notorious for stopping their cars anywhere without regard to the inconvenience they cause others. Be that as it may, they have their reasons, inconsiderate as their stopping is.

And then I saw a car stopped in a manner I couldn't complain of, but the driver and passengers where engaged in an activity that best would have not been done on the road at all, let alone on the side of the car which was close to traffic. What were they doing? They were assembling a piece of furniture, a mirror on a stand, on the driver side – the traffic side – of the parked car from which they had unloaded it.

I should have taken a picture.


Obama was a real shit at the memorial to the slain Dallas police officers as he made a big rant about how America didn't have enough Socialism. Why can't Lefties just leave their ideologies at the door on solemn occasions?


This ado about the South Chinese Sea is worrisome.


On a Wechat group for Wuxi Expats, I posted a picture of a navy diver saying Happy Bastille Day!


I was told of a reason, that I had never thought of, for the Chinese hating the Japanese. The theory is as follows: In WW2, the KMT did all the fighting against the Japs while the Commies lead by Mao hid in the interior saving their forces for the Civil War that was to follow. Chang Kai Shek, whose initial plan of fighting against the Commies had been to let them go on their Long March, so as to put them in an isolated area where they could be properly dealt with, had his plans ruined by the Japanese whose attack he hadn't anticipated. And so many Chinese hate the Japanese because they helped bring the Communists to power.

Interesting theory.

But later that same day, I was listening to a Radio Derb podcast. He quoted Cheng Kai Shek saying the Japanese were a disease of the skin and that the Chinese Communists were a disease of the heart. According to the Derb, this was what Cheng said when he was accused of not using sufficient of his forces to fight the Japanese.

So were any Chinese fighting Japs in WW2? Or was everybody holding back? Even the Japaneses?

And thinking on the theory some more. It would mean that the Chinese also hate the Americans because, in a way, they also helped the Chicoms prevail by so giving the Japs an excuse to hold back their forces in China as well. By fighting the Americans in the Pacific and thus holding back their forces in China, the Japs allowed the Chicoms to hold back their forces and so come to power. So the Chicoms have the Americans to thank for this; and the Americans, like the Japs are hated by China.

That's of course if the Japan-China war even happened. With all sides holding back as I have shown, no one appears to have had a reason for fighting.


On a Sunday afternoon, I went to a Starbucks to buy Mocha Frappucinos for Jenny and myself. There was no lineup when I made my purchase and when I got back to Jenny, she remarked how quick I had been. When I said there had been no lineup, Jenny recalled that the Chinese were boycotting American chains like McDonalds, KFC and Starbucks for some political reason: the South China Sea issue.


Here is my two cents about the South China Sea controversy. I don't know much of the history of it other than it was the result of confused dealings at the end of World War 2 and the fact that it now has economic resources every nation craves. But since the Chicoms (or the mainland Chinese) are involved, everything that they have been saying about the issue has to be taken with a grain of salt. And seeing how the Mainland Chinese drive: they never fail to cheat in order to get ahead of other drivers, it is laughable for Mainland Chinese to talk of international law and fairness. When it comes to dealings involving honor and rules, the Mainland Chinese are devious and lacking in scruples. In a world where right would make right and not might makes right as it is, the Mainland Chinese and Chicoms would be entitled to about 10 feet of the sea that lies beyond their shore. What percentage of the South Chinese Sea would that be? Hopefully less than one tenth of one percent of it.

I type this rant after witnessing yet another annoying episode of Mainland Chinese aggressive driving. In left lanes which run up against a median, there will be a gap in the median for cars to make u-turns. Now if there is a long lineup in the left turn lanes so that the u-turn gap is not easy to get to, my inclination is to wait for traffic to move along and for the gap to become available. But some local drivers, will drive past the lineup, and then with their horns blaring try to cut into the lineup so they can get to the u-turn gap quicker. Witnessing this, I fume and find it hard to accept the fact that the local drivers drive the way they do. Blatant a-holery is hard to accept, coming from a culture that I do that insists on rules being followed and consideration for others when in traffic.

The day of typing this rant, I specifically witnessed a driver, who was honking his horn, cut in front of three other cars, including mine, that were trying to make the same u-turn he was. Typically, he was driving a BMW. Seeing this, I have to say that if this is the way the Chinese drive, they can't be trusted in business or diplomatic dealings.


And yet, many of the students I talk to are darn well aware of the bad driving habits that their comrades possess.


I am wearing my Dad's wedding ring along with my wedding ring all the time. Dad's ring does remind me of him and of all his faults and his seemingly simple-minded decency. And so I have to admit that Dad did more for me than I have ever done for Tony.

Be that as it may, Dad didn't ruin my summers by filling them with extra classes as Chinese parents do.


I asked some younger students about their parents driving and they all replied that their parents were good drivers. Thinking about my line of questioning, I now think that I should have asked them if they would ever admit their parents were bad drivers.

I did ask them a more useful question about whether their parents got mad when driving and what it was that got them mad. Some students did tell me that their parents practiced this vice. One student told me how her parents hated it when they were going at a fast rate of speed, following another car and that car would unexpectedly and all of a suddenly stop on a stretch of road where they shouldn't be stopping. That I got. But then another student told me that her parents hated it when a car was stopped at a red light in a lane marked as a lane in which you can either make a left turn or go straight ahead, and they were behind that car and wanting to make a left turn. That happens to me sometimes but I never feel outraged about it because no rules are being violated and so there is nothing for me to do but wait patiently for the next green light.

I see I will have to ask more students what gets their parents mad when they drive because my reaction to the second complaint told to me by the student was incredulity. Of all the things to complain about, you complain about a driver who has done nothing against the rules and just happens to be in your impatient way? Leads me to think that the parents of these students are typical local drivers and thus not very good drivers at all.


From David Warren's Blog:

One picks up one's habits from one's environment, and by condemning that environment, one condemns oneself.

Therefore: environmental change begins with not whining.

I say Warren has a point in most instances. That is, I see how that applies most of the time to life. But does it apply to my whining screeds about the driving habits of the locals? That is, I shouldn't whine about the driving here since I am part of it?

My initial reaction is no, but on reflection, saying that is how they drive and not getting mad about it is the proper reaction and in keeping with Warren's point. I am just going to have to try to be as courteous driver I can be and accept the fact that I will be – if you pardon the expression – pissing against the wind, be taken advantage of drivers who don't practice the courtesy I wish they would.


I am for Ted. Ted Cruz that is.

Be that as it may, I am left having to hope that Trump prevails over Bill's wife in November. I hope despite the fact that Trump is a nincompoop; or as Peter Hitchens has said: a fake conservative yahoo businessman. But he has the single virtue of not being that woman.

After Cruz made his speech at the Republican convention, I had been scouring the Internet for reaction to it. I was particularly interested to see what my two favorite Catholic bloggers, they being David Warren and Mundabor, had to say:

Warren, as yet, has not published his reaction (he did later say he was ignoring the conventions), but Mundabor did. Mundabor, to my great disappointment, was very scathing of Cruz, calling Cruz a lot of words that I thought Catholics were above using. Mundabor's three main points in his screed against Cruz were that : 1) Trump's opponent was Hilary 2) Cruz had violated a pledge 3) Cruz should have ignored the insults against his wife and his father because a PAC that supported Cruz had started the squabble by publishing unflattering photos of Trump's wife. To the first point, I can say that one Trump supporter, I listen to regularly, the Derb, has actually said that Hilary is not all that bad. To the second, Trump has been recorded as saying before the convention that the pledge was off and he didn't care if Cruz supported him or not. To the third, I would say that Trump's wife did pose for the photos and it was bound to be public anyway, whether some Cruz supporter, who was acting independently of Cruz anyway, published them, or some supporter of that so-called woman did. And Trump showed he was un-presidential by actually tweeting, himself instead of relying on some minion, the uncomplimentary photos of Cruz's wife.

I have to wonder, how Mundabor would feel about Trump if instead of the Democrats nominating Hilary, had nominated Teddy Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan.


Tony got mad at Siri.

What happened was that I was asking Siri to show photos of national flags, and Siri was doing a good job of showing me what I wanted. I would say "Siri, show me the flag of Sweden" for instance, and a flag of Sweden would show up on my IPhone. This impressed Tony, and so he tried to replicate what he had seen me do. But he keep mangling the syntax and grammar of his questions, and he couldn't get Siri to show him flags he wanted to see. He finished his session with Siri by repeatedly telling it (or her) that he didn't want to talk to her no more: to which Siri replied that she didn't understand what he was trying to say.

Tony must think Siri is human.


Tony did a thoughtful thing: a little thing, but enough to make me proud of him.

We went swimming at a pool near the Xi Shan High School. The pool center had an outdoor and an indoor pool. Tony wanted to play at the outdoor pool because it had these plastic slides and floating props which he thought were fun. I accompanied him to the outdoor pool, and I watched him as he played and even hoisted him on the huge playthings. The outdoor pool was shallow which I didn't mind sitting in, as it was very hot, but I eventually decided to go to the deeper indoor pool. Doing that, I decided to leave Tony's and my flip flops outside. So, I swam in the indoor pool and waited for either 16:00 which was when we agreed that we would leave, or the off chance that Tony wanted to leave earlier. And so at about 15:30, I saw Tony come to the indoor pool and look for me. When we found each other, Tony told me he wanted to go home. As I got out of the pool, I saw that Tony had laid both his and my flip-flops by the indoor pool.


As I was saying, July 2016 in Wuxi started off wet; but then it ended with a heatwave. The plans I had to get a pedal bike were shelved as the weather wouldn't allow it, and the question of where to put the bike was not resolved.


Tony says he likes America and wants to go there on a trip. Maybe, we will be able to go there next year.

I think Tony likes America because of the computer games and World War 2 documentaries he has been watching.


I am not proud to admit it, but I think in Celsius. But I was listening to a podcast where it was said that the temperature was up to a hundred in Washington, DC where they still use Fahrenheit – God bless them! – and I wondered in temperatures were similarly as high in Wuxi. I found out, using the Internet machine, that 37.8 C is exactly 100 F.

So, temperatures are up to 100 in Wuxi in July 2016.


Tony likes National flags and so Jenny ordered a bunch of small paper ones for him with which to play.

Tony, disconcertingly, given the nationalist furor over the South China Seas, has been walking around Wuxi waving his American flag, which I am thinking is his favorite flag of the bunch. [You may want to see the photo of Tony with his flags at either of the Tony Kaulins in China sites.]

Like with toys and drink packages, Tony is leaving his flags all over Casa Kaulins. You would think that Casa K was the UN after a riot.


David Warren says Hilary Clinton is not a woman and that Donald Trump is not a man. Geez, the Derb thinks Trump is an alpha male. How to reconcile these two viewpoints? The term Alpha Male is applied to lions and apes. Both of which aren't men.


I'm reading Kim by Rudyard Kipling. It is an enchanting novel and I rue the fact that I live in a post modern environment where consumption is all that defines anyone. How I long to meet people who possess some kind of religious sanctity.


Listening to Mother Angelica and reading David Warren, I see there is no point to following the current US presidential campaign very closely. If politicians aren't particularly interested in saving our souls, there is no use in inquiring what the policies would be.


Tony ends July playing with his flags, worrying about what he would do if his parents died, and expressing a keen interest in UFC.


I explain to the students what it means to know something about heart.

I then ask the students what they might know by heart. I sing the Star Spangled Banner to demonstrate that I know a song by heart.

One student tells me he knows his friend's birth date by heart....


Some English names that some students have given themselves: See Saw, Drinkwater, Nice.                                             

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