It is Tuesday, which means you are in Akicistan. Akicistan is a wonderful place where people are sensible, men are men, women are women, Sleeman's Honey Lager can be found at the local store, people embark on a course of action and then stick to it, goals are actually scored in association football matches, the major baseball league league doesn't have a wildcard, no one wants government cheques, and people are elected on the basis of their character and not the color of their skin. Obama hates Akicistan and would stand by idly if the Iranians or Russians or Chinese attacked it.
How to pronounce AKICistan? Should I pronounce it A-K-I-C-istan, calling out the four letters, or should I say Akicistan, calling out "kick"? I am leaning toward the latter pronunciation. Pronunciations can evolve, you know. Any opinions rare readers?
Good advice for raising children:
Let them enjoy:
The peace, before the dreadful daylight starts,
Of unkept promises and broken hearts.
This gem of wisdom comes from John Derbyshire's April Diary. Derb was referring to the time we peak in life. A writer who said he had peaked too early at age eleven, in fact peaked normal said Derb. For as the above lines remind us, there is a time when a dreadful reality of life hits us. The world is not an ideal place and never can be. Till then, the world is a wonder and you think it will always be wonderful.
Thinking back on my life, I would have to say that my life peaked at the same time. I was living in Shilo, Manitoba, having just moved there from Quebec. I had a good season playing hockey and it was the first time we could see our Winnipeg relatives on a regular basis. Christmas in Winnipeg with all the relatives was probably the best I ever had. I was in grade seven which made me about 12 years old. Life in Quebec had been grand. We lived in a new subdivision with plenty of places to wander like the stock car track, a creek, and all sorts of woods. I was happy at the time we moved because that was what I had been used to. And plus the kids at school were not likable anymore. We spent a year in Shilo, 1976-77, before moving on to New Brunswick for a second time (We had lived in Oromocto for my kindergarten and grade one years). The second time in New Brunswick was not as good as the first. It was then that my life went to seed. More and more, I saw that people weren't nice, and that I was weak....
I read the Derbyshire piece after coming home from a walk with Tony. We wandered near the Square and Government buildings. At one end of the square, stairs take you to the edge of a canal. Walking there with Tony, I found a six foot long stick. I picked it up and stuck it in the canal water. Tony saw me do this, asked for the stick, and imitated my actions. For ten minutes, he was happy as all can be whacking the canal surface with the stick. He then let go of the stick and it fell in the water and out of his grasp. There was no way I was going to retrieve it. So, I continued walking with Tony looking for another stick to placate the boy who was distraught about losing the other one. When I did, sticks or twigs being hard to find in China I would assume, I took Tony to a fountain pool near the canal. I let Tony have his play this one foot stick continually sticking and splashing it the pool. Unlike the spot where Tony had the first stick, there was no barrier between Tony and the water. So, I had to shadow Tony who was stumbling and running along the edge of the pool. The water was only a foot deep however so in my mind, I knew the worst scenario wouldn't be drowning. Still, I didn't need the aggravation of Tony getting wet. But, stumble in, he did. I did manage to catch him before he was complete submerged in water, and so he only soaked his pants and socks. Still, I had to rush him home immediately. The walk home being about five minutes, I had time to fortify myself mentally about the fact that Jenny would not be impressed. Thankfully, she wasn't as mad as I thought she would be. Only once did she want to strike me.
But this story I thinks amplifies the point that Derbyshire was making in his Diary entry. You got to let your children have their tumbles. You also have to appreciate that what is boring to us is a wonder to a child. I had someone ask me if it was boring to live out in this countryside Wuxi suburb, a long commute from the downtown. I told this person that China has so much to see in it that even the smallest area has too much to see in one trip. I keep finding new things anytime I take Tony for a walk. I should also have told this person that having a child, I have the added advantage of reliving the wonder I had when I was a child. If Tony is excited, then I am excited. When was the last time, I needed a simple stick for the sake of having fun?
The students tell me that the motto of Wuxi is "Wuxi is a good city". The students tell me that the motto sounds just as lame in Chinese. I initially agreed with them, but I should have told them that in English, we have many ways to say good. Maybe, the motto can be translated to "Wuxi is Wonderful." or something considerably more clever. Not that this sloganeering would do any good. New York and Paris are New York and Paris. Their slogan could be "Go to hell!" and people would still want to visit. Paris's slogan probably is "go to hell!". (The joke is not mine. I read it in the comment thread of the Steve Sailer blog entry I mentioned in a previous post about Korea branding.)
May 4 was Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you.
May 5 is a celebration of mayonnaise in Mexcio. It is Cinqo de Mayo day in the swine flu ridden country that no one wants to live in if they can help it. I have never tried Cinqo De mayonnaise. I always used Hellman's when I was in Canada. Here, I learn to do without.
Tony likes to rough house with his father in the manner of professional WWF wrestling. He backhanded Dad a couple times. His father backhanding him back only made Tony laugh.