Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Night with the Family K.

Tony is putting coins in the catch-tray of our water machine. Yesterday, he poured half a bottle of Gatorade into a pail. The second act was strange because he has developed a liking for the stuff. I have to drink the sports beverage in secret - Tony sees me, and I have a fight with a persistent-won't-take-no-for-answer beggar on my hands.

The School Library has a novel "A Soldier's Duty" by Thomas E. Ricks which I have borrowed. I am thinking of bailing on the Robertson Davies' novel. Four pages of the Ricks' novel and I am hooked, just like the reviewer from National Review whose blurb praises the novel.

More reports from the students I do see about the Chinese economy going down. A potential student told me her import-export business has been bad since December. Another has been working only eight hour days when he used to be working twelve.

Another great blog I have found. Steve Sailer dares to talk about things that others dare not, using common sense all the while. Here is a passage (though he didn't write it) that I found in his blog that stands out to me: The accuracy of person perception tends to improve with age, as we learn, gradually and painfully, which behavioral cues are the most reliable indicators of personality, intelligence, and moral virtues. We learn which situations reveal the most diagnostic information about someone’s true character. We learn how to see through first impressions.....Teenagers are overly influenced by the traits that are easiest to assess (physical attractiveness and status among peers). By contrast, parents have decades more experience in assessing the harder-to-discern traits, such as conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability, and intelligence, and in appreciating the longer-term benefits that these traits convey in any human relationship. This ability to judge character was considered a major part of wisdom, and a cardinal virtue, before consumerist capitalism made concepts like character, wisdom, and virtue sound unfashionable. I have noticed that many Expats mock the Chinese for actually listening to and heeding their parents. I assume that it is progress if you don't listen to people who have been around longer than you. From this passage I can also see how foolish I have been in assessing people. But I am learning gradually and painfully. On the latter score, I can only say live-and-learn. On the former, I am out-of-tune with many, but so be it.

Lots and lots of Chinese wear eyeglasses. I will soon be joining them. The signs, little though they are now, are still unmistakable. I am finding myself straining to read some small print. In certain light, text seems blurry. It never had before. On Thursday, I took to asking one student about his glasses. I was asking him simple, but hitherto unconsidered, questions like how long he had been wearing his particular pair of glasses for. I was surprised to learn that he wore the same pair of glasses all the time. He had a back up pair, but told me that alternating his two pairs would be hard on his eyes, because no two pairs of glasses are ever exactly the same.

So, Oprah has been U.S. President for over 100 days. So far, it seems the world has survived. But it will take time before Oprah truly wreaks havoc. His bad and unoriginal ideas have just started to be implemented. And his worst ideas are still to come.

Oprah has never impressed me, has done nothing to change my mind about this, and I can hardly wait till he goes away. Reading the text of one of his speeches, I immediately was struck by how free it was of any actual content. He is a slick politician who benefits from having an ebony veneer and an ability to speechify and seem thoughtful to people who aren't interested much in what people have to say. I can only marvel at how people are so willfully blind about him. I hope for America's sake and the world's, that future presidents will truly be judged by what they say and the content of their character. Now, that America has had a black president, the insane desire for some sort of racial redemption at all costs that elected Obama should hopefully be a one-off in American history. Or will there be a second act to this bad show?

No comments: