Friday, July 23, 2010

Another July 2010 Blog Entry

Arsenal (movie)  I bought the DVD of this 1928 Soviet film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, at the DVD shop in Nanchang Market.  For two rmb, it was a good buy.  The film is of interest to history buffs, but its narrative is confusing. Still,  It images were quite stunning -- as a commentator from a center-right podcast, Ricochet, pointed out about many early Soviet films.

Ezra Pound  In Durance (1907)
I AM homesick after mine own kind,
Oh I know that there are folk about me,
friendly faces,
But I am homesick after mine own kind.
I sometimes feel this way except I don't know who my own kind are.
The Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball  I have to admit that I don't follow baseball like I used to.  In fact, I find the sport impossible to watch now because I think its' aesthetics are all wrong (the players are too muscular, and those ugly uniforms they wear -- why those stupid dark tops?) and I loathe the wild card (I have an antipathy to it similar to those of Catholics who loathed the changes brought on by Vatican 2).  I still make it a point to follow the standings daily, and as rare readers of one my blogs may know, I like to dabble in creating fantasy standings based on MLB before 1969.  And I will always like to deal in lore about the sport's history.  My heartbreak was the Expos in the late seventies and eighties -- it could have been assuaged by a wild card but that misses the point -- the pain was the point.   Strange how when the Blue Jays won the Series, I felt there was no need to cheer that team anymore -- I now hate the Jays as much as I hate the three interloping teams below.  My team then became the Mariners but they have fallen into mediocrity, and now I am in China, and so I feel I don't have a team.  I am cheering for the Yankees to beat the Rays in their pennant race, but the Rays have a wild card position so the race may not be a race after all -- Damn the wild card!  I feel the Rays, the Marlins, and the D-Backs are pretty boy franchises that don't deserve to be in a man's game (The Rays, the Marlins, and the D-Backs are Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Every other team looks like Clint Eastwood in my eyes).  Anyway, these thoughts spring from reading this article about baseball on First Things.  Relating this to P.R. of China, I am saddened that a country with so much history has no sports lore to speak of.  They are best at a Ping Pong, a soulless sport if there was one.  They are taken up with soccer and basketball -- sports for Ninnies and Thugs that lack metaphysical splendour.
The Violent Bear it Away: a novel by Flannery O'Connor.  An interesting story of a broken family that I had to think long and hard about after  reading it because its characters' actions seemed so inexplicable and yet the characters all seemed to suffer from real human weaknesses that propel their inexplicable narratives forward.  In one episode in the novel, you know that a character is going to die but the person who should stop it can't because he is stuck in the situation, is tired by it, and weakened by his personal beliefs and conceit -- you saw it coming but there was nothing to be done -- the human condition without the benefit of grace.

Dumb Driving:  There is construction work being done on a road near my apartment.  Normally the road is four lanes, two going either way, but because of the construction it is only two lanes, one lane going each way.  The two lanes are separated by pylons and temporary metal barriers; the area of road being worked on is surrounded by ten foot high metal sheeting.  This arrangement causes confusion and chaos because of the Chinese driver's desire to cheat, and the blind spots caused by the sheeting.  Many drivers are trying to cheat by going into the opposite lane when they think there is no on-coming traffic -- this maneuver is a gamble because there is always a chance that vehicles will turn into the lane from behind the high metal sheeting.  One time, I saw a truck going the wrong direction in the lane a bus, I was on, was turning into -- the truck had to back up which was hard because all the traffic in the truck's proper lane wasn't letting it back up.  Saturday morning, a motorcycle trying to sneak quickly down the wrong lane nearly caused a collision  because it was heading the wrong way straight into a car making a right turn as well as a bus making a left turn into that lane -- the motorcycle swerving and the vehicles swerving to avoid one and than other caused the bus I was on to come to a quick passenger-sprawling stop.  One other thing I have notices:  the pylons that are used to separate the two temporary lanes have a short life -- most of them are crushed within a week of placement.
Flinging Garbage  A young man on a bicycle throws a straw and empty paper cup in the air.  Another young man walking down the street throws his empty plastic bottle in the air in what looked to be a fit of pique.  Why?

Angry Rear-ender  In Canada, it is understood that in fender-benders the driver of the rear vehicle is always considered to be at fault because he should have maintained an adequate following distance.  Apparently, not in China.  Saturday morning, I saw a driver of a  rear-ending black Honda waving his fist at the driver of a rear-ended grey Hyundai type car.  Apparently, the Hyundai driver was at fault because he didn't get out of the Honda's way or he had stopped at red light that the Honda driver would have ran as a matter of course.

Thought  Some things about the West you can't explain to Chinese students because they don't make sense -- the simplest language possible is unusable because the Western thing transcends common sense and simplicity.

Don't Read on the bus!  My wife says this to me but she might as well be asking me to stop breathing.

What would you do if I died?  Would you marry someone else?  my wife asked me.  I responded that I would marry someone who would do a good job looking after Tony, and then scolded her for even having thought the thought.
You have been in China for a long time:  when 1) You go to the supermarket without a shirt 2) You leave footprints on the toilet seat 3) You run red lights 4) You elbow your way on the bus

Blaise Pascal   Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavour, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.

Jewish Saying:  "Pride is a mask for faults."  So I take pride in nothing.

Disgruntled Worker caused Bus Fire  That's the latest story I saw on the Internet about that bus fire that killed 24 people in Wuxi. The story doesn't make sense I told the students.  They told me that they thought it was suspicious too but they don't believe all the news that gets fed to them, they tell me.
Seen on First Things Long ago Aristotle recognized that our moral character is shaped by the company we keep. What has hanging out with Tony and Jenny done to my moral character?

Thought Oh oh!  I don't want to scare you.  So I won't bother right now.

1 comment:

Orient Express said...

"Thought Some things about the West you can't explain to Chinese students because they don't make sense -- the simplest language possible is unusable because the Western thing transcends common sense and simplicity".

That is an intriquing thought - can you please give any examples?