So here are my February 2015 Notes, Observations and Thoughts:
I watched Super Bowl XLIX at Casa Kaulins on a Monday morning local time. I was so disappointed to see the Seahawks lose that I stayed from the news for 24 hours because I was upset at the Seahawks manner of losing and I didn't want to see the headlines with photos of celebrating New England Patriots.
What was the Seahawks QB thinking when he made that pass at the one yard line? Or what was the coach thinking when he made that play call? Surely, the Seahawks with their great fullback Lynch could have easily have pounded the ball into the end zone. When watching the play, I was wondering as the quarterback stepped back to pass, why he wasn't just giving the ball to Lynch.
Is American professional football fixed? When the score was 24-14, I knew that the Patriots were destined to come back and take the lead. At that point in the game, it seemed so inconceivable that the game was going to be clinched with seven minutes to go. And my premonitions turned out to be right.
Doing the January 2015 edition of AKIC Notes, Observations and Thoughts was agony. I edited the entry, reading it over and over again and was never satisfied with the writing. I marvel at the likes of Theodore Dalrymple and David Warren who write so well and write so much. I marvel at the minds they have and at how wonderful it would be to live in their heads.
A girl at the office is pregnant. Her pregnancy, judging from the amount of pouting and sighing she is doing, is remarkable. And so I have given her the nickname Octomom.
What is an adjective you would use to describe 22 to 39 year old woman? A young male student said "tall." Not the sort of sex-specific, aka gender-specific, word I was hoping to hear.
The lesson plan for that particular salon class suggested teaching the students about gender-stereotyping. I didn't bother with that left-wing tripe and decided to stick to trying to teach English.
I have done something historical. That is, if you can say my doing something out of character and/or against my reputation is historical. For the first time ever, I have actually purchased apps from the iTunes store. I bought a table hockey game (so I could play against my brother Ron on our iPads across the globe), a Python 3 compiler, and Mine Craft Pocket Edition (for Tony).
After I loaded the Mine Craft app on my iPad, I tried to play it and found that I couldn't figure it out. Tony then tried the app and was easily doing all sorts of things with it and finding all sorts of options on it that I didn't know were possible. I assume he learned how to do those things by watching Mine Craft game play videos on Youku and Youtube. It was, after all, because of watching Youku that he saw the game and then asked me to find it for him.
I would like to spend all of 2015 watching nothing but Hollywood Musicals. So far, I have watched two. The Bandwagon and Funny Face both starring Fred Astaire.
Jenny tells me that when she got off the train at Sanyang plaza, she saw an old man steal a brush that the subway station cleaners had put down. Jenny was staring right at the man when he put the brush in his jacket. She said he smiled when he noticed that she was staring at him. I assume that he smiled in the weaselly way that the Chinese do when they are caught red-handed or when they have been shamed or embarrassed. [The Western way of weaseling out of things involves either bold rationalizations or becoming red faced.]
A week after buying the Stitcher Table Hockey League App, my record was nine wins, eleven losses, four OT wins and five OT losses: 13-16 overall. [At the end of February, my record is Fifty Eight wins, Twenty Two losses, Eleven OT wins and Nine OT losses: 69-31 overall.]
On a Friday evening, I had a student who came 54 minutes late for a 55 minute salon class. That is, he came in at 8:54 for a class that was to end at 8:55. There were other four students in the class who had showed up on time for the class; and like me, they were surprised when he came in and sat down like he was only five minutes late. The tardy student's strange perception about time was on account of the fact that he was drunk. I learned from him that he was so late because the teacher, he had for a previous class he had scheduled at 7:00, decided to have the class away from school and buy him beers.
Are most of the people who teach English in China alcoholics, ******s or mountebanks?
Jenny & Tony went to a Thailand for a week in early February. Tony was on his winter holiday from school and so there was a group of parents and children from our apartment complex that they could go with while I had to stay in Wuxi and work.
So while the wife & son were away: I did the following:
Had all three of my laptops in use for various purposes.
Went to the Lavit Mall (on the Wuxi #2 Metro Line) where I went to Ikea to eat hot dogs (as well as to bring some frozen dogs home), and had flame-broiled goodness at Burger King. [This Lavit Mall is called Juhui by the locals.]
Walked to the Hui Shan Wanda Mall from the Yanqiao Subway station, by going through a courtyard of a plaza which seemed very forlorn because it contained many empty stores and had fading signs that had been built before the Wanda Mall.
Went to a toy store to get another copy of a Lego catalogue for the Tony boy.
Read in bed.
Used the family e-bike to go to the subway station on some of my work days.
Felt very lonely.
Felt happy to hear that Tony was having a good time.
When I went to the Lavit Mall (again, known to the locals as the Juhui Plaza), I decided to take the Wuxi Metro Line #2 as far as I could westward and noticed the following things:
The line went past a lot of empty fields: maybe more that the Line #1.
Three of the stations on the line weren't open yet. So I had the sensation of the train going on past two dark stations.
One station, by an apartment community under construction, felt very forlorn. I was the only person to board the train there. And I had only gotten off the train at that station out of interest.
I read in David Warren's blog that Canada now has legalized physician-assisted suicide. Warren, a traditional orthodox Catholic, says Canada is now a much less humane country. I agree with him. As someone who left Canada eleven years ago and may some day have to go back, I expect a lonely and depressing time when I do. Canada is a land of high taxes, hard-to-get government service, large fines, preening Leftists, reflexive anti-Americanism, easy divorce, easy to get drugs, irreligion and intense cold, as well now as being a place where it is hard to get any sympathy. You're just unnecessary, please kindly permit us to snuff you off. First legalized abortion, now this.
I was happy to see Jenny & Tony return from Thailand. A picture in which Jenny was wearing a bathing suit made me particularly excited to see her. Tony I suspect was happy to see me because he could again play Mine Craft on my iPad Mini.
Tony told me he loved seeing elephants and playing on the beach when he was in Thailand.
Jenny had a few observations: 1)Thailand was poor and had squalor that was worse than her hometown. 2)Shopping in Thailand was inexpensive. 3)There were Chinese tourists everywhere.
I have never had a hankering to go to Thailand. If I had a chance to go, I would look forward to it. But as it is, I think of it as place for the kind of tourists who get shepherded around. I believe that there are also two other sub-categories of modern tourists who go to Thailand that I don't want anything to do with: the partier and the sex tourist, aka pervert.
I had a chance to go off-site for the school. I was taken to a company in the new district to judge in a speaking competition. While the taxi was taking us – that be me and the handlers – there, I was appalled by the smog. It was dull gray with tinges of brown, and was slightly obscuring buildings that really weren't that far away.
Obama, I heard, got on his high horse to warn others to not get on their high horses to complain about a barbarity or barbarities recently done in the name the Prophet. When a progressivist of Obama's ilk says this sort of thing, what he is really saying is that only he and his ilk are allowed to get on high horses and that others, not of his ilk, dare not.
Why is it that sometimes when I try to edit text, the cursor won't advance but instead seems to go backwards deleting what I am trying to write?
Three kinds of people teach English in China: alcoholics, ******s and dipsticks. How I wish this wasn't so, but there it is. If there are places in China where this is not so, I want to know about them. I wanted to be proved wrong. And by people who are honestly not alcoholics, *******s, dipsticks or at least possess a smidgen of honesty. [There isn't any fourth category for which you may think I have placed myself. I put myself with the dipsticks.]
The following is the journalizing that I did on my iPod Touch Note App from a few days before my week long CNY holiday to the sixth day of my CNY Holiday. (It has been edited.)
Fish sucking feet. Near Casa Kaulins, in the Ramada Plaza, there is a spa, of sorts, which the K family went to on the last Monday before the Chinese New Year. The place has an indoor hot pool and outdoor hot spas. Two of the spas have these small fish that will suck on your feet if you stand still. I stood for a long time in both those pools to let the fish suck my toes which are disfigured because of funguses that I have plagued me since my days in the Militia.
Jenny tells me we will be spending six days in countryside. Why so long I? I asked. Jenny said that was the earliest her mother could buy us a return bus ticket.
Demise of the Sun News Network. From David Warren's blog, I learned of the demise of an attempt at a Canadian right wing news TV channel. That and PAS, gives me another reason to despise Canada. [Television it seems is a Left Wing medium. This is because television emphasizes surface appearances and rapid presentations of topics. It has no time for long drawn out meditations or thinking on any issues. Radio it seems is a Reactionary or Right Wing medium because spoken dialogue does involve thinking and use of the imagination that television does not.]
VPN clampdown in China. So I have heard but so far, my VPNs are still functioning fine.
Grandfather Mao. I was talking about Chairman Mao to a young student of middle school age, and he asked me who Chairman Mao was. I was baffled as to how to explain who Mao was to him because it seemed so dumbfounding that he wouldn't know who I was talking about. So, I thought to tell the student that Chairman Mao was the man whose face was on all Chinese paper money. When it finally did sink in to the boy who it was I was talking about, he told me that everyone in his class referred to the Chairman as Grandfather Mao.
A student pointed out that it was ironic that Google OS would be on many Chinese android phones, given how the Chinese government was doing everything it could to block Google in China.
Now beginneth my CNY entries:
Pre CNY night
I try to speak some Chinese to Jenny's brother who had come to pick us up and take us to the in-laws compound in Beixing, a small village outside of Taixing and just north of the Yangtze (Changjiang) river.
Jenny's brother was relying on GPS to get him through streets of Jiangying city.
We arrive at compound at night.
Morning. Noise all around the compound: shouting, talking, dogs, chickens, horns, vehicles racing by and fireworks.
Read some Evelyn Waugh to pass the time.
Go for a walk to a nearby street.
See a fellow with a ponytail. Too cool for the countryside I thought.
See lots of wares for sale on street.
See Aihao pens in a shop which was good. The shop just didn't have the Aihao model I wanted.
See trash everywhere.
See old an squat peasant woman and so I say to myself, as a reminder, that I am in an exotic locale.
Buy Tony a set of three toy plastic fire trucks for 20 rmb.
Andis! Chi! [Andis! Eat!]
Old man, frail and hunched, feebly shovels trash into his bicycle wagon.
Drivers instead of slowing down press on their horns.
Get stares being a foreigner and all.
The garbage everywhere in the countryside depresses me.
Have this vague plan to make a film for this week but my heart isn't in it.
Mother-in law has bike. I think I should go for a ride. [It turns out I don't.]
Public shower. We can't take showers in the in-laws home. All they have is a bath with no hot water tap. So we usually bathe with basins and hot water that they have boiled and put in thermoses. But this time, we can go to a public shower place. The place however is icky. It is near a polluted canal. As well, the area around the place is full of rubbish. The showers have no drains. Water goes out via troughs that surround the shower floors.
Early to bed for me. I have a headache.
Xin nian kuai le! Xin nian hao! Happy New Year!
Late to rise.
Forced out of bed by mob coming to visit.
J's Brother then drives us to some relatives houses.
The man of each house hands me a smoke.
I remember the houses from previous CNYs.
I xinnianhao everyone.
No video. I won't make one. I will instead just record my thoughts in the iPod Touch Note App.
I didn't wear new clothes and so Baba chastises Jenny. I dress like I am going camping whenever I am in the countryside.
(I have gotten new clothes but I don't want to wear them in the countryside)
Thought I had while sleeping: There are Catholics who vote Democrat because of this moral calculus they employ where they figure that by doing so, they can reduce abortions. They reason that by compromising with pro-abortionists, that there would less abortions than if they opposed abortion outright. If that is their logic, I think that they should as well advocate terror tactics – that is killing abortion doctors – in seeking to reduce abortions. If it can further reduce the number of abortions then why not? The terror tactics employed by Muslims to achieve their goals have worked: for they have frightened the West. Look at airport security. A few murders of abortionists would be similarly effective wouldn't they? Look at Western Leftists. They, who are big abortion advocates, are scared to say tickety-boo against Muslims. And really, there isn't that much terrorism and the number of terrorists is few anyway. So, what's wrong with advocating that only a few abortion doctors get shot? Do the math as Catholics for Obama say. Sure, there is killing, but overall there is less killing. [BTW, I don't advocate killing abortionists. I think they should be shamed in stopping what they do.]
Everybody seems to have an iPhone 6 in Jenny's family.
It's afternoon: everyone hanging out. Visitors come in. Kids have been dragged along: one specimen, a young boy wearing a green and white sweat suit bearing Apple logos seems particularly put out. He sits and slopes down the chair so that the bottom edge of it supports his back.
Tony won't share his potato chips with me.
I am at near the end of Decline and Fall, a novel by Evelyn Waugh.
I want to buy some shaving cream. Two days of growth having me feeling like a bum.
Tony has kids to play with. I suppose I should be glad. But I only see Tony getting in trouble.
There are two adult dogs in the compound. One is a puddle: very active, jumping all over everyone in the compound. It always has to be hushed out of the living quarters. The other dog has three puppies which are not old enough to scamper about yet.
I finish D & F.
Tony is hard to reason with. I wanted to make a deal with him where all he had to was walk with me for ten minutes and he could have played with the iPad Mini to his heart's content. But he was absolutely insistent on not going on the walk and playing the IPM. He is not yet mature enough to reason.
I am in bed at 6:00PM.
I am up at 8:00 AM sort of.
Someone is letting off fireworks at 8:00 AM. Why?
Last evening, I watched 80 percent of the Godfather on my MBP.
Tomorrow, we will go to Jenny's real mother's place.
Today, no plans except to watch the end of the Godfather, watch a musical and start a book: possibly GKC.
I'd like to get Tony outside but he's not interested.
I'm not interested in going outside today either. It's grey, windy and cold.
Change of plan: we will go to Jenny's natural parents this afternoon.
It has started to rain. I wish we didn't have to go out.
J's sister drives us out to Jenny's natural parents. Interesting ride. The roads were paved but became narrow. Cars approaching each other have to slow down.
J's sister's driving is not great. She stalls her manual transmission car about three times. Still, she navigates her car successfully through the narrow roads and tight turns to get to the house.
The house where we pay a visit is big, but basically a concrete shell with stone tile floors. There is lots of space but the place is chilly. It has a courtyard and a second floor. Kitchen is on one side of courtyard. They tell me it was built in 1994.
I see these twin brats for the second time. When I saw them during the last Golden Week holiday, I nicknamed them Lenny & Squiggy. If only they could be as interesting. As it is, they are chubby, wear glasses and have the pallor of sedentary types. No apparent awareness of my presence when I xinnianhaoed them.
The twins, another boy and Tony watch TV.
The TV is in a bed room. The boys sit on a bed to watch it.
Tony wants the iPad Mini which I had brought along.
No Internet. No a/c. But they have cable TV.
I nibbled at supper there which is my habit when in the countryside.
We didn't stay for long thankfully. The rain didn't allow me to have a wander so I felt very bored.
I have read one Father Brown Story.
Went to the public shower by myself: I see that it costs10 RMB.
I watch the musical film Anchors Aweigh, starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, on the MBP. Kelly has a great screen presence, an aristocratic manner.
Tony wanted to go home on the second day. And he is saying again that he wants to go home.
I've read a lot. A bit of GKC, Shakespeare, Wallace Stevens, Robert browning, Confucius, Romano Guardini, and Sigrid Undset
One minute, I am under the covers; the next, there are people in our room.
I have been lazy this holiday. Ashamedly so.
The weather: cloudy and cool.
On TV, some kids dressed in bunny suits dance to Gangnam Style. There seems to be a whole channel dedicated to this and other sappy kids programs. Does the one child policy cause this?
I am desperate for thoughts.
After lunch, we walk to a nearby grocery store. Its selection is passable. I get Jenny to buy me five cans, all different brands, of beer.
Tony wants to buy a toy. There is nothing to buy at the grocery store, so I take him to nearby shops where we had bought that set of toy fire trucks. At one of them, I am accosted by a worker speaking pidgin English to me. I then go to a shop with an interesting selection of pens, including Ai Haos, and continue my quest for a particular model of Ai Hao that I have been craving to get more of. Tony, however, wants me to rush out of the store. He says the toys at that shop are stupid. After much squabbling, we leave the pen shop and we settle on a set of airport rescue toys for me to buy him.
I can't get Wifi and the WeChat social app on my phone but Jenny can on hers. Her IP6 has 4G.
I learn that the 2013 and the 2014 Shanghai Expat of the Year, Paul Rudkin, has a bad case of pneumonia. This stuff happens to other people. Not to me. In my over ten years in China, nothing has sidelined me.
Hot pot at 330 PM! Too early if you ask me!
Countryside is not for the squeamish. And yet I admit I squeamish. And yet, I am in the countryside. Why? It is what the love of a good woman requires. So, I am forced to become less squeamish.
Thought Apropos Of Nothing. A TAON!
TAON #1: A teacher has got a middle school student to teach and doesn't know what to teach the boy. I tell him to take the student to a brothel. Why? He had taken another student to a pub in lieu of having a class. If you want to be a legend, you gots to do legendary things.
TAON #2: This ****** says he never would go to ******land for a holiday. I think to myself that his girlfriends would want to..:
TAON #3. Does anyone read this? (I will publish it in the blog) Not being Catholic but wanting to be, I have no other means of confessing.
TAON #4: If I knew how to write with style, I would write a D&F type novel about my life written from the perspective of Pendergrast. (He was a teacher who wore a wig, I have seen teachers who dye their hair. I have a constant battle to keep down the excessive facial hair.)
Not a TAON: I drink a can of Suntory beer. A beer that shouldn't be drunk by Lefties. Perhaps, they should drink Suncommie.
Go for public shower tonight and the proprietor gives me a cigarette.
I watch the old film Annie Get Your Gun on my MBP. A great film but politically incorrect by today's standards because it portrays the Indians as passive.
Tony & I sing a show tune together from that movie. Anything you can do, I can do better...
950 PM: I play on my MBP and Tony plays on my IPM.
One more day here. The bus takes us back tomorrow.
We're the only ones in J's circle of relatives who don't have a car. I don't want a car, for the most part, but I can see why others do. And so I do sometimes wish I had a car. But in 24 hours, it won't matter because I will be able to ride the bus and train.
Last night J talked of going to Taixing today. If it was sunny, she said, we would go. I wasn't enthusiastic about it. This holiday couldn't be salvaged, I figured.
Tony had another "I wanna go home" fit last night. The third if I am counting right.
I caught a bit of British PM Cameron's CNY address to China. It seemed craven.
Jenny tells me that a skunk snuck into the compound one night ago and ate one of the chickens kept in the coop.
In the afternoon, I lie on bed and read GKC.
It wasn't sunny today.
TAON #5: I would like the monks life. I wish I had thought of theology as a field of study. No money in it, I suppose, but what the Hell?
Another poor performance in the countryside by yours truly. I did nothing to help anyone.
What is the difference between this holiday and a beach holiday? Not much. Either here or there, I would suffer the same feeling of impotent restlessness.
I read the following in the evening: Shakespeare. Nicholas Gomez Davilla, and the Salisbury Review (entire autumn issue)
Last night, midnight fireworks kept us from falling asleep and scared Tony so much that he was crying and plugging his ears. The puppies could be heard to whimper once the fireworks had subsided.
On the fifth (or is it the fourth night?) day, the tradition is to go crazy with fireworks to welcome some god of wealth.
If I had kidnapped someone from Canada and brought him here blindfolded last night, he would have thought that he had been absconded to a war zone.
Last night, we talked about what we would do once we were back at Casa Kaulins. Pizza for supper?
TAON #6: Is practical good for the soul? The practical, that is, of this world?
9:00 AM and the whole crew is up. First time this holiday.
I look at the tickets and see that the bus is leaving at 11:50 AM, not 11:30, as I had thought. That's another twenty minutes that I have to be here.
Can we be back at Casa K by 3:00 PM?
Bus leaves at 11:50. Tony asks for the IPM. A little later, Jenny returns it. I thought she was taking it from him because he had had played too much, but she said he was going to sleep.
J&T sit together. I sit across the aisle, a young gentleman sits beside me occupying the window seat.
I read more Father Brown detective stories. I will have read two folio books – not e-books – this holiday. I brought them along because I hadn't expected Tony to let me read books on the IPM.
Before I know it, we're on the freeway. Traffic is stop and go.
We arrive home at 2:30 PM.
The first thing we eat when we get back to Wuxi is pizza.
Tony ate a lot of pizza on his return to Wuxi and Casa Kaulins. In the evening of his first day back, he ate four pieces. The next day, he ate a whole medium pizza by himself. Before CNY, he would eat two pieces.
My first day back to work was dismal. It was rainy and cold and thus so depressing.
A student told me that during her CNY holiday, she spent six terrible days in the countryside without Wifi.
On my first day back from work, I took the subway home in the evening. I got off the train as has been my habit and went to catch the 9:40 PM shuttle bus from Yanqiao station to Casa Kaulins. But to my disappointment, but not my surprise, I looked at video screen indicating shuttle bus departure times and noticed that the next bus was leaving at 10:00 PM. Not wanting to wait twenty five minutes, I walked home. Unless I can use the e-bike or get a pedal bike, it looks like I will have to, on my work evenings, be walking home from the station to our apartment.
This 637 shuttle bus has not been very successful. I often have been the only passenger riding the bus for a whole run of its route. I don't doubt that the bus has driven the route many times and not picked up any passengers. Many times as well, people who get off the subway and want to take the shuttle bus, find that they have to wait a long time for the next bus to leave. A few times, I have seen the shuttle bus just leave its station as the train has arrived at its nearby station: stupid timing on the part of the bus route planners because the bus should wait for the passengers who are getting off the train. One time, I tried to run from the subway station and flag down the shuttle bus as it was beginning its route, but the driver ignored me as well as some other potential passengers. It is the sort of thing that will make people decide to not use the service ever again. And the maddening aspects of the route don't stop there. I have complained before about how the route will take the bus right by the stairs leading to the subway station but not stop; instead the bus has to drive around for another kilometer before letting off the passengers.
So it doesn't surprise me that the 637 bus is curtailing service in the evening. Clearly, it is wasting money.
The shuttle bus seemed like a good idea when it was started. If there was a bus at the Yanqiao station, you would think that many people would take it to get to the subway station. But it hasn't panned out. It seems that many people who are not very close to the subway station thought to use their e-bikes or bikes to get to it.
In a blog entry, David Warren wrote the following about English Butlers: ...the ancient English butler (who survives only in old movies), [is] a man of dignity; and of a wide knowledge, at the disposal of those who politely ask. He knows what is possible and what is not. He gives respect to the respectable; and he demands respect in turn. It makes me ask: who do I know that is worthy of respect? My answer: I don't know. It also makes me ask myself: Am I worthy of respect? My answer: probably not. Conclusion: I got to get myself out of the morass.
I will allow myself only one swipe at Obama this month. [I had just thought to make another one but desisted.]
On the last Friday Morning in February, I went to the McDonalds, that is nearby the place that employs me, for breakfast. I was queueing up and had this young gentleman cut in front of me and yell at the clerks. I was annoyed and noticed that the not-so-gentleman had a tattoo on the back on his hand below the gap between his thumb and forefinger. [Thinking about it, I can say that I was surprised to see that this not-so-man had opposable digits.] I assumed with the tattoo and his leather jacket that he was a gang member of sorts. I was then disappointed to see that my standing my ground at a spot in front of the clerk did not prevent the clerk from serving this person before me. It all goes to show that China 2015 is not a civilized place with laws and etiquette, but a place where brute force determines what happens.
Walking from the McDonalds, near our school, to the new location of my school, I had to check myself from turning towards the old location of the school. It's hard to shed a ten year old habit.
I failed a student last night. The topic of the class was going to the doctor, and it just so happened that the student's father was a doctor and that she planned to be a doctor herself. Having had this student in many classes, I had become resigned to her lackadaisical and bored manner. The younger students have our English classes piled on top of everything else Chinese students have to do, so I try to cut a little bit of slack. But I lost any semblance of sympathy for the girl when I realized that she just blithely assumed that she was going to be a doctor and that she could comport herself in her study in the manner she had been. [I failed the girl not because she morally disgusted me. I had to fail the girl because she didn't know any of the lesson's vocabulary. And it had just so happened that the vocabulary was from a profession that she tells me, rather smugly, that she is going to a be member of.]
The next evening – the evening of the day I wrote about there being no 9:40 PM shuttle bus – there was a 9:40 shuttle bus. I suppose it is not easy to modify a dumb government idea or a mediocre government implementation of a seemingly good idea.
I won't delete my rant about the shuttle bus.
One day, I had classes with students whose English names were Caesar and Kaiser. Caesar, a middle school student, wore pink basketball shoes. I assumed it was the fashion, though I had fun demonstrating the word "absent-minded" by saying he had mistakenly put on his mother's basketball shoes.
Kaiser, who was in fact a student at this school, was in fact not present. I mixed him up with the student who did show up and whose name did prompt me to make this entry: General. General is a good kid. His English is not great but he tries hard.
Students should only apologize when they haven't made an effort, not when they have made a mistake.
From David Warren's Blog: People who tell you lies are not your friends.