Tuesday, January 16, 2018

If You Don't Believe Me, Take it From a Feminist Being Bashed by Feminists

THIS is what I'm blathering on about, folks. Margaret Atwood: misogynist! This is how absurd this languid, lazy, pigeonholing has become. Now admittedly, not everyone has had the exposure to Canadian literature that I have, but, before you carelessly fling the label of woman-hater at Margaret Atwood, at least give her a Google?

Her best known book, "The Handmaid's Tale" has one of her most, if not her most, common theme: the struggle of a woman against patriarchy. It takes place in a dystopian society in which women have no rights and its protagonist, Offred, is a handmaid, which is a word for a woman used as a concubine for elite, rich, but infertile couples to reproduce. The nameless, "Commander," and his wife, Serena Joy, a former gospel singer, use Offred during the appropriate point in her menstrual cycle each month, to have sex with the Commander while Serena holds Offred's hands and sings a lovely hymn. I challenge you to find a more hammer-the-reader-over-the-head feminist allegory!

Another of  her common themes is that of women as meat or ornaments. Things to be taken in by the senses, but not yet possessed of humanity, much less equality. In "The Edible Woman," the hero, a woman named Marian, is engaged to a lawyer who treats her like arm candy but will be a fine husband and a good choice to make Marian's life a social success. But she also has feelings for Duncan, an aimless English Lit grad. Marian starts to realize the helplessness her patriarchal society has forced onto her as she sees Peter, (her fiancé, and another word for penis), cutting a steak. She finds that she can no longer eat meat. Then she can't eat at all as the wedding approaches. She thinks of herself as icing on Peter's cake, then bakes a cake shaped like a woman. Peter doesn't eat it and the wedding is called off. Marian finds she can eat the cake and in the end, Duncan finishes it. Again, quite an obvious statement about feminism, although not so realistic. As many a Duncan, including myself, can tell you, in real life, Marian marries the dick.

If you don't have time to read a whole book, how about the poem, "Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing." Admittedly, a hard sell, it paints a pole dancer as a goddess of femininity. But read it, analyze it, research it, don't take anyone's word for it. There are some fantastic lines in this poem! I can't say I remember reading it or any of Atwood's specific poems during my education, but I DO remember reading "The Handmaid's Tale" and some of her poetry and deciding I liked the poetry better. It may have had a lot to do with the fact that I had a billion other things to read and the poetry was shorter, but do yourself a favour and read this poem!

The start is the defence of the woman who chooses making money dancing "naked as a meat sandwich," over 8 hours a day of standing, getting varicose veins for minimum wage. The narrator/stripper admits it is exploitation but doesn't admit to any shame other women would tell her she should feel. "It's the smiling tires me out the most," says the dancer/goddess, and the pretence that she can't hear the patrons' speech, all warty gutterals as obvious as a slab of ham. They try to reduce her to components and objectify her, but they can't see through her. "Nothing is as opaque as absolute transparency." In her total nudity she hides her secret divinity. Her dance is a torch song. Touch her and you'll be burned.

Can't you hear a room full of feminists, (most of whom don't HAVE the option the goddess speaks of and would be met with shouts of "PUT IT ON" if they tried to exercise it), slagging this poem or the dancer, if she were real, without having read it or heard her? It's the easy thing to do. And they have the support of their fellow feminist club members. But if they'd just think before becoming indignant and outraged and firing out dismissive generalizations, "whore!" "sell-out!" "shame!" "get a REAL job!" etc., they might see that this poem is not very different in theme than the two novels described above. It's the idea that all the women have to resort to desperate measures to attain any small freedom they can get. Extreme measures like fleeing to Canada, (Offred), abandoning the easy life, (Marian), or workin' the pole. I'm not saying this is a legitimate idea or that I agree or disagree with it. But it is the height of moronity to describe it as anti-feminist. Yet, somehow, that's what people are doing. Or at least characterizing the writer of these feminist statements as a traitor to the cause.

"In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn't puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated." This is a direct quote from Margaret Atwood's column in the Globe And Mail that was written about author and UBC creative writing instructor who was fired under very similar circumstances to those of James Damore, the hero of my last post.

Margaret Atwood wrote, a bit tongue-in-cheek, an article asking whether or not she was a bad feminist. Reason being she has been labelled as such by many TL;DR Susan Atkinses of feminism for denouncing UBC's guilty until proven innocent, then its guilty ever AFTER being found innocent process of dealing with sexual assault specifically regarding Steven Galloway, the UBC professor, or at least one of them, in question. He was fired for PR, same as Damore, there is little doubt of that in all but the minds of the mindless. And how fierce the mindless can be in their wrongness!

The above reference to Susan Atkins, if you don't know or haven't Googled her, is quite dated so I'll explain. See, there was this guy name Charles Manson? Ever heard of him? Seriously though, have you ever HEARD him? Is it just me or does he sound exactly like George W. Bush? Although I'd unprofessionally diagnose BOTH as socio or psycho pathic, depending on nature or nurture, I'm not talking about what they say, I'm talking about their voices. Eeeeerily similar!


Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Manson is telling the truth, right? He didn't actually kill any of the people, he just brainwashed his "family" into doing the dirty work for him. Back in the time he was disappointed for not making it big as a rock star, he used the prevailing love and trust your brother and sister, along with psychedelic drugs to distort his victims' realities enough that they'd gladly kill or die for him. And he got his revenge in his messed up mind for being passed over by the music business. I wonder if this is what would have happened to George W. if he had lost the elections. Anyway, nowadays, as I touched on in the previous post, it's laziness, apathy and general undereducation that allows for false information to be seeded into brains along with work and social responsibilities sucking the time that could be used to stay informed and intelligent enough to prevent those false seeds from taking root.

What seems to be the result is these various echo chambers of people who agree on specific issues and whether or not they're right or wrong or have any thought behind their opinions, want to force them onto others by shaming those who disagree and calling them names. As I have previously lamented on this blog, we're back in kindergarten and folks, we're FAILING!

So to get back to just ONE group like this, the one that has gone so far as to alienate one of its greatest proponents through their overzealous foot-shooting, do you suppose the feminists, (no, NOT the feminists, just the stupid, extreme whackos who belong to that club), are actually operating outside of, and even in conflict with their club's directives in other specific cases? There is no shortage of examples we could use here. Celebrities accused of sexual improprieties lately? No shortage at all! Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Gene Simmons, some NFL players, Bill Cosby, Geraldo Rivera, Garrison Keillor, Sylvester Stallone, Al Franken, Aziz Ansari, Ron Jeremy... here's a list of over 100 just from 2017.

Now you may look at that list and say, "GASP! Garrison Keillor? Bill Cosby? Two wholesome, family values guys!" But I'm inclined to look at it and say, "Ron Jeremy? WTF?"

But seriously, when you look at examples like James Damore and Steven Galloway who were obviously attacked by extremists and fired by people who feared those extremists, it casts a shadow over all the accusations legitimate or not. Galloway was actually found not guilty in a legal investigation and STILL a known feminist can't support him without being called into question.

How long before we stop being scared of them and tell these extremists who call themselves feminists that they are hurting, not helping their stated cause? But again, we must ask ourselves if they are really that stupid. IS feminism their cause at all? Or do they just want to get as many men fired as they can? A lot of jobs are opening up that, in today's more favourable to women than ever job market, can be filled by women. Do you think this has never entered the heads of these crackpots? Or am I just a jerk. A misogynist.

Yeah, me and Margaret Atwood both.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Forget Fire and Fury, We Know Trump's An Idiot. Read THIS!

Quick, can anybody tell me who this guy is? If you're too busy reading the new Fire and Fury book, maybe I'll give you a pass. Otherwise I have a lot of reading for you to do. If you can't do it, you will prove this fella's point, and mine. If you do it, you may just find the benefit of researching and really contemplating things instead of just believing the popular narrative.

This is James Damore. He was fired from Google for not fitting into their predetermined social behaviour compact. Was he wrong in his dissent? You be the judge.

I don't want to sway you with opinion, but let me just reiterate, he worked for Google. In his profession as software engineer, and at his age, there's really nowhere to go but down. He's a chess master, an artist, and he went to Princeton, M.I.T. and Harvard. Google doesn't hire dummies. They just don't hire many people who are women, evidently. Is that because they're evil, or could there be other reasons? That's what James wanted to discuss academically and reasonably. For that he was fired.

"...a manifesto on why women are biologically inferior." Forbes Magazine article written by a woman in praise of women in tech who are climbing into positions of power and hiring women because they are under-represented in the tech industry. A perfect illustration of the catch 22 feminist footshot that James Damore described in a memo as the situation at Google. "All disparities in representation are due to oppression." I would add, "particularly discrimination." He continues, "We should discriminate to correct for this oppression." If you mathematically break that down it becomes, "We should discriminate to correct for discrimination." Besides being contradictory and illogical, it just doesn't work. I have spent a few decades trying to judge whether people who call themselves feminists, just don't understand this or whether they totally understand it and just want their chance at running the world. Even on an individual basis it's a tough call.

"...the science in Damore's memo is still very much in play, and his analysis of its implications is at best politically naïve, and at worst dangerous." Wired Magazine article written by, (I think), a woman and a man, cites the "incoherency problem" one innate in scientific efforts to quantify things so eminently unquantifiable as personality or, indeed, differences between the sexes. They comment that, "Very smart people studying the same things collect related, overlapping data and then say that data proves wildly different hypotheses, or fits into divergent theoretical frameworks. The incoherency problem makes it hard to know what social science is valid in a given situation." They say that it is a common impulse to apply theories, such as the idea that women are more prone to neuroticism, as proposed by David Schmitt's 2008 meta-study and article that was referenced by James Damore in his memo, to real life situations such as Google's disparate hiring practices. But the article ironically goes on to quote David Schmitt and Richard Lippa saying that they are "unclear" and "don't know the answer" to whether their respective research relates with Google's hiring practices. The article's authors take both as disagreement with Damore's memo. This, I am left to suspect, is a good illustration of the TL;DR, (too long, didn't read), phenomenon Damore includes in his memo. Just below the reference he writes that, "Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain..." I doubt either Schmitt or Lippa would deny that their studies theorizing that women are more prone to neuroticism, and men prefer thing-oriented professions, while women prefer people-oriented professions, respectively, MAY IN PART, explain ANYTHING. That's why they published the research presumably. What I'm saying is if Damore had said that these things are definite causes of the low representation of women at Google, the article's characterizations of the scientists' comments as "disagreement," would be valid. As it is, THEIR implications could accurately be described as "at best politically naïve, and at worst dangerous." Furthermore, the initial reaction to Damore's memo and the readiness with which writers shame and slag him with little to no accuracy, are perfect examples of the situation he lamented in the memo.

The overwhelming question to me is, did they get the memo? I mean really GET it? I don't think so. Here's another misleading quote from the second article: "So when Damore does juke from preferences to abilities, it looks a little sneaky. Here’s what he writes: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women may differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t have equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” he writes. Making the leap from personality differences to achievement differences would require citing at least some of the well-studied body of work we’ve mentioned here, which Damore ignored." NO, IT WOULDN'T. Tomato - Tomahto, I like peanut butter, you hate it. There is nobody who would deny that preferences are part of our personalities. And they differ. Likewise, only a moron would say that job preference doesn't affect job choice, (if you are allowed to choose for yourself, of course). What these two are saying is that we need some scientific study done on whether my love of teaching and hatred of repetitive tasks had anything to do with my choice to leave my job as a driller and become an ESL teacher. I can tell you with 100% certainty, even without any scientific research backing me up, that it did. Again, another desperate use of believable SOUNDING arguments to fit a personally preferred narrative. And again, a great illustration of what Damore described in his memo. And once again, may I draw your attention to the word Damore uses again, not once, but TWICE: "may."

As it so often is, I'll use sports as a great example. Any athlete's love of any sport depends on his/her personality. General love or hatred of sport as well. And it follows naturally that love of a sport leads to the desire to play it more, which in turn leads to higher achievements in that sport, which finally leads to being chosen to join better and better teams. I suspect it is no different with computer programmers. If you fall in love with code writing, you will do it more than someone who hates it. Even if your parents are forcing you to do it. You will get better and you will be offered better jobs, maybe one at Google. This is not debatable. It's not science either, it's nature. There ARE no scientific studies on this, taste, preference, instinct, love, why we laugh or why salmon can instinctively find their way home that can produce any relevant, replicable facts, because it's nature. It's the mind. It's that part of science that arrogant scientists are constantly trying to ACT like they understand but they never will. So why would someone write in an article that there is research needed here?

It's that "echo chamber" Damore includes in the title. Preaching to the previously convinced. What passes as "intellect" nowadays is far too often, in my mind, just pandering to the pre-decided. We don't have time for objectivity. Prejudice saves time. Say what I say and you belong to the club. Because people have less and less free time, or have less and less educational things with which to fill it, the TL;DR attitude leads us to false conclusions/beliefs. However in our ignorance we can still be extremely supportive of ideas, or people we assume have done the reading on these ideas, even though we are completely wrong. I see it in science all the time. We ALL do! It's just not something well publicized. It's often not the popular narrative. One recent example on a few of my friends' facebook pages, is Bill Nye. He's the Science Guy! But he's not a scientist, he just plays one on TV. He makes false claims sometimes, citing science, even though science has either shown the opposite or is not sure. For instance he'll tell you that the cause of global warming is definitely human beings. He'll tell you science has proven this. Not true. But if you try to bring up studies, theories, ACTUAL SCIENCE, you all know what you get called: A "Climate Denier." Some of his ideas on GMO's are wrong too, I think possibly corporately wrong if you know what I'm saying. And despite his dedication despite scientific facts, I've seen him slag spirituality for the identical reasons.

If you have a problem with mercury or formaldehyde in any one single vaccination you might want answers about, (like why the hell they CAN make the same vaccination without them and why the hell THAT one is more expensive, or why the hell they didn't even until recently let us know what was in vaccinations), no, you are not a person rightfully concerned about injecting poison directly into your bloodstream, you all know what you are, right? An "Antivaxxer!"

And if you haven't heard or read the phrase, "You can't argue with science," at least once today, you're probably not on the same media sites as I am. This is one of the least scientific things you can say. Not long ago it would have been laughed at as ridiculous, and rightfully so since constant and rigorous questioning is what USED TO make science science. But now we can't argue with it. We can't question it. We have to believe everything, I mean ER Vre THANG about science, about vaccinations and about climate that people tell us. The commonly accepted narratives. If not, shaming, exclusion, segregation, and in the case of James Damore, firing.

Look, I am totally on Bill Nye's side on reducing CO2 emissions, I get my vaccinations and am grateful for not having polio or the measles right now, probably because of them. I don't think the Earth is 6000 years old and I almost always agree with science. To be honest, I'd bet that a great deal of the male/female disparity in all the world's workplaces, including Google, has to do with discrimination against women. But I'll tell you what DOES need some further scientific study, the one to one relation between population and hiring. Would it be considered "right" if Google had 50% men and 50% women? Why? I believe this is no different than the discussion James Damore was trying to stimulate.

Let's use some crazy analogies. NASCAR. Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. That's it. In the history of NASCAR, since 1949, they're the only two to really be successful even though about 104 have actually raced. That's more than anybody would guess, I'm sure. But why? Why so few? Do men like going faster? I use sporting analogies too often. What about business. A traditionally male dominated area. Let's look at an area of business that's REALLY male dominated. Like very few women. Stock traders. The movie Wolf of Wall Street was a very good example of why. An in your face sausage fest of a movie in which every major character except the FBI investigator, was a douchebag. And only one or two of the traders were women. Every character is reprehensible, screwing other people to get rich, drug-abusing, don't-give-half-a-shit, midget-throwing scumbags! But how many guys watching that movie, no matter how "nice" they are, didn't think for even half a second, "Man, I kinda wish I coulda worked for Jordan Belfort." And how many girls wouldn't mind dating guys just like them?

In our society men are judged by achievement and women by beauty more often than not. No science really needed, it's fact. Therefore, a lot of men who are absolutely repugnant scumbags, are respected because they're rich. They are highly competitive, reckless, chance-taking, alpha male personalities in whom assertiveness translates to euphemisms like "career-minded," "going places," or "ambitious." The few women in this industry are probably single because they are viewed as bitches. Even if they're beautiful. We don't know WHY this stuff happens and there is no science, (I hesitate to type YET), that can prove why this happens, but we can all see it if we're honest with ourselves.

Women are careful investors, slower drivers, shitty tippers, they are more commonly risk avoiders. Again, not science, just nature. In women assertiveness translates into gregariousness, social interaction, maybe even gossip. That's cute, and nice and feminine. But if you become aggressive at work, you're a dragon lady.

People in every society are treated differently based on sex and that naturally leads to self-segregation. If people don't correctly segregate, it leads to micro-aggression in the pack, which stifles individuality. Don't kid yourself, assholes will use this to gain personal power through bullying, shaming, even blackmail.

If I see a company like Google with only 20% female employees, I could get upset, or I could get rich. I go to Google and propose some company programs to increase hiring of women. Not only that, I offer a description of company-wide sensitivity training and incentive programs for workers who display good relations with women or who ARE women. I outline some directives to increase female participation in company management and global representation and I charge the company a billion dollars. The company thanks me but refuses. So I shame them publically announcing their sexist policies and encourage people, (like those above), to write scathing, not necessarily accurate, articles about the company. They eventually cave to save their P.R. Is this far-fetched? I would have thought so as a young man. But nowadays, you KNOW I'm practically sure of it! Do you think this is 100% NOT the case? If so, you might have attended some of the above corporate brain seeding sessions.

Anybody ever heard of the Rainbow Coalition? How about Jesse Jackson? Sure you have! Well, it's a little bit different, but basically, he has been accused of doing this for black people in industry. Toyota being just one example. James Damore thinks he was fired for P.R. reasons. I'm inclined to agree. You see, for a month Damore's memo was circulating within the company. He was shamed and treated badly within the company but only after it went public was he fired.

Google had this famous saying within the company, "Don't be evil." But it's recently been changed to "Do the right thing." Here is a good article on the subtle difference that could be a pretty large one. Also, as always, boycott Nestle!!!

Now, if I were to look at the practice of hiring women to offset the low numbers of women at Google, I would say the policy is not evil. But I would also say that it is not the right thing. It takes actions, not words, to raise your ethical standards. Ethically, the question MUST be asked, if Google wants to hire more women because they have a 20% female worker rate as compared to a 50% female population, and they have no doubt that the one behaviour ethically and necessarily follows the other, then they are admitting to being unethical. Assholes. Or as Damore absolutely correctly puts in, "All disparities in representation are due to oppression." What they're saying is that by basing hiring on discrimination against women, we're doing the wrong thing. This is not the problem. The solution, as seen by Google and accurately described by Damore, is the problem. "We need to discriminate FOR women to correct the problem."

In Canada, the Employment Equity act had the same mentality and it has been a disaster. It's one of many things making it hard for both job seekers AND employers in Canada. To give one example, I know a guy with a business in Northern BC. He must hire natives to meet population and Employment Equity regulations in that area. I will not get into Canadian Native laws that make it easier for natives to be unemployed or the parts of their culture that may or may not have contributed to my friend's problems, but he could not keep a native working for him for any length of time. And every time a native quit, it was a huge expense to find and re-train another native worker. All the while passing over non-native, but better qualified workers. But he tried and tried and tried until one day he asked what the penalty for not obeying the Employment Equity laws would be. It was a considerable amount less than he was paying by obeying, so he simply hired a dreaded, politically incorrect, but qualified, white male for the job and lo and behold, he saved money. A lot of money. Meritocracy was outlawed by the Employment Equity Act of Canada I think in 1995. But it still goes on. Only it's illegally and secretly. Just another reason I can't live in my own country though.

Like James Damore, I believe this example should open up discussion. Free and open and edifying discussion that could be good for all of Canada. But I tell this story in Canada and I'm a racist. I'm a native hater. I'm a traitor to my country! I'm shamed and bullied. In fact, I doubt I'll get away with it even on this blog in this context. Much less the apparent misogyny. So I understand Damore's situation. Here's something important about the memo: At the very beginning, Damore wrote that there were many people within Google that have expressed agreement with him, but were too scared to publically do so for fear of ostracizing and even losing their jobs.

So what are you supposed to do if you are very smart, very qualified, very hard-working, but just don't fit into the racial, sexual, or other strict hiring categories of the place you most want to work? Should there be a Handicapper General who makes you a WORSE candidate for the job? I'm not making this up, folks. This is taken directly from a Kurt Vonnegut short story. Here it is in its entirety. Tell me this isn't where Google-type or Canada-type thinking is leading us. It is wrong, folks. And James Damore is right. And he got fired for being right. THAT is the bottom line.

Are we a world full of Bergerons being forced to suppress our intellects and settle for the lowest common mediocrity? Has Damore tried to kiss the ceiling and been cut in half by the Handicapper General's shotgun? Well, word is that he's launched a class action lawsuit against Google. Time for Google to put their considerable money where their motto is. Are they going to do the right thing or just not be evil? I guess we'll see...

In closing, I know there is a lot of reading in this blog post. A LOT. But if you read it, you will be able to make a better decision about the story of James Damore and possibly other things related. I'm not trying to persuade you to think as I think or abandon any beliefs, just research them. Don't use the TL;DR excuse on this blogpost. I think it is one of my more important posts. I strongly urge you to read the entire memo. I have it in PDF form and can't give it to you on this post. I actually had a hard time finding it with charts and citings. Maybe because I was using Google to search for it. But if you read nothing else in this post, read that memo. And if you read the memo and only read one other thing, read the Vonnegut story. It's really short.

To sum it up, I guess the message behind this post, the meme and pretty much life is, if you don't read, research or think for yourself, somebody might be able to convince you that Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, and Oprah's "Don't Say 'Me Too'" speech, cancel each other out.

Okay, happy reading, my friends.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It's a Fake, Fake World!

Would you believe a THIRD sports post in a row? Well, not really. It's gonna be partially related to sports, but just in the beginning, I think. I hope to segue onto more serious, (seeming), matters. But one of the beauties of bloggery is I can't seem to control what my fingers bang out on my keyboard. I'm like a novice wizard testing out new incantations. Sometimes I'm just mumbling nonsensically and hoping to INVENT a new spell of my own. More often than not, nothing happens but on occasion, the muses are in my court and the end result, a shiny, new blogpost, ends up being creatively satisfying. Let's see how this one goes, shall we?

I am actually enjoying myself these days. A LOT! Maybe a little bit too much, being unattached, unemployed and unsupervised by any authority figure, be they work boss, home boss or societal boss. And it's one of the two best times of year sporting-wise. So I can be up at 3 AM watching a World Jr. hockey game and say to myself, "Would it be okay to have a beer right now whilst watching my countrymen play our favourite national sport?" Then I can look at the calendar, look at the clock, look around my apartment, and see no reason why not. Then after that I can watch an NHL game, or, like this morning, a PLAY-OFF NFL game, and say to myself, "Self, is there any reason why I shouldn't drink a few MORE beers?" And my Self will reply, (being unattached, unemployed and unsupervised necessitates soliloquizing), "Again, bruvvuh, if I'm honest, I'm no' bovvahed if you crack on wid it! 'Undred percent, jnowu'amean?"

My conscience isn't Jiminy Cricket, he's a cheeky chappy from Essex. 'Owevvuh, 'ang on a tic, wha if it's a fit bird in me 'head? Literally a bi' o me! On papuh we'd genuinely 'ave grea ban 'uh, (great banter), jnowu'amean? (do you know what I mean?) It ain't bein' muggy to 'ave a few mugs then innit?

Being unattached, unsupervised and unemployed, I can also watch reality TV shows to bone up on my Estuary English, jnowu'amean? I don't see anyone around my apartment to judge me if I watch the most embarrassingly trashy TV show ever, like, Love Island and watch some full on fit birds and some well gorge blokes trying their best to stick it on each uvvuh. And all with delightfully fast-but-rewindable cockney accents. I'm no' bovvuhed.

It's the proverbial car accident. I know I shouldn't watch. Not only is it not improving my life or intellect in any way, it's probably damaging it, but I can't look away! It's tedious because the relationship issues are mostly manufactured drama that I struggled through blabbedy-blah years ago, but it's still kinda fun to watch.

I mean, really, what's not to like? Beautiful, young people enjoying fun, sun and social drama in Mallorca, Spain. Or is it Majorca? Mayorka? Anyhoo, it's not just the drama that living in close quarters creates in this group, but the show's producers really stir things up. One episode had five boys going to a villa just around the corner from the original one for some "male bonding." Little did they know, five new girls would meet them there. Meanwhile, back at the original villa five new BOYS were crashing the girls' fun without their men. And by this time there were some pretty close couples, so what do they do? Why, they have a competition that includes boys and girls naughtily snogging, French snogging, skinny dipping and such. All the while, the villas are so close together that the teams could actually hear each other! THEN picture postcards of the shenanigans in which committed boys and girls were sleeping with and kissing others, for the competition of course, were shown to their jealous mates. Fun times!

One of the solid couples was Jess and Dom. Or so we all thought. Somehow Jess got voted off the island along with a new boy named Mike. Dom stayed without Jess but he was "gutted" and swore to remain unattached and faithful to Jess. And he DID. But, rumours of the outside world found their way into the villa that Jess and Mike immediately hooked up after being voted off. No way Dom could know! And they didn't show the viewing audience either. It's still a mystery to me.

That's Dom on the left on Love Island and Mike and Jess on the right looking all couply and cozy off the island. Poor Dom. I think he got his grass cut.

Maybe my favourite relationship on the show so far isn't a romance, but a bromance between Chris and Kem. Look at these guys, they even dress the same!

It's as much a sport as hockey and football, really. Boys being boys and girls trying to regulate them. Keep them from becoming ME! Don't judge me. >:-(

So what is it that has inspired me to blog today? What is the more serious matter I promised to blog on about? It seems to me that I am getting more negative in my old (er) age. I am sure a few of you are chuckling or saying something like, "You think?" or "Nice one, Captain Obvious!" but I do have my positive side. I just don't blog much about it. For instance, sport. I have been a huge sports fan my entire life. But more and more I find myself questioning whether or not it remains untouched by the corporate virus that is infecting everything else on our planet. I didn't GET up today, I STAYED up all night and watched the Saturday afternoon hockey games AND the NFL wild card games. It was pretty tough to do, but I managed to get to half time in the second football game before crashing. The FIRST football game, however, is one that has me wondering if I was watching the NFL or the NFEL. You know how the WWF changed to the WWE, (world wrestling federation to world wrestling entertainment)? Even though it was some copyright violation rather than a change separating the sport of wrestling from the fraudulent entertainment of the WWE, I always thought of it in that way. I have to admit, I've been noticing more and more games that smack of the WWE fakery and it is upsetting. How does Kansas City completely dominate the first half and then look like a college team in the second half? Was it football or football entertainment? The announcers were saying the coach of Tennessee gave some kind of moving speech at halftime. They were also mentioning that the loss of Travis Kelce to a concussion, (of course I had picked him in my playoff football pool), made a big difference. But I'm inclined more to skepticism as I age. I think that possibly the more meaningful halftime speech might have taken place in the Chiefs' dressing room and it was delivered by an anonymous, no-necked, cigar smoking guy wearing black on black and it probably went something like this, "Youse guys had a good time dat half. But me, and a lotta my close friends, didn't expect youse to have so much fun. We actually BET youse wouldn't have so much fun, capiche? So why donchu go out dere and have a little bit less fun? As a favour to me. And my friends. Who know where you live. And how many kids youse have. And what schools dey go to. Den, maybe someday I can do YOUSE a favour. Okay? Okay."

And last year's Super Bowl. I STILL don't believe THAT shit happened!

That Edelman catch? Was there helium in that ball or what? How did he make that catch? Atlanta won their game today and now that the Chiefs are gone, a Patriots/Falcons Super Bowl rematch looks a lot more likely. Wouldn't THAT attract a lot of paying viewers?!!??!!???!! Like, a helluva lot more than any OTHER match-up! Hmmmm... I should have THOUGHT of this when picking my football playoff pool, but, once again, I am still too positive to bet on football fixing. We all know it goes on in sport, but I just want to believe there is still something pure left in this world.

I told you last post what I thought of that stupid publicity stunt at the World Jrs. Canada won eventually, even though they were outplayed in the final by Sweden and maybe THAT is another example of what I'm lamenting here, but isn't it just the most dramatic, (i.e. attention and paying viewer attracting), story that could have happened? Last year Canada loses a heartbreaker in a shootout to the Americans. This year, they lose another heartbreaker in a shootout to the Americans in the outdoor game. There are many calling it a "classic" already. It just seems a bit scripted to me. Maybe NEXT year they'll have an American/Canadian re-re-match and CANADA will get revenge at home in a shootout. It won't be outdoors though because it'll be in Vancouver and Victoria so the weather won't be cold enough. All this stuff kinda makes me feel a bit like Bubbles, the smartest Trailer Park Boy,

And as for the sports that are more social, again, maybe I'm a bit of a jaded, over skeptical dude, but I can't believe half of the crap that was happening on Love Island either. My biggest head-shaker was Camilla. Just take a look at this picture. This is the fuckiness me and Bubbles feel.

You look at that picture and you see a STUNNING girl who looks like she'd be a laugh. XXX Survey said: EEENNNNGGHHHTTT! She either IS or is acting like the biggest prude in England. The question I've asked 100 times during my soliloquies is what the hell she was even doing on the show. I mean, did she not know that people are supposed to hook up there? She spent the whole show tee-hee-heeing at anything remotely sexual sending out coquettish vibes to poor suckers who, when they acted on them got friend zoned like she was a nun. Is she? Do we KNOW she's not?

Maybe it was the, fact?, (is it a fact?), that she once dated, then friend zoned Prince Harry. So how could any of the blokes on the island be good enough for her? Then there was the convo with Jonny in which he pointed out that he was completely FOR sexual equality and Camilla, (falsely), agreed that that was what she wanted. Then she said it just wasn't the case in England. Jonny pointed out the female PM's of England, and the idea that a lot of feminists don't want equality, but they want to run the show for a while to make up for years of men doing the same, and THAT is what translates into equality for them. He didn't word it quite as well, but somehow, even though he genuinely wanted equality, and Camshaft agreed, somehow even the ANNOUNCER was labelling him a sexist and everything they had to that point came to a grinding halt. And the drama that ensued! Tears, face in hands bawling about how all men are pigs. Consoling from the other girls in the villa. It was a Korean soap opera! I had faith that the English public was smart enough to see through it, after all, one of the best things about almost everyone from England I've ever met, is that they really put a high social value on intelligence. Their comedy is absolutely awesome in my opinion because it's smart. Their country has spawned many a great intellectual and they are very proud of them. But, no! Camilla was the darling of everyone in the villa and all the voting viewers in England! It just struck me as very fucky.

Then, inconceivably, Jonny was forgiven! So she lead him on for a little while longer making him think he had a shot. I think it was also so she could stay on the island. THEN during the five for five swap with the new villa, she met a sweet-talker named Craig. To be fair, "sweet-talker" is only four letters and a dash away from "stalker." This guy had seen the show from the outside, and like all of England, loved Camilla. So he comes on just spouting effusive compliments to her and making her tee-hee-hee in narcissistic glee. Enough for her to completely abandon Jonny and keep Craig around by coupling up with him. And even though she dumped Jonny so unceremoniously, and Jonny wisely coupled up with another girl, (to get to a THIRD girl, (the show is complicated(but in a good way(much like this bouquet of parenthesis)))), Craig was given the cold shoulder because somehow Camilla hadn't completely forgotten about Jonny. So more tears and heartfelt, emotional support for her manipulative games ensued. But I was SURE the intellect of England wouldn't let me down and they'd vote her ass off the island. After all, it's not Friend Island is it? But NO! If anything she got MORE love! Just plain fucky if you ask me.

Is it possible that even more serious things than sports, be they athletic or social, are as Orwellian as these examples I've listed? Is it possible that everything is not naturally occurring, but scripted by people for the purposes of creating a world environment maximally conducive to consumer spending? Is everything fraudulent? Am I going to be sedated and stopped from writing this blog by some men in white suits who bust down my door? Has it already happened and I can't remember? Dang! This requires a beer. Anyone here in my apartment object? "Nao too right mate! Go on then!" I thought not.

If it's not obvious to you by now, you haven't been following my bloggage. The "sport" to which I think as much, and most likely even more fuckery can be applied is politics. Where are we there? Well, let's move from England to America. The hottest selling book right now is one in which the main point is basically that the POTUS, probably the most powerful politician on the planet, but nothing compared to the corporate script writers who are the puppet masters yanking his strings, is an idiot. If you go to the end of this article about the book, there is a short list of famous, powerful people who have basically said this. With all due respect, if you haven't figured this out by now, maybe YOU are an idiot. But I hope it will carry more weight being in book form and once and for all spark a movement toward getting this bozo out of the White House.

But, I don't know if that's in the script. There is nobody who can genuinely entertain the idea that his presidency isn't a UGE conflict of interest. Not even Trumpbot Sarah Huckabee Sanders could entertain - well, okay, maybe Sarah Huckabee Sanders could believe that but most of us aren't sucking Trump's dick like she is. He owns golf courses. Golfs WAAAY too often on them. And wouldn't you know it, there's a tax loophole in his vaunted tax reform that gives a really nice break to golf course owners. There is absolutely NO doubt that this presidency has been in direct contravention of conflict of interest rules, if they weren't so wishy washy. We have all heard of people being forced to step down from business positions to take on the presidency. Hell even the Bushes did so! Didn't they?

Here's what Bubbles and I are talking about. It turns out that there really is no solid law against this kind of fuckery and, of course, Trump is jumping right in there to fully take advantage of that. Before anyone like Elizabeth Warren, just for example, can pass a bill ACTUALLY telling the president, (and VP), of the U.S. not to pass all kinds of bills into laws that will benefit him and his financial fuck-buddies into law. A lot too little and a lot too late. And, oh, yeah, by the way, President Trump would have to pass this bill to limit conflicts of interest for him and the VP. I just don't think he'll find the time to do that.

Is this really going unnoticed? Is this OBVIOUS corruption being allowed to slide? Oh wait, there's more! You see, as it turns out, Trump has been a bad boy in business for many years. It's rumoured that he has been dealing directly or indirectly with the Prince of Darkness himself, Vlad Putin and/or Russia. I don't think there's much doubt at all. Just the details and the extent remain in question. And how long will they remain in question? Well, I'm glad I asked that question. How much longer is Trump's term? Another 3 years or so? Yeah, THAT'S how long.

Robert Mueller seems to be conducting the longest investigation of anyone EVER folks. Hey, if you or I cheat on our taxes, how long will it take an investigator to bust us and get that money? Well Trump has already eclipsed that time limit. And there is doubt about this perhaps ONLY to one man on this planet, special investigator Robert Mueller. Trump's ties to Russia are public knowledge, unlike his taxes. The rumours about them I have shared here before. "The Don of a New Era."

Oh, and by the way, just in case you have ANY doubt about the fuckery being perpetrated on the U.S. and the world here, Robert Mueller, the guy investigating Donald Trump, can be FIRED by Donald Trump. Of course, it's not that simple because every one of the most misleading things in our world have booby traps in place to create doubt about our doubt about them. And when it comes down to it, they win because the average person hasn't got the time to negotiate all the booby traps. So we have to believe someone who we think might. Trust. A dangerous thing in a corrupt world. The fact is, Trump would have to direct deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Failing that, he could repeal laws that give Rosenstein the power to fire Mueller, then fire him. Or, and keep an eye out for this, he could promote one of his flunkies, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or an equally sycophantic henchman who has no experience whatsoever in law, to be the attorney general and then direct HIM/HER to fire Mueller. See if THAT doesn't happen in the next three years of Trump's reign of terror.

And you know where things are even worse? Business! I'm sure this little break from the harsh, cruel, screw your brother world of business is a welcome break for Heir Schtrumphmeister. I am getting a good taste of business shenanigans over here in China where they use population as an excuse for it. In America and Canada, (lest we think, as we are wont to do, we are any better), it's just business. And with huge, evil corporations acquiring other huge, evil corporations, and politicians and lawmakers continuously paving the way for corruption by enforcing crooked laws, it won't be long till even in business they no longer have to lie to us to hide the corruption.

Bayer is merging with Monsanto. Big pharma and GMO/Roundup poison. Why does this seem like a terrible match? I was grievously disappointed with the news that Tim Hortons's, a beloved franchise in Canada, is going to purchase Popeye's Chicken. That news wasn't the bad news. It was just that not long ago I heard that they'd bought Burger King. And now Popeye's. And, hmmmm, wait a moment, when I go into my local Timmy's and ask employees their salaries and/or if they have any benefits, what is their general answer. I NEVER thought I'd say this but fuck Tim Horton's. Unless they start paying decent wages, fuck them. I will never roll up the rim to win again and NOW that I know the kind of scumbaggery that goes on at this franchise, I'm questioning whether I EVER legitimately had a shot rolling up the rim. It appears even Tim Horton's is in on this global orgy of deceit. Is not even coffee and donuts sacred any more?

What I'm NOT questioning is the idea that companies, especially massively rich ones, can make money AND still be socially responsible to their employees.

The only thing that needs to happen is for regular people to demand it. Stop settling for, nay encouraging, corporate greed. Stop accepting the excuse that it's just business or we have to be fiscally responsible to our shareholders. Mandating business ethics is not socialism or communism or any other word rich people will invent to scare us away from it while they manage to hang onto their oversized pieces of the economic pie.
But what chance does that have of happening so long as even politics is conducted as a fraudulent business? It's encouraging to see some countries in the world where business sometimes has to take a back seat to people. Like Denmark or Iceland or Sweden or Norway. What is the Scandinavian cure for corporatism? Why is their model ignored?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Blizzard Bowl

Two posts in a row about hockey? Come on! Unheard of! No WAY! Ah shut up, it's my blog.

I just find it too hard to keep inside what I think half the hockey world, might be missing about the promotional gimmick that was the outdoor Canada/U.S. World Jr. game yesterday.

Going in, it seemed like Canada had all the advantages. They didn't play the day before, while the U.S. DID. They are used to playing out in the cold, most of the team being from Alberta and Ontario, while the U.S. has two players from Florida. Most are from Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri, but two guys from Florida? That's gotta be an advantage for Canada, right?

Well the thing about an outdoor game is you're at the mercy of the elements. I heard beforehand that if there was too much snow, they were going to cancel the game and bring it indoors. There was too much snow. So why did they carry on? Why do I ask this question all the time? The answer is always the same. Why does anything wrong, evil, stupid, ridiculous EVER happen? 99% of the time you can trace it back to money. The other 1% of the time the money is just better hidden.

The attendance record for a World Jr. hockey game was broken. Despite the 401 being a parking lot due to a burning truck. And I'm sure the weather kept some away. I heard it was -10, with snow, and who knows what the wind chill factor might have been? Folks, I have played hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of outdoor hockey. I doubt there were many of those boys, if any, who've played more. I haven't played much indoors though. But I have played enough to tell you everything you need to know about playing outdoors, compared to indoors. It's apples and bowling balls. Even if the icemakers try their best, they're not going to be able to duplicate the conditions of a nice indoor ice surface outside. When I was young and indoor ice surfaces were getting more popular, we actually called it "artificial" ice surface. What that meant was the ice freezes from the bottom. The floor is refrigerated, not the air. It makes for a much nicer ice surface that doesn't break off in hunks making holes and ruts that cause bad bounces and players to fall. If you watched closely, (although, who am I kidding, how could you?), you saw several bad bounces and players falling, some in the identical spots.

What this does is it makes people slow down. You don't want to hit a rut at full speed and fly into the boards head first, especially before you are even into the elimination round of the tournament. What was the one word that was used to sum up this year's Canadian Jr. team? SPEED. So there went that! Team Canada's fastest skaters were not only cautiously avoiding ruts and  holes in the ice surface, they were skating through the same slush as everyone else.

When I say slush, I'm not just talking about the snow, I am speaking literally. When snow gathers on outdoor ice, it melts into slush and slows the ice a gums it up so not just the skating but anything you want to do with the puck will be at significantly slower speeds.

This brings up the real reason this publicity stunt didn't really work. The weather. It was almost as if God decided from on high that the Americans were not going to repeat the collective heart shattering of Canadian hockey fans by beating them AGAIN in the most hockeyless of manners: the shootout. But listen to God, the tournament organizers did NOT! Dollar signs cha- chinging in their eyes, they let the snow pile up and the game become more and more simple and boring.

I saw a few times, especially behind the net when players converged on the puck and blew snow as they stopped completely obscuring sticks, skates and pucks. I saw players shoot or pass and lift good amounts of snow behind the puck. There is a penalty for skating in on the goalie, stopping fast and giving him a snow shower. This was unavoidable, so not called as the goalies got a good blast of snow, ice and frozen spit every time there was a close play around the net. Along the edge of the boards the snow built up and a few passes or dumps around the boards were significantly slowed by it or actually bounced off the boards and out into the regular ice surface. Every bit of passing and stick-handling was slogged down by the snow as though they were playing in slush. This SEVERELY limits good passing plays and skilled stick handling. It makes the passes short, limits creativity and slugs down the pace like a burning truck on the 401.

Tell me who you thought the player of the game for Canada was. Did you notice ANY player? They named the goalie player of the game. Maybe feeling sorry for all the snow blown in his face. Skill is a rarity in conditions like this. It gets to the point that you play your usual game and just HOPE the snow doesn't mess up what you are tying to do. Essentially the game comes down to the team that snow affects the least. Now you can argue that both teams are playing in the same elements and the better team will create more chances and the snow will mess up less of them for the better team. Yes, I agree, if the teams are not evenly matched. But evenly matched teams in the snow are just depending on luck to get their skill plays completed. And, like the shootout, I hate this because luck is not what the game should be decided upon. Skill is what should be the difference and in this game, it wasn't. But, hey, at least they made a ton of money and the fans had fun and it brought some attention to hockey in America. There we go with that "At least" thinking again. At best, this game could, and should, have been played indoors.

I'll tell you another thing, and I noticed this in pre-tournament play, the thing Canada has going for it more than any team in this tournament, and the thing that will probably win it for them if they do win it, is depth. There is STILL nobody who can say which of the lines are number one two or three. There may be an agreed upon fourth line, but they are still getting as much ice time as the other three. How many teams have 13 different goal scorers? This I LIKE!!! Even though I would like to see Thomas and Raddysh as the tournament scoring leaders, and think they could be if their line was favoured like EVERY other team favours their top lines, the one big advantage the Canadians have when they roll all four lines consistently every single game, is by the end of the game, their players are not tired or injured. And, by the end of the tournament, their players are not tired or injured. And with a speedy team, you don't want them tired. With ANY team you don't want injuries. It's the right strategy and you won't hear me say this ever, but it's the genius, or, ahem, if you will, the "charme" of the coaching staff this year in my opinion.

Regularly stop the play for snow removal, or for some ridiculous end change, and you completely negate this advantage. Nobody gets tired on either side this way. And with the poor ice and visibility, the player safety is also compromised. I finished watching the game a little bit irked that the Americans had won in a shootout again, (well, okay a LOT irked), ((We're talking major irkage)), but I was relieved that there didn't appear to be any major injuries. I don't think.

I heard the announcers saying that they interviewed the players and they were all saying it was hard to call the game because it was hard to see. The players usually retorted with something like, "You're telling me! I was playing it and I couldn't see!" The spectators couldn't see either, but they all had a few nips to combat the cold so they didn't mind too much. The people watching on TV were treated to some of the worst footage of a big hockey game since Foster Hewitt was announcing. And I could hear his voice saying, "Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States, you can't see it, but I assure you, there's a whale of a game going on here!"

With all due respect to the resurrected Foster Hewitt, it wasn't a whale of a game. It wasn't even a guppy of a game. It sucked. And to all those people who are trying to build up the hockey viewership in the States, stop it! Just because it was close, doesn't make it a good game. If you had the Globetrotters and the Washington Generals playing in that weather, THAT would have been a close game too. The Generals could even win. You folla?

The worst thing about that game was half way through, because they're young kids, and because of the tremendous expectations thrust upon them, it seemed like every member of the Canadian team started questioning their games and their abilities. It was just the weather. They were not the problem. Even part of the game today against the Danish team, they were slower and more careful and making the sure passes, not taking chances, like they were playing in the snow. I think by the end of the 8-0, (really 9-0), win, the players had their confidence back. Let's hope they keep it for the rest of the tournament. And the organizers don't arrange a scrub game against the 1980 American Olympic Miracle On Ice team. You know, just to promote hockey in the U.S.

As I said, I, and most avid hockey players of my generation, have way more experience than today's hockey players with the outdoor game, and in weather like that, even though nobody loves to get together with friends and play some puck any more than I do, I probably would have gone home and had some hot chocolate.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's time for the world Jr.'s again! I don't really get too excited about Christmas these days but I tell you, I LOVE the world Jr.'s!  I've already got the schedule figured out. I'll be up at 5 A.M. this morning cheering for Canada. They play the Finns first game and they have a few first round draft pick big marquis names on their blue line for the Finns, but I don't think Canada will do too badly. Canada, U.S., the silver/gold winners from last year are both in the same group with the Finns so it's an important first game. After watching Canada's two pre-tournament games, I have learned a bit about the team and I think they can win. I think they can actually beat the Finns badly.

The Canadian team is fast. They don't have any big name, high draft choice players for the first time in a long time. I often wonder if they would play better without the future superstars. We'll find out this year. They have a small, mobile defense, large, hard-hitting and goal scoring forwards and the best goalie in the tournament. It's been a long time since we could say that! Carter Hart has only been scored on 22 times in 17 games this year. He is dominating Jr. hockey with a .961 save percentage and 5 shutouts, 4 games one goal against. He got a lucky goal scored on him in the pre-tournament game vs. the Swiss, but I don't expect to see much rubber getting behind him in this tournament. He may be expected to steal a game or two against the Swedes or Americans, (who have 10 first round forwards), or Russians, but he can do it.

The forwards are hard to figure as far as which line will be ranked where, and I like that. The apparent first line is either Dube, Kyroo and Steel or Raddysh, Katchouk and Thomas. I think I like the latter so we'll start with them.


#16 Taylor Raddysh is a guy who you will remember from last year's squad. In fact, he scored 4 goals in one game last year vs. Latvia, even though he was one of the guys who wasn't a shoe-in to make the team. He's still with the Eerie Otters this year and has played 30 games with 15 goals and 29 assists for 44 points. Point and a half a game, goal every two. Not bad at all! He's 6'2, 209 so he's big, he's playing for the second time in the tournament so he's not going to be intimidated. He could be up there in the scoring race. He will probably score at a better pace than that with his linemates who he has shown great chemistry with, especially Robert Thomas. 2 goals and 4 points vs. Czech Repub.

#27 Robert Thomas scored a gorgeous, tic-tac-toe goal from Raddysh in the pre-tourney game vs. the Czechs. He's got 20 goals in 27 games for the London Knights this year along with 26 assists. Again, his pace will probably improve with stellar linemates. 4 points vs. Czech Repub.

#12 Boris Katchouk has 27 goals in 30 games with Sault Ste. Marie this year. That's almost a goal a game and with the two guys above, might get a goal in every game this tourney.


#9 Dylan Dube is another returning player. He waited until the pre-tourney game against Switzerland and he got 8 points along with his linemates in the game. This article calls them the top line for Canada, but I don't think they will be. Still, he's going great for the Kelowna Rockets with 27 18 21 39. I hope he can stay healthy.

#25 Jordan Kyroo is a VERY fast skater! A couple times we saw him outskate everyone on the ice in pre-tourney action. He is lighting it up for the Sarnia Sting with almost 2 points a game. It'll be fun to watch him with Dube and Steel.

#23 Sam Steel has 27 14 21 35 for the Regina Pats this season. I've seen nothing flashy from him yet but nothing detrimental.


#11 Jonah Gadjovich is a Vancouver Canuck prospect who is nicknamed the "Manchild." He's 6'2 201 and he's thrown some nice hits. He's looked great with Steenbergen and McLeod! Scored a goal against the Czechs.

#17 Tyler Steenbergen has 35 goals in 27 games with Swift Current this year. I can't wait to see what he'll do in the tournament! I think he could be the top goal scorer for Canada with lots of time on the power play. He'll get lots of even strength points too.

#20 Michael McLeod has looked great in pre-tournament games! He's a bit of a mystery man having only 11 games with the Mississauga Steelheads with 8 goals and 5 assists, but I think he will be a great fit on this third line that will make them look like the first line.


#14 Maxime Comtois is a point-a-game guy for the Victoriaville Tigres. He's 6'2 212 so that's a nice thing to have going for you! Howden, Formenton and him scored a beautiful 4 or 5 pass goal in the game vs. the Czechs. If they can keep up that chemistry, they'll be dangerous.

#24 Alex Formenton is also a point-a-game guy but for the London Knights. He actually played a game for Ottawa this year so he's good.

#21 Brett Howden has thrown some nice hits and along with Comtois makes this a bruising line. But he's got 31 points in 20 games this year for Moosejaw so he can score.


#19 Drake Batherson has 24 17 22 39 for Cape Breton this year, but can't seem to fit on any line for this team. He got a goal against the Czechs and a nice deflection goal against the Swiss. It'll be hard to keep him out of the lineup.

Dante Fabbro is in an ankle boot right now so he's a big question mark. He's a CIJHL player of the year and a very offensive defenceman. If he can't make it, Josh Mahura, a point-a-game defenseman, will take his place. He looked good in pre-tournament action.


#28 Victor Mete is a small but good puck-moving defenceman. He has had a cup of coffee with the Montreal Canadiens.

#10 Kale Clague is returning for his second World Jr.'s and looking great! He is scoring a LOT in pre-tournament action and in Brandon this year he has 47 points in only 28 games! He is gonna light it up!

#2 Jake Bean almost made the Carolina Hurricanes this year. Lucky for the Jr. team he didn't because he and Clague are going to outscore a lot of forwards! 27 points in 25 games with the Calgary Hitmen this year so far.

#6 Cal Foote is the son of Adam and on a team when all the D are 170 or 180 lbs., he's the big man at 6'4 212. He's got 30 pts. in 30 games with the Kelowna Rockets but I think he'll be used in more of a stay-at-home roll on this team.

#7 Cale Makar is likely to be another shut-down defenceman.

#3 Conor Timmins has 34 points in 28 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He is also slightly injured and may leave a spot open on the team for Josh Mahura.

I will be up at 5 AM this morning wearing my Team Canada jersey and watching the game. I expect Canada to win convincingly even though the Finns are highly regarded. We shall see what happens.

Only 13 more hours to go!

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Dream of the Red Chamber

I've been in the Red Chamber here for quite some time and while I may slag the U.S. and the "American Dream" for being just as phantasmagorical as its title sounds, the "Dream of the Red Chamber," if that can be thought of as the parallel for China, is no less evanescent.

It may be coincidence, or it may not, that the colour red is so prized in this country and the phrase "red tape" cannot possibly have a better champion. Why is the tape red that makes us jump through unnecessary hoops? Why is red the colour of success, wealth and envelopes containing money here in China? Why is their flag red? Are money and blindingly tedious bureaucracy the only ways to make money here? Well, this is too darn good an introduction to abandon now, so let's examine this, shall we?

I didn't need to get a criminal record check to get my present work visa. But those are the rules of Shanxi province I guess. I will be working soon in Shenyang in Liaoning province and the rules differ... so I'm told. So I've been trying my best to get all my ducks in a row now that I've been officially offered the job on Liaoning University campus in Shenyang. And the two biggies, (if you measure big or small by amount of annoyingly superfluous red tape), will be the criminal record check officially stamped and authenticated, and the officially stamped and authenticated copy of my university degree. These two, all tolled, (is it all told or all tolled?), will cost me about a grand but are about as useless as traffic lanes in Jakarta. My degree has been verified so many times I am going to have to start telling my university where NOT to send official transcripts, or what schools DON'T need another stamped or authorized degree, (even though they already have one). And as for my criminal record check, I have one from two years ago. I haven't been to Canada for 4 years, making it physically impossible for me to have been convicted of a crime there, so anyone asking for a CRC is doing so for one or two purposes: 1. money and 2. just to see how high I can jump when they say jump.

But, I have an opportunity here to work the best job I've had in the ESL industry, one of the best paying jobs I've ever had, and probably the best overall job I will ever have, so HERE'S how high I can jump, China! Hold the hoop higher, I think I got another inch or two in me!

I had to get a friend to fill out forms stating that she had witnessed me signing power of attorney over to the company that will take care of my paperwork in Ottawa. I also had to get her to sign a form that says she witnessed me sign over power of attorney to two specific people in that company. I then had to fill out a form applying for the Chinese embassy or consulate in Ottawa to please authenticate, (i.e. glance at while eating lunch), my stamped degree and criminal record check and for that receive whatever corrupt officials from the two countries of Canada and China have agreed upon as a totally unreasonable fee, but one the market will bear, for such transcendently counterproductive paperwork.

You realize that what this all amounts to is an antiquated law the spirit of which posits that I, or anyone else strapped with this burdensome duty, am not honest enough on my own to be an acceptable candidate to work in the Great Red Chamber of Moral Rectitude known as China, but that I need members of the unimpeachably ethical governments of both Canada and China to verify, (for money, which basically shoots that claim in the foot), my educational and law-abiding veracity. FUMPEE! If you're not caught up on this blog, it's a Chinese word that means "fart" or "bullshit." They know my degree is real and they know my criminal record is clean, they just want money every year and I need the job just bad enough to pay my money for nothing. So are thousands of others. This is just one of a whole agenda of things our governments do after we elect them that we know nothing about.

Now, having acquiesced to this documental waterboarding, I first had to get fingerprinted. In China it's customary to go to the local police station, that is the one closest to your home. Well, having worked for the worst company in China, Huasheng, I was forced to move. So do I go to the police station closest to my NEW apartment or my old apartment? I first tried the closest to my new apartment. Predictably I was sent to the police station closest to my OLD apartment. I went there and they had no idea what I needed prints for. They even called up the visa bureau of Taiyuan and THEY had no idea why anyone might ask for fingerprinting. Keep in mind that the criminal record check is a new inconvenience to foreigners that has recently been tacked onto our duties in China. So it has been mandated and legislated, but the police offices nationwide have evidently NOT been brought up to speed on this new hoop for wayguos to jump through. So, again, absent any purchased vouchsafety from a higher rank of deceit, I was not to be trusted. I was sent home.

While walking away from the police station, I thought of a work-around. I knew that my criminal record in Canada was clean, and that was all I needed to work in China, so I could have picked up a brick and thrown it through the window of the police station then surrendered myself. THEN I'd have been printed and THEN I'd have my prints. For FREE! My buddy Ty suggested I go out and "lightly stab" someone. LOL. That reminds me of "Arrested Development" when the father admits to "a little bit of light treason."

To make matters more unreasonable, I have fingerprints that were done two years ago and were used for a criminal record check at that time. Successfully. My fingerprints have not changed since then. NObody's fingerprints change aside from growing as our fingers grow. Why can't they use them? Why hadn't the police offices across China been informed that fingerprints will be needed for CRC's? Well I found out. I had to go to one of the few places in the country, (in Beijing), where they DO this simple process, and pay 800 RMB for it. Not to mention a trip from Taiyuan to Beijing and an overnight stay. And, as anyone who has ever tried to do ANYthing like this in China can attest, THAT is not nearly as simple as it sounds. Nor, in Beijing, is it as cheap.

So Thursday I got up and showered. Nope, I didn't cuz my hot water wasn't working. Something breaks, goes down, gets shut off or doesn't work every week. Usually more than one thing in this old apartment I'm camping in. That's what it feels like sometimes. I've been more comfortable at some campsites in my lifetime. I have to teach the chuckleheads. That's what I call my culture class. I'm supposed to teach them about cultures in major English speaking countries and the majority of them don't have a high enough level of English to be in a classroom with an English speaking teacher. I mean a teacher who can't speak Chinese. Their OTHER teacher, Margie, speaks both and I'm sure every other course that is supposed to be taught in English, is taught in Chinese. Par for the course.

So I teach my class then go home. It's the 21st. I was supposed to be paid by Rach, the girl who moved into my old apartment, on the 20th but she was going to pay by WeChat and got paid in cash. So I told her not to worry. Back in August, she was in a bad place financially, and I was moving out, so I told her she could stay at my abandoned apartment and pay me rent when she gets it. The money on the 21st was not actually rent, but 2500 damage deposit, which she will get back anyway. But it was to be her first payment since August when she moved in and I moved out. So I was excited. Money coming IN instead of going out. I got the money and decided that's what I would use for my trip. So I transferred it into my Beijing bank account, which is the one linked to my WeChat, and it worked! So my train was for 1:25, and I left my apt. at 12:30. I'd go to the bank, get some of that money out, then taxi to the train station. One hour should be plenty of time. But, when I go to the bank machine, I couldn't take any money out. I checked my WeChat balance and the money was back! It was gone and the transfer was successful, then it came back. Like my bank wouldn't accept it because it was counterfeit or something. Everybody I say this to can't believe it, but this is the kind of problem I have been a pioneer in over here in China. I'm breaking new ground and discovering new holes everywhere I go!

So I had to go back home and get some cash. This set me back but I still had enough time to make my train. Unfortunately, I got into a taxi in which the driver didn't understand Chinese. I looked on my Chinese translator for the word for train station and got it. Showed it to him, said it to him and played the recorded PERFECT pronunciation for him, but he didn't know. A taxi driver who mysteriously doesn't know where the train station is. Hmmmm....

I got out and had to wait a while but eventually go into another cab that didn't have a racist driver. I did the same thing, showed him the word in writing, said the word, even showed him my ticket so there could be no doubt where I wanted to go. This guy understood immediately. So off we went.

To the wrong train station! Well we  had 20 minutes to get to the right one, which was 20 minutes away. I called good old Faith. She had been previously frustrated by my, what, MEness, when she tried to help me purchase this train ticket. I had the right program, downloaded on my Chinese poop-phone, from a Chinese site, and try as she might, even SHE couldn't purchase my train ticket to BJ because for some reason, (again, because I'm me), I got a version of the app for travel tickets in China called "C-Trip" that just for no reason known to mankind chose to do my transactions in U.S. dollars. So Faith bought my ticket on her phone using her money and I just paid her cash for it. I called Faith and said I wasn't going to be able to use the ticket so she called and arranged to have my ticket changed. Luckily it was possible to change to any other train with space available that day. So she did that for me.

Of course I got to the station late for my original train. I eventually found my way to the area where you can buy tickets, which is not an easy feat, especially at the Beijing West train station. All the signs are in Chinese and if they have English it is sometimes misleading. For example, the first lineup I stood in was for ticket exchange. That was the only small print English I could see for that window. I waited for the 20 or 30 people in front of me only to be sent to the lineup at window 2. So I waited 20 or 30 people and got to the window. Faith had typed some Chinese into a WeChat message for me to show to the person at the window that said I wanted to exchange my ticket. I show them my passport, they find my ticket, they exchange it for a later train. Easy peasy Japanesey, no? NO! Always remember two things: 1. this is ME here, and 2. I'm in China.

The guy looks at my passport and the message from Faith and seems to  understand. I show him my phone ticket, now expired by about 20 minutes. He does some computer inputting and some other stuff... three times, and can't seem to do what he wants. He then calls over a girl. She has been working there longer. It's obvious. Because as she does the same stuff he did... three times herself, and can't seem to get what she wants, she chuckles and shows me a bank card and asks for mine. I offer to pay by my newly loaded WeChat but they don't accept WeChat. My ICBC bank account doesn't have enough in it, but I gave her my other bank account card that I get paid from the new school, TUST, on. I don't know if you've ever given anyone you bank card before, but it's not an easy feeling. I didn't know what she wanted it for; if she could take an imprint or swipe of it and use it for another purchase; or even how much she wanted to take out of my account. The good thing was I didn't have much in my account. She paid for a new ticket with the card. 220 RMB. The original ticket was 197. So I was waiting for my 23 RMB change. I even said it in Chinese. I am good at number in Chinese. But there was something weird going on. Go figure.

It turned out that they had to cancel the original ticket and buy a new one and because Faith was the one who paid for the ticket, she got the refund and I didn't. So I was waiting for them to give me some money and they couldn't explain why I wasn't getting any money. All they could do was send me to another line. And it was high time because this had taken ages and infuriated about 30 people in the lineup behind me. You know at least SOME of them were cursing my foreignness as I was.

Luckily, Faith to the rescue AGAIN! She got a phone message saying the ticket was cancelled and sent a WeChat message to me. AAAANNNNNGGGHHHHTTTT! No she didn't. Because, as lamented before, I have a special kind of data that doesn't always work when there is no internet available. I know people GET data for times when there is no internet available, but it's a special ME kind of data. It's not usually a problem though. I can use my 4G or sometimes in remote places or tunnels it downgrades to 3G, all over the place. In Taiyuan, in Beijing, all over. But there are three places where internet is SO bad I can't even use my data. The airports of Taiyuan, Beijing and Seoul, my apartment, and, you guessed it, the Taiyuan train station. Now WHY on EARTH would anyone want to use internet in THOSE places?

No, Faith had to call me. So while I was waiting in my third lineup, I got her call and she explained that she had received the refund for my ticket, which didn't, however, explain why I  had been sent to another lineup. I mean what would the poor shmuck at the end of THAT lineup have done? Send me to lineup number 4 no doubt.

So I used the ticket I had purchased with my bank card to get into the Taiyuan train station. I was an hour early for my train so I decided to get some grub and wait. I actually had a really nice KFC stirfry with rice and chicken and veggies. Then I got on the train and unbeknownst to me, the ticket they had chosen for me was 1st class. I LIKED first class! I think from now on I will travel only first class on Chinese trains if I can help it. Instead of three seats on both sides of the train, they have two. That's pretty much all there is to first class but me likey!!!

So I get to BJ and I make my way to the hostel where I lived for half a year in Jishuitan. Ruan, who had worked there when I lived there, and who was the very last remaining person, had promised to meet me at the bar when I got in. I like Ruan and I actually think she's cute. She has these adorable dimples... And she had helped me, like Faith, knowing how helpless a non Chinese speaking person is over here. But because of the taxi fumpee, I didn't get in to the hostel until 9:30 and because of the usual apartment fumpee combined with about 5 hours of taxi/train/lineups, I was stanky! Luckily, when I got there, Ruan was not around. So I checked in and had a GORGEOUS hot shower. I got to the bar around 10 and texted Ruan. On my second beer she ran over to me and gave me a big hug at the bar. I proceeded to bore shit out of her with my trials and tribulations. Geez! I'm NEVER gonna get a girl!

This is the selfie she took with my camera. (the poop cam). Cute eh? She actually showed me how to take a selfie on my phone. I never knew! I've been just aiming the phone blindly and blindly hitting the spot on the screen that has the shutter icon... what a Luddite I am!

Ruan is thin as a rail and doesn't like to drink more than one or two so our night ended soon after it began, but we agreed to meet the next night too. I had to do the fingerprinting the next day anyway.

So I took the address I had received from the agency doing my CRC in Canada called Reliable Screening Solutions Inc., and showed it to a cab driver. I'd called the office and had been told that their hours were 9-11 in the AM and 1:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon. I got to the right area at just before 10 AM. The taxi driver looked at the address and could make neither head nor tails of it. We were on Longgang Road and the address said number 1 Longgang Road so I just got outta the taxi and walked along Longgang Road till I saw a number 1 on a building. This would seem like the thing to do, no? Two things: me, China.

Longgang Road #1 was a pink building but I could tell just by looking at it that it was just a residential building. Midrange apartments. It was at an intersection with a HUGE and very in your face YELLOW 7 Days Inn so I thought I'd call back the guy I'd talked to  before on the phone and he could give me some insight. This yellow monstrosity was a perfect landmark. I called. I didn't get the same guy. A guy who didn't speak English answered the phone. FUCK! I was struggling to communicate, and so was he and I just got a long silence. I was yelling hello into my phone and about ready to hang up when suddenly the same guy came on the line. WHEW! Well, whew if it's not me and it's not China...

The English speaking dude says to me, "Can I help you?" And I go into explaining that I'd called him the day before and I was now in town to get my fingerprinting done. He had PROMISED me that if I showed up during working hours I'd be able to get it done. So he says, "Okay just come to Beijing and we'll ---" I said, "I'm in BJ and I'm in your neighbourhood. I think I'm close." So he says, "Where are you?" I said I'm at the corner where there's a big yellow 7 Days Inn." He says, "No, you're not close." You gotta be KIDDING ME!!!

So there I was with my envelope of documents, my paper with this address on it, a beverage because I am constantly dehydrated in China, a pen to write down directions and my phone, five things in two hands. I got really frustrated and while he sas talking, put the phone in one side of my kangaroo pocket of my jacket, threw my beverage and pen down on the sidewalk, crumpled up the paper with the address and put it into the OTHER side of my kangaroo pocket and then retrieved the phone. WHAT??? He says, "...pink building." I say, "Oh yeah, shit yeah! I am right in front of a pink building now with a number one on it!" He says, "No you're not very close. You are near an intersection? Is that near a bank of blah blah cash machine?" Well, there were cash machines but all with only Chinese on them. I told him about the massive yellow 7 Days Inn but it didn't register. So I assumed I really was nowhere near the right place because this was a landmark you just can't miss. He says, "Okay walk South from the pink building." I tell him A) I don't generally carry a compass and B) I don't know how to work one. I just said, I don't know from South or whatever. It was morning so the sun was in the East, but I wasn't about to take any chances. So he says, "Are there any subways there?" And there were! Just past the HUUUUUUUGGGGEEEE and blatantly yellow 7 Days Inn. "Okay, just go to those subway exits. You want exit C." I walk there and say, "Okay I'm at exit C. " He says, "Now walk South from there."

If I had taken that direction I would have gone the wrong way. I don't think the guy knew which way South was. So then he says something about a pink building and I said, "YEAH! I'm right in front of the pink building!" He says AGAIN to walk South. I could tell I was dealing with a guy who should be in my knucklehead class. I DIDN'T walk south, I walked directly into the sun and he said, "Just walk for a while and call me back." I said, "No, I'll walk and tell you what I see." So I was describing two HUGE fucking statues of Lions with balls in their mouths - nope, didn't ring a bell. I described a massive staircase that covered half a block up to an old temple. Nope didn't ring a bell. Then on a hunch I though I knew the kind of guy I was dealing with so I said, "Okay now I'm walking past a Bank of China, an ICBC, and another bank all in a row. "Oh," says he, "You are heading in the right direction." I thought so, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't South.

Then he says, "Just walk a little while longer till you come to a pink building." What? ANOTHER pink building? What is with China and pink buildings? So here is where I ended up.

It's hard to tell but, yeah, it WAS a pink building. But that's clearly a 2, not a 1. Why? Two reasons: me and China.

But, as you can see, there's no English. I walked inside this building past a security guard who reluctantly allowed me in, only to find a shoe store. Shoes and hiking gear. I turned around to leave but a stranger in the shop pointed me to this completely unmarked door. How he knew what I might be looking for was anyone's guess.

I went in there and a series of people with police and/or medical outfits on shushed me in several directions until I got to a locked door.

 From down the hall I heard some English. It was the dude from the phone call. I swear to God it is like they don't even WANT their 800 RMB for 2 minute's work! That's about 155 bucks. Yeah! For fingerprinting! I had had it done in Korea a few times always for free.

He took me to another place where we did our thing. Now, as always, it wasn't quite as simple as all of that. I had been urged from Canada to get the printing done on a Chinese form. At THIS place in China, they said I needed a Canadian RCMP form. I asked if they had one and they, of course, said they didn't. Well, having expected the usual ineptitude at any such agency, I had taken the precaution of downloading the proper RCMP form and bringing it with me. But to get a little more for my money I said, "Since I'm paying 800, can we get the prints on BOTH the Canadian and the Chinese forms?" They agreed!

So I finally had my prints. It took a while to walk to a good spot to catch a taxi back to the hostel, and the 20-minute ride there turned into a 60-minute ride back because there were not one, but TWO accidents on the way. But I got back to the hostel. NOW, I had to find a fast mail service in China so that I could send all of the papers to Canada as fast as possible. Given that it is Christmas time, it's not going to be fast, and the extra money will eventually end up getting me the service that at any other time would have cost a tiny fraction of what I paid, but, gotta jump through those hoops. Ruan and I eventually ended up finding DHL, (which Faith had earlier suggested), and they have a 3-day delivery guarantee. So she called them up and got them to come to the hostel. It cost me 345 RMB. That's 67 Canadian bucks to send it, and I KNOW their guarantee is fumpee at Christmas time in Canada, but I finally got all the dox sent. The most important ones anyway.

So now I just have to get a physical and a few letters of recommendation from former employers who would sooner have me keelhauled than give me letters of recommendation. To be honest, all the bullshit documents the Chinese government is making me provide that I KNOW they don't need, I will feel absolutely no remorse when I write an absolutely GLOWING letter of recommendation from a former employer and then forge their signature on it! It's all fumpee, baby!

But, good news is good news. Aside from all the requisite problems that go along with anything logistical in China, I got that all taken care of in a timely manner. Now I hope to either do a camp in Singapore for the month of January, or pick up odd shifts here and there in Taiyuan. The college will not charge me to stay here, (I don't think), since I'm not expecting any holiday pay from them in Jan. or Feb. And there is NO shortage of places looking for a good foreign teacher here in Taiyuan. I'll remember to avoid any offers from Huasheng. Lol.

As for them, I have relinquished my claim to my final paycheck of about 1800 bucks, all the money they owe me, which is well over 10,000 bucks because I admittedly worked for them without a proper work visa at first. The OTHER workers who worked for these scumbags while I did are not being so nice. THEY are suing Huasheng for unpaid wages and I sincerely hope that someday I will hail a cab in Taiyuan and it will be Mr. Liu(ser) driving it. He's the guy who basically cost me half a year of my life with his cheating and lying.

Anyway, speaking of cheating and lying, I am going to go in a completely other direction here and talk about my most troublesome class. The chuckleheads, the knuckleheads the low watt bulbs that I have for my Major English Speaking Countries Culture class. I have remarked before about the abject hunger for intelligence I see in this class on a daily basis. It goes far beyond a language barrier and at this point in my career I take offense when someone suggests I don't know the difference.

It is a class of 31 girls and 1 guy. I'm not saying that girls are stupid, don't get your feminist hackles up, ladies. In China, from what I understand, and from every one of my classes so far, the girls make up the majority of English classes. This class is no different from many an English class in China. In ratio of women to men, that is. Where they differ is their uncanny lack of intelligence. I have literally stared at people agog at their vacuous vapidity in this class more than any other. In fact it's a class by class occurrence. It has become an exercise in futility for me to even attempt to correct this in a large part of the class. I still put in my best efforts for the good ones, but for most, I just marvel at their mental deficiencies and have to laugh. That's all I can do, damn my Hippocratic teacher's oath!

But I KNEW, I absolutely KNEW on final exam day, there'd be some cheating. The intellectual stunting in most of these gals comes from pure laziness, I believe. Lazy people cheat. I am not a rookie teacher. So I scheduled the final exam for not the last class, but the next to last class in full awareness that it would more than likely cause me the extra work of writing a completely new exam for those who cheated. I was fine with that, me with my Don Quixote-like need to assail the windmills of corruption anywhere, not just the hot spots of Asia. And my healthy skepticism was correct. A bunch of them cheated.

So now they are all apologetic. "I just wanted to pass, I really studied hard, but I wasn't sure about some things. I'm SO SORRY!" I actually received this text from one of the cheaters. I absolutely hate bad enough to kill, the idea of, "I can do whatever I want now and apologize later." This is like a religion in Asia and as I said, I'd be willing to kill if I saw a cult dedicated to it.

Sorry, my blog followers but I had about ten more paragraphs written and they were super intellectual and challenging to erudite individuals who would take on their challenge, but, as has happened many times here, because, A) Me and B) China, I lost them all because my internet was out and blogspot wasn't saving them as I was typing. I have no guarantee that THIS will be saved as I type. Them's the chances you take when you live in China.

To sum up, I found three girls with cheat notes written on full sized paper and they had them under their test papers. They were whispering the answers back and forth. I'm positive there were more nearby taking advantage of the situation, like about 10 of the 32 students, but I could only definitively nail the three. I don't know names well enough so I took a pen and put a checkmark on all three of their papers. Before the test was finished, EVERY ONE OF THEM had erased the checkmarks. They were trying to cheat AGAIN! It was in pen so the marks were not erased, and they didn't use the white-out strips they all seem to have, they scratched the top layer of paper away so that it looked like the checkmarks were never there. ALL THREE of them did this!

SO I am nowhere near finished on this point of my students cheating and what their punishment will be and how I hope to infiltrate the Chinese system and if  nothing else make these gals good, moral MOTHERS, cuz they're not going anywhere educationally, but I have already shot my finest arrows on the subject and they were all erased by the fucking useless Chinese internet.

Really more than anything in this post it goes to show what I'm talking about here. Even complaining about how everything is harder than it should be here, is harder than it should be here. But I think some of the students in my knucklehead class are not useless twits who will end up as bad mothers. I actually got some gifts from some. Apples for the teacher in little Merry Christmas boxes. And I don't think these three girls are bad people, just bad cheaters. I'm sure there were others cheating too. They just didn't get caught. I wonder if this trio ended up in this fake school because they tried to cheat on their university entrance exam, (Gaokao), and were caught. If you look at the link below, it's so common that it is now punishable by 7 years in prison to do so. And some still try. So I doubt I'll have much of an effect.

In the link below you will also find the attempted explanation of why the Chinese NEED to cheat so much and I've blogged about this before and encountered it many times before. It's total fumpee. In fact the reasons they give for cheating, driving, walking, riding bikes, lining up and pretty much doing everything like selfish assholes, are the very reasons I think they SHOULDN'T behave in these ways. But, it's easier. And despite all the Chinese who are fond of pointing out the industriousness and work ethic of their people, the corruption in their culture is a sign of laziness if you ask me.

Nonetheless, I have given the non-cheaters the next class off. That's a two-hour class. The cheaters will all have to show up and write a NEW exam. A HARDER exam. One with no multiple choice. It will include a paragraph on why cheating is wrong. And I KNOW it's counterproductive in their lives so I won't be too hard on them. They have futures without exception full of lying and cheating. I am just the distant light in the wilderness beckoning the one in a million who doesn't lazily abandon all morality and go with THAT flow.

How do you like THEM apples?

Nice. And I particularly liked, no LOVED, the fact that they were on my desk when I got there. Nobody chose to give them to me in person so I could associate the gift with a face. This was genuine, anonymous GIVING, not giving for self. DAMMIT! This makes marking these exams SO much harder! What if one of these apple gifters was also a cheater? Oh my GOD, China!

And I received confirmation from some other students in the class that BUSTING the cheaters in class today was the right thing to do. So I have faith that at least SOME of that class wrote their tests honestly. I have only to mark them to decide...

Why am I scared? Probably because this is my Culture class and cheating is part of the Chinese culture. You really can't argue against that.

And just as I was writing this, guess who came out of the shadows. It was Huasheng. They first wished me Merry Christmas. Oh, how nice! Thought I. What is their angle? Thought I. Did they think I would think otherwise? I was introduced to the MANAGER of Huashit, one Niu Pengfei, who, with all the thought of a rock, had sent me a friend request in Chinese that I couldn't read or understand without any explanation. It was, (fucking of course), ignored. THEN, I got the introduction from a girl who I had accepted as a WeChat friend saying he wants to be my friend. I said to her, and I quote, "When will you guys give this shit up? I will do nothing until I get paid. Stop acting like my friend. No money - no cooperation. Got it?"

My pay is now 40 days late. And they are wishing me Merry Christmas and introducing me to people who want to be my friends. Well that's just nice and cozy and all but how about instead of dreaming of a life when you get what you don't earn by screwing people, how bout you just be honest and work hard? Pay me the money you owe me, you scumbags! I hope they finally get the picture.

I actually told this story to two people who were among the cheated employees of Huashyte and they said they hate Niu Pengfei. The hilarious thing is they want to talk to me via a phone call and they don't know my number. Well, one or ALL of the 10 girls they cheated out of a month's work there helping the foreign teacher knew my phone number. But none of them are going to give Huasheng my phone number now because they are suing them for not paying them. Some of those girls also had my resume with all my contact information on it. But they're not giving that to Huasheng now.

I received a call from my fellow teacher here at TUST, George, today. He had received a call from these morons. You see, I simply blocked the girl I had accepted as a WeChat friend because I just knew they would try to ruin my Christmas with all their hassle and they had my final word. No money - no talkie. George doesn't know how they got his number, but George knows about the crap Huasheng has done to me and its other workers, so when they asked HIM for my contact information, he gave them nothing.

In the cases of my students and my former employers, cheating has made their lives MORE, not less difficult. It's only because I, and some other former Huasheng employees, are just not taking that crap. And the day people everywhere, en masse, decide not to take this crap, then and only then will cheaters and dishonest people find that their lazy selfishness and corruption is gonna bit them in the ass.

So, in conclusion, they are probably as far away from their dream here in China as they are way over there in America. In fact, due to corruption, both dreams are exactly opposite, making them nightmares. Leastaways, that's what I reckon.