To get comments is glorious

So here’s a new open thread. Play nice (especially you, American Man!).

The Discussion: 166 Comments

I want to continue with a theme discussed by Lisa, Gordon and Martyn yesterday about labor. I’m going to let this article do the talking for me:

Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco’s customers but to its workers as well.

Costco’s average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam’s Club. And Costco’s health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco “it’s better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.”

Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street’s assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street’s profit demands.

Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco’s customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers’ expense. “This is not altruistic,” he said. “This is good business.”

…………………………..

Emme Kozloff, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, faulted Mr. Sinegal as being too generous to employees, noting that when analysts complained that Costco’s workers were paying just 4 percent toward their health costs, he raised that percentage only to 8 percent, when the retail average is 25 percent.

“He has been too benevolent,” she said. “He’s right that a happy employee is a productive long-term employee, but he could force employees to pick up a little more of the burden.”

To this, uieber-blogger Steve Gilliard replies:

Remember, when dotcom CEO’s were living like kings, they didn’t say shit. Dennis Kozlowski lived like a king and no analyst said a fucking word. But working people need to make less money? Ignore that nonsense.

Loyalty pays its own rewards. There is tremendous internal pressure to keep a Costco job. You show up, on time, sober and don’t steal. It pays as well as a factory or civil service job. The health care plan alone can keep their workers loyal. They save millions on training and theft investigations. When you treat the worker as disposable, they treat the job the same way. When you invest in them, they will save you money.

Labor unions unquestionably hurt lots of businesses in America. But that doesn’t mean a good company can’t foster a satisfied, loyal workforce. Corporate profits don’t have to be at the expense of decent treatment of workers.

This was all via Kos

July 24, 2005 @ 7:24 pm | Comment

The fearless lesbian avenger has taken AM’s place.To all of you handsome men out there:”I’m immune”

July 24, 2005 @ 7:38 pm | Comment

Honorable Justice Blackmun was a lesbian?

July 24, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

It would seem that EVERYONES a lesbian these day’s.”sigh” I was a lesbian before being a lesbian was cool.

July 24, 2005 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

Speaking of Clinton.Does anyone remember this little gem from James Carville on Paula Jones: “Wave a ten dollar bill through a trailer park and who know’s what you’ll find” Classic!

July 24, 2005 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

Free enterprise is letting people operate the business they want, it will either work or it will not. The market place will determine the results. Quite often more than one business model will work and people with different ideas can survive at the same time.

There is nothing wrong with the way Costco operates its business, there is nothing wrong with the way Walmart operates its business, or any of the other businesses. What is wrong is when people arise and attempt to forced some collectivist universalism upon society, that we do not need.

July 24, 2005 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

Costco, good.

Walmart, bad.

Death to the corporate greedsters!

July 24, 2005 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

I learned something new the other day.In China, IF you have screens on your windows,you should keep them open to allow fresh air in. Same goes for mosquitos.Open screens let Mosquitos OUT.That is all.

July 24, 2005 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

Dr. Blackman, you are giving my site a bad name.

July 24, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Honor Blackman = Pussy Galore? (Goldfinger) among others.

Re: organized labor:

The thing that’s startling is the cry from analysts that Costco treats workers to generously. This could be out of the Marxist capitalist v. labor textbook. The thing that offends is how shareholder return, often in a very short-term sense, trumps all else. There is something intrinsically dehumanizing and nasty about it.

Now, I am a professional spin doctor for multinational corporations doing business in China. I own shares. My grandfather founded a steel company and left me a trust fund (not a large one – it just covered my education). If anyone is a poster-child for global capitalism, its me.

But even I have to remind myself that real people and real lives are the end of all of those neat Wall Street equations about shareholder return. That’s why I like to see companies that take good care of employees and don’t necessarily treat them as a cost to be relentlessly squeezed.

And if the market wants to discount Costco’s stock as a result, great. If Costco is willing to accept that, I take my hat off to them, and it would likely earn them a larger share of my business, if I lived in the US and didn’t go psychotic in superstores.

July 24, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Bingo,I’ll go away now.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

Promise? MAJ said that, too.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

oh great, just what i needed: 17 people dead from some mysterious disease in sichuan. does not sound good.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:18 pm | Comment

As my epidemiologist father once said, “Animal husbandry is more dangerous than it sounds, and it sounds pretty dangerous.”

This reminds me of the Nipah virus, that caused pig-slaughterhouse workers to keel over in Malaysia a few years ago. Singapore banned all import of Malaysian pigs, and Indonesian pork became all the rage for a while. That was also the last gasp of unrefrigerated pork in wet markets in Singapore (you could still find it until then).

But no one who wasn’t actually slaughtering pigs caught it.

It’s amazing how many of our diseases come from livestock. But damn, do I love a cheeseburger every now and then. What to do?

July 24, 2005 @ 9:40 pm | Comment

All these diseases jumping the species barrier in China. I’m starting to wonder just exactly what these Chinese farmers are doing with their animals.

Could this have anything to do with the sex ratio imbalance?

Animal “husbandry” indeed. . . .

July 24, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Conrad, you’re a bad man.

Could be worse. You could be in central Africa, where the diseases jumping the species barrier tend to be nasty, hemmorhagic viruses.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

What are you talking about there, Kevin?

I’m the lucky devil that lives in Chengdu ๐Ÿ˜›

July 24, 2005 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Well you shouldn’t just wonder about what happens on Chinese farms. Parts of America don’t have such good reputations either.
Like, ever hear of the boy from Arkansas who asked his dad for permission to marry? His father said,
“Son, I have just two questions.
First, how old is she?”
“16, Daddy.”
“Fine. And is she a virgin?”
“Yes Daddy, she’s a virgin.”
“Well, sorry son, but you can’t marry her. If she ain’t good enough for her own family, she ain’t good enough for ours.”

July 24, 2005 @ 9:55 pm | Comment

From none other than the People’s Daily:
An unidentified disease have claimed lives of 17 local farmers and stricken 41 others as of Saturday noon in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the provincial health department said Sunday.

Local hospitals have received 58 patients from 49 villages of 23 different townships in the city of Ziyang and its neighboring city of Neijiang over the past four weeks.

All the patients showed similar symptoms like high fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and became comatose later with bruises under the skin.

Preliminary probe found out that the affected farmers have butchered sick pigs or sheep before coming down with the odd disease.

Medical experts said the mysterious disease doesn’t seem to be spreading further among humans and the detected cases show no obvious signs of epidemic.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

God I wish I were a lesbian. I’m sure it would make my love life much better.

Richard, so glad you posted that article about Costco. I wanted to do so myself. If more corporations were responsible in the way that Costco is, yeah, we wouldn’t need unions.

Though also noteworthy in that article – Costco allowed and even encouraged union organizing. Some stores are unionized under the Teamsters. And the Teamsters rep said that they’d never gotten as generous an offer as they’d gotten from Costco.

Speaking for myself, I will NEVER shop at Walmart. Ever. Not just because of the cruddy way they treat their American employees but because of how they treat their contractors and manufacturers. LA Times did an excellent – and I believe Pulitzer Prize winning – series about Walmart two years ago. Read it. You will think twice about ever shopping there again if you do.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

I live in Chengdu too, but I haven’t heard anyone talking about it.

Well, I guess it’s good that I don’t eat pork or beef here.

July 24, 2005 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

Umm, what do you eat, then, Gordon? Is there anything else?

July 24, 2005 @ 10:00 pm | Comment

Gordon, a friend of mine here works for Intel and was debating moving to Chengdu to work for them. Is it a fun place to live and work?

July 24, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

Gordon can say a lot more than I can, but I liked Chengdu when I visited there. It’s sort of mellow, for China, has a lot of cool tea houses to hang out in, and a lot of great places to escape to close by. My biggest complaint is that they speak crappy Chinese there.

July 24, 2005 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

And Lisa, I, too, refuse to step foot into a WalMart. Beleive it or not, some of us really do care about the way companies treat their employees. Some may think it’s dandy to not offer benefits and exploit people’s immigration status and make a general policy of grinding workers into the dirt. I think its uncosncionable and will have nothing to do with it.

July 24, 2005 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

Aside from their bad treatment of employees, my main objection to WalMart (and other big box chains like them) is how they contribute to the ongoing corrosion of America’s infrastructure. That is, they wipe out local businesses upon which any kind of authentic urban life (ie, civilization) depends. This in turn (along with the cancerous suburbanization of America) is the PRINCIPAL cause of the corrosion and dissolution of America’s political culture.
You cannot base any kind of real democracy on an atomised society of strip malls and exurban “developments” and big box chain stores. It atomises civil society, and consequently atomises the body politic.
(Ivan speaking on one of my more sensible days… ๐Ÿ™‚

July 24, 2005 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

Give you an example of how employees suffer as a result of the demise of unionism in Australia:
A friend of mine who works in a Coles Supermarket in Sydney applied for a promotion. Her application was unsuccessful. When whe spoke with her supervisor about it, she was told that she had to be a part of the “Coles culture” if she wanted to be successful. When asked about the meaning of “Coles culture”, her supervisor replied, “You have to prepare to work 12 hours a day and get paid for 8 only”.

July 24, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

Richard, The only thing good about Chengdu is the food.

The winters are miserable due to the lack of indoor heating and the manner in which the buildings are constructed.

The pollution is horrible and the people here really aren’t all that friendly.

On top of all this, the nightlife in Chengdu sucks!

Hangzhou is a pretty nice place to go. I lived there last year and I really liked it.

The food there is good and you can get ample amounts of fresh seafood (rather than river fish). It’s a fairly modern city and the pollution isn’t really all that bad compared to other places in China (like Chengdu).

The night life in Hangzhou is great, too!. There are so many clubs of different varieties that I rarely ever got bored. In fact, I rarely came home for bed until 4 or 5 in the morning.

I used to think Chengdu was great, but after living here for awhile instead of just trotting through as an occasional visitor, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

July 24, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

Hey Conrad,

I see our friends over at a certain rag hole have started trashing you and your old blog site.

July 24, 2005 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Will,

I eat mostly chicken and beer as a substitute for my rice.

You wouldn’t believe how many different ways I can cook chicken.

I also eat a lot of jiaozi.

Well, I’m off to buy some steel wool. I have a rat to catch!

July 24, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Conrad, don’t worry about animal disease jumping across species barrier and sex imbalance in China. Everyone knows what the Kiwis are doing to the sheep. But there doesn’t seem to be an epidermic of animal disease among people in New Zealand.

July 24, 2005 @ 11:25 pm | Comment

“Everyone knows what the Kiwis are doing to the sheep”…
That gave me a vision of a Kiwi Bird trying to mount a sheep. What do they use, their beaks? The poor sheep!

July 24, 2005 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

I like the Costco article, as well as Krugman’s new NY Times article – I put it up on my site – because they both demonstrate how somewhat non-intuitive current business sense can lead to a competitive advantage that sustains them. Just another thing for your business toolbox…

July 25, 2005 @ 12:11 am | Comment

Ivan, I don’t intend to elaborate on this. I don’t want to be seen as making racist comments on Richard’s site.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Lisa

Those articles you mentioned about Walmart in the LA Times a couple of years ago, I don’t suppose they are still on the www are they? I’ll try a LA Times search anyway.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:27 am | Comment

here is a good news for fans of chinese writer Yu Hua:

http://www.danwei.org/archives/002035.html#more

his works are translated into foreign versions very quickly, but not sure how soon this one could be …

but i won’t expect the new book would overtake TO LIVE in terms of the strength it brings to its readers

July 25, 2005 @ 12:27 am | Comment

boycott Warmart? just crazy

the benefits greatly exceed the sufferings it brings to its subcontractors

couldn’t we find better ways to fight Warmart injustice?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Fat Cat,
What, “racist remarks” about BIRDS? HA! ๐Ÿ™‚

July 25, 2005 @ 12:46 am | Comment

Racist remarks about New Zealand fauna, in a redneck American bar:
“Billy-Bob, do you see what I see?
Yeah, it’s one o’ them MARSUPIALS!
Hey, HEY, MARSUPIAL! We don’t take kindly to your type in America….”
(Well, just think of all the possums lying on American roads…)

July 25, 2005 @ 12:51 am | Comment

Martyn, the walmart articles were still there pretty recently (because of the Pulitzer). Let me know if you can’t find them – I have them somewhere…

July 25, 2005 @ 1:32 am | Comment

Walmart raises living standards for the foreign workers who manufacture its products, the US consumers who buy its inexpensive goods and, yes, the people who work at its stores.

Go ahead and boycott Walmart. In doing so, you’re not only not doing any good, you’re actually marginally harming everyone involved. A perfect example of lefty economics.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:56 am | Comment

Conrad, not necessarily. Walmart operates on such a huge scale that it exerts downward pressure on wages for entire national economies. I’m not at all convinced that it’s helping poor workers anywhere.

If I can find links to that series of articles I mentioned, I will post them here.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:09 am | Comment

other lisa,

lonely americans in china, part II:
http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2005/01/02/6826.aspx

for americans, Warmart is a great force to push them upgrade the economy

i admit there are many injustices existing in the subcontracting from american firms like Warmart, and as a chinese i am in no position to defend such injustices, but my point is – you need to look at the greater picture and realize the only effective way to overcome these problems is not to take steps backward but accelerate the speed of moving things on

in the same logic, i am against such approach proposed by Rebecca:
http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2005/07/23/29640.aspx

July 25, 2005 @ 2:23 am | Comment

Bingfeng

Please don’t take this the wrong way but could you highlight your point when writing? I can’t figure out what the above post is trying to communicate.

Boycott Walmart? Why? It’ll never happen why discuss it?

July 25, 2005 @ 2:29 am | Comment

I’d follow those links bingfeng but unfortunately I don’t go to the Teahouse anymore as, quite simply, I don’t want to read the mentally-deranged ramblings of our old friend—or your “new” friend it seems.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Why can’t your american “poor” workers feel some complacence when babies in Niger are starving, people in Darfur are being killed, laborers in factories of China are being poisoned.

10% of your “poor” workers’ wage is more than the whole year income of hundreds of millions of human beings outside of China.

You know why the environment issue can’t be tackled?

You Americans are just asking too much. You gotta save something for others or at least for your own next generations.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:34 am | Comment

“human beings outside of China.”

“outside of US”

Anybpdy knows I made a mistake there.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:36 am | Comment

You probably don’t need to be reminded that Walmart employees are all there on a voluntary basis because they can’t find anything better. I have never been to CostCo myself, but I suspect they hire from a different labor pool.

In the same vein, suppliers to Walmart are not forced to work with them, they do it voluntarily because they think it’s in their own interests to do so.

Finally, the main cost savings from Walmart come from their sophisticated supply-chain and logistics operations, which are invisible to you.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:37 am | Comment

i can understand your bad feeling about MAJ, but as long as he could make some points, his “letters” and comments will stay at the teahouse, it’s up to you whether or not to visit the teahouse, not a big deal to me anyway

July 25, 2005 @ 2:40 am | Comment

I’ll stick to Costco, thanks. They seem to manage great prices and paying their workforce well at the same time.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:43 am | Comment

Here is the link to the LA Times Walmart series (still posted b/c of Pulitzer):

http://tinyurl.com/2xbzh

If net nanny prevents access and you’d like to read, drop me a line and I’ll email it to you.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:47 am | Comment

bing,

do you take metro anymore? it’s horrible that police could shoot any suspects

July 25, 2005 @ 2:48 am | Comment

I have abondoned tube for a long time.

It is too expensive and too crowed for me. And now it’s a bit too dangerous!

July 25, 2005 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Yep, Conrad, it sure is swell that poor people who got crappy educations from our disintegrating public schools and find an ever-widening wealth-gap and increasing exclusion from the opportunity that has long defined the American dream can still scrape up a dismal, dead-end job.

Snarky comment aside, why shouldn’t there be lowest common denominator jobs for people who have no other alternatives? I come from California, where the entire agriculture industry is propped up by cheap, migrant labor willing to pick strawberries for serf wages. Hey, I eat the strawberries.

But at what point to jobs of last resort become ruthlessly exploitative? Is eking out a bare, subsistence wage enough? Is it pointless to dream of something better? Of a system that is compassionate enough to provide health insurance, a living wage and conditions that rise above serfdom? Can it be done without miring us in a rigid, European wellfare state that creates permanent, 10% unemployment?

It would be nice to believe in a middle ground somewhere between the temple of market-worship and the museum of European socialism.

July 25, 2005 @ 3:08 am | Comment

bingfeng, no, agreed, no big deal for you or me but don’t try and hide behind ‘free speech’ and ‘fair comments’. the Teahouse has never known such high traffic or so many comments. Just a pity you had to rely on the ramblings of some deranged, bored, narcisstic idiot rather than your own writing talent, huh?

July 25, 2005 @ 3:29 am | Comment

“Just a pity you had to rely on the ramblings of some deranged, bored, narcisstic idiot rather than your own writing talent, huh?”

————————-

a lot of the posts i made are commentaries on others’ writings, so if somebody sent me an article that says something, why should i refuse to take it?

true, MAJ might have different motivations to have these articles published, and i understand taht they make some of you sick. but if that could become the excuse for me to keep them out of the teahouse, then i am afraid a lot of the posts at teahouse should be deleted.

as you know i don’t care so much for the traffic of my site, so the fact that some of you boycott my site won’t become a big concern for me.

to be honest with you, i am a little disappointed by the tolerance level you guys displayed in front of MAJ, and the group attack towards him just reminds me how the weakest was abused in political movements during the CR.

MAJ might be an idiot you guys believe, but that doesn’t change the fact that he says something true and meaningful. it’s a surprise for me that some of you can’t tell the difference between them and feed him with more ammunitions to fire you.

July 25, 2005 @ 3:50 am | Comment

You are sooooooo missing the entire point bingfeng but I’m not going to go into it here.

July 25, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Bing:

“Why can’t your american “poor” workers feel some complacence when babies in Niger are starving, people in Darfur are being killed, laborers in factories of China are being poisoned.”

Sorry Bing, but from my experience some people in the West do care a lot about humanitarian problems in the wolrd. Just look how much ordianary people from the west donated to those countries devastated be the Tsunami and the money that is collected every year for starving people worldwide. As you might have noticed, the enivironmental issue is a big thing here at TPD. Please don’t make the foeigners responsible for things the Chinese government f*cked up.
One last word about the people in Darfur: The Chinese government is the biggest supporter of the Sudanese regime. It was the Chinese foreign minister who said when asked about the crisis in Darfur and the Chinese support for the Sudanese regim in the UN security counsil that buisness is buiseness.
Now tell me more about the bad Westerners only interested in the benefit of their countries

July 25, 2005 @ 4:09 am | Comment

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” Sometimes it sucks being American.

July 25, 2005 @ 4:21 am | Comment

Dinah Cancer:
Homer Simpson said:
“What is mind? No matter! What is matter? Never mind!”
Sometimes it sucks being American, but more often than not, we understand more than the “Old World” does – because we are the remote extension of the Old World…
๐Ÿ™‚

July 25, 2005 @ 4:51 am | Comment

Cleeeeever agin.Dam buoy! You git sum edumacation on you.

July 25, 2005 @ 5:07 am | Comment

shulan,

Did I say westerners don’t care about poor coutries? I think not.

The point is not about how much you give but how much you have, how much you spend and how much you want.

Yes, developed countries do give large sums of money and aids to poor countries. Then what? That’s not that unfair considering you consume even more large sums of resources and produce even more pollution in this world.

People elsewhere spend 10 hours more a day toilling hard just for living a basic life, while your poor workers drive cars, get social benefits, take holiday, have pensions, etc.

A lot “intellegent” analysists are envisaging disastrous consequences if the population of Chinese could one day live a life with half the standard of Americans. So what do you think if every Chinese work has the same level of living standard as your poor workers?

A lot more critics denounce China’s pollution record and use it as an excuse for US’s stance on environment issues.

Ask a coal miner or worker in shoe factory in China what’s more important for him/her between having a car, a 3-room flat and 200 dollars / month salary, or living 5 years less.

When you’ve got too much others don’t have, don’t feel surprised or appalled by why others don’t behave the way you do. We are simply different human beings, born inequal.

Lets go back to the sudan issue.

Yeah we know the government in Sudan is f*ucked up, as our own government in many ways.

Then what?

If we have stable oil supply from a democratic country that doesn’t try to contain our development, are we nuts to mix with mobs?

Again, you just have got too much, please give others some room too.

July 25, 2005 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Wayte,wayte,yew wuz jus maykin fon o’ mi!Dam yu!

July 25, 2005 @ 5:09 am | Comment

Dinah Cancer/AM:
Cheever sucks. My main influences are Poe and Melville and Styron.
I am a true Gothic American – just like my dear departed friend American Friend seemed to be.
Oh, also George Lippard (Philadelphia, circa 1840, friend of Poe) who I think the recently deceased American Man would have appreciated…..George Lippard and his friends used to go up onto the roortops in Philadelphia in the 1840s and shout: “Woe unto Sodom”, and they were run out of town…… ๐Ÿ™‚

July 25, 2005 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Editing the above:
1. I mean “my dear departed friend American Man” and
2. “rooftops”, not “roortops”
Mercury has just turned retrograde, so, a lot of typos and retractions to look forward to for the next three weeks….
…oh and I’m just begging someone to ask me about George Lippard and the Gothic cult of 1840s Philadelphia…….

July 25, 2005 @ 5:19 am | Comment

Ivan tell us about George Lippard and the gothic cult of 1840’s Philly

July 25, 2005 @ 5:22 am | Comment

Wasn’t George lippard in Breakfast at Tiffanny’s.That was in Nwe York NOT Philly.If i’m not mistaken.

July 25, 2005 @ 5:23 am | Comment

Oh alright Dinah Cancer, I will!
Poe lived in Philadelphia through the major part of his career, and his friends included a Gothic writer, Lippard, and also a half insane lawyer/poet named Henry Hirst.
They and their friends would often go out to graveyards or abandoned buildings, to get drunk (or do other drugs – absinthe and various opiates and god knows what else) to get into the mood to dream up spooky stories.
The “respectable” people of Philadelphia excoriated them – even though (or because) they were all editors and authors in the most presitigious American journals in those times.
They would have wild parties, dressing up like Indians (or whatever turned them on), and they would dance around the rooftops of Philadelphia late at night and taunt all of the respectable people.
Poe left Philadelphia in 1844, essentially because he was run out of town. Then he moved to New York and drugged and drank himself to death – well, after he had left behind a legacy of some of the best literature any American had ever created.
Poe’s house in Philadelphia was taken over by the Federal government around 20 years ago, and they stripped it bare due to Federal Regulations. Almost nothing is left there from Poe’s time, except for something he etched into the wall with a knife, he wrote:
“Death to the…..”
And that’s all he wrote.
I know where that inscription is, and I’ve pointed it out to Federal National Park “Guides” every time I go back to visit. And I always ask them to take some measures to preserve it. But they don’t – because Federal Regulations won’t let them.
There is only one doorknob in Poe’s Philadelphia house, which dates to his time. I know which one it is – but none of the Federal “Guides” do. Vincent Price often visited that house, and he always rubbed that doorknob, to touch a bit of Poe.
I know all this because my connection with that house goes back a long way.
Finally, Poe was actually a, well, a “nice guy”, a soft guy. The women who met him and wrote about him, all said he was very handsome and gentle, with very soft hands and a kind voice, and very courteous.
And he was a genius.
And that’s why he died in poverty at the age of 40 in America.
Any other questions? ๐Ÿ™‚

July 25, 2005 @ 5:43 am | Comment

Yeah ,What do I do with this HUGE Woody Guthrie in my hands ?Ivan,You soooo smart. I loves you.

July 25, 2005 @ 5:48 am | Comment

“Any other questions? :-)”

What was his middle name?

July 25, 2005 @ 5:48 am | Comment

Ivan,as you well know , American’s don’t like “soft” guy’s. Now you need to go on and bash another peoples’.K?

July 25, 2005 @ 5:50 am | Comment

Bing:
Just wanted to point to the fact that thinking first about oneself is not reserved to America or the West and to the fact that some people in the West are concerned with the eaquillaties in the world.
Your examples were just to simple and in the Darfur case wrong.
And please also consider that it is not easy to tell someone he is loosing his job because someone in China is doing it cheaper, with no social securence and very bad working conditions, something workers in the West fighted for a long time. Just consider what fear of loosing all this can have for the social stability in the West. Have a little more empathy that this is considert a problem in the West as much as you ask Wsterners to be sensitive about the special situation China is in now.

July 25, 2005 @ 6:09 am | Comment

Dinah-Man, and Gordon,
Alright, you have convinced me.
You have convinced me to die young – to die in my prime, like Poe – to die as a young, beautiful, misunderstood genius, like Poe…..(sniffle)….
….except for one disclaimer:
I refuse to die until I’ve been laid by at least SIX Jewish Stewardesses (um, I mean, “flight attendants”….)
And don’t either of you DARE tease me for having only been laid by four Jewish stewardesses until now!!!!!
๐Ÿ™‚

July 25, 2005 @ 6:12 am | Comment

The only reasonable way to tackle the job loss is to lower your living standard or improve your education, productivity and let your workforce visit Chinese workers to see how their fellow workers work and live in China.
There have been great amount of changes taking place in China since the end of 70s. Those changes involve more than one fifth of the population on the earth, which by any means is set to impact other countries.
If Americans couldn’t care about adapting themselves, such as lowering salaries or squandering less, who else should?
Yes, you could resort to protectionism, but as a result I doubt that would make any difference at all.

In terms of Darfur, that is exactly that simple!
US invaded Iraq for oil, the oil all you Americans use everyday.
How many Iraqis were killed by US bombardment? Tens of thousands.
How many Sudanese were killed by Chinese? None.

July 25, 2005 @ 7:00 am | Comment

Bing, I think that the point is, WHO really gives a rats ass about Chinese or Sudanese? Shouldn’t you? Well at least by half……..anyway. P.S. As long as your being Nationalistic…….In everyday life…..”Fuck em, they can’t do anything for ME…..'”

July 25, 2005 @ 7:11 am | Comment

Bing:
Perhaps you should also consider that living in America or Europe is a little bit more expansive that living in China.

You are right education is the key for America and Europe, to cope with the Chinese and Indian challenge (noticed that? I said challeng not threat).

Comme on I know what America is doing in Irak. What has that to do with the Chinese government supporting the Sudanese regime. Does that make it any better?

July 25, 2005 @ 7:14 am | Comment

MAKING SOMETHING CLEAR

Im sorry to bring this up again but i must exonorate myself this is what was said at china daily………

Amanda Liu

Randall Fields and Mark Anthony Jones are the same person. The IP address is the same.

This is why he was banned from the China blogs he criticises.

I refuse to listen to what China lover (i.e Mark Anthony Jones/Randall Fields/Dr. Anne Myers/Steve L/Bryce/Angry Chinese Fool/Hilary Anthony Jones/Mark Anthony James etc etc —- these are all names he has used on the Internet) says because I KNOW what he did on the China blogs and I KNOW why he was banned.

I assure you that I am not a persona of that sick fuck! I’m Randall Fields in the flesh….enough said it took me a while before i realized that all of those articles supporting his opinons were all him. Damn I’m stupid. And fuck you zoe if your a real person.

Randall

July 25, 2005 @ 7:15 am | Comment

Shulan,

Yes it’s expensive living in Europe and US, but here one month salary for a cleaner can buy a decent laptop which will cost two years’ income of a Chinese counterpart.

Iraq war does make Chinese involvment in Sudan looks better, unless you think the murderer and the accomplice are the same.

July 25, 2005 @ 7:24 am | Comment

Randall Fields is MAJ

Give it up freak!

July 25, 2005 @ 7:56 am | Comment

OK I sea we won’t comme to an agreement about the sensitiveness of the wage and jobloss issue. You demand something (decrease of living standart), but when you are confronted with the wrongdoings of the Chinese government, wrongdoings that are commited to secure the oil supply (to secure the reached Chinese living standart) you dissmiss the issue as minor and point to something else starting to play the body-count game.
I call that double standarts.

July 25, 2005 @ 8:01 am | Comment

Bing:
Besides, my flatmate is doing such cleaner jobs and he is far from bying a new laptop each month.

July 25, 2005 @ 8:19 am | Comment

Shulan

Of course he can’t afford a laptop. if he buys food and pays rent by working a full-time cleaner job.

Now you do agree Iraq war makes Chinese involvement in Sudan looks better, do you? You raised that question, if you were not satisfied with my answer and didn’t want to continue on it that’s all right I wouldn’t say you were pointing to something else.

And about the wrongdoings of Chinese government, I recall some time ago a hot topic here is about the word hypocrite.

You might remebmer that discussion too so we’d better not repreat all that again.

Only one thing as summary:

US is always pursuing its maxium interest, at any especailly others’ expense, which no only benefits a few polititians but the Americans as a whole.

At the same time, other countries have the same right to do the same unless the head of such unjustice and unfairness, the US, stops, we shall not.

July 25, 2005 @ 8:45 am | Comment

Bing ,You will never, repeat,never,be in that position.Why?,Because your Government sucks.You HAVE the potential, but you won’t EVER reach it. Now,You Should think.WHY?It’s right in front of you ,FOOL!

July 25, 2005 @ 9:00 am | Comment

Dinah Cancer,

Yes my government sucks. Then what?

whether or not China can reach what point is not you or me can decide.

Read those papers and analysis reports youself.

Sometimes something is set to happen no matter you like it or not.

What a historical trend!

Allow me to fool myself, thanks.

July 25, 2005 @ 9:04 am | Comment

I’m not in fact sure American Man / Dinah Cancer are likely capable of reading much. sure can write though!

July 25, 2005 @ 9:09 am | Comment

“US is always pursuing its maxium interest, at any especailly others’ expense, which no only benefits a few polititians but the Americans as a whole.

At the same time, other countries have the same right to do the same unless the head of such unjustice and unfairness, the US, stops, we shall not.”

Yeah Bing
you just unmasked yourself.
I see you are just one of those nationalists playing the confrontation game. You guys be they Chinese, Americans or Germans will allways find an excusion to justify what is not justifiable. Life is so easy when you have an enemy. Just blame everything bad in the world on that demon and say you are forced to do some bad things because the real bad things are done by the real bad demon.
And if China one day surpasses the US then guys like you will find another excuse, perhaps say that you have to anticipate the rerise of the evil demon, or some aliens are soon to envade earth. I’m sure you will find something.

July 25, 2005 @ 9:25 am | Comment

KLS is makin’ fun o duh less fortunate an’ shit. But question for duh KLS. does he think he better than the people he props for? I bets he dus a liebeal like alll da res.quilyty!

July 25, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Germans still love to march.

July 25, 2005 @ 9:53 am | Comment

Who is looking for excuse, shulan?

It’s you or me?

You know what is the problem of Blair?

He is simply not listening, or just pretending listening! He lives in his own dream and thinks God and justice are behind him.

It’s like in any circumstances the British government always can find their excuse to dismiss obvious reality. (US government doesn’t need to look for excuse they just do it.)

From WMD to dodgy dossier and Dr Kelly to London suicide bombing, they just stick to what they are and never concede, blind to the facts.

Any ensuing terror events claiming Jihad for Iraq are simply dismissed as an excuse for terror.

If I were a terrorist devoted to avenging the wrongdoings of western coutries in Iraq, I must be very frustrated.

Oh dear, what can I do to make you think I’m serious about Iraq and not just making excuse?!

You are not listening either.

You refuse to believe the obvious fact that US endeavors to prevent China from acquiring stable oil supply.

You tell me what China should do? Pay high price to buy oil from American controlled oil in middle east?

it’s like telling a starving man not to eat the body of the dead.

“Guy, it’s not humane. What’s more, you shouldn’t eat any meat without cooking.”

Why are you so certain I’m just making rubbish excuse and there is not an element of truth in those excuses?

You made assumptions about what China would do if it became powerful.

At least I’m making excuse out of reality and you are making excuse out of assumptions.

And who is always looking for next enemy?

Take a look at all the major wars after WWII, which of them has nothing to do with US?

In terms of Nationalist, I think we’d better define it properly before littering it around.

July 25, 2005 @ 9:58 am | Comment

Bing,I think we are all living through a particularly fucked up time in human history.Its gonna be interesting.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Bing.

I think you’re over-simplifying things. I do believe there is altruism in the world, and that the U.S. has displayed altruism. Please don’t fall into the same trap as Anti-CCP protestors by saying everything is good or bad. If the US were totally and blindly loyal only to their own interests, we’d support Sudan in their genocide to get close to the oil, among other things.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Laowai,

I didn’t say there was not altruism in US. Instead I believe there is plenty of that in nowadays western countries and I’m not blind to that.

But such altruism at least is not reflected in the oil for US government. As far as oil and US governemtn are concerned, there is no such thing called altruism.

In terms of US’s abnegation from Sudan’ oil, see what would happen if they hadn’t got what they had in middle east.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Bing:
What excuses do I look for?
Did I justify anything the US is doing in Irak?
Just for the record you were the first to mention Darfur and took it as example how Americans don’t care about the crimes in Darfur. Wrongly as I suggested.
So you are no nationalist? Sorry looked like you were one.

Mrs. Cancer:
Every time I hear march music it’s like sunday.
But Wagner is like paradise.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:21 am | Comment

Shulan

I mentioned Dafur to make comparisons between the lives of American “poor” workers and people there.

I was not accusing anyone for what happened there.

And nationalist, I’m sure. Too many call themselves to be nationalist. It means too much.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:25 am | Comment

“But such altruism at least is not reflected in the oil for US government. As far as oil and US governemtn are concerned, there is no such thing called altruism.”

My point exactly addresses this. We would be much closer to doing what China is doing with Sudan if people didn’t find the situation pretty fricking awful. I, and everyone I know is already up in arms that we’re not doing MORE to help the black sudanese. It’s a total nightmare. Repeated rapes of black women at the hands of muslim militias when the women dare to go out from the refugee camps to collect firewood. Why do the women go? “because if we go, we get raped. If the men go, they get killed.” as one woman put it.

The fact that China has a non-intervention policy about this country makes me feel ill. Does China want to rise up amorally? I’m not sure there is such a thing as amorality. It’s just another example of how no one cares about brown people.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Bing, the whole oil thing is so over-blown. It’s almost unbelievable.

Do you think that China isn’t oil-hungry? In fact, it’s more so and that is what is so scary.

The US needs to implement a new source of fuel. We have the technology, there is now sane reason not to use it…oh yeah, I forgot about politics.

July 25, 2005 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Think about if China developed the technology first. What an AMAZING and wonderful thing China could do if it developed the cheaper way to have sustainable energy instead of taking the tired war with oil.

Of course I’m NOT trying to pass the responsibility of developing alternatives to china – I want the US to do it too. But China could look for alternatives, and pull ahead of the US pretty quickly. Or, hopefully if the US senators have gotten my letters and convinced everyone else that I’m right, the US will develop the technology instead and leave the rest of the world with the low tech oil problems. Of course, China, Israel and India will steal the technology etc. but what can you do….

July 25, 2005 @ 10:55 am | Comment

You know what, I’m going to just lay it out like this:

I denounce the US gov’t actions, in many cases, with regard to oil. Iraq – certainly – maybe not the first war but certainly this one. we can argue about this later, but this is my attitude.

I also denounce other governments. Like Belgium and France for their role in the Rwandan genocide. The US f*cked up too, but France and Belgium GAVE THE HUTUS WEAPONS to “stabilise” the situation. WTF!!!??

I am also disappointed in China in Sudan and Zimbabwe.

I try to do this without holding my country aloft and free from guilt. But I get the feeling a lot of Chinese make excuses for their governments. That’s understandable, as a majority of Americans do this too. But I don’t agree with it, and I am more comfortable, honestly, around people that can criticise where they come from harsher than outsiders.

July 25, 2005 @ 11:03 am | Comment

Sorry, obviously that should be “more harshly”

July 25, 2005 @ 11:04 am | Comment

A true Patriot.

July 25, 2005 @ 11:13 am | Comment

I take it you’re taking the piss Dinah?

July 25, 2005 @ 11:20 am | Comment

Hey Laowai,
nice post about Berlin.

Seems Gordon and I have at least one point we can agree on.
Oil is the past. The best thing every country can do is to invest heaily in research on alternative forms of energy. Those who realise that too late will be the loosers.

July 25, 2005 @ 11:30 am | Comment

Laowai,

As you said, there are (plenty of) people in US who don’t agree you.

There must be people in China denouncing what Chinese government does in Sundan. I’m not one of them, though I denounce what the Sudan government and the rebel have done.

China claims non-interference foreign policy for the fear of other countries interfering its own affairs.

I watched a BBC programme weeks ago about Darfur that elaborates the role of China in supporting Sundan Government.

What fascinates me is the lack of information about the rebels who constantly pester the government and janjawee armies (inferred from the narration of a victim janjawee).

July 25, 2005 @ 11:34 am | Comment

a victim of janjawee

July 25, 2005 @ 11:35 am | Comment

Bing – yes, you’re right. These conflicts don’t come out of nowhere. In Rwanda, for instance, the Belgians used the ‘divide and conquer’ method on the Hutus and Tutsis, playing them off each other with awful renaissance ideas of arayan supremacy, telling the Tutsis they were closer to whites and therefore better than the hutus and the like.

But such a systematic killing of a people is not acceptable. Whatever the previous wars and civil strife, genocide should be stopped.

July 25, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

THIS IS FOR GORDON

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BELIEVING ME(IM BEING SARCASTIC) IN FACT I WAS THE FIRST PERSON WHO SAW THAT SHIT ON CHINA DAILY AND INFORMED THE MEDIATOR OF THIS SITE THAT HE AND YOU WERE BEING SHITTED ON, AND I WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO WRITE TO THAT ASSHOLE MY FEELINGS REGARDING WHAT HE SAID. AND FOR YOU GUYS TO SIT UP HERE AND DO THIS TO ME. IT KIND OF DISSAPOINTS ME BECAUSE NOW MY NAME IS FOREVER LINKED WITH THAT DICK AND NOW YOU THINK THAT I AM A PSYUDENUM FOR HIM. I JUST WANT TO SAY THANKS A LOT I WON’T DEFEND YOU OR THIS SITE ANYMORE AND I WON’T POST ON THIS SITE ANYMORE EITHER. THANKS FOR THE GRATITUDE

RANDALL

July 25, 2005 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

AND BY THE WAY GORDON HERE’S MY NUMBER 024-86816138 I DONT EVEN KNOW WHY IM BOTHERING TO GIVE IT TO YOU. ANYWAY I WANT TO CLEAR MY NAME AND WHEN I DO CLEAR IT I WONT RETURN TO THIS SITE NO WAY. I JUST GOT SHAFTED

July 25, 2005 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

Shulan,

Glad you liked my post on Berlin. Trying to get more Daodejing up soon.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

Why do people think Randall and Amanda are Mark?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

Laowai,

I adore what you are doing!

I bought DaoDeJing when I just started my Universiity life and have never read one page since.

Chinese is not your major, is it?

Is there some English work comparable to DaoDeJing?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

Yeb, also wondered what has happened that capitalised Randall’s posts. Did I miss something?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

yes, and can I ask a techie question — how would somebody reading someone else’s blog know what IP address a commenter was commenting from? is there a way?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

Shulan, on the china daily site someone said Randall and madge are the same people.
randall higher up this thread said they were different people.
gordon replied:
“Randall Fields is MAJ
Give it up freak!”

on a lighter note, Shulan, you’re German aren’t you?
I’ve always had a lot of respect for German culture, and now I’ve got even more: follow this BBC news link: http://tinyurl.com/ba5ao

July 25, 2005 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

Bing – you like it? really? ni3 bu hui4 qu3xiao4 wo3 ma?

chinese isn’t my major, although maybe it should have been.

When I was 16 I read the DDJ and decided a year or two later that I’d learn chinese and read it in ancient chinese if I ever had the time.

I’ve been really lucky to have had the opportunity to do some of that!

July 25, 2005 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

I’m not sure if iceagers in German have anything to do with today’s Germans.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:45 pm | Comment

Laowai

What about the romance of three kingdoms?

I’d like to start reading something English, simlilar to DaoDeJing.

Any recommendation?

July 25, 2005 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

read it in english, I mean

Um… yeah, there is some stuff like that in english.

but it doesn’t have as much stuff about “ruling the people.”

Check my post on Heidegger – that’s german but the concepts – the mindset – is very similar.

There’s a lot of Daoist-like ideas in the thoughts of a guy who runs a wilderness survival camp in the United States – Tom Brown. He’s written a bunch of books. He’s not a great writer and the parallels are may seem superficial but they go a lot deeper in a few aspects.

Let me think about that some more… any English texts like the DDJ…

Bing – check out my post on Fruit and Heidegger. It’s trying to get to wu2wei2 through and through.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:49 pm | Comment

thinking. will get back to you.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:49 pm | Comment

Laowai, am I being really stupid that I can’t find on your site the post where you first translated from the DDJ? you directed me earlier to some other translations instead.
however, while searching your blog, just saw the interesting latest comments on the thread about the J-ng Ch-ng biog of the great helmsman.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Actually Bing, if you are up for a mind-bending trip, I could lend you my Heidegger book – I’d mail it to you. It’s realy fantastic. It gets right to the heart of what I think the mindfulness of wu2wei2 is – if I can pretend to have a legitimate opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

the parallels are amazing. And heidegger takes it from a different point attack, and really expanded my mind about what “thinking” is.

What heidegger talks about is what I think is the meaning behind this passage of the DDJ:

“The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.

They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.”

Really good stuff. You have to read it a few times though.

Actually it’s not long, I can photocopy it and send it to you.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Oh yeah, that old guy? Very interesting. Really heartfelt too.

Look at “translations of ancient chinese texts”

I promise, I’ll get something up on the second line soon.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

Bing, a comparable english work to the DDJ … bearing in mind only just read the DDJ …
I mean any suggestion would only be a little comparable. but I can’t actually think of anything originally written in English.
Though the Bible springs to mind — maybe the book of psalms in the old testament, the beatitudes in the gospel, the book of revelations at the end … perhaps mix these three up and you have a slight equivalent!

by the way, how are you enjoying London these days?!

July 25, 2005 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

emptiness of life

I just feel too much time of mine was spent on science and engineering.

That might not be a big deal for me, but you know, those in the ruling class of China have either engineering or marxism backgrounds, which might be a problem for mangaging a country.

Anyway, time to eat some philosophy after years of computing.

July 25, 2005 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

ah-hah: this is as close as I can think of, ie slightly close in one respect, and written in english:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

etc etc … from part 1, Burnt Norton, of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets: http://tinyurl.com/e3q9e

July 25, 2005 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

Laowai,

Thanks for your kindness.

I’ll read your blog to prepare myself before really working on some BOOKs.

KLS,

I actually thought about reading bible. But not sure if its stories are abstract enough.

London for me has no big difference with other cities in Uk.

home, bus, Work, bus, home, bus, work, bus, home, bus, work, bus, home…emptiness of life

July 25, 2005 @ 1:09 pm | Comment

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wildflower
Hold Infinite in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”

Very similar concepts here with Daoism – the ancient masters used to tell of enlightened men that could stop time with their minds – theirs were the minds of perspective.

Can you try imagining holding the infinite in the palm of your hand? It’s like a ZuoChan exercise.

Bing, I like buddhism too – Tich Nat Hanh has a great book that you might like – called “miracle of mindfullness” – it is very much like the DDJ and Heidegger in crucial aspects.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

Bing – email me an address and I’ll send you the book (probably photocopied).

July 25, 2005 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

KLS:
Yep, the knowledge about the realy important things in life is ages old and long cultivated in Germany. That’s the reason why so many poeple today love to “Rent a German”:
http://rentagerman.de/

July 25, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Although it looks like you want something more abstract than the bible and a Zuochan-ist… Heidegger is perfect… I’ll keep thinking.

these aren’t very much like the DDJ, but have you ever read Hume, Descartes, Kant or Aristotle? Kind of hard to get through but very interesting nonetheless. The trick is to carry the cleverness of their works away without dwelling too much on the faults.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Shulan, that’s hilarious.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

Bing, I know what you mean about not being abstract enought, although lots of parts are — but sure, not all of them.
how long have you been in the UK? and surely al-qaeda are making life more exciting for you?

laowai — Blake, good call.
have just found the translations on your site, don’t know how I couldn’t find them last time. will clearly have to engage brain a bit better when it comes to actually reading those posts.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

KLS, the site owner can see everyone’s IP address, but vistor’s can’t; it’s shown in the back end. There are some message boards where the person’s IP address will show up alongside their name – it’s no big secret.

So Bing, you are looking for good reading material? Heidegger may be a tough place to start. There’s an earlier philosopher named Schopenhauerwho writes very clearly and has some very interesting thoughts on the nature of human happiness; highly influenced by Buddhism and the concept of escaping the Will. A lot of his writing reads like poetry.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.

Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.

David Hume could out-consume
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, [some versions have ‘Schopenhauer and Hegel’]

And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

There’s nothing Nietzche couldn’t teach ya
‘Bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.

Plato, they say, could stick it away–
Half a crate of whisky every day.

Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle.
Hobbes was fond of his dram,

And Renรฉ Descartes was a drunken fart.
‘I drink, therefore I am.’

Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed,
A lovely little thinker,
But a bugger when he’s pissed.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

rentagerman!!!! fantastic.
can I get a nice blond bavarian wearing those nice old dresses with blue and white squares? please??

July 25, 2005 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

Monty Python, by the way.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

Shulan, Randall’s posts got “capitalized”? Here or on CD?

July 25, 2005 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

but laowai, have you seen those guys playing soccer together?

July 25, 2005 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

Sorry, I’m going through old comments, so this will be way out of sequence: Laowai, people started theorizing yesterday that Randall was Madge. I don’t see it, and I think this is wrong. I am literally certain, however, that “Amanda Liu” is one of our friends many “personas.” Thery are doing a virtual carbon copy of the Dr. Anus Miles – Madge duet, complementing one another for their respective brilliance, etc. I would literally bet my life on it.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

Hey Richard,

I just switched to WordPress. It’s so much better than MT! You should play around with it and see if you like it.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

Okay, I just saw Randall’s comments in all caps. Randall, please don’t go. I’m the site owner and apologize for any misunderstanding. This whole thing has been a nightmare, never knowing who is who, and everyone’s nerers are on edge and suspicions are running rampant. Please send me an email and we can talk, okay?

July 25, 2005 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

Richard

In Philosophy class (you bet we did learn some small peices of pholosophy apart from Marxisim) at unversity, the teacher mentioned someone who’s book every family in Germany has a copy of.

Can’t remember his name.

Laowai,

Watched a film called: Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Is that what you were saying?

KLS
I’m at the end of finishing my PhD here, so not too long, not too short.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

oh… it was a long time ago… but I can recite the song by heart! I took a logic course at nerd camp when I was 14 and we learned it as a side activity…

July 25, 2005 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

Hey, it isn’t hitler. Do mistake me. Just in case.

Someone in Chinese called “hei gei er”

July 25, 2005 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

Not sure who Heigei’er is…

Monty Python had a lot of movies and a long running TV show – the song I posted is from .. which one… the Meaning of Life?

July 25, 2005 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

Richard:
Was perhaps expressed wrongly, wanted to play with words.

Bing:
What about reading Kafka. Has nothing to do with the DDJ, just came to my mind.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:50 pm | Comment

I got it from google

Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

What about him? That lady who taught us Socialism Market Economy mentioned him as a great philosopher.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

Shulan,

Is that a novel?

July 25, 2005 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

I gotta go catch bus, it’s toooo late. everybody else will think I’m crazy to stay so late at work.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

hegel “invented” dialectics … marx was a fan … so I can understand hegel being on the syllabus in certain Chinese classes, especially in the past.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

Bing:
what about the Grimm Brothers.
Monty Poyton is a must. If you liked “The holy grale” watch “Life of Brian” that’s the best.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

well good night bing.
(“these chinese phd students … they work so hard …”!)

July 25, 2005 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

Never read Hegel unless youi truly want to suffer. Heidegger is much more readable, as is Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

Kafka is a great German novelist, one of the greatest ever. Very easy to read, but full of wonder and mystery and surreal situations.

July 25, 2005 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

ah yes, but the Americans, they work harder (no offense bing! but i’ve been in lab for about 14 hours so far)

and miles to go before I sleep.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

Yes Kafka is a novelist. He wrote at the beginning of last century in Prague. Though sometimes a little depressing very good reading.
I doubt Hegel is a bestseller in Germany. Grimm brothers (tales; whiches, talking wolves and dwarves) are more likely to find in an average bookshelf.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:14 pm | Comment

Not to mention Harry Potter.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

Harry! Harry! HaLi! HaLi!

I have all the potter books in chinese except the most recent. Haven’t read any of them except the first half of the first one, but eventually I’ll get around to it. The thing that puts me off is all the hard phonetic characters they use for Hogwarts and Quidditch etc – I just can’t remember them.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

And then there was one….

Ho hum. I’m all alone in lab and no one is on the Peking duck.

guess I’ll be finishing that second line in the DDJ tonight

July 25, 2005 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

All sublime things must come to an end, I’m afraid.

July 25, 2005 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

“the negative dialectics of Harry Potter … as presaged in the DDJ” : Laowai: discuss!

July 25, 2005 @ 2:45 pm | Comment

or don’t.

July 25, 2005 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

Oh, sorry, doing a little lab work.

Um…. okay, so how about magic in HP – the magic in Harry potter serves as a foil in our consciousness of our own lives to start recognising the powerlessness of the human condition.

?

July 25, 2005 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

ermm…

You know, some make fun of all the grown-up types reading Harry Potter – I was thinking though that the HP books are much more emotionally involving than your typical “grown-up” pot-boiler. Like daVinci Code. What a silly book!

July 25, 2005 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

…and the basic idea for “The Da Vinci Code” was plagiarised from the research in “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” (by Mike Baigent et al)
I think there might be an ongoing lawsuit about it, but don’t quote me on that.

July 25, 2005 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

never read it.

I’ve only read the first two HP books in english….

This is not to say i’m somehow grown up, of course, since I read sci-fi etc. still.

did you see my new ‘weak’ insult, lisa?

July 25, 2005 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

Yeah, Ivan, I’d read HOLY BLOOD HOLY GRAIL for work back in the late 80s (I forget why) and that was the first thing that came to mind when I read the DaVinci Code. And really all that, plus the art angle, that stuff was the interesting part of the book, such as it was. The characters were BORING. Just cardboard.

I think Harry Potter does a much better job of creating involving characters, both for kids & grownups.

On a more literary note, I just finished reading THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, which is a fictionalized account of life with Idi Amin. First 2/3rds of it were just great – it lost a little steam in the final third I thought.

July 25, 2005 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

Who wants to read about Idi Amin?? What did he ever do in his life except kill lots of people?

Anyway, this thread has gone on way too long, so please use the new one. Themes for the night: love and peace.

July 25, 2005 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

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