Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In a move that has surely surprised the world and would bring on a golden age for China, Hu Jiantao announced plans for a gradual adoption of multi-party adoption breaking the Communist Party's monopoly on power.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972)
The River-Merchant's Wife: a Letter
1 While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
2 I played about the front gate, pulling flowers
3 You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
4 You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums
5 And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
6 Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.
7 At fourteen I married My Lord you.
8 I never laughed, being bashful.
9 Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
10 Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.
11 At fifteen I stopped scowling,
12 I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
13 Forever and forever, and forever.
14 Why should I climb the look out?
15 At sixteen you departed,
16 You went into far Ku-to-Yen, by the river of swirling eddies,
17 And you have been gone five months.
18 The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.
19 You dragged your feet when you went out.
20 By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
21 Too deep to clear them away!
22 The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
23 The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
24 Over the grass in the West garden,
25 They hurt me.
26 I grow older,
27 If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
28 Please let me know beforehand,
29 And I will come out to meet you,
30 As far as Cho-fu-Sa.
(*I like this guy's initials and his way of thinking.*)
....many things that seem plausible are untrue; and even where arguably true, a plain fact often masks a paradox.
I attended a funeral earlier this week for the mother of an old friend. That friend, and his wife, are by current standards very unusual people. They kept their aging parents at home; they attended personally to their needs, as well as to the needs of adopted children, despite very busy professional lives. They are so old-fashioned that they do not even boast about what they had and have been doing -- out of a love that is non-negotiable.
Somewhere in the course of the social revolution that has been effected since the 1960s, the category of non-negotiable love has been misplaced.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Most Important Person
One of the stupidest songs I ever heard on TV was the theme song of a kids' show of the seventies, "The Electric Company." It said: "The most important person in the whole wide world is – you!" Implied message: be a self-centered little spoiled brat. You're number one, everyone else is number two.
Here is an alternative philosophy:
- The most important person is God. This is as necessarily true as 2 + 2 = 4. It is true whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. So you'd better learn to know it and like it and believe it.
- The second most important person in the world is the person you marry. Nobody else comes even close. That's what marriage is. If you don't know that, you're not really married.
- Next come your kids.
- Then comes yourself. Take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else except your kids, your spouse, and your God. Because if you don't inflate your own oxygen mask first, you won't be able to help others inflate theirs.
- Then comes your friends. Never betray a friend.
- Then comes everyone else you know, your neighbors.
- Then comes the rest of the world.
- Then comes things, any and all things: money, the things money can buy – houses, cars, and vacations. Stuff (Remember George Carlin's routine about "stuff.") Always, people before things. Use things and love people, not vice versa.
- Finally, abstractions: ideas, causes, organizations, political parties, etc. They are means to the rest as ends. By the way, the Church is not an "organization," it's a family. I never saw "organized religion," only disorganized religion, like Noah's ark.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
For what it is worth, the tunnel is nice -- well-lit, and I enjoyed walking through it.
Monday, March 15, 2010
music = numbers in time
astronomy = numbers in space and time
I noticed ... I'd been named in a column, along with Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, Glenn Beck -- and St. Paul, flatteringly enough -- as exemplars of a "rabid misogyny" and "extremist thinking." Or perhaps I rated only with Scott Brown, the new U.S. senator from Massachusetts, as a "pale, albeit appallingly classless, echo of it."
The column, by Janice Kennedy, was on this page last Sunday. It began by offering a game of "Spot the Jerk" -- in which all win, and all must have prizes. And rather than try to refute it, I would invite gentle reader to read or reread it, playing the alternative game of "Spot the Argument." For beyond the ad hominems, I couldn't find one.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
- He can chant "We Will Rock You!".
- He can say "Good Night!" and "Good Bye!".
- He can say the Chinese for "milk", "change shoes", and "glass".
- He can pinch his mom's bum when she is naked.
- He can recognize Mickey Mouse.
- He can use a fork.
- He can say "sit!", but it sounds like "s**t!".
- He can throw things.
- He can put things back.
- He can press the buttons on the elevator.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
.....the American economy is quite good at creating jobs.
In Japan, by contrast—which ranks 40th in the World Bank Group's "employing workers" standings—lifetime tenure at one company remains the norm, and it's difficult to get a job except immediately after leaving school. The Japanese labor market is like a sold-out show in a theater: people arrive before the curtain rises, sit in their chairs, and don't leave. Anyone coming late tends to lose out. In France, which ranks 155th, many labor contracts severely limit hours and flexibility, high payroll taxes fund workers' benefits, and social policy makes layoffs very difficult. Germany, in 158th place, has many similar policies. If you wanted to extend the theater analogy, you might add that in both France and Germany, the seats are so expensive to build that there aren't enough of them for those who aren't impeccably credentialed.
(*I had a German tell me that grown men will cry if they are laid off from their jobs. I wonder why*)
Through the past week, I have seen video on the buses of the party congress going on in Beijing. The linked article above presents a sober analysis of what is happening there.