Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The circle of madness is complete.

From the 32 page book of rules for tomorrow night's presidential debates, I paraphrase:

The candidates are are not allowed to question each other or engage each other in any way.

Apparently the word 'debate' has just fallen into the Orwellian file of words whose meanings no longer exist or have changed completely.


Also, I have figured out what America is really good at. On the spot t-shirt making. You may have seen the story of the 17ft long Great White shark that has been swimming in the shallows off Cape Cod, MA for the last week. During a network newscast last night along with spectacular images of the shark swimmng and twisting and breaching the surface of the placid bay, the camera panned to those on land, many of whom were wearing "Shark 2004" t-shirts and equally banal and low brow variants.

We make t-shirts for everything. "World's Greatest Dads", honor Students, children who fall down wells in Texas and even 9-11 themed shirts, an attack that killed 3,000 people (they went on sale not more than 24 hours after the attack - I don't seem to recall any "Pearl Harbor '41" or "Tet Offensive" shirts).

We are a nation of t-shirt crafters. The Peruvians have their sweaters and blankets, the French their wine and cheese, the Chinese their jade. We make cheap, cheesey, instantaneously memorializing and even more instantaneously dated t-shirts.

I don't think I can say anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2004

A brahmin once asked The Blessed One:"Are you a God?""No, brahmin" said The Blessed One."Are you a saint?""No, brahmin" said The Blessed One."Are you a magician?""No, brahmin" said The Blessed One."What are you then?""I am awake."


I think that in the west and here in the US in particular we have lost our appreciation for the word, and what it means to an individual, a group or a society. It seems that in many parts of the world it is still waiting to be discovered.

I am constantly amazed by the multitudinous ways people find to deny themselves true enlightenment, or a true awakening. To the point where encountering a person of this nature sends a shock through most people's nervous systems.

And what of cultural and societal Enlightenment? Are we witnessing the undoing of the Renaissance? Of the British Enlightenment of the 18th century? Of the industrial and scientific achievements of the 20th?

Is a great, billowing, black curtain being hung between the human race higher capacities and the 21st century?

In place of true spirituality and enlightenment we see intolerant and hateful bastardizations of Christianity, Islam ansd Judaism.

In place of a greater undertsanding of the fact that, as Albert Einstein said, "religion, science and the arts are all bracnhes of the same tree" we see people retreating into equally vicious secular and theological dogmas.

In place of a greater spirit of understanding we hear both President Bush and the leaders of Al-Qaeda preaching the same "you are with us or against us" rhetoric.

In place of society continuing the enlightenment experiment of the last 500 years, we see it regressing from it.

In place of individuals opening themselves up to the oneness of the universe and out place in it, we see them devolve into small, narrow-minded, tribal beings with little taste for the work it takes to build a truly enlightened self, group and society.

Where will these trends lead?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Like Winston Churchill said. "Democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for
all the other that have been tried."

PLEASE everyone, get educated and participate in democracy. Speak, write, read, vote. The future is in the balance. November 2 is close at hand and the deadline for registering is at hand.



Yesterday I had an amazing chance to ponder the nature of life and death, the interconnectedness of human and animal life to the universe at large and was presented with and interesting existential choice.

All life feeds off death. All death is the seed of life.

I looked on the ground and saw an earthworm struggling for life. It was covered with black ants who were clearly trying to subdue it and bring it home for dinner. I asked myself, should I sweep the ants off and move the worm away and save his life? Or leave this natual drama to its natural conclusion? Do I take my vow not to kill any living creature by my own hand and extend it to saving the life of another?

A rainstorm may have done the saving of the worm. So why not I as the third party variable in the beautiful and equal relationship of life and death?

Ultimately I decided to let them be. It is impossible to say that I would have been making a positive contribution to nature with such an action. Perhaps an ant would be injured. Perhaps they would starve.

Good things are achieved through good means. If they are not to be achieved through good means, the end cannot be good.

In this instance it was impossible to say what the good end was and therefore the good means could not be determined.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I looooove New York. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Last night the ugly was the nearly complete shut down of Midtown East due to the UN General Assembly.

The Good.

Lately I have been invited to a great many NY celebrity and society parties, restaurants and venues.

The latest occurrence was last night. I had dinner with a big movie/Broadway producer at Le Cirque 2000 (considered by many of the best restaurants in the world). The food was absolutely amazing. I had a fresh seafood platter appetizer (shrimp, oysters, clams, lobster tail) and a almost perfect Black Angus Steak. Dessert was over the top. My friend ordered 7 different desserts for us and we simply passed them around. Creme Brulee, Chocolate souffle, a a black chocolate sculpted pastry oven and some exquisite cream puffs among other things.

The atmosphere was lively and very much that of the exclusive resort of the very rich, very famous and very well connected. Two tables away sat Woody and Soon Yi. Also in attendance were Barbara Walters, Tatum O'Neill, Gina Gershon and Dominick Dunne.

Somehow whenever I am in these places I feel like I am on some sort of sociological safari, watching how these these very beautiful, very rich and very famous people interact with each other and the world.

I grew up in a middle/upper middle class town in New Jersey and live the life of a solidly middle class New Yorker, but these folks exist on a completely different plain. Not neccesassily better or worse, just different.

I often wonder what it must be like, but I never really wish for it. I know enough to know that every person, income category, and level of fame or anonymity carries with it its own set of problems and rewards.

I have found among these people the same basic division of good and bad, kind and mean, loving and hateful, as people in any other group.

Nonetheless, I do have a blast and feel very lucky and fortunate to be around these nicer things in life when I have the opportunity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Often you hear a conservative tell a progressive, "America, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!! As if having a different agenda; one that isn't based on literalist interpretations of two and three thousand year old desert tribal scriptures, the abuse and marginalization of ethnic and sexual minorities and knowing that invading and cleansing Afghanistan of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban was right and invading Iraq was wrong makes you (and apparently 50% of the rest of the country) an unpatriotic heretic worthy only of ostracism

At this point I would truly consider leaving America if George Bush is re-elected, but I don't want to become a victim of his foreign policy.

This just in. The dubious and completely uneeded Atkins Diet (WAKE UP PEOPLE - EXERCISE AND LESS FOOD = WEIGHT LOSS) has claimed another victim. Apparently the TWINKIE is in danger as InterState Bakeries, baker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, has filed for Chapter 11. The company cited a downturn in business due to the decreased demand for carb loaded foods.

Why does this seem to stink of gastronomic political correctness?

Finally, today I have a book recommendation.

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Set in Boston 1865, a group of writers, intellects and poets led by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translate Dante into English. Their work becomes more important as a grisly set of murders strikes Boston.

I don't read very much contemporary fiction, but this one is exciting, educational and historically detailed. Its a cross between James Michner and the Da Vinci Code.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Today I start this blog. Today's entry may very well turn out to be the headwaters of a Yangste River of verbiage, discourse, opinions, feelings and observations. It may very well be singularly of interest to me, and that's fine. I don't have a clear idea of where all this belongs (both in terms of my mind and in the blogging universe) and I have a feeling there is way too much of this sort of thing out there already. But, nonetheless, I am going forward. I will keep this as a journal of my daily observations, musings, thoughts, ambitions, fears and passions. I will write it, I will read it, I will laugh at it and if anyone else decides to join in that is fine.

I dedicate this blog to the spirit of change, self-examination and of learning on a micro and macro level.

On the off chance someone else does read this (and in the spirit of self examination) I will talk a bit about who I am.

I am a single male living and working in NYC. I am a curious, reflective and passionate person (or so I think when I think). My greatest achievement in life was to change and grow as time has gone on.

My passions are many and varied.

Travel (25 countries and 46 US States so far)
Music (Old Punk, Reggae, classic Rock, Ethnic and World, Jazz, Blues, Classical)
Reading (Especially 19th century English, Russian, French and American literature, philosophy and poetry)
Collecting (Antiquities, Antiques, Prints, Newspapers, Asiana)
My Career ( I am in International business - mostly in Asia)
Writing (I have been published in US Newspapers and Magazines)
spirituality (I am a Joseph Campbell devotee and have studied world myth, religion and symbolism for 15 years
Sports (Playing and Watching)

Some of the greatest and most amazing things I have done and seen in my lifetime include hiking the Great Wall of China, taking a helicopter onto a glacier in the mountains of Alaska, floating on the Dead Sea and driving across the US.

I went to University in the US.

I worked in the high tech industry for 9 years before getting into international trade. These are two of my companies: Shanghai Direct Inc and Airborne Leathers
I look forward to sharing my thoughts, experiences and opinions with you.