A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 :::
The indispensible Wall Street Journal, on Monday, was filled with news and analysis about last Thursday's blackout in the Northeast. The coverage allows A Mind That Suits to reframe his most annoying question very simply: if the power went off in your house for 48 hours, could you survive?

The blackout must have been something, but, from out here in California, it seems like something on another planet. As does the gubernatorial election here in California.

But really, California must be glad that something came along to take them off the front pages, although there are enough failed movie people out here that maybe, like the proverbial aged matinee idol, they like the attention, even if people are laughing.

Right now, it appears that, with only one Democrat in the race, the Democrat will win. This is too bad for California, and an object lesson for the rest of the country. The only good part is that the Democrat is NOT named "Gray Davis."

It has been difficult for A Mind That Suits to get motivated to blog. From this remove, reading the Journal at 5:30 in the evening, never laying eyes on TV, reading nothing but archives from half a century ago or books from 100 years ago, it really does appear that the rest of the United States is far, far away. Indeed, it is easy for A Mind That Suits to understand how intellectuals can get trapped in the world of their own minds, locked away in a room somewhere, thinking about everything they hate and what to do about it all. This is why intellectuals should get no leeway just for being intellectuals. Intellectuals have said a LOT of stupid things over the years.

As many of them have done, for instance, in Paris. I do not mean the ninnies who came up with deconstructionism, though they are bad enough. I am thinking of the ones 60 and 70 years ago who taught Third World monsters like Ho Chi Minh to go back and kill tens of millions of their own people, while the professors themselves never suffered the privation of even one croissant.

Californians seem not to have learned the lesson of their own power disaster, two years ago. Under "deregulation" pushed by dear Gov. Davis, utilities companies could only charge one, fixed price for the energy they supplied, and the energy companies could only charge so much for the energy they provided the utilities companies. Unless there was an emergency. Then they could charge anything they wanted. Enron deployed one genius at legal work to game the rules. On one particularly productive day, they declared seven emergencies, thus freeing themselves to charge the utilites what they wanted. On other days, they could only come up with three or four "emergencies." Now the California utilities are teetering on and off the verge of bankruptcy, and everyone is screaming for more regulation. Wrong lesson, folks.

The letters page in Monday's Journal proves that one other important lesson has not been absorbed by the culture in general. The letter writer are all incensed over an op-ed piece against gay marriage, saying that the state of heterosexual marriage does not indicate that traditional marriage helps society. But traditional marriage did not involve divorce. They miss that point. Rampant divorce is a new thing. And all the evidence points to the tremendous disaster divorce has been for children.

A Mind That Suits is a little bit alarmed to find out that the average American is in debt to the tune of 111% of his income. Let's clarify: A Mind That Suits is now happier about his own level of debt, but wonders how such a high level of debt can be good for the economy, as many economists apparently think.

Perception check: when a headline mentions "Asian," who do you think they are talking about? I suspect you thought of East Asians, the "Mongoloid" races. But in reality, Asians encompass Turks, Arabs, Sub-continentals, Afghans, and a whole host of others. A Mind That Suits first learned that lesson when the late, demented Idi Amin expelled "Asians" from Uganda, which meant Muslim Sub-continentals, which the press identified as "Pakistanis." A Mind That Suits frequently has coffee with one such person, a professor at a local medical school. Only his family was really from India, and ended up in Uganda, where they were a tremendous force for good. But Amin needed scapegoats, and there they were.

Cultural arrogance check. Why do we call them "Mongoloid" peoples? Because at one point, the Mongols were the dominant group among them. They conquered most of Asia, including the Subcontinent, and a hugish chunk of Southern Europe. The man who built the Taj Mahal was a Moghul, which is the Indian corruption of the term Mongol.

Have you seen a picture of Mongolia laterly? A friend supervised the construction of the American Embassy in Ulan Bator, where, he said, people knocked on your door at 3 in the morning trying to sell contraband. A Mind That Suits knows a lovely, intelligent young woman who is Mongol. She works at his coffee house, where, he presumes, she makes minimum wage while diligently studying English to improve her lot. He assumes she will do well, but she came here because she could not do well on the wind swept, snowy plains of Mongolia. Come to think of it, the one thing that Westerners really are thankful to Mongolians for are those wonderful, furclad winter hats, the ones many people think, wrongly, came from Russia.

"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" is one of the favorite expressions of A Mind That Suits. It means, "Thus passes the glory of the world" in Latin. It is worth contemplating.

One quick question: when you get credit card pintouts from most newer machines, they do not print a carbon. They print the same receipt twice. A Mind That Suits was castigated by a waiter not so long ago for signing the wrong one. Why one earth does it matter?

Well, sorry that this blog is based on stale news. I hope it keeps you satsfied. Tomorrow, the long awaited biographical information.

A Mind That Suits returns to the nation's capital on Saturday, and will be in a better position to blog. It has nothing to do with technology. It has to do with being home. But, trooper that he is, he promises to have something new up every day.

Until tomorrow...

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 1:13 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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