It is All Over Now! After winning a commanding 0% of the vote in New Hampshire, Al Sharpton’s campaign has gotten a major boost, as he has been endorsed by Moby. It pays to have the heavy hitters in your corner! Look for a Sharpton resurgence!
I realized today that I simply exist. Nothing more. I just am. A sad an profound realization.
Pokah! I played another poker tournament at Foxwoods this weekend. I did even better than last time. This time there were 200 players and I finished 14th, winning a hundred dollars. Not too bad for my second tournament. I got lucky and found some good hole cards. It also helped that the table I was seated at was really weak so I cleaned them out before I saw any real competition. I was pretty darn proud of myself. I only made one major mistake, I folded my cards face up and had to go on time out for 10 minutes mid tournament. Rookie mistake. I wound up getting knocked out with two jacks in my hand and some fool called my raise with a 5-7 to make a low straight. What a jerk. I met up with a guy I met at the last tournament and we were assigned to the same table. We had fun playing at each other. He went out before me so he had to buy lunch. Good times were had by all.
Daddy Responds! A response about the Wal-Mart article I posted yesterday (below) from my dad, whose opinion I value highly:
Am I the only one who has read Adam Smith??? (Look him up if you have
to. Your encyclopedia will probably not fully express his place in
history. His influence in establishing free economies and democracies
in Europe is a phenomenal example of the pure power of ideas.)
Adam Smith simply says: if someone in another country wants to sell
(even underpriced subsidized) goods to you cheaper than you can make
them, –then LET HIM!! You get more of life’s basics for the same
price and therefore are in a position to produce higher value goods
yourself. Look at history. RCA was the big stock of the 1920’s
bubble. No radios have been produced in this country for years. Were
American workers thrown into mass unemployment? When Zenith, the last
domestic TV producer, quit, did the economy dive? Steelmaking made
America the dominant industrial power in the last century. Now there
is almost no primary steel production in this country. Automobile and
aircraft production are soon to go the same way. What happened in
these cases? America’s free economy just moved on to the next great
thing. As long as this economy remains the freest in the world, it
will also remain the strongest. Always innovating the next big
moneymaker. Always leading the way to the next economic step.
So why the gloom and doom? Resistance to change is one of the most
basic human reactions. (Read “inertia”.) No one likes to lose a job.
They will keep a dead ender because, by definition, they can’t see what
might be available in the future. This ability to view only the
present leads people who should know better to wring their hands over
“lost jobs”. The world is full of economists, credentialed, but not
credible, who simply do not understand history. If these people had
been one tenth right over the last decades, we would now have 80%
unemployment. And I don’t believe the new jobs will only be “service
jobs” as is so often said. Yes, that is where some end up, but the
rising generation of workers go into the rising industries. There are
not fewer jobs or worse jobs, just different jobs. That need for
change to different jobs is what frightens people and there are lots of
these diploma only economists who feed into this fear of change in the
people. Look at the example of Britain, an economic basket case in the
60’s. In the 80’s Margaret Thatcher shut down the unions, throwing 90%
of the mining industry out of work. And the result?? Britain has
regained its economic position in the world.
It is natural and easy to make decisions based on present conditions or
hardships. The problem is that those decisions will be aimed at
keeping things as they are. And keeping things as they are means
foregoing a future.
Thought question. We get very few of these subversive cheap goods from
South America and almost none from Africa. Why? They certainly have
an ocean of the absolute world’s cheapest labor.
Thought question. Japan, the world’s second largest economy, has been
stagnant for 15 years while America’s has grown apace and innovations
continue to come out of America. Why?
Thought question. India, with the world’s second largest pool of cheap
labor was on the other side of the world until just the last 10 years
and now work is going there daily. Why India all of a sudden?
In the fog of the recent political rhetoric about lost jobs going
overseas, has anyone noticed that the unemployment rate is falling?
Adam Smith might be dead, but his understanding of the world isn’t.
Adam Smith tells me not to be worried.
Evil Empire: I have been meaning to post this article for a while now, but have not had a chance. It is long but worth it. Every time you go to Wal-Mart from now on, you may just be putting your daddy out of a job. Just think about that while you munch on your $2.97 gallon of pickles. This is just another example of too much power concentrated in one place. But the power was bestowed by the very people getting screwed, so who is to blame here? Our thirst for cheap goods is killing us, and Wal-Mart is making a tiny profit on billions of items. Crazy what economies of scale can do to distort the world economy.
Oh, the state of the union address last night… didn’t really pay attention. Didn’t really care. But I had to mention it.
Steak, Cheese, and Heritage: Went to Philly this weekend. We went to Pat’s King of Steaks, as all good tourists are instructed to do. We were not too sure whether to go to Pat’s or Gino’s, but we were told that Pat’s was the one to hit. I have always wondered how Cheez Whiz is still around, and the gallons of the stuff in the front window of Pat’s provides my answer. They must buy the stuff by the truckload. After cheesesteaks, we did the tourist thing and went by Independence Hall to see where the constitution was signed and look for souveniers. One thing that struck me as I was looking at some of the historical sites is the use of the word “patriot.” History is, after all, written by the winners. Because the colonies beat the British, they were patriots. Had they lost, they would have been rebels. Same goes for the civil war, where the confederates are still called rebels. How has this skewed my perception of history and how will it skew how current events will be viewed years from now? Will the Iraqis be rebels while the US are a bunch of patriots? Just a thought.
The reason we went to Philly is because Christine was headed back to Ithaca this weekend. Now I can go back to my life of boredom, lonliness, and depression. I jest, but only a little. She was here for a month and now will be gone for a few more. I had just gotten used to having her around. Perhaps I should hustle up with my Cornell Business School application and join her. If I can get my lazy ass motivated, that is. I have lots to say, but little time. Next time.
Carry-oaky On Wednesday we went to Toto Music Studio in Koreatown for an evening of ear-shattering off-key hijinks. What fun! I learned three things from our private karaoke room: I can’t sing, my friends can’t sing, and the Beatles apparently have six pages of songs to help us prove it. Going to Philly this weekend. I have not been there since I was but a lad, so I am looking forward to it. We are going to eat cheesesteak and curse out opposing football fans. Isn’t that what people do there? Oh, I guess I forgot to mention… I am going to be an uncle! For Christmas my sister announced that her and her new husband are expecting a baby. My mother was pleased and so was I. It takes the pressure off of me to produce (legitimate) grandchildren. I think she is due this summer (correct me if I am wrong), so I will keep you all updated. I am sure you are frikkin’ thrilled.
By the way, this post is dedicated to Tanya, whom I do not know. She correctly chastised me on Jared’s blog for posting there and not here. I am ashamed.
Still Alive Yes, I am still alive. I was just in a freak food processor accident and momentarily thought my computer was a toaster. So my CD ROM drive is now fixed and the crumbs have been removed from the hard drive, so I am back online! Your life once again has meaningful discourse. Let’s catch up. I went home for the holidays, got a toothache, a root canal, and then felt sick for New Year’s. You are officially up to date. Christine has been here in NYC for the past month, which is a blessing in many ways. She gets my lazy butt off the couch occasionally and she has brought some semblence of organization to my haphazard life. I have been chronically late to work, as anyone who knows me knows I have a tendency to do, and have taken steps to fix it. I now have three alarm clocks set to progressively get me further and further away from the bed to shut them off as well as a timer on the blinding halogen lamp in my studio. Hey, Ammon, you might say, why not go to sleep earlier? I have never been one for the path of least resistance. New Year’s resolutions. Yes, I made some. A lot, actually. Will they be broken? Without exception. Chief among them is to start using the gym membership I have been paying for over the past year without going more than twice. More of a donation, really. Anyhoo, I think resolutions are a set up for failure and self loathing. But I like self loathing, so I made a ton of them. If you see me flogging myself, you know why. There, it is updated. Happy???