died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Saturday, October 30, 2004

candy coating

This article is exactly what I'm talking about. Renewable energy is still just a pretty decoration for huge oil companies. Sure they try and recreate their image by saying they are 'energy companies' (Like bp saying, 'beyond petroleum') If there is a beyond petroleum, it's not the kind that I think most of us ideally think of, mainly being LP gas, shale oil, etc. Even BP is one of the largest produceers (or at least retailers) of renewable energy, it is only a minscule amount of their overall profit. And in part it makes sense. As the BP president said 'Without petroleum, we would be living 'in a dark, cold, miserable' place.

So what's the issue here? Part of this is leading to a rant about liberals. Now, I think of myself as being a liberal. Conservatives, in my mind, are simply ignorant or complacent about most issues of this nature, but I feel far too many liberals run away from issues rather than confronting them (as I hide out in Japan until America has a new political administration, I realize I may in part be a hypoctite, but spending a prolonged period abroad in my 20's has always been a plan of mine) So many people I know are working in NGO's, which I feel the majority of are not effective. They think of oil companies as evil giants. By running away they simply let the giant storm around throwing rocks at them in the form of advocacy, excuse the metaphoric language. My view is to change the oil companies themselves. Although I suppose if a liberal ever became president of an oil company, if they followed the ideals they had, they would probably commit economic suicide and destroy the company unintentionally even, for better or for worse.

It is disturbing to me that the oil companies, according to this article, are seeing a windfall from the increased oil prices. Now if they are simply charging more because decreased oil security and reducing reserves, why should oil companies take a profit? It just seems irrational to me.

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Monday, October 25, 2004


I went to a great exhibition about Firenze this weekend at one of the many museums in Ueno. Ever since my renaissance art history class in college, I have always loved this statue of Perseus holding medusa's head . One thing that my roommate pointed was how medusa's body is so artistically coiled around the base near persues's feet. It really is amazing.

I just enjoy Florentine art so much in general. The obsession with perspective, etc. I remember the getty has a marvelous section of sculpture The three godesses competing to be the most beautiful. I just stared at these three for quite awhile.

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Friday, October 22, 2004


So I think it all started in my Japanese Literature class in college. Reading all these authors, picturing the authors themselves in your mind's eye, while certainly an auxillary experience, does have some merit I believe, if not leaving you inevitably dissapointed with their reality.

In that vein I also wanted to see an image of Mary Cheney after all this hype has gone around. Not that I really want to comment on her appearance, mostly just wanted to explain the posting.

Oh, and I'm not sure if this is right, but the handful of times I've listened to Rush Limbaugh gave me the impression that the brookings institution was a conservative place. Why would they then criticize the Bush Administration?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Self Righteousness

Now, I was raised liberal. Minneapolis is probably one of the more liberal places in the country.

But my rant is Liberals who sit on the frings of society's in places like NGO's mostly related to negative anti- something campaigns that are 'trying to change the system'. I worked in an office like this when I was as bleeding heart liberal as I can be. It is NOT EFFECTIVE.

What the world needs are liberals, who see no conflict in entering these companies and changing them. They look at oil companies like smoldering shit to turn there nose up at and point their finger at. They want to work in there office of 4 people thinking they can change a huge company without going on the inside and changing it.

Look what happened when steve jobs left apple? Look what happened when he came back? THIS is the power that liberal (LIKE MYSELF thank you very much) can have on large corporations. Imagine if someone like this became the head of shell. Maybe they'd go bankrupt. Or maybe the world would become a different place. Working for no money at non-profit 'fighting' from the outside is far too unproductive a use of MY time. I learned the first time through

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


you know, I was reading this article about how Mc Donalds was able to bring there profits back up after two years of decline (yeaaay as I roll my eyes) by bringing salads onto the menus. Nothings really changed on the menu. The quality of the food isn't any different, people aren't eating any better. It's just now, when mom comes into by a happy meal for her kid, she now buys a salad in addition to her just coffee.

Now this all leads me to think, is the petroleum industry like this? For example BP Solar is obviously associated with..BP, an evil-y necessary petroleum company. Now in order to pretty up there image they start offering renewable energy blah blah blah (BP, in fact is one of the top PV panel sellers in the world right now). Renewables are the salad to increase sales.Granted it's not a perfect All these petroleum company's talk about joining the 'energy' business. Maybe it's all a McRuse...

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Fall colors

So I think Japan is more fall leaf crazy than the whole Atlantic Corridor and Great Lake states combined. After all every Japanese person envisions momiji at Kiyomizu-dera. But I never really thought of the colors as having a reason, which this article opened my mind to. It kind of makes sense...kind of

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Monday, October 18, 2004

American Embassy

So besides not having my own computer in my apartment to use the internet access in my apartment (that beautiful AirPort with its steady green glow tempting me to use its wireless network, alas I don't have the mac I want yet, patience) was because I had a horrible fever and sore throat which pretty much debilitated me from afternoon Friday until I took probably the one and only Bufferin I've ever taken in my life Sunday morning.

Anyway, today I went to the American Embassy in Tokyo on some personal business, but also on some work related business. The whole atmosphere was kind of disturbing. I had to go through security TWICE, and there was an armed soldier in Fatigues behind black glass at the entrance. All this for a Notary signature which took about 5 minutes.

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Friday, October 15, 2004


I was reading an article about how a documentary is being made describing the war on terror as a farce. Towards the end of the article, there is a reference to Straussian Propaganda.

Now I put this term into google, and couldn't really find what I was looking for. Then I put Leo Strauss in, and came up with this page. I then looked at this next page , which clearly has a anti-straussian edge to it.

NOW, politics ASIDE, I want to talk about the straussian beliefs, NOT there believers. It seems to me that these two websites very in stating straussian beliefs. The first page simply states that strauss was an anti modern philosopher, and thought that ancient philosophy should be viewed in the context of the period it was thought of, counter to modernists who believe in reletivising it, and adapting it to modern paradigms. It also says that, due to political oppression of different kinds in different places, that in order to read philosophy, one must understand that there were esoteric meanings in the writings of philosophers so as to be allowed to publish, not be killed, which whose followers would have been able to interpret and be receptive to. There is a quote describing:' The resolution of this conflict is that the philosophers should, and in fact did, keep their teachings secret, passing them on by the esoteric art of writing "between the lines." Strauss believed that he alone had recovered the true, hidden message contained in the "Great Tradition" of philosophy from Plato to Hobbes and Locke: the message that there are no gods, that morality is ungrounded prejudice, and that society is not grounded in nature.'

The SECOND article I think is simply a social interpretation of what the media has found as a label for the current war happy American political system. They have LABELED the president as a Straussian. I think this is inappropriate, and a bad name for Straussianists. The above quote talks about 'no god', completely contradictory to the ideas of fighting 'evil'.Religion is mentioned in an entirely different context. Strauss says that LACK of a god leads to nihilism which is bad. Creating a god to opiate the masses is not in his writings. Strauss would argue for a need of structure, not christianity.

I often wonder why people become lazy and let things become buzz words. I dislike the current American policy, but to describe them as Straussian is simply incorrect. Neo-conservative, yes. Religious right, yes. But not Straussian. If there are neo-conservatives that believe that there agenda is Straussian, then they too misunderstand Strauss's philosophy.

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I visited Bloomberg'sTokyo office today in the maru biru today (which is adjacent to my building). It's so bizarre to compare a western style office to a Japanese one. I guess in a way, I am kind of jealous of their location and the style of the office. Still it was an interesting experience, and I know that I wouldn't want to work there. Bloomberg really doesn't have a lot to offer me career wise. Plus there's rumors that employees there usually ditch after six months or so to go somewhere else.

We only met with them for all of about 10 minutes

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Hydrogen Economy

In the hopes of looking for something interesting to say, I ran across this article about the hydrogen economyy at another blog.

It is sad but true that the hydrogen economy has become a silver bullet answer for politicians and the like as an answer to environmental problems. Still, you can't help but think it's a good idea.

The article is positive though talking about carbon trapping. I remember seeing an article in a recent issue of Newsweek with an interview with the president of Exxon speaking about carbon trapping.

I'm beginning to think of the 'hydrogen economy' as something similar, seemingly more possible and less sci-fi but inevitably unfeasible.

Jump those technical humps scientists!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004


McDonalds, at least in the UK is eliminating the golden arches in hopes of renewing profits after a 30 year slump. Now, this perked my interest, and made me have a look see at Mc Donalds on the British homepage. Now we all have heard that there is a vegetarian menu at the Mc Donalds in India, but after looking at it, I was surprised at how good it looks. Comparing the crap that is pretty much synonymous with the American Mc Donalds in Britain, If these western McDonalds are really serious about making there menu healthier, they would be well advised to take a nod from their Indian counterparts. They have a separate kitchen and workers (they wear green aprons) to distinguish between the other menu.

I know I would start having an appreciation for Mc Donalds. The Mc Aloo Tiki isn't anything to look at, but what it's made of sounds great. It's almost like a big falafel. I shouldn't write around lunch time. *grumble*

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004


I went to visit the Associated Press office (in Shiodome) for the first time today. Now, I don't know how you all feel about Shiodome, but I think it is a marvelous thing. There was a lot of protesting about 'destroying a historic community', but that's rubbish. It was just a big community of Pencil buildings and crap low inefficient deteriorating development. What they've built in Shiodome now, while 'not Japanese', certainly is nice. The Oedo line Shiodome station was featured in a Tokyo architecture book that I found awhile back, and noted Ken Yokogawa's minimalist style. The whole area is really an interesting study in urban development. There are a lot of mixed interior and exterior spaces, much like Roppongi Hills that aren't suffocating as malls can be, but not like walking down the street where you have no escape from the elements. I have nothing but praise for the whole area. It's something that only in a place as dense as Tokyo is possible. I dream of razing of the Mall of America, and building something as chic and cool as Roppongi hills or shiodome like in Minneapolis. Now, if they just keep going with the transit system they're building...

When we tried to go up to the AP office, they were filming a commercial for DHL, and for some reason, some idiot had one of the backlights beaming down the up escalator, and it just about burned out my retinas while I was waiting for my coworkers.

At the AP office, I ran out of meishi, partly because my office gave me one sided japanese and one sided English meishi...and I'm the only one.

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Friday, October 08, 2004

suburban squalor

Reading an article about Malls in Fortune magazine. Both the mall of america and Southdale are photographed in the article (this might explain why many people from minneapolis despise the suburbs). There is a quote from the article quoting a previous story in Fortune during the 60's describing malls as 'graceless buildings that are little more than merchandise barns' part of a larger 'squalor-of-affluence spreading across the U.S. like a Technicolored fungus mold' created by 'pathologically profit-minded enterprises striving to outdo each other in the creation of eyesores'

I particularly like the part about 'squalor-of-affluence'

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Sounds like a trite thing, but there was an interesting article in the Asian Wall Street Journal today about Happiness. As we all know now, money doesn't bring happiness, but the population of Bhutan seems to have found a way to be happy without money. America ranks 16th in happiness. Nigeria, strangely, is number one, but that's mostly accounted for by people expressing thier feelings of happiness using extreme vocabulary.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004


So I was at the Makuhari Messe yesterday for an expo. I was in charge of handling foreign press that came to the Mitsubishi Electric Booth. It was all the way out in Chiba, so I had to wake up earlier than usual to make it out to the convention center. The area of Makuhari Messe, you can just see ghosts of rice fields. The development is all so new (and parts of the pavilion very Ando-esque, very pleasing to me), that maybe 5 or 8 years ago, It was probably just another rural area. I think it was the first time I've ever felt suburban in Japan.

The press that came were interesting. We had Reuters, the Asian Wall Street Journal, as well as some other periodical publications from Europe, Australia, And a group of four or five press all invited by Panasonic to attend the expo

The Mitsubishi Electric booth was interesting. We had a lot of electronics displayed, but more than that, I couldn't help but notice the 'companion ladies' that were at all the booths. Basically they dress up in synthetic, non-breathable dresses that are something from Japan's not to distant but unattainable future. They stand in front of things, take off jackets to reveal more of themselves, and basically smile and look cute. There were some even doing ballet and stuff. It was interesting to see something like this, because I don't think it could happen in America. Talking to my roomate, he said that these girls are really proud of what they do. Even after four years, somethings still suprise you.

Walking around the floor of the exposition area, I found some pretty interesting things. Sanyo had a display of its solar panels, which made me pretty excited. (There was an article that puts Sharp as the number one producer of Solar panels in the world, Mitsubishi Electric is Number 6). Other than that it was electronics and stuff.

All in all, a really interesting experience.

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