“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shorting China

At some point societies stop valuing things based on intrinsic value or what they are worth. Trade moves away from producing what is required to what is not for a variety of reasons often speculation and panic. It can be an attempt to dominate a particular industry such as solar panels.

Globalization has created imbalances because there is no one single set of rules that are followed for the entire world. Distortions by countries agreeing to one set of rules but governing themselves by another makes free trade impossible. Free marketeers always argue that in the grand scheme of things, all things work themselves out, which if you think about it, says absolutely nothing.


Hedge funds bet China is a bubble close to bursting

The world is looking to China as a springboard out of recession - but some hedge funds are betting the country's credit and growth levels cannot be sustained.

TELEGRAPH  8:30AM GMT 16 Jan 2011

For his first-ever speech as Britain’s new Minister of Trade & Industry last week, Lord Green faced a formidable audience of 400 Chinese and British business delegates.
The former chairman of HSBC declared that China’s economic growth figures over the past five years represented an “extraordinary historic event”.
Green didn’t need to go over Britain’s experience during the same period for most to agree that plugging into China’s blistering growth - predicted by the IMF to be 10.5pc this year - was of “vital importance” to the UK.
But even as he spoke a hedge fund manager in Mayfair was poring over spreadsheets of sovereign and corporate credit default swaps, interest rate and foreign exchange options with one aim: to “get short on China”.
The manager, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “The Chinese delegation has said all week that there will be double-digit growth for years to come and the Brits have lapped it up. But the data doesn’t add up. We think we’ve experienced credit bubbles over the past few years, but China is the biggest. And yet the global economy is looking to China as not just a crutch but a springboard out of the recession. It’s crazy.”
He is not alone. Hugh Hendry, a former star of Odey Asset Management, has launched a distressed China fund at Eclectica Asset Management.
He follows Mark Hart of Corriente Advisors, the American hedge fund manager who made millions of dollars predicting both the subprime crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, who started a fund based on the belief that rather than being the “key engine for global growth”, China is an “enormous tail-risk”.
There have been academics and analysts who have argued about the dangers of China’s economy overheating for some time. But for many, the fact that hedge funds, particularly those with track records on previous crises, are launching specific funds is the sign that the bubble is close to bursting.
One academic said: “Economists have contrarian views all the time. But these hedge funds have their shirts on the line and do their analysis carefully. The flurry of 'distress China’ funds is a sign to sit up.”
More analysts are becoming bearish too. Last week, Lombard Street Research put out a note warning of China’s “already dangerously home-grown inflation”.
The analysts said figures showing the continuing boom in China were far from welcome: “On the contrary, Chinese policymakers have to slam on the brakes.” The financiers are warning that rather than depending on China as the prop of the recovery plan, Britain needs to be braced for another shock.
A recent study by Fitch concluded that if China’s growth falls to 5pc this year rather than the expected 10pc, global commodity prices would plunge by as much as 20pc. China is the global price-setter for oil, coal and base metals.
According to Corriente Advisors: “We expect the economic fallout from a slowdown of China’s unsustainable levels of credit and growth to be as extraordinary as China’s economic outperformance over the past decade.”
The financiers’ arguments centre on the belief that China’s demand is not real but manufactured by the state.
The Mayfair hedge fund manager said he started work when he saw some news reports on China’s “ghost towns”. Last year Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern television channel, aired a short report from Ordos Shi, a city in inner Mongolia built for one million people that is almost entirely empty. The report reveals empty streets, housing estates, shops and restaurants. The locals prefer the old town of Ordos and tell the cameras there’s no need to move to the new city.
According to Corriente, China has consumed just 65pc of the cement it has produced in five years, after exports. The country is outputting more steel than the world’s next seven largest producers combined. It has 200m tons of excess capacity.
In property, Corriente said it had found an excess of 3.3bn square metres of floor space in China – yet 200m square metres of new space is being constructed each year.
Despite the vast population, the property is generally out of the price range for most. House prices are around 22 times disposable income in Beijing. The IMF has said that house prices in eastern cities have become “increasingly disconnected from the fundamentals” but so far has said there is no nationwide bubble.
Professor Victor Shih of Northwestern University, Illinois, estimates that Chinese banks have lent $1.7 trillion (£1.1 trillion) to local state entities, many of which are not commercially viable and have used inflated land values as collateral.
Experts in China dismiss the hedge funds’ arguments as narrow and exaggerated. The Chinese government has implemented policy measures to curb credit and control inflation. Above all, they argue that China’s huge and modernizing population will fuel demand for years.
Even the hedge funds concede that their timing might not be perfect. Corriente warns that investors, who are required to put in a minimum of $1m each, should brace themselves for an estimated burn-rate of 20pc a year until the theory pays off. But it’s a risk that plenty seem willing to take


  1. Much as Japan Inc was going to dominate the whirled economy, so it goes with Charlie Chi-com.

    These are scenes we've all seen, before.

    There are many parts to the China saga, many players in their parts. But the basic storyline, as regards the US comes to revolve around the Boners. The legacy of the Russell Company and the policies their progeny pursue.

    Were the Bush's, Roosevelt's, et al, profoundly anti-American or not?
    I think they were not.

    They were Empire builders, exploiters of the less capable. Using the military and economic means at their disposal in an attempt to move US forward.

    Individually, they may have profited, as has the United States as a whole.

    We have lost no global GDP market share to Charlie. As have the Brits.

    The US has "changed", but we all know that change is always a constant.

    The United States still maintains the highest standard of living, for the most number of people in all the whirled. That is not about to change.

    Only the methods involved in maintaining the gap will.

    As always, projecting short term trends into long term prognostications is bound to deliver a faulty conclusion.

    Charlie will stumble.

    We should endeavor to improve our position, solidify our economic base in the Americas and protect our individual freedoms. While expanding those freedoms and the benefits that follow to the other people in the Americas in the process.

    While exploiting the Chinese to the best of our abilities.

  2. The danger of "getting short" China is: China has a lot of optios.

    Most countries that tank have huge debts, and an overvalued currency. China has the largest Cash Reserves of any country in the history of the world, and their currency is, if anything, quite undervalued.

    As for inflation: China can always relax import rules, and let their currency strengthen. That would tend to lower prices.

    China does have problems. Their agriculture is third-world, and they need freight railroads, running North to South, badly.

    If rising oil prices throw their customers into recession, they will feel it. However, unlike their customers, they will have $2.9 Trillion "Cash in the Bank" to work with.

    This will allow them to put their people to work on infrastructure projects, and their cash in the bank will allow them to buy whatever commodities they need (at the, now, lower prices.)

    Those hedge funds can short the Creditor if they want; I'd rather short the "debtor."

  3. Imagine, if you will, 50 Chinese workers riding a bus (5mpg) 5 miles to work, and back.

    The bus uses 2 gallons of diesel on the 10 mile round trip, so the riders diesel/day is 2/50 or 0.04 gallons per day.

    Now, compare that to the American family that uses 3 gallons/day, riding alone to work, and back, in a 4,000 lb car, and using a SUV to shuttle the kids around to school, soccer practice, etc.

    Which family's lifestyle will be affected the most by a doubling of oil prices?

    Which economy will suffer the most, the fastest?

  4. The really interesting thing about China is that Chinese posters come out to criticise and undermine Western media stories interpreted as being anti-Beijing. Whatever the story. It is such a rare thing to read a post from a Chinese person who can put aside his or her hatred of the western media and shake a western journalist's hand for getting it right. Even if the western media reveal how immoral it is that a Chinese man has been imprisoned for publicising the dreadful effects of the melamine-milk scandal, such articles will be undermined with rapid reference to the US invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan and the moral hollowness of the West. There is an inbuilt inability to tolerate Western criticism, even if that criticism is in fact helfpul. This degree of xenophobic suspicion is of course self-defeating and rises up like an abstract version of the Great Wall (where everything that should be outside, should be outside).

    The Chinese - to a person - appear to say that things can only get better and China can only keep getting richer. Let's not forget that the CCP's future depends upon such a scenario so it is at constant pains to stress a 'better tomorrow' and other cheesy platitudes.

    We all need to be prepared for the eventuality that if it all goes horribly pear-shaped in China, the West will take the blame.

  5. Deflation is generally regarded as the most damaging effect an economy can experience, with the exception of hyperinflation, and that has occurred to a major economy only rarely in the last hundred years.

    Falling prices kill businesses like the Black Death - everyone stops buying because they expect prices will continue to fall and be cheaper still over time. Businesses are then unable to sell, except at declining prices and are thus unable to restock - they go bust in no time and their workers are laid off, often for the long term. It's a disastrous scenario, believe me.

    As businesses fail, tax revenues fall off the proverbial cliff, unemployment rises as in the Great Depression. Thus, no jobs, soup kitchens abound, bailiffs abound and people are thrown into the street, the currency crashes. Need I point out any more?

    The problem is not just about prices, but a balanced economy where manufacturing creates enough national revenue to keep unemployment low, the elimination of deficits and public sector employment kept to a minimum.

  6. Someone thinks Rufus is Chinese. Rufus may be a lot of things. Chinese is not one of them.

  7. Now, imagine that that Chinese bus is "Electric," charged the night before by a windmill.

    China is now the World Leader in Wind Power - and, building like crazy.

    Then from India we have this: 250 Megawatt Tidal Power


    And, a good centerfielder could throw a baseball from my deck to the Mississippi River - a source that could, likely, power the entire Midwest.

    What do we use it for? To transport coal from Wyoming.

  8. No, I didn't know what we/I/us whoever was/were/are doing to you. I still don't.

    - whit

    Okay. Let me try this another way.

    Why speak in code so much of the time? Why the puzzling references?

    And why not respond to my email?

  9. Your point however is a good one. What would be the blow-back on the West if China does have a spectacular failure?

  10. If you sent an email to the, we haven't received it yet.

  11. Rufus, sometimes, during a bout of sobriety, will try to see the world the way it is.

    And, the way the world is, is: China has 1.25 Billion somewhat willing Slaves, and $2.9 Trillion "in the bank."

    That, as far as I can see, is the way the world "is."

  12. Whit, did you receive my email?

  13. No Rufus, I don't see anything from you.

  14. Why go to the trouble of altering the archives?

    Why refer to me as She Who Must Be Obeyed?

    Why speak of cats, dogs, horses and other animals all the time?

    Why ban bob?

  15. He said horrible things about a deceased man in the presence of his grieving son.

    You want more?

    He doesn't need to be posting at the EB. He needs to be seeking treatment.

  16. Why put on a light show in my back yard on NOV 17?

  17. No problemo, Anon. I Do live in Mississippi. It's kinda "Chinee-like." :)

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. "He said horrible things about a deceased man in the presence of his grieving son."

    When grieving son announces his new blog with "This is not your grandmother's dildo," something tells me he's not quite full of sorrow.

  20. Q!!!!!!!

    What were you doing on Nov. 17th?

    'Fess Up, Boy.

    What're you up to?

  21. "If you sent an email to the, we haven't received it yet."

    Why would that be?

  22. "What were you doing on Nov. 17th?"

    Yeah but, see, this is actually the least of it.

    And you damn well know it.

  23. I was supposed to go to church this morning, but I don't know if I can take another sermon, another service, so neatly scripted.

  24. "If you sent an email to the, we haven't received it yet."

    Why would that be?

    Because you didn't send it to the, you sent it to someone else.

    Unless I receive an email, I will assume that I have no part in this and will butt out.

  25. Blogger trish said...

    "Why go to the trouble of altering the archives?"

    say what? really??

    Blogger trish said...

    "Why put on a light show in my back yard on NOV 17?"


    Blogger trish said...

    " "What were you doing on Nov. 17th?"

    Yeah but, see, this is actually the least of it.

    And you damn well know it."

    Lordy, there must be a world beyond my understanding...

    ...or trish is losing it...

    ...or she is pulling our collective leg.


  26. I honestly have no idea what is going on.

  27. .

    ah, I got it - Deuce is "the General", on the road a lot, away from his dear wife, Trish.


  28. "...or trish is losing it..."

    No. That would be merciful.

    I know I'm not losing it because comments that in a normal universe would have elicited responses such as, "What the fuck?" instead raised nary an eyebrow.

  29. And if you're my worse half, I've got a bone to pick with you.

  30. ohhh, a system test. Well, in my case, there are sooo many comments that raise my eyebrow it is hardly worth commenting on them all. Instead I pick and choose. It reminds me of "Barbarians at the Gate" where the head honcho would sift through the messages from those calling him and see who he wanted to respond to.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. "Why ban Bob?"

    "He said horrible things about a deceased man in the presence of his grieving son."

    I guess in order for horrible things said about someone to count one must be dead.

  33. Who knows WiO; if you put some bright red lipstick and a short skirt the Rat might be quite fetching behind the bar.

  34. I'm pretty sure it was more than that one incident Melody.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. It reminds me of "Barbarians at the Gate" where the head honcho would sift through the messages from those calling him and see who he wanted to respond to.

    - ash

    That's not what it makes me think of.

    Though bob banning himself, or the head honcho banning his own creation, is a lovely touch.

  37. Actually I wasn't thinking of Deuce as the Head Hancho in that last post but now that you've got Deuce as the creator banning his own creation I'm even more intrigued...

    ...especially on the Sunday morning when YOU should be in church.

  38. DR has been a loyal contributor to the bar.

    He is no one's man but his own.

    His positions provoke thought and discussion.

    He rarely has made a personal attack without provocation.

    He is not a one trick pony and boring.

    He comes with an agenda that I have often taken issue with, generates conversation and argument. I have never questioned his sanity and stability.

    He doesn't take one position at the EB and another on other blogs. He has attacked my positions without attacking me. I welcome that.

    Viktor Silo was a contributor to the EB. We occasionally disagreed. That is a good thing. We did so with respect. He did not like the way we ran the bar and said so.

    All that is fine with me. Bob's behavior is irrational, erratic and inappropriate. He asked for a second chance. We gave it to him and that has proven to be a mistake on my part. Certainly not my last.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. "...especially on the Sunday morning when YOU should be in church."

    God does not like me.

    Apparently I did something so egregious that I ended up here.

    And I can't leave because the whole world is the Elephant Bar.

  41. oh, god, no, not another youtube video "We are the world. We are the children..."

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. "He doesn't take one position at the EB..."

    No, he takes them all.

    Sinless said it best: He takes both sides of every issue and calls himself a prophet.

    Besides, issues here and elsewhere on the net are a mere sideshow.

    Or window dressing.

    Not only am I not in church, I am drinking beer out of a Mason jar.

    David calls it Short Bus.

    Because it's special.

    Not bad, really.

  44. "We are the world. We are the children..."

    We are the world. We are the dicks.

    And by we, I mean you.

  45. dicks, big swinging dicks - all hanging out at the bar.

  46. Prayer or drinking, both intoxicants to one degree or another, prayer probably being the least consequential.

  47. "big swinging dicks"

    Funny, but I don't think so.

    Figuratively, however...


  48. "...prayer probably being the least consequential."

    Oh, that's a good one.

    Very good.

  49. Forget Bob. He is not coming back.

  50. "And I can't leave..."

    Although it's occurred to me that I might be able to leave when I'm dead.

    Then I think, oh my God, no I won't.

    I'll end up right back here.

    I am quite literally damned.

  51. "Forget Bob. He is not coming back."

    That's rather a shame, because when he's good he's very good.

    Let us have the depravity and senility straight up, with an occasional side of Roethke.

  52. "Beautiful Mistakes Acting Alive."

  53. "That's rather a shame, because when he's good he's very good."

    I think that was why he was so bad - he'd lure folk in and then go nuts.

    In the end, for me, it was just all nuts all the time. Boobie droppings to step around.

  54. Someone gave that name to a very fine upholstery.


  55. "Boobie droppings to step around."

    And I guess maybe that's the thing to be missed. Droppings so obvious that one does step around them. Rather than in them.

    Which is to be preferred?

    Martin Luther had hallucinations of the devil. He noted that He Who Must Not Be Named left "crepitations of no small size."

  56. I just found emails from Trish, Rufus and Sam in the junk mail folder.

  57. note to management: "always check the junk mail folder".

  58. Junk mail, huh?


    Makes sense, I guess.

  59. What Rat said in first comment regarding China. China Shmina!

  60. "China Shmina!"

    But I do agree with that.

    So reminiscent of our fear and envy of Japan, Inc.

    We invent bogeymen.

    One wonders if bogeymen invent us.

  61. Japan was/is a Democracy. China is a different kettle of fish.

    China is a big, aggressive country with a huge, ambitious talent pool. They are to be taken very seriously.

    You don't have to quake in fear of China, and you don't have to Worship the Chinee. But, you probably should respect their potential.

  62. The Good News is Communist/Totalitarian Governments will always "overstep," eventually. They can't help it; they 're like Democrats. They will get dealt a good hand, and overplay it.

    They might have done that with the "rare earths."

  63. "But, you probably should respect their potential."

    This is something entirely different from going all Bill Gertz.

    I think we need to respect our own potential.

  64. This morning, the mystery foremost on my mind is:

    What happened to the Atlanta Falcons last night? How would a team with a 13-2 record get blown out so badly in their own house?

  65. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  66. Whatever we are consumed with or enamored of at any given moment, it will be The Other Thing that swipes our lunch.

    Or as allen says, "Hit them where they aren't."

  67. "What you are forgetting is how horrible Viktor was to Miss Teresita."

    She loved it.

  68. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  69. "Thank you Trish for the compliments."

    Welcome back.

  70. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  71. "Give me your email damn you..."

    : )

  72. .

    Once again, I have to agree with the insightful Rufus II.

    China has significant problems that they will struggle to overcome. Most of these are long-term; lack of resources, desertification over vast areas, demographics, pollution, etc. Its shortcomings may result in it reaching its apex long before it becomes a true superpower.

    On the other hand, for many of the reasons Rufus has pointed out, they can do significant damage in the short-run.

    Their governmental structure allows them to react much faster than any democracy. And given the mercantilism that is currently driving their economy, their immature foreign policy, and the aggressive nature of the current PLA leadership, the U.S. needs to address them more forcefully than they are currently doing especially on the commercial front.


  73. The narrative on China, Trish, is they have the ability to pick off our industries, one by one - leaving us 'hollowed-out,' and deeply in debt.

    They, also, have the potential of going all "Medieval" when they get short on oil, and things start going sideways.

    Anything that big is inherently dangerous.

  74. trish said

    "When grieving son announces his new blog with "This is not your grandmother's dildo," something tells me he's not quite full of sorrow."

    Go to hell you ignorant bitch!

  75. Deuce

    May I have a word with you at my site?

  76. On another note there is Tunisia. Maybe Bush USA did act as the catalyst and the dominoes are starting to tumble. Could be a messy ride...

  77. "Go to hell you ignorant bitch!"

    Forthwith. Senor.

  78. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  79. You wrote at least thread bottom to top.

  80. Mikhail, you need to understand, your father is off-limits; You're not.

    Trish is Not ignorant.

  81. I agree with Rufus Senor. You can write whatever you want on your blog and you can argue with anyone on this blog, but you can't come on here making personal attacks

  82. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  83. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  84. Personal attacks are boring. A considered attack on an point of view, done intelligently, argued cogently is interesting.

  85. "...your father is off-limits..."


    Dumb fool adored Palin. And then showed up late at night to ask me what time it is.

    Presented a quaint ditty about "fucking your daughter..." and "holding my water."

    Come back, wiktor, come back.

  86. "Personal attacks are boring. A considered attack on an point of view..."

    Is also boring.

  87. She is, unfortunately, obviously going bat-shit crazy. Oh, brother.

  88. Beer out of a "Mason Jar," eh?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  89. End of 1st quarter. Chicago 14, Seattle 0.

    Soldier Field looks like a snow globe.

  90. Seattle looks inept and da bears just score another td.

  91. Oh, Man. Snowing like Hell.

    Bears weather.

  92. Deuce said

    "I agree with Rufus Senor. You can write whatever you want on your blog and you can argue with anyone on this blog, but you can't come on here making personal attacks"

    Let me get this straight: Trish says that I am not showing sufficient grief for my recently deceased father and I call her a bitch but I'm the one who is out of line!?

    Really, is that what you are saying? And Deuce, that's a rhetorical question.


  93. "Let me get this straight: Trish says that..."

    Blue does not know what he wants.

  94. Neither politically, philosophically, nor otherwise.

    Blue needs a walkabout.

    But even that won't cure it.

    He thrives on disagreement.

  95. Most especially with himself.

  96. You will have to ask Trish what she wants. She is a little on the enigmatic side for me to speculate.

    I want blue skies, a positive cash flow and a first class seat to Munich on Wednesday, schedule permitting, a pleasant weekend in Szczecin beginning early Friday, attend a Gershwin concert on Saturday and then return home Monday.

  97. That one I'll leave up. Whit can take that one down.

  98. "I want blue skies..."

    Why do you post about the things that you do, when something else matters to you?

  99. .

    Senor. Lesson learned as you proceed with your blog.

    The EB is a family, a rather dysfunctional one to be sure. However, at this point you are an outsider.

    Trish is one of the EB muses.

    Sure she is self-absorbed, pedantic, a little cranky of late, some might call her a drama queen; but she is our drama queen.

    The EB although liberal is self-policing as noted recently in the case of he-who-shall-not-be-named; however, regardless of the venom we spew among ourselves, the majority here will not take kindly to outsiders joining in beyond a certain point.

    (Besides she's kind of cute when she's got her mad on. You? Not so much.)


  100. I actually do not like being a muse.

    It may be a fine idea; I just don't think it's me.

  101. .

    I actually do not like being a muse.

    You questioned Deuce on the things he liked. Is there anything you actually like?

    By the way, no one chooses to be a muse.

    It's a burden you bear.

    Another one.



  102. "Is there anything you actually like?"


  103. And I ought to be able to put my finger on it.

    maybe I will.

  104. Do you choose to be the Old Man?

  105. I like the aromas in my house due to my fiancé rustling something up in the kitchen on this overcast, cold Sunday in North Texas.

    Did I tell you I was getting married?

  106. Trish:

    Not only am I not in church, I am drinking beer out of a Mason jar.

    That pushed the memory button.

    Sittin' in the evenin' shade, on my front porch swing
    Drinkin' beer from a mason jar, ain't worried 'bout a thing
    'Cept my dear old mother, on the banks of the Tennessee
    And that cute little redhead down the road that wants to ball with me

    Commander Cody, sometime in the 70's.

    Somebody please find that song on YouTube.

  107. Progress Report

    --Management doing well keeping bar thread free of banned babbling drivel.

    --Patience and perseverance will be eventually rewarded.

    --Other patrons need to be aware of the folly of engaging the babbler.

    --An admonishment that they could join him in limbo would seem to be appropriate. That could relatively easily be accomplished with early intervention. The longer it is allowed to fester, the more difficult the cleanup chores will be.

  108. .

    Do you choose to be the Old Man?

    Not at all.

    It's a burden one bears.

    Another one.



  109. Congratulations, Gag, when's the big date?

  110. .

    You know they say married men actually live longer.

    Nothing wrong with that.


  111. That depends on who you are living with.

  112. Okay, so it's a Ball jar.

    Doesn't sound as good though.

    And do most people understand what a Ball jar is?

    I think not.

    Not that "most people" are at this Bar.

    Bob's in limbo?

    Well, then. So is everyone else here.

    We ought to have a party.

    Blue will bring the wine.

  113. That depends on who you are living with.


    I was convinced I needed hiatal hernia surgery at one point. I was eating Tagamet like Life Savers.

    When my divorce occurred, my stomach problems went away.

  114. Allen's engaged, too.

    To a babe ("I sleep with a babe every night") who speaks three languages.

    In a hot tub in Utah.

    Beat that.

  115. .

    I knew there would be at least one comment like yours Deuce.

    I kinda expected it to be the obligatory "it only seems longer".



  116. I think I will open a bottle right now.

  117. I'll have a Dos Equis. It's been a strange day.

  118. Quirk's married to a program manager, much younger than himself.

    Doug's married to a resort manager. A red head.

    Bob's married to a gal from the east, also a red head.

    Desert Rat is married...probably not to a red head because any self respecting red head would have killed him by now.

    But that would also be true of bob's wife and doug's wife.

    And Quirk's wife. Regardless of hair color.

    Clearly what we need is a league of women to finish you fuckers off.

    And let you rest in peace.

  119. .

    You sound serious Trish.

    My comments above were meant in jest as are half the comments I post here.

    Sorry if I offended you.

    It won't happen again.


  120. Okay.

    That last interrogation in the field:

    It didn't really count for anything. We already knew we were graduating. Still, we had to do it. And there's some small amount of pride involved.

    It was a cold, dark night in a little shed...

    Our source went on and on about a fork. And so we focused on that. The fork must have meaning, because he keeps going on about it.

    We must solve the riddle of the fork!

    The fork was a diversion.

    Obvious to most others, but not to us.

    So we never even got past the approach phase.

    Like I said, we graduated anyway.

    My dad was asked to speak at the graduation (we cleaned latrines for that man the night before; me scraping old wax off the floor with a Saint Someone pendant belonging to Lucky Socks) and he declined.

  121. "You sound serious Trish."

    I am serious, in the sense that this is a playground for juvenile men.

  122. May Contain Adult Content was actually a quite heartening "warning."


  123. Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said ’we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    The stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ’relax,’ said the night man,
    We are programmed to receive.
    You can checkout any time you like,
    But you can never leave!

  124. It doesn't bother me as much anymore, hearing Hotel California on the radio.

    I don't like it. But I can bear to listen to it.

    Some small amount of pride involved.

  125. .

    Trish, it's obvious you have a lot of things that are hitting you right now. Some of them seem obvious (that is at least to me, although I am probably wrong). Others, well not so much. But then I am a simple guy and you are not the easiest person to understand.

    A blog is not the place for airing personal problems. People have offered to talk to you off line, Deuce, Whit, melody, myself. Probably a stupid idea but well intentioned. Even in my case although I joked around about it.

    As I said, sorry if I made things worse. And it won't happen again.

    As with me and Allen, you and I can have a modus vivendi whereby neither of us talk to or about each other. Or I can leave the EB altogether if you prefer.

    No big deal.


  126. "People have offered to talk to you off line, Deuce, Whit, melody, myself."

    And they do.

    "We need to communicate more."

    Or better. Whatever.

    But it's a dumb kind of communication and it largely sucks.

  127. .

    As I said, probably a stupid idea.


  128. It is a stupid idea to peel back the known universe for little ol' me.

    Except I don't quite think that either.

    What did Elijah say?

    You don't know shit.

    And neither do I.

    That makes us equals.

  129. What did Elijah say?

    You don't know shit.

    I'll absorb that parting insult and wish you well.



  130. No thanks, I'll stick with my cab.

  131. I buy beer , but don't drink it much. Flying Fish

  132. It's not about the fork.

    It's not about the fork.

    It's not about the fork.

  133. Oh, probably. In any of my other incarnations.

  134. This comment has been removed by the author.

  135. I am not the cleaning lady.

    Although the only thought that really amuses me anymore is the thought that you do not actually know everything.

    And that's why you're still here.

  136. Or, you do know everything. And want something different.

    Sucks to be you.

  137. Yes, you are.

    And it's funny, because I had a conversation recently about escaping oneself.

    Can you actually do that?


    No you cannot.

  138. "what do you know?"

    Oh, please. Make it a blog post and I'll chime in.

  139. i don't know if you can escape but you can hide for awhile, maybe a short vacation.

  140. No, Blue, you can't.

    Gag's insistence that I, we, get over ourselves just drove the point home.

    I am who I am.

    You who you are.

    What is a soul, if not the thing that is the receptacle of all that we are?

    And you can dump that for awhile?

    I do not think so.

  141. I really don't.

    If there's a primary reason I haven't gone insane, it's the recognition of that.

  142. Why not be who YOU are?

    I look at things I've written and sometimes think, "That's not me."

    That's some other gal. It's like looking at oneself out of body.

    (I think some actors get the same thing.)

    And really, to deliver an essay on that, we need bob.

  143. I know who I am.

    I also know I can't multitask.

  144. No, you are correct, a soul is everything that we are. At best we can dance around the edges and toy with a fantsay about who we would like to be. We all need someone who can tolerate our insanities. You are young and will find things become more peaceful. Keep your hope and your dreams. You will surprise yourself.

  145. Note to self: Be prepared to literally go insane.

    Note to self: You do not know these people. And they are all assfuckers.

  146. We all are. We all need to share that with someone of a kindred spirit. I do and am sure so does most everyone.

  147. Note to self: They don't know shit.

  148. An unfortunate delay in comments.

  149. "Who is they?"

    I'm sorry. I forgot.

    Who are you?

  150. That is an interesting question. Just some words on a screen. The words are a tiny peak at who we are. We see things in those words what we want to see.

    Bob sees Melody as someone he is in love with. He has fallen in love with a screen on a computer. He has no idea as to what she is like, but Bob loves words on a screen or a page.

    We always see what we want and believe what we want. That is a combination that will always disappoint.

  151. "Bob sees Melody as someone he is in love with."

    There is no bob. There is no Melody.

  152. If he fell in love with her, there is no explanation for it.

    She is his creation.

    And yours.

  153. On that we both agree. Maybe human beings can't handle a blog.

  154. She has, as bob said of rufus, not a thought in her head.

    Although she can write just about anything here.

  155. That is my koan for the day.

    Thank you very much.

  156. People show as much or as little as they want. My intuition is Bob shows too much and Melody shows too little or she shows what she wants to show. Bob is too serious and Melody is more street smart.

    If the four of us stepped into an elevator, all of us would leave the elevator without ever having a hint as to who we are.

  157. No, Blue.

    You are inventing the whole thing. And they may interesting characters.

    But they are also thoroughly rotten.

    Every single one of them.

  158. That by definition includes you.

  159. One of the first things they teach you in art school is when to recognize your painting is complete. Using oils, you can paint forever. A blog is even worse. Everyday you start with a fresh screen, but in reality it never ends until the blogger kills it.

  160. No. It doesn't.

    And that's why I was asked to come here.

    That's why the torture is so fun.

    I am the one real human being here.

  161. That said, then I am but a bit character in your play. You are the puppet master and you are the one that must be obeyed.

  162. She who must be obeyed is dying.

    You will have to find another one.

  163. Oh, wait.

    There are no end of She Who Must.

    There are no end of Fantasy Chicks either.

    There are no end of...

    Fat guys like Linear.

    Is he really fat?

  164. I have no idea what anyone looks like.

  165. Enquiring minds want to know.

  166. You know more about what goes on hear than I do. I am not on anyone's mailing list.

  167. "...except for Terasita."

    No, you don't know what she looks like either.

    Because she doesn't exist.