(more).

Not to belabor a topic, but:

Poking around the web yesterday between students, I found a long story from the Fortune magazine archive on the Oddly Familiar Case of the Agees in Boise. It suggests that the Cunningham-Agee co-prosperity sphere is a complicated entity, and what happened during their time in Idaho wasn’t something that summarizes easily into a paragraph or two, although if you have to bottom-line it, as the CEOs say, this probably works for a nut graf:

A few things are obvious. Agee nearly wrecked the company and thoroughly destroyed his already shaky reputation as a corporate manager. In the simplest terms, he tried to turn Morrison Knudsen — a bridge, dam, and factory builder — into a railcar and locomotive manufacturer, and failed spectacularly: Last year the company lost $310 million on sales of $2.5 billion. Important customers became disillusioned with Agee — one called his railroad business plan “cartoonish.” Top executives mutinied. William P. Clark, a former Reagan adviser Agee put on the board, conducted an investigation that prompted Agee’s dismissal. A score of shareholder suits have been filed against Agee, the company, and the board.

But the very next sentence acknowledges:

This isn’t a tidy tale of good and evil, though. Behind the devastation of Morrison Knudsen is a complicated mix of ancient feuds, foolish gambles, and personal insecurities. There are clashing cultures, religious fervor, bad luck–even the terrifying specter of a black rose.

OK, I’m reading the rest. And I did. And I could almost see it from Mary’s side: She was raised by her priestly co-parent to go forth into creation and, armed with the secular world’s golden ticket to power — her Harvard MBA — do something different. Do something good. No, do something Good. Capital-G good. And on her very first job, she falls in love with a married man and watches while he ruins her career, drags her name through People magazine while at the same time giving her an express pass (which she stuffed into her purse with her golden ticket, and sorry for this metaphor salad here) to another sort of life, filled with luxury and private planes and trips to Lourdes and the Vatican, no small thing for a religious girl. I bet she saw the latter, the papal audiences and the like, as payback for her professional ruination.

On the other hand, no one forced her to sit for all those interviews with People, which she was doing as recently as just a couple of years ago, when her daughter graduated from — where else? — Notre Dame. And then I found this passage:

In 1991, Mary was diagnosed with a form of cancer–non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she told the Detroit Free Press the following year. Despite four lumps in her neck, she refused biopsies and chemotherapy. Mary says that on October 2, the Feast of the Guardian Angels, the lumps disappeared. (“I believe the angels went before almighty God and said, ‘This woman is doing something good. Give her a chance,’ ” she reportedly said.)

Granted, that’s a big “reportedly” there, and granted, out of context it’s impossible to know whether this line was delivered with a wink, a wordier version of somebody up there likes me! It’s the “almighty” in there that makes me think she was serious, and with that? Well, I stopped sympathizing. I think it was MMJeff who posted something on Facebook a while back, a cartoon of someone in the midst of a terrible calamity, the caption reading, “Remember, God loves you very much, and has a wonderful plan for your life.” But this is, in a nutshell, what bugs the crap out of me about these folks. Because if you believe that — that guardian angels plead your case before almighty God, who grants up-or-down cancer reprieves like some celestial caesar — than you have to accept the flip side, that on Christmas Day 2004, He looked down from heaven and said, “Eh, I’m drowning a few hundred thousand of these yo-yos. What the hell, most of them are Hindu anyway. Let’s have a tsunami!”

And when you start accepting that, that the Lord truly works in mysterious and extremely fucked-up ways, then it’s just a short hop to my neighborhood, where God, if he exists at all, is so unknowable he’s like a version of the crazy guy down the street with a plate in his head, Boo Radley with a lot more power. Or as my friend Lance Mannion says, “Any God that would destroy the World Trade Center to reveal George Bush’s true purpose in life isn’t worth worshiping.”

So, bloggage. Parents, everything you fear about sending your children to college is true. Seen yesterday at Wayne State:

It’s a movie, of course, rated R for “strong crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug and alcohol abuse.” That’s entertainment.

Via Roy and Scott Lemieux at LGM, a new blog I’m enjoying: Gin and Tacos. Or rather, ginandtacos.com. Worth reading all the way through, but this post on the anti-vaccine movement spoke to me in particular, mainly because of the map. I dunno the design thinking behind the microscopic type, however; maybe begone, grandma.

Finally, a correction: Steven Slater’s story cannot be verified. Repeating, Steven Slater’s story cannot be verified. This is kind of major.

Eating breakfast, heading out for another redonkulous day. Enjoy your weekend.

Posted at 8:38 am in Current events, Media |
 

56 responses to “(more).”

  1. 4dbirds said on September 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

    My daughter’s childhood cancer introduced me to the “just pray hard enough and god will listen to you” people. I can’t listen to them anymore, it makes my blood boil. I’m godless and my child lived. My friend who is a very religious and prayed like a mofo watched her child die. I guess she didn’t pray hard enough.

  2. Sue said on September 10, 2010 at 9:27 am

    My frustration about “mysterious ways” works on a much more personal level. Whoever invented female plumbing has a sick, sick sense of humor.
    The female reproductive system is the best argument I know for evolution over intelligent design. Because who would do this on purpose?
    ‘Let’s see, I’ll have them hemorrhage once a month, for forty years! The only way they can escape it will be through constant childbirth, which will be horrifyingly dangerous until about 1950, and then someone will make a movie called Alien, and mothers in the audience will say Hey, that’s exactly what it was like when Johnny was born. And, um, then they can hit menopause and not be able to concentrate for four years or so in addition to mood swings that make my “Old Testament” stage look like an episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I’ll make everything mimic some symptom of an illness; oh man, this’ll be great!’
    If this is God’s doing, the only possible explanation is that the real reason He kicked Satan out is because he made Satan V.P. of Intelligent Design and Satan pulled an Agee.

  3. A. Riley said on September 10, 2010 at 9:30 am

    *stands and cheers for Sue’s description of the creative process behind the female reproductive system*

  4. brian stouder said on September 10, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I don’t think anyone will beat Sue for best-laugh-of-the- thread-honors, today!

  5. Dorothy said on September 10, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Hot DAMN, Sue, that left me breathless. And appreciative. And pissed that I could not put it as well as you just did!

  6. Deborah said on September 10, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Boo Radley’s insane fingers picking at the screen. And Sue that was very good.

  7. Little Bird said on September 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I have used that scene in Aliens to describe what cramps feel like.
    Robin Williams said that whoever designed the human body was sort of insane, putting an amusement park next to a waste processing plant.

  8. adrianne said on September 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Hail, Sue, for the perfect description of what it means to be a woman (at least biologically). Men, I just can’t sympathize with your anxieties over proctology exams! I lost all medical squeamishness (including faintness at the sight of blood) after my first childbirth. After that, I became a regular blood donor.

  9. Peter said on September 10, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Regarding Mr. Slater – remember the hue and cry about the passenger who started it all – I remember reading (not here) “Why hasn’t she come forward?” “Why isn’t she charged?” “Typical corporate $&*#(“. Then it was a HIM, and now its…a figment of imagination.

  10. LAMary said on September 10, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Sometimes God is too busy determining who wins a football game to pay attention to things like tsunamis. The fundie mom to my right here in the office truly believes God helps her sons’ high school football team win. Pity the school who lost. God hates them.

  11. judybusy said on September 10, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Well put, Sue! I also appreciate the link to gin and tacos….it’s a slow day at work.

  12. Julie Robinson said on September 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Don’t forget the bloating, Sue. Oh, the bloating.

  13. brian stouder said on September 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Well indeed, we all spend a lifetime observing the world from behind our noses.

    The big challenge for any of us is to really (and regularly) try and imagine the world, as it must appear from the other side

  14. alex said on September 10, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Mary Agee’s miracle can be explained by a friend who’s had lymphoma for the last twenty years. It’s a terminal illness, absolutely incurable, but so slow growing that its sufferers may live a normal lifespan before requiring aggressive treatment of any sort. Many go through life never knowing they have it.

    Calls to mind a limerick:

    The folks in a winter creche scene
    Caught a chill on December nineteen
    Said the clay Virgin Mary
    “I’ve frozen my cherry!
    If it breaks, there goes our routine!”

  15. moe99 said on September 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Hats off to you, Sue! I am in awe.

  16. beb said on September 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Richard Dawkin’s recent book on Evolution, The Greatest Show on Earth devotes a chapter or two to the idea that proof for evolution lies in our bodies. Because no one with intelligence would have designed them so badly. Sue gives one example. Some of the ones Dawkins mentions are our sinuses which don’t drain properly because they were “designed” for a four-legged creature, and not so someone walking on their hind legs. Also the vas differns, which runs up from the testes, loops over the duct from the kidneys, before descending to attach to the root of the penis. That’s like flying from New York to Detroit via Houston.

    Dawkins’ book is really fun and interesting to read because it deals less in polemics and looks at all the weird and wonderful things in the world that could only happen through evolution.

  17. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    How did Americans remain ignorant for so long when the deficit between upper management and people that actually do the work went from 30:1 to 300:1 aince 1975? I think the answer is imaginary upward-mobility. What in the world convinces the average GOP voter to think they’ve actually been included as opposed to being used like mindless tools?

    Republicans are insisting on extending the tax cuts from Clinton levels because they claim it boosts small business (a pretty much outright lie). On the face of things, that policy screwed a surplus into a deficit that only got worse when grown-ups actually included the invasion and occupation costs. How did that bankrupt policy benefit anybody that wasn’t rich? And where’s any evidence they invested? Well, there isn’t any, because they didn’t.

    This is all pretty obvious, but my real question is, are Americans just too stupid to govern themselves?

  18. 4dbirds said on September 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I read or heard on one of the nature shows that the most dangerous trip a human makes is the one through the birth canal. That’s because the female reproductive system wasn’t ‘designed’ for the upright spine.

  19. jeff borden said on September 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Sue,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever read a more succinct statement. Bravo.

    Isn’t it Barbara Ehrenreich (sp??) who has a book out dismissing all the bullshit positive attitude propaganda out there confronting those with serious illnesses? She was diagnosed with cancer and had people telling her she was blessed because this would be a journey that would expand her horizons. And she was infuriated.

  20. paddyo' said on September 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Wow, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels . . . well, hell, I was BORN on that date, and last time I checked, my “angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts me here . . . ” didn’t pull any strings for me like he/she/it did for Mary. Harumph! Can I get a re-birth on some other date? Oh, wait. Born again. Hmm. Never mind.

  21. Deborah said on September 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    “… but my real ques­tion is, are Amer­i­cans just too stu­pid to gov­ern them­selves?” Prospero that’s what the Republican elite are counting on. No make that banking on.

  22. Rana said on September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Sue, that was excellent! I’ll toss “once a month have a hormonal shift that will trigger a migraine, complete with vomiting” onto the pile.

    All of a sudden I’m reminded about the joke as to whether the Creator was a biologist, a chemist, or a civil engineer.

  23. Rana said on September 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    are Amer­i­cans just too stu­pid to gov­ern them­selves?

    Well, they’ve certainly been encouraging a gutting of the public school systems to ensure that they’re too ignorant for the job. That, and the turning of the media into a bunch of corporate circuses instead of the 4th estate.

  24. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Deborah.

    If the deficit is something to get hyper about, how was it created? But of course, Cheney said “Deficits don’t matter”. What, invasions that jack my stock holdings in Halliburton so we can do incredibly shoddy work that actually kills people in Iraq and abscond with $millions, that’s important. Americans don’t actually know that’s what happened?

    Neocons basically pulled home invasion and looted another country, and they did it on American taxpayers’ dime, and lives, and these are the ultimate chicken-hawks that ran the unconscionable swiftboat shit. I just wonder who in the world buys this sort of shit. These assholes continue with the “tax and spend” mantra when what they do is don’t tax, spend like there’s no tomorrow, and stuff our pockets. People are apparently so fucking dumb they believe in the Laffer Curve, and that St. R. Raygun didn’t preside over the biggest tax increase in the history of this country.

    The absolute selling pointat the time was that it was “deficit neutral” and the Republican line about the Bush giveaway was that it would run out.

    Who wrote that legislation and who rammed it through? That would be Republicans that wrote it for nine years instead of ten to avoid scrutiny by the CBO. The idea this has something to do with small businesses is such a major league lie it should make an Oompa Loompa blush. I mean, if you’re bone stupid enough to believe small businesses would be affected even remotely, you’re probably dumb enough to believe Archer Daniel Midland runs an eco-friendly string of family farms.

    What exactly was the deficit when W took over? Oh, it was an immense surplus? It doesn’t matter now because the neocons ost their political party to total whack-jobs. And your neighbor might be voting for these racist idiots.

    It’s worth listenig to somebody that isn’t an illegal immigrant:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTqV1pnQoos

  25. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Rana,

    Stupid or insisting on ignorance as a matter of public policy? What’s the real difference?

  26. Rana said on September 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Ignorance can be fixed. Stupid can’t.

  27. MichaelG said on September 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Nice, Rana.

    Well done, Sue. Goes to prove that God is a man.

  28. basset said on September 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I just hired a snake wrangler; he’s due at the house this afternoon to look the former owner of that skin and all his friends and relatives. Figured it would ease Mrs. B’s mind as we move in, particularly since the yard HAS gotten a little shaggy during repairs.

  29. LAMary said on September 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Here’s a great speech by an Ohio Republican:

    http://gawker.com/5634055/the-craziest-political-speech-youll-see-this-fall?skyline=true&s=i

  30. Dorothy said on September 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Wow Mary – Phil Davison has a Master’s Degree in communication? Someone needs to nail that boy’s shoes to the floor so we don’t get nauseated watching him speak. And that’s just the beginning of his problems. How did the people in the room keep a straight face during that?!

  31. brian stouder said on September 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Mary and Dorothy, I assume this is the guy who really really really wants to be the Stark County assessor? Rachel ran that on her show last night, and got me laughing. I suppose if this site ever goes away, then maddowblog is where I will have to take up residence; she comes the closest to the nn.c state of mind (to me)

  32. MichaelG said on September 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Yeah, but he doesn’t have an MBA from Harvard.

  33. Deborah said on September 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I’ve been having a tear my hair out e-mail back and forth with my right-wing sister today. She lumps all of Islam into the extremist basket. It makes me sooooo depressed. I have to say that she has entered loony territory and that’s really sad. She and I have had our differences politically for years but now she’s just crazy.

  34. Kathy T said on September 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Maybe we didn’t get the True Facts from People magazine regarding Mary Agee’s refusal of biopsies, but as a pathologist I’m here to say that you don’t get diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma WITHOUT a biopsy, or at least without a fine needle aspiration, the kindest and gentlest (and least specific) of biopsies. Some lymphomas diagnosed without biopsies may not be lymphoma but reactive lymph nodes, which may enlarge and then return to normal size. Which may explain the miracle cure. Or not.

  35. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    LAMary,

    Jim Newell is a closing argument for tranq darts at political rallies. I hope there were no children present.

  36. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    And Basset, from yesterday. I think Salafist terrorists funded by a family with unseemly connections to the Bushes were the perpetrators of the WTC atrocity. I’m pretty sure Saddam Hussein didn’t have anything to do with it. I think the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is purely idiotic, too. Conspiracy theories? Only when they represent the most sensible explanation.

    You do realize that the PNAC tried to talk Clinton into invading Iraq in 1998:

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    Those are the people that used to run the GOP before it was purloined by the certifiably insane and John Oompa Loompa Boehner.

  37. prospero said on September 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Oh, and Basset. UFOs? No idea. Nazis? I’m pretty sure they’re in heavily-armed compounds in the wilds of Idaho guarding Mark Fuhrman.

  38. beb said on September 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    4dbirds @18: I;m not sure if it’s caused by the shift from horizontal to vertical orientation but the chief reason childbirth is so hazardous is because the hole in the pelvis where the baby comes through isn’t big enough for our big-headed selves. Chimps at birth was more fully developed then human babies but then their skulls are not as large as ours. They have the time to more fully develop before birth. Us, it’s a race between lung development and crancial growth.

  39. coozledad said on September 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Newt’s been listening to America again, and says we’re “in a war with no name.” http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/09/newterdammerung.php?ref=fpblg

    “I’ve been through the desert on several wives
    like a season of “Days of Our Lives”.
    In the desert, you can’t remember your wife
    you just unplug her ass and you start a new life.
    la la la la la la la
    la la la la la “

  40. alex said on September 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    And, beb, we ain’t supposed to shit on tullets. Colon polyps and booty cancer happen ‘cuz we ain’t squattin’ with our kneecaps squeezing our guts out as we were evolved to do.

    Invention is the motherfucker of necessity.

  41. Dexter said on September 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Nine years down the road, and I am still not numb yet; watching the msnbc coverage , real-time synched , as the second plane smashed into the North Tower still is horrific, just minus the shock of seeing it live nine years ago. I knew it was aggressive terrorism instantly, before a word was said. Later that day, the late Peter Jennings did his very best journalistic work…he was great, hour after hour, and most radio and TV folks did, but Jennings was the glue that held me together.
    I was 650 miles away from NYC that day, but it seemed like my neighborhood. It was awful.
    So there we are, still fighting in Afghanistan all these years later, and we haven’t even chased bin Laden in years, given him a free pass, forgot about him (at least Bush said he never even thinks about OBL, and he said that years ago.)

  42. brian stouder said on September 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Dexter, indeed.

    The kids and I caught a little of the synched coverage on msnbc, and we were discussing that day, and days like that.

    That day, Chloe (our 6 year old) didn’t exist yet; Shelby (our 12 year old volley ball player) was an oblivious three year old, accompanying Pam as she ran errands (I believe Pam saw the second plane hitting the WTC on the TV at Weight Watchers, where she had stopped for a quick weigh-in)

    Grant (our 15 year old Freshman at South Side) was in kindergarten at Price.

    As Pam and I talked about these sorts of long days, others that came to mind included the day President Reagan was shot, and the day the Space Shuttle exploded during launch. The personal details that stick to those major memories provide vivid snapshots of precisely where you were, at that instant in your life.

    My mom has a very specific and detailed memory of the moment she first heard the radio news (in Brooklyn, New York) that the Imperial Japanese Navy had attacked and smashed the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, and the moment she heard (on local Fort Wayne TV, in the living room with her oblivious 2 year old [me]) President Kennedy was shot.

    Life is strange, isn’t it?

    A group of determined zealots, or even a lone zealot, can bring things to a grinding halt, or a “ground stop”, just as effectively as (for example) a hostile nation’s massed naval strike force.

    It’s hard to blame common folk for allowing their emotions to get stirred up by demagogues and con-men; and therefore damn the demagogues and the con-men, all the more! (to paraphrase Lincoln’s use of “woe unto the world because of offences” in his Second Inaugural Address)

  43. Deborah said on September 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve read that there’s something indelible that happens to the brain when events like Kennedy’s assassination or 9/11 occur in an individual’s life. I believe that because I can recite minute by minute what I was doing and everything that was going on around me when those things happened. Normal memories don’t stick with me at nearly the degree that those kind do. And that’s a good thing, if they did I’d be a basket case of remembering. At the precise hour of the 9/11 events that happened in 2001, this morning I had my TV on by chance not by plan. Since I live in the Central Time Zone it was an hour earlier than Eastern, but it brought it all back to me, smells, sounds, textures, it was eerie.

  44. Dexter said on September 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Like most folks , I can easily recall where I was when traumatic world events happened, but I also have one special sensory memory that I will never forget.
    My group flew into Bien Hoa Air Force Base on a Pan Am jet, we were instructed to pull the window shades to deflect as much heat as possible, and when the plane’s doors were opened that Indochina heat rushed in and cooked the air inside that airplane instantly. As I descended the steps away from the airplane, I thought “I’ll never survive this place just from the heat alone.”
    When I got a computer years later, I tracked the temps and humidity back to the months I spent in that section of Vietnam where I was stationed, and the humidity averaged almost-saturation levels daily with 93 degree F temps. It just was a sickening, stinking, pervasive non-ending heat…until monsoon season mercifully arrived and we froze for a little while. And chances are you just ain’t never seen rain like that, hours, days, weeks of steady rain and fast-moving thick clouds. Amazing place.

  45. MichaelG said on September 12, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Interesting post, Dexter. I have both similar and different memories. It was July, 1966. We were on a Braniff 707 out of Travis for Bien Hoa. I vividly remember the heat and the humidity and the incredible activity on the airbase. We debarked from the plane and loaded on those buses with screened windows to repel grenades for the trip to the 90th Replacement Detachment. I wasn’t bothered by the heat and humidity so much as intoxicated by the exotic sights and smells and sounds.

    There was a jungle smell and that tropical smell that includes flowers and decay and earthiness overlaid with exhaust and people and strange things cooking. The sights were equally exotic. People were dressed strangely, traffic was largely military, buildings were oddly made and finished, signage was indecipherable. There were huts and people cooking by the side of the road and women with conical straw hats trotting along with bars across their shoulders supporting unbelievable twin loads of rice or water or whatever.

    Horns were blowing, people were shouting at each other, semi nude children were playing on the sidewalk and in the street, chickens ran across the road (to get to the other side, of course) and little boys guided huge water buffalo down the street with sticks. My eyes and ears and nose were on sensory overload and I was entranced. I fell in love with Vietnam that day and love it to this day. Walking in that humidity makes a gringo sweat but my joints always feel oiled and I seem to move so easily and comfortably in it. You soon learn to lose your undies because they just get wet with sweat, bunch up and chafe. Women’s complexions are so soft and so smooth because of it.

    The monsoons are, indeed, a trifle damp but somehow the warm rains are less bothersome than the cold winter rains we get here in Sacramento. It was amusing, though, to see locals shivering and hugging themselves and feeling chilly oneself and discovering that the temp was 75 degrees.

    I can’t believe it’s been since 2000 that I was last there. I have to go back again soon.

  46. Deborah said on September 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Dexter and MichaelG, great narratives of your initial impressions of Vietnam. Because I came of age during that time in history I’ve always been curious about what it was like. My husband, a vet has of late told me many stories that are fascinating. I also have an intense curiosity about Cuba. One of these days I’d love to travel to Cuba. The closest I’ve been to Vietnam is Bangkok, where I traveled for business. I must say I did not enjoy it, the traffic was outrageous. While there we took a side trip to the floating market, that was interesting, but on the drive out there from the city I witnessed two drivers in separate vehicles pull over jump out and commence beating each other up. I also persuaded the architects I was traveling with to venture out to the sex district just to see what it was like. As you can imagine it was disquieting. There was a street for every fetish. The one that disturbed me the most was the one devoted to sex with children. Those two events are what I associate Bangkok with. I guess I asked for it by wanting to see it, but I know I’ll never go back.

  47. brian stouder said on September 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Well, not that I really wanna be the “didja see this” guy (as described earlier this week), but didja see this long article?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39099077/ns/business-bloomberg_businessweek/

    It is a fascinating story about a latter-day “Henry Ford”, who seems to be at the center of all the sexy inexpensive electronic stuff (i-phones and notebooks and the rest); a man who heads up a huge (300,000 employees) Asian empire, complete with company housing and healthcare and stores and the rest.

    But the company housing consists of high-rise dorms, which lately have added plastic netting to try and catch some of the many workers who have lately begun leaping to their deaths (at least 11 suicides in recent times, and counting).

    Bonus feature: the guy has Agee echoes, when it comes to his presonal life (of course). An excerpt:

    Gou’s personal life is the object of much fascination in the Taiwanese press, and in recent years it has been marked by tragedy. Serena, his wife of nearly 30 years and mother of his adult daughter and son, died of cancer in 2005. After his brother Tony died of leukemia in 2007, Gou started showing more of an interest in life beyond the factory gates. He practiced yoga, took his mother, now 85, out regularly for Taiwanese noodles, and became more active in his charity, the YongLin Foundation. He explored his mainland Chinese heritage and bankrolled Empire of Silver, a lavish film set in feudal times in Shanxi. His picture started appearing in Taiwan’s glossy magazines with beautiful younger women on his arm. Ultimately, he settled down with Delia Tseng, a dance instructor 24 years his junior who had been hired to prepare him for the company’s annual Chinese New Year bash, in which he would perform the tango with Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling. Gou needed training. Delia didn’t know who he was, only that he was “an important businessman,” according to Bruce Chang, who runs the Taipei studio where she worked. “Terry danced very well for an amateur,” says Chang. “Delia said he was very determined.” The two were married on July 26, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Taipei. During the reception, Gou mounted the stage, shed his tuxedo jacket, and did 30 pushups to prove his virility. Nine months and four days later, Delia gave birth to a daughter, Hsiao-ru. A second child is due this fall.

    A 30-pushup warm-up, eh? One wonders if he didn’t leave his best work in the warm-up area

  48. Deborah said on September 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I’m kinda stuck at home these days, my foot/ankle is healing nicely but I’ve been ordered to stay off of it as much as possible until this Thursday. And then if it’s not hurting to slowly ease back into walking again. I’ve spent a small fortune on cabs these last few weeks. It is much better though, on a scale of 1 to 10 the morning pain is a 1 or 2 and the evening pain is a 4 or 5, when I went to the Dr it was morning 6 evening 10. So progress. I have been using a crutch to mostly help steady myself. A cane would probably be sufficient but it’s not in my self image just yet.

    As a result of my couch potato status I’ve been reading a lot. Today I was reading the NY Times cover to cover and came across an article in the business section about someone who has 7 telephone numbers. I thought that was ridiculous until I realized I have 5, a home landline, a personal cell phone, a work cell phone, a work phone and a second landline for the internet connection (because our building requires it). I honestly don’t even know 2 of those numbers unless I look them up, my work phone number and my internet connection number. It floored me.

  49. Dexter said on September 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    MichaelG: Damn! I swear I felt the same way you did initially…neither of us mentioned the awful odor of diesel fuel burning human waste in half-barrels, but that was the first thing I saw and experienced. I had forgotten the 90th, but of course I was there too…for 11 days until I was manifested out, bound for Cam Ranh, and the plane sort of crashed…rough bounce and skidded on a wing on a little airstrip, forced down by the monsoons…what a beginning!
    I got a hellish kick out the Bourdain cooking/travel show in which he was experiencing Vietnam. But yeah, damn, you really capture the way it was, right down to the signage and the way the people moved about.

  50. MichaelG said on September 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks, Dexter. I had forgotten the shit buckets and the morning columns of smoke on every compass point. We often used the Stars and Stripes for TP. At one point there was some bastard who would use the sports pages first. We never did catch him. The shit burning was a U.S. military thing. You don’t see that today.

    By the way, if you are at all interested in Vietnam, there is a wonderful show on the new Cooking Channel called Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam. It’s terrific with great videos of Vietnam and excellent recipes. I never miss it.

  51. brian stouder said on September 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    So Grant started watching the MTV video music awards, and Shelby waited to see Justin Bieber, and the show was generally entertaining, and when they went to bed Pam and I continued on, and all I have to say is –

    Florence and the Machine is MARVELOUS!! MARVELOUS!! MARVELOUS!!

    That show definitely sold at least one record

  52. prospero said on September 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Listen Dexter and MichaelG. Those were extremely evocative descriptions of coming into Vietnam. Kinda like Dante and Joseph Conrad. Fine writing, for one thing and something, a lot of us didn’t experience and probably should have. Closest I got was Grant Park, Chicago, August 1968. Pretty intense, and for all the world like a war zone for anybody that’s never been in a real one.

    And y’all were talking about having where you were when something happened, and how it’s burned into your consciousness. Night of June 5, 1968, I was watching the California primary results on TV and making my mom’s patented pineapple upside down cake. I remember seeing that asshole Howard K. Smith saying that everybody else may have conceded to Bobby, and then there was the news he’d been shot. The great network communicator was kind of speechless and then disappeared, presumably because his partisan mean-spiritedness seemed obscene.

    My entire family was sitting in front of the TV when Jack Ruby shot Lee Oswald, live. I was twelve. I’d been taking care of my family for a couple of days. My parents were civil rights activists that believed in JFK. They were devastated. I made pancakes and some burgers and kept us all fed. If there is something before the WTC attack that ever stopped everything cold in that fashion, I believe it was the Oswald murder in a Dallas police public building.

    Believing that happened with no sort of group of conspirators involved? I’d say denying conspiracy is entirely insane. The magic bullet and the warren commission results relies on willing suspension William Faulkner would never have bought.

    And if that’s conspiracy theory, well, sometimes there are conspiracies. There were clearly three shots and that was a physical impossibility with a WWI bolt action. It seems to me that if the official explanation is ridiculous and makes no sense, something was up.

    Now Sirhan’s automatic writing, which continues to this day, that’s another story. Hatred for the Kennedys in the 60’s because of Catholicism and commitment to civil rights, yeah, that’s a real stretch.

    For conspiracy fodder, there’s always the Arbusto connection to Jack Kennedy’s lynching.

  53. prospero said on September 13, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Anybody want to claim the Lions weren’t jobbed after the fact? How long does “continuity” go on. Calvin Johnson caught a long pass one handed, rolled over with the ball clearly in his possession. With one hand. The NFL should think about the fact that nobody that ever played football, watched football, or ever gave football the slightest thought knows for a fact that was a touchdown. He came down with the football firmly in his grasp in the endzone. TD. The rule they are claiming to affirm the bogus decision does not even apply. The play was dead when the receiver landed on his ass in the endzone. And he still had firm possession of the ball afterward.

    Every player that ever lived would say this is six. Down in the endzone, this alleged rule is not germaine, with complete control of the ball. So it may not amount to conspiracy, but it sure is people in charge resorting to bullshit to insist there’s nothing to see here. And what game is Diana Moon-Glampers officiating next.

    Fat-ass officials pretending they’re in the NFL, and a guy makes an astonishing play. Let’s pretend that couldn’t possibly have happened. Unadulterated horseshit.The tuck rule call was idiotic and actually won a Super-Bowl, but this call was worse, because they’ve invoked an idiotic rule when it was really irrelevant to the play. When you are down in the endzone with the ball, You are down, the play is over, and that is that.

  54. Dexter said on September 13, 2010 at 3:18 am

    prospero, long time Lions fan here (I switched from the Bears when Greg Landry came to visit my unit in Vietnam in 1970)…been a Lion fan ever since, and I never even heard of this rule until today, even thought it caused trouble last year a few times, but the more I see the replay the more ridiculous it looks.
    The league will have to change this rule, but when? How did it even come to be?
    What kind of people make these rules? I just felt there was no way the Lions could win, no way the refs would let them win, and I was sure the catch by Johnson would be called back or disallowed for something or other…and it was.
    And it was damned shame.

  55. Richard Nelson said on September 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    About Slater, I think the lesson is, Any story too good to be true … almost certainly is.

    I can’t tell you how fervently I’m wishing that the Chilean miners story does turn out to be good & true.

  56. prospero said on September 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Dexter, the most absurd thing, to me, CJ spun the ball away. He controlled the ball from the get-go. He clearly flicks the ball away. My point is that if the rule means loss of control, not remotely close.