There are very few things that can be associated with awesomeness. A chicken that could leap on a frying pan and cook itself would qualify, a guitar solo by van halen too, but certainly not a ukelele. Or so I thought!

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What follows is a serialized essay written by I, Elliott Carter, the only person not only to have confirmed the existence of the Aikido terroist, but also to have met him in person. As part of our agreement, I was granted full editing authority over the text and thus have polished it from a hard lump of coal coal into a gleaming diamond:

Abu Ozamu, to some a terrorist and a symbol of unimaginable cruelty, to others a hero, but to all in this impoverished corner of the globe, a thing of legend. Against the better judgment of friends, family, the consulate, the CIA, the owner of my hotel, the various passers-by on the street, the neighbors, I seek out this Abu Ozamu. It took nearly three years just to establish online contact and after that another fifteen years of email exchanges to finally agree upon a meeting place.

We first met on the Boob Island BBS, where Abu Ozamu was loudly decrying the prurient content being exchanged by the board's visitors. Although he had yet to make a name for himself, I could already tell by his eloquence, the power of his fiery rhetoric, and by my cosysop status, that he was destined either for greatness or for infamy. He seemed like a rock poised atop a great hill that could be swayed by the slightest breeze in one direction or the other (NOTE TO SELF: CHANGE METAPHOR SINCE ROCK ONLY GOES IN ONE DIRECTION, DOWN).

It has been a long journey from our first discussions on the poetics of boobs in the last millenium , to our first face-to-face meeting in these streets drenched in human and animal filth and permeated by the unsettling smell of the hookah. When I sit down at the cafe table, I don't know what to expect apart from the legendary white jacket...

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Damn you Slate!

by Gimpei | 10:44 in | comments (2)

I admit it; I'm a regular reader of slate, and it's for a reason: they have some great contributors. For example, this article on adult diapers is gold. Kaus is good fun, if not a little too contrary for the sake of being contrary. Also great are the various dialogues they host, like the most recent one on the state of the republican party. It was great fun to see all the bickering, and I wish it had gone on for much longer.

But... There's also a lot of crap. I think it falls into two categories. First, slate tries too hard to find the next big thing. Take for example, the post Help! I'm a hip, young New Yorker. I am not supposed to have a crush on Mike Huckabee by a Ms. Cupp. The editors of Slate apparently think that because Ms. Cupp is "hip", she lives in New York, and she likes Huckabee that we should care about what she has to say. After all, look how hip she is!

I can name at least 10 boutique vodkas. My music interests are sufficiently sophisticated that I can condescend to most other age groups with authority.
There should be a word for this sort of sarcasm that is nothing more than thinly veiled self-flattery. The real problem, though, is that there really is nothing to this post apart from the title, or to be more specific, the "persona" of Ms. Cupp. It makes me wonder who'll get published next: an amish physicist, a preacher who is also a pimp, a terrorist who only fights using akido.

The second type of article that pisses me off is the one that seems to be written not because it is correct, but because the title sounds nifty. Exhibit two Only in America: The wrongheaded American belief that Barack Obama could only happen here. Guess what the main piece of evidence is in this article: Stalin, Daniel arap Moi, Napoleon, and Benjamen Disraeli?!

The disappointment I feel in reading these articles is kind of like buying an album with one catchy song and then realizing that the rest of the album is guff. Not only have you waisted money on a crappy album, but now you can't get that annoying song tubthumping out of your head.

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That's right folks. After a mere handful of posts, the Daily Gimpei is already racking up the awards: an honorary degree in excellence in all things blog! Their site is currently down, but will be up... errr soon.

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Back in the late nineties and early oughts I used to follow pitchfork religiously. The problem, though, was always the writing, which was often as pedantic as it was unrelated to the actual album. Take this review, or even better this review of an album by Ignatz that spends the entire first half of the review talking about fascism, bluegrass and a completely unrelated musician Henry Flynt:

The critic Roselee Goldberg credited the violinist Henry Flynt with taking the fascism out of bluegrass. Flynt's own self-appraisal was no less grandiose, once claiming that he "did for hillbilly music what Ornette Coleman did for jazz." These were grand conceits for a man who ceased making music more than 20 years ago, and whose total recorded output had been until recently consigned to oblivion. But time has a way of transmuting self-mythology into canon, and recent years have seen Flynt's reputation loom ever larger.
In fact it was worse than this, far far worse. But it seems like someone finally had some sense to edit out some of the guff. At one point in time I remember seeing a feature purporting to "deconstruct" Kid A. I've tried to find it in the archives, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. What's more previously intolerable reviews have been whitewashed.

Kudos to you pitchfork! You can imagine my delight when I scanned a review on Fennesz that was actually sensible and informative. No more glancing at the number and then moving on to the new york times. Hell, I may even buy the new Fennesz album...

Except for the fact that due to previous pitchfork reviews I already have three albums by Fennesz, only one of which is actually listenable (Endless Summer), not to mention albums by US Maple and Chalabi Effect. Damn you pitchfork!

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Visitors to the daily gimpei late last night or early this morning may have noticed that the previous post was mean-spirited to say the least (it has now been redacted to make it slightly less nasty).

I blame this curious phenomena on the time stamp; the post was written during the witching hour: that time of night when demons, witches, Bob Sagat (in reruns of full house), ghosts and other such denizens of the deep come out and do bad stuff.

So don't blog during the witching hour; messed up shit happens... You've been warned!

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I tried to read If On a Winter's Night a Traveler over the summer and found it intolerable. I'd like to think that it just doesn't translate well, but that probably isn't the case. The basic problem with the book is that it reads like a series of postmodern cliches strung together not so much by a plot, but by a narrative voice with the uncanny ability to irritate and bore simultaneously.

I know, I know. Calvino is challenging the traditional narrative and pushing the boundaries of the "novel" by questioning the very nature of the author/reader, text/world distinction. Calvino is not so much interested in the self or being or thinking in and of itself, but rather with all of the wonderful combinations between these words like "thinking thought" or "thought thinking". Even more important is being-in-the-world, being-becoming, and Dasein: being that is constituted as a temporality.

Which is exactly why I'd like to toss the book into the garbage, but that would be a waste of some perfectly good paper. In the spirit of saving world-in-itself, I'll use Calvino's book as kindling the next time I start a fire.

Editor--You don't seem to like postmodernism very much--Well I like a few people like J.G. Ballard or Burroughs because they write well and make me laugh...

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Remember those times in High School when a girl you really liked was sitting next to you in class, but you'd had too much Mexican food the night before and thus were gripped by the sudden urge to expel gas? Such was your love that you persevered in holding back the flood, despite the excruciating pain. However, all your hard work was thwarted when your teacher told you to change seats so as to engage in group work. Your replacement turned out to be a down-right cad, an olfactory menace who passed gas with a frequency worthy of the northstream pipeline--including the moment when the two of you passed each other on the way to your new seats. Falsely accused, you received disgusted looks from both the cute girl where you were sitting before and the cute girl in your new location. Your teacher, a patchouli oil wearing ex-hippe, who hadn't bathed since 1969 continued the lesson unphased.

Well, my persecuted friend, there is a sartorial solution to your worries that I discovered while taking a cab: Shreddies!

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That's a great question Gimpei! I'm glad I asked before the thought even crossed your mind, dear reader. Well there is some great new content; it just isn't here yet, but it will come soon. Until then feast your eyes upon the cleverly redesigned page. I even mucked with the html a bit!

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Hourly Worker raised a good point in comments that I think deserves highlighting:

You put the clocks back and that costs me an hour. Under the old system i get that hour repaid at the end of the winter. Under your system, I’m missing an hour for the rest of my life. You’d better pay me that hour before you fuck with my clocks, Gimpei.

I am nothing if not sympathetic to the plight of the hourly worker. Also, I see economic populist rhetoric making a big comeback in the next few years, so I offer the following modest proposal:

Hourly Worker–let’s call you Steve. Is it okay if I call you that? Good. The way I see it, hourly worker Steve, is this:

Think about the average hour of the high paid corporate executive: bossing people around, having sex with unqualified but ridiculously attractive secretaries, golfing at pebble beach, taking vacations in St. Barths and planning trips on Learjets to remote conferences where they have sex with the ridiculously attractive secretaries from remote branches. Let’s face the facts, hourly worker Steve, those corporate fat cats are getting way more value out of their hours than us regular folk.

Remember, too, hourly worker Steve, that there are those even less fortunate than yourself: the poor and destitute. Think of the average hour of Jagged-Face Jimmy, the crack addict. He has to steal piping from someone who is slightly less poor so that he can sell it for some crack. Then just as he scrapes together enough money, he gets beaten up by a slightly larger crack addict and so has to go and beg his 16 year old son, who’s dealing on the corner, for some crack. He tries to get on his son’s good side first by playing a game of basketball, but this kind of thing has happened so often that the son knows exactly what’s going on. Also Jagged Face Jimmy’s fingernails are falling out so his jump shot is a mere shadow of its former self. Jimmy’s son racks up yet another oedipal victory that is as easy as it is dispiriting.

So on behalf of Jagged-Face Jimmy–and the rest of us regular folks–we need a bold plan to redistribute hours. We need to take some of the hours of the coddled top 1% and give them to the rest of us hard working regular Americans. The only way I can think to do this is as follows:

Give every hardworking American the right to change places with a member of the elite for an allotted period of time. Imagine laying for thirty seconds on a beach in St. Barths, or slicing a shot off the fairway on hole nine in gleneagles. You could even have fun with it: play chicken with the golf carts; the possibilities are endless.

Of course this would have to be a progressive system of hour taxation with the ultra poor getting fractionally more time. So once a year Jagged-Faced Jimmy would be able to move up from crack for 5 minutes and join the hollywood set as they freebase pure cocaine, while you, hourly worker Steve, would probably only get 30 seconds to smoke pot in Seth Rogan’s apartment. There’s always the risk that the far more volatile cocaine will explode lighting Jimmy’s head on fire like it did to Richard Prior. But I’m sure that’s a risk Jagged Face Jimmy is willing to take.

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My New Header

by Gimpei | 16:38 in | comments (0)

Daily Gimpei has moved

by Gimpei | 07:16 in | comments (0)

So turns out blogger is not so good. Thus, loyal reader, the daily gimpei has moved to:

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When I was in high school I had a friend--let’s call him Boris. Boris had only recently moved to America at the age of twelve from a newly freed Eastern European country—let’s call it Zembla.

Boris loved women or to be more precise, Boris loved any woman who would have him. Much to my chagrin Boris would recount his various escapades in excruciating detail. He was especially happy when talking about the home country.

-You would love Zembla. In Zembla there is no capitalism, no money, no religion, only sexy. Sexy on subway; sexy on escalator; sexy in park. Is very sophisticated country; very European… You Americans you not understand.

Boris had a crush on a certain popular girl in our high school named... Jane. He would peer at her from behind his small round spectacles and bush of hair during classes, recount her infinite perfections during lunch, and whimper about her pitifully after a few too many drinks.

After several months of pining he decided to make his love known. Boris thought it would be especially romantic if he painted himself as a secret admirer, wooing her through poetry like Cyrano de Bergerac. He made a friend named Steve, who worked in technical theater with Jane, pass her these poems. I didn’t get a chance to read the first few, but from what I gather they definitely got her attention…

In Boris’ mind, these poems were to culminate in a secret rendez-vu in the courtyard of our school after a performance of the school musical. A true believer in poetry, Boris spent hours trying to distill months of anxious pining into a few short lines. He came up with the following:

I am a man of the dark. Hidden,
I yearn for you. Always,
I watch you from the shadows.
meet me in the
Courtyard at
10:00 tonight

After reading these heartfelt lines, Steve had only one thing to say:

-You are fucking crazy. She’s going to think you’re a fucking stalker.
-You not understand women. I am European. I understand romance. Give it to her. I beg you.

Steve gave her the poem later that night, and, as predicted, she immediately thought she was being targeted by a stalker. So she gathered up a posse of friends from the varsity Lacrosse team.

Boris was nervously waiting in a corner of the courtyard when a frantic Steve showed up. Steve quickly apprised Boris of the situation before running off. Boris waited around for a few more minutes, not willing to believe that his carefully crafted words could have been so badly misinterpreted.

Then he heard the sounds of many feet on the stairs leading up to the courtyard. Fortunately, Boris' other passion was rock climbing and there was some scaffolding from renovation work nearby. He spent twenty minutes hanging upside down from a pole before they finally left.

Which brings us to my real reason for telling you all this: the story behind the name Gimpei. You see Gimpei is a character from Yasunari Kawabata's "The Lake". He's a stalker who follows attractive women around until they get frightened and run away. So next time you're thinking of leaving an unkind comment, remember: I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the evil that pecks at your nightmares. I am... Gimpei!

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This man is a genius

by Gimpei | 20:50 in | comments (0)

so much depends

a legacy of

glazed with mistrust

instrumented by distance
to coast

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When I first read this rambling, ranting letter by the recently retired hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde, I thought he might be mentally disturbed but maybe he just took a few too many bong hits.

Exhibit 1: Signs of a god complex

I don't know if you've ever had the misfortune of having to speak to someone who is stoned when you're not high yourself, but they tend to think that everything they have to say is pure genius, when in fact it is pure nonsense. Also, their solutions often involve bringing lots of people or things together. For example, a conversation on nuclear proliferation might go as follows:

-Dude... All this killing force in the world is terrible. It's really messing with my high. What we should do is... I know! We should bring all the nukes together into one place, like a spaceship, and then shoot them all into space.

-Right on man... This idea about darkside and the wizard of oz is great. Is it true that a midget hangs himself in the background halfway through the movie?

-Homeless people are also a problem. What if we got them all together and put them on an island for homeless people. It could be somewhere in the carribean so it would be warm and there would be lots of low hanging fruits that they could eat...

-Uh huh (walks off to bathroom to masturbate)

-...Then we could put them all on a spaceship and shoot them into space.

In this category I would put Lahde's "modest" proposal for reforming government: George Soros should pay lots of money to get all the best minds together to propose an alternative to our current system of government, because nobody in America since Thomas Jefferson or Adam Smith has spent any time trying to figure out ways to improve government.

Great idea Andy, except such an institution already exists, it's called an academic conference. There are plenty of political scientists, philosopher, economists etc. at these events; some with very sensible ideas, some without. What's more, this has been going on for centuries. I promise I'm not lying.

Exhibit 2: Paranoia

Lahde seems oddly obsessed with people whose parents had enough money to send them to prep school. They are both the source of his new newfound wealth and the explanation for the downfall of society. Doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, etc beware! Your children are all fools and they are responsible for hurting our great country. Take them out of Harvard right now or they may turn into something truly awful, like that terrorist Obama.

Exhibit 3: Non-sequiturs that occasionaly verge on real genius

At the end of his tirade, Lahde suddenly vears off into the debate on drug legalization. On this point I agree with him entirely. Marijuana should be made legal; it certaintly isn't any worse than alcohol and making it illegal just produces large amounts of crime.

However, much as in the case of drunkeness, you really shouldn't send emails while stoned. I include the original letter by Lahde as evidence below.

Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list of those deserving thanks know who they are.

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they lookforward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.

So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don’t worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer’s company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.

I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life – where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management – with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.

On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.

Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won’t see it included in BP’s, “Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions,” television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM’s similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant – marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other addictive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States this week. Please people, let’s stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.

With that I say goodbye and good luck.

All the best,

Andrew Lahde

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