Archive for May, 2010

Stand Down, But Not At Ease

May 23, 2010

A propos St. Francis, it is with tremendous relief and no sense of shame whatsoever that I acknowledge the obvious:  a major earthquake did NOT occur in the San Francisco Bay Area during the time periods for which I earlier issued an advisory.   To my untutored eye, there still seem to be indications that such an earthquake is on the way, but my guesses at particular time on which it will occur clearly need improvement.  Use of the words ‘looming’ or ‘imminent’ may not be justified, but in the words of Chris Rock, “Ya nevah know.”


Robin ‘Hood

May 23, 2010

A pair of robins have nested in a rose-of-sharon bush (tree?) near the back door of my house.  There are two eggs in the shoulder-high nest –robin’s egg blue, of course.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that this bush is directly adjacent to the path I take when I ride my bicycle to the boathouse to go rowing at 5 AM.   My presence disturbs the robins when I leave to go rowing, and again when I return.   At 5 AM, I’m not sufficiently awake to remember that they’re there (until I hear them flutter away in panic).  When I return at 7, I remember that we’re neighbors, but I still haven’t found a way to let them know that I mean no harm.   I need some guidance from St. Francis of Assisi, whose statue graces a neighbor’s backyard.

Red-faced is the East, the East is red-faced

May 8, 2010

Lotsa e-ink being spilled online over NYSE’s volatile rocket-ride and re-entry trajectory on May 6 & 7.   Setting aside (for now) the possible influence of Cinco de Mayo tequila-shooter hangovers on stock trader behavior, Lunghu would like to offer some none-too-cryptic quotations from Sun-tzu as guidance.   Because perhaps these events should be viewed through the lens of asymmetric conflict theory/practice rather than as mere market behavior gone awry.

As usual, the sage Sun-tzu may be a helpful guide in this terrain:

  • Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible.   Thus he is the master of his enemy’s fate. [Art of War, VI.9]
  • He who knows the art of the direct and the indirect approach will be victorious.  Such is the art of maneuver. [Art of War, VII.16]
  • There are five types of secret agents to be employed.   These are native, inside, doubled, false and living.   When these five types of agents are all working simultaneously, and none knows their method of operation, they are called “The Divine Skein” and are the treasure of a sovereign. [Art of War, XIII.5-6]


Let’s review what Miyamoto Mushashi has to say on the subject:

  • What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing.  It is not included in man’s knowledge.  Of course the void is nothingness.  By knowing things exist, you can know that which does not exist.  That is the void.
  • People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void.   That is not the true void.   It is bewilderment.
  • Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight.   When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.
  • … It is very difficult to attain this merely by reading,  but you will soon understand with a little instruction. [A Book of the Five Rings]

Well said.

Auditor Emptor

May 2, 2010

A reminiscence. . .

Time: A couple of years ago

Place:  A deli

I was in the late lunch checkout line at the deli as three small cheesecakes went into a flat white box for the customer ahead of me.  I was next, with a Cubano.  A young girl stepped up behind my left shoulder …  closer than was necessary, under the circumstances.  Brunette. About 5’5″. Well dressed.  Mid-to-late teens.  So far, so good.  But she seemed to be emitting barely audible sounds –part humming, part murmur, part song.  Then, I heard –just barely– (or did I?) an urgent, plaintive imperative:  “Talk to me!”

Incredulous, almost flabbergasted, I didn’t say a word.  There’s something ferocious –even dangerous– about a girl who has trained herself to speak in a voice that can’t be heard.  How much else is bottled up inside?  Who or what is the focus of her pain and anger?  Is it focused at all?

I haven’t seen her since.  At least I don’t think so.  Certainly haven’t heard from her again.