James Doolittle

February 28, 2006

The Magus

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 3:34 pm

I’m currently reading The Magus by John Fowles, and I came accross an interesting conversation between the protagonist, Nicholas, and a mysterious man who had just told the story of how he diserted the army in World War II:

“You are not ashamed to be the guest of a traitor to his country?”
“I do not think you were a traitor to the human race.”
We moved towards his bedroom windows.
“The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed.”
“I suppose one could say that Hitler didn’t betray his self.”
He turned.
“You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.”

This is why I want to write novels, so I don’t have to say things and get in trouble for them–instead, I’ll have characters say things. Then, it won’t matter; it’s all fiction, and the characters who said whatever offensive thing doesn’t exist. I think I’ll also use a pen name to keep myself out of harm’s way.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 12:39 pm

Possums are cute.  But opossums are ugly, nasty, piggish fiends.

February 25, 2006

James Doolittle

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 12:51 am

This is interesting: if you google (yes, that’s a verb) “James Doolittle,” you’ll come up with a whole bunch of results for General James H. Doolittle, who was an aviator popularized for leading the first American counter-strike against the Japanese after Pearl Harbor in World War II (Alec Baldwin played him in the movie Peal Harbor). I’m mentioned somewhere on page three.

But, if you google “James Doolittle alcohol,” my blog holds not only the first hit, but also the second.

The question is, do I have a drinking problem, or is James Doolittle just such a unique name that only one of us is mentioned on a website also containing the word alcohol? (Should I mention that I’ve been drinking tonight?)

Maybe the real question should be who was it out there that initially linked my name to alcohol in a google search, thus alerting my shortstat plugin to the fact that such a reference was out there?

February 24, 2006

Heading off to Shiga

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 4:51 pm

I haven’t done much blogging the past few days, and it’s because I’ve been doing work (yay!).  I learned a song on the guitar for the EAC talent show, did all of my work for all of my classes, nearly finished the fantasy novel I’m reading, and I even started writing my Junior Research Project!  And now I’m going to head off to Shiga for a weekend full of awkward moments in which I’ll wish I knew more Japanese.  Take care, my homies.  Take care.

February 19, 2006

Privatization or Bust

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 10:26 pm

Chan Chee Khoon, Z Online Magazine writer, evaluates Japan’s economy in relation to the privatization to come of Japan Post, Japan’s government-run postal system, in his essay “Neo-Liberitarianism vs. Communitarian Capitalism: Japan’s Dilemma.” His argument, after introducing the private banking industry’s demands on breaking apart Japan Post and how it falls in line with Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s political platform, proposes that the plan of a “neo-liberal remedy could very well prove to be worse than the disease that it seeks to cure.”

The threat of privatizing Japanese governmental institution came up in the early 1980’s when the Diet passed a bill to dismantle Japan National Railways. In 1987, Japan’s national railway system was given up as a government institution to governmental subsidiaries and, eventually, to private industries. In the private market, the train system improved in efficiency, efficacy, and accessibility: more people could rely on trains to reach more locations on time in the liberalized transportation market. Train companies were appointed and forced to compete with one another, producing companies cornering certain markets—high speed trains, local service trains, intra-prefectural trains. People who needed to reach far off locations in a short amount of time, for example, could take a more expensive line from a company specializing in that specific train-need. The issue of privatizing government run-institutions in Japan has reemerged into the buzz of Japanese economic discussion for the past few years given Koizumi’s platform and historical promotion of privatizing the post system, but in a more socio-political realm given the nature of the postal system.

Japan Post’s function serves not only as a means of delivering and shipping letters and parcels throughout Japan, but also acts as a national bank complete with financial services ranging from commercial loans to home mortgages. Because of its role as a “financial institution with assets of about ¥386 trillion,” Koizumi’s plan for the government to “gradually divest itself of all stakes in the banking and insurance companies, and retain control over only the delivery and branch operations of the privatized entities,” holds greater socio-economic effect on Japan’s evolving politics than privatizing the rail system ever did. In its 25,000 branch offices, JP holds 30% of the nation’s individual savings deposit and “Kampo, Japan Post’s life insurance scheme, has assets of about ¥121 trillion, some 40% of the national total [for this market].”

Khoon cites from an article in the Economist magazine expanding on the social ramifications and economic results of such a move:

With Japan’s private banks struggling to boost profitability, the last thing they need is a collection of big government lenders — backed by explicit and implicit subsidies — depressing lending rates and competing with them for business, although, unlike the [Government Housing Loan Corporation], Japan’s other eight [Government Financial Institutions] are also serving some borrowers which no private bank would touch…

The point being that the introduction of a neo-liberalist reformation—specifically introducing government subsidiaries that would participate competitively in the financial market—would result in economic disparity for individual citizens relying on government loans as well as private financial companies that would not be able to compete with government-subsidiary-based private businesses.

Khoon presents a persuading argument that the resulting economic destabilization that would occur from breaking up and privatizing Japan Post, would disenfranchise many Japanese citizens and cause bankruptcy in already existing private banking companies; however, Khoon is calling into question Koizumi’s economic plan based primarily on its social consequences and claims that economic disharmony breeds less growth than economic stability. Economic history and trends dictate that, regardless of social exigencies to come out of any given economic structure, a static social economy will not grow with the same force or drive as will the competition-based paradigm of capitalism.

February 17, 2006

Rockin’ Quote

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 1:37 pm

I was perusing my bloglines when I came across a quote in my Woodmoor Village Zendo feed:

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

- E. B. White

I read this quote in a February 16th post by Nacho, and I thought, hey–that’s true.  As I thought about it more, however, it occured to me that such general statements as this one, wherein all motivation and desire is lumped into one or two categories, make life seem that simple.  That there are only these two opposing forces, and that all of our actions are out of either one or the other.  The more I think about it, I wish this quote were true.  I wish that was all that’s on my mind–whether I should try to improve life or enjoy it–but there’s more on the table than just that.  I understand how someone could argue that all my other priorities stem from these two principals, but it just doesn’t ring true for me.  What do you think about the quote?

February 16, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 10:19 pm

Moscow is totally gay…

Too funny not to share…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 4:59 pm

If you are not already subscribed, I strongly recomend this huge blog.  It’s got all these photos of bananas in different forms, some of them are tatooed, some of them have props added to them, some of them have words written on them.  Some of the photos are pretty gnarley, but there are a few way-fresh pictures in there.

February 15, 2006

Does anyone want to hear a groovy story?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 2:29 am

When I was in high school, I would often stay up until the early hours of the mornings, sometimes even on school nights.  I would hang out with my friend Fergusson and the two of us would drink alcohol, smoke pot, hang out in local parks, and go to Royal Donuts, a bakery next to Burlingame High School (I did not go to this high school, I went to San Mateo High).  On one particular occassion of this delinquent activity, my friend and I bought two cinamon twists at around two or three in the morning.

I remember having a sense of adventure without direction.  That is, I wanted to do something but my imagination was too subdued to come up with any real material (nertz!  I hate it when that happens).  The next thing I knew, this middle-aged man walks in, eyes wide open as if he were constantly receiving electric-shock therapy, and tries to order a maple bar.  The trouble is, he’s practically telling his whole life story to the woman behind the counter who’s first language is Tagalog, and who does not speak enough English to carry on a conversation.  Andy, that’s the guy’s name, doesn’t know this, and as he’s rambling on he mentions the number two.  The woman takes this as a sign that he wants two maple bars, and he only has a dollar on him.  He ends up fifteen cents short and, feeling generous that evening, I lend him the change.

This act of generosity he takes as an invitation to join me and Fergusson.  He takes out his first maple bar and starts eating it while he’s telling us about a project he’s working on and how he can’t sleep because he’s too obsessed with it.  He said that he comes down to the donut shop so that he can go running at Burlingame High’s track.  I asked him how much he ran, and he replied, taking out the second maple bar while only half-way done with the first, saying that he runs three or four miles every night at around two or three in the morning.  Once he’s half-way biting through the second maple bar, intermittantly talking with me and Fergusson, Andy looks down at the two half-eaten maple bars in bewilderment.  I told him that the woman thought he was ordering two, and that she’s a Philopeno immigrant with whom I talk occasionally, but never for very long or about very much–she could barely speak English and I do not know any Tagalog.

Okay, so the guy is a little weird, a little spacey, right?  Well, he starts telling us about this project he’s working on in addition to his entire life-story.  He’s a music teacher, but he’s also a composer.  He’s writing this musical called “The Burden of Eden.”  It’s about these office mates who are representations of leading characters in the Bible.  He’s getting so into telling us about this musical that he starts singing the songs to us, in the donut shop.

After a short while, he decides that we need to hear the music ourselves, and so Ferg and I discretely debate the safety of the situation without making it clear to Andy that we think he’s a freakin’ psycho (oh yeah, that’s a smart move James and Ferg–get in the car with this old school nut you just met at the donut shop–genius!).  But, like I always say, if pineaples fall on Tuesday, you’d better have a blender ready by Wednesday, so we decided to go with him to listen to his songs.  For some reason, he had to go in ahead of Fergusson and me to make sure something or other was alright, and while Ferg and I were waiting outside, I whispered to him, “He’s sharpening the knives,” at the exact same time he said to me, “It was nice knowing you, James.”

Long story short, we did not get minced, he did play us his songs, and he did drive us back to the donut shop at around 7am the next morning.  My friend Ferg and ate more donuts in the morning when he dropped us off.  I don’t remember whether or not I went to school that day or spent it recovering from the non-sleeping that had gone on.  Either way, I was in a pretty heinous state that whole day.

Today, Ferg e-mailed me a link of one of the songs Andy played for us on his piano at his house.  It came from a website promoting Andy’s musical, which is playing or is going to play at theatres around the Union.

Anyway, it really threw me aback–I hope it wasn’t too boring of a story to read.

February 14, 2006

I’m Twenty!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 12:17 pm

It’s my birthday today. Here’s what it looks like:


Happy Valentines Day!

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