The Breakfast Table

New Age in China?

Dear Todd:

The way you describe your life is starting to sound glamorous to me. We don’t even have 24-hour waffle places out here. If we want waffles, we have about a 12-hour window of opportunity, and after that, tough luck, you’re on your own.

I have never been to Madison, Wis., but this day-and-night access to waffles may be all the reason I need to start planning a trip. The last time I visited your general part of the country, I learned a different but equally interesting regional dietary lesson: Apparently, restaurants around there do not feel that a salad is really a salad unless it has first been deep fried and then soaked in a heavy cream sauce. I went to one “salad bar” where not only did I not see anything that reminded me of a vegetable (and by the way, I’m intentionally going to skip the reflexive but pointlessly callous joke I could make about the customers, who I’m sure upon closer examination were lovely and admirable people), but among the “salad ingredients” being offered was a dish of chocolate pudding. I thought to myself, “God bless the dietician behind this menu who deserves a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize just for getting chocolate pudding reclassified as a salad.”

I guess you must be relieved that our friend Moesha has rehydrated and her show is back in production in time for it to be considered as a possible export to China under the new Trade Pact. I wonder what the first Chinese products to hit our stores will be? If things work the way they usually do in commerce, when they find out our stores are already glutted with Chinese frozen food, my guess is that they will begin to make and export enchiladas. According to the New York Times, the president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney, “said it was ‘disgustingly hypocritical’ of the administration to claim to be keeping the interests of working people in mind as it negotiates with a regime that routinely violates human rights.” Which got me to thinking about how the Chinese government continues to arrest and jail members of a religious group/sect/cult called Falun Gong, which, from what I understand, sounds like kind of a cross between tai chi, yoga, and the kind of New Age philosophy about controlling your body’s energy centers that would make it not only a beloved spiritual staple but also a marketing bonanza at least in Los Angeles (and eventually the rest of the country). Maybe when they realize that their social irritants might well be their most profitable exports, it will be the kick in the butt the Chinese government will need to start respecting the rights of its citizens.

On the furious-with-rage front, how about that creepy anti-abortion dunderhead Christopher H. Smith keeping us from paying our U.N. dues because part of the money supports women’s health organizations that have pro-abortion ties? It’s good of him to be putting energy into making sure that the unwanted children of the future will be born into to a world without a functioning United Nations.

And while I’m in the anger section of today’s events, I loved Donald Trump’s comments as he campaigns in Miami. The New York Daily news quotes Trump as having looked the other candidates over and come up with this incisive statement: “Let me ask you, did they make billions of dollars in a very short time? I don’t think so.” Since that is his criterion for excellence in government, I hope he will remember to review the résumés of drug dealers, lotto winners, sitcom stars, and successful contestants from Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? when he is picking out his cabinet. I also love the way he brings his girlfriend to press conferences to dress things up. I hope in the future he will also bring a blowup of his bank statement and a wheelbarrow full of cash and precious gems.

Now I am on to reading about string theory.