Friday, January 31, 2014

Rule 7: All Sigma men have exemplary manners.

When a woman enters the room, stand up. When a woman leaves the table, stand up. Hold doors open. Don't swear. It only takes one small act for a woman to label you a gentleman. Avoid gossiping. Avoid being pretentious.  Be pleasant and approachable. These little things will color what others think of you, and that will become the image they have of your chapter.

by Patrick Daley  

MEChA High School Conference on Feb 15th at UC San Diego

The 24th Annual MEChA High School Conference will be held on Saturday, February 15th.
The conference welcomes high school students from underserved communities and will focus on the importance of going to college. There will be speakers, cultural entertainment and financial aid and college application workshops. All grade levels are welcome to attend!
If you'd like to participate, you must complete the following steps:
  2. Bring to the conference the signed Parent Consent Form
  3. Bring to the conference the Liability Waiver
Please note, only a total of 420 students can participate; therefore, please sign up as soon as possible!
There will be conferences for you as well! Please email ( to learn more.
More information can be found here:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rule 25: Is the chapter’s image important?

If you are a fraternity guy, think about it from the perspective of a sorority sister. This sister is not going to know a lot about your chapter, but she will probably know a few of your members. If she thinks highly of those members, then chances are she will think highly of the chapter. This obviously works in reverse too.  Because peoples' opinion of the chapter will be based on their opinions of individual members, it is imperative that your individual members are held in high regard. So how does a chapter president make sure this happens? First, you need to recruit high-caliber people.

The Chapter President –Preparing Sorority and Fraternity Leaders for the Unexpected
by Patrick Daley

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rule 5: Academic performance

The basic job of a college student is to go to class and study to get better grades.  Freshman and sophomores take classes that have standardized midterm and final exams. Recruit an older member who is proficient in that subject to hold study sessions before tests for the younger members. The older member understands the material and from experience knows what is probably going to be asked on the tests. These study sessions can significantly help younger members learn the material.  Every member should take one "fluff" class per semester to get an easy A. This was huge for people like me. I was an electrical engineering major, and most of my classes were way over my head. But I made sure to take one freshman-level class each semester to get an easy A. This class did nothing to meet my graduation requirements, but it was huge for my GPA. Roughly one-sixth of my total college GPA can be credited to these classes. For the rest of my life, people will think I was a good student because of my GPA. Little do they know how my GPA was inflated ...

by Patrick Daley

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eating Healthy with Diabetes

If you’re looking to lose some weight, reducing your serving sizes can sometimes help.  And if you lose weight, this can also help lower your blood sugar levels, as well as allow insulin to work more efficiently in your body.  A true win-win.  Here are some suggestions for a day’s worth of tasty meals and snacks for people who are counting carbs:

Breakfast – Eggs, toast and fruit
 2 scrambled eggs
 1 slice whole wheat toast
 ½ grapefruit

Lunch – turkey sandwich and snack
 2 slices turkey
 2 slices whole wheat bread
 2 slices tomato
 ½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
 1 apple

Dinner – broiled salmon, rice and vegetable
 5oz salmon fillet
 1 tbsp chopped onion
 2 tbsps canalo oil
 1 cup of brown rice
 1 cup steamed broccoli
1 cup fat-free milk

 1oz pistachios or
 1 cup low-fat fruited yogurt or
 1 watermelon slice

There are plenty of online resources for people with diabetes.  Some of them also contain advice on recipes, carb counting and making smart meal plans:
American Diabetes Association 
American Association of Diabetes Educators
American Dietetic Association
National Diabetes Education Program

Taking Control of Your Diabetes

Friday, January 24, 2014

Rule 36: What is the main purpose of the Executive Board?

Implementing change can be easy or hard.  Executive board members for the chapter (especially the president) can convince chapter members to "buy in" before any change is proposed. Remember that good presidents know the result of every vote before that vote takes place. To get members to back a proposal, the exec board needs to discuss it with individual members. They need to introduce the idea and get feedback from the membership. The purpose of these conversations is NOT to tell the member what is going to happen. The purpose is to get his or her opinion on the idea and solicit suggestions for making it better. If you can do this, members will feel like they are part of the new idea. They will feel this way because it is true. Your members will now have" ownership" of the change, and will feel that it is partly their idea. People fight much harder when the idea is theirs.

by Patrick Daley

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rule 3: Never handle cash

A president and a chapter cannot be successful unless the finances are strong. As president, you have a responsibility to the organization to make sure the finances are handled professionally and appropriately.  Never deal in cash. Don't accept cash or pay for goods or services in cash. Make all financial transactions by check to ensure there is a paper trail. This will prove to be very valuable if there is ever a financial disagreement. Second, every check that is paid by the chapter should require the signatures of the president and the treasurer. This will ensure that both the treasurer and the president know how every cent is being spent. Also, both people have to have the backbone to say no when they don't agree with the way money is being spent.

The Chapter President –Preparing Sorority and Fraternity Leaders for the Unexpected
by Patrick Daley

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rule 31: Out non-financial members?

The treasurer's report must include the dues owed to the chapter. The amount owed by each offending member must be specified. Peer pressure will do wonders to get members to pay. If members are offended by being called out, then there is a very easy solution to their problem. They can pay their dues.

by Patrick Daley

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Matt Zoller Seitz on True Detective - McConaughey and Harrelson in HBO's True Detective

Silent Killer - The murder mystery is beside the point in the existentialist cop drama True Detective.

HBO’s True Detective is truly unsettling, not because it’s about the search for a Louisiana serial killer, but because soon enough the search seems almost incidental: a pretext for testing limits and acting out and debating what makes people tick. Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), the lead detective on the case, treats the investigation as both a justice-seeking mission and a means of philosophical inquiry.

He mutters about faith, doubt, the illusion of morality, and the nature of the human heart, often in Socratic sentences that turn his easygoing partner, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson), into an irrelevant audience of one. Cohle is a loner who lost his wife and daughter during the years when he worked as an undercover drug agent. He has no social life and couldn’t care less if other cops (including Hart) like him. He takes crime-scene notes in a big sketchbook, lives in an unfurnished apartment, and meditates under a crucifix even though he’s a professed nonbeliever. “We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self,” says Cohle, who blasts the devout as dupes who are intellectually “so goddamn frail they’d rather put a coin in a wishing well than buy dinner.” Hart, who’s cheating on his wife but still takes offense at Cohle’s heresy, warns his partner that he’s made a religion of rationality, treats his notebooks like “stone tablets,” and is “incapable of admitting doubt—and that sounds like denial to me.”

True Detective is not fact-based; the title seems more of a shout-out to postwar pulp magazines whose lurid covers promised to violate at least five of the Ten Commandments. Like so many high-end serial-killer stories, including David Fincher’s arty hellscape Se7en and NBC’s measured, mournful Hannibal, the show is intellectualized pulp. A line from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes From, Underground sums Cohle up, for better and worse: “I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.” True Detective is infected by that same sickness and knows it, and that’s what makes it intriguing. This show’s aspiration to both high and low pleasures is reflected in its heroes. Cohle is the stereotypical suffering artist, a man who couldn’t shut off the torrent of his analytical mind even if he wanted to. Hart’s grinning affability and do-your-job-and-go-home attitude represents an entertainer’s mentality (though his propensity to cheat on his wife—played by Michelle Monaghan, whose accusatory stare could burn a hole through a badge— confirms that he’s grappling with demons of his own). The detectives’ prickly banter evokes NBC’s classic Homicide: Life on the Street, a detective drama that followed up the question “Whodunit?” with “Did God see it?”

HBO is taking a page from FX's American Horror Story and promising an anthology in which the unit of measure is the season rather than the episode. Like so many of the pay-cable giant’s prestige projects, this one aims to tickle aesthetes with structural and thematic cleverness while also satisfying viewers who just want to watch a couple of ruggedly handsome redneck badasses get in trouble. Creator Nic Pizzolatto, director Cary Fu-kunaga (Jane Eyre), and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw treat the story as a sun-drenched film noir set in gator country, but they structure it as a dual-voiced memoir shuffling between the 1995 investigation and its 2012 remembrance by Cohle and Hart, who are talking to investigators who want to reopen the case. In the “present,” Hart has gone mostly bald (which is to say he looks as Harrelson looks now); he smiles a lot, but seems sadder and wiser, and isn’t above making inappropriate wisecracks. (Contrasting himself with his partner, he says, “I’m just an ordinary dude with a big-ass dick.”) Circa-2012 Cohle has the ponytail, scrag-gly mustache, and haunted eyes of a hippie street preacher; the same events that appear to have seasoned Hart might have driven his partner mad. For all its moments of levity, True Detective’s temperament is defined less by Hart than by Cohle. His drama-queenery is so joyless that Max von Sydow’s blustering painter in Hannah and Her Sisters might find it a bit much. (Cohle says he treats the Cross as “a form of meditation. I contemplate the moment in the garden, the idea of allowing your own crucifixion.” Put that on your OKCupid profile.)

And yet somehow McConaughey, who has never credibly played an intellectual, much less a tortured one, is furiously convincing here. Even when Cohle lures Hart into illegal and potentially fatal situations, dragging True Detective away from true-crime meticulousness and toward action-thriller nuttiness, you still buy Cohle as aflesh-and-blood man rather than a screenwriter’s conceit. The fourth episode includes a nighttime action sequence staged as an unbroken six-minute tracking shot. McConaughey’s alert reactions ground the sequence in visceral reality and prevent it from devolving into another film-school stunt. It’s about Cohle reconnecting with his old, buried self: the undercover DEA agent who was astonished by his own audacity, and who had a wife and kid and didn’t have to stay “under” for four years but did, for reasons that might appall him if he studied them too closely.

The first four episodes sent out for review become stranger and less “realistic” by the hour, not to mention more stereo-typically HBO-like (artfully arranged corpses; drug-thug posturing and handgun-waving; gratuitous T&A) and less concerned with the case that Cohle and Hart are allegedly trying to solve. But the show’s time-shifting structure is so painstaking that even when True Detective spirals into lurid madness—by the end of episode four, I half-expected someone to hand the detectives Colonel Kurtz’s dossier—there still seems to be purpose behind it. Every cut, music cue, and bit of dialogue-as-voice-over contributes to the sense that the show has a grand design, or is at the very least commenting on our need to believe that all things happen for a reason, that it’s not just a swirl of appetite and consequence. This sense of purpose may prove to be another of True Detective’s fakeouts, the darkest one of all.
New York magazine, 20 January 2014

Letter From Beijing - Confucius Comes Home - Move over, Mao

By Evan Osnos

In my fifth year in Beijing, I moved into a one-story brick house beside the Confucius Temple, a seven-hundred-year-old shrine to China’s most important philosopher. The temple, which shared a wall with my kitchen, was silent. It had gnarled cypress trees and a wooden pavilion that loomed above my roof like a conscience. In the mornings, I took a cup of coffee outside and listened to the wakeup sounds next door: the brush of a broom across the flagstones, the squeak of a faucet, the hectoring of the magpies overhead.

It was a small miracle that the shrine had survived. Confucius, who was born in the sixth century B.C., traditionally had a stature in China akin to that of Socrates in the West. He stressed compassion, ritual, and duty. “There is government when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son,” Confucius said. Chairman Mao believed in “permanent revolution,” and when the Cultural Revolution began, in 1966, he exhorted young Red Guards to “Smash the Four Olds”: old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. Zealots denounced Confucius for fostering “bad elements, rightists, monsters, and freaks,” and one of Mao’s lieutenants gave the approval to dig up his grave.

Hundreds of temples were destroyed. By the nineteen-eighties, Confucianism was so maligned that the historian Yu Ying-shih called it a “wandering soul.”

In September, 2010, nine months after I moved in, I was at my desk one morning when I heard a loudspeaker crackle to life inside the temple. A booming voice was followed by the sound of a heavy bell, then drums and a flute, and the recitation of passages from writings by Confucius and other ancient masters. The performance lasted twenty minutes. An hour later, it was repeated, and an hour after that, and again the next day.

The wandering soul, in one form or another, has been stirring. As China undergoes an economic transformation ten times the speed of the first industrial revolution, people are turning to ancient ideas for a connection to the past. The classics have become such reliable bestsellers that, in 2009, the company behind National Studies Web, a site that sells digitized Confucian texts, went public on the Shenzhen stock exchange. To appeal to entrepreneurs, Peking University and other respected schools created mid-career courses that promised to reveal “commercial wisdom” in the classics.

Confucianism has no priesthood or rites of conversion, and is not generally considered a religion, but new members of China’s middle class regard an interest in philosophy and history as a mark of cultivation and cultural nationalism. Parents have enrolled their children at private Confucian academies; I visited a weekend school where children aged three to thirteen were learning the classics by rote, reciting each passage six hundred times. Around the country, Chinese tourists flocked to the surviving Confucius Temples, where they filled out prayer cards. “The overwhelming number are about exams,” Anna Sun, a sociologist at Kenyon College, who studied the cards, told me. “They are primarily wishes for the college entrance exam, but also the TOEFL, the G.R.E., law school.”

It would have been anathema to Chairman Mao, but his heirs have changed their view on revolution. In the eighties, when China set itself in pursuit of prosperity, the Party studied how Confucian values had helped to stabilize other countries in East Asia. Generations of Chinese thinkers had dreamed of finding the optimal recipe for “national studies”—the mixture of philosophy and history that might insulate China from the pressures of Westernization. After the democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989 ended in a violent crackdown, leaders needed an indigenous ideology that might restore the Party’s moral credibility. Top Communists gave speeches at meetings devoted to Confucianism, and state television launched a series about traditional culture intended, it said, “to boost the people’s self-confidence, self-respect, and patriotic thought.” In 2002, the Party officially stopped calling itself a “revolutionary party” and adopted the term “Party in Power.” The Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, declared, “Unity and stability are really more important than anything else.” In February, 2005, the Party chief, Hu Jintao, quoted Confucius’ observation that “harmony is something to be cherished.”

Soon, “harmony” was on billboards and in television commercials and intoned by apparatchiks. In 2006, a team of government-backed historians marked Confucius’ 2,557th birthday by unveiling what they called a “standardized” portrait: a kindly old figure with a luxuriant beard, his hands crossed at his chest. The Chinese Association for the Study of Confucius, supported by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, introduced traditions that had never existed before. It arranged for couples to renew their wedding vows in front of a statue of the sage.

As a gender alternative to Mao, Confucius has been enlisted as an avatar on the world stage. The opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics made no mention of the Chairman but featured recurring references to harmony and to the classic texts. In the past decade, China has opened more than four hundred Confucius Institutes around the world to teach language, culture, and history. Many universities have welcomed them; the program provides teaching materials and cash. (Some scholars have complained that the institutes seek to limit expression. In July, McMaster University, in Canada, closed its Confucius Institute after a teacher complained that she had been prevented from practicing Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement.)

The Confucian revival has been especially visible in the city of Qufu, the sage’s home town, in present-day Shandong Province. In 2007, the city’s International Confucius Festival was cosponsored by the Confucius Wine Company. Thousands of people filled a local stadium, giant balloons bearing the names of ancient scholars bobbed overhead, and a Korean pop star performed in an abbreviated outfit. Near the cave where Confucius was said to have been born, a five-hundred-million-dollar museum-and-park complex is under construction; it includes a statue of Confucius that is nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty. In its marketing, Qufu has adopted comparisons to Jerusalem and Mecca and calls itself “The Holy City of the Orient.” Last year, it received 4.4 million visitors, surpassing the number of people who visited Israel.

No one has harnessed the interest in Confucius more successfully than Yu Dan, a professor of media studies at Beijing Normal University. She presented a popular series of lectures on state television and wrote a book, “Confucius from the Heart” (2006), that is said to have sold ten million copies. Today, she occupies a position in Chinese pop culture somewhere between Bernard-Henri Levy and Dr. Phil. She plays down themes that irritate modern readers-—such as Confucius’ observation that “women and small people are hard to deal with”—and writes, reassuringly, “The truths that Confucius gives us are always the easiest of truths.” Scholars mock her work—one critic attended book signings in a T-shirt that read “Confucius is deeply worried”— but within a year Yu became the sec-ond-highest-paid author in China, after Guo Jingming, a writer of young-adult fiction who travelled with guards to hold back the crowds.

At Yu Dan’s headquarters in Beijing, a suite of offices on a high floor at the edge of the campus, her assistant ushered me into a modern conference room. Yu Dan arrived, smiling broadly, and asked the assistant to prepare tea. Yu Dan, who is in her late forties, has high cheekbones and a short, severe haircut. I asked what prompted her to embrace the classics. She said that, like others her age, she had grown up denouncing the ancient scriptures. “When I began writing ‘Confucius from the Heart,’ a lot of people asked me, Why are you writing this?’ And I said, ‘I am atoning for the crimes of my generation, because we were young and we criticized him mercilessly.’ ”

She paused, and turned her attention to the assistant, a graduate student. “Child, how could you be so stupid!” Yu said. “This tea has been steeping for too long!” She looked at me, and the smile returned. “Children today do not know how to host people,” she said. After Yu became popular, the Party invited her to conferences, and she began presenting her readings of the classics in a political context. “Unlimited possibility leads to chaos, because you don’t know where to go or what to do,” she told me, adding, “We must rely on a strict system to resolve problems. As citizens, our duty is not necessarily to be perfect moral persons. Our duty is to be law-abiding citizens.”

Confucius—or Kongzi, which means Master Kong—was not born to power, but his idiosyncrasies and ideas made him the Zelig of the Chinese classics. His story runs through the ancient books—the Analects, Zuo-zhuan, Mengzi, the Records of the Grand Historian—with details that range from historical to mythical. His father, Shuliang He, was an aging warrior—physically enormous and famously ugly—who was desperate for a healthy son. When he was in his seventies, he found a teen-age concubine, and they had a son, in 551 B.C. The baby, like his father, was unsightly, with a crooked nose and a bulbous forehead so peculiar that he was given the name Qiu, meaning “mound.” (Admirers insisted that his head resembled a crown.)

When Confucius was three, his father died, and his mother set off with her toddler to find a livelihood. As a boy, he worked and lost himself in poetry and imagination. He married at eighteen or nineteen, but was bored and frustrated, because he lacked the connections to realize his ambition of becoming a bureaucrat. Instead, he offered to teach students of every social class. It was an era of war and corruption, and Confucius argued that rituals could teach people to reconcile their desires to the needs of family and community. He was an optimist. A virtuous ruler, he said, is like the wind: “The moral character of those beneath him is the grass. When the wind blows, the grass bends.” He finally earned a government post, but his reforms threatened other officials, and, as legend has it, they concocted a plan to drive him out: They sent his superior eighty beautiful girls, who succeeded in occupying the boss so thoroughly (he disappeared for three days) that the righteous Confucius had to leave. Humiliated, Confucius began travelling about the country, pointing out abuses. He met a woman whose husband and son had been eaten by tigers, and he told his disciples, “An oppressive government is more terrible than tigers.” Confucius was so radical that a fellow-sage, Laozi (said to be the founder of Taoism), warned him against “all this huffing and puffing, as though you were carrying a big drum and searching for a lost child.” To Confucius, harmony was consensus, not conformity. It required loyal opposition. A country is at risk, he said, when a prince believes that “the only joy in being a prince is that no one opposes what one says.” Warlords ignored him or tried to kill him.

Confucius never imagined that he would become an icon. “He liked conversations. They helped him think, but he never expected anyone to write them down,” the historian Annping Chin observed, in “The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics” (2007). “Confucius did not wish to have his words end up as rules,” she wrote, because “he loved the idea of being human. He loved the entirely private journey of finding what was right and feasible among life’s many variables.”

After thirteen years of wandering, Confucius returned home to his books, and he died, in his seventies, convinced that he was a failure. Of his three thousand students, only seventy-two were true disciples, said to have mastered his teachings, which they compiled in the Analects. His rules made him exhausting to be around. ‘When the meat was not cut squarely, he would not eat,” his disciples wrote. ‘When a thing was not accompanied by its proper sauce, he would not eat.” But in times of war or instability his dictates on how to dress, how to govern, and how to live held out the tantalizing promise of order. A prime minister later remarked, ‘With just half the Analects, I can govern the empire.”

In the centuries that followed, Confucianism was manipulated and buffeted by politics. In 213 B.C., the first emperor of China sought to put knowledge under government control and ordered the burning of books, including Confucian texts. People who invoked them were executed or sentenced to labor in exile. Confucianism was revived in the subsequent dynasty, the Han, and was China’s state ideology for much of the next two millennia. The temple next to my house in Beijing was built in 1306, near the Imperial Academy, a training ground for officials, which remained China’s highest seat of learning until the fall of the emperor, in 1911.

A few days after I heard the loudspeaker next door, a large banner went up in our neighborhood, identifying the temple as “The Holy Land of National Studies.” For the first time since the Communist Party came to power, in 1949, the temple was putting on a celebration of Confucius’ birthday. The occasion featured speeches by government officials and professors and a recitation by children. I figured that the event would probably signal the end of the daily musical shows, but in the weeks that followed they continued, and followed a regular schedule: eveiy hour, ten to six, seven days a week, rain or shine. The sound echoed off the walls of the houses beside the temple, and what had begun as a novelty gradually wore grooves into the minds of my neighbors. Huang Wenyi, an employee at a recycling yard, who lived next door, told me, “I hear it in my head at night. It’s like I’ve been on a boat all day and I can still feel the rocking.”

His face brightened with an idea. ‘You should go tell them to turn down the volume.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’re a foreigner. They’ll pay attention to you.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted the kind of attention that comes from complaining about China’s most famous philosopher. But I was curious about the show and arranged to visit the head of the temple, a man named Wu Zhiyou. Wu looked less like a theologian than like an actor who’d play the kindly father in a Chinese soap opera: in his mid-fifties, he had a large, handsome face, a perfect pair of dimples in his cheeks, and a resonant voice that sounded somehow familiar. Before being posted to run the temple, he had spent most of his career in the research office of the city’s Propaganda Department, and he had a mind for marketing. Of the performance, he said, “This show has attracted people from all levels of society—Chinese and foreigners, men and women, well educated and less educated, experts and ordinary people.”

I asked if he was involved in the production. “I’m the chief designer!” he said, eyes shining. “I oversaw every detail. Even the narrator’s voice is mine.” The show had been conceived under demanding circumstances. Wu had been given only a month’s notice before the birthday celebration. He hired a composer, recruited dancers from a local art school, and selected lines from the classics that could lend the performance a narrative shape. “You need ups and downs and a climax, just like a movie or a play,” he said. “If it’s too bland, it will never work.”

Wu had succeeded in making the Confucius Temple into his own community theatre, and he was savoring his role. “In junior middle school, I was always the student leader of the propaganda section of the student council,” he said. “I love reading aloud, and music and art.” In his spare time, he still did cross-talk comedy routines, the Chinese version of standup. He had plans for the temple’s future. “We’re building a new set that will have ceramic statues of the seventy-two disciples. And we need more lighting. Then, maybe, I can say it is complete.” '

Wu checked his watch. He wanted me to catch the three-o’clock show. He gave me a book on the history of the temple and said, “After you read this book, your questions will no longer be questions.”

The stage, in front of a pavilion on the north side of the compound, had been fitted with lights. The cast consisted of sixteen young men and women in scholars’ robes; each song-and-dance routine was named for a line from the classics—the Analects, the Book of Songs, the Book of Rites, and others— and had an upbeat interpretation: “Happiness” was based on the line “Good fortune lies within bad; bad fortune lies within good.” (The stage version omitted the ominous second clause.) The finale, “Harmony,” linked Confucius and the Communist Party. A pamphlet explained that it conveyed the “harmonious ideology and harmonious society of the ancient people, which will have a positive influence on the construction of modern harmonious society.”

I read the book that Wu gave me, and the depth of detail about ancient events was impressive: it recorded who planted which trees on the temple grounds seven hundred years ago. But it was conspicuously silent on other matters, including the years between 1905 and 1981. In the official history of the Confucius Temple, most of the twentieth century was blank.

During my time in China, I had learned to expect that renderings of history came with holes, like the dropouts in an audio recording when the music goes silent and resumes as if nothing had happened. Some of those edits were ordained from above: for years the people were barred from discussing the crackdown at Tiananmen Square or the famine of the Great Leap Forward, which took between thirty million and forty-five million lives, because the Party had never repudiated or accepted responsibility for those events. Ordinary Chinese had few choices: some accepted the forgetting, because they were poor and determined to get on with their lives; some raged against it, but lacked the political means to resist.

There were other books about the Confucius Temple, and these filled in the blanks—especially about the night of August 23,1966, during the opening weeks of the Cultural Revolution. The order to “Smash the Four Olds” had devolved into a chaotic assault on authority of all kinds. That afternoon, a group of Red Guards summoned one of China’s most famous writers, Lao She, to the temple’s front gate.

Lao She was sixty-seven and one of China’s best hopes for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He had grown up not far from the temple, in poverty, the son of an imperial guard who died in battle against foreign armies. In 1924, he went to London and stayed for five years, living near Bloomsbury and reading Conrad and Joyce. He wore khakis because he couldn’t afford tweeds. In 1936, he wrote “Rickshaw Boy,” about a young rickshaw puller whose encounters with injustice turn him into a “degenerate, selfish, hapless product of a sick society.” Lao She also lived in America, for more than three years—on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—but he eventually returned to China and became to Beijing what Victor Hugo was to Paris: the city’s quintessential writer. The Party named him a “People’s Artist.” He resented being asked to produce propaganda, but, like many, he was a loyal servant who poured criticism on his fellow-writers when they fell out with the Party.

Now he was the target. A group of Red Guards—mostly schoolgirls of fifteen and sixteen—pushed him through the gates of the temple and forced him to kneel on the flagstones beside a bonfire, among other writers and artists. His accusers denounced him for his ties to America and for amassing dollars, a common accusation at the time.

They shouted “Down with the anti-Party elements!” and used leather belts with heavy brass buckles to whip the old men and women. Lao She was bleeding from the head, but he remained conscious. Three hours later, he was taken to a police station, where his wife retrieved him.

The next morning, Lao She rose early and walked northwest from his home to a pond called the Lake of Great Peace. He read poetry and wrote until the sun set. Then he took off his shirt and draped it over a tree branch, loaded his pockets with stones, and walked into the lake.

When the body was discovered the next day, his son, Shu Yi, was summoned to collect it. The police had found his father’s clothes, his cane, his glasses, and his pen, as well as a sheaf of papers that he had left behind. The official ruling on his death declared that Lao She had “isolated himself from the people.” He was a “counter-revolutionary” and was barred from receiving a proper burial. The body was cremated without ceremony. His widow and children put his spectacles and his pen into a casket and buried it.

I wondered about the son, Shu Yi. He would be in his seventies now, older than his father was when he died. I asked around and discovered that he lived only a few minutes’ walk from my house. He invited me over. Shu Yi had white hair and a heavy, kind face, and his apartment was cluttered with books and scrolls and paintings. As we talked, a soft breeze blew in the window from a nearby canal. I asked if he had ever learned more about his father’s suicide.

“It’s hard to know exactly, but I think his death was his final act of struggle,” Shu Yi said. “Many years later, I came upon an article called ‘Poets,’ which he had written in 1941”—a quarter century before he died. “He wrote, ‘Poets are a strange crowd. When everyone else is happy, the poets can say things that are discouraging. When everyone else is sorrowful, the poets can laugh and dance. But when the nation is in danger they must drown themselves and let their deaths be a warning in the name of truth.’ ”

This sacrifice was a tradition in China, dating to the third century B.C., when the poet Qu Yuan drowned himself in protest against corruption. Shu Yi told me, “By doing so, they are fighting back, telling others what the truth really is.” His father, he said, “would rather break than bend.”

After I talked to Shu Yi, I went back to see Wu Zhiyou, the head of the temple, and asked him about the story of Lao She’s final night. He gave a short sigh and said, “It’s true. During the Cultural Revolution, there were struggle sessions here. Afterward, Lao She went home and threw himself in the lake. This can be described as a historical fact.”

Why had the temple’s written history made no mention of it?

Wu struggled to find an answer, and I braced myself for a dose of propaganda. But then he said, “It’s too sad. It makes people too sad. I think it’s best not to include this in books. It’s factual, it’s history, but it was not because of the temple. It was because of the time. It doesn’t belong in the records of the Confucius Temple.”

I understood his point, but the explanation felt incomplete. Lao She was beaten in the temple because it was a place of learning, of ideas, of history; the permission to attack one of China’s most famous novelists was, like so much of the Cultural Revolution, the permission to attack what it meant to be Chinese, and in the decades since then the Party and the people had never reconciled all that they lost in those moments. Even if someone wanted to mark the site where Beijing’s greatest chronicler ended his life, it would be difficult; the Lake of Great Peace was filled in decades ago, during an extension of the subway system. I have often marvelled at how much people in China have managed to put behind them: revolution, war, poverty, and the upheavals of the present. My neighbor Huang lived with his mother, who was eighty-eight. When I once asked her if she had photos of her family, she said, “They were burned during the Cultural Revolution.” And then she laughed—the particular hollow laugh that the Chinese reserve for awful things.

The Cultural Revolution dismantled China’s ancient belief systems, and the economic revolution that followed could not rebuild them. Prosperity had yet to define the ultimate purpose of the nation and the individual. There was a hole in Chinese life that people called the jingshen kongxu—“the spiritual void.” Eveiy day, I noticed groups of civil servants from the hinterlands and students from around the city visiting the Confucius Temple. One young guide with a ponytail spoke to a group of mid-dle-aged Chinese women. She held her hands out before her. “This is the gesture for paying respects to Confucius,” she said. Her visitors did their best to copy her. For many people in China, I realized, the gaps in histoiy had made Confucius a stranger. It was difficult to know where his life ended and the mythology and the politics began. Annping Chin wrote, “We give him credit for all that has gone right and wrong in China because we do not really know him.”

In that vacuum, some in China have been eager to put the philosopher to more useful political purposes. In October, 2010, the dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an eleven-year sentence for subversion, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That enraged the Chinese government. In response, a group of nationalists organized what they called the “Confucius Peace Prize,” and awarded it, the next year, to Vladimir Putin, for bringing “safety and stability to Russia.” At times, the embrace of Confucius has turned hostile. In December, 2010, a group of ten well-known classical scholars denounced a plan to build a large Christian church in Qufu, Confucius’ home town. “We beseech you to respect this sacred land of Chinese culture, and stop the building of the Christian church at once,” they wrote. The government tried to argue that there was a precedent for having a church in town, but the protest attracted the support of grassroots Confucian associations and Web sites, and construction was postponed.

In China, the official embrace of Confucius has come to be seen by some as suffocating. When, in the name of protecting political stability, censors remove critical comments from the Chinese Web, savvy users say that their words have been “harmonized.” The Party’s conception of Confucian harmony leaves little room for the politics of negotiation, for an honest clash of ideas. After the pop scholar Yu Dan became a sensation, Li Ling, a Peking University professor, published “Stray Dog: My Reading of the Analects,” in which he criticized the “manufactured Confucius.” He wrote, “The real Confucius, the one who actually lived, was neither a sage nor a king. ... He had no power or status—only morality and learning—and dared to criticize the power elite of his day. He travelled around lobbying for his policies, racking his brains to help the rulers of his day with their problems, always trying to convince them to give up evil ways and be more righteous.... He was tormented, obsessed, and driven to roam, pleading for his ideas, more like a stray dog than a sage.”

When Li’s book came out, in May, 2007, he was denounced by other classical scholars, such as Jiang Qing, a prominent Confucian political thinker, who called the author “a cynical doomsday prophet who deserves no response.” One of Li’s defenders was Liu Xiaobo. Before Liu went to prison, he warned of a mood in which “Confucianism was venerated and all other schools of thought were banned.” Instead of invoking Confucius, Liu wrote, intellectuals should be venerating “independence of thought and autonomy of person.”

The longer I lived beside the Confucius Temple the more I sensed the gap between what people asked of it and what it provided. The Chinese came to the temple, to the Holy Land of National Studies, on a quest for some kind of moral continuity. But it rarely gave them what they wanted. The Party, to maintain its hold over history, offered a caricature of Confucius. Generations of Chinese had grown up condemning China’s ethical and philosophical traditions, only to find that the Party was now abrupdy resurrecting them, without granting permission to discuss what had happened in the interim. Hu Shuli, a progressive editor, described a “collective amnesia” surrounding the Cultural Revolution. “Files on that episode in our history remain ‘secret,’ ” she wrote. “Older generations do not dare look back, while our younger generations don’t have the remotest inkling of the Cultural Revolution.”

There were signs that liberal intellectuals were not the only ones losing patience with the official rendering of Confucius. In November, 2012, Yu Dan appeared before an audience at Peking University after a performance of Chinese opera, and the students booed her. They shouted that she didn’t deserve to be onstage with serious scholars. “Get out of here!” someone yelled, and Yu made a hasty exit. The previous winter, a large statue of Confucius appeared beside Tiananmen Square, the first new addition to such a sensitive spot since Mao’s mausoleum was erected, a generation ago. Philosophers and political scientists wondered if it signalled an official change to the Party platform. But then, four months after it arrived, the statue disappeared. It was moved, in the middle of the night, to a much less prominent site, in the courtyard of a museum. The reason for the move remained a mysteiy, because the Central Propaganda Department barred Chinese journalists from writing about it. People were left to joke that Confucius, the itinerant teacher from Shandong Province, had been caught trying to live in Beijing without the proper permit.


The New Yorker, 13 January 2014

Rule 19: How much are dues?

You should ask for dues professionally. You do this by sending a dues statement to every member, every semester. In this statement, make it clear when dues are due and how to pay.  You also need to send a receipt when you receive payment.

by Patrick Daley

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rule 8: Why demand a written report from the Chapter Treasurer?

Chapter expenditures must be transparent. By that, I mean that everyone in the chapter should know where the money is going. This means that the treasurer actually has to do his job and report to the chapter how the money is being spent every week. Doing so also tells the membership how much money the chapter needs to accomplish its goals. If these goals are important, the chapter-and they should be-then members will be more eager to pay their dues.

by Patrick Daley

Friday, January 17, 2014

Rule 45: Members who fail to pay dues?

Rule 45: Members who fail to pay dues?  First, you need to make sure that chapter members feel they are getting value for the dues they are paying. Not only is that an essential goal for you as a leader, it is common sense. If your members believe they are getting a good return on their dues investment, they are more likely to pay.

by Patrick Daley

Friday, January 10, 2014

Youth Guidance's B.A.M. (Becoming A Man) mentoring high-risk boys program

Researchers identified 2,740 boys in high-crime neighborhoods and assigned them to control or treatment groups.  The treatment program, called "Becoming A Man," aimed to help youths make better decisions and develop conflict-resolution skills.  During the study year, program participans has better school attendanace and 44 percent fewer violent-crime arrests.

20% off is bullshit

Fourty percent off is a deal.  Most retailers have rolling week-to-week markdowns throughout January, so even if you see something you like at 20 percent off, wait a few days and with luck you'll see that discount double.  A lot (but not all) of those mark-down occur on Thursday.  In January, overcoats, boots, and heaiver blazers promise the best deals; work suits, dress shirts, and dress shoes less so.  If you can wait, hold off until May or November to buy stuff for work.

10% Dining Discount

When dining at any of the more than 350 Landry's Inc. restaurants nationwide, you can save 10 percent by using your AARP membership card.  Restaurants include Morton's, McCormick & Schmick's Chart House, Landry's Seafood, Claim Jumper Restauant, Muer Restaurants, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Cafe, The Oceanaire and more.
Conditions apply