ShockTherapy, or What Life Was Like in Shanghai in the Year 2000

Once upon a time, I started a website. It was called Wisdom of the East. It was loosely inspired by a zine out of L.A. called The Crash Site.

There were no blogs back then. Back then, if we wanted to call our websites something else, we called them zines. So I launched my first zine in early 2000. It bounced between a couple of free hosting platforms, none of which are around anymore, before succumbing to entropy. It was swallowed up in the black hole which had not yet been eradicated by near-infinite server capacity. Nowadays everything online is permanent, including and especially, all the dumb shit that you do. For the older stuff, we have to do a little work to make it come alive again.

I was living in Shanghai at the time and pretty much most of the content on the zine was China-related. Back then there basically were no English language websites in China, except Beijing Scene, the web version of the sorta-famous pre-TBJ, pre-CW print mag, and By some miracle of goodness or delusion, Scott Savitt, the lead editor of the mag who was kicked out of China for trying to run over a police officer, still pays the registration and hosting fees every year. Chinanow was not so lucky. There was something else called, but that only lasted a little while. They once tried to suck in my site, but I refused on principle.

Over the next couple of months, I am going to resuscitate some writings from the Wisdom period. Why? Because nostalgia matters. That and I can’t think of anything better to write about.

So, to kick things off, I have excerpted below the sum total of the ShockTherapy weekly updates which I used to send out to a small but influential list of people. This would have been your proto-traffic-driving newsletter. But I only saw it as a way to make people read what I was writing. Because I was convinced it was the best stuff in China. It may not have been, but at least it was way better than what I write now. Onward!

Check it. May 14, 2000

Fellow inmates, the Warmus is back sporting a funkdafied cravat, a gold-tipped cane and a pimp daddy limp. The brief holiday was fully loused up by uncooperative weather, incompetent transportation systems operators and a whole monstrous series of fuck-ups which you will no doubt be reading about in the not-too-distant future. Anyway, it’s damn good to be back. As promised The Warmus has a big scoop for you in the new Gongfu Voodoo installment which you should not pass up as it legitimately touches upon nothing less than the fate of the human race, extraterrestrials, and for all you people who demand social justice with your morning coffee, corporate greed. It seems yet another impending environmental catastrophe is looming on the horizon…just in time for the new millenium!

For the francophiles in our midst The Library has a new Featured Book reviewed by Mozambique (who I am told is still recovering from her concussion after trying to walk through a plate glass door the other day). It is Rejean Ducharme’s magnum opus Va Savoir. Vive La Quebecois!

A new addition to The Heap: pharmocopics. A new metasport for those of us toiling in the China work camps. With enough public support we can have pharmacopics at the Olympics in time for Burkina Faso 2012!

The Warmus is also incredibly disappointed that no one has taken up the pen to eulogize Soul Coughing. “Little sister, don’t you do what your big sister tells you?” Stop polishing your rayguns and write!

Lastly, The Warmus would like to extend a warm “thank you” to uptight, anonymous English Major who “felt compelled” to point out that Zora Neal Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God was published in 1937 (not 1930) and was rediscovered not by Oprah but by Alice Walker. You win a big Warmus smooch upon the pate!

Upcoming in the next month
Public Opinion survey: who was the greatest dictator of the 20th century? Mobuto with his leopard skin hat, or maybe local boy Mao, or will the grandfather of them all–Stalin–take top honors?

Chronicle of the ongoing efforts of three young Paladins questing to make The Shanghai Community Center into a reality against overwhelming bureaucratic odds.

A brief hagiography of the shadowy genius(es?) behind Shanghai’s newest film production company, Chataranga Films. Who are these people and why should anyone care? And why am worried? And where the hell are my pants? O the horror, the horror.

Explanation: I had recently come back from a horrific, May holiday trip to Xiamen with my girlfriend who was from Quebec. It was perhaps the most badly planned trip in the history of the world. It may have been the first time May Holiday was given Golden Week status and we had sadly underestimated just how many millions of Chinese people would also try to squeeze themselves onto Gulangyu Island. We couldn’t find a hotel. My mobile phone was stolen. We ended up coming back to Shanghai on an overnight bus via Fuzhou. There is one extant photo of that trip which is me sitting by a fountain on the campus of XiaDa looking mightily pissed off. Oh yes and “warmus” was my girlfriend’s mispronunciation of “walrus”. Mystery solved.

Check it. May 18, 2000

Francophiliacs will find fun and fulfillment in this week’s Featured Book (Ducharme’s Va Savoir) which is finally up as promised. If you are franco-linguistically challenged then I suggest starting a support group. I’ll join.

Furthermore and furthermore, the Greatest Dictator of the Twentieth Century feature is now up. This week’s candidate Mobutu Sese Seko, everyone’s favorite greedy bastard. If you have any nominations, paste ‘em on your forehead and come see me and bring me a bottle of rum while you’re at it.

Idiotic song lyric of the week comes from Will Smith whose artistic credibility has varied inversely with his commercial success. In his latest smash hit called “Freak Dis” (a title I actually like) he describes how famous he is: “Even girls who don’t speak English know my name…”. And how true it is. Is it possible he was always this bad?

NEXT WEEK: a rare Wisdom of the East exclusive look into the proto-S.S. dungeon-guerrilla training-ground/tactical command facility where they train, brainwash and arm with vacuous smiles McDonald’s employees in China! In a country that thrives on civil chaos, McDonald’s is a slick operation. How the fuck do they pull that off? We have flown in an expert from the UK to answer precisely that question.

Anybody out there in Warmusland got the official odds on the November presidential election? My bookie just got slapped with “possession-with-intent-to-sell” rap and suddenly isn’t answering his phone.

For you Shanghai people looking for good radio, Thursday 5pm on China National Radio they play weird German stuff from the late-70′s early 80′s for five minutes. (Not a joke, people) This week they featured Kraftwerk. Mein Gott!

Shock Therapy May 26, 2000

Let us never stand accused of failing to serve a useful public purpose. Hence we give you Wisdom of the East’s Voodoo Curse of the Week:

(extracted from William Seabrook’s The Magic Island)

“One of the most dreaded forms of Haitian-African magic includes the dressing of a corpse in a garment of the person marked for vengeance and then exposing it to rot away in some secret place in the jungle. Men have gone stark mad seeking that jungle-hidden horror, and others have died hopelessly, searching. Fear, hunger, thirst, jungle-terror, one may say. Names again, tags, labels. But marked for death by the Voodoo curse, they died.”

When a bullet in the back of the neck just isn’t enough…

New Shit
There is a brand new picaresque little short story up in The Karaoke Parlor entitled The Bread Baker which promises to delight the young and old. Where else can you get new fiction at these cut-rate prices?

Another contender for Greatest Dictator of the Twentieth Century has been added. This week’s candidate is none other than Fidel Castro. Long a favorite with women and children and leftist whiners, this perennial underdog dictator has been around longer than most of you have been alive. But does he have what it takes to the Greatest?

Reader response to the Gongfu Voodoo column about information pollution has been overwhelming. Oh yes. Check out what Dave and Jill Bloompton did after reading about this vast Illuminati-esque conspiracy to steal the skies and how you can help too, only in Environmental Watch.

Sometime in the Not Too Distant Future…

As promised, a hard-boiled shakedown of the McDonald’s training operation in China is forthcoming. I have been, I have seen, and I nearly lost my mind. Let me tell you people, it is worse than horrible. Every taboo of decent society was broken and many of indecent society as well. I shudder to think these things actually happen in our world. A plane crash into the ocean followed by a feeding frenzy of Mako sharks would be more pleasant.

Chaturanga! Chaturanga! The word beats a tympani in my brain! If we can ever wrest the bottle of fogjuice and scorpion poison out of their hands maybe we can find out WHO THEY ARE! And more importantly, what do they want with us??????

Explanation: Chaturanga was a film production company that absorbed a great deal of time and energy from my friends back then. Two documentary films resulted. One was called The River and was about a river. The other was called The Muse and was about a girl. Neither to this day have been publicly screened, but someday they will both be re-discovered and hailed as classics.

Shock Therapy June 9, 2000

Well it happened like this: I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the 126 kinda late one night when some Chinese dudes looking for some trouble rolled up on me. A foul-smelling bastard with rotten teeth stuck his face into mine and said, “Gotta light?” Before I could answer like ten ninjas obviously working for Mr Bad Teeth leapt out of the shadows and landed around me noiselessly in a loose circle. I went for my piece, but all I had was a Staedtler 434 pen made by the Germans, useless against even badly trained Ninjas. Oh, for a Uniball!

Mr Bad Teeth laughed out a cloud of stale cheese and his cronies followed suit. There was no one else on the street except some shadowy guy leaning on a lamppost on the other side. I yelled, “Hey, buddy! Hey, pengyou, little help here!”

I got his attention, allright. He sauntered over sucking on a cigarette. I saw he was a cop on the beat. He grinned, clenching his cigarette in his teeth. “Can I help you?” he asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah, get these goons off me! I didn’t do anything to them, there just looking for some trouble.”

Mr Bad Teeth fished out a smoke and lit one for the cop. The cop was in on the setup. “Looks like you’re the one who found trouble, eh, laowai!”

Just then a big white van with all distinguishing features filed off rolled up on cue. The door slid open and the ninjas fell on me like a pack of dingos. Yeah, I managed to disembowel a few with my Staedtler and gouge out a few eyes but the cop socked me with a riot-squad issue electric cattle prod and I woke up in a high mountain retreat with a very sweaty official face like a worried corpse staring at me jabbering in terrible dialect. “Ting bu dong, man, ting bu dong!” I screamed at him.

That got him mad.

He threw a tin plate of water in my face then rolled a crust of bread in a mud puddle and slapped in on the tin tray.

They kept me there for two weeks, people. During that time they tried every conceivable form of torture to get me to confess. From the dread Water Torture where they drip water on you very slowly for days on end to the head-in-a-vice Vegas routine to the biting fleas in the boxers gambit popularized by the Arabs. It was hard but I held out. Finally they let me go and told me to Watch My Back. They also gave me a cool t-shirt that said “I survived the Chinese Water Torture.” I kind of miss it actually, the weather in the mountains is bu cuo and I had time to do a bit of writing.

But things must proceed here.

They were after Wisdom of the East, of course. They knew I knew and they wanted to know to. What is it, this Wisdom? Ahh, but only a few adepts shall know the secrets and they ain’t talking to catty officials or CNN reporters.

Anyway, had to move the site cause the Heat was closing in. Mummy in the Egyptian tomb Heat. Poison dart in the Amazon jungle Heat. Heat, like the sun baking the high Mexican mesas. You know.

The Warmus expostulates this week upon the sudden terror that is gripping the metropolis. The Umbrella Wars. It’s new in Gongfu Voodoo. Are you prepared?

Explanation: Umbrella Wars was basically an illustrated manual of how to survive a rainy day in Shanghai without losing an eye.

Shock Therapy June 16, 2000

People! PEOPLE. People? People, never mind the tragical nature of your lives…there is literature afoot! Never, ever, not since the days of Dial-A-Story, has literature been easier and more accessible to infantilic minds with technical capabilities. Another story brought to you exclusively by your Mysterious Benefactors here at Wisdom of the East. Another Story! Ye gods…This one is a tale of moral bankruptcy, tropical disease, homoerotic fantasy, death worship and a REALLY BIG BAG OF DOPE!

I know, a ten-page story would try the patience of an old Chinese guy who was used to staring at the same patch of concrete for 12 hours a day, but it’s a REALLY BIG bag of dope. That should get the attention of the most Quake-baked collegiate intellect out there. In fact, that might be the only thing which could, short of naked pictures of Laetitia Casta, which I don’t have, and even if I did, wouldn’t be giving them away for free to the likes of you.

But that’s not all! Oh dear heavens, no. Another Wisdom scoop for you, gentle reader, this time coming out of Great Britain (or should we say, Almost-As-Great-As-Portugal Britain). British scientists have recently discovered a remarkable and unsettling fact about China: China repeats itelf every 17 minutes. What does this bode for world stability? For French anarchism? For the old guy in the park? For my friend Pete’s car? Find out, or risk the consequences in Sino Watch.

Upcoming attractions. The shark tamers of Urubu. Drunken, unemployed clowns discuss the socio-historical underpinnings of Marxism. Chinese creation mythology. And something called Jiaozi. Oh yes.

By the way, the links might actually work this time.

Addendum: Incidentally, I actually do now have naked pictures of Laetitia Casta. If want, just leave me a comment at the end with a PO Box.

Shock Therapy June 23, 2000

Summertime and I miss garage sales. Saturday afternoon, pea-green cars lined up at the curb. It was a chance to get to know people again. They pile up all the junk that has accumulated in their lives like dirt under a fingernail and exhibit it like some interactive museum of pathos. Story of their lives spelled out in 25 cents increments: faded clothing, broken gadgets from the 1970′s, high school physics textbooks, typewriter with the K missing, Strawberry Shortcake and her pals with the wiry hair half-pulled out, a set of wooden golf clubs, plaid, plaid, plaid everywhere! I can see it just as I can smell the lemonade from the stand on the street manned by the rascals down the block.

We did that, too, brewed up lemonade in big pitchers, made a capital investment in a sleeve of paper cups, raided the cupboard hostile take-over style for napkins and Oreo cookies (one free with every cup!), and set up a shop of cardtable and plastic chairs on the sidewalk. Dolefully watching the cars roll past one by one. Importuning pedestrians. Drinking all the product. I wouldn’t have made a good drug dealer. Our cherished dreams of green dollar bills falling in a rain from the sky drying up like yesterday’s mudpuddle. By the middle of the afternoon, something good was on television and the project was abandoned to the derelicts and stray dogs.

But making enough money for that attack helicopter wasn’t the point (newspaper recycling was where the big bucks were) nor even the beauty. The genius of the lemonade stand and the garage sale is the pure buyer-seller relationship with no damnable, faceless corporation in between modulating things for the stockholders.

These things are in my veins and remain pure as a game of spin-the-bottle.

Do you see the analogy here? Wisdom of the East is the lemonade stand on the street, the neighborhood garage sale on a Saturday afternoon. No patronizing advertisements, guaranteed. Or is that why you consume mass media?

Internet used to be a brilliant scoop, full of unregulated oddities lurking in the corners, but now it a tired horse hauling a load of stones up a vertical cliff for a bunch of greedcrazed fanatics to drop on the heads of the people down below.

Anyway, got another item on display this week. Nickel Poems and a Parable in the Fiction Department. Tax-free, guilt-free, fat-free, and low in cholesterol! You can’t beat these giveaway prices. Come on down to Tony Wuhan Warmus’ Garage Sale and feed your brain!

Addendum: I can add now that not only is the internet a tired horse hauling a load of stones up a vertical cliff for a bunch of greedcrazed fanatics to drop on the heads of the people down below, but that those stones are us ourselves.

ShockTherapy 14 July 2000 AD.

It’s been a long time, my winged warriors, but your tireless propagandist is back. Badly bruised and somewhat confused, but still functioning like a boxer in the tenth round. More pain! More punishment! Fewer teeth! We don’t give up, we just spin a cocoon and emerge in new form. It is evolution on an incredibly fast scale, self-motivated, directed by sheer will. It is undetermined as yet whether self-directed evolution can occur through mental exertion. I am trying to make myself bulletproof. After that, invisible.

The air is fairly clear today so I take the opportunity to look out as far as I can see. I see an army of empaths on the horizon blushing crimson with pennants and flags in hand. Marching on the capital. I see businessmen scurrying like rats under a hail of stones. I see a dictator who uses techno music to bring his minions to maenadic frenzy, a modern version of Bacchus, and pitched battles between the rock zealots with their motorcycle chains and the rainbow paste techno kids hopped up on goofballs and shooting lazer beams into their veins. I see gleaming metal spaceships launching hourly, the latest news about the moon colony reported on Page 5, a lot of bullshit diplomatic talk regarding “what to do about The Alien Problem.” I see multileveled cities with ski slopes and hot chocolate stands. Parks on the tops of immense platforms. In the summer, the rain sluices through a maze of gutters and pipes and the vegetation is thick and grows furiously, because of certain genetic ‘modifications’, the air is fragrant and rich all year round, nature and city have merged into one, people will gather to watch asteroid collisions and we will see bright flashes from the mining blasts on the moon.

It’s a beautiful day, today. You and I should be out on the lake feet dangling in the water, couple cold beers and time to waste. Memories to split between us. Rats, all we have is some Wisdom. Let’s all grasp hands and sing. “Kum-ba-ya, my Lord, kum-ba-ya.”

This week we inaugurate two NEW FEATURES.

The first is The Main Attraction: the showstopper, the headliner, the coup de grace, the reason to continue living. It’ll put a smile on your glum face. We kick it off with a creepy piece of fiction by Josh Reader. Word is that Josh apparently hasn’t been feeling well lately and has suddenly become very interested in gardening.

The second is People in Your Neighborhood. It’s your neighborhood, but how well do you know the people in it? The Wisdom advance scout team breaks all taboos to find out WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE?

Next week: “SinoWatch II: The Great Panda Conspiracy” or “How the Panda ended up locked up in Sichuan Province…and Why”

Addendum: At some point I made enough progress that I had other people interested in publishing stuff on the site. Too bad I have lost this piece.

ShockTherapy 24 July 2000 AD

And he said to me: “Don’t worry, child, it is simply your punishment for being the way you are.”

This week we got some good stuff for you. A new Gongfu Voodoo column called Media Blues and, as promised, a second installment of Sino Watch: The Great Panda Conspiracy. We are keeping it short today because we at Wisdom just got some new toys for the office: an operational blow gun, two pellet guns, and a xylophone. Power to the people, brothers.

ShockTherapy 24 July 2000 AD

My plants are doing very well, thanks for asking!

Recently, I have become discouraged. A petty life is this, dispensing Wisdom for the People. The people have all the Wisdom they can take and NO ONE needs another street corner prophet. It is a risky and often humiliating profession. I am lucky to have my limbs intact after a day in my pulpit dodging rotten fruits, not to mention my diginity. God is on vacation and his secretary ran off with the janitor. The only person talking to God these days is Yassar Arafat but even he might find himself on the celestial scales pretty soon with that big needle swinging indecisively between Good Egg/Bad Egg. No one is even looking for the Golden Ticket anymore and Charlie Bucket is in some rat-infested home for the crippled and tubercular and Willy Wonka has his own internet start-up firm. The strong survive, the cunning win, the weak become poems and the poets myths. May I suggest the Frickaseed Laborer Goulash? Eet ees SO wonderful tonight!

So I am thinking about giving it all up and becoming a plant geneticist. There seems something to that. Ask yourself: what would you do if you were a plant geneticist? It’s not something people ever think about unless it is to whip the agribusiness multinationals a little and feel smug while spraying themselves with desiccated potassium extracts that also act as serviceable deoderants. What would I do if I were a plant geneticist?

I would engineer plants that grew a hundred times faster than they do now and sprinkle the seeds throughout Shanghai. Then I would sit at the top of the Jin Mao building and wait for the first big rain to come along with two liters of Filipino rum and a magnum of coke. Jesus, this is awful: Axl Rose was right.

So, bide your time, tarry a bit at the Wisdom troughs, before you find yourself trampled by a herd of elephants stampeding down what used to be Huai Hai Lu. This week Our Man from Scotland checks in with a rather stunning anthropological analysis of the some of the more abstruse behavioral modes of the species Peasantus Hubeii Wuhanium.

Know it, Love it, Be it.

Explanation: This premise later became an editor’s letter in Shanghai Talk magazine. Chuckle chuckle guffaw.

ShockTherapy 8 August 2000 AD

80s Pop Star Update: Corey Hart

When you think about it, it’s sad: there are just so many things fucked up and wrong about the world. But a few rays of hope occassionally poke through that menacing cloudcover. Today, I would like to share just one with you. Take heart, all, you can relax and sleep well tonight: Corey Hart is alive and doing well. Phew.

Corey, who is often called the “Mick Jagger of Canada” made a stunning rise to teen pop stardom with his 1983 breakthrough album First Offense at the age of 21 containing such anthems as Sunglasses at Night and Never Surrender. He was apotheosized like unto a Canadian version of Billy Idol.

But Corey had fallen on really rough times recently. There just didn’t seem to be much market for a pouty, spiky-haired French-Canadian pop star in the mid-nineties. No one was buying into that Sunglasses at Night routine and Hart’s debut album had been renamed amongst the Quebec intelligensia as “The First of Many Offenses”. Many hoped the Boy would just STAY in the Box!

Corey went through a four year period where he didn� even go into a recording studio. His marriage broke up in an ugly way and he had a love child with another woman. Corey, No! Instead he sat in the dark moaning and drinking cheap gin mumbling: “Why? Pour quoi? Mon dieu!”

But things turned around and Corey is back writing and producing and, of course, belting out the (adult contemporary) anthems. He is married to some other short-lived flash in the pan French Canadian singer Julie Masse. And best of all, he has penned songs for none other than Celine Dion herself, the Queen of this Quebec resurgency, for whom Canada has yet to apologize.

Corey has three kids now named India, Dante, and River. He got married in a New Mexico desert in a ceremony presided over by a Native American shaman. He lives in the Bahamas (I always wondered what kind of people actually lived there) and still, occassionally, late at night when everyone else is fast asleep, wears his sunglasses.

This week at the Wisdom Vaudeville Hour we have a new Main Attraction: Iquevaca. Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride.

Smell it, Taste it, Kill it.

ShockTherapy 11 August 2000 AD

“What I lack in intelligence I make up for in pure stupidity.”

Excerpt from Annual End-of-Summer Benediction from Capt “Slab” Thompson to the campers at Camp Woolymuckamuck Summer Camp:

Slab, wearing reflective sunglasses khaki shorts and one-size-too-small white t-shirt, is standing with his arms crossed in front of a microphone on a small wooden stage. He looks stoically around at the crowd of 8 and 9 year old sitting Indian style on the ground before him.

“KIDS! Goddam it all, it’s been a one helluva summer. When you first got here, you were just a bunch of average snot-nosed 8 year olds, whiners and puny wimps. TAKE a look at yourselves NOW! What do you see? MEN and WOMEN, ready to hold down corporate jobs and kill foreigners in Cold Blood! MEN and WOMEN worthy to be called Future Americans! MEN and WOMEN ready to vote Republican and hate faggots! Goddammit kids, it brings tears to my eyes just to think of it�

(here the tape records weeping with the faint strains of the Star Spangled Banner wafting gently in the background)

“ENOUGH! Tears are for sissies and homos. You are Camp Woolymuckamuck graduates! You’ve survived twenty mile forced marches. Anal rapes. Swamp Malaria. Leeches and insect swarms. Food deprivation. Attacks from the psychotic child-killer who live in the forest. Guerrilla Jungle Combat with live ammo. And we’ve had some memorable moments together too. Like that time those two troublemakers Lisa and Bart showed up and I ended up hanging from the flagpole in my GODDAM UNDERWEAR! And how about our special visit from that Douglas MacAurther lookalike comedian? And then how about that time we saw some long-haired hippie freaks campin in our woods and we put on those black masks and beat them to LIVING SHIT! Hell YES!

“Boys and girls, MEN and WOMEN, these are memories you’ll take with you as you go through life, make fun of wimps in the neighborhood, join fraternities and sororities, get married, abuse your kids, work at dreadful soul crushing jobs and then die: spiteful, sentimental, and patriotic. BY GOD, This is a Great Land! But there are enemies everywhere. Commies, Pinkos, Democrats, and Art Teachers. Don’t listen to their leftist banter! Get yourself a helpin of Wisdom. Find out about that crazy old guy sitting in Fuxing Park looking at you like a kook in PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Get the full autopsy on the Mao Ming Lu shutdown of last week that has foreigners weeping and plotting from The Ultimate Insider. MEN and WOMEN, there is a fine line between us and them.

“Oh and have a nice Fall.”

The Captain

Addendum: This stuff often reminds me of the newsletter which Morgan Short was writing for SmartShanghai in their glory days of 2010-2013. The Admiral and his bong hits with his ayi and weird cut-off jean shorts and obsession with Carrefour. Way fewer brohammers in ShockTherapy, though.

ShockTherapy 21 August 2000 AD

Fact: more people are injured and killed every year in elevator accidents than in aircraft accidents. Yeah, I know, it really does nothing to convince me to go back up in the air anytime short of never, but it is interesting. So, because Wisdom of the East cares about your well-being, we present a few Elevator Safety Tips and update you as to a few of the more prestigious upcoming events in the Elevator Safety Community.

Elevator Safety Tips

  • Always stand near the control panel.
  • If you suspect trouble or are attacked, push the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible so that the elevator will halt quickly, probably at the next floor.
  • Respond to instinct, intuition or gut reactions. Don’t get on an elevator with someone who makes you feel uneasy.
  • If other passengers get off, leaving you with a person(s) who make you feel uneasy, get off with other passengers and wait for the next elevator.
  • Allow other passengers to push the buttons for their floors first.

*Upcoming Events:

  • Aug 15-17, 2000 – Meet us at our booth at the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities International (NAESA) Annual Convention in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Aug 24, 2000 – NAVTP Fundraiser, Dinner Cruise around Manhattan, 5:30 p.m. Call the Foundation for more details.
  • September 9, 2000 – Wisconsin Elevator Industry Fall Golf Classic Thornberry Creek Country Club.
  • September 20-25, 2000 – Meet us at our booth at NAEC’s Annual Convention in Minneapolis.
  • November 12-18, 2000 – National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week will be celebrated. Start planning now.

For further information check out this website. It has pictures, too!

*some events may not actually be upcoming

ShockTherapy 25 August 2000 AD

It’s raining in Shanghai.

It’s raining in Shanghai and I was nearly disemboweled by a clueless pedestrian on the pavements today. It’s also raining in Hubei and all along the Chang Jiang just like in the pictures. It’s raining in the mountains of Huangshan, it’s raining on the Buddha’s bald head. It’s raining on the prayers of the devout. It’s raining on the schemes of the greedheads. It’s raining on someone’s parade somewhere south of here.

It’s raining in Guangdong, but it always rains in Guangdong and no one cares except the snakes. It’s raining in Guangxi and the whole province may be submerged like Atlantis, never to be found again, if it doesn’t let up. It’s raining in the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the peasant girls have put up their washing and scurried inside, except for one who is doing pirouettes.

It’s raining in my heart for someone on a different continent.

They say when it rains in one place in China, it is raining in all other places in China at the same time and that makes some sense. Perhaps it is an artifact of being one time zone. One voice, one people, one motherland

ShockTherapy 1 September 2000 AD

And so, my flock, it happened in the twelve year of the fifteenth month of the reign of Abu Abu Abu, who was as we know Prince of the Golden Palm and the chosen successor the Grand Ruler Nabozz, who himself was a rather a crack at billiards and golf, as famine hung heavy over the barren lands, and children grew thin and lethargic and finally expired altogether with only a slight whimper which the stray cats interpreted as the doings of resident mice, it came as no surprise that a hero should be born, reared, and loosed upon this world of decadence and evil ways, to reclaim the glorious past via popular ballads and slow, woeful dirges uttered in the watery moonlight under the bastion Tower Dread in which resided wizards, schemers, executives, eunuchs, middle managers, bureaucrats of every size, rainbow-colored ravers, trend worshipers of the False Idylls, children grown fat on the misery of the masses, spoiled brats crying because they had to got to bed at 9pm before their favorite television programs, and pundits who tried vainly to make it all seem sensible and worthwhile.

It was in this matrix of doomed sentiment and bastardized hope, that our Hero began his eternal Calumba Dance with a pair of moraccas and a tight-fitting vest of silk. And it was called by the people, the wonder electric in their eyes: Wisdom.


Get yourself down to the Wisdom Used Advice Lot this weekend! Haul in your old, tired out nuggets of truth and trade them in for a nice hone-spun homily or a shiny new axiom at Factory Direct prices. Can you beat that for a three-eyed muskrat? This week we have a new Main Attraction on the lot: The Executive. For the man of executive tastes.

And when you come down, ask for old Tony “Cheddar Cheese” Wuhan and I’ll setcha straight! That’s a Wisdom of the East guarantee.

One giant cloud stretching from here to eternity.

A spoonful of Wisdom for those so inclined: an open letter to venture capitalists in Gongfu Voodoo. We’re running low of barley, wheat germ, fine linens, salt, beef jerky, comic books and rum. We’ve all got scurvy aboard the Great Wisdom Ship and there is still a long, long way to go.

ShockTherapy 15 September 2000 AD

Today I want to discuss a topic that I’m sure has been on many people’s mind recently: mythological exegesis.

When planning to undertake a thorough analysis of the mechanics of mythological construction and dissemination, it is wise to consider which would be the most appropriate vector for such a study, for many present themselves. Most people would immediately think of something in pop culture, a trend of some kind. Perhaps one would choose to trace the evolution of the so-called “boy-bands” which are legion today. Just as easily, one could follow the rise of female teenage pop singers which also now number in the hundred thousands.

But there is a grave risk associated with such a choice: the popular attitude toward these phenomena. In addressing them, deconstructivists attempt little more than comparative lessons–yesterday vs today, boy bands vs girl bands, teenagers vs old people–for the purpose of making predictions, sounding hip, and potentially influencing the stock market for personal gain. No, it is a dead end road and which terminates with your mind being filled with demonically catchy pop riffs, crippling to even the most dispassionate of mythological researcher.

Therefore I can suggest nothing less than science as the appropriate analytical vector for this type of mythological study. This is because no one gets science and they heartily admit it. Unlike with a “boy band” phenomenon which most people will feel they should get, even if they haven’t a clue, the populace at large generally thinks the opposite about science: they aren’t supposed to get it, just like the ancient religions. Furthermore, when someone latches onto a scientific concept, it is always with an illustrative example culled from quotidien life. If you are observant, you can watch this example be passed around and modified ineptly like a popular joke from cocktail party to newsroom to bedroom and back. Because science progesses rapidly, over the course of a short time you can witness the construction of great explanatory symbolic mythologies steeped in the kind of universal ignorance that is most fertile to mythology.

Without question, this is the most efficient and plenary way of approaching the study symbolic evolution.

By the way, Wisdom of the East is six months old this week and we have a new Gongfu Voodoo entitled Pedestrians: The Endangered Species for your Friday’s literary repast. Buy it, Sell it, Put it in Escrow.

Wisdom of the East….ISO105 certified.

MetaShockTherapy 15 September 2000 AD

Forgot about the gnu feature in The Heap called the Weekend Guide. The much loved and feared Culture Fascist will list all the random bits that surface in the soup we are stirring, updated every Thor’s-day or Freya-day. If you have some sort of event to announce, I suggest finding a vehicle with more than a dozen viewers to do it in. But if you really don’t care about things like that, then let me know and in it goes.

Any bets on how many gold medals the Chinese team wins in Sydney?

ShockTherapy 22 September 2000 AD

Dear friends, is there really any better feeling than saying “I QUIT, YOU LOUSY TURD!” to a corporate boss? Yes, of course there is, but keep in mind that I have also stolen the last of the Uniball Vision pens from the supply drawer, told off all the people I dislike, filched a few floppy discs, and wired the building to explode ten minutes after I leave. That about covers the bases, I think.

In honor of this joyous and historic occassion that will one day be immortalized by blind poets and pop divas, check out the short story, The Celebration, on Wisdom this week. Plus a rant about literature in Gongfu Voodoo.

Death to the Corporate Bloodsuckers.

Addendum: That was right after I had quit my corporate job and been hired on as Managing Editor of Shanghai Talk magazine.

ShockTherapy 30 October 2000 AD

“Doctor? Doctor, what’s the matter? Is she gonna live? Give it to me straight, doc, is she gonna make it?”

“Sir, it’s bad, very bad. The phrenum was pierced multiple times with a blunt object and her brain has been stirred around in her skull like scrambled eggs. Her blood was drained by a pack of teenage vampires and those alien abductors couldn’t have been too kind either. If she recovers at all, she’s likely to have the mental capacity of a martini now. But, dammit, let’s try anyway. Nurse, I need 20 cc’s of morphine and dolomite, immediately! Ahhh, that’s better. Now three caps of adrenochrome chop chop right in the eyeball of this hopeless mess.”

“Doc, she’s starting to move!”

“Stand back, man! For the love of god stand back and let me breath! Okay, now nurse let’s juice her with about 50 mega-amps of Don Caballero…Again!…AGAIN!”

“Doc, it’s working! She’s coming to!”

“I’m a professional, of course it’s working. Now tickle her feet with an ostrich feather. Tickle for all your worth!”

Gaa gaa and slobber sounds in background as the woman struggles for consciousness. The doctor and the husband gasp simulateously.

“She’s alive! ALIVE!”

The husband leans in close to his wife, “Honey? Honey, can you hear me? Honey, it’s me, your hubby wubby. Honey, please, say something!”

The woman’s eyelids suddenly flip open like snapped window blinds. She hisses and with lightning quickness flashes out her claws, grabbing the doctor and the husband by the throats, and says,

“Yeah, I’ve got something to say, Wisdom of the East is back, punks, and this time no one is safe.”

ShockTherapy 03 November 2000 AD

Gather round, kids, I want to tell you a story that Aesop forgot to tell.

Creating a universe varied and exciting enough to keep a bunch of hyperactive primates happily entertained was no easy task. A certain amount of subtle skill is involved. If you’ve ever tried to create something out nothing, you may know something about this. Anyway, God knows a hell of a lot about it. I mean, penguins, right? The Almighty made penguins!

And penguins are pretty cool.

So God made penguins and quantum mechanics, Soul Coughing and mime, Mozambique and Nick at Nite. God even had a hand in Michael Jackson (early Michael Jackson, not that late shit). And God did it all for us, so that we would have things to wonder about and smile at which would keep us happily occupied for some time.

And for some time we were just that.

Then things started to go wrong. Greedy people started oppressing other people for quick profits. The penguins were decimated by oil slicks. Some idiot invented the stock market. Everything was advertised. People stopped talking to one another and wondering about gravity and would instead only check stock quotes and worry about old age. And then Michael Jackson was brought up on child molesting charges. God was pissed, you understand. All that hard work…RUINED!

So God sat down and thought what he should do to pay us back. He thought and thought. And finally he hit upon an idea. And God invented PR managers.

And that is where PR people come from.

The end.

ShockTherapy 10 November 2000 AD

The rumblings from across the pond are ominous, people. Yesterday’s pulled quotes said it all, “America in uncharted unconstitutional waters”, “Greatest challenge to Democracy in a hundred and fifty years”. Nixon must be gurgling in his grave. Why? Because of a little county in Florida, Palm Beach County, and a little matter of a vote re-count.

The vote recount, which is now being overseen by TWO former Secretaries of State, and the results of which one of the candidates has already said he will refuse to accept, will be done by hand and will not even be finished until November 17 when the deadline for overseas ballots expires. It has evolved into an ambiguous contention over “ill-designed” ballots and senile old half crazy retirees from Ohio and Indiana who somehow managed to vote for two presidential candidates on the same ticket, one of whom was Pat Buchanan. The other of whom was Big Al himself. Now Big Al is incensed. He wants to know what the hell Pat Buchanan was doing on his ballot and why his name was printed in real small letters way down at the bottom. Ari Fleischer, Bush campaign manager, just smiles and says, “Oh, well, you know Palm Beach County has always been strong Buchanan territory.” Buchanan, you may not know, goes all the way back to Nixon and Watergate. He has been in White House politics longer than you’ve been alive. In that time, Nixon fell, Carter was booed off stage, Reagan saddled up for eight years, Bush survived Iran-Contra, Clinton was nearly impeached, and now this. The bell doth toll again. What does it all mean and how will it all end?

Scooby Doo ending: A careful investigation by the Pinkerton Detective Agency reveals that the Palm beach County electorate isn’t whom it purports to be. In a gripping conclusion, Palm Beach County rips off its mask to reveal….the 700 Club!

But even darker days could be on us. Lady Democracy was caught with her garters off in a back room at a KOK joint. Al Gore declares the election invalid and demands a new election. Ari Fleischer gets nervous and says, “No way, pal.” Clinton tries to play middleman just like he is doing in the Middle East to approximately the same effect. Gore and his minions declare war on Bush and the constitution is suspended. Gore leads his procession of armed and juiced redneck zombies into DC and they barricade the city all the way out to the Beltway. Special passes and holographic ID cards are required for entry or exit. Sniffer dogs roam the streets of Northwest which are dark and despairing. The whole nation is thrown into a state of bitterness and betrayal. The world stops its knitting to watch. But nothing is heard except the incessant whine of helicopters overhead.

“Who will save us?” the people cry. Ah, yes, who indeed. There is one. One on the inside. One with enough gumption and superpowers and plain old stick-to-it-iveness to get the job done, no matter how many Democrats need to be slapped around. A resourceful lobbyist for the New York State Education Department by day, an unstoppable force of righteousness by night. NASH!

Nash! Agent Nash! Do you hear our calls? Give us a sign! Show us the light in these dark, dark days…

Addendum: Agent Nash was my old BFF Cori Nash who really did work for the NYSED.


ShockTherapy 24 November 2000 AD

Slug update. Though the weather has turned decidedly colder, it seems not to have affected the slugs. I was worried for a few days, you see. The wind had kicked up and even in my apartment with the heaters full blast I didn� feel warm. How would the slugs take it? Adding fuel to my worries, the slugs did not appear for several nights in succession. Oh no! But they did, the other night, finally. And you know what? They have a Slug, Jr! That� right. The slugs who live in my garden and come into my kitchen nightly to forage for fallen scraps of food have a little one! Wow! I feel just like a parent myself.

I have contacted several news agencies and hope to have photos in all the major monthlies soon (as soon as I can get them not to slam the phone down on me when I call). National Geographic has expressed interest and Nature may be sending a team of scientists to collect samples and take photographs. Won� they be surprised when they see the various tricks I have taught the slugs! My favorite trick is the one where I hold my index fingers pointed out about body� width apart and they leap from finger to finger like tiny acrobats. The quiet majesty of that moment, I tell you. Sometimes I just like to let my slugs crawl all over me, especially if I haven� showered for several days. They most like to suck on my eyeballs for awhile. That� a special treat for both of us.

So, to conclude, drop your cares away and forget your worries, because the slugs are just fine and so am I! And if it gets any colder…well…there’s plenty of room in the bed!

Thus ends the short but storied history of ShockTherapy. Over the next couple of months I’m going to dredge out a few of the writings from that time period and post them here. Let the past live!

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