Re: Hofstadter Symposium (Saturday-night fairyland in Palo Alto)

From: john grigg (
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 15:44:55 MDT

Mike Linksvayer wrote:
Later I wondered around Palo Alto while waiting for the next Caltrain. I
hadn't been there in a few years. On a saturday night, it's like fairyland.
Healthy and obviously wealthy people literally spilling out of every
immaculate restaurant. Someone went out of their way to pickup a pen I
dropped in the bustle. Even the sole homeless man seemed to be doing pretty
well. Reminded me of Santa Barbara, except that Stanford is where the ocean
would be, and the workers aren't mostly Mexican. Amazing what extraordinary
wealth can do. Don't imagine too many happy faces there today (NASDAQ

Your words really captured my imagination. I wish I had been there to see
it myself. It must be 'strange' visiting a community where there is such
wealth and yet the people are still 'friendly' and down to earth, at least
in part. I have read about the nature of gated communities which some of
these people probably live in. Ever read _Oath of Fealty_? lol

In Anchorage there is a generally high standard of living and some very
wealthy but there is plenty of poor and lower middle-class mixed in too. Of
course the wealthy here like to have their own events and gatherings such as
the miner and trappers ball held during Fur Rondy. People dress in very
expensive finery that harkens back to the turn of the century. The ticket
price is relatively low at $100 per person but generally only those of a
certain 'station' attend.

As I read the paragraph I thought of the Bruce Sterling novel _Holy Fire_
with its world of relative prosperity. Perhaps in fifty years what you
described will be the norm in the developed world and not fairy-like

I found your comments about the sole homeless man appearing to do well
rather funny! Trickle-down economics? And the observation about the
Mexican workers everywhere as rather eye-opening. So, we still need our
cheap labor to keep costs down even if we berate them for trying to come
over here for a better life. One day I will have to visit California for

When I lived in Louisiana and Mississippi for two years I got a very close
look at the polar opposite of what you described. And the rich
upper-classes who lived surprisingly close to poor areas sure invested alot
of money restoring their huge antebellum homes.


John Grigg
Get Your Private, Free Email at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:03 MDT