Saturday, January 07, 2006

Let us now praise famous men

1/5/06: Get Out of Your Own Way at Work ... and Help Others Do The Same by Mark Goulston, M.D. It's not a bad book, with 40 bite-sized chapters about how to overcome procrastination, impulsiveness, and so forth. The author's a psychiatrist, so I'm sure he knows which buttons to push. Still, if I were he, I don't think I'd mention that I advised the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson trial.

1/6/06: David Denby's profile of James Agee in The New Yorker.

Agee was impressed by the notion that other human beings idiosyncratically are what they are, in every ornery fibre. Flesh, bone, desire, consciousness — in almost every way, the farmers were different from him and therefore obdurate in their singleness and as capable of pleasure and misery as he. A young couple sitting on a porch and staring at Agee had in their eyes “so quiet and ultimate a quality of hatred, and contempt, and anger, toward every creature in existence beyond themselves, and toward the damages they sustained, as shone scarcely short of a state of beatitude.”

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Momo reading

1/4/06: An article in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert about butterflies in England, wet socks, and global warming. A mite twee even for me.

Mo' reading

I can barely keep up with my wife, son, and cat

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Of course, I'm just jealous that The Edge hasn't asked for my deep thoughts

We're number one

Well, UT is, anyway :-)
The last time Texas won, I was younger than Joey is now. I have fond memories of watching the Arkansas game with my dad in 1969.

I don't know where Vince Young comes from, but it's not planet Earth.

Today's science headlines

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Extremism in the exploration of the Kuiper belt is no vice

Les Is More ...

Think about that, ladies and gentlemen – 380 degrees below zero and we are spending $650 million of our taxpayers dollars so we can fly by Pluto at 30,000 miles per hour!

And if this seems to you to be a ultimate folly of colossal waste, consider the following additional opportunity for NASA extremist exploration:

If the New Horizons spacecraft remains in good condition and additional funding becomes available, the spacecraft will be aimed toward one or two "Kuiper Belt objects," mysterious icy worlds which can barely be seen in the largest Earth-based telescopes. Mr. Stern called the Kuiper Belt "the largest structure in our solar system, dotted with almost a half-million worlds and worldlets that are 4 billion years old."

Think about that, too! And multiply 500,000 worlds (and worldlets) times $650,000,000. That equals $325 trillion!

Shouldn't that be $650 million x 500,000 worlds x -380 degrees x 30,000 miles per hour, equaling -$3705000000000000000000 degrees miles worlds/hour? That's an even bigger number!

That much money simply doesn't exist. I don't think 100 billion is even a number. It's like saying I want a kajillion bajillion dollars.

Bedtime reading

1/1/06: After Iraq invaded Iran in 1980
... Iraq's aggression resulted in a surge of patriotism in Iran ... Instead of being welcomed as liberators by Khuzistani Arabs [in Iran] ... as the Iraqi forces had been made to believe, they found themselves facing spirited resistance.
The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict by Dilip Hiro.

1/2/06: Read album reviews in the 25th anniversary issue of The Big Takeover. It's good to know that Gang of Four is better than ever. I don't know how the editor manages to write all those incisive, snarkless pieces. Even though we've never met, I'm proud of him because our best friends in California are his sister and her family.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Hello Mum. It was wicked."

We saw the inspiring My Shakespeare on PBS tonight.

Outstanding in their field

Can you feel it? Electricity running through your body
Powerline Induction, a photograph by Marcus Shirley from an installation by Richard Box (from Harper's, September 2005).

The first story of 2006

Last night Christine suggested we make lists for 2005 and 2006 - books read, movies seen, favorite memories, our hopes for the coming year. With my middle-aged memory, I could only recall two great books I'd read in '05 off the top of my head - Persepolis (and Persepolis 2) by Marjane Satrapi and Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux - even though I read all the time. So I'm going to post things I read in 2006 to help those shiftless neurons. Last night's bedtime reading: Bulldog by Arthur Miller, from the short-story collection Telling Tales. Short, bittersweet. 9 out of 10.