Friday, October 31, 2008

The Witch Head Nebula

Happy Halloween! The image of the nebula is courtesy of those lovable nerds over at

Monday, October 20, 2008

What the Rest of the World Thinks

I found this graph today. It speaks volumes about what the Bush presidency has meant for U.S. standing in the world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Gives A Damn About The Stock Market?

There is strong element of sarcasm in the headline, but there is also an earnestness. Who really suffers from these volatile financial markets? And for that matter, who benefits from them? In the past week, the DJIA took triple digit losses for something like six days in a row. Then yesterday, there was a nearly-quadruple-digit rally. It makes me wonder, who are the people buying and selling that number of shares? They aren't anyone I know.

Like the winners and losers on American Idol, who represent a tiny fraction of musicians and artists, it seems that in spite of how large the stock market looms in our collective consciousness, we are actually thinking about a relatively small number of people who control it. Ordinary folks just have to sit anxiously by and hope their favorite mutual fund doesn't face Simon Cowell's virulent tongue. The only difference is that the stakes are retirement, health care, and municipal works, rather than merely bearing witness to someone else's fifteen minutes of lame.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fiddling While Rome Burns

I love my Google home page. It distills a lot of information I want from the web at a glance each morning, and indeed throughout the day. And sometimes it even provides me with great ironic content as well. Take this collection of news stories:
Six headlines. Four of them grimly confirm the economic crisis that has the world by the throat, one of them illustrates the dangers of unchecked government spying. And then there's this: "McCain Joins Attacks on Obama Over Radical." 5600 related stories! There is a global financial crisis, war and genocide and terrorism are rampant, domestic spying is on the rise, civil liberties are being systematically eroded, and the best McCain can do is to perform a "guilt-by-association" hatchet job on Obama.

Maybe Nero wasn't so bad after all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grampa Jim

My grandpa died today.

One of the many difficult things that comes with dealing with a death in the family is an awareness that there have been words left unsaid and deeds left undone. My relationship with him feels somehow unfinished, and now it must remain so. I suppose one cannot truly "finish" a relationship. But it hurts to feel the loss of someone so dear and so lively in heart and mind. There were many things I would have yet liked to have learned from him, and I long to hear more tales from his life in his own words.

I am grateful to have known him and I am very proud to be counted among his grandchildren.