Weird Dream

I dreamed that the family and I went to NYC for a visit and befriended Paul Krugman, his wife Robin Wells, and John Cleese in a bookstore. They invited us to a birthday party, but we could not go.



It's been quite quiet here. I haven't had much to write, and have been sort of busy. Things slowed down there for a couple of weeks in September. October was fairly calm except for our longish excursion West. November is dawning crisp and calm. I expect the calmness could pass soon (Super Committee-related scurrying may be in order around the end of the month).

Occasionally I'll think about life before we moved here and it seems so long ago. Strange how just a couple or a few years can make for so much distance.


Still Here

Alive, hanging in there. Just a busy bee.



The song "Carolina" by Ben Gibbard and Andrew Kenny is pretty but dark.
You never learn.
The rules have changed
since we were nine.
This isn't school,
boys don't assault
the girls they like.
The taste of blood,
the claim of love;
these two will hereon
cease to be
sprouting from
your fists and tongue:
this Carolina waits for me.


Fantastic Quotation

“Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.” — Joyce Carol Oates
See Futility Closet


Top Shot

Pretty amusing program. In one challenge they use a Barrett M82A1. I shot that some time ago, at 400 yards. They did it at 1000 yards. Wow! Cool!



So it seems to be spring here. How about there?


Such a Sap

Saw an ep of "Premier League World" that had a segment about Shaun Wright-Phillips. He's heavily involved in a charity for children. They showed him playing silly games with the kids. Awwww.



Since I returned to the exercise routine a couple of weeks back I've been swimming, rather than running. The pain in the joints and the tedium was not too attractive, so I opted for a change. I've done 1200 yards Saturday, Sunday, and this evening. Was very tired about half-way through, this evening. Not too bad, over all. Would be nice if I was *better* at swimming, though.


From here:
[America] housed four hundred thousand Nazis on American soil during the war. We wet ourselves over housing one hundred seventy-two miscellaneous troglodytes from Afghanistan… many years after the war. It’s just too dangerous!
Now, I'm not some "Good Old Days" apologist, but apparently we were made of sterner stuff back when.


Effin' is True

There's a show on G4 called "Effin' Science." In the space of minutes, there was about a dozen examples of them effin' it up. OTOH, they did some chicken cannonades and other fun things. On yet another hand, they were desperately unsafe with a couple of things they did.


Memory Fail

There was a Comedy Central special (years ago), that featured female comedians. There were two really hilarious comedians: one (Sharon Houston) did a really funny bit about her fabulous wedding... there was another really funny lady, but I can't remember much other than she was funny as heck and sort of reminded me of a younger Brett Butler. So it's impossible to track her down (try googling "comedian who likes pot").



Since the last month or so of work has been busy and somewhat unpleasant I've taken a break from blogging and from exercising (more or less). Today I had a fortuitous meeting out of the office to end the day, so I got home early. I went to the pool and swam 800 yards. It was not too bad. I'm holding steady at 160 lbs, down from 178 at the New Year, so that's pretty good (since I've also taken a break from the improved eating habits we've been instituting here in the household since 1 Jan 11).



Made some simply delicious biscuits and gravy for dinner. Susan gets those frozen pillsbury biscuits, and I ovened up some of them. While I was doing that I was dicing about one medium large onion (actually a half medium white and a quarter large red) and one large orange pepper up, then sauteeing in a bit of oil and salt and pepper. Then I added about a half cup slice mushrooms and let the cook up a bit. I then popped four chicken thighs into the pan, having cleared some room so they'd get a nice sear on. I seasoned the side facing up with a bit of garlic, salt, and pepper and flipped them for the same treatment on the other side after about a minute. Then I added about half a cup of white whine and half a cup of veggie stock. Agitate a bit, then when you've got a medium bubble going again, flip, and stir. When that achieves a medium bubble again, reduce heat and simmer. After a few more minutes, the chicken is done. Pull the thighs out and puree the braise. Pour that over your chicken and biscuits and enjoy. It was very tasty and super easy.


Hmm, Maybe Not

Busy streak resumed 1 day after I thought it was to end. Put some things to bed today, have a whole 'nuther effort to start, yesterday. Had an interesting experience, not actually at work, but work-related. Nice to be in demand, sometimes. Sometimes, though, it is just scary (what if you mess up?).



Hit a pretty busy streak there in mid-February. May be letting up for a couple of weeks, followed (possibly) by some more franting (frantically working). It's funny, because we're about 180° out of phase with the rest of our organization.


The Measure of America

A cool website. here. Lots of maps and data about human development in America.



The Punic Wars began in 264BC. In 1985, the Mayor of Rome signed a peace treaty with the Mayor of Carthage, formally ending their hostilities after 2248 years.


Add Just One Thing--But You Have to Take One Thing, Too

Kids these days are so unprepared for college/the real world! They have no skills/critical thinking/knowledge base! Aack! I recall reading (somewhere) of a litany written more than one hundred years ago deploring the decline of the admissions requirements for some elite college. The writer was incensed that Latin and Greek were no longer both mandatory (possibly provided proficiency in one other modern language).

Truly, things are always already in decline.

I would agree, however, that there is a serious problem: a small portion of high school graduates are either functionally illiterate. That's just unconscionable. Another serious problem: too many kids these days (!) can't do math. More problems: no knowledge of how things interact with one another in the world, etc.

Most people would agree that these are significant ills. But what to do? Lots of people have great ideas about how to fix things... "if only they could add a class on estimating!" or "what they really need is training in life skills!" or "why don't they just..." Fine. I agree! But there are only so many hours in a school day (and only so many school days in a year [and both hours and days cost money, people, and you have to pay the dreaded taxessss to fund it-oops, guess that'll be the day, right?]). So: what would you add, and what would you take away to make room?



We watched Portlandia the other day. Susan had seen ads and so TiVo'd it. There was included a funny little music video called "Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland." I enjoyed it. Of course it underscores how great Portland is.



Just what the hell is Brooks trying to say here? Has to be read to be believed.


One of Nature's Iron Laws

Susan gave me a mandoline for Christmas. Within a day of receipt I cut off a hunk of my thumb. Because I is smrt.



As you might now know from Susan's blog, we went down to Charlottesville for a quick trip last week. We saw James Madison's home, The UVa, and Thomas Jefferson's home. It was interesting, and generally very nice.

However... as I think more and more about it, I find that whatever their other virtues, it is almost impossible to admire "The Founders" on any personal level. They may have been diligent, intelligent, and full of righteous abstemiousness, but they owned other people. Bought and sold them, often without regard to their family or other attachements. They almost certainly engaged in illicit and ethically problematic relationships with them... And I find it impossible to believe that they didn't know it was wrong (obviously some even acknowledged the practice was evil, but didn't stop).

It's pretty "icky," for lack of a better word. I also am not at all sure that I can excuse it based on the norms of the times. Clearly the people we're talking about thought long and hard about ethical matters-and hardly lacked either insight or the fortitude to engage in perilous change.