On Regret…

There's a very good biography about Buckminster Fuller written by Lloyd Steven Sieden. Fuller had a 4-year-old daughter Alexandra who suffered through the toughest of times. She caught the 1918 "Spanish" flu (which claimed several members of my ancestor's family), then meningitis, and finally polio. She survive all these illnesses with courage, if not frailty, until the age of 4.In the fall of her 4th year, Fuller headed off from New York to Boston by train to attend the Harvard-Yale football game. (This was when American rules football was still little more than an American version of … [Read more...]

If I Were King, March 2010 Edition

It wasn't too long ago that I heard about an 80 year old woman who went in to a Florida Department of Motor Vehicles office, renewed her drivers license, and promptly slammed her enormous Cadillac into a large tree at the edge of the parking lot. Inspectors on the scene said that she had to be going at least 50 mph to inflict that much damage to the car and to the tree. I repeat AT LEAST 50 MPH IN A SMALL PARKING LOT!I've often maintained that driving, though ingrained into the American psyche, is a privilege and not a right. Part of that privilege is maintaining your skills and not being a … [Read more...]

Michael Pollan and the New Food Rules

I've been a follower of Michael Pollan ever since his book called the Botany of Desire. I was even more amazed by his next book, The Omnivore's Delimma.Now, he's got a new and very small book called Food Rules, which in a way is a completely different way to fix America's health and obesity crisis. One of his quotes struck me as especially prescient "I think we need to recognize that cheap food has a very high cost, in terms of health and the environment. That cost is getting paid by other people, by the public health system. That's part of the problem and the disconnect. I think that's where … [Read more...]

2009 – Tough on the Economy and Tough on Truth

If you're interested in even-handed, but accurate information about all of the political claims made over the past year, then I strongly recommend you take a look at FactCheck.org.I enjoyed their Whoppers of 2009 article, pointing out those who stretched the truth among liberals, conservatives, and various special interest groups.Let me know what you think,-Kev … [Read more...]

6 Minutes, 50 Years

Can I get a "Roll Tide!" When I was growing up in northern Alabama, the legendary Coach Bear Bryant was leading the Crimson Tide to championship after championship. (I eventually had to entirely forsake watching SEC football in the mid-1990's because, well, the Tide wasn't rolling like it used to and every loss turned me grumpy for days.) He was said to be such a good coach that he could switch teams and still beat his opponent with either team because he made more of a difference for victory than did the players themselves.Bear's speech to his Alabama football team before a 1974 game included … [Read more...]

Changing Thoughts on Tithing

I recently stumbled across a couple articles about tithing that got my mental gears turning. First, on Slate, I encountered this article in an advice column where a reader asked whether it was ok to suspend their tithing while they paid off a credit card. Then I further read about tithing on a more global and historical basis in an article on CBS Sunday.This whole discussion got me thinking about, despite the protest of our most conservative citizens, that our Christian history and ethos informs and colors so much of what the US government does. For example, governments have never paid to … [Read more...]

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveler from an antique landWho said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stoneStand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;And on the pedestal these words appear:"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"Nothing beside remains. Round the decayOf that colossal wreck, … [Read more...]

50 NYT Words

The venerable New York Times keeps track of when readers use an on-line service to look up a word in one of their stories. Here are the 50 words most often looked up in 20009. I put the ones that I knew in italics. How's your vocabulary stack up?sui … [Read more...]

Great Sites to Add to Your Favorites

In no particular order ...Bartleby Reference: Bartleby.com combines the best of both contemporary and classic reference works into the most comprehensive public reference library ever published on the web.How Cell Phones Work: Have you ever wondered how a cell phone works? What makes it different from a regular phone? What do all those terms like PCS, GSM, CDMA and TDMA mean? This HowStuffWorks discusses the technology behind cell phones so that you can see how amazing they really are. If you are thinking about buying a cell phone, be sure to check out How Buying a Cell Phone Works to learn … [Read more...]

Trivia

• The Federal Office of Business Activity and Productivity estimates that $502 million dollars are lost each year due to reduced productivity due to April Fool's Day pranks. When asked, the bureau declined to estimate how much it had cost to arrive at that estimate.• As of 2008, no fewer than 84 different publicly funded institutes of higher learning had federally-funded programs to monitor so-called "pork barrel" spending.• In the United States, approximately 3.431 percent of federal employees work on any given federal holiday.• In an average year, 169 lawsuits are filed in Federal court … [Read more...]