Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Last night was a constant reminder of the sheer improbability of Barack Obama's rise. Knowing how important good daddies are to succeeding, that he could make it to Harvard Law School and be elected by his peers as President of the Law Review without any guidance from his daddy...well that's beyond my ability to fathom and comprehend. He made the improbable happen. How did he do that?
To be the nominee of the Democratic party, when eight years ago he couldn't even get a ticket to the event, again, it's beyond my ability to fathom and comprehend how he did that. He once again made something completely improbable happen.
There can be only one explanation - greatness.
It makes me curious what completely improbable accomplishments he will make happen for our entire country. I'm excited to find out.
Godspeed, Barack Obama, Godspeed.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Two months to the day after putting my house on the market, I rented it to terrific tenants who leased it with an option to buy.
So you know what that means???
I'm moving to Prague!
I'm moving to Prague!
I'm moving to Prague!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
A good illustration of our conflicting attitudes toward the communist past was a recent discussion in the Czech Parliament of a the new state-run Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, which is to hold and study the communist archives. In giving the institute such a complicated name, lawmakers had to define “totalitarianism.” In the end, they decided that totalitarianism in the Czech Republic includes the entire period from the communist takeover in 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989.Oppression has always produced great art, hasn't it? Solzhenitsyn comes to mind. Lack of oppression, if it doesn't produce equally great art, has the consoling attribute of producing great wealth.
But including 1968 in the totalitarian period makes it difficult to explain how it’s possible that the Prague Spring produced works of literature, film and drama more significant than anything the country has produced since the fall of communism.
Link to the article via the title.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Within a few blocks of daughter #1's new apartment there is a Japanese, Peruvian, Laotian, Swiss, and Vietnamese restaurant. I especially admire the exuberance of the Vietnamese owners, they called theirs the "I'm Here" restaurant.
The last time I had any exposure to Peruvian culture was my fourth grade shoebox diorama on the Incas, so I voted for the Peruvian restaurant called "Inka Heritage." It was a choice we did not regret.
I chose Tres Leches.
The spongy cake and liquid under whipped creme
was interesting texturally.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Hat's off to Bill Fitzgerald of Yahoo Sports for showing a gold medal sense of humor and fun. Link to the story via the title.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"What difference would that make in the fitness of my blood," I asked.
"Mad cow disease. They don't want it entering the U.S. blood supply."
What? If I eat a hamburger in EU, do I have to worry about such things? Do y'all worry about getting Mad Cow Disease via your beef consumption over there? I thought we, the Americans, were supposed to have beef Europeans objected to, not the other way around.
What's up with that?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
"The one connecting dot in all my experiences has been a passion for history and a desire to learn from it. Not the enumeration of monarchs and treaties that so often pass for academic knowledge, but the surging vitality from below that so often impels change and truly defines cultures. The novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote vividly about war and peace, showing us the drawing rooms and idiosyncrasies of Russia's elite. But in reality, he was telling us that great societal changes are most often pushed along by tsunami-deep impulses that cause the elites to react, far more than inspire them to lead. And this, in my view, is the greatest lesson of political history. Entrenched aristocracies, however we want to define them, do not want change; their desire instead is to manage dissent in a way that does not disrupt their control. But over time, under the right system of government, a free thinking people have the energy and ultimately the power to effect change."
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Wow, was that Olympic Opening Ceremonies ever a party. I totally agree with my President (which I note cause it so rarely happens) that when someone has spent billions on throwing a party that you're invited to, it's not the time to talk about your biggest areas of disagreement. It wouldn't be effective. But your friends might listen to you, when they know you're their friends because you were there to share their greatest achievement.
Including little Lin Hao, the nine-year-old boy who had saved two of his classmates during the earthquake, in the opening ceremonies was absolutely brilliant. Yao Ming, the Chinese basketball player who shepherded him in, explained it so eloquently when he said this little boy's leadership spoke to the future of China if he knew how to behave heroically at age nine.
I guess we can't think of Communists as the world's largest creators of bad architecture anymore. It's exciting to see the role fantastic architecture and great engineering are playing in these games. The bird's nest and the water cube are sooooooo exciting and innovative. When you're achieving 11% GDP growth are you still Communists though? You've passed over to the other side. Last night was a presentation of excellence. I felt proud as a fellow human being!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This week daughter #1 and I had the pleasure of exploring Starved Rock State Park, voted by the citizens of this state as one of the seven wonders of Illinois. Entrance to the park is free.
Daughter #2 would have come with us, however she is, as Woody Allen so famously described himself, "two with nature."
including 28 submarines
We went for a day of hiking along the Illinois River and to see the park's sandstone canyons that make it such a fun and pretty place to hike. The hiking patch for the state park describes the park as the place "where Illinois began."
Here is the late 1700's legend that gave Starved Rock State Park it's name:
Pontiac, a great Ottawa chieftain, had gone down to the southern part of Illinois to negotiate trade agreements with the French. During his stay he was murdered by an Illinois of the area. Word got back to his tribe and they wanted to avenge Pontiacs' death. So the Potawatomi and Fox, sub-tribes of the Ottawa people, paddled down river and attacked the Illinois village by Starved Rock.
For several days the attack raged on. By the end of the attack the Illinois people were reduced by half and the Potawatomi and Fox returned to regroup. The Illinois knew that in order to survive they had to leave the area. They decided to seek refuge on top of the rock. They climbed up to the summit of the rock hoping that the Potawatomi and Fox would by-pass them on their way southward. Unfortunately, the plan backfired and the Potawatomi and Fox surrounded the base. As the Illinois tried to get water by lowering buckets with rope the Potawatomi and Fox would cut the ropes or shatter the buckets with their arrows. They also climbed up on top of Devil's Nose and showered them with arrows. As the Illinois grew more desperate, some tried sneaking down, but they were murdered. The rest that were left on top starved. Since then, the rock has been known as "Starved Rock."
it's about four miles
The park and it's environs are home to a fledgling colony of bald eagles that are attracted by the easy pickings of 2' long catfish which are visible everywhere surrounding the dam and in the creeks coming from Starved Rock's sandstone canyons. Each bald eagle comes back to the same nest every year.
in the Civilian Conservation Corps in the
National Park Rustic Style
U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
during the Depression to give
jobs and hope to millions of unemployed
for Sunday Brunch on the veranda each week