For the record, my boss is a Texan engineer

December 17th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

It’s unfortunate but unsurprising that The Last Temptation of Christ met with so much controversy when it was released. The dual nature of Jesus raises a lot of difficult questions, and any honest attempt to answer them is bound to upset someone. For Christians, though, to be human is to sin; why shouldn’t someone who is both God and man sin in proportion to his divinity? Is it really so wrong to imagine a reluctant son of God attempting to anger his father by carving crucifixes for the Romans?

Although the film indulges in plenty of extrabiblical speculation, it also presumes the truth of Christianity’s most central beliefs. In particular, it never challenges the notion that Jesus was God made flesh. That notion is central to the film’s premise that Jesus must have struggled terribly between the secular and the sacred, and that his struggle, and its effect on his mission, is worth exploring.

Autism and engineers

December 15th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

Wired ran an interesting article last month about the high rate of autism and Asperger’s syndrome in Silicon Valley. It’s believed that many engineers have autistic tendencies; Bill Gates, brilliant but lacking in social skills, is a frequently used example. Since the syndrome is inherited, Santa Clara County is becoming the autism capital of the world.

Consumption and the economy

December 13th, 2001 § Two comments § permalink

I’ve read several reports lately claiming that if everyone on Earth used as many resources as the average American, it would take three Earths to sustain us all. This isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s a stark reminder that Americans need to cut consumption drastically.

This worries me, because consumer spending drives the American economy, and cutting consumption would mean cutting spending as well. So I’ve been wondering how Americans could reduce consumption by two-thirds without destroying the economy.

I hope that someone smarter than I am is thinking about this problem.

Home sick

December 10th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

I spent this morning flat on my back, blankets piled high, ruing the vast miasma of daytime television.

Then I remembered: This American Life has online archives.

This afternoon should be better.

Excuses, excuses

December 6th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

Updates are likely to be scarce this month. I have a comically large project to complete, and my schedule’s been cut in half. To get some idea of what I’m up against, imagine trying to fit William Howard Taft in your bathroom sink. Or, you know, don’t.

If I had more free time, I’d learn to play Go. More properly, I’d try to learn, since previous attempts have been unsuccessful (although there’s some great tutorials out there).

Tailing the mark, trimming the mark

December 3rd, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

SF Weekly ran a great Silke Tudor column last week about San Franciscans playing like Dashiell Hammett characters, trailing unsuspecting pedestrians around the city. It also profiles Don Herron, who’s led a Dashiell Hammett walking tour of San Francisco for the past 25 years. Good stuff.

If the column interests you, take a look at The Big Con, David Maurer’s brilliant 1940 study of confidence men and the art of the grift. There’s an excerpt on Amazon.

Shakier than cafeteria Jell-O

December 2nd, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

I’ve got something new planned for this site. The first installment may come this week, depending on how busy I get with work and how well the writing process goes.

Don’t worry–I’ll still be posting links to random, interesting stuff that I come across. For example, did you know that one of America’s best-known news anchors has admitted to using heroin and LSD, been abducted by a cabbie, and tangled with an impressive array of roughnecks and crazies? That would be Dan Rather, as you probably guessed if you saw his bizarre rambling on election night last year.


December 1st, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

If you’ve read any of Chris Ware‘s comics, like Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, then you know about the wonderful cutout toys he creates. One patient soul has assembled and photographed many of them.

SpongeJames SquareMadison

November 30th, 2001 § Two comments § permalink

I tried asking Jeeves “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” The first link it returns is to a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he

Update: Perhaps I should have explained that a bit. See, there’s this cartoon on Nickelodeon called SpongeBob SquarePants, and the italicized text above is from the show’s theme song. I know about the show because many of my coworkers have children.

Too much

November 29th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

My room has been a disaster for months, partially because I haven’t bothered to file any of my bills or bank statements for, oh, about a year and a half. I decided to do something about that this week.

The project is going well—my room is noticeably tidier, and if for some reason I need to know how much I owed on my credit card in March, I should be able to find out in less than an hour and a half. It’s taking a lot of time to get organized, though. Meanwhile, unread magazines are piling up, and I have a couple of DVDs at home that I haven’t had time to watch. Oh, yes, and I’ve bookmarked 11 Web sites that I ran across but didn’t have time to read.

Apparently I need an extra three or four hours in my day. If someone could arrange for that, I’d be much obliged. Also, I would like a pony.

Where am I?

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