No man is a failure who has friends

December 24th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

Goddamn you, Frank Capra, for making me cry at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life every single time I watch it.

In which I find a way to mention robots in a post about the Gettysburg Address

December 18th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, one of the finest oratories in American history, six score 120 years ago yesterday. Would that more writing were so powerful and eloquent. (Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address comes close.)

NPR aired Sam Waterston’s reading of the Address on Morning Edition, but I confess that his delivery did not impress me much. Also, ever since Saturday Night Live showed that damned Old Glory Robot Insurance sketch, I have trouble imagining him in any other role.

I’ve got bags of amchoor powder, I’ve got sumac, who could ask for anything more?

December 16th, 2003 § One comment § permalink

My last final for the semester was on Friday, and I turned in my last assignment on Saturday. I am officially done with my first semester of graduate school. Hooray!

I kept myself entertained during finals week by writing a top ten list of horrible, horrible pickup lines for first-year city planning students. Here’s an example: “Why don’t you come up to my studio and we’ll overlay our natural resources.” Trust me, if you were in my graduate program, you would find this hilarious.

Today, reveling in the glorious gift of free time, I biked to the Halal market on San Pablo to pick up some Indian and Turkish spices. The proprietor was using a band saw to slice a huge slab of lamb for an Indian woman and her Iranian friend. After he wrapped up their meat and pointed them towards the 20-pound sacks of basmati rice, he looked at me, the white guy from the suburbs, and grinned. “You see all kinds of people in this place,” he said. “I love it. I love it.” So do I.

Oil be seeing you

December 4th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

George Monbiot, a British journalist who writes for the Guardian, has a new column that explains how quickly the world is running out of oil and how drastically our society will have to change in oil’s absence. Oil production could very well peak in the next decade, he argues, and alternative energy sources are either not viable or chronically underfunded. He is not optimistic about our ability to adjust to a world without oil:

The only rational response to both the impending end of the Oil Age and the menace of global warming is to redesign our cities, our farming and our lives. But this cannot happen without massive political pressure, and our problem is that no one ever rioted for austerity. People take to the streets because they want to consume more, not less. Given a choice between a new set of matching tableware and the survival of humanity, I suspect that most people would choose the tableware.

Where am I?

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