Hi Everybody!

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long.  Did you miss me?

I lost my job after watching what I considered to be a fairly secure wad of underperforming, overdividending company stock wither down to raisin dimensions.  This phase was pretty manageable, actually, especially considering the radical improvement in my commute, but when the Eagles lost to the Cardinals and then I found out my son got into a private college with a roughly $50k annual price tag, it was too much to bear.  I went into a karmic tailspin and contracted the flu, which lasted 10 days and is just now winding down.

I’ve made a pile of manure in my backyard to sit on just in case I’m covered with boils next week and have to scoop the pus out with a big spoon.  But I’m not blaming G-d.  It’s not that I think He has a plan for me.  I’ve just realized that my short-term well-being was never part of His plan.  He doesn’t care whether we’re “happy”.  And why should He?  What does our happiness have to do with getting to the Omega Point?

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SUPER BAAADDDD, by Bill Bonner

I don’t usually do posts that just say, “Hey, read this.”  But hey, read this.  It’s by Bill Bonner, who sells many of his insights but offers the ones below free on his Daily Reckoning site.  Finally, a proposal for helping clear the glut of bad novels.

by Bill Bonner

Bankers are idiots, sometimes Read the rest of this entry »

The best conservatives are liberal, and vice versa

I watched the inaugural address from the crowded and noisy balcony of the canteen at a local ski area.  There was some applause, though less than I expected.  There is, however, probably some sampling bias at work, considering that each and every person in the room could easily have been on the Mall but deliberately chose to ski instead.

I liked the speech very much, partly because its sobriety matched the seriousness of our problems, but perhaps more because of its repeated reliance on the broad sweep of U.S. history.  While some pundits have seemed unable to find any common theme in the speech, Read the rest of this entry »

A Low-Key Response to a Terrible Problem: Real Property Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The most recent upsurge of violence in Israel and Gaza has called to mind a book I read last summer, “The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East,” by Sandy Tolan. It’s the chronicle of the unusual relationship between a Palestinian who as a boy had fled with his family from their home during the 1948 war concurrent with the creation of the state of Israel, and an Israeli woman who thereafter grew up in the house with her family after the newly-formed Israeli government assigned the property to them. I’m not a fan of lawyers stretching the law and the judicial process to address issues more appropriately dealt with through legislation or international relations, but this situation suggests a straightforward issue of an individual’s legal rights, and a straightforward remedy: why not sue to get your property back?

More about the book: It’s an account by an American reporter about a house in the town of Ramle a/k/a al-Ramla, Israel and the two families that had occupied it over the past several decades. Read the rest of this entry »

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Net-Mending in the Poetry Corner

We haven’t been to the Poetry Corner in a while, and today the Catholic lectionary gives us a nudge in that direction.  Ever since Jim Walsh told me about this poem, it has been impossible for me to hear today’s gospel reading (Mark 1:14-20) without thinking of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Gladwell’s New Model Teachers

In the Dec. 15 New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell takes a look at three fairly different careers (NFL quarterbacking, teaching, and financial advising) that share at least one important characteristic, namely that it is very difficult to tell in advance who will be good at these jobs.  Gladwell’s article, “Most Likely to Succeed,” begins with the quarterback problem, but his observations on the differences between good and bad teachers—and the difficulty of separating the one from the other before tenure is awarded—are at least as interesting, and surely more consequential.  Read the rest of this entry »