The Fiat 500 returns. I find myself happy that small cars are returning. There’s a great deal of design ingenuity getting ported into ‘vehiclets’ with low horsepower gas sipping engines. As much as I love a powerful car, I can save it for weekends. Give me a sipper with some style and pep, I’ll be happy during the week.
Related: Small Cars Seek Appeal Beyond the Cute Factor. Volkswagen’s on the right track ... a high profile, boxy, small displacement vehicle.
More tunnels to Manhattan. Let’s hope they include a nice walkway, so that one can exit the train and perambulate the remainder of the way to the city, when there’s an unforeseen extended delay. How many uncomfortable hours I spent cramped in with other commuters in that tunnel ...
SF New Mexican:
A wild ride: Healthy snowpack makes for raging rapids, happy rafters. We may not have the scenery of the Grand Canyon, but if you like whitewater, make your plans now to come and experience an incredible snowmelt.
NY Times World Business:
After Success, Problems for Microfinancing in Mexico. “On average, customers pay an annual interest rate of almost 90 percent, which includes 15 percent in government tax. In much of the world, microfinance interest rates range from 25 to 45 percent. But in Mexico, high costs, inefficiency and limited competition keep interest rates much higher.” My italics. Rubbing my eyes to be sure I read that correctly.
Theory. I believe I can plot various Twitter peaks against a loss of readership on dangerousmeta!. Sharp in the beginning of ‘07. I’ll bet other webloggers can, too. Attention span shorter? Less time? More personal? Lower barrier to posting? The danger of becoming cloying or dull hovers, and the clever soundbite beckons. Since joining a few days ago, I’ve been surprised at how popular it is ... I’m a very late adopter, obviously. It is more immediate - but not more compelling. I suppose I need more time to ‘get it’. But this solves my ‘mystery loss’ of readership pretty conclusively, along with possibly explaining the lower posting frequencies I’ve seen in other weblogs I follow over this same time period.
Untying the ‘ribbon culture’. A car covered with bumper stickers is a cry for help, an individual upset over feelings of impotence (general, not sexual). Better to channel anger at disempowerment into Congressional letter-writing or grassroots action. Action being the important word here. Not once have I ever been alerted to a critical situation or been driven to give to a charity on the basis of a sticker or ribbon. There are, alas, all too many causes that need urgent help ... I find out about those which are closest to my heart through my own experience.
NY Times Movie Review:
The Flight of the Red Balloon. I would be seeing it simply to enjoy watching La Binoche again ... be still my heart ... but the NY Times likes this one very much.
[sounds of wife wacking me in the back of the skull with a handy wad of recycled printer paper]
NY Times Editorial:
There Were Orders to Follow. “American and international laws against torture prohibit making a prisoner fear ‘imminent death.’ For most people, waterboarding — making a prisoner feel as if he is about to drown — would fit. But Mr. Yoo argues that the statutes apply only if the interrogators actually intended to kill the prisoner. Since waterboarding simulates drowning, there is no ‘threat of imminent death.’” This is like a perversion of purifying your karma ... you do a good deed with the intention of benefitting others, this benefits your karma (as I understand the function of karma). Now we get a legal interpretation that says deadly torture is not deadly because the intent is not to kill. Yet we live in a society where it is commonly accepted that if you are in possession of your wits, and you point a loaded gun at someone, you intend to kill - your intent is to harm. The loaded nature of the deadly weapon makes it assault, as I understand the law. Given the lawyerly interpretation above, you can see that any death by waterboarding would likely be classified by secondary symptoms ... heart failure due to tachycardia, lung damage, excess ingestion of fluids.
Yet for all this talk of waterboarding as a ‘good’ interrogative technique, we still don’t have Bin Laden, who was the original reason for flirting with the evils of torture.
NY Times Fashion & Style:
60-Plus, Ripped, and Natural Competitors. Good that they’re staying fit at that age, but overuse is hanging about, waiting to take a toll. Personally, I prefer useful musculature and aerobic capacity for the sports I engage in. Carry too much chest mass, for instance, your running becomes labored. Hence, I’m beginning to consider adding Crossfit to my regimen. Carefully.
Inspectors Say F.A.A. Ignored Violations. “Southwest acknowledged errors but maintains it did nothing unsafe. Herbert D. Kelleher, executive chairman of the company, said before the hearing began that ‘regulatory noncompliance and being unsafe are two different things.’” This is a rather old, rusty saw, this one ... but they’re turning it around the wrong way. In this case, you have a board of directors making flight decisions. Have any of them actually flown or repaired an airplane? Understand the stresses upon an airframe? This is why the FAA inspection protocol exists. A commercial flight outfit is not neutral in the go/no-go decision.
For the private pilot’s perspective, read “A Gift Of Wings”, by Richard Bach. Particularly the stories about “Drake the Bandit.” As a general read, though, one of the most pleasant, optimistic books you’ll encounter. It’s an old friend of mine.
“The economy shed 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment, presenting a stark sign that the country may already be in a recession.” Oh, call it a recession already. The worst you can be is wrong ... and it becomes a depression instead. Perhaps if someone flips the “R” word, we can mentally begin to rebuild ... recession being as much perception as reality.
Frugal living more about priorities than sacrifice. ‘Tis true. For those interested in raising children in a lifestyle without chasing the latest techno-gizmos and Disney effluvia, check out SouleMama.typepad.com.
“You got a Facebook and it’s not on there, then it’s not official.” Underwhelmed, am I. What easier place to create a fictional character?
Microsoft will extend life of Windows XP - again. For low cost PCs.
Daily caffeine ‘protects brain’. “A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.”
Chinese Spy ‘Slept’ In U.S. for 2 Decades: Espionage Network Said to Be Growing. If their arms are like their exports ... no wonder.
Have you heard
of Xuefei Yang? She’s been getting raves for her classical guitar playing.
La Scena Musicale:
“Feeling the financial pinch? Time to get on the fiddle.”
Sydney Morning Herald:
Business-like arts a failure, says entrepreneur. Great observation here: “Throughout the English-speaking world, the board system of governance in the not-for-profit sector has been a miserable failure.”
NY Times Editorial:
Fear of Regulating. Any good businessperson knows what when a mistake is made, you explain the mistake thoroughly, and then put into place systems to prevent recurrence. So much for our MBA President. Here’s a blast from 2002, you’ll get a chuckle over.
NY Times Travel:
Obama and Gotham. How a typeface is helping in the Presidential campaign.
SF New Mexican:
Bingaman slams border fence waivers. “The administration will use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in building the fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of 2008 ...”
SF New Mexican:
“An Englishman speaking on ‘thought transference’ during an international conference at La Fonda on Wednesday was stabbed in the leg by a Japanese man who seemed upset by his remarks ...” Obviously, some thought-wires must have gotten crossed.