Deadened Nerves

Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities – New York Times

The RSS summary for this story reads “Heading into this year’s elections, senior Democrats said that they sense they had failed to exploit Republican vulnerabilities.” This confirms that the Democratic party is either comatose or about as corrupt as the Republican party. I am an optimist. Therefore, I prefer to think of them as comatose.

Given a choice between a human vegetable and a vegetating party, however, the latter is clearly the better choice because the vegetable will make stupid decisions but the vegetating party will at least let the system run unhindered.

Bush “Science”

A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA – New York Times

The title does not quite convey the gravity of the matter. In case the link has expired, the story is about a Bush appointee, George C. Deutsch, who “told public affairs workers to limit reporters’ access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word ‘theory’ at every mention of the Big Bang”, resigned because he lied about having a college degree from Texas A&M.

Of course, the wisdom of appointing a 24-year-old journalism major to oversee some of the world’s greatest scientists and engineers is illusive. About as illusive as appointing David Duke to head the EEOC. Still this is worse, because this kid was not even a scientist. At least a racist can conceive of “equality of opportunity”, even if he wants to squelch it. Like other Bush appointees, Deutsch is utterly clueless.

Given Bush’s track record of personal and group incompetence, it is not unlikely that we will see Alan Keyes (scroll to “Africa: No Money for AIDS) appointed to the NIH division on AIDS. We might even see some dumbass appointed to FEMA.

Oh, wait….

No Adsense

Web ads like this one make one wonder if it is wise to trust computers with advertising. At least, Albert Brooks should be thinking why his movie distributor allowed this ad to end up on this particular news page. Looking for humor in the Arab world? It might be just as hard to find in the Jewish world these days.

Obviously, this gaffe is not the reason the movie bombed, but it could not have helped.

Unintended Joke


Where to start? Where to continue? Where to end?
When to start? When to continue? When to end?
How to start? How to continue? How to end?
Why to start? Why to continue? Why to end?
Start? Continue? End?


There is that which I have penned.
There is that which I wish I had penned.
There is that which I wish to pen.
There is that which I wish I could pen.
There is that which I want to pen.
How do I reconcile it all with a pencil? Or with a keyboard?

Prague and Berlin

Berlin is a short distance from Prague: only four and a half hours on a standard train. Yet, the two cities could not be more different. Languages are as those from different planets. one still looks as it did a thousand years ago, World War II and communism notwithstanding, and the other is a great cultural mecca slowly mending the severe wounds it sustained at the hands of fascism and communism. The pictures show only part of the story. A great deal of European history is told in these two cities. A scant 6 days are not enough to capture any significant fraction of this history, but they are just enough to instill an appreciation of the stories.

Click here for the pics.

San Sebastian, Spain

The two most valuable commodities in life are good friends and free time to spend with friends. This weekend in San Sebastian had the added bonuses of a spectacular setting, and great music. Miguel brought Camilla and me to this amazing city on the north coast Spain (not too far from the French border) for the start of the annual jazz festival. The music was superb, the weather was perfect, and the cuisine was even better.

It is difficult to imagine a more spectacular setting for a jazz festival. The placement of a modern form of music in an old city made for a combination of sights and sounds that cannot be easily erased from one’s memory.

The sights of Bilbao, the gorgeous city one usually traverses en route to San Sebastian, were equally pleasing, though decidedly more modern. Returning to Germany (or the US, or Sweden) one is inclined to wonder why one is embarking on the return journey. It is an experience like this that makes one grateful for possessing the two crucial commodities: good friends and free time. Miguel, maybe I’ll repay the debt in Iran sometime?

Click here for the sizable (over 100 pictures) gallery.