I complain that "Facebook and Twitter have killed the blogs" and that nobody posts here anymore, but I don't post here anymore either. Not that I was ever a big poster. My first livejournal post was a sheepish acknowledgement that I couldn't complain that my wife never posted if I didn't post anything myself.
Anyhow, it's a birthday. I don't make a big deal about birthdays, and for the last few years, mine has been embedded into finals season, so the parties are pre-exhausted and pretty subdued. Fifty-three. Wow.
And it's snowing heavily out the window after spending a week in the double-digits. Calgary weather will always seem odd to me.
OK, not every Catholic clergyman was a rapist. But with the Pope personally implicated in three of the cover-ups, there's severe rot at the center of the edifice. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Yet one leader in today's world is given power greater than that of most kings in history.
From LILY COYLE, MINNEAPOLIS <http://www.startribune.com/opinion/letters/81595442.html>
"Dear Pat Robertson,
"I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen 'Crossroads'? Or 'Damn Yankees'?
"If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
"This is only the second time in its nearly ten-year history that the Dish has gone silent. "
My main politics source is a huge blog at The Atlantic. (I've followed it from being an independant to its place at Time to the Atlantic.) He has a dozen or more stories every day. Except today. He'd diving into analysis and cross-checking on something really big. Now I want to know what the rumours are saying Levi knows.
I'm a huge supporter of Obama, but this prize was poorly chosen. Nobel prizes aren't awarded on who you are, but what you've done. And winning an American election on whatever grounds isn't enough for a Nobel Prize.
One speech engaged Iran and may have affected that election. Not enough effect yet. He's promised to close Guantanamo. But he hasn't done it yet. No prize yet. He's brought Russia back on board re Iran. Not enough for a Nobel. China is on board re Korea, but North Korea did that to themselves. No prize. Obama has set stuff in motion that could be worth a Nobel two or three years from now. But not yet.
He was given this prize because he isn't Bush. If I was on the prize committee, I might well have made the same decision. But it's still a bad decision.
I have three watches, and which one I grab for a particular day is semi-random. Today I got the gold-faced one for the first time in a few months. Partway through the morning, I realized that we got it for my father's 70th birthday in August 1989. So this watch still sees regular use after more than twenty years. So I started musing about old machinery that i still use.
Somewhere in a box, I have a camera that my father gave me in my early teens. It takes one of two sizes of film, the second one a conversion hack done during WW2 when the other size wasn't available. The camera probably dates from just before the war -- let's say 1938. But either size is so large that the silver on the film has been too expensive for several decades. In another box, I have another, similar, camera that I got from a garage sale. On it, Eastman Kodak Canada is claiming dozens of patents that abruptly stop in 1916 -- presumably the date of manufacture. Another camera, this one in a box that I know, was given to my mother by my father when they were dating. So it dates from the early fifties. I also have my first camera, a late-period brownie, plus the camera I used for most of my teen years, a 126-based auto-exposure model that still seems to work. Another camera is the one given to us as a wedding present by a group of our friends. Like all the others, it still works, but I no longer use it. The technology has moved on. I bought a 5 MPx digital in 2006 that I use generally, and a 2 MPx is built-in to the phone that's always in my pocket.
My main text printer is an HP laserjet that I spent close to a thousand bucks for when I was a windows consultant in early 94 or late 93. It's still my main printer, through an adapter that connects a parallel printer connection to a USB plug. So long as I don't need colour, everything goes to the 15 year old LJ4L.
Since then, I bought a Canon i150 or some such number to handle colour. It couldn't recover after going too many months without use. I replaced it with a Brother all-in-one, which couldn't recover after the inks dried. Now I've been given an HP inkjet that hasn't been used for six months. I fear it may have died, too. Along the way, I was given a Fujitsu printer that they'd stopped making ink cartridges for and a Lexmark where the cartridges were about the same price with or without the printer attached. But the 15 year old laser still chugs along, taking a new cartridge every two or three years. 300 DPI sucks for graphics, though -- even for monochrome graphics.
I finally sold the Metro last Christmas at fifteen years old. The new owner ran into cash problems and hasn't put it on the road, but remains happy with his purchase. The replacement car is nearly new at only nine years old.
My main television is one my parents bought in 1984 or so. It still works right, but since broadcasters are expecting digital rectangular displays, they're starting to use more of the corner space -- leaving some text off my edges. The TV is a quarter century old, but has more choices on input and output than Moria's three year old TV. The picture is still perfect, other than the cut-off at the edge that all CRTs need.