Shane dimmick christmas cards - This Blows My Mind
What this guy does on a bike defies imagination.Cj6ho1-G6tw
What this guy does on a bike defies imagination.Cj6ho1-G6tw
“… or the Son of Man, that thou visitest Him. For thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory.”
I remember this line from one of the Psalms because it was in a choral piece by John Ritter that my high school choir performed. Amazing how putting words to music sears it into your brain, is it not? I was reminded of these words as I read this passage from Jacques Barzun’s magnum opus “From Dawn to Decadence – 500 Years of Western Cultural History“. I quote it here in it’s entirety and without comment. I think you’ll see why:
… a historian who contemplates the infinite diversity of human character, the range of human desires and powers, the multiplicity of social and political institutions, the endless schemes proposed for improving life, the numberless faiths, codes, and customs passionately adhered to, fiercely hated, and in unceasing warfare, the vast universe of art with its expressions in a galaxy of styles and languages—all these existing to an accompaniment of sacrifice, injustice, and su.ering, persecution imposed or willingly endured—such a historian is persuaded that these challenges to the concrete imagination cannot be merged and reduced to a formula. History is not an agency nor does it harbor a hidden powerl the word history is an ABSTRACTION for the totality of human deeds, and to make their clasing outcomes the fulfullment of some concelaed purpose is tomake huiman beings into puppets. For the same reason, history cannot be a science; it is the very opposite in that its interest resides in the particulars.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
…for admitting I watch “Dancing With The Stars“, but I have to say something about the television production. First, though, I guess I must defend myself for watching the show at all.
Here’s why I deserve to keep my Man Card in spite of my viewing habits. First, I don’t initiate the watching. My Best Beloved watches regularly and likes me to watch with her, so Imy primary reason for watching is to be a Good Mate. Second, the female dancers have fabulous bodies, wear very little clothing and move like they are double jointed everywhere. EVERYWHERE. (Which reminds me: where is Edyta this year anyway? I always looked forward to seeing how close to naked she managed to get with her “costumes”.)
So, with that defense of my manhood complete, can I please speak directly to the producers of the show?
Would you guys try to remember that dance is an art form performed on a stage by an audience that is sitting still? And could you try to keep in mind that the choreography is designed for an audience which is seated in front of the stage?
In the couple of years I have been watching DWTS, I have been subjected to bizarro camera angles, quick cuts from camera to camera and zoom focus on small parts of the whole stage – all of which makes it impossible for the television viewer to actually see the piece as choreographed. Why do the producers think that swooping camera angles, fast cuts from image to image, and zoom focus on individual dancers makes for good TV? It might work for a drama filmed on a sound stage, but it SUX BIG HAIRY DONKEY BALLS for a stage production.
Can whoever produces this show try to think like an audience member sitting in front of the stage, and give us that single, static view of the whole stage without flicking back and forth from the camera in the attic to the camera backstage in the wings to the camera on the remote control helicopter? Please? I just wanna see the dancing. I’m not remotely interested in how creative you can be with camera angles.
It’d be like showing a football game and flicking through 20 different camera angles during the play. It makes it IMPOSSIBLE to follow the action. You wanna demonstrate how swoopy and artsy you can be with the cameras? Do it during the replay and the slo-mo. During the live action, we wanna see it like we have the SINGLE best seat in the house.
I am typing this post from my dad’s hospital room, waiting for him to be carted off to the cardiac cath lab for the insertion of several stents into his cardiac arteries.
(I talk like I know what the heck I’m talking about, but it’s an act. I live with a couple of nurses and have spent way too much time listening to them talk about my dad’s health issues; thus, I have absorbed some of the lingo.)
My dad’s heart is apparently not getting enough blood, which – according to the medical professionals I live with – is Not Good. The doctor caring for him, Dr. Nabil Dib, looked at the inside of his arteries in the Cath Lab on Thursday and found that the reason he feels like crap is because the arteries leading to his heart are mostly blocked. He had a triple bypass 9 years ago, but those <sigh> are also mostly blocked. This sucks for me; I cannot IMAGINE the level of Suck it is for my dad.
What blows my mind is that he would likely be dead if we lived somewhere other than America, or sometime other than now. The bypass done in 2001 likely kept him alive till now, and the procedure here is gonna have here in the next hour will likely make him feel 20 years younger AND keep him going for a while.
Imagine telling someone a hundred years ago that we are gonna fix your heart by shoving a tiny little tube inside your groin, snaking it up to your heart, inserting a stainless steel mesh tube inside your coronary artery and thus prevent a fatal heart attack. Oh, and the next day you’ll be walking around feeling like a million bucks.
Western aliopathic medicine SUCKS at disease prevention, but if you have a nasty, acute problem, western aliopathic medicine is just nearly magic.
Ah, I love a good joke.
In my whole life – almost 50 years worth – I have never been the butt of such an elaborate and successful practical joke, but I guess everyone’s gotta go sometime.
For what it is worth, I am relieved that my fundamental faith in the rationality of the universe remains unchallenged.
The Alpine Ghost Train – I am happy to report – is a fraud. An elaborate, careful and meticulous fraud, but a fraud nonetheless. <Very Big Sigh>
I was chopping and hauling wood on my parents property when a couple of neighbors dropped by. As men will do, we got to chatting about things around the neighborhood, and I mentioned in passing that I had heard the Ghost Train on Thursday night. One of them asked, “when did you hear it”, and I repeated that I had heard it on Thursday night. He commented, almost under his breath, “Pat didn’t say he was gonna do it…”
I didn’t let on that there was anything unusual about what I had heard, but when I got back to the cabin, I told my mom that I had solved the mystery. She began laughing and telling me what a good time she had with fooling me. (My mom is an irrepressible cut-up.)
Apparently, a guy up at Alpine has a specially tricked out Jeep with an elaborate sound system which he uses specifically to play the “Ghost Train” soundtrack as he drives up the road. He has been doing it for at least 20 years. All the Alpine residents know about it but do enjoy fooling the newbies. I fell for it harder than most.
So, the reason there have been so few references to the Alpine Ghost Train is because it is a fraud.
Color me relieved.
…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
W.Shakespeare – Hamlet
I am far more Horatio than Hamlet, but my faith in the basic rationality of my world has been shaken this evening. The story:
We are spending the week at my parents’ cabin in Alpine, Colorado. Alpine sits on the side of Mt. Princeton, at an elevation of about 9600 feet above sea level. The cabin was built sometime in the late 1870s to serve as the home of the railroad foreman. The Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad was building a railroad over the Rockies to serve the various mines that were dug into the mountains here. The railroad ran from 1881 to 1910. At one time, during the height of the railroad building boom, Alpine was home to over 10,000 people, but today it has fewer than a dozen year-round residents. The population swells to about 150 during the summer vacation months.
Just across 1st Street from the cabin is Chalk Creek, and then just the other side of Chalk Creek is County Road 162. CR162 follows the old DSP&P railroad line up Chalk Creek Canyon between Mt. Princeton to the north and Mt. Antero to the south.
Tonight, we were sitting out on the deck enjoying a beautiful Colorado summer evening. The moon was almost full – maybe a couple more days till the full moon, and the sky was partly cloudy. The moon was just rising over the peak of Mt. Antero around 9:00 when we first heard the train whistle.
(By “we”, I mean six of us: Caroline, Scott & Juli, Mom, Liam and me. I emphasize the number of witnesses because what I am going to report is – frankly – fantastic. )
The whistle blew several times. We heard the distinctive sound of the steam engine clattering as the giant pistons chugged-chugged between the compression and exhaust strokes. It went on for perhaps 30 seconds as the train moved up the road toward St. Elmo. Normally, you will hear a train fade away over a period of minutes. St. Elmo is about 4 miles above Alpine, so we should have heard a real train for several minutes. But as quickly as the sound began, it simply faded away like a morning mist.
The train tracks were completely torn up by the 1930s. The last train went up those tracks in 1910.
The nearest train track is at Buena Vista, roughly 15 miles from here as the crow flies. There are no steam engines on those tracks.
The six of us sat here listening to this steam engine go up the road just across the creek, chugging and whistling as it went. Then as suddenly as it started, it faded away. If I was going to write a screenplay that depicted the appearance and disappearance of a ghost train, it would have been exactly like this.
My mom said, “there’s the Alpine Ghost Train”. Apparently, everyone in town has heard the train at one time or another and it has become such a common occurrence that she had never even thought to mention it to me. The most frequent time to hear the train has been 9:00pm.
From the deck of the cabin, where I sit as I write this, we cannot see the road, but it is less than a quarter mile from here. What I heard was unmistakably a train, a steam engine train. It faded in, chugged up the canyon for perhaps half a minute, then faded away.
You can be sure that I will be out in the middle of CR162 at 9:00pm every night till we head home next week. If the Alpine Ghost Train makes another appearance, I plan to gather as much info as I can.
…the only regulation that will ever work is failure… Businesses should fail, that’s the way the system was designed.
Rick Santelli in an interview on King World News
Two years ago, Congress had a chance to keep the economy from tanking. All they had to do was let the banks fail. They didn’t do it because the criminal class, a.k.a. Wall Street Bankers and their minions, ([cough] Paulson, Bernanke, Summers & Geithner [cough]), convinced them that if they let the banks fail, the economy would tank. So Congress gave the bankers roughly nine hundred gazillion dollars so that the economy wouldn’t tank. The bankers got big bonuses, and the economy tanked anyway.
Failure is a good thing. It is God’s/Nature’s/The Universe’s way of saying “You’re doing it wrong”.
Here’s a quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a new addition to my “favorite authors”:
What makes us fragile is that institutions cannot have the same virtues (honor, truthfulness, courage, loyalty, tenacity, generosity ) as individuals.
I have long sensed that institutions are fundamentally corrupting, but Taleb identifies why – institutions are incapable of human virtue.
If you haven’t read his Fooled By Randomness or The Black Swan, you are missing two intellectual treats.