Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Harvard University's endowment suffered investment losses of at least 22% in the first four months of the school's fiscal year, the latest evidence of the financial woes facing higher education.
The Harvard endowment, the biggest of any university, stood at $36.9 billion as of June 30, meaning the loss amounts to about $8 billion. That's more than the entire endowments of all but six colleges, according to the latest official tally.
Harvard said the actual loss could be even higher, once it factors in declines in hard-to-value assets such as real estate and private equity -- investments that have become increasingly popular among colleges. The university is planning for a 30% decline for the fiscal year ending in June 2009.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
In my last post, I pointed out the unusual power aliens have over the indwelling spirits of Earthling machinery. Now I wonder if the aliens actually are those spirits. It makes sense. These techno-sprites would have planted the seeds of technical inspiration in human heads. They would be the real ghosts in the machine. So in films like The Day the Earth Stood Still, the techno-sprites are reminding us that they, not we, are the true inventors; if we thing think we are in control of our gadgets, well, think again!
Friday, November 28, 2008
These famous words are from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Noticing that a remake is coming out, I was reminded of the demonstration of alien strength in that flick. Klaatu has come to warn us Earthlings to mend our nuclear ways, or our planet is toast. To demonstrate the aliens's awesome power, he arranges to have all machinery on Earth (excluding that in hospitals and suchlike places) stop functioning for half an hour. The aliens don't have to go to the power plants; they have power over all machines: cars, telephones, watches, electric lights. The indwelling spirits of machinery* are in the power of the aliens. Bad-guy aliens, such as those in It Conquered the World, also have this power. Like Klaatu, the ICTW aliens could make exceptions to the general disablement of world machinery; they allowed the cars and jeeps of their Earthling allies to work.
* Such as Coily the Spring Sprite.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Last Friday, my friend Laureen and I took the bus from Boston to Lenox, changing buses at Springfield. Above see a charming little garden in the Peter L. Picknelly Bus Terminal.
Here I am in the woods near the lake near the Kripalu complex. Laureen and I did yoga, meditation, yoga, whirlpool, yoga, meditation, and I did another whirlpool.
The Kripalu building was originally a Jesuit Monastery, and its cheapest quarters are rather austere. I was in the top bunk of this bed in a 9-person room for my first night, after which, it was revealed to me that I snore. So I got moved to a 2-person room with another snorer and a pair of earplugs. I didn't bother to wear my earplugs and slept just fine. My roomie wore hers, and , thus, did not hear the alarm clock and would have overslept if I hadn't awakened her.
See more esciting pictures in my Picasa web album!
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
It had not occured to me that I had got the better room. Conrad had never complained to me. But my room had all the advantages: it was on a corner, giving it views in two directions, and was right next to the bathroom, and was farther away from our parents' room.
Now I wonder if he was resenting my superior quarters all those years. Perhaps that's why, when I was away at college, he buried my fossil collection in the compost heap.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I can now sympathize with her. Long hair catches on things, gets easily tangled, and is generally a lot of work for a mother trying to keep her daughter neat. Can I find some low-upkeep substitute for long hair? I haven't so far.I wanted hair like that sported by Vinnie Ream, sculptor of the Lincoln statue in the Capitol Rotunda.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
At the time, I hated being photographed, since it seemed to require wearing clothes I didn't like and showing happiness I didn't feel. Since then, I've realized that these were not necessary conditions. I had a similar epiphany about haircuts, which in my early days were always done with a razor. So haircuts always hurt. I didn't realize that razor cuts were a fad. One day a hairdresser used scissors to cut my hair, and I was shocked. Scissors were OK? I had assumed that razors were mandatory for some, perhaps hygienic, reason.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
"Staying in the Colleen [a room in the Inn] means taking yourself on an African safari adventure. Featuring antique African artifacts, safari murals on the wall, a private bath found through a secret passageway behind a swinging bookcase, and a truly unique canopy double bed, this room will make your stay an unforgettable event. Maximum number of guests in the room is two."
Other Amenities Include:
Color Television with Cable (60 channels)
Iron with Ironing Board
Coffee and Tea
Complimentary full course breakfast
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Above, on my old wicker phone-holder, see my brand new phone. Right below it is my old phone, disconnected and ready to be packed away against the day it becomes a valuable antique.
And since it's fall, I include some stereotypical New-England-Fall photos.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
My neighbor Rosemary does a heap of volunteer work for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and that's how I happened to get a free ticket for Opening Night. There was a no-flash-photography sign at the entrance, which I complied with most of the time. As a result, very few photos were sharp enough to keep. For really good photos of Symphony Hall, I suggest you use Google Image Search.
My ticket entitled me to one glass of sparkling wine and all the grub I could get my hands on.
At the far left please notice the swiveling stool on the podium. James Levine can't stand up through performances any more, so he swivels on the stool. Weeee!
This is the view from my seat: ORCH 1 NN. See the seating chart for more info.
Oh yeah, the music:
Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila
Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin
MUSSORGSKY (orch. RAVEL)
Pictures at an Exhibition
James Levine, conductor
Maija Kovalevska, soprano
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Last night I finally got an image on Flickr to tile into the background of my blog. The next day I find my background tiled with notices that my image is not currently available! Why? ? ????
OK. I moved my background image to Picasa, and now it works.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A former co-worker told me, when she noticed I had checked out the video I Married a Monster From Outer Space, "You know, that was about Communism." I had heard that interpretation before. Hostile 50s movie aliens, especially those who assumed human form, were supposed to be a veiled reference to Communists. (They look just like your neighbor, but they are evil and aim to take over.) Of course, there were also wise, nice aliens that the ignorant earthlings, especially belligerent small-town sheriffs, wanted to destroy. I suppose those films could represent the viewpoint of Communist sympathizers, the sheriff character being a veiled portrait of Joseph McCarthy. I've never heard it suggested, but it might appeal to proponents of the first theory.
But the whole theoretical edifice topples when we consider Red Planet Mars (1952). The Martians in this flick are born-again Christians! An American scientist (Peter Graves) gets Bible quotes in messages from Mars. There is an evil Nazi who claims to be sending all the messages--which inspire the Russians to abandon Communism--but it actually turns out that the Martians really are Christians. (Don't worry that I've spoiled the movie for you; it is so bad that it's beyond spoiling.) The Martians destroy Communism. Everybody wants to be Christians, just like the Martians.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Here we are at the Hungry Mother, a southern-style eatery not very far from my place. If you make a reservation for before 6pm, they'll get you Kendall Theater Tickets for $6 a piece. Wow! The food is pretty good too. We saw "Tell No One."
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Stupid metric system.
When we drove in Calgary I noticed signs saying "Maximum 110," and I freaked until I realized they meant km/hr. We rented a Camry hybrid. At a gas station, one of the attendants asked about its "mileage." Yes, they use km/hr, but they don't use kilometreage.
Stupid metric system.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I did a little more scanning today. I found out that the scanners at the Science Center computer lab were better than the one at Lamont.
My Dad was here on Monday-Tuesday, back from an African vacation. He took a ton of animal pictures and got a gruesome movie of lions killing an impala. He's supposed to post them someplace so I can look at them.
I am going to the Canadian Rockies the week after next.