:::this is the way the world ends:::

Month: September 2008


I apologize for coming on too strong in advance. I previously said I don’t like to tell people who to vote for, but this goes beyond voting. Despite how much this election represents to me.

Maybe I am adding flames to the fire, but the amount any of us writes to the federal government is going to get a whole lot bigger because of previous Republican leadership, instead of just getting a little bigger like it might have. The truth is social security worked and the only reason we questioned it is because people wanted to be taking cruises and living in huge mansions on Caribbean islands when they retired instead of living modestly. I reiterate my arguments from during the previous election against privatization. We are basically financing a war rooted in energy issues on money from China. What’s more immoral than that? We consume more than a ¼ of the world’s oil.

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Risk and Wealth

1500-1071~Goddess-of-Wealth-PostersI have been thinking a lot recently about the nature of wealth and what is fair taxation, etc.

I heard Bill O’Reilly talking the other night and accusing Obama of wanting to do wealth redistribution. This got me thinking: “this is something people think of as negative because it means taking something hard-earned from those who have toiled to earn it and giving it to those whose actions have done nothing to make it.”

Then, my thoughts drifted to a few events, one from Policy class and two more recently occurring at family reunions. First of all, the statistic that something like 97 percent of the wealth is controlled by three percent of the population. The others are a game of Risk with my cousins, and a conversation with Mandy about her family.

As we know the divide of the uber-wealthy and the lower classes is growing. The amount of wealth is continuing to be governed by a smaller percentage of the population. This is fact. This is inevitable if you have read much on behavioral economics. I recommend the “logic of Life” as a book to illustrate this point.

This became clear to me as I found myself on side of a losing campaign in Risk, a game I had not played since young. At one point I decided to hole up in Australia, after spreading too thin and being conquered elsewhere. I thought, ” at least I can defend the bottle neck here in the south pacific by putting all my new resources into the defense of the one country blocking my cousin’s way to world domination. The fallacy that I quickly discovered is that if you had captured continents you amassed more armies because you had more resources, same too for just having sheer numbers of already existing armies. In essence, if you already had wealth, you could make so much more. So there is a tipping point there where defeat is inevitable, no matter how great your geographical advantage. I realized that the percentages were about the same as those discussed previously in policy class, my cousin owned about 95 percent of the board and defeat began to unfold at an exponential rate.
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Baby Double Weekend

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Yes, indeed, we might well have been the luckiest of all our friends this weekend.

We got a first hand Beckett sighting and Clara sighting as well. Bouncing baby Beckett, a bundle of beautiful babbling, was quite the sight. We are grateful to the Shotts-Aspengrens for hosting us and only wish we would have had more time to visit, but alas, we had a wedding to get to. On the way home we got to see Tobandsteph with Clara. Also wonderful, and thanks, to you, too for going out of your way to accomodate our travels and time constraints.

I was reminded of how fortunate we all are this week when I saw a posting on facebook. Apparently, Kori Karstetter (a year or two younger than us, if memory serves correct) was in the midst of her second child birth when they lost their child. To make matters worse, she had a heart attack a short time later and at last check was touch and go. Really brings home how fortunate we all have been.

Thanks so much to you all for sharing your families with us.

Le Scaphandre et le papillon


Ned, thanks for telling me about your thoughts on Persepolis and Sweetland.  I had heard about Persepolis (and have been meaning to check out the graphic novel it’s based on), but hadn’t heard anything about Sweetland.  It’s amazing to me the sheer amount of great movies that fly under the radar nowadays.  Quantity of Hollywood drowns the quality?

Speaking of quality, Steph and I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a week ago.  In Steph’s words, we “couldn’t look away” from Julian Schnabel’s direction, along with Janusz Kaminski’s gorgeous cinematography.  A gorgeous movie that is wonderfully sad, effecting, and surprisingly human…surprising in the fact that I’ve gotten used to the lack of human-“ness” in FX-laden movies. It takes the all of the glory and the shame in human existence and creates a portrait that lacks the usual Hollywood gloss, but has more character packed into it than all the summer blockbuster movies combined.

Maybe my surprise has to do with my tendency towards escapism in my movie choice.   It’s a little embarrassing to admit … but I feel as if I’ve gone soft and taken an easy route post-college.  I’ve only recently started to feel as if I need some more meat in my diet of cultural intake.  I just don’t find myself thinking critically as much anymore.  I think once I finished college, I was weary of the over-analytical stance I took towards most art and literature and abandoned it for the most part.  I think I’m ready for a homecoming.

One of the most amazing components about this film, (Steph and I spoke about this afterwards, in length) it allows the viewer to assume Jean-Dominique Bauby’s persepctive in the first third of the movie.  It’s almost as if we were sharing the same Diving Bell with Bauby, and later too, the Butterfly.  I think we’re still carrying a bit of the butterfly with us. 

Has anyone else seen the film?  I’d be curious as to thoughts and reactions from the rest of our group….

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