Bicikl

He steals a bicycle and eventually has a run-in with a cop. Beyond that, I’m not sure what’s going on in this song by Leteči Potepuhi (The Flying Tramps). I have a funny feeling it’s not standard Slovene.

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TRiUMPh

front page of Hamburger Morgenpost

Front page of the Hamburger Morgenpost, 8 November 2016.

Now that the shock has worn off (and it was only a shock because the supposed pros who do the polls did a piss-poor job of it)—now that the shock has turned to mere wonder, I am filled with almost giddy curiosity about what this guy* is going to do, and how he is going to do it. I wonder how on earth he is going to please the people who voted for him—please them enough so that, in four years, they will be showing up in droves in weird shirts shouting incendiary things** and just going nuts in the love of him. I wonder how he is going to succeed with them, how he is going to deliver on his many vague and strange promises.

I feel guilty about this, because I know a lot of people may be at risk with such a neophyte at the helm, especially one who cannot seem to hold a conviction for more than a few seconds (beyond an unwavering affection for himself, of course). Many people have already suffered from the intolerance and hate he exploited in his campaign—I cannot ignore that. And the forces that might restrain him (was it Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) who said this past summer of our discontent, “Well, there’s only so much damage Trump can do, there are a lot of factors that can hold him back,” or something to that effect?)—these counterforces cannot be counted on to do the job.

But my guilt is softened by the realization that I did not vote for him, I unceasingly voiced my objections to him, and I am not him. He is responsible for whatever he does. That would leave sadness for me, not guilt, if and when it goes kablooey.

The funny thing about nowadays is that, with all the tools available to make one’s thoughts and feelings public, everyone thinks they have a real role to play in all this important stuff. They think people are listening, and not just people, but those people, the people who run the show. They think if they only tweet a little harder, or publish a wittier post on Facebook, the world will right itself and we will all be happier and more secure. The truth, unfortunately, is that most everyone is just gathering likes from the like-minded and sailing past everyone else sight unseen, word unheard.

And what if the guy actually does some good? Raises wages for working people, protects the vulnerable, makes the wealthy pull their weight, humbles violent fanatics abroad, helps transform dirty energy to clean, starts the reversal of global warming, induces a flowering of the arts and sciences to rival Periclean Athens … What if? Wouldn’t that be grand? Wouldn’t that be worth the anxious uncertainty of these few days? Wouldn’t that make up for the fact that a truly qualified person got passed over for the job?

We will know soon enough where all this is headed. God (if you are there, and care) help us.
__________
*The president-elect formerly known as the real estate developer and TV personality Donald Trump.
**It is doubtful “Lock Her Up” will make sense by then (not that it ever did).

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Warmup

A great way to experience 22,000 years of global temperature fluctuations:

From a recent article in the New York Review of Books:

The “Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” … recognizes that “climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.” Its objective is to put the world onto a path “consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” beginning in 2020, while also “pursuing efforts” to limit the increase to an even lower maximum limit of 1.5°C.

… For reasons of consensus more than science, a globally averaged temperature increase of 2°C has emerged as an acceptable upper limit among policymakers seeking to curb emissions growth.

… [T]he limits on change in temperatures … represent enormous shifts in the earth’s climate. A 2.5°C change is huge, equivalent to the difference between the average daily temperatures of New York City’s hottest and coldest years on record. Already, the global average temperature has risen nearly 1°C above preindustrial levels, and the change has been scientifically linked to unprecedented consequences of that warming. These include heat waves, fires, ice melt, coral reef die-offs, and animal migrations to higher latitudes and elevations. A 3.5°C change would be almost as large as the contrast in temperatures between today and the last ice age, when global temperatures were about 5°C cooler on average. Those five degrees buried much of North America and Europe in glacial ice and sank the global sea level some 330 feet lower than it is today. There were different ecosystems on land and in the oceans, and the shape of the world’s coasts was radically different than it is now.

(Laurence C. Smith, “Greenhouse Warming: Prepare for the Worst,” a review of Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis by Tim Flannery. New York Review of Books: Vol. LXIII, No. 15, 13 October 2016, p. 44.)

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Quantum

quantumcover2Quantum was a wonderful student magazine published by the National Science Teachers Association from 1990 to 2001. Born in the heady days of perestroika, it was a collaboration with the renowned Russian journal Kvant. Sadly, just at its early adopters were graduating from college and heading into science careers or becoming teachers themselves, the magazine was euthanized.

Now, finally, 15 years after its untimely demise, you can download each and every issue. Take full advantage of the opportunity. One never knows how long such things last.

Full disclosure: WorldWideWeber was involved in the Quantum enterprise, wearing several hats over the years.

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Alert

There have been reports of an old man driving around near schools trying to entice students into his car with promises of free tuition.

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Fontitis

Would you entrust your design to the people who concocted this logo?

Tenley Design Center

Not enough fonts

You just know what would happen if they needed to add another word to their name …

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Impressive

The original crotch rocket?

plumber's truck

“Riding the rocket”

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Om

Speaking of frogs (it appears we’re creating a subcategory to the Phone Photos category: Yard Fauna)—this taken in D.C. not far from home:

meditating from yard statue

Meditating frog

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Disconnect

One hopes the neighbors have found a common language even if their yard sculptures have not.

two yard sculptures

Divided by more than a fence

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Hallowed

In a metropolitan area full of history and historical markers, two plaques in Arlington, Virginia—just across the river from Washington, DC—are easy to miss. They sit a block apart in the Rosslyn neighborhood, consisting of office buildings, high-rise apartments, and fast-food restaurants. I passed them many times as a bicycle commuter before I stopped to read what they said.

The first plaque commemorates the spot where “Deep Throat” met Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter who was investigating the Watergate break-in.

Deep Throat plaque

Corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Nash St.

The second plaque pays homage to the relatively unknown group of engineers who worked on ARPANET, laying the foundation of what became that world-altering feature of modern life, the internet.

ARPANTE plaque

Corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Oak St.

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman