Apocalyptic Occasion with a Curmudgeonly, Andy-Rooneyesque Beginning

Can you believe the newspaper? Have a look at the last two graphs from a recent article in the business section detailing the long lines and general excitement associated with the release of the new Blackberry Storm: Standing on line in San Francisco’s financial district, Fred Vassard, a systems administrator, said he owns both versions …

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Blast from the Past

“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that …

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A Vision

My face was three inches from his face, max. I couldn’t tell for sure on account of the darkness, it being night and we being lightless, an “oversight.” He was on his back; I on my side. He doesn’t get my puns—the light/oversight thing. I’d taught him the word breeze earlier, my euphemism for the …

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Taxpayers Rejoice

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, signed by none other than rascally leprechaun Bill Clinton himself, provided some curious incentives, as it turned out, that we might do well to remember. Coupled with the Balanced Budget Act, TRA of 1997 arguably helped to create the much heralded—and in many ways miraculous—federal budget surpluses starting in …

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What Does “Stabilizing Housing Prices” Mean?

An American walks into a bank and obtains a mortgage loan he can’t afford—be it an ARM, interest only, or even a 30-year fixed. Because of the risky loan, he’s able to pay more for a house than he otherwise would have. If he hadn’t obtained a mortgage on the house he wanted, it seems …

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What Rough Beast Slouches Toward Bethlehem to Be Born?

I’m in the process of being bludgeoned by three media whales – Ike, Obama vs. McCain, and the meltdown of the financial sector. I can’t check my electronic mail or turn on public radio without encountering “news” about them, and I’ve descended into a sort of meta-panic, not about the “news” but about the fact …

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Learning Curves

How Differential Calculus and Reading Employ the Same Skill We build too many walls and not enough bridges. -Sir Isaac Newton It’s fairly widely known, and confirmed in an old NFL Films piece, that former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swan studied ballet in the off-season. I’m sure some of his teammates who spent their free months …

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Poem for Heather's birthday

This is one of the poems that prompted a classmate of mine at Notre Dame to proclaim that love poetry died with John Keats in 1821.  This desperate vitality reminds me to be grateful you were born and encourages me to love you better: Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art– Not in …

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Sharing

Parents who bring their toddlers to public places like libraries and beaches tend to make a big show, when their child inevitably purloins another kid’s toy and starts playing with it, of encouraging their own child to share and be nice and let the kid who had been chewing, for example, on the plastic toy …

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