This it seems to me is the ultimate tribute to Kim Jong Il, the recently departed Dear Leader of North Korea—a satellite image of North Korea at Night.
Ezra Klein writes: “That, right there, is Kim Jong Il’s legacy. In a world that had long ago found light, he managed to keep 24 million human beings in the dark.”
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How good is Bethesda Studios’ new role-playing game, Skyrim? It’s so good I’m afraid to open the box.
That’s right, instead of opening it up and loading it on my machine, when UPS delivered my copy I instead carefully wrapped the box in Christmas paper and put a label on it saying To Andy from Santa (more…)
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One of the things I pride myself on is belated insight—meaning, I do have good ideas, but they tend to occur to me a little bit late.
That was definitely the case going up the Mount Whitney Trail last weekend. We knew we’d be facing weather somewhere between 0-20°F, and we knew we’d be climbing fast (more…)
I had no idea I’d be going to Austria until about two weeks beforehand. Given more time, I might have tried to learn some rudimentary German, but instead I focused on other preparations. I thus arrived in Graz knowing roughly three German words, none of which I could pronounce correctly (more…)
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Back home in L.A. now, having flown in from Graz via Munich last ‘night’. My plane took off from Munich in daylight and promptly headed north into darkness. Eventually, somewhere up around Greenland, we turned west and soon chased down the sun, so that daylight returned. That plus clear skies made it possible to see an utterly ice-bound landscape (more…)
I have a lot of lists. When I realize there’s something I need to do, I write it down so I won’t forget. My list making exploded soon after I became a father, because the added complexity of tracking one (and now two) extremely fast and mobile and clever little persons 24-7 so taxes my poor mind that otherwise I’d forget things left and right. So: lots of lists, all done in my marginally-legible on-the-way-to-schizophrenic-conspiracy-theory handwriting (arrows included) (more…)
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“Are Space Monsters imaginary creatures?” my son asks this morning, waking me at the usual 6a.m. Hmm… That’s kind of an interesting one. You see, if you believe that a Universe as big as ours has probably spawned life on planets other than just Earth, then there are Space Creatures out there, somewhere, and no doubt by my son’s criteria, they are indeed monsters. So, maybe the answer is no, Space Monsters are not imaginary, they’re real.
But that kind of opens a whole can of worms, so to speak, that might be best avoided. And this entire line of logical reasoning calls into question other assumptions, such as, are dragons real? I mean, if you’re going with the infinite-combinations-in-infinite-diversity argument, there just might be a dragon (or effectively the same thing) living on some planet out there, somewhere. Hmm. Maybe the best answer right now is to just close my eyes and go back to sleep…
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A quick check of my occasionally-reliable records indicates that on this day, September 26, one year ago, the high temperature recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 113°F. Yikes! I remember roasting in my apartment praying for the heat wave to snap. It was just absolutely miserable. No such worries today. It’s been a cold Summer and a chilly Fall thus far in Southern California. I find I’m starting to eye my skis sitting in the corner more and more frequently…
Here’s how it went down: my wife had my wallet. I needed lunch, so I broke into my emergency stash of credit cards, the ones I never use, activated one, and bought myself a hot dog. Then I waited for a billing statement that never came.
Eventually, I remembered using the card, and checked in to see why the statement was late. Of course, by then the account was overdue. According to the helpful bank representative, at some unknown point I’d switched that account to paperless statements. I mentioned I’d never gotten a statement, paper or otherwise…Would I like to pay the balance now, the rep inquired helpfully (more…)
Over Christmas I bought a space heater for my room at my parents’ house in Flagstaff, which tends to be cold. I liked the heater so much I decided to get another one when I got back to my L.A. apartment, which also tends to be cold. Problem was, the one I got in Flagstaff was black, and in California (in fact online as well) I could only find silver versions of the model I liked. No big deal…but I really liked the way the black heater looked. Is it crazy to care that much about the color of your heater? Maybe (more…)