Wednesday, May 27

Am I playing a chess game of my own?

Elias: "I think you know something you don't even know you know, which means you're playing
a chess game of your own, Detective.You just don't realize it yet."
"Person of Interest" (Season 2 Episode 19)

Sunday, May 17

The stupidity and cruelty of the earth

This ugly sunlit picture of the stupidity and cruelty of the earth sent the ascetic finally to his prayers for purification and new thoughts.
That sounds very elevating. And yet as it turns out, the curate described here (in G.K. Chesterton's "The Hammer of God") doesn't behave very well.

Taro root

Wearing gloves, slice the skin off a large taro root. Rinse, then cut into sections and cut the sections into slices roughly a quarter inch thick. Heat a little oil in a pot, briefly stir fry the slices, then add water (enough to cover at least halfway, but you're not making soup). Simmer, stirring occasionally until the taro softens, adding water if necessary, then season with salt and sprinkle with green onion cut into thin slices. Eat.

I've decided that it's better than mashed potatoes, and practically a comfort food.


Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Les mouches du temps aiment une fl├Ęche.

Saturday, May 16

SURS Loses Money On Salesmen

In Illinois, where Rauner is pushing retirement benefit cuts, the trend is illustrative. There, the $18.9 billion Illinois State Universities Retirement System (SURS) used placement agents for 15.6 percent of its private equity investments -- which then underperformed the pension fund’s other private equity investments by -9.2 percent. The underperformance may have cost the system hundreds of millions of dollars, money could have been used to shore up the plan’s funding.

The SURS declined to comment on the study in response to queries from IBTimes.
Full article here.

Sunday, May 3


MARISOL: Your mother's family is Spanish?
PILAR: Sure, they go back to Cortez. When he rode by, they were squatting in a hut cooking hamsters for dinner.

Friday, May 1

Deliberate exercise or display of the body is a prostitution

"I have wished myself to know that any deliberate exercise or display of the body is a prostitution; our created shapes being only our accidents until by taking pleasure or pains in them we make them our fault."
T. E. Lawrence, The Mint
That's a little extreme. And if you feel that way about your body, isn't your intellect also an accident?

Then on the other hand, what's wrong with prostitution?

Foreign aid making governments weaker

Anne Applebaum writes,
In 2009, Ashraf Ghani, now the president of Afghanistan, co-authored a book with Clare Lockhart that argued international aid had drastically weakened the Afghan state: Instead of building Afghanistan’s capacity to deliver health care or education, foreign donors set up parallel structures. Charities hired the best people away from the government and took all the money, too. Recently, an acquaintance who works in Mogadishu told me that exactly the same problem now afflicts Somalia. Instead of shoring up the central government, international policy seems designed to make it weaker.