this week i

celebrated ethiopian new year with abebech's cooking..

.."could i take a photo?"  "give us seven cents"  "sorry no money"  and turn my back  "wait wait please take photo please"

usually don't let him in the house, but magnificent hail.

read stephen jay gould's bully for brontosaurus, lived while neptune more distant than pluto.

but why fret over lost optimality.  history always works this way.  if montcalm had won a battle on the plains of abraham, perhaps i would be typing en francais.  if a portion of the african jungles had not dried to savannas, i might still be an ape up a tree.  if some comets had not struck the earth (if they did) some 60 million years ago, dinosaurs might still rule the land, and all mammals would be rat-sized creatures scurrying about in the dark corners of their world.  if pikaia, the only chordate of the burgess shale, had not survived the great sorting out of body plans after the cambrian explosion, mammals might not exist at all.  if multicellular creatures had never evolved after five-sixths of life's history had yielded nothing more complicated than an algal mat, the sun might explode a few billion years hence with no multicellular witness to the earth's destruction.
compared with these weighty possibilities, my indenture to qwerty seems a small price indeed for the rewards of history

nowhere does kinsey express more agitation than in his commentary on freud's theory of the shift from clitoral to vaginal orgasm

fox terriers have only firmed up their position ever since.  experts cite this simile, as in a.s. romer's leading text, vertebrate paleontology (3d edition, 1966): "eohippus' was a small form, some specimens no larger than a fox terrier."  they have also entered the two leading high-school texts: (1) otto and towle (descendant of moon, mann, and otto, the dominant text for most of the past fifty years): "this horse is called eohippus.  it had four toes and was about the size of a fox-terrier" (1977 edition); (2) the biological sciences curriculum study, blue edition (1968): "the fossil of a small four-toed animal about the size of a fox-terrier was found preserved in layers of rock."  college texts also comply.  w.t. keeton, in his biological science, the hertz of the profession, writes (1980 edition): "it was a small animal, only about the size of a fox-terrier."  baker and allen's the study of biology, a strong avis, agrees (1982 edition): "this small animal eohippus was not much bigger than a fox-terrier."
you may care little for dawn horses or fox terriers and might feel that i have made much of nothing in this essay.  but i cite the case of the creeping fox terrier clone not for itself, but rather as a particularly clear example of a pervasive and serious disease-the debasement of our textbooks, the basic tool of written education, by endless, thoughtless copying

the fossils from this one small quarry in british columbia exceed, in anatomical diversity, all modern organisms in the world's oceans today.  some fifteen to twenty burgess creatures cannot be placed into any modern phylum and represent unique forms of life, failed experiments in metazoan design.  within known groups, the burgess range far exceeds what prevails today.  taxonomists have described almost a million living species of arthropods, but all can be placed into three great groups-insects and their relatives, spiders and their kin, and crustaceans.  in walcott's single canadian quarry, vastly fewer species include about twenty more basic anatomical designs!  the history of life is a tale of decimation and later stabilization of few surviving anatomies, not a story of steady expansion and progress

artificial selection practiced by breeders proceeds rapidly at first but soon reaches frustrating limits.  jenkin writes of racehorses:
hundreds of skillful men are yearly breeding thousands of racers.  wealth and honor await the man who can breed one horse to have run one part in five thousand faster than his fellows.  as a matter of experience, have our racers improved in speed by one part in a thousand during the last twenty generations?

admiral fitzroy, the former captain of the beagle, waved a bible aloft, shouting over the tumult that it, rather than the viper he had harbored in his ship, was the true and unimpeachable authority

"how can you believe those evolutionists if they can base an identification on a single worn tooth?"  william jennings bryan, the wily old lawyer remarked: "these men would destroy the bible on evidence that would not convict a habitual criminal of a misdemeanor"


this week i

have no recollection.  a blur of employer-provided health benefits number checking, prescription drug plan data manipulation, aca eligibility survey preparation.  at one point i spent $350 on gifts for friends and then another dollar for lunch.  tabasco on the egg sandwich more expensive than the cumulative other ingredients.  and asshole dog bit me in the stomach lunging for ratty tennis ball.  culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.


this week i

finished the vaccine course.  nobody has ever played with this dog, he couldn't discriminate between my finger and the big stick.

watched some digital photography lectures.  fish-eye lens: these two people are looking at one another.

read the road to wigan pier, frustrated with the world, disenchanted with the alternative..

they may be any age up to sixty or even sixty-five, but when they are black and naked they all look alike

you try walking head down as the miners do, and then you bang your backbone.  even the miners bang their backbones fairly often.  this is the reason why in very hot mines, where it is necessary to go about half naked, most of the miners have what they call "buttons down the back" - that is, a permanent scab on each vertebra

when you think of a coal-mine you think of depth, heat, darkness, blackened figures hacking at walls of coal; you don't think, necessarily, of those miles of creeping to and fro

every miner has blue scars on his nose and forehead, and will carry them to his death.  the coal dust of which the air underground is full enters every cut, and then the skin grows over it and forms a blue stain like tattooing, which in fact it is.  some of the older men have their foreheads veined like roquefort cheeses from this cause

wigan pier has been demolished, and even the spot where it used to stand is no longer certain

to write books you need not only comfort and also need peace of mind

when nationalism first became a religion, the english looked at the map, and, noticing that their island lay very high in the northern hemisphere, evolved the pleasing theory that the further north you live the more virtuous you become.  the histories i was given when i was a little boy generally started off by explaining in the naivest way that a cold climate made people energetic while a hot one made them lazy, and hence the defeat of the spanish armada

why should a man who thinks all virtue resides in the proletariat still take such pains to drink his soup silently?  it can only be because in his heart he feels that proletarian manners are disgusting.  so you see he is still responding to the training of his childhood, when he was taught to hate, fear, and despise the working class

a machine evolves by becoming more efficient, that is, more foolproof; hence the objective of mechanical progress is a foolproof world - which may or may not mean a world inhabited by fools

the truth is that when a human being is not eating, drinking, sleeping, making love, talking, playing games or merely lounging about - and these things will not fill up a lifetime - he needs work and usually looks for it, though he may not call it work.  above the level of a third- or fourth-grade moron, life has got to be lived largely in terms of effort.  for man is not, as the vulgarer hedonists seem to suppose, a kind of walking stomach; he has also got a hand, an eye and a brain.  cease to use your hands, and you have lopped off a huge chunk of your consciousness

it would help enormously, for instance, if the smell of crankishness which still clings to the socialist movement could be dispelled.  if only the sandals and the pistachio-coloured shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaller and creeping jesus sent home to welwyn garden city to do his yoga exercises quietly !


this week i

bought six eggs at the shack two doors down.  the rusted metal cage had been nearly empty, so there's always a risk.  started cracking them into a teacup, not directly into frying pan.  halfway through, pitch black oozed out, there's always a risk.  muscle reflex threw it to the trash before gag reflex demanded evacuation.  i held down my morning coffee, opened the doors to let the house breathe, paid abebech four dollars to wash the odor off the bin.  always a risk.

turned thirty five.

am trying to do push-ups here.

read milan kundera's book of laughter and forgetting.
the only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.  they are fighting for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies and histories rewritten

they made him feel like a grandmaster who has just finished off two opponents on adjoining chessboards

she also tried to conjure up all the pet names he had ever called her.  her real name he used only for the first two weeks or so.  his tenderness was like a machine for churning out terms of endearment.  as quickly as they seemed to wear, he would make up new ones for her.  during the twelve years they had known each other, she had had twenty or thirty of them, each one belonging to a definite period in their lives.
but how can she reconstruct the lost link between a pet name and the rhythm of time?  only in rare instances does she succeed.  she can remember the days after her mother's death, for example, when, as if trying to wake her from a dream, her husband whispered her name into her ear with great urgency (her name at that time and that moment).  that name she remembers perfectly, and she can enter it with confidence under the year 1964.  but all the other names are soaring freely, madly, outside time, like birds escaped from an aviary

love is a constant interrogation.  in fact, i don't know a better definition of love


this week i

worked on the statistics textbook.

disagree with nobel laureate amartya sen's proposed revisions to america's voting system.  the electoral college cordons off nationwide recounts in close elections.  the public needs to understand how votes are counted, a fatal flaw of most decision-ranking algorithms.  switch to approval voting, leave indirect election be.

sat down for a game. i cut my deck to the queen of spades but the cards were all the same.


this week i

came home and a second dog had died in as many days.  with the puppy, three for the week.  the survivor who they call jacques did not take notice, still nibbling and licking and at play.  landlord said maid said vet said poisoned, neighborhood boys throw contaminated meat over the gate.  i saw the vaccination certificate, in ge'ez alphabet.  $200 for a five-course prophylaxis at the western clinic, but i was paying for a good night's sleep.

but i'm trying ringo, i'm trying real hard to be the shepherd

watched the world go by.  an unattended donkey walked past in the evening, an elderly man greeted me with bongiorno the next morning.

wore a shirt in amharic.  now the literate ones yell what it says instead of, "china."  junkyards in the developing world have been picked bone-dry.


this week i

never know if it's a miswak or a joint until i get closer.

see through the political theater.  the president shits on 15,000 transgendered people in the military, i'll continue donating to the aclu but make no mistake: last tuesday's lead story was forty-plus republicans voting to rescind health insurance coverage from millions of americans.

woke up, fed the hounds, ate broccoli, walked to work, watched it die.  does scaramucci miss his deleted tweets or his ex-wife more?


this week i

migrated that which should be on travis and appveyor to travis and appveyor.

intend to name my future huskies after santa's reindeer.

ordered delivery, ketchup in aluminum foil.  i have been aero-pressing wrong, adding coffee and water with the tube upside-down and the plunger near the bottom edge, screwing on the filter last.  filter should be on, tube over mug, add coffee and water, then plunge.

bought a twenty day pass and walked both ways.  depth perception is perhaps nowhere more vital than crossing the african street.


this week i

explored running paths.  caked in mud, too much foot traffic, dead end, goats.

found a base r bug, solved already.

realized the racist comments on the street about chinese people were for me.  they cannot tell.

woke up.

made breakfast.

ate the breakfast that abebech made for me.


this week i

published on illness and affordability in the middle class and healthcare for immigrants.

walked through a downpour.  when the electricity goes out, an immediate free for all for ethiopian men to whip out their dicks and piss on the roadside under cloak of darkness.

moved in to a little house.


this week i

read the cbo report and published our own analysis of how the senate proposal affects individuals.

people with income below 100 percent of the fpl who were not eligible for medicaid could generally receive premium tax credits under this legislation and not under current law. however, even with the net premium of $300 shown in the illustrative examples for a person with income at 75 percent of the fpl ($11,400 in 2026), the deductible would be more than half their annual income. the net premium of a silver plan for a 40-year-old would be about 15 percent of their annual income, and the deductible would be more than one-third of their annual income. many people in that situation would not purchase any plan, cbo and jct estimate, although some people with assets to protect or who expect to have high use of health care would

woke up sunday in mexico at ten in the ethiopian morning.  nothing until sunrise, then waiting in motion until asleep on the overnight to frankfurt.  eight hours in the pay per day airport lounge with industrial cheese and push-button coffee, but a desk and no shoes so meaningful work before another night of blinking in and out over the tray table.  three month visa to meet the cold fourth of july sunrise and i stayed awake through the new day, searching for a comfortable place to sleep.

had a worthwhile college experience.  laura lived across the hall, sent me this.  thanks dan and kassa


(1) american jails

we have so many prisoners that the american unemployment rate for men would be 2 percent higher (and 8 percent higher for black men) if they were all suddenly let out.  our jails are so packed that through the website wardens and sheriffs can look for space in other facilities if their own is full.  arizona and california have even considered plans to house inmates in mexico, where costs are lower

authorities across the country acted so harshly in part because the united states chooses a sizable proportion of its judges and almost all of its district attorneys and county sheriffs by popular election-something that would be considered bizarre almost everywhere else in the world.  (one recent study of washington state judges found that the sentences they passed out lengthened by an average of 10 percent as reelection day approached.)

prison cures nobody

(2) e.r. baghdad

it's that they have to pretend resuscitation, even when there's no chance of survival, because relatives, often with militia connections, are liable to demand blood money if they're dissatisfied with the doctor's efforts

(3) geographic surrender

as recently as the 1970s, scientists advising the us government openly referred to certain parts of the country being designated 'national sacrifice areas'

after all, if you are a 'hillbilly', who cares about your hills?

take the niger delta, poisoned with an exxon valdez-worth of spilled oil every year, a process ken saro-wiwa, before he was murdered by his government, called 'ecological genocide'


this week i

helped out with a fact sheet on medicaid's role for women.

read about mexican violence in the news, but it feels far away.  north korea the distant second most dangerous nuclear state.

could not take photos inside.  cholula's mountaintop church adorned with the aggregated plastic knick-knacks of a thousand catholic grandmothers.

need three huskies and some roller skates to conquer northern europe's bike paths.

wager that some pretty cool youngster attends mass.  his and her generation replaces the people who sit on porches, stare out windows.

never remember the translation of subir.  apotheosis, perhaps?  arisen from a rotting corpse, perhaps?  ah here's another: canejo cangrejo = crabbit

listened to more of the podcast.

this particular flower had tooth-shaped leaves, and it was thought that the leaves resembled the teeth of a lion.  the french word for tooth was dent from the same root as dental and dentist.  so the flower became known as the tooth of the lion.  the dent de leon.  and after that name entered english, it was anglicized to dandelion.  so a dandelion is literally the lion's tooth.

leopard is actually a combination of that word leo for lion, and pard, for panther.  the construction actually goes back to greek.  but that means that the literal meaning of the word leopard is a lion panther.  and that suggests that europeans didn't always understand the distinction between lions and panthers and leopards.


this week i

rented a car to visit fozzie bear.  waka waka oaxaca

popped off the fourth tire bolt.  mexicans drive on the shoulder of two-lane highways so faster vehicles can pass on the median.  chaos

test drove up to the next ruins.

visited nature's infinity pool..

..please jump.

pulled in for a meal.  goats circled the agave out front, the owner threw pebbles to shoo them away.  his daughter studied a book in silence in the second room.  i ordered the quesadilla and eggs and chorizo, free shot of mezcal with the meal.  the goats returned, then so did the hail of rocks.

think it hard to find anything not to like, well, except that faux-gi.

would drop everything to open a shrimp trucking company if portuguese extended north past equatorial guinea.

read byting the apple and then invisible matter.

plato, through his derivation of five perfect solids, focused on a "quinta essentia," a fifth essence

a brilliant and irascible astronomer at caltech whose relationship with his colleagues was summarized by his description of them: "spherical bastards," because he felt they were bastards any way you looked at them


this week i

wrote code.  any evil website requiring an email login and password for whatever reason could immediately turn around and attempt those passwords as the login for the associated e-mail account.  also, when a user types an incorrect password into said evil system, those failed passwords could also be attempted on the e-mail account.  if not a simple typo, perhaps the user confused which key fits in which lock.  open sesame.

watched season five.

"i believe in you congressman, you want to know why?  because i trust ambition"  "so this is a straight up bribe"  "oh no, congressman, a bribe is something you can refuse"


this week i

released our annual enrollment estimates of the medicare advantage market.

hiked up a volcano.  two separate mexico city from puebla.  only allowed on the elder because, you know, lava.

would hide powerful magnets in the seat cushions to steal change if i drove for uber, sometimes catch keys same as tuna fishermen catch dolphin.