Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nosedive on Nosedive

I just got back from a few days of skiing at Lake Tahoe.

The last night and day, it was snowing steadily and I got to ski in a few inches of fresh powder. That is always a treat.

I spent one day cross-country skiing at Royal Gorge. They have an aptly named hill called "Nose Dive," which I worked a few times and indeed did take a nosedive or three. I busted my lip pretty good, but nobody has remarked on it, so it cannot be as bad as it feels.

View from Lola's Lookout, compromised by the gray weather but still gorgeous, and Henri enjoying the sunset, tired after a full day of x-country.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Betrand Russell on Asia

In 1945, Bertrand Russell wrote this about European vs. Asian culture.

Our use of the phrase the "Dark Ages" to cover the period from 600 to 1000
marks our undue concentraion on Western Europe. In China, this period
includes the time of the Tang dynasty, the greatest age of Chinese
poetry[...]. What was lost to Christendom at this time was not lost to
civilization, but quite the contrary. No one could have guessed that
Europe would later become dominant, both in power and in culture. [...]

Our superiority since the Renaissance is due partly to science and
scientific technique, partly to political institutions slowly built up
during the Middle Ages. There is no reason, in the nature of things, why
this superiority should continue. [...] It seems not unlikely that,
during the next few centuries, civilization, if it survives, will have
greater diversity than it has had since the Renaissance. There is an
imperialism of culture that is harder to overcome than the imperialism of
power. Long after the Western Empire fell, [...] all European culture
retained a tincture of Roman imperialism. [...] I think that, if we are to
feel at home in the world after the present war, we shall have to admit Asia
to equality of thoughts, not only politically, but culturally. What changes
this will bring about, I do not know, but I am convinced that they will be
profound and of the greatest importance.

This already sounds prescient, and it looks like the 21st century will prove Russell right on the mark.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alpha Dog

You should see Alpha Dog, despite its flaws. It slows down in many places with scenes and characters unrelated to the storyline. Some of the acting is a little over the top. On the plus side, there is a scene with a heart-broken, decrepit Sharon Stone doing a terrific soliloquy, and it is almost worth watching the movie just for that.

I am interested in kidnapping stories, I think because I am interested in freedom, and kidnapping is a personal, severe abridger of freedom.

Unlike many movies that say they are based on true events, the events inspiring this story did happen. Look up Jesse James Hollywood, the real-life culprit.