Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Carve a Turkey

Just in time, the Art of Manliness blog has an article on turkeys:
How To Cook and Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey Like a Man.

Children’s Books, Lost and Found

The December 2008 issue of First Things has an article by Joseph Bottum on Children’s Books, Lost and Found about the old and new golden ages in children's literature.

The First Things blog also has an interview with Joseph Bottum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moving on

Here is some advice on how to kill time on the Web now that the election is over (besides reading Bethlehem Road!); I greatly enjoyed Professor Wikipedia.

(My thanks to a post on the First Things blog by Stefan McDaniel.)

Traffic in Tyson's Corner

Traffic is bad in this area, without doubt. It is especially bad in Tyson's Corner. An October 24 article in the Washington Post stated that the Tyson's Corner lunchtime rush “surpasses the morning rush by 24 percent.”

How did they get that statistic? See the
chart of traffic in Tyson's Corner.

You will notice that they define a lunch “rush hour” that is 25
percent longer than the morning rush hour (2 1/2 hours versus 2 hours).

However, the traffic rate (cars per hour) is almost the same. Dividing the total number of cars by the duration of the rush hour yields 9,359 cars per hour between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and 9,268 cars per hour between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The evening rush also has the same rate: 9,343 cars per hour between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


For Halloween, I borrowed and listened to an audiobook version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (see also this version at U. Penn). You may already know that the monster in the book is not called Frankenstein; instead, he was created by Victor Frankenstein, the title character, who almost immediately regrets what he has done, and the rest of his life is made miserable by his creation, who wishes to participate in society but cannot due to his grotesque appearance. No matter what the monster does, people reject, flee from, or assault him.

The framing in the book is interesting. The beginning and end of the book consists of letters from an English explorer named Walton (who is leading a ship into the Arctic) to his sister. In the letters, he mentions seeing a monster and then finding Frankenstein. The major part of the book is Frankenstein telling his story of misery to Walton. Part of that story involves recalling the monster's descriptions of his adventures to Frankenstein during some of their meetings.

It is a fascinating tale told in an atmosphere of dread. We know that Frankenstein has come to a bad end; the suspense is about how he got there (and what will finally happen to him). The monster's evil actions are caused apparently by the failure of humans to recognize him and treat him as a person - he is driven to be an outcast, unloved by all, including the one who created him. Part of the monster's story describes how he learned first to survive and then to talk and read - he has to learn everything that children learn, but without the protection of a family.
(His supernatural strength and agility and tolerance of the elements help him survive.)

It is also a tale about obsession - Frankenstein is initially obsessed with creating life, ignoring everything else, including his friends and family and his health, as he works alone, without guidance or assistance. He does not lead a balanced life. He is also the slave to his emotions and lets them control him, leading him to make desperate plans but then distracting him from carrying out those plans.

The monster appears frequently in the story, but much more often does the thought of the monster appear to Frankenstein and control his life even when the monster is nowhere near. It is not so much a story about a monster; it is more a story of a man, his obsession, and how it brings him ever-increasing misery, leading him to revenge and hate and away from the company of man.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Great Day. Tech Wins. UGA gets crushed.

From the TechBlog at
Great Day. Tech Wins. UGA gets crushed.

There's not much more to say!