There’s something unusual going on with the dogs here. Clearly, Chileans seem to love their dogs. You see the out walking with their pets everywhere. I’ve seen Yorkies, Jack Russell Terriers, Boxers, Pit Bulls and Schnauzers just to name a few. I saw a Sharpei in Santiago sporting a cone because he just had the expersive eye surgery needed to keep the folds of skin away from its eyes. Obviously a well loved dog.
Then you have the polar opposite. The strays. They are everywhere. Because they’ve been indicriminently breeding, they are mostly mutts, but I’ve some pure breds on the street. I saw a huskie on my way to the bus station and it broke my heart. I wanted to take him home. Like the other pure breds, he was probably abandoned, or possibly lost. The dog are so ubiquitious they are almost invisible. The are sleeping in the sun and the shade. Dumster diving. Fucking in the streets. Many are limping, vicitims of dog fights or the crazy Chilean traffic They are so pervasive, they are mosyl invisible. Just completely igorned.
Of course I’ve seen stray dogs in many countries. Indonesia and Thailand are the worst that come to mind. There, many of the dogs are neglected and diseased. Because Thailand is a Buddhist country, they would euthanize, which is really sad. I don’t know what the problem is Indonesia. Perhaps laziness. In either case it’s somewhat unstandable because these are no dog loving cultures. So how can Chile which is clearly a dog adoring culture tolerate it’s massive stray dog population.
Certianly it costs money to go around grabbing dogs off the street and either putting them down or neutering them. Other priorities are far more important.
I just can’t remember the last time I saw a stray dog at home. It just does not happen, at least not in my part of the country. I’m no saying that to be snobbish or anything. It’s not like that. I’m saying for a frame of reference to understand why someone from California would find this situation so unfortunate.
*not just in Santiago, sadly
Are we really going to make a martyr of Zacarias Moussaoui? It looks like it’s possible now that a jury has found him eligible for death penalty. Whatever you think of him, and I think he’s complete scum and probably does deserve to die, it’s not only a far, far worse punishment for him to rot in jail for the rest of his life but also it avoids turning him into cause celebre by fundamentalists. But I fear that the bloodlust that has gripped our erstwhile Christian society will not let him live.
Amazing as it seems it’s getting the point in my life that I’ve known the friends I made in college for 15 years. Although I don’t see them as often as I would like, it’s so nice to get together with people, like Anita here, whom I have known for years, have a long shared history with and feel so comfortable around.
(n.b. Anita was not too thrilled to be photographed and she’ll probably be even less thrilled about seeing herself on the web, but I couldn’t resist. Sorry, amiga)
Want to get some action on the conclave? Just head over to paddypower.com, check out the odds, the candidates, fill yourself in on the process and the history of papal elections.
Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria is the front runner, but I suspect this is mostly wishful thinking. As cool as it would be to have an African or Latin American pope, I suspect when the voting is all done, we’ll find a return to traditional Western European, if not Italian, pontiff.
As a Jewish atheist, I shouldn’t find this all that interesting, but I can’t help but be fascinated. The papacy is such a huge part of our world culture. There’s even a genre of fiction devoted to the topic. The secrecy, the pomp and circumstance, the rituals of burning the ballots, the visuals of crimson robed cardinals congregating beneath Michaelangelo’s Last Judgment. It’s all so intriguing.
There have been several votes so far and only plumes of black smoke have arisen from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to signify a lack of consensus on a new pontiff. Eventually the Papal Interregnum will end and we can get on with our lives, but in the meantime, the world waits as a few old men chose a new leader and decide on the future path of the Catholic church.
Here are the odds for you punters who are thinking of placing a bet or putting together an office pool.
|Francis Arinze (Nigeria)||7/2|
|Joseph Ratzinger (Germany)||11/2|
|Claudio Hummes (Brazil)||7/1|
|Dionigi Tettamanzi (Italy)||7/1|
|Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Honduras)||9/1|
|Jean-Marie Lustiger (France)||9/1|
|Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (Italy)||12/1|
|Cardinal Angelo Scola (Venice)||20/1|
|Cardinal Walter Kasper (Germany)||20/1|
|Count Christoph von Schoenborn (Austria)||25/1|
|Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Argentina)||25/1|
|Jose Da Cruz Policarpo (Portugal)||25/1|
|Cardianl Ruini (Italy)||33/1|
|Cardinal Amigo Vallejo (Spain)||33/1|
|Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa (Chile)||33/1|
|Giovanni Battista Re (Italy)||33/1|
|Ivan Dias (India)||33/1|
|Keith O Brien (Scotland)||33/1|
|Cardinal Dario Castrillion Hoyos (Colombia)||40/1|
|Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Italy)||40/1|
|Geraldo Majella Agnelo (Brazil)||40/1|
|Godfried Daneels (Belgium)||40/1|
|Angelo Sodano (Italy)||50/1|
|Attilio Cardinal Nicora (Roman Curia)||50/1|
|Cardinal Karl Lehnmann (Germany)||50/1|
|Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Canada)||50/1|
|Cardinal Marco Ce (Italy)||50/1|
|Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil (India)||50/1|
|Cormac Murphy-OConnor (UK)||50/1|
|Ennio Antonelli (Italy)||50/1|
|Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino (Cuba)||50/1|
|Norberto Rivera Carrera (Mexico)||50/1|
|Wilfred Napier (South Africa)||50/1|
|Cardinal George Pell (Australia)||66/1|
|Cardinal Severino Poletto (Italy)||80/1|
|Crescenzio Sepe (Italy)||80/1|
|Lopez Rodriguez (Dominican Republic)||80/1|
|Silvano Piovanelli (Italy)||80/1|
|Aloysius Ambrozic (Canada)||100/1|
|Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois (France)||100/1|
|Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo (Venezuela)||100/1|
|Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz (Russia)||100/1|
|Bernadin Cardinal Gantin (Benin)||100/1|
|Cardinal Desmond Connell (Ireland)||100/1|
|Cardinal Edward Cassidy (Australia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Edward Clancy (Australia)||100/1|
|Cardinal James Francis Stafford (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Joachim Meisner (Germany)||100/1|
|Cardinal Jorge Medina (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Julian Herranz (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Justin Rigali (USA)||100/1|
|Cardinal Keeler (USA)||100/1|
|Cardinal Lubomyr Husar (Ukraine)||100/1|
|Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana)||100/1|
|Cardinal Renato Martino (Italy)||100/1|
|Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles Gordo (Spain)||100/1|
|Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno (Guatemala||100/1|
|Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi (Italy)||100/1|
|Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo (India)||100/1|
|Cardinal Thomas Williams (NZ)||100/1|
|Cardinal Turcotte (Canada)||100/1|
|Diarmuid Martin (Ireland)||100/1|
|Emmanuel Milingo (Zambia)||100/1|
|Giacomo Biffi (Italy)||100/1|
|Ignace Cardinal Daoud, (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Jean Louis Pierre Tauran (Roman Curia)||100/1|
|Jose María Rouco Varela (Spain)||100/1|
|Josip Bozanic (Croatia)||100/1|
|Juan Luis Cipriani (Peru)||100/1|
|Michele Giordano (Italy)||100/1|
|Miloslav Vlk (Czech Republic)||100/1|
|Philippe Barbarin (France)||100/1|
|Sean Patrick OMalley (USA)||100/1|
|Theodore McCarrick (US)||100/1|
|Vinko Puljic (Bosnia and Herzogovina)||100/1|
|Agostino Cacciavillan (Italy)||125/1|
|Bishop John Magee (Ireland)||125/1|
|Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun (China)||125/1|
|Cardinal Armand G. Razafindratandra (Madagascar)||125/1|
|Cardinal Audrys Juozas Backis (Lithuania)||125/1|
|Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala (Uganda)||125/1|
|Cardinal Francis Eugene George (USA)||125/1|
|Cardinal Ghattas (Egypt)||125/1|
|Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man (Vietnam)||125/1|
|Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval (Bolivia)||125/1|
|Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu (Thailand)||125/1|
|Cardinal Polycarp Pengo (Tanzania)||125/1|
|Cardinal Roger Etchegaray (Italy)||125/1|
|Pierre Cardinal Sfeir (Lebanon)||125/1|
There seems to be a perfect storm brewing in the world at the moment.
First we have this oil situation, real or manufactured, that is going to have long term ramifications to the US economy and threatens the quality of life that Americans have enjoyed in the last half of the 20th century. If gas prices continue to rise and the analysts at Goldman Sachs are right and we’ll see $105 price tag on a barrel of oil, the petroleum based economy that we have is going to crack. Lots of people are going to fall into those fissures.
Then you have Tom Friedman writing about the new realities of globalization with his thesis that the world is increasing flat, that there exists now an almost level technological playing field on which the US is slowly but surely being pushed to the sidelines as India and China ramp up both educationally and economically. While India and China are educating their people at higher rate, graduating more engineers and computer scientists, America is an education decline, falling behind in the sciences, in math, in just about everything but law. The shortfall that had existed was previously filled by importing students and their PhDs from, most notably India and China, but increasing security concerns that keep some of the best talent at home and the level playing field that ameliorates the need for educated elites to migrate to the US for employment opportunities is creating a tipping point where the balance of educational and economic power is shifting east.
Then there is this small story about library closings in Salinas that I wrote about last year and the NYT has picked up today. Salinas might be a no account small town in central California that no one would pay much attention to if it were not the hometown of John Steinbeck, but what’s going on there represents on a micro scale the consequences of decisions that we as a country have been making on a global scale.
At the same time that India and China are improving access to communication pipelines that empower their populace in this increasing globalized world, Salinas is shutting down its libraries, severing critical access to information that is the key to economic prosperity and a hallmark of a healthy democracy. This is not a strategic decision. I’m sure that the politicians in Salinas are not making this choice lightly. However their hands are tied. They have a multi-million dollar budget shortfall and economic reality is forcing them to make this incredibly difficult decision. While this might now be happening only in this small farming community, you can bet your Euros that this library necrosis will be coming to a city near you, and soon.
It’s very easy to look at this situation as say, well, America had a nice run, we’re going to go into a long, slow decline that has befallen all the great civilizations at one time or another. And that will happen if people do nothing. And there’s a good chance that people will do nothing.
I look at this moment as a great opportunity for American to take the reigns of the world and lead, however, I don’t believe that our increasingly corrupt and entrenched politicians have the will to make the decisions and the sacrifices to affect change and challenge the country on the issues of education, technology and consumption.
If we don’t make education our number one priority. If we don’t fix our public education system. If we continue to graduate illiterates from our high schools. If the cost of education continues to rise. If we let our libraries be mothballed. If we do nothing about this crisis, then we will go into that decline, the pace of which will be inversely proportional to our lack of ability to recognize and fix this massive problem.
UPDATE: Yahoo! is on the trail of gas prices in South Lake Tahoe. Take a look at this pic. Look familiar! The prices might have changed (gone up, of course) but the place remains the same.
Last night as I was driving home from work I was listening to All Things Considered. There was this discussion about Johnnie Cochran OJ’s lawyer who passed away yesterday. One of colleagues, Connie Rice, came on to speak to Robert Siegel or Michelle Norris, I can’t remember. What I do remember is Ms. Rice heaping praise on Mr. Cochran and then saying something that made me sit up and think. She said that what made Johnnie Cochran special was his “Human IQ”, his ability to see a jury and immediately understand and connect with them. This is a great skill to have for anyone (not connect with a jury, but with people). Why it made me prick up my ears is that it is a skill that I completely lack.
I hate bugs. I hate mosquitos. I hate centipedes. I hate roaches. Ants, spiders, flies, anything creeping or crawling or buzzing. They should be eradicated off the face of the earth, as far as I’m concerned. I hate them all. Except ladybugs. I don’t know why this is. They are just bugs like everything else. They have spindly little legs. They creep all over the place. They fly off without notice or warning. I should hate them. But I don’t. I actually like them. I don’t mind if they walk all over me (as long as it’s just one). I was thinking about this as I saved a ladybug from the crosswalk around the corner from office as I was walking to lunch. If it was a spider in the crosswalk, I would have walked on by or crushed it underfoot. But it was a ladybug, so I stopped in the middle of the road, put my hand on the ground to entice it up, and placed it in the plants opposite the sidewalk.
When I finished skiing on Sunday, I drove down to Tahoe and saw that the Chevron at the bottom of Ski Run Blvd was selling regular unleaded, supposedly the cheap stuff, for $2.65/gallon. The stations near my house in Alameda are more reasonable at $2.35/gallon, but still far above the national average and way, way more then what I remember paying when I lived in Atlanta back in 96-97 when you could find places that would sell you a gallon for less than 90 cents.
How much is gas going for in your area?
Today, George Bush handed out the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three men, Tommy Franks, Paul Bremer and George Tenent. In the New York Times article, Bush is quoted as saying the three man “made our country more secure and advanced the cause of human liberty”. That’s Tommy Franks who was in charge when Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora. Paul Bremer, who handed over sovereignty to the Iraqi people a few days early so he could dash to his waiting helicopter and leave behind the smoldering mesh of his occupation. George Tenet who was in charge of the CIA during the biggest intelligence failure America has seen since Pearl Harbor. Presidential Medal of Freedom, my ass.
Absolutely not, if you ask me, but my guess is that most Americans wouldn’t agree with me.
I had an epiphany about this while I was sitting in a huge international food court at lunch yesterday. You could get food from almost any cuisine in the world. It was incredibly convenient, but the quality was sub-par (even while the quantity was more than sufficient).
It comes down to what you value. If you value convenience or quantity over quality then America is the best place for you. But if you value quality, style, or substance, then you’d have to look elsewhere.
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