Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Changes in North Korea

When I heard of Kim Jong Il's death the other day I first thought of how strange North Korea is. One report said it was a "hereditary communist" state. If that is not an oxymoron, I don't know what is. Perhaps is is more appropriate to think of it as a  paranoid, super-nationalist state.

I couldn't help but think of the all the American soldiers who fought in the Korean War and patrolled the border over the years. Both my father and father-in-law fought in the war. No one was ever the same after that. While I am happy that South Korea is free, it seems like unfinished business with North Korea still  in an isolated deep freeze. Perhaps they will thaw out some day.

Monday, December 05, 2011


I am listening to the latest Tinariwen CD, Tassili. It's great. I saw the band last week on the Colbert Report. It's a very mellow sound. When I lived in Burkina Faso we used to see Tuaregs begging in the streets of Ouagadougou. They had been forced to leave the desert because of the drought. I'm glad to see some of their culture!

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Return to A Space Odyssey

I finished rereading 2001 and 2010 A Space Odyssey after many years on my Nook. I guess it's appropriate to read it on an ereader. I always enjoy Clarke's optimistic view of the future. There are no true villains. The characters struggle, but reason through problems. It doesn't mean they will be happy, just that they will do the best that they can.
I did prefer 2010 the book over the movie. The movie introduced a silly USA vs USSR controversey at one point, where the two crews separate. It was never very believable. Here the unknown schemes of the advanced beings bring the true unknown mystery.
I like how HAL was redeemed in 2010. It was fitting that Bowman chose him to accompany him before the Discovery was burned up.

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Chopping Wood

Today I helped out with the Forestry Club/Woodsmen's Team cutting wood. We went up to the Watershed to split oak pieces with mauls. I haven't done that in years and years! I am feeling the effects of all that work. I really need to get in shape.
Later, we cut other oak logs by campus with a hydraulic splitter. It's much easier than a maul, but less satisfying. It's still not easy, though!
All in all, I'm glad that I don't rely on wood for fuel. I am happy with oil.

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Close CAll


This morning our dog Gus found an old packet of rat poison. By the time my wife found him he had ripped open and spread it all over the couch. We had no idea how much, if any, he ate.
The vet said we should make him vomit by giving him two teaspoons of salt. After he was done we took him to see the veteranirian.

They ended up giving him an antidote shot. We have pills to give him over the next few days. I personally don't think he ate any. But we are covered in case.
It just shows that amyuthing can happen.

Dogs are worse than children in some ways. They never grow up!

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Thursday, December 01, 2011

World Aids Day

Today is World Aids Day. The news I have heard is really mixed. There are new medical advances, but the funding is limited during the economic downturn.
I remember the first World Aids Day back in 1988. I was in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. I was coming home from a short visit for the University of Maine. There was a possibility of getting involved in a development project, that never panned out. I had seen a few articles on Aids in Ouaga throughout Burkina. Sitting across from me on the flight was an American doctor, who had lived next to us when we lived in Bobo Dioulasso. He was there as an epidemiologist for USAID, studying Aids. He told me that the disease was much more widespread than anyone thought. That was an understatement! It's good that there are so many anti-virals available. And soon we may see the end of this terrible disease.

Posted via email from Black Gap Road