Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chopping wood, Ohio

Chopping wood with my niece at Fox Hollow, in Lexington, Ohio. The wood splitter was purchased in the 1970s or early 1980s. It's a monster of a machine and works fast. Photo by John M. Breitinger.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Country cousins, Ohio

Two of my cousins photographed at Tally Ho Farm, near Alexandria, Ohio. In the 1970s and 1980s I spent a lot of time at this farm. When this Christmas day photo was taken, I was jetting through the skies en route to Columbus from Phoenix. Photo by John M. Breitinger.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lolo Soetoro

One of my minor accomplishments this year was contributing to the world of human knowledge by creating the article on Wikipedia on Barack Obama's stepfather--Lolo Soetoro. The article required much defending, but at this point I think it is there to stay.

Like Colin Powell, I was offended both by the false charge that Obama was a Muslim and the notion that if true it would disqualify him from office. Smears and guilt by associaton were the evidence provided, including the charge that Obama's stepfather was a radical Muslim. From the research I've done along with reporters and other Wikipedia authors, there isn't much credence to those charges.

If you do a Google search on his name, this article is the number one result.

Check it out at

Monday, December 22, 2008

Avalanche means move . . . . fast

Tony Mason, a man I knew at the end of his life, is one of those rare people I will never forget. He had an even bigger impact on my sister Cari.

From Tony: "Never lose eye of your objective and keep going forward even when there is an avalanche heading your way."

He died in early June of this year and is missed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

This morning the earth crossed the point in orbit marking the Winter Solstice. For those of us in the northern hemisphere this is when we are furthest from the sun.

This also marks the shortest day of the year. The days get longer starting NOW.

Christmas (the word is a contraction of "Christ’s mass") is most likely celebrated on December 25 because that was the day of the Winter Solstice on the Julian calendar—a calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Cultures around the world have various ways of marking this day. The actual birth day of Christ is unknown--even the year is uncertain.

I have to confess, this is not my favorite time of year, though I am grateful for the holidays to lighten the mood.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Krugman nails it

This week Paul Krugman wrote: "Yet surely I’m not the only person to ask the obvious question: How different, really, is Mr. Madoff’s tale from the story of the investment industry as a whole?"

And not just the investment industry, the real estate industry, the post-9/11 military-industrial-war industry, the people who have accrued more debt than is prudent industry (including me) . . . and on and on.

Hopefully the economy is more resillient than a Ponzi scheme, yet Krugman's correct, too much of it did become a giant ponzi scheme--and through a crack smoking society we got high on real estate and easy credit in a completely unsustainable way. Hopefully the morning after won't be too rough.

In these times of a crashing economic system it's easy, even proper, to point fingers, but we must also, always ask: How much did each of us individually contribute to and benefit from the boom? Possibly, no, probably, more than we realize. It is amazing how we're all products of our times as much as responsible individual operators.

Monday, December 01, 2008

An area of agreement with W

George W. reminded me in a recent interview with ABC news that he has some good qualities. The bad decisions he made were epic and tragic--and even the following quote is a failure of his years as president. Nonetheless, I couldn't agree with him more, than I do on the topic of immigration reform.

From our soon to be former president, George W. Bush:

"I firmly believe that the immigration debate really didn't show the true nature of America as a welcoming society. I fully understand we need to enforce law and enforce borders. But the debate took on a tone that undermined the true greatness of America, which is that we welcome people who want to work hard and support their families."