What if this eclipse somehow just didn’t happen? It would be even more terrifying for us than the eclipse was to people a thousand years ago. Suddenly, some very hard questions would need to be asked. Unrest; scientists, facing an incredulous public, desperately search for the moon, finally discovering that 60 years ago a researcher (the fourth of five listed authors of a widely-cited paper on the computer modeling of lunar orbital mechanics) incorrectly translated a punch-card into COBOL, because the process is mind-numbing, nothing like the life of the astronaut he wants to be, but anyway, in his distraction, he introduced a small, but compounding error. In the mean time we’ve burned down all the universities for nothing, all the scientists are in hiding, we’re all chain smoking and using computers to bludgeon livestock. The pope’s army is marching on the space station, and the caliph’s call echoes through Valles Marineris…

These days

It’s hard to follow current events these days and not comment on them. I try not to follow things too closely (the constant breathlessness will eat you alive), I try not to become invested in the way the world progresses (after all, nobody cares what I think about things), and I try not to add my voice to the angry clamor (there are too many screaming voices as it is). But at a point one has to speak, somehow, no matter how ineffectively, to say THIS WAY OF CONDUCTING OURSELVES IS NOT OK. We cannot survive as a people of anger. We must be a people of compassion.

I have chosen to be a man of compassion. It’s not much, I know, but it strikes me as the only way to start making the world better.

Be well, and love always. It sounds cheesy, but there’s nothing in the world more important.


I read a ton of essays and posts after the election – do we still call them thinkpeices – “to get some perspective” “to get other people’s thoughts.” I read pundit thoughts, journalist thoughts, politician thoughts, and economist thoughts. I read foreign thoughts and domestic thoughts. I read black thoughts …

The Hubris of Bridges

Bixby Bridge (19916363835)

I know I spent ten years of my life designing bridges, and that as a result I probably understand the principles behind their operation better than the vast majority of people out there, but I just saw a picture of the stunning Bixby Bridge carrying Highway 1 in Big Sur, California and was struck for the first time by the horrifying hubris of building bridges. The gall to think the ground is not good enough, that a road should vault through the air, on as little substance as possible, and remain aloft, because it takes too long to go around! Who do we think we are to build such monstrous babels?

(image via wikimedia commons)

Idle Talk

Realization: I’m tired of being confined to the incredibly limited dialogue around me. All anyone talks about are events, people, politics, opinions-made-facts-made-battle-cries, and yes I know these things can often be important, but where is the talk about ideas, or, god forbid, life itself? These latter topics are what lend …

The Myth of Sisyphus

Every Western ideology promises some ultimate goal — a happy, a just, or a peaceful society. I don’t believe in that. We are things in flux. It may be that the stone always slides away from us and must be rolled back up again, but it’s something we must do; the stone belongs to us.

Gunter Grass in the Paris Review’s Art of Fiction No. 124


I’m down here on Earth, like always, stargazing in the winter cold clearing of some forgotten forest, a retreat from the lights of civilization that even out here still pale the darkness of the horizon. I’m staring outward, but it’s hard to accept the scale of what I see. I …

Tending the Fire

The breeze, the salt breeze, the fresh breeze, the one that comes off of the Gulf, interrupted by nothing but the bristling silhouettes of oil rigs, rolls across the shifting peaks and valleys of the waterscape, beyond the piled rocks of the breakwaters and comes ashore on the beach of …