Saturday, March 25, 2017

Just Dreaming

Last night I had the strangest dream I ever had before.  Bernie was able to get Donald on the line.  "Hello Mr. President.  I have a feeling you would really like a "win" right now.  You sensed what to do about health care in your campaign when you promised great health care for everyone.  There's a way to get that win.  Forget that we've been calling it "single payer."  We'll let that go.  Let's call it the Trump Plan.  You don't have to work on it yourself.  We've got the details already lined up.  It will be HUGE. People will love you."

"Let's get together at Mar-a-Lago and talk it over . . . That's great!  See you Saturday on the golf course."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Amazing and Unhappy

The people I listen to on the radio and the people I read are talking about it.  A class I took last year examined it in depth.  I see it everyday in my elevator, on the street, at the theater.  It is our attachment to our electronic devices.

Two quotes stopped me in my tracks.  One was from the comedian Louis C.K. in an article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker:

Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.  Each citizen carries on her person a computer more powerful than any available to a billionaire two decades ago, and many are using their devices to express their unbridled rage at the society that put them in our pockets.

The other quote came up in a discussion between Terry Gross and Adam Alter about his book "Irresistible.  The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked."  His research shows that addiction to video gaming and electronic devices has the same effect on us as does heroin.  In commenting on this he says:

"These people have less of an attention span than that of a goldfish."

Gopnik's essay examines the crushing re-examination of liberalism and capitalism.  Alter's book lays it out pretty clearly in his title.

Two authors. Two Adams. Is the "original" Adam trying to tell us something?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Deep Purple

My team, Northwestern, made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.  And, they won their first game by two points.  The other team made a mistake in the final seconds while the Wildcats kept their poise.  The stands were a sea of purple, dotted with the many famous alums from TV and radio.  Now they face one of the powerhouse teams.  We have until Saturday.  And then . . .?

At a moment like this it's easy to understand why the dark side of the NCAA is so hard to address.  Who wants to think about the moveable money and the exploitation when it just feels so good to win.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another March Madness

Orr Academy, a high school on Chicago's west side, won the Illinois State High School Basketball Championship last night.  I watched because I had become captivated by Rick Telander's five part series in the Sun Times.  Rick, the long time sportswriter, spent time with the boys and their coach Lou Adams.  The series was titled:  A Season Under the Gun.  Everyone in Chicago knows what that means.

As I was cheering, I thought: "My best hope for these champs is that this isn't the best moment in their lives.  That they will have a good life to grow into.  Of course you know what's behind that thought: "I hope they don't get shot like so many of their friends and family members."

March Madness indeed.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Creatures From the Past

My friend Sue takes a pill when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  I listen to the radio.  I used to like Art Bell and his gaggle of conspiracy people, cranks, and survivalists.  Reputable scientists like Michio Kaku would come on too.  Those were the best nights.

Now I listen to BBC News.  When they are not covering all the wars and other misery, they have fascinating programs about how creative we can be.  Last night I learned about "genetic rescue" and "back-breeding" as ways of fighting the extinction of so many species.  Turning around the Darwinian clock can also be used to restore lost forests.

Yesterday my friend Myles sent me one of those cute internet posts about nostalgia.  Scientists are using our healthier "good old days" to -- maybe -- save our future.