“Illegal”

The latest dust-up regarding immigration has lasted for several months. It seems to be a bit longer than the last several times that this has come up. Does that mean that something will come of it, something useful and reasonable?

I doubt it.

Continue reading

Prof. Powers

A great teacher has died.

Professor Gary Powers was more than a Chemical Engineer. The lessons he taught us at Carnegie-Mellon were about problem solving skills and how important it was to rely on our colleagues. He made us work as a team to solve the most difficult things he could throw at us, and taught us how to do it with precision, diligence, and most important of all style.

Continue reading

Harry Potter

Within a few daze of the book coming out, I finished it. I won’t reveal any secrets (like Hermione being a boy – or was that “The Crying Game”?) and I won’t tell how it ends (but Harry and Voldemort plummeting over Reichenbach Falls was riveting). What I will do is outline my biggest complaints about the whole series

Continue reading

Cat President

The time has come for serious change. The time is now to elect my cat, Tony, as President of the United States.

I realize that you may not think he is qualified. Well, the Constitution does not specify you can’t be 35 cat-years old. Tony was born in the woods of Wisconsin, probably in a barn. Think how the Abraham Lincoln log-cabin routine can be played out here.

Continue reading

Politics and People

I had the great pleasure of sitting down for a few beers with people who are in politics as a profession or a significant hobby. If you have never met such people, you might be surprised by how they do things.

I know a lot of people like this in part because politics has been something of a hobby for me as well. Most of the people involved are hobbyists, which is my way of saying they have real skills that they never attempt to make a buck off of; it’s the fun of it that keeps them going.

Continue reading

Authorial Omnipotence

The most common perspective for novels and other stories is one of authorial omnipotence. It also happens to be a point of view that I strongly dislike.

The basic idea is that in the world the author has created, they know everything. The storyteller is privy to what happens between characters and inside of them, at the scene of the action and away from it. Any way that the story can be advanced is at their fingertips, and the characters have to contend with the author as some kind of a deity.

Continue reading