February 9 2016

Yesterday was the lunar new year, the Chinese New Year.  So now, in the Chinese calendar, a lunar/solar calendar with a 12 year cycle, we have entered the Year of the Monkey. As I was born many years ago during an earlier year of the monkey, this sounds promising to me – a good year.

And today, February 9, is Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras ( “Fat Tuesday”), is the last (uh-oh!) day of feasting before the fasting of Lent begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday.  So enjoy those last great meals today, if this is your guidance. Being an escapee from church guidance, I will probably continue to fatten up throughout Lent.

And speaking of fattening up, last night we enjoyed meals at The Medici, a well-known and well-regarded neighborhood restaurant on 57th Street right here in Hyde Park.

Today, Isabel has been with us, helping us with the housework. Later this afternoon I expect to be going over for  a haircut and then Leo and I plan to drive to Rockefeller Chapel for the weekly organ concert. Mardi Gras music on that great organ, yet!

And thinking about culture and in particular literature: What do we need from a story? Movement through time, from start to finish. An intelligible, understandable, not-too-complicated narrative for the readership. Emotional satisfaction in the culmination of the narrative., so that you’re not left with a feeling of “so what” at the end.

And politics: It seems to me that the United States has been suffering from a form of national decay, civic decay during and originating from the increasing militarization of the United States, since about 1945, since the end of World War II. That is, over most of my lifetime. While the United States has created an empire, it has been losing anything resembling a truly democratic government.

Here’s Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic:   “What vexes me are substantive endorsements by non-hawk Clinton supporters who proceed as if war just doesn’t rank very high among substantive issues . . . That’s exactly backward . . . I’ll vote for Sanders over Marco Rubio, or Chris Christie, or Jeb Bush, because those men are much more likely to start a dumb war of choice that costs billions and needlessly kills tens of thousands.” Unfortunately, I think Friedersdorf is correct in his judgment of these presidential candidates.

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Caroline Herzenberg

I'm an old grad from the University of Chicago. Born in New Jersey in 1932 (Wow! That long ago!), grew up in Oklahoma, undergraduate at MIT, University of Chicago PhD physics 1958. Various academic and research positions. I've been retired from Argonne National Laboratory for over a decade now. I haven't been engaged in any recent professional work in physics, but have been exploring other interests during retirement.

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