Ancient Porn

No I do not mean from the 1960s.

Most people read The Economist for the thoughtful analysis of business and politics around the globe. I read it for the centerfold.

This short entry from the May16, 2009 issue of The Economist titled “Unveiled”:

Old PornFrom photography to the internet, a characteristic sign that a new medium is going to succeed is that it is exploited by pornographers. And that, it seems, is not a recent phenomenon. A find reported in this week’s Nature suggests that sculpture, too, brought the smut-makers in early. Nicholas Conrad of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, describes what is probably the oldest human statue yet discovered. It is 6cm tall. It is carved from a mammoth tusk. It dates from about 35,000 years ago. It was found in a cave in south-western Germany. And it is, not to put too fine a point upon the matter, obscene. As 35,000 years ago is reckoned the moment when modern man, Homo sapiens, arrived in Europe, this discovery adds to the evidence that human thinking—or male thinking, at least—has hardly changed since the species evolved.

Ah, smut carved from a mammoth tusk. If this doesn’t increase my readership I may have to “write” about the troubles at Playboy.

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Our Nation’s Capitol is Hot…Especially in August

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We just came back from a quickie 5 night/4 day stay in DC. My son had never been there before. We were hoping he would soak up some history though his main interest was seeing the Nationals play (this kid is all baseball all the time). The temps were never below the mid-90s with extreme humidity. This made a great walking city much less of one.

Highlights from the trip:

  • 2 Hour Segway Tour. Very cool riding these. Much easier than walking in 100 degree heat. Observation. Don’t get overconfident with your abilities too soon or you could hit the ground after running into a post–hypothetically speaking.
  • Guided Tour of the Capitol Building. You can arrange these through your congressperson. It is faster than trying to get in yourself and worth the time.
  • The Botanic Gardens. Even my son liked this one. He took several beautiful pictures that I will share as soon as someone explains to me how.
  • The National Gallery of Art. Wife and I snuck in a quick guided tour of the west building one morning when our son slept in. For people like me who enjoy looking at paintings and sculptures but have not studied the subject, the volunteer guides are phenomenal.
  • The Washington Monument/Lincoln Memorial/the three war Memorials WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Always moving.
  • The Holocaust Museum. Being a Jew, I feel a need to go and to expose my son to what occured. Yet, I am always amazed at the number of non-Jews in attendance.
  • The Lunchroom at the American Indian Museum. We started to take the tour but this guide bored us within seconds. The lunchroom, however was outstanding. It had 8-10 stations of native American cuisine from different regions. The food was quite tasty.
  • The Nationals Game. The current stadium is awful for watching baseball. A new one is set to open next year. We got to see a very entertaining game in which the home team crushed the hated St. Louis Cardinals. The game included the Cardinals batting the pitcher in the eighth spot, a pop up in the infield purposely dropped to create a double play, several home runs and a position player pitching once St. Louis ran out of relievers.
  • The Metro. Cheap, clean and efficient transportation. We took it all over. My wife was an amazing navigator on this multi-level system. We even took it to and from the airport.

I also got to have lunch with my good friend Steve who lives in the area. Not bad for a short trip.

Time Machine

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I have issues of The Economist stacking up. Unless I am on planes I rarely find time to give them the attention they deserve. I recently picked up one from March 31.

The Economist usually has some articles for which the topics are timeless but much of the writing focuses on current events in the world, including the U.S. Scanning these articles was like using Mr. Peabody’s WAYBAC Machine and traveling to the recent past. These events took place approximately 5 months ago. Amazing how little progress has been made on some key domestic issues.

Some examples:

“Democrats are wrestling with the president over Iraq and much else”

“Mr. Gonzales is a worthy target….had he an ounce of integrety, he would have resigned long ago…”

“The war in Iraq is being pursued with “an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam”

There is also mention of the controvesies over the domestic surveillence policy and GITMO.

Some progress has been made since March. France elected a president, Iran freed the Britsh sailors it captured and David Hicks no longer resides at GITMO.

I would say less progress has been made than more.

With several issues remaining to be read, the WAYBAC machine will be in use for quite some time.