This page was named "Favorite ..." and I decided that it is really all about ego. So now it is called Ego. Not very original.
This is the place to look if you should ever be curious about
my favorite Quip, Places, Austin/UT,
Literary Fiction, Literary
Nonfiction, Movies & Movie Stars,
Comic Strips, Art,
Favorite Quip Principles Matter. Don't know who said it first but I like it. Today's social and political discourse is nothing if not short-term, pragmatic, and disconnected from principals. We reason about specifics and principles to determine truth and consequences, especially long-term consequences. [Okay, I can see that this really is an essay topic. Later.]
Places My favorite
places are in the upper Midwest. I like tramping around in
the north woods around crystal clear lakes keeping an eye
out the occasional deer or beaver; swatting at swarms of black
flies ... I love walking along great lake shores watching
the shore birds, discovering whatever has blown onto the shore,
finding an occasional Petoskey Stone.
- Grand Traverse & Leelanau counties; Keweenaw peninsula,
Michigan. There are some wonderful vistas in that area.
At one point, maybe at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, you can
look out over gorgeous blue Lake Michigan, and look behind
you at maybe five or six inland lakes nestled in hilly hardwood
forests. Check out the Eagle
Harbor web cam in the Keweenaw peninsula. Also, take
a peek at Petoskey
and the Mackinac Bridge web cams. The Mackinac Bridge
is a beautiful piece of architecture and engineering. Drive
across it some time!
- Mississippi river bluffs, southern MN.
- Rainy Lake region, MN.
- Estes Park, CO and the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Or, you want to move to where!? Austin is a popular relocation
destination for high-tech companies but like other cities,
success is destroying its draw. A family member attends UT-Austin
so I am getting more familiar with that town. Sure has changed
since I first visited it in 1964 or so. The traffic is a nightmare
but Barton Springs is still a great feature, and I love the
live oaks covering the hills of the Edwards aquifer; the jogging
path along the river from Zilcher park; the Tower on the UT
campus. UT has a hodgepodge of architectural styles in an
urban setting. Somethings are improving though. The latest
dorm construction, San Jacinto, was built to look more like
the earlier UT buildings -- five story orange tile roof, and
limestone trim. Now, if they would only hurry up and get more
parking garages built.
- Photography. When I am
not pounding on the keyboard, I am clicking the shutter
button on my digital camera. As of April 2001, I've taken
over 3500 shots.
- Hot Peppers. Since I moved to TX twenty-some years ago,
I developed a real appetite for hot peppers. Also, a bit
of hot pepper in soup, eggs, salads, meats, etc., distracts
me from noticing the absence of salt. Check out some pictures
that I've taken of the peppers in my tiny garden plot. They
seem to grow especially well here. In 2000, I grew New Mexico
6-4 peppers, Serrano Chili peppers, Gypsy peppers, Jalpeños,
Hot Cayenne, Habanero, and Tabasco. The Chile
Heads web site is loaded with information in case you
are interested in getting hot!
There are a bazillion restaurants in the metroplex. Generally,
the most satisfying dining experiences I find in the McKinney
Ave. area, but the traffic hassle usually has us dining closer
- Fogo de Chao - Brazilian, but salty.
- Patrizio's - Italian, but noisy.
- Uncle Julio's - TexMex, and just right.
- P.J. Chang's Bistro - Outstanding seafood.
Edison -- Edison changed the domain of invention from
that of lone inventors working in their shops to organized
industrial research laboratories guided by systematic approaches.
His view of the difference between invention and science
is interesting: "The inventor
discovers things and then the scientist steps in and tells
or tries to tell what it is that has been discovered. The
telephone is an invention. Its principle was discovered.
Scientists are still endeavoring to tell how it works. We
all know it works -- that is all an inventor cares to know;
but a scientist wants to know why and how it works."
Edison was of an empirical age much different from today.
For an unvarnished view, see the biography Edison: A
Life of Invention by Paul Israel, ISBN 0-471-52942-7.
If I ever get around to doing a review of that book, one
point I'll dwell on is how Israel shows many drawings that
Edison submitted to the Patent Office, but with no explanations
or comments. I think that such explanations would have shown
the spark and sparkle of Edison's creativity. By the way
if you are interested in seeing some of the early wax cylinder
phonographs or listening to recordings see www.tinfoil.com.
- Dr. Leitner, my Electricity & Magnetism prof at MSU.
He was a mathematical physicist. He always started from
the basics ... 'imagine a uniform distribution of charge...'
from which he would derive Maxwell's equations. He went
back to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute around the time
I graduated. He did not grade on a curve and the administration
did not like that.
- Richard Feynman for recognizing that there is plenty of
room at the bottom, of the hierarchy of scales from universe
down to atomic. If you haven't read Surely You are Joking
Mr. Feynman by all means read it.
- James Clerk Maxwell for the clearest explanation of E&M
& spherical geometry. Did you know that he discovered
color photography in 1860 by using RGB filters with BW film?
- Carl 'billions and billions' Sagan
-- He was a wonderful popularizer of science, and a delightfully
rational man. Such a great loss! PBS is planning to show
the 'best of' COSMOS spring 2001. One of my favorite scenes
in COSMOS is The Big Calendar. He mapped the timeline of
the universe from birth to present into the 12 months of
the calendar. An excellent biography of Sagan is Carl
Sagan: a life in the cosmos by William Poundstone ISBN
0-8050-5767-6. Did you know that "Gobachev personally
told Sagan that he had read all of Sagan's nuclear winter
research and that the Soviet Union saw itself as implementing
his foreign policy. After the fall of the Soviet Union,
physicist Roald Sagdeev and Alexei Leonov went so far as
to credit Sagan with ending the cold war"! Sagan, at
the same time that he was voted the most intelligent man
in America was denied acceptance by the National Academy
of Science, much like Thomas Edison 70 years earlier.
- Jogging -- This suburb is not designed for joggers or
cyclists but I choose to jog in my neighborhood on the concrete
streets rather than drive to the health club. I like to
get my exercise done so I can get on with the day's other
activities. However, the penalty for jogging on concrete
is starting to show in these old bones and tissues. Another
issue is the ozone. I wonder what the relative risk is of
jogging in the early morning ozone versus, say, smoking
a filtered cigarette. There is also the issue of the micro-particulates
from distant conflagrations. One can smell the smoke in
the air from distant wild fires even as far away as Central
- Ludwig Von Mises -- Human Action. Ponderous but
well thought out.
- Henry Hazlitt -- Economics in One Lesson. He has
such good explanations of free-economic truisms.
- Ayn Rand -- Especially Atlas Shrugged and The
Objective Ethics. Rand was and remains a huge influence
- Homer -- Odyssey and Illiad, Fagles translation;
and also Lombardi translation.
- Neil Stephenson -- Especially Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon
- Payne Harrison -- Black Cipher
- Mark Twain
- William Shakespeare
- The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,
3-volume set, Dover Press
- Mindfulness by Ellen J. Langer
- Nature of Reality by Richard Morris
- How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
History, Philosophy, & Politics
- The History of Western Philosophy by WT Jones
- The Greeks, 3-issue series in National Geographic
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.
1 - Edward Gibbon
- The Evolution of Civilizations by Carroll Quigley
- Constitution of United States
- Objectivism by Ayn Rand
Movies & Movie Stars
- Sean Connery
- Robin Williams
- Bruce & Arnie
- Julia Roberts (Not - I am so tired of her big mouth)
- Celebrities as activists in politics, ecology, environment
- True Lies
- Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet