Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hey! We're on TV!

View more news videos at: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video.

NAFTA SHMAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a heavy-duty piece of multi-national trade legislation enacted during the Clinton administration. The title indicates, I guess, something called free trade happening in someplace called North America. North America is, as far as I understand it, a continent. The countries which enjoyed some heavily-regulated and thoroughly bureaucraticized free trade after the agreement’s ratification include Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico. I would therefore conclude that continent that is North America contains three countries: Mexico, Canada, and U.S.A.

Am I crazy for thinking this? The high-level multi-national legislative wizards who crafted NAFTA would not possibly have misnamed such a crucial trade agreement. Central American and Caribbean nations must be part of South America. Otherwise our agreement would have been called the North American (Except: Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and, maybe, Greenland) Free Trade Agreement.

Earthquake Damage

I believe this is a picture of the La Democracia bridge which connects El Progreso and San Pedro Sula. We haven't heard any reports of high death tolls on either the mainland or the islands. Read about it in Spanish on the La Prensa website.

Tsunami Watch in Honduras

Due to the earthquake that just rocked La Ceiba and the surrounding area, we are now in a Tsunami watch. According to CNN, the National Weather Service has placed Honduras under a tsunami watch. The watch is also in effect for Belize and Guatemala.

The US Geological Survey reports that the 7.1 magnitude quake hit 39 miles northeast of Roatan, and had a shallow depth of 6.2 miles.

The NOAA website has issued the following warning:
... A LOCAL TSUNAMI WATCH IS IN EFFECT ...

A TSUNAMI WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR

HONDURAS / BELIZE / GUATEMALA


THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY
NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND
ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 0825Z 28 MAY 2009
COORDINATES - 16.7 NORTH 86.3 WEST
LOCATION - NORTH OF HONDURAS
MAGNITUDE - 7.3

EVALUATION

A DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT DOES NOT EXIST BASED ON
HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA.
HOWEVER - THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF A LOCAL TSUNAMI THAT
COULD AFFECT COASTS LOCATED USUALLY NO MORE THAN A HUNDRED
KILOMETERS FROM THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES FOR THE
REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY.
AREAS FURTHER FROM THE EPICENTER COULD EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA
LEVEL CHANGES AND STRONG OR UNUSUAL COASTAL CURRENTS.

ESTIMATED INITIAL TSUNAMI WAVE ARRIVAL TIMES AT FORECAST POINTS
WITHIN THE WARNING AND WATCH AREAS ARE GIVEN BELOW. ACTUAL
ARRIVAL TIMES MAY DIFFER AND THE INITIAL WAVE MAY NOT BE THE
LARGEST. A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE TIME BETWEEN
SUCCESSIVE WAVES CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO ONE HOUR.

LOCATION FORECAST POINT COORDINATES ARRIVAL TIME
-------------------------------- ------------ ------------
HONDURAS PUERTO CORTES 15.9N 88.0W 0848Z 28 MAY
TRUJILLO 15.9N 86.0W 0856Z 28 MAY
BELIZE BELIZE CITY 17.5N 88.2W 0908Z 28 MAY
GUATEMALA PUERTO BARRIOS 15.7N 88.6W 0919Z 28 MAY

ADDITIONAL BULLETINS WILL BE ISSUED BY THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI
WARNING CENTER FOR THIS EVENT AS MORE INFORMATION
BECOMES AVAILABLE.

Earthquake in Honduras

We don't know a great deal about earthquakes, but we do know that we just had an earthquake here in La Ceiba, Honduras. Tom was on his way to the bathroom and I was fast asleep when our concrete house started to wiggle. It was moving enough that it woke me up from a deep sleep. We judge that it was a 9.5 on the Richter scale, but this is coming from a couple Midwestern North Americans. We could hear a low rumble out in the streets and the framed photos on our walls were swinging back and forth. We'll try to find out where the epicenter was later this morning. We'll do this by comparing stories with our neighbors. I'm pretty sure the epicenter was in our house. We had well over 30 seconds of sustained shaking. Wow.

It was super freaky. Now, we're both wide awake because we can hardly believe it! Ezekiel slept right through it all. Must have been his cuddly pjs.

***UPDATE***We just learned that the initial USGS measurement was 7.3 for the earthquake off the coast of Honduras. AND we're in a Tsunami watch! But NOAA doesn't believe that the earthquake was the type that typically would produce a tsunami. Just in case, they've issued a watch and would predict that the tsunami would make landfall around 8:45am. Wow.

USGS Info -- HERE

True Love

Karine was all like, is it okay if I put up a picture of Ezekiel in his pjs and steal your thunder from whatever weird thing you are trying to write about. I was all like, its cool.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ezekiel's PJs

The only time you'll catch our Honduran baby wearing long sleeves and long pants here is at night. Even this time of year, when daytime temps feel to be around 100 degrees, he sleeps in long pjs at night. We keep the bedrooms air-conditioned this time of year so that we can sleep comfortably. Zeke loves to kick his covers off (he just discovered how hingey his hips can be).


Here's a picture of our cute little guy tonight just before bedtime. These pajamas are hand me downs courtesy of his big cousins Sam and Christopher. Zeke is so good when bedtime rolls around. I just put him in the crib, say goodnight to him, put his special blanket on him, and within about 5 minutes he is fast asleep. I can only hope this lasts.

Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

This is the question which may be percolating at desktop and laptop computers and near Blackberry-type handheld devices throughout North America. I understand. And I understand why.

Someone out there is saying: How could you not know whether your understanding of a word’s proper usage was developed on two different continents or three? What kind of person doesn't know what continent they are on when they make a major lexical breakthrough?

An apology by way of confession: Sometimes I am unsure whether or not I am currently situated on the North American continent. So to answer your question. I would like to think that I generally know what I am talking about. I sometimes do not know where I am talking about.

Back to the grill

My personal relationship with the word grill spans over 25 years. It is a conceptual-lexical understanding developed on two continents. Maybe three. Many of the experiences which shaped my understanding of the word on the North American continent steered me in the direction of fairly pedestrian usages. The grill is the thing that my dad uses to cook steaks. The grill between the bug spattered headlights of the brown Buick is ugly, like the rest of the car.

An event occurred in Lucerne, Switzerland in the early 1990’s which expanded my understanding of the word. The particular direction of denotative expansion is demonstrably germane to the current whirlwind of controversy whipping around my usage of the word grill in the “Dmitri Shostakovich: Part Time Fireman” piece.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grill Tease

The problem word is grill. Or rather, its usage in yesterday’s post, “Dmitri Shostakovich: Part-time Fireman.” I started thinking yesterday afternoon, while watering the lawn in the fading sunlight, about yesterday’s problematic usage of the word grill. I think somebody somewhere should be saying to themselves: when you water the lawn in the fading afternoon sunlight you should think about watering the lawn in the fading afternoon sunlight. Well, I was happy to be there with the sun dipping beneath the concrete wall casting long shadows from the back of the yard to the front. I am always happy to be there in the late afternoon sun standing in my underwear using my thumb to focus the spray of water from thirsty plant to thirsty plant. I said to myself, oh, this is nice. Then I thought about my problematic usage of the word grill and decided I might as well say something about David Foster Wallace.

Was grill the most problematic word from yesterday’s potentially multi-problematic post? There are certainly other candidates. Fecund. Not a big fan of that word. I tossed it in there on a whim and dared myself to leave it in. The word means productive, but it communicates more essentially, I believe, a writer’s earnest desire to be perceived as smart, lexically advanced, a real wordsmith. If I were a casual reader of “Dmitri Shostakovich: Part-time Fireman” instead of the author I would have jumped ship at fecund. For real.

What exactly is a high quality Russian, by the by? How does one differentiate between a high quality Russian and a Russian of, say, medium quality? If a Russian is of unquestionably high quality, who is it who wouldn’t dare question the quality of the Russian, and who is qualified to qualify this Russian’s quality as unquestionably high? It would have to be a real connoisseur of Russians. And what the hell is that? Does it even exist? Probably not.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty about the word grill as used or abused in yesterday’s post, let me first say a few words about David Foster Wallace.

Somebody somewhere said that Wallace was a once in a century talent. We’ve had ourselves a country now for two centuries and change, which means as a nation we’ve only had two of these guys. Mark Twain, I’m guessing, would be the handicapper’s favorite for our first century’s once a century. That puts David Foster Wallace in some heavy duty company. And the rest: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemmingway, E.B White, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, -- all of them great writers, smart, lexically adventurous wordsmiths. Well, they’re nice, but they aren’t Mark Twain. And they are not David Foster Wallace.

Holy armpits! That’s a very serious endorsement from someone somewhere. What do I think? I’m 230 pages into my first David Foster Wallace experience, Infinite Jest. I think somebody somewhere might be right.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dmitri Shostakovich: Part-time Fireman

Dmitri Shostakovich is my number one Russian. He is, in my opinion, a Russian of unquestionably supreme quality. His genius was as fecund as his face heavily bespectacled. Here is his grill adorning Time Magazine, 20 July 1942, encased unconventionally in a brass fireman's helmet. Generally, Shostakovich went helmetless. I understand the earnest desire to protect that precious peanut. Brass helmet might be a little excessive, though. The helmet has something to do with Russians not relaxing in comfort while the German army tries to burn their country to ash.

I'm not goofing when call DS my number one Russian. If I had a ranked list of Russians tucked away in a secret notebook somewhere he'd be number one. I'm not writing this only because I couldn't find a picture of Rimsky-Korsakov in a cowboy outfit or Sergei Eisenstein wearing ninja pajamas.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Carnival 2009

We have survived Carnival 2009! The party on our street lasted until about 4am on Thursday, and by 6am, the streets were being swept up and everyone was gone by 8am. (Thankfully, we did not have school on Friday!)
On Saturday, we went to our friends' house to watch the big parade in the afternoon. Our friends have an apartment with balconies overlooking San Isidro- the main street in town and also the name of our patron saint. We enjoyed watching the bands, dancers, and floats from above.


Our friend, Julie, was the dancing cowgirl in the back of the Sula Milk float.


People were throwing beads off the balconies across the street and it had a Mardi Gras feel.
Today, we're just resting up and taking it easy. Zeke is completely Carnivaled out.




Tom is making shrimp gumbo tonight. Food plays a pretty big role in our lives down here since we have to get creative and make everything pretty much from scratch. It's lots of fun though, and has provided us with many nights of entertainment and yummy dinners too! We're toying with the idea of creating an illustrated cookbook of our favorite recipes. Would anyone be interested in seeing this?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

El Sauce Carnival 2009 En Vivo




El Sauce Carnaval 2009

We weren't sure whether or not the largest carnival in Central America was taking place on the street in front of our house until this morning. So now we know. We expect around 10,000 people in front of our house tonight, dancing and sucking down beers until four or five in the morning. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Psychologists, Creativity, and Living Abroad

As I've said before, if you really want to figure out what is going on, consult a psychologist. They use science to get to the heart of any matter. Well, they've done it again.

A couple of psychologists have proven that people who live and work abroad are more creative that those who stay at home. They used science to figure this out. By science I mean a candle, some matches, and a box of drawing pins.

It was in the Economist, so its got to be true.

Warning to those who would take a short-cut on the path to creativity:
"Merely traveling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself, make you Hemingway."
We used our hard-earned creativity to decipher this cryptic stick figure drawing hung above a toilet in Tela, Honduras. It means don't throw your poop in the toilet.

Drawing Pin

We like to call these things stickpins or pushpins. I guess some people call them drawing pins. Pushpins, I think, is best.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dubstep, Burial, and Me

I am connecting the dots here between myself and an album I've fallen in love with. I am predisposed to simply say its great and its greatness is self-evident. But sometimes its best to work in opposition to your natural predispositions. So that's what I am going to do.

The artist's name is Burial. The album is called Untrue. Its a piece of electronic music composed and produced by one man using a computer. The genre is called dubstep. Someone somewhere said it sounds like South London underwater.


I first encountered dubstep in the winter of 2006. Karine and I were living in a beautiful second floor apartment near Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis. Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, art-deco tile in the bathroom. The place was a dream. On Friday nights we would curl up in front of the fireplace drinking red wine from the giant burgundy glasses I gave her the afternoon I asked her to marry me. When the snow was falling gently outside and the wood piled high beside the fireplace I wanted to listen to dubstep. It was the perfect music for those moments. It sounded like snow sifting down through a cone of light cast by a streetlamp in the empty night.

That's what I thought anyways. Karine was never really into Scuba, the dubstep artist we listened to on those wintry nights. She preferred Johanna Newsome for those moments.

Dubstep has been on my radar since then. But my radar is a lazy radar. Burial is the first thing dubstep since Scuba to ping. I bought Untrue during the rainy season and have been digging into it ever since. Burial makes a lot of sense during the rainy season. I would not recommend using it as the soundtrack for a sunny day barbecue.

Scuba -- Scuba - Science Faction: Dubstep - Harpoon
Burial -- Burial

Monday, May 18, 2009

Camille Saint - What? Saens?

Camille Saint Saens was a French composer with a respectable beard-mustache combo who despised the music of Claude Debussy. He is best known for The Carnival of the Animals. The Carnival, premiered in 1886, is a delightful piece of music. Much better than anything ever written by Claude Debussy, that sappy slouch. "The Aquarium," a whimsically spooky (or spook-tacularly whimsical) movement from the Carnival, was used in the hit film The Curious Life of Benjamin Button.


Saint-Saens also left us with the most well known double bass solo in orchestral literature. It's from the Carnival and it's called "The Elephant." Here it is performed by an orchestra of basses in Kyoto, Japan.

La Ceiba to Olanchito by Bicycle Postponed

A bicycle ride of heroic proportions was canceled yesterday due to concern over inclement weather and an acute but fortunately short-lived medical catastrophe in my nostrils. The nasal horrors commenced last Friday morning. I muddled through work, but it was a real snotfest. The Spanish word for sneeze is estornudar. That's a fun one. I did it approximately fifty-seven times on Friday. Then I went home and slept for fifteen hours.

I felt better on Saturday, with both nostrils functioning at about 70% capacity. Still, Karine decided to ground me from my bicycle for the weekend. You can see La Ceiba and Olanchito on the map below. In between lies the gloriously rain-forested, mostly unexplored Sierra de Nombre de Dios mountain range.


View Larger Map


The trip has been rescheduled until after Carnival.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mark Twain at Oxford

Twain received an honorary doctorate in letters from Oxford University in 1907. He was in worthy company. Honorary degrees were also awarded to composer Camille Saint-Saens, sculptor Auguste Rodin, writer Rudyard Kipling, and General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.

In Latin, by University chancellor Lord Curzon, our Mark Twain was addressed thus:

"Most amiable and charming and playful sir, you shake the sides of the world with your merriment!"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Twain on Amateur Writers

Twain takes a pretty good whack at writers of the non-professional type here. I lifted it from his autobiography. Wonder what he would have thought about blogs. Probably nothing very good.
"A person untrained in shoemaking does not offer his services as a shoemaker to the foreman of a shop – not even the crudest literary aspirant would be so unintelligent as to do that. He would see the humor of it; he would see the impertinence of it; he would recognize as the most commonplace of facts that an apprenticeship is necessary in order to qualify a person to be a tinner, bricklayer, stonemason, printer, horse-doctor, butcher, brakeman, car conductor, midwife – and any and every other occupation by which a human being acquires bread and fame. But when it comes to doing literature, his wisdoms vanish all of a sudden and he thinks he finds himself now in the presence of a profession which requires no apprenticeship, no experience, no training – nothing whatever but conscious talent and a lion’s courage."
I picked this picture because in it he looks kind of mean. If you squint your eyes a little when you look at it he looks like he might just be ready to bite someone's head off for being stupid.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sick-O!

At some point in the last week, a nasty little cold germ made its way into our home. 2/3 of the Lewandowskis are sick with it right now. My boys are in bed early tonight because they don't feel well! I thought it was especially sweet the way they both lay in bed together sneezing and sniffling. (Well, Zeke's not sniffling too much yet- he doesn't quite get it and requires a little help from the nose-sucker). I hope my guys are feeling better soon!


Despite sneezing and congestion fits, Ezekiel has actually been pretty cute. Here's a little video of him talking to me and telling me all about his woes.

video

Hillary Clinton in Honduras

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending the the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on June 2nd and 3rd.


I am contacting her people to see if she wants to take a quick trip to La Ceiba to enjoy a beer or whiskey with some homesick fellow Americans. Also considering a trip to SPS to either roast wienies in the parking lot of the General Assembly venue or protest something. Interested gringos can contact us through this blog.

Mark's Twain's Autobiography

Mark Twain had a love hate relationship with his autobiography. He started work on the project in 1877, at the age of forty-two. He spent the next 23 years quitting, starting again, reorganizing his notes, and changing his mind as to the relative merits of the whole enterprise. He was an ornery fellow. He continually struggled against the narrative constraints of his own writer's instincts and generally had a hell of a time squeezing himself onto paper.

When he died in 1910, he left us with several hundred thousand words in no particular order.

Twain on the Road

Twain shoveled himself out of debt by embarking on a lecture tour which took him all over the globe. He sold out eight consecutive performances at the Standard Theater in Johannesburg, South Africa. He gave three performances in Calcutta, India. One-hundred and fifty shows on five continents in the span of one year. He was sixty years old.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mark Twain, Late in Life, Deep in Debt

1894 was a bad year for Mark Twain. At the end of the year he found himself about $100,000.00 in debt. Twain was a lot of things. He was not a shrewd business man.

Here’s what he had to say about the situation:

“If I live I can pay off the last debt within four years, after which, at
the age of sixty-four, I can make a fresh and unencumbered start in life.”

By the end of 1898 he paid off his creditors in full.

Mark Twain: Cure for Homesickness

Karine and I have been feeling a little homesick lately. Its not chronic and its not terminal, just a feeling. We've been away for almost two years now. We're going to be away for another year. After that, we don't know. That part is still in the planning stages. We may go home, we may live in another county, we may open an ice-cream shop on the beach somewhere. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm going to be writing about Mark Twain until futher notice. Because nothing feels more like home than Mark Twain. He's everybody's American grandpa. And we still have a lot to learn from him.

I am a librarian. I have five biographies of Twain sitting on my desk right now. I also have his autobiography, which is mostly lies sprinkled with the truth here and there.

Alright then. Here we go.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

To all of our mom readers, and especially our own- Happy Mother's Day!

We had a fantastic Mother's Day here in our house. It started with breakfast in bed, freshly juiced juice, flowers, and gifts. The day just got better from there! Zeke and Tom are pretty great. I love being a mom!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Turboprop Pics

Here are some pictures I took on our flight from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula last week. They are, what I believe to be, some pretty sweet pictures of a turboprop in action. I took 237 pictures, but Karine said I could only post my favorite one. So here are my favorite four.

Turboprop. That is a fun word.







If you like these pictures, you can contact the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation at the following email address: 4answers@macfound.org. I could also put them on a t-shirt, hat, or decorative plate and have them sent to your home.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stuff From This Week

This week was crazy busy! After frantically preparing photos and documents after school on Monday and Tuesday, we enjoyed a quick trip to Honduras's capital city, Tegucigalpa. We left at 5am and were home by 10:15pm. We flew both ways, as to avoid a 7 hour each way bus ride.

While in the airports, we were screened for pork flu and we witnessed several people wearing masks. We do not have pork flu. We did encounter something even more exciting than pork flu in the San Pedro Sula airport though. During our 2 hour layover, we wanted to take Zeke for a spin, but we hadn't brought the stroller. Luckily, the waiting area was equipped with several wheelchairs- just the right size to take Zeke around!


This was the only picture of Ezekiel we were able to take on our visit to Tegucigalpa. The Embassy took our camera as we entered- they don't allow pictures. I had dreams of taking a picture of Zeke between the American flag and the Honduran flag on his first day as a dual citizen, but my dreams were crushed. Oh well. We all know that he is an American now. He's got a passport on the way to prove it!

Thursday and Friday were a blur as we got back to school and Tom prepared for a big night at school with the Mother's Day program and Book Fair in the library. Tom was accompanied by his pop band and 25 7th grade dancers as he sang a sweet version of "You Are My Sunshine" to the crowd of students, teachers, and families. Tom's number one accessory tonight was his son. He held Zeke and sweetly explained to the audience that Zeke had written the words to this version, but being only 3 months old had asked Tom to sing it for him. They all did a fantastic job. Of course I forgot the camera at home! Que triste!

To make up for the lack of documentation of our week, I'm posting a cute video from this week. Ezekiel has discovered his hands and realized that his entire fist can fit in his mouth. It's pretty darn cute!

video
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bonsai Dreams Do Come True

This is an actual picture, sent in by an actual reader, who turned his or her bonsai dream into a bonsai reality. Most people dream of someday owning a bonsai tree. But many feel they can not afford it. This is just something that people who own bonsai trees want people who only dream of owning bonsai trees to think. Bonsai trees are for everyone.


Most moms I know say that the one thing they want more than anything else for mother's day is for their families to be safe and happy. The number two thing that most mothers want: bonsai trees.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Funday

We're traveling to the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa today to get Ezekiel's US passport. We plan on taking a lot of pictures. Feeling pretty patriotic this morning. Today our son becomes a US citizen!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Falling Objects

Objects fall to the earth because our friend gravity compels them to do so. This is true whether you are a bowling ball falling off a building or a human sinking in a vat of Jell-O. The rate at which an object falls determines how long it takes for the object to land wherever it’s going to land. This is physics.

We objects accelerate towards the earth until we reach terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is the rate at which surface resistance (friction between the surface of the object and the air, water, or Jell-O) cancels out the acceleration due to earth’s gravity. Once terminal velocity has been achieved, bowling balls, pennies, and people fall at constant rates of speed. To determine how long it would take my rock-self to reach the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean I needed to determine the terminal velocity of a rock falling through sea water.

The cute little equation below is called Stoke's Law. He's gonna help me figure out what I want to figure out. He says that terminal velocity (Vt) depends on the shape and density of the falling object (rock). Vt also depends on the density and viscosity of the fluid the object is falling through (sea water). I used him to do a quick and dirty calculation for the terminal velocity of a rock-like object falling through sea water.

I came up with a terminal velocity of 8 miles per hour. It's far from exact. I encountered a serious problem in my calculations because the viscosity and density of water vary according to temperature, pressure, and salinity. All three of these factors change quite a bit over the course of a 35,000 foot journey.

In Conclusion:

How long does it take for a rock dropped from the surface of the ocean to fall to the bottom 35,000 feet below?

About forty-five minutes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Sleepy Pebble

Last night as I waited for sleep to take me I imagined myself a pebble drifting to the bottom of a clear and gurgling mountain stream. I read somewhere that this sort of thing can improve the quality of your sleep. You are the pebble falling gracefully through clean water, finally coming to rest on the bottom. The water rushing above you is the bustle of your life. But you don’t have to worry about any of that because you are a pebble and you are in your place. Nice. I gave it a try.


I was a pebble plunging through the gentle currents. It wasn’t a bad feeling. I was aware of my heaviness, my mass, and my roundness. I felt myself slipping through the water. But then I was on the bottom. The stream was shallow and my fall too brief. I got bored.

So I turned myself into a rock and I changed the stream into the deepest part of the ocean. Now I had somewhere to go. Slipping through the vast darkness, feeling my weight drag me down. How far down? Thirty-five thousand feet. That’s the deepest part of the ocean. But I didn’t find sleep as I lay there imagining myself a rock sinking through 35,000 feet of water. Because I was bothered. Its never easy falling asleep when you are bothered. I was bothered by this: I have no idea how long it takes for a rock sink to the deepest part of the ocean.

How long? Ten minutes? Two hours? Twenty hours?

Anyone?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Funday

I know that a lot of people wonder to themselves, "What do Karine and Tom do all the time???" Well, today our readers will get a glimpse of our Sunday morning fun.

As I am in the house doing a photo shoot for Zeke's passport photo, Tom hears a street vendor calling out his wares. He shouts in to me, "Hey Karine, do we want anything made out of wicker?" I come out to the street and see this nice gentleman pushing his cart up our street. I've seen him many times before, but have never had cash on me when I see him. I picked out a nice bread basket for $2, a woven mat for Zeke's room for about $7.


While I was in the house getting money, Tom spotted something for himself. I came out and he was trying on cowboy hats. For another $6, Tom became the owner of a nice hat- Ranchero style. (The photo above shows him trying on a Vaquero style hat. I thought that style was too tall.)


This is the best passport photo I've taken so far. We're headed to the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa on Wednesday to get Zeke's US birth certificate and passport. Please keep your fingers crossed that all goes smoothly!

Genius Bass Player: Edgar Meyer

The bass player in the previous post featuring Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin is a genius. No, really, its official. He received the genius award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2002. The genius award is a $500,000 no strings attached grant paid in quarterly installments over five years. Nice job, keep up the good work. Here's a half million to spend however you want. There is no application. I guess they've got a crack staff at the MacArthur Foundation on a constant hunt for fresh geniuses. They find about forty every year.

I'm, like, waiting for them to find me. Maybe next year. Here's what Edgar does that's so genius.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Things Zeke Loves: Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin

Ezekiel is almost three months old now. Its an exciting time, developmentally. He's starting to express preferences for particular objects and sounds. He likes our wooden spoon. He would rather look at Karine's face than stare at a rotating ceiling fan. Good times.

We're happy to announce that Zeke is a huge fan of Bobby McFerrin. We are too! We saw him in concert on our honeymoon in Vancouver, BC. If you ever have the chance to see him, treat yourself. You deserve it.



You can find the album here: Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin - Hush

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spoon King

Everyday in May

Alright, then. What a lot of people don't know about me is that I can make some pretty funny faces. With my face. I plan on posting everyday this month. Either my face or my words. Enjoy!