Dispatches from Central Absurdistan

1. In yet another reason to keep those shows on the air, reality TV breeds new body ideals. 2. It’ll take a lot of rats to clothe plus-size models in the latest fashion accessory. 3. Encouraging us to keep the weight on, the American Heart Association endorses Nintendo’s Wii. Please put aside your shovel and …

We didn’t start the fire

Actually, to counter singer/songwriter Billy Joel, we did start this FIRE. Not you and me, of course, but our culture. The U.S. industrial economy is all about Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate. The FIRE is about to run its course, extinguished by the absence of fuel in each of those interconnected sectors. The financial sector …

Three Chinese Curses

May you live in interesting times. Mission accomplished. I’m there, as we all are. As we always have been, during two million years of the human experience. May you attract the attention of the government. I’m there, as I have been for years. To remove all doubt, about five years ago I placed a call …

A Few Rocks from the Box: A Meditation

This guest post is authored by John Rember _____________________________________ 1. In my sophomore year of college I enrolled in a course that had given generations of students a painless way to satisfy the liberal-arts science requirement. It was known as Rocks for Jocks, and the final exam was the easy identification of every rock in …

Batten down the hatches

If you’re indebted to the federal government and its evil twin the industrial economy for your financial well-being or, like most Americans, for your very survival, the coming storm will not resemble a monsoon so much as a hurricane-style downspout. And of course it will come as a total surprise to the typical neoclassical economist, …

A Day in the Life: Further Adventures at the Mud Hut

People keep asking me what my days are like. How do I spend a typical day? Now that I’m retired from the academic life — or rather, now that I’ve departed the academy in disgust and despair — I no longer spend time in my swivel chair, dispensing information on the telephone or tending to …

What we leave behind

Like most people, I’ve long been interested in the notion of my legacy. Will anything I produce outlast me on this planet? Has my teaching inspired critical thought, appreciation for the natural world, or empathy for humans and other animals? Will the pages containing my written work be used for something other than fire-starter and …