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Apr 22, 2010

Durham to Dakar

Early Jurassic
Did you know that the Appalachian Mountains used to be part of a range that included the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco?

Image by Ron Blakey, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Northern Arizona University, who has a series of ~40 slides (550 million years ago to present) at his Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America.

For the last 40 million years of West Coast history, watch this plate tectonics animation from UC Santa Barbara.

08:59 PM in Destination Durham | Permalink | Comments (7)

Apr 14, 2010

Two Thoughts on Aging

Thank you to the many people who shared their concern and well-wishes about my aunt's hospitalization on Sunday night.  Diagnosis: hairline fracture in the hip -- not enough for surgery, but enough for pain. After 48 hours she is back at her assisted living facility, which is good.  And yet -- without giving too much detail -- her risk for more falls and worse injuries continues and will likely increase as she ages further unless something like a Miracle occurs.

Some years ago, I heard (on the radio? among friends?) that "we think we need money for our old age, but what we really need is security." Security can come in many forms: family, friends and community can be the critical things that keep us safe and warmly held, if we build the kind of family, friends and community that would commit to doing that.  But these seem like harder things to build, and at the very least they require much more trust.  So instead, we look to money or government, both of which might keep us safe, but have a harder time keeping us warm.

In How Good Do We Have to Be? Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote:

The fifth of the Ten Commandments bids us honor our parents "that your days may be long upon the earth." ." I am not sure that people who honor their parents live longer than people who don't. Maybe what the Bible is suggesting is that, if we fashion a society in which the elderly are cherished and taken seriously, we will be able to look forward to growing old ourselves instead of dreading it. We will not have to lie about our ages, dye our hair, visit the plastic surgeon, because growing old is an embarrassment. We will not shun the elderly for fear of becoming like them. We will revere them for the living lesson they represent.

More on this, perhaps, in another post.  Meanwhile -- thank you all for any continued good wishes for my aunt and her care team, which includes my exceptional mother and father and many more folks who often try very hard.

12:22 AM in Misc. 2010, Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Apr 07, 2010

What Message is the Universe Trying to Send Me?

Debit Card Last week I walked up to a Wachovia ATM that was still running with the prior customer's card inside.  I hit "return card" and turned around to see if "Susan Pearson" (not her real name) might still be in the parking lot.  I found her in her car, frantically going through her wallet.

Today I found another Wachovia debit card while I was sorting my mail at the post office.  I drove to the bank with hopes they could call "Scott Andrews" before he went through the trouble of cancelling his card.  (Unsigned -- shame on him.)  

At Wachovia, I gave the card to a friendly banker and mentioned that it was my second one of the week, then I headed back to my car.  But on the way out I spotted a set of keys on the counter by the door. Gave it to the same banker, who asked if I wanted a job.  Turns out that the keys belonged to someone's new Scion xB.  Dang -- I could use one of those right now.


Image yoinked from CreditCardForum.com

Would it have been extra rude of me to check her balance before returning the card?  What if it had been billions of dollars?

12:46 AM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (4)