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Like father, like son…
Don’t try to take his Mac away from Max!

 

 
 Leave some comments and Max will email you back personally.

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Max has always been fascinated by the light and he’s fairly sensitive to it. He loves anything that shines, glows, shimmers, glistens, twinkles, sparkles, glares, blinks or flashes - and, like daddy, he sneezes a couple of times when taken outside on a bright sunny morning. So today must have been one of the happiest days of his little existence: today was the day of the Blue Light.

Click for larger images.
 

Close Encounters of the First Kind: Sighting
Close Encounters of the First Kind: Sighting

 

Close Encounters of the Second Kind:Physical Evidence
Close Encounters of the Second Kind:Physical Evidence

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Contact
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Contact

 

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Love
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Love

 

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I’ve got some bad news, my friends, for those of you who believe that after the human race pillages and pollutes our home planet to death, that we’ll be able to miraculously venture into the Galaxy looking for other Massalias to plant our brassicas. I’m sorry to say it just isn’t so.

I am the MASTER of the Universe!
I am the MASTER of the Universe!

Let’s look at it like this: If the Sun was the size of an orange, the Earth would be a tiny bread crumb floating 20 meters away (20 yards). Try it in your backyard, it’s very telling. Now imagine the light traveling from the Sun to the Earth takes 8 minutes, which it does. That’s 20 meters in 8 minutes which means that at that scale, light would travel through your backyard at the speed of a dung beetle! (whose speed is demonstrated here by Manu crawling across the carpet).

It’s easy to fathom the Earth at 20 meters from the Sun. Now, still at this scale, how far do you think the nearest stars from us would be? A few kilometers maybe? Nope. A few state lines over? Nope.

The nearest stars would be 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) away… more than the distance from San Francisco to Paris!

Can I eat the Dung Beetle, daddy?
Can I eat the Dung Beetle, daddy?

So if the Sun was the size of an orange, its nearest neighbors would be like a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few Halloween pumpkins floating about in random directions 10,000 kilometers away. How long do you think it would take that poor dung beetle to crawl from San Francisco to Paris?

On our journey to find ourselves another home in the Universe, we already know that our neighboring stars can’t harbor any planet that could support life, so we would have to explore further, much further, maybe even the entire Galaxy. How big would our Galaxy be at that scale? Let’s say that if the Sun and the Earth could fit into a cozy backyard here in San Francisco, the nearest star would be in Paris and the rest of the Galaxy would stretch over 130 million kilometers — almost the distance to the Sun!

So here we are: for us to explore the Galaxy at the speed of light, it would be like a dung beetle crawling through a piece of land as wide as the Solar System between the Sun and the Earth. Good luck finding something, Mr Beetle! And we don’t even travel at the speed of light yet: our hypothetical Mr Lightspeed Dung Beetle is still 20,000 faster than our fastest rockets.

See the task at hand? Sorry folks, no dreamin’, we’re stuck on good old Earth!

Don’t worry, daddy, I’ll follow the Dung Beetle all the way across the Galaxy
Don’t worry, daddy, I’ll follow the Dung Beetle all the way across the Galaxy

 

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We dusted off some old videos: Max & Manu in their crib at 3 months and 6 months. So old, so old… They are almost 10-month old now!


 

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CNET has amongst the most inept writers of the tech world but their blogger at The Digital Home is a gem. What a dork! In a recent post, he moans about his lousy experience during the last days of Circuit City — duh! as if the notoriously incompetent salesmen would all of a sudden pull out MBA skills just before their company goes bye-bye…

At the beginning of his long, rumbling, pompous, indigestible prose — even before he gets to meet one of the poor employees — a couple of a paragraphs stand out where the bore shares with us his horrid needs and anguishes and his internal conflicts:

I need a new HDTV. Usually, I buy my HDTVs from Amazon.com because I’ve found it has the best prices and delivery service. But since I knew Circuit City was going out of business, I decided to make a trek down there to see if there were any hidden gems at a good price. Signs said the TVs were 30 percent off, and when I looked around, I realized the inventory wasn’t picked over, as I had feared. There were some nice Sony LCDs on the shelves, as well as Panasonic plasmas.

I was drawn to the Panasonic TH-58pz800u, which was on sale for approximately $2,600 at the store. I own the 50-inch model of that plasma and couldn’t be more pleased with its quality. So when I saw it offered at such a discount, the wheels started turning and I was thinking about how I was going to be able to fit it into the back of my SUV.

I mean! We are on the verge of a worldwide financial collapse; employees get kicked out of their jobs without consideration; families lose their homes, and this young man tries to get us interested in how he’s going to load a $2600 58-inch plasma TV into his SUV to replace his freakin’ 50-inch?!

Who the heck is going to read that? My boss?

These are the comments I left on his column…

I have never seen such beautiful poetry. Your art lifts up our spirits in these times of need. When the world is crumbling around, you continue to hold high the best of the American values. Thank you.

- Homo Consumerus

 

Years of enjoyment. Never obsolete.
Years of enjoyment. Never obsolete.

 

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My friend Daniel pointed to that chart from Time Magazine showing the unemployment figures from the past 6 recessions in the US. The current recession is in blue (click for a larger image).

Scary, eh?
Scary, eh?

 

Just today, forecasters announced that they expect the unemployment rate, currently at 7.6%, to hit a peak of 9% this year. “Even in the best-case scenario, with the recession ending sometime in the second half of this year, employment conditions will be tough.” By simply extrapolating the curve, here is what it gives.

It hurts, eh?
It hurts, eh?

 

Now, continue to read the same article and towards the bottom, they say that they expect the unemployment rate to hit 10% next year. This time, we are completely out of the charts!

Everybody for himself!
Everybody for himself!

 

My comments on Daniel’s blog to the first chart were:

If you draw the tangents to the curves, you can see how the declines (and in a large degree the recoveries also) became less and less steep over time in each one of the 5 last recessions. The growing size of the US economy and the interconnections with the rest of the world may have played a role to damp down the crises (a corollary being that modern morasses might not be as deep as they used to but we stay in it longer).

Now I find it worrisome that the current recession is plunging as steeply as the steepest one from the 1970’s, knowing that we (the US) are taking the rest of the world down with us and there isn’t anybody else to cushion the fall. We might very well still be in it in 5 years from now. Or 10. Thank you, George Bush!

After looking at the last chart, I can smell at least 5 more years of merde.
Or maybe, it’s just time to change the kids…
We’ll still be in it when they outgrow their diapers, for sure!
 

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It’s becoming worse by the day! A particularly bleak report from the San Francisco Chronicle, under such titles as “A global calamity” and “Banks are in denial“, now quotes economists warning that “Americans can expect unemployment to reach 11 or 12 percent“. 12 percent!? Let’s extrapolate some more! Here is what 12% looks like:

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth

 

As a note to my European friends, you have to consider that an unemployment rate of 12% in America isn’t at all like the same rate in France or elsewhere. Here, it really is catastrophic! The unemployment benefits are extremely meager and expire after 4 months. In the San Francisco Bay Area, you can’t even pay the rent with what you get, plus you don’t have health coverage when you are jobless (or you have to pay for your own: $1000/month for a family of four + $50 per doctor visit).

A severe recession in America means that entire families are thrown to the street. It’s one of the things that still baffles me about the country and I don’t know what their God and their Jesus think about that. Sometimes I ask a Republican but their response is always the same. They sigh and say with a deeply empathetic voice: “I know… It breaks my heart so much to see these poor people… I pray to God they’ll find a solution… I’m sure they will…” but then they turn around and go vote for the same guys who maintain that the country needs to give more money to the rich in order for it to trickle down to the poor. Dupes. Heartless dupes.

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Yes, you can impress the French with champagne! It’s actually very simple: just bring a good bottle - a very good bottle - of California champagne. But then from that point on, please let them do…

 

 
Allez… Bonne Année!!!

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Max & Manu trained for 4 months for my birthday present. Thank you kiddos!

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Here is what happens at home when Merritt goes into town on a Saturday afternoon…

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Faithful readers,

A temporary overload had us constrained to postpone the posting of our next article to June 2026, right after Max & Manu’s graduation ceremony.

Wait…

There seems to be an opening between 2 poopies and 4 feedings sometime next weekend. Or maybe the weekend after next. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

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