23 Dec Passing Thoughts and a Bandoneón

Reuters consistently beats out every other news outlet for intelligent, in-depth coverage of the Syria conflict. Why do the others, including the NYT and the BBC, give the topic such short shrift? Also – what gives with the BBC constantly referring to twitter as if it were a respectable topic for journalism? Along with NPR, their quest for hipness comes off as desperate.

When did motorcycles stop parking on sidewalks in San Francisco?  Once upon a time, every sidewalk, especially in the Mission and the Haight, or anywhere that was not the Financial District or Pac Heights, had motorcycles strewn along them. The bikes were safely out of the way of both cars and – mostly – pedestrians. Now, motorcycles are forced to park between cars, which has drawbacks: they present a challenge to drivers who are not seasoned urban parallel parkers. Much worse, when the time on the meter expires, the parking enforcers will ticket both the car and the motorcycle at the same rate. The system penalizes bikes enormously, by charging the same rate for a small portion of the curb space. (One day, motorcyclists will organize the easy, legal, supremely annoying path of resistance, but I’ll leave that for another post.)  The city looks different. Bikes on the sidewalk were a San Francisco signature. Even more, I miss the last-minute swoop up a sidewalk to land exactly next to my destination.

The 85 richest people In the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest. Sure, that’s been said before, but how do we all think it, then just move on to the next thought in the queue? Instead of our brains exploding? [Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/01/23/the-85-richest-people-in-the-world-have-as-much-wealth-as-the-3-5-billion-poorest/ ]Bandon1

We are killing the base of life on the planet. No hyperbole. We. Are. Killing. The. Base. Of. Life. On. The. Planet. Proof below. Is anyone talking about it?  [Source: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jun/03/fish-stocks-information-beautiful ]

Lately, as I discuss complicated ideas with smart people, I am thrilled at how often my sentences do not require completion. A fragment is, oftentimes, enough to build the thought. I am glad to know such smart folks, and also to know people who recognize the moment that a thought is received, so that they can move on, regardless of where they were in their sentence.  I am privileged to be surrounded by these types of people.

JFK, the airport, is a terrible experience. It lacks charm and class, but also efficiency, comfort and current technology. This does not speak well for one of the most important US airports, the first port-of-call for many foreign visitors. If we will not invest, or cannot implement better, it bodes ill for the country.

Photos: The three photos above show the interior of a bandoñeon, one of the most complicated, random instruments ever created. Bandoñeon is the heart of classical tango music.