Making bail

          Back in the day, I knew a Nepali guy who ran a whitewater rafting company. My friends and I hired him to take us on a four or five day trek down some raging torrent tumbling out of the Himalayas. It was so long ago I have no recollection of the guy’s name, the name of the river or even the names of most of my friends, but I do remember the time we emerged from some torrid whirlpool, soaked and disoriented, prying our white fingers reluctantly from the ropes that had kept us from being flung into the roiling, boulder-strewn moil.  Our raft was nearly sunk, full of water, and just as we were taking it all in the guide shouted “bail out!” I obediently and carefully began climbing out of the raft onto a nearby rock, which sent the guy into a raucous bout of merriment, because he meant to bail the water out of the raft, not to bail out. It was not the most Continue reading

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Channeling Rasputin

          If you find yourself at work with not much to do sometime, and the boss isn’t around, take a look at The Economist’s website. If you happen to be an economist, you can probably look at it – in fact, you probably have – with impunity, but the rest of you just wait until the boss’s back is turned. At economist.com you’ll find a most interesting feature called “Global Electoral College: What if all the world could vote.” There, all the world is, indeed, voting either for Barrack or John. When I visited the site the feature was pretty much brand-spanking, and only some – o.k., exactly – 8,011 electoral votes had been won, but those represent votes cast all around the world, from Egypt, Australia, Russia and the entirety of Europe to Tierra del Fuego and a couple of minor principalities in the Pacific, not to mention Nunavut, and of all those 8,011 electoral votes from all those countries, only 12 were for our friend John. Poor guy. It’s the same as if he had won every single electoral vote from Tajikistan, but no more. I wonder if people could have voted Continue reading