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Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's Cornbread Time!

Lately, I have been learning how to cook.  I am finding that I am actually enjoying it: it's something new to learn; it's creative; it helps me maintain my weight and my health; and it saves money.  My go-to cookbook right now is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  It has just what I want: simple, easy recipes that can get me familiar with the kitchen.

The dish I have been making often these past few weeks is cornbread.  It's easy, and it tastes great.  Below are some photos that I took of my last cornbread effort.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Think and Reason Properly

When I was in college, I majored in philosophy, and ever since then I have been intensely interested in all things philosophical: metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, and logic.  I am so in love with the subject that even when I was studying for my master's degree in science writing at the University of Southern California, I made time to take a philosophy class on continental rationalism.  (We read Leibniz, Spinoza, and Descartes, as well as an assortment of lesser-known thinkers.)  On my Twitter feed, I follow a philosophy account, and I have downloaded several podcasts of Philosophy Talk, a radio show hosted by two Stanford professors and broadcast on 91.7 FM in California.  Something about the subject tickles my brain, and I just can't get enough.

So I was overjoyed to come across a series of animations produced by Bridge 8, a company in Australia.  The animations explain what an argument is, what logical thinking is, and how to think clearly.  (Reasoning and argumentation are at the heart of philosophy, as is the question of how to reason and argue properly.  Look here to see what I mean.)  I have included some of the videos below.  They're short, so take some time to browse through them.  You won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

James Gurney and the Art of Dinosaurs

I never read Dinotopia as a kid: I only came to it in high school and college.  But, the experience has stayed with me in a very profound way.  I suppose lots of boys like dinosaurs, and especially drawing them, but that love of the fantastical and the well-drawn never left me.  As I flipped through the pages of James Gurney's amazing story, I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Gurney not only drew some of the best illustrations of dinosaurs I have ever seen.  He also took the time to create a written dinosaur language, in which footprints are the basis of an alphabet.  He envisioned innovative ways in which dinosaurs and humans might live together, and drew those collaborations in convincing, realistic detail.  To me, he was like Norman Rockwell, but instead of drawing a family gathered at a Thanksgiving table, he drew mosasaurs pulling rudimentary submarines.

Now, some of his work in on view in the Woodson Art Museum, in Wausau, Wisconsin.  Anyone who has a chance to see this show absolutely should.  I wish I could go.