Merry Christmas!

 Posted by on 24 December 2009 at 8:00 am  Ethics, Fun
Dec 242009

Onkar Ghate published an excellent essay on the joy of Christmas in US News and World Report. It begins:

I’m an atheist, and I love Christmas. If you think that’s a contradiction, think again.

Do you remember as a child composing wish lists of things you genuinely valued, thought you deserved, and knew would bring you pleasure? Do you remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of Christmas morning and the new bike, book, or chemistry set you were hoping for? That childhood feeling captures the spirit of Christmas and explains why so many of us look forward to the season each year.

That joyful spirit of Christmas, Ghate argues, is part and parcel of a commercial Christmas. It’s nowhere to be found in a truly Christian Christmas.

As someone who felt rather overwhelmed this holiday season, I appreciated Ghate’s explicit rejection of the all-too-common duty-based approach to Christmas toward the end of his essay:

It’s not uncommon today to hear people say Christmas is their most stressful period. Pressed for time (and this year probably for money, too), they feel there are just too many lights to put up, meals to cook, and gifts to buy. Seeking something to blame, they blame the commercialism of the season. But there is no commandment, “Thou shall buy a present for every­one you know.” This is the religious mentality of duty rearing its ugly head again. Do and buy only that which you can truly afford and enjoy; there are myriad ways to celebrate with loved ones without spending a cent.

Take some time to enjoy a mug of hot cocoa while staring at the pretty lights and decorations on your Christmas tree. Enjoy time with beloved family members and friends. Reflect on your accomplishments for the year. Look forward to 2010. Most of all, take a deep breath and enjoy your holidays in the most selfish way you can!

Merry Christmas!

Fame and Fortune!

 Posted by on 30 October 2009 at 4:00 am  Fun
Oct 302009

Fame and fortune are just around the corner for me, I’m sure! My picture of the poorly-worded sign at Littleton Hospital was posted to the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks! (They must have quite a backlog of submissions, as I sent that to them in late August.) I’m so pleased!

CarTalk Puzzler Answer

 Posted by on 16 October 2009 at 9:00 pm  Fun
Oct 162009

As promised, here is the answer to the CarTalk Puzzler, “How the Dispatcher Saved the Day“:

RAY: Here’s the answer. Now this isn’t 100% guaranteed that it’s going to work, but it’s the only thing that would work. What she asked him to do was to give her the license plate number of the car that he’s parked behind.

TOM: Ah.

RAY: She was figuring that the owner of the car lives right there.

TOM: Sure. It’s a residential neighborhood, and it’s late at night.

Fun Puzzler from CarTalk

 Posted by on 15 October 2009 at 4:00 pm  Fun
Oct 152009

Last week’s “CarTalk Puzzler” was quite good, and I thought I’d share it with NoodleFood readers:

How the Dispatcher Saved the Day

RAY: An old guy is driving home. It’s late at night. He’s be-bopping along the highway and he’s some considerable distance from home. Suddenly, he feels himself having a heart attack. He says, “Oh my God. It’s the big one.” Thinking quickly, he takes the first available exit.

As luck would have it, he winds up in a residential neighborhood. It’s very late at night. He pulls over to the side of the road behind some parked cars. He’s fading fast, but he has the presence of mind to pull out his cell phone and call 911.

He says to the dispatcher, “I need help. I’m having a heart attack.”

TOM: And she says, “Where are you?”

RAY: And the conversation goes something like this: “I don’t know where I am.”

“What exit did you take?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Were you going north or south or east?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Can you tell me what street you’re on?”

“I’m in the middle of the block. I’m parked. I didn’t see any street signs.” She says,

TOM: “Boy, are you screwed!”

RAY: Not quite. She says, “Start blowing the horn. Someone will come out of the house.”

No one comes out. She then asks him to do one more thing. Minutes later, an ambulance is on its way there and saves his life.

What did she ask him to do?

By the way, I wasn’t able to figure out the answer. I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

As an aside, there are only three podcasts I regularly listen to:

Diana’s Rationally Selfish Radio
Leonard Peikoff

Shape of My Heart

 Posted by on 6 October 2009 at 1:00 pm  Cool, Fun
Oct 062009

Here’s a very cool video of Shawn Farquhar performing. He’s a two-time World Champion of Magic and has some serious skill with cards. I love seeing people this good at what they do!

Spot the Difference

 Posted by on 29 August 2009 at 7:01 am  Fun
Aug 292009

Today’s “Spot the Difference” quiz features recent brain MRI scans from Diana and Paul. Can you tell the difference between the two?

Hint: Diana has a PhD in philosophy, which means she spends her days pondering deep thoughts about “the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence.”

Paul is a radiologist, which means he spends all day “looking at the pretty pictures!”

Diana’s brain:

Paul’s brain:

Feynman on Mirrors

 Posted by on 29 July 2009 at 11:01 pm  Fun, Science
Jul 292009

Legendary CalTech physicist Richard Feynman discusses the classic logic problem, “Why do mirrors reverse left-right but not top-bottom?

Don’t click through unless you want to hear the answer.

OCON Closing Banquet

 Posted by on 15 June 2009 at 12:50 pm  Fun
Jun 152009

In just a few weeks, Paul and I will be at OCON 2009 — the summer conference of the Ayn Rand Institute — in Boston. Back in January, I mentioned that Paul and I would be not attend the closing banquet, as we prefer to have a private dinner instead. Here’s what I wrote:

As for the other events, Paul and I will be attending the opening banquet but not the closing banquet. We always go out to a fine dinner with friends instead of the closing banquet. We never much enjoy the random good-byes, the overly loud music, and the overpriced food of the closing banquet. Unfortunately, some of our usual friends will be otherwise occupied or absent from OCON. So, friends, if you’d be interested in dining with us on that July 11th, just drop me an e-mail sometime in the next few months.

I’m going to be finalizing plans for this dinner this week, so if you’d like to join us, please do e-mail me in the next few days.

Another Night Shift X-Ray

 Posted by on 14 June 2009 at 11:01 pm  Fun, Health Care
Jun 142009

This patient was a 45-year old man brought into the ER in police custody. The history on the x-ray sheet was “Taser prong in left hand”:

The prong was safely removed by the ER physician, then the wound was dressed and splinted.

The ER physician’s note concluded, “The patient is medically cleared to go to jail”.

Stop Motion Wedding Invitation

 Posted by on 9 June 2009 at 12:28 pm  Film, Fun
Jun 092009

Too clever!

(Via Jason Crawford)

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha