So on Tuesday it was Beach Volleyball. Now, I have to say that my previous exposure to beach volleyball has been the occasional three minute interlude while channel surfing. And it basically appeared to be people lunging around in the sand, and occasionally jumping at the net. And not to deny that lumbering around in soft sand for an hour isn’t a lot of work—it undoubtedly is. But there are always some wags who will wonder, “Is it athletic?” Say, as opposed to what the rowers have to do, or the handball players (more on this later), or, good lord, the gymnasts. Well, no, not in the same way, although I have no doubt that if I were in a pickup game against the Brazilians, I’d be lucky to get a point. Still, that means nothing. I imagine there are some nuances to the game that passed me by, and I have to say the serving was highly erratic—lots of balls powered directly into the net by all teams, but especially by the men—and none of it looked that hard. Looks can be deceiving, of course.
Because it didn’t matter one bit. What it was was a big party for 15,000 people in the stands, with dancing girls, lots of music over the sound system, an announcer who kept us clapping, and generally high spirits all around. The event itself was almost incidental. Continue reading →
A weariness besets the world. America drifts, Europe crumbles, China slows, markets everywhere are tired and broken. A sort of nervous exhaustion stalks societies, our problems feel bigger than our solutions.
This stagnation is a symptom, the disease is the lack of hope. The cause is intellectual fatigue; the world is dying for the want of a new idea. But this inertia won’t last forever. Sooner or later the human spirit will rise and change will come.
Most of human history is drudgery, things are the way they are because they’ve always been the way they are. The slave, the peasant, the serf, the toiler, the tenant farmer and disposable cubicle drone all submitted to their miserable fate quietly, generation after generation. Continue reading →
But these days, us privacy ankle-biters are the least of Mr. Zuckerberg’s concerns. You’re no doubt aware of the debacle surrounding the company’s IPO. They opened at 38, then all hell broke loose, and as I type they’re trading at 20 and change. Continue reading →