Monday, November 24, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Simple joys

Who would have thought coming home to a pink dot on my bed would raise my spirits so much and make me smile? My cat Winston passed his 20th birthday last summer; he's still loving, still has lots of appetite (at 3:30 in the morning especially) and he's still healthy (mostly), but he's lost his athleticism, maybe his hearing is going, he definitely is developing cataracts, his fur looks crummy no matter how much he grooms himself or I brush him. But he still has moments when he rises to the invitation to play, though nowadays he gives up more readily than even three or four years ago.
The pink dot? It's one of his old Super Balls, which make the most splendid cat toys because of the way they carom off the walls and furniture and roll around the floor like some kind of prey on speed, and because they just fit in his mouth so once they stop moving, or he "kills" one, he can relocate them as he pleases. He's got a basket with a lifetime of (by now stale) catnip-filled mice that he always ignored, plastic bottle caps and a tennis ball he also loves, and three or four Super Balls. It's been years since he went into the basket to take out a toy, but today, who knows what his inspiration was, he got a pink Super Ball and whatever he did with it between the basket and the bedroom, it ended up in the middle of the bed. It fills me with love for him to think that while I'm not here, he occasionally wakes from his ever-deeper, ever-longer naps and has a good play.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And finally, today...

Today the gunk on the window in front of the Mt. Washburn lookout tower Web cam has melted in the bright sunshine (except for just a little on the left) and the clouds have parted and the angle of the sun shows the Grand Tetons in wonderful silhouette. How lovely is that?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Later that day...

A good parting of the clouds and light that's just right to make visible several major features from the Washburn fire lookout tower, for Troutbirder. Click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better look at the markings. The "thermal features" in the upper center of the image are probably Mud Volcano.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not politics, not money

I have often posted photos captured from my favorite Web cams. This one this morning is from the fire lookout on top of Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park. It's one of my favorites, but from October through May there are many days when the window of the lookout is plastered over with snow or ice and the view is zip.
This morning, after days of nothingness, we had a reveal. The camera is pointed south; from 10,243 up, on a clear day one can easily see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (River), steam and gas rising from many thermal areas within the visual sweep, and the Grand Tetons. It's pretty clear what's been causing the blackout, hard to tell how deep that snow is. But it portends well for another snowful winter in Yellowstone. From the looks of things, there might be more where that came from in the clouds blocking sunlight from above, and perhaps, for things lower down, in those below the peak. Let it snow!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The icing on the great big cake that was this week

I have been proud to work for the business school at the University of Chicago since I started there not long before September 11, 2001. As an administrator myself, I greatly enjoy watching our leadershipespecially our deansin action. Not only are they superb scholars and teachers, but they are also gifted in the art of human, fiscal, and physical resource management. Yesterday, the school made history because alumnus David Booth (MBA '71) and his young family gave the school an astounding $300 million unrestricted dollars. Not only is this extraordinary because of its scalethree times that of the next largest individual gift to any business school (Standford, $105 million)and not only because Mr. Booth has already given $10.5 million to our institution, but because he gave it at what may well be the nadir of a global financial crisis. This means that as the monies are invested wiselyand they will be they stand to grow many-fold as the world rises out of the depths of recession (or depression). Needless to say, this has put all of us, even those whose stake in the schoolnow, and rightly so, the Chicago Booth School of Business is unlikely to benefit directly, in a buoyant, optimistic frame of mind. This, combined with Obama's unquestionable victory, makes the future uncommonly bright.