Southern Man

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Samaritan

In this modern life there is no trauma quite like losing your cell phone. Especially when it isn't just a cell phone but your phone book and appointment calendar and digital camera - none of which has been backed up within recent memory.

Southern Man lost his cell phone while at work this evening.

And after some frantic scrambling about and checking of classrooms and offices and bathrooms he went out to the parking lot thinking that he might have left it in the pickup or - worse - dropped it in the parking lot while juggling his various bags and such. It wasn't in the cab. And then on impulse he glanced into the truck bed and there it was, tucked up in a corner by the bundle of rope. Suthern Man had indeed dropped that phone in the parking lot by the truck, and some kind soul picked it up and put it in the bed.

Whoever you are, thank you very much. And Southern Man will pass that kindness on to others as best he can.

Star Trek meets Monty Python

Southern Man tries to keep the YouTube posts to a minimum, but this was much too funny to pass up. Bonus points if you recognize all of the episodes, and not Southern Man's fault if you spend the rest of the day following links.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Norman E. Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009)

There are several living Americans who have recieved the Nobel Peace Prize. Some are familiar names to most Americans - Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore. Lesser known is Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor honored for an exemplary life and message of peace. Another is Norman Borlaug, who has been described as the "Greatest Living American" and the "Father of the Green Revolution." He was just recently awarded the U.S. National Science Medal. He's also won the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the two highest honors awarded to civilians by our government.

And you've never even heard of him.

Southern Man's formative years were spent having his fool head filled with Malthusian doomsday predictions such as
Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, which predicted that overpopulation and the inability of agriculture to keep pace with population growth would inevitably lead to famine and death, particularly in the Third World. Fortunately, Borlaug wasn't having any because he was busy inventing high-yield agriculture and teaching it to the rest of the world. His lifelong research in agriculture and high-yield strains of crops such as wheat led to revolutions in agriculture in Mexico, Pakistan, India, and elsewhere in Asia and Africa, transforming impoverished nations from from food importers to agricultural self-sufficiency. He probably saved a billion lives over the last five decades, and he's a big part of the reason that food is more plentiful and less expensive than in any time in history. Not to mention forcing poor Dr. Ehrlich to continually revise his book.

So why does Southern Man mention this American hero?

Southern Man reads a lot of blogs. A lot of blogs, of every stripe, liberal and conservative, popular and unpopular, known and unknown. Yes, it's a rough life but someone has to do it. And he noted that of the blogs he read today, stories mourning Borlaug's passing and honoring his accomplishments appear almost exclusively on conservative / libertarian blogs; his passing has gone virtually unmentioned on liberal blogs.

Just wanted to point that out.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Movie Review - District 9

Seeing this one was a bit of an accident; Southern Man and Wife were 'way up on the north side for appointments, needed to return later that afternoon to pick up Southern Man's Youngest, and decided to take a late-lunch-and-a-matinée instead. And since Southern Man had heard that District 9 was getting great reviews, we took a chance on that one.

District 9 takes an old premise - alien spacecraft appears over a major city on Earth - and runs it in totally unexpected directions. While there are plenty of nods to worthy predecessors in the genre, D9 resembles none of them. South African actor
Sharlto Copely is superb as a manager in an alien-resettlement operation who almost comically clutches to the security of the rules and regulations of his orderly bureaucracy even as his superiors betray him and his world (not to mention his very existence) crumbles around him. D9 is energetic, intriguing, inventive, and challenging; go see it now and pick up the DVD when it comes out.