On the sharp end

Sending it since 2006

Location: Flatlands, US

Thursday, February 12, 2009

E.O. Wilson

Last night I attended a lecture by renowned naturalist and author E.O. Wilson. The subject was the immense biodiversity of our planet. His thesis: what he terms "Wilson's Law"...If we only seek to preserve the physical world (the air, water, resources, etc.) and lose sight of the living world (animals, insects, plants, etc.) we will ultimately lose both. However, if we preserve the living world, we will also preserve the physical world in the process.

Needless to say, the lecture was fascinating. The content explored all kingdoms of life on Earth, ranging from distant cosmic perspectives to the details of electron microscopy. His reports and predictions of destruction and extinction were frightening. His admonitions and hopes were inspiring. He concluded the speech with a quote by John Sawhill, the late president of the Nature Conservatory:

A society is defined, not only by what it creates, but by what it chooses not to destroy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Today is a good day

Today I received the following email, and for the first time in 8 yrs I could simply delete it...

The Carver College of Medicine Financial Services Department is providing you with this important email about the financial aid application process for the 2009-2010 academic year. We hope many of you have already filed or are in the midst of preparing to file your FAFSA for the 09-10 academic year and to complete your 2008 federal income taxes. On the attached scan, you will find the following information:

The Steps to Apply for Financial Aid (including the FAFSA web link & UI's Title IV code)
A Loan Comparison Worksheet
A Tentative Cost of Attendance sheet for the 2009-2010 academic year

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Does everyone have their Halloween costumes ready to go?

I know what I'm going to be...I'm going to pretend to be a doctor in the ER this Halloween. Yeah, that's right, I'll be spending my Halloween evening working the 2:30 - 10:30 pm shift in the ER. Should be an exciting time. I'm just hoping that I will be able to tell the difference between the real blood and the fake blood.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I voted.

It feels good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kayak adventure

Last weekend the autumn leaves were at their peak colors, the weather forecast called for sunshine, and I had a few days off. I had to take advantage of this amazing fall weekend, and decided to go paddling on the Volga River in northeast Iowa. Being unable to round up friends to join me on short notice, I decided to go solo. This meant:

1. Drop the bike off at the take out (end of the paddle)
2. Drive to the put in (start of the paddle) and park the car there
3. Kayak downriver (19.2 river miles)
4. Bike back to the car (12 road miles) while leaving the kayak at the take out
5. Drive back to pick up the kayak

It was an ambitious plan and turned into a VERY long (and fun) day!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I don't know about you, but we've had some incredible autumn weather here Iowa City. I love this time of year - crisp air, colorful and crunchy leaves, football, pumpkin patches, hayrack rides, etc. Also, it is one of the best times of year to enjoy some great outdoor activities - cool weather, fewer bugs, and smaller crowds. Lately, my favorites have been mountain biking and kayaking. Today was one of the most beautiful days I have experienced all year, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to play outdoors...

Monday, June 16, 2008


Last night I was at a concert and one of the opening bands was from San Francisco. The lead singer was talking about how they had played a show in Des Moines earlier that week. They had been freaking out due to all the tumultuous thunderstorms and flooding they were experiencing. He said, "You all are hardcore for living here with this crazy weather." He paused, pondering, and then added, "Is it normal for catfish to be in the middle of the road?"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iowa Flooding

If you haven't been following the news, Iowa has been having historic flooding - particularly Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and my town - Iowa City. Everyone has been affected in some way, either directly or indirectly. Personally, I have not had, and am not in danger of suffering, property losses. However, many have lost much (including the university campus) and in a great community such as this, everyone shares those losses.

Personally being a part of the shared effort to protect our community has been a silver lining to this raincloud. It always feels nice to think and talk about ideals of "community", but to see and be a part of it in action is a moving experience. The numbers of volunteers that have turned out to sandbag, and in the case of the library - move books to higher ground, has been huge. Iowa City is a wonderfully interesting and unique, if not eclectic, group of people with a strong sense of community. It has been fun to work beside, contribute, and endure such an experience with these people. (Even if someone did steal my wallet while I was sandbagging yesterday.)

The following pictures may give those of you who have lived in I.C. a sense of how high the river has risen.

North of IMU near the North Campus Ramp.

The Park Rd. bridge near City Park (which is underwater in the background).

Near the Main Library on campus.

Iowa St. just west of the Old Capitol, with Hubbard Park in the background.

A long line of people passing sandbags near the Main Library.

Yes, that's a USPS mailman in full uniform - just finished delivering the mail and then joined in the efforts.

Riverside Dr. near the Hydraulic Lab or just below the Law School.

The Lindquist Center across the street from the Main Library on Madison St.

Below the Burlington St. bridge near the Hydraulic Lab.

Just north of IMU looking out to the foot bridge over the River.

Iowa River looking north to the Iowa St. bridge.

The footbridge at the corner of Riverside and Burlington.

The view from the deck of our condo following a rainshower. Rainbow is directly over the town of Iowa City.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Iowa Caucus

Dear Derek,

You did it.

Not just yesterday but every day for ten months, you did what the cynics said we could not do.

You said the time has come to move beyond the pettiness and anger that have consumed Washington, and you sent a powerful message that change is coming to America.

I've landed in New Hampshire, where four days from now, we'll have the chance to build on the momentum you sparked here yesterday.

But I want you to know that -- wherever this improbable journey takes us -- it started in Iowa. Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment -- this was the place -- where America remembered what it means to hope.

I'm thankful to you, and I always will be.



Saturday, December 15, 2007