Ranting

Memphasis > No Time For A Cuckoo Clock

March 10th, 2011

TIME FOR A RENAISSANCEOne of my favorite movies is the 1949 classic "The Third Man," written by the incomparable Graham Greene and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard. Is it my imagination, or was Trevor Howard in every movie made for 20 years that needed a hardnosed Brit? Anyway, the movie is about a divided melting pot of a city and those who would keep it that way ...

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Memphasis > Not Through Here

March 3rd, 2011

NATIONAL STOP SIGNHe'd been down there all alone for hours, his flashlight bouncing off the vaulted ceiling and green-tinted walls far beneath the city, following the course of the old Gayoso Bayou now captured in a gigantic storm drain. You think about history down there. And battery life. You see things few have seen. And you see "no signal" on your cell phone. You realize that no ...

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Memphasis > Exploring The Cutoffs

February 24th, 2011

SEE WHAT YOU CAN CATCHWhen the river determined its own course, before it got its manmade shoulders, before spring disaster and all-year fear made us try to tame it, it went where it wanted and – like the biggest bully in the schoolyard, the meanest drunk in the bar – directed its fury against those who talked back.Think of it as original eminent domain.When the river decided to ...

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Memphasis > Getting Over It

February 17th, 2011

GETTING OVER THE BIG DIVIDEOutside, it was a beautiful spring day. Inside, it was a dark afternoon in engineering science lab. In front of me was a pile of balsa wood, popsicle sticks, string, rubber bands and a slide rule. The assignment – design and build a bridge. At that moment – while I was trying to figure out whether the number on my slide rule was 10,000, 100,000 or ten ...

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Memphasis > Power Trumps People

February 10th, 2011

IN THE NEW MATH, 30% IS MORE THAN 70%Fellow I know who worked for S.C. Toof & Co. back in the sixties told a good story about the use of power. Then the company was family owned and the largest printing operation around these parts. Mr. Toof fancied himself a broad-minded leader, open to suggestion and reform. The company's leadership would meet weekly to discuss issues and vote on ...

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