: High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Seeking Podcast-Listening Beta Testers

I’m a big folk/country/alt-rock/roots/americana music fan. I’ve also been messing around with podcasting technology for a little while now. I’ve finally decided to put the two together with a music podcast. I’m still experimenting and sorting throught the legal ramifications, so for now I’ll just be opening it up for the few, the proud, the betatesters. E-mail me if you want in. I’ll send you the link. The only requirement is that you check it out and let me know what you think.

Antinomianism Alive and Well in Missouri City

The Houston Press profiles Jos̩ Luis De Jes̼s Miranda, a man who claims to be Christ and were it not for this little jewel, would not be worth mentioning Рand I quote:

“Believing in Jesus of Nazareth does not make you a Christian,” he says. “Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He wasn’t a Christian; he was a Jewish man…People who put their eyes on Jesus of Nazareth become Jews, and they don’t know.”

That’s right. If I follow his logic, it is this – Jesus was Jewish, therefore if you believe in him, you become a Jew. Dare I ask which came first – Christ or the Christian?

HP also notes – “Last year Creciendo en Gracia’s central office pulled in over $1.4 million and added over 100 churches.” Sigh.

Su Blackwell, Book Cut Sculptures


Amazing work. Su Blackwell, Book Cut Images

Three Things You Don’t Know About Aids In Africa

University of Chicago Economist and Becker Fellow Emily Oster has an interesting article in Esquire, Three Things You Don’t Know About Aids In Africa

Approximately 6 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV; in the United States, the number is around 0.8 percent. Very often, this disparity is attribu ed to differences in sexual behavior—in the number of sexual partners, the types of sexual activities, and so on. But these differences cannot, in fact, be seen in the data on sexual behavior. So what actually accounts for the gulf in infection rates?

According to my research, the major difference lies in transmission rates of the virus. For a given unprotected sexual relationship with an HIV-infected person, Africans are between four and five times more likely than Americans to become infected with HIV themselves. This stark fact accounts for virtually all of the difference in population-wide HIV rates in the two regions.

You’ll just have to read the article to find out what the other two things are.

These people are insane (Ski-Gliding the Eiger), Download .mov (right click, save as); Via Gadling

No Registration Required for Comments

In the battle against comment spam, sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot. My grandmother informs me that users are required to register in order to post a comment. I’ve hunted down the offending setting and changed it so that is no longer the case. Comment at will.

New York Review of Books, Allison Lurie on Alice Munro, Jeffrey Sachs on the viability of Economic Aid

Allison Lurie on Alice Munro

The New York Review of Books had two recent articles of interest to me; perhaps to you as well. One of my pet peeves is discovering great writers only after they’ve died. I discovered Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in 1994 for instance. Same with James Merrill, I’ve finally jumped ahead of the curve with Alice Munro. Hopefully this doesn’t bode ill for her. She’s long been admired by fellow practitioners; she was a favorite assignment of the creative writing profs I had in undergrad. Her literary star is now apparently finding a deservedly wider audience. This is surprising for two reasons. First, her subject matter is neither sexy nor exciting. There is no elevator pitch for Munro’s work. It’s highly unlikely movies will be made. She is, simply and rarely, a fantastic writer. To read Munro is to be in the hands of a skilled butcher, to have the animal aspect of ones nature revealed, quarted, boned and trimmed with the same mix of pragmatic nonchalance and artistry. Secondly, Munro lives almost exclusively in the short form, a more difficult, technical yet infrequently lauded.

Lurie does an admirable job of capturing what’s important to know about Munro for the uninitiated.

One of Alice Munro’s great achievements has been to look with care and concern at her chosen world, and at what some readers would consider uninteresting persons: a sulky little girl, a small-town elementary school teacher, a retired salesman of farm chemicals. Munro takes these people seriously. As she says in the epilogue to Lives of Girls and Women, “People’s lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing and unfathomable—deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum.”

Growing up next to Canada, I found this line alone was worth the price of admission:

In the imagination of most Americans, Canada is a blur. It contains a lot of pine trees, moose, and Mounties; its population is relatively small, its politics relatively polite. Canadians are honest and serious but slightly dull. Some of us may pity or scorn them for not having joined the revolution of 1776: in this view, they are like the goody-goody siblings who never rebelled against their parents.

New York Review of Books: The Lamp in the Mausoleum

Jeffrey Sachs on the viability of Economic Aid

In a second article, economist Jeffrey Sachs responds to an earlier article by Nicholas Kristof which cited Sach’s panegyric The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time and William Easterly’s skeptical White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good.

A second reason for the retreat is the widespread belief that aid is simply wasted, money down the rat hole. That has surely been true of some aid, such as the “reconstruction” funding for Iraq and the cold war–era payouts to thugs such as Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. But these notorious cases obscure the critical fact that development assistance based on proven technologies and directed at measurable and practical needs—increased food production, disease control, safe water and sanitation, schoolrooms and clinics, roads, power grids, Internet connectivity, and the like—has a distinguished record of success.

New York Review of Books: How Aid Can Work, in response to Aid: Can It Work?

Milton Friedman, RIP


At least it’s warm here…

Every now and then I get nostalgic for Maine. Then I get an e-mail like this from my Dad -

Associated Press: The Nation’s Weather

Cold, wet weather was expected to continue Wednesday across the North and West.
Rain was forecast again for the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, with flooding possible in some coastal areas.

Clear skies were anticipated in the nation’s midsection.

Sunny and warm weather was forecast for the Southwest and much of the Great Plains.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Tuesday ranged from a low of 21 degrees at Presque Isle, Maine, to a high of 101 degrees at Woodland Hills, Calif.

I’ve become very acclimated to the Texas unwinter.