Well, I’ve finally done it! I am going to be a father of boy this November, assuming the geneticist’s 75% certainty pans out as expected. This is going to be an incredible life-changing event and I am terrified by its implications. Fortunately, I have seen that others have done this before me, many with less intelligence, humor and resources than I am blessed with.
Obviously, this is going to put a crimp on our diving in the near future. But, I’ll never forget my first dive vacation, seeing the families with their children, and I hope that our baby grows into child interested in the underwater world. I just pray that there is life in our seas worth seeing in 10-15 years! I am sure it will seem incredible to the new diver, just as it was incredible to me (despite the fact that anybody diving for 20+years before my first dive, will tell me that the oceans were quite different when they started their adventures!).
I’ll keep the blog, and hope to get wet still, but I sense it will be a while….
This is One Daddy’s Perspective.
Well, a lot of people are blogging about the “magical” iPad, many seeming to have a deep-seated hate toward the product, possibly over-reacting to other people’s “irrational” love of something they’ve yet to experience. So, I thought I would throw my two cents in, to help balance things out a bit.
Many people are critical of the device because it is “nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch.” Well, that is not quite true, since it sports a speedier processor, for one thing. And don’t we all pay for larger screen real estate, either in the size of our monitors or the size of our televisions? It would seem to me that a “handheld” device that is somewhat larger than an iPod Touch would certainly seem to be worth a little extra money to some people, without labeling those poor souls as “zombies” or “fanboyz”
Indeed, many people who have experienced an iPod Touch think the device is magical. It responds to the touch unlike any other device they have held, and it lets them so so many things they never thought of doing before, like playing games or watching a television program while waiting for an appointment at the DMV or the Doctor. So, again, it seems perfectly logical to want a “bigger version” in order to improve the web-browsing experience, the game playing experience, and the e-book reading experience.
Could the device be improved? Absolutely. Is it “evil” because it forces you to use a free “App” to play YouTube videos and may otherwise make “flash content” inaccessible? I suppose if there was flash content I wanted to see, and Apple was “censoring” it for no other reason than they do not want the iPad used to view porn, I might be upset. But, then again, I would more likely simply not buy the product rather than crusade against it as so many people are apt to do.
I prefer to happily believe that the iPad will “deliver” and by that, I mean it will be an elegant way to get the news, read a book, surf the web and view and respond to e-mail, all from the comfort of my couch. By elegant, I mean, an intuitive touch-screen interface that is pleasing to use, because it was designed to be used by fingers so the icons are not tiny, the keyboard usable, and the weight not too much to bear.
Is it “too much” to spend on such a device? Clearly, that depends upon one’s disposable income. Presumably, if the price were $19.99, people would not be complaining nearly so much. But, starting at $499, well, gosh, that is a lot more money than someone may be willing to spend on an “accessory device” or “MCD” (mobile computing device), and if they are going to spend that much they want to get more. The beauty of it is, they don’t have to buy — the strangeness of it is, they feel the need to criticize. I cannot help but wonder if there is a bit if i-Envy going on.
Sure, we all like to feel superior and more intelligent than the rest of the world, and it is easy to criticize people who have enough money to spend $499 more on a product they have not seen, and which nobody they know has seen. But, if it were $19.99 you can bet whatever you like that these same people would be lining up to buy the product. So, really, what we are talking about here are a bunch of people who are too poor to buy what they really want to own, or people who just wish to be critical of other people and their ideas and find it easier to express negative views than to keep silent.
I appreciate that many of these people are “just trying to be helpful” in explaining all of the shortcomings of the product’s technical feature-set, I really do. I look forward to a product that has a video camera built in, so that it can be used for video-chat and video conference calls. But, whether that is an “option” or a built-in feature, it will cost money, and presumably Apple wanted to create a product at a price point that did not allow such a feature at the prices. Or, perhaps, Apple simply wanted to grab the attention, sell a few million units, and then “upgrade” in version 2, to include the most talked about features that are missing.
The point is, I do not care, nor take it personally, that Apple would choose to do its market research by selling a device that is “missing” features. I’ll either buy an iPad or I won’t, based on whether I believe it will make me happy enough to part with my money. I will not be “angry” at the Company for attempting to sell me something I think is inferior, nor will I feel the need to criticize others who are “happy” that the company is selling a giant iPad at a cost which is unduly high. I am sympathetic to those that want the device but cannot afford it. It is always frustrating to be unable to buy something that you want, and that you see others enjoying. I am not sympathetic to those people who just feel the need to dump on the product or the people buying it, however, because such views are truly mean spirited.
Finally, I respect and appreciate all of the comedy and graphic design work that has gone into making fun of the iPad, and the comparisons between the iPad and a stone tablet. But, that is humor. The reality, as we know, is that a stone tablet does not display photographs beautifully. A stone tablet does not let you listen to music, read a best-seller, order groceries and control your Sonos sound system, all from the comfort of your couch or bed.
This is One Diver’s Perspective.
I notice a number of people coming to my blog through searches suggesting they are interested in sharks or shark attacks. I wished to state (as I have stated before) that sharks are, for the most part, not a threat to people. Occasionally, a shark does bite a surfer and even more rarely, a swimmer. And while it is hardly a consolation to those who do get bitten that it is a relatively rare occurrence, you are far more likely to be injured by a wave (or almost anything else) than by a shark.
I am not saying that I would be comfortable floating at the surface at night, treading water after a plane crash, but I am saying that sharks have a lot more to fear from us than we do of them, and I strongly encourage you to rent the movie “Sharkwater” so you can get a different perspective from what the news media and the Discovery Channel are always hyping when the subject comes up.
I have gone swimming with the sharks, and the pictures of sharks on this blog were taken by Colleen and me while diving in the Bahamas. It was a great deal of fun and an incredible opportunity to see these animals up close and personal. While I would not recommend swimming in chummed water or even snorkeling while sharks are feeding, I can recommend with a high degree of comfort that if you are a diver, and are not scared silly of sharks, you will very much enjoy your first encounter.
My wife teaches a class of third and fourth graders in the South Bronx. This year she is producing a school play and would love to give her underprivileged students the chance to see The Lion King performed on Broadway. Honestly, these kids are so poor it is unlikely that they will ever get to see a Broadway show, and if this field trip gets funded, it will provide an incredible opportunity for them. She has prepared a proposal on “DonorsChoose” which can be viewed here. Contributions are tax deductible.
One of the creatures I always dreamed of seeing while diving is the manta ray. I often thought about traveling to Yap where the island is “well known” for manta encounters. I was therefore, very pleased when one of the dives during our trip to Komodo was at a site known as “Manta Point” or “Torolengkoy” While our dive guide would not guarantee manta sightings, he was pretty confident that we would get to see some of these majestic animals. These dives would make up for the very sparse Komodo Dragon encounters that we had on the island of Komodo…
Here are some of my manta photographs
We had a rather incredible honeymoon, spent in large part, under the waters in and around Komodo. This is by no means a full trip report, but for anybody interested, we stayed aboard the Archipelago’s Adventurer II, which had spacious cabins, incredibly friendly helpful crew, and delicious meals. If you are a diver, and are looking for a luxury liveaboard, I highly recommend this operation.
This was my first time in the waters of Indonesia, and it was really great. While I personally cannot say that the diving was so great that I’ll never dive the Caribbean again, I am thankful for this perspective, as Indonesia is a very long way from home!
There is a lot of life in the Indonesian waters. In fact, in the following picture, the black and green nudibranch (Nembrotha Cristata) was not even seen by me when I was taking the picture! That says something about the abundance of life in the waters, my abilities to spot critters and my abilities as a photographer (i.e., there is a lot of luck involved in getting a nice picture).
Well, I’ve decided to take the plunge! This summer I am going to marry Colleen — she is an incredibly good person, with a great sense of humor. In many ways, she is exactly like myself. In fact, we are often on the same word, not to mention page. I used to think my sense of humor was unique, but she truly thinks just like me, which means she’ll never get tired of my sense of humor. We share similar politics and a similar religion.
We both love to dive. She has a natural love of sharks, which I find endearing, if not a little nutty, and of course, I won’t miss any dive simply because there are things in the water which terrify mere mortals. She’s a dedicated and hard working school teacher, who has put up with way more than her fair share of bullshit from a moron principal who, I hope to goodness was fired from her last two jobs and winds up homeless, turning tricks for drug money. But I digress…
I’m looking forward to living the rest of our lives together, meeting those challenges that come our way and making the best of a wonderful situation!
Headlines this week refer to a 50 billion dollar fraud perpetrated by Bernard L. Madoff. We’ve all been deadened somewhat to the meaning of a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) because the numbers we’ve seen for bailouts, losses, etc., have been so staggeringly high.
I am left wondering whether those who once trusted their money to Hedge Funds (Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was not a hedge fund, but several Hedge Funds have unwittingly invested in his ponzi scheme) will have second thoughts, and start investing in traditional investments such as ETFs, individual stocks and mutual funds. And, if that is the wave of the future, how will that impact the markets generally?
Back in April, I had my own funcamental crisis of confidence in the markets, based on nothing more than, “What do I really get for being a shareholder, and is it worth the risk that when the music stops, I will be holding shares that nobody is interested in buying?” Sadly, the recent events do not inspire any confidence. If Hedge Funds can be so easily defrauded, an other sophisticated investors so easily taken, what chance does the average Joe have to avoid being fleeced by the markets and those who participate in them?
Sure, the conventional wisdom says to invest in a diversified portfolio to minimize this risk, and had that conventional wisdom been followed here, many people would not have lost their shirts, pants and shoes. But these days there do not seem to be any safe havens, and a diversified portfolio on seems to get you a large selection of stucks losing half their value overnight. Hardly a ringing endorsement for trusting my hard earned money to the markets, even to diversified markets.
With all of that said, I remain heavily invested in stocks. I believe that there are many bad apples such as Mr Madoff, but more importantly, that there are many more letigimate comapnies out there making a legitimate profit, and that these profits will translate into higher share prices. Sure, there will be losses. But eventually the gains will come roaring back, because they really have to. There is just too much money out there, looking for a place to invest — though if I had $60 million, I am fairly certain that I’d stop the investing roulette game and simply live off the interest paid by Treasuries and municipalities. However, the institutional investors who are managing our money for retirement, etc., MUST invest somewhere, and as a result, it is my hope that they will continue to pay more for my shares, than I paid someone else for buying them, and in that way turn a nice profit.
This is one diver’s perspective….
This past Friday, Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death by Wal-Mart Shoppers. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I am at a loss for words how people can be so careless, selfish and dangerous. I sincerely hope the video is able to identify those people who contributed to the death by consciously stepping on the man. I expect a lot of people did not even see him until it was too late. But, I am equally certain that there were people who simply kept on pushing and shoving knowing a man was down.
It is despicable that people could behave so badly. A man died, and a shopper essentially says, “So what. Don’t close the store because of one death, I’ve been waiting in line all night.” No human decency. Makes my stomach turn.