Sunday, August 21, 2011

Waiting for Joe (and Pedestrianism)

Been a busy week here in UB. Joe Biden - VPOTUS, doncha know - is visiting tomorrow, so Allyson has been working nonstop. And I've started my new job as the English-language editor at the website news.mn. Oh, and I sold my next book. It will be about pedestrianism, the great competitive-walking craze of the nineteenth century. Did you know that pedestrianism was once the most popular spectator sport in the English-speaking world? You will after you read Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was the World’s Most Popular Pastime. Of course, that won't be until 2013 or so. (Pictured above is Edward Weston, photographed circa 1909. Weston was one of America’s most famous pedestrians. In 1861, he walked from Boston to Washington in ten days. Six years later, Weston collected a $10,000 prize by walking from Portland, Maine to Chicago in 26 days.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Corporations and People

"Corporations are people, my friend." -Mitt Romney, 2011

"Corporations, which should be carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters." -Grover Cleveland, 1888

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Brother can you spare 123 tughrik?

Mongolian currency has no coins, only bills. This can lead to a deceptively thick wallet. (I bet Mongolian men have a higher rate of back problems because their wallets are so fat.) For example, the photo above depicts 1,065 tughrik on the left, and its equivalent in U.S. currency on the right: 87 cents. (The current exchange rate is 1,229 tughrik = 1 dollar.) Mongolian bills come in eleven denominations: 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 (though I've never seen a 1 tughrik note, which is worth about 1/12 of one cent). The hard part is, every note above 100 is the same size and features the same portrait (of Chinggis Khaan, naturally), so they are notoriously difficult to tell apart. Each denomination is a slightly different color, but with especially worn bills it's hard to tell.

Speaking of money, I have found a job! I will be working as an editor for the English version of the Mongolian news website news.mn. It's only part-time, but I will be working mainly with Mongolians, which should help me pick up the language more quickly. And, I don't mean to brag, but my weekly salary will be well into the six figures!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

It's "officially" a best seller!

I guess I am officially a "best-selling author" now: The President Is a Sick Man is No. 10 on this week's Maine Sunday Telegram best-sellers list! Click here to see the list.