Monday, December 21, 2009

Breaking the silence

Yes, I am still here, and this blog is still active, although I realize that "active" is a relative term. I haven't generated a lot of new material lately.

As I have noted in previous posts, my current focus is on some ongoing, unresolved changes in my personal life. I've also had some pressing issues in my professional life (unfortunately, a RFP that I spent many long hours working on did not result in my company's landing the project). I've furthermore been busy with some travel (to Florida in mid-November and to North Carolina in early December; I'll have pictures and recaps of both up shortly) as well as the standard holiday rush (although I am pleased to announce that I am done Christmas shopping). Lori and I are also currently dealing with an unfortunate and distressing situation regarding Kirby's education that will probably require us to find yet another school for him in the near future. All this means that posting on this blog has been sparse over the past few months and will likely continue to be so well into 2010.

Unfortunately, I haven't had time to write about the last few games of the UH Cougar football season (the Coogs ended the regular season with a 10-2 record and the Conference USA West division championship but unfortunately lost the conference's title game to East Carolina). However, I will provide a full season recap after the Cougars complete their bowl game, a rematch of last year's Armed Forces Bowl showdown against Air Force.

I also haven't had time to add my thoughts about the latest trouble in Dubai. Last month's announcement that the Emirate was attempting to restructure the mountain of debt under which it was struggling sent a brief wave of panic through world financial markets and, predictably, generated another flurry of Dubai-bashing articles from the Western press. A Times of London report on the latest crisis featured a cartoon of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum drowning in a sea of debt; this apparently offended Emiriati authorities such that the paper was banned from distribution in the UAE. British journalist Johann Hari, whose hatred of the Emirate seems to know no limits, meanwhile took the opportunity to describe Dubai as "morally bankrupt" and a "sinister mirage in the desert."

Bashing aside, I think that British academic Christopher Davidson and Harvard economist Edward Glaeser have the best takes on what is going on over there right now. In sum: Dubai is currently facing some serious problems, and there are likely going to be changes in the way business is done there, but rumors of the city-state's impending death are grossly exaggerated. On a personal note I think it is going to be a long time, if ever, before I make any more business trips there.

Anyway, I have a backlog of posts that I want to clear over the next few weeks. Shortly after the new year begins, however, this blog will probably go silent again for awhile, at least until things in my personal life are resolved. Afterwards all will be revealed and I'll hopefully get back to the business of writing on a regular, or at least semi-regular, basis.

In the meantime, I've tweaked some of the links in my blogroll, adding new sites I enjoy reading and removing a bunch of old sites which are either dead or which I no longer bother to read. I've also added word verification for comments. This is a step I really didn't want to take, but the increasing amount of comment spam I have been receiving (most of it Japanese porn spam; go figure) has forced me to turn on this option. I apologize for any inconvenience.

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