A friend who rarely visits the blog did so yesterday to see what my take was on the Minnesota disaster since we both used to live there. She commented that my posting these days seems angry, almost to the point of tinfoil hattery.

Fair enough. I guess when it comes to politics, I am a bit on the angry side. The last six years have been a revelation. I wish I could be like a Democrat and just be happy that the man in the White House has my favorite letter after his name, no matter what policies he engages in. But I just can’t.

It’s a simple fact that I, like most conservative libertarians, am a man without a party. The two parties are fighting over whether we will have big government or really big government. I give you the SCHIP Helen Lovejoy program expansion.

But I’m not an angry person. Most people who know me and talk to me on a daily basis would probably describe me as easy-going. The reason is that politics, while a large part of my blogging, is a very tiny part of my life. So for Friday, I’ll go through seven things that occupy lots of my time about which I am not angry at all.

  • Abby the Babby Two months ago, I became a dad. I don’t talk about her much here since she has her own blog. But she’s a fantastic baby – well-behaved and smart. At two months, she’s smiling at us, giggling in her sleep and becoming a little chatterbox. No matter what goes on, she keeps me sane.
  • Sports OK, steroid scandals. Yeah, bribed refs. OK, Mike Vick. But I still love it. My beloved Braves are looking better than they have in years and we’re in the midst of a dynamite baseball season. Baseball especially appeals to my penchant for numbers so I’m always a happy pig when it’s in season and Baseball Prospectus is uploading five or six articles a day.

    And football, college and pro, is just a month away, which means Sue will become a football widow on weekends (as well as baseball playoff widow on weekdays). I can’t wait

  • My Job My job situation is a bit precarious since I only have funding through February. But my enthusiasm for astronomy is stronger than it has been in years. I’ve gotten a number of good papers published in the last year and been part of some great collaborations. The reason I’m fighting to stay in — even though I could make a lot more money on the outside – is because I like my work. I like where I work and who I work with. And I intend to keep doing it as long as the money holds out.
  • Books I read about as voraciously as someone with a full time job and a video game addiction can. In the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of reading The Wisdom of Crowds, Harry Potter 7, Blue at the Mizzen, Seeing in the Dark, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Bluebeard, Team of Rivals and Imposter.
  • Movies Ah, netflix. Even when there’s a bad year at the movies, I can dig up the classics I haven’t seen. Last year was better than 2005 and I still think this year will be better than 2006. At least once a month, I see a movie that I love. And I’ve got a vast library of DVDs to fall back on.
  • Writing. Babbies, work and other things have minimized my fiction writing lately. But the stories are still alive. And I write content – often anonymously – for a lot of non-political websites.
  • The Future As much as cynicism pervades my view of politics, I am extremely optimistic about the future. When Abby was born, I recorded a video message for her to watch on her 18th birthday. One of things I told her was that we live in a great time and place and not to let, in Limbaugh’s words, the nattering nabobs of negativity get her down.

    We often don’t see this. Progress is invisible; problems looms large. We always see the present through blood-colored glasses. But just to focus on one issue, look at the environment. Yes, global warming is a concern. But when I was born, you couldn’t breath the air of LA, Lake Erie was dead, acid rain was growing and cars and industry were spewing filth. Today, lead is banned, rivers are cleaner, Lake Erie is palatable, the population bomb failed to explode, food is so plentiful obesity is becoming a global problem, cars run clean, trees are more numerous in America than in recorded history, acid rain has declined.

    Global warming is just about the only environmental concern left. Well, there are worries about overfishing and rain forests. But a lot of these are overblown or will be handled.

    I have immense faith in humanity. I know that we will solve the problems that are presented to us and move forward. Obstructive, interfering, ideology-addled government can only slow things down. Human progress is a force far too powerful for the idiots to hold back. Even if our civilization were to collapse, we would pick up the pieces and be back on our feet in a scant few centuries.

    I know that humans will ony day stretch out to the stars (notice, I didn’t say Americans), that AIDS will be cured, disease conquered, poverty eradicated. We’ve already come so far – the lifestyle we enjoy is something that could not have been imagined 100 years ago. And a hundred years from now people will forget about the problems we solved and get bent out of shape because nuclear fusion is making all our voices squeak and those aliens from Alpha Centauri are taking our jobs.

  • So there it is, my Friday dose of optimism. Tomorrow I’ll be back to my comfortable curmudgeonly ways.

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