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A snowy morning

There's a light snow outside and the city is pretty much shutting down. Schools are closed. Everyone can sleep late, except for the emergency personnel, the snowplow drivers and the bloggers. Like my friend Angus I always pray for a blizzard, a real end-of-the-world storm, forcing us to revert to our true frontier selves, hunting and gathering, heating with wood and eventually burning the furniture. Angus is rather Cro-Magnon. I bet I see him on the street this morning wearing an animal skin, possibly buffalo.

I'm going to go for a monster hike, through the woods near the river, down along the old canal, and while contemplating the wonders of nature will keep an eye out for deer to kill for supper. I have no weapon but can take them with my teeth. I have huge hillbilly teeth that never received proper orthodonture. A swift bite to the animal's neck usually does it.

I need to check the wires to see if Larry Summers has apologized again. A day without a Larry Summers apology is like a breakfast without orange juice. Just doesn't seem right. Although I'm all in favor of free speech, you wonder why he thought he would be advancing the cause of women in science and math to suggest that they're too stupid to succeed. That's not the approach I take with my daughters. I tell them, "You can do anything a boy can do, except, in all probability, take out the trash."

Last year I reviewed for The Post a nifty book titled Count Down, by Steve Olson, that tells the story of young math geniuses engaged in an international math competition. Olson examines gender disparity in math performance, and is open to biological explanations, but the cultural explanations remain more compelling. Olson writes of a girl who finished ahead of hundreds of boys in the competition, defeating all but a handful. If girls aren't good in math, someone should tell this young woman that she can't possibly exist. It's hard to discern an innate male superiority in math when there's so much cultural contamination. The case for a biological advantage for males is scientifically weak. But it sounds as though Larry Summers isn't very good at science.

FYI, I'm still thinking about Hunter. My friend J.J. circulated an Atlantic interview with Thompson in 1997 in which he said he'd already lived the life he'd wanted to live. In fact he'd said that in the mid-1970s. Ever since, he said, his continued existence had been kind of "awkward." He said something to the effect of "What the &$%#* am I doing here?" It wasn't exactly what you'd call the classic suicidal ideation. A good writer knows when a sentence has run on too long, or when a story needs a trim. But I hate to see anyone try to romanticize his death in any way. Suicide is cruel to the survivors. It's all very sad for his family and friends and those of us in the category of fans. Life is so damn interesting, I can't stand the thought of anyone feeling so much despair that they don't want to see the rest of the show.

Or another snowy morning.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 24, 2005; 7:11 AM ET
 
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