January 2014

After making merry for a while on the Eve, I left the dance floor to the youngsters and permitted the old year to go out, and the new one to sneak in, as I peacefully snoozed in Big Sur, at Esalen, where (when awake) I was co-teaching a New Year’s retreat with Chandra Easton and Scott Blossom and their many talented assistants:







From Big Sur to Seattle, for the wedding of Brittany and Abigail, the visiting of friends, multiple lunches at Araya’s (which has shifted its location yet again and now has a wet bar), and a dress rehearsal of Rigoletto. Then off to Costa Rica, and its “winter” (which is nothing like the winter depicted here:


Looking backwards for a moment, we find that the most popular word of 2013 (according to the annual survey carried out by Global Language Monitor) was ‘404’, “the near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet”.

To balance out 404, take a look how many of the (super-successful) hyper-rich have committed to donate 50% or more of their fortunes to worthy causes:


As is my wont, I collect all my print copies of Discover and The Sun, that I may read them in peace one after the other. Articles that I discovered in January that seemed worthy of note:








Re this last, for an example of why a defense of “free will” is needed, go to:


then scroll down to read the 2nd review on the page, by Michael Huggins, for a humorous riposte …

And for a reminder of why infinity is fully as mysterious as zero, given that the sum of all positive integers beginning with 1 up to infinity = a mere -1/12, take a look at:


And, Discover’s Favorite Science Image of the Year award for 2013 goes to: Saturn as seen from above(!):


Back on earth, my sister made it down to CR again in late January, 12 ½ years after she & I & our mother had visited, so she & I decided to revisit two of the locations we had visited back then with the madre: Manuel Antonio and Arenal.

Our findings: While the beach at Manuel Antonio is still lovely, and the national park still natural, the surrounding area has been transformed from the sleepy backwater we found in late September 2001 into a veritable tourist scene. We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless, staying where we stayed back then, in the Hotel Karahe [www.karahe.com], and taking a tour of the park, in the care of guide Eduardo Guadamuz, whom we can enthusiastically recommend []. One night at the Karahe we met Arthur Holbrook, a retired film producer, e.g.:


Then, after a day on the road, we reached La Fortuna, and the Hotel Silencio del Campo, where I had lodged once before, six or seven years back. In 2001 the three of us had stayed at the Tabacon Resort, which is now prohibitively expensive (save for those who have signed the Giving Pledge); but the well-appointed rooms, excellent food and service, and three hot pools on site at the Silencio del Campo provided a more than adequate alternative:

The next day we enjoyed ziplining, at Ecoglide


then over a delicious pizza at Que Rico Arenal


we met a family from New Jersey who told us about the Benedictus restaurant, very nearby, that grows on its own property pretty much everything that it serves (phone +506 2479 1912). Maybe next time.

On the morrow, the first day of the new month, a drive back to the airport to drop off my sibling, with a stop for delicious falafel and cappucino at Lands in Love [www.landsinlove.com], said to offer the best river rafting in the neighborhood. Maybe next time!