Thursday, September 30, 2004

Quote of the night, from Rudy Giuliani on the Daily Show, on Saddam Hussein:

"He himself was a weapon of mass destruction!"

Yeah, but only when he'd had too much falafel.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Obviously, there are going to be a lot of new voters this year, not to mention folks who have moved since the last time they voted, which may very well have been eight years ago, given the general level of excitement we had last time around. If you were in charge of elections, what would you do to make things go smoother? Probably something like this. Kudos to Wendy Noren, Boone County Clerk, for having her heart in the right place, and her brain right beside it.
Every once in a while, a post gets stuck in the queue, and nothing else gets through for a while. Had I been so inclined, I suppose I could have hunkered down and worked it out (What does a mathematician do when he get's constipated? he works it out with a pencil!), but this was do-or-die week to get the invitations out, and that took up all my spare cycles. But they're done, and should be going in the mail this afternoon, so back to the blog!

Unfortunately, there's still the matter of that stuck post. The problem, if you can call it that, is that I don't just want to tell you that I went camping with Billie, Theron, and Curtis last weekend, and that it was awesome. I want you to feel the buildup on the drive to the trailhead, the added tension that came from the sun's setting just as we were heading out, and the laughter over who brought too much, and who brought too little. I want to stretch out the words to form the strings of a hammock, and sharpen their points to poke more holes in the night sky than I've seen this side of the desert, with a dusting of the Milky Way girdling the world.

But since I can't throw my words at your feet to ball up like ankle-twisting scree, turn your walls to trees, or bring the Ozark wind into your cubicle, you'll just have to take me at my word when I tell you that it was a damn near perfect night, the kind of night that cuts into life like Michelangelo's chisels cut into granite, removing everything that isn't right.

If I could just find the words.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Christie's folks live just outside New Orleans, so it's a relief that they won't be coming home to a flooded, snake-infested crocodile habitat. They evacuated north and east, to stay with family in Oxford, Mississippi, home of Ole Miss. But a quick Google News search reassured me that Oxford hasn't let an impending hurricane effect their priorities: Ivan Hampers Game Day Security.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What it is about New York? It's dirty, crowded, and smells bad, like any other big city. And like any other big city, it's got art, culture, money, great food and shopping that you can't find anywhere else. Beautiful people walk the streets, and there's good coffee on every block. And you could easily go months without walking on grass or seeing the stars.

New York's just another city, but because so much of our art, literature, music and drama comes out of New York, it looms large in our internal landscape. If you can make it there, they say, you can make it anywhere. But if you can make it anywhere, why New York, where your eyes are drawn always upward, and there's always somebody higher, making more money, with a bigger apartment, better abs, cooler hat, or what have you, and "making it" just means a higher level of aspiration, with "good enough" alway just out of reach?

For a kid that dreams of being a writer, it's easier to dream of being a writer in New York than in any other place, and for a reader, to walk the streets of New York is to walk the streets of dreams dreamed over and over again in the pages of this or that paeon to the wonders of Living the New York Dream. This can create vertigo, as when I opened the window of my 8th floor hotel room to hear the city, after walking 5th Avenue in first-night-in-town boredom, then sprawled on the bed and turned on the TV to see Carrie sprawled out on her Sex in the City bed, writing her column while listening to the sounds of the city, and they cut to the girls walking down the same streets I just walked, and a circuit breaker in my head went "pop" from one too many layers of meta.

I was in my thirties before I ever made it to New York in person, having already been to Chicago, Boston, London, Tokyo and Seoul, and having lived for 15 years in towns so small you could walk across them in a day, so that I know it's just another city and I know I'll never live there, because the part of me that feels at home there isn't the man I want to be, and doesn't live the life I want to live, but still a part of me does feel at home there, and that little part can't help but wish that the rest of me didn't love the stars, the grass, and Missouri quite so much.

Friday, September 10, 2004

If you've heard the arguments that the CBS documents might have been forgeries, and you've found them persuasive (as I did at first), then this is very worth a read.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Christie and I are in the religion section of our local Barnes and Noble, looking for a particular translation of Song of Songs to use for a reading in our wedding, and Christie, looking over the plethora of books on every imaginable topic (i.e. "Christian Carwashing Made Easy"), sees an obvious business opportunity.

Her: We should design a Christian videogame. Maybe something based on The Passion.

Me: No, too passive. I think Old Testament would be the way to go. Lots of smiting. Like Samson vs. the Philistines. But there's a problem: no power-ups. The only weapon you could use is the jawbone of an ass.

Her: You could pick up hair extensions...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm marrying her.

Back in a few days.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Great post from Bob Harris over at This Modern World. It's a meditation on travel in the mideast, and the whole thing's worth reading, but here's the climax, for the ADD crowd:

"Someday there will be people speaking languages vaguely resembling our own but indecipherable if we could eavesdrop. Their maps will not be our maps. And they will look at our wars over half-forgotten gods the same way you and I look at the struggles between the tribes of Ur, very possibly while killing each other in the name of gods which do not yet exist.

"They will dig and puzzle and speak of the Oil Age and how its brevity stunned humankind toward the end.

"If we make good choices, perhaps they will remember us fondly for they way we handled the first truly global period in human history, and they will carry our wisdom forward to our children's far descendants.

"If we don't, they will more likely make small figurines of oxen and bury them in mud brick dwellings with their infant dead. With luck, maybe someday they'll develop bronze."
I thought I was off quizzes, but...
The Changeling
Category X - The Changeling
Witty, amusing and a bit weird, you're welcomed into most social groups, even though you don't 'fit in' perfectly.


What Type of Social Entity are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Now that's the way to start the day!
The first thing I see when I open my browser is a headline on Google News, "Spiceless Atkins diet 'bores you thinner'", followed by an email from one "Mr. Long", entitled "Wow! Look It The Size Of That Thing".

Must be Friday.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

On Travelling as a Boy Scout
One of Christie's jobs is to take the piss out of me when I start believing my own PR. Hence her regular giving me a hard time about overpacking. On the flipside, though, she's the first to sing a song of praise that I've thought ahead enough to bring a flashlight, compass, diarrhea medicine, Epipen, satellite uplink, portable toilet, or what have you. The name of this song is "What Fun It Is to Travel With a Boy Scout."

Feeling, as I do, the need to Be Prepared™, I tend to get stressed out when I'm getting ready to travel, particularly when I'm travelling by air, which means I can't have a milkcrate full of emergency supplies in the trunk, nor can I carry a pocketknife, unless I want to check my bag, and I don't like to check my bag, because, well, baggage check sucks.

So I freak out, my brain whirring and clicking over this and that worst case scenario, until I sit down on the plane and all the worries hiss out of my brain like air from a balloon. Then I start thinking about the next leg of the trip and will I get a taxi and what if I can't find the hotel or they screwed up my reservation and I'm left wandering the streets of Manhattan helpless, hopeless and friendless, until I talk myself down with a recitation of the places I've flown into armed with nothing but scrawled out directions and a dog-eared Lonely Planet guide. Sure, Manhattan's a foreign country to a Missouri boy like me, but it's got nothing on Kyoto. I mean, at least they speak English. Sort of.

But what's really freaking me out is that I'm going in for business, and the airport shuttle leaves so early on Tuesday that I won't be able to come in to the office beforehand. Meaning that I've got to be ready tomorrow, rather than three days ago, and this is for a project a few weeks from launch where we're still just starting to figure out what it is we don't know yet.

Some fun, ain't it?

Oh well. It's just travel, and it's just business, and it's just a couple of days. Ain't nothing worth losing sleep over.
Thanks, Patrick to remind me that Saletan's got a great article up on Slate. And he's got another one up today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Oh, this pisses me off. The party that claims a monopoly on "supporting our troops" is making light of Purple Hearts on their convention floor. How can anyone support these people? I just don't get it.