Oh, how I love checking the news and finding a juicy headline so fresh that an hour hasn’t even elapsed since it first hit the Intertubes. I especially love it when I start with the first source I find and click through to their primary source only to find that it is a dead end with nary a reliable citation or identified source relevant to the substance.
Autumn lends itself to metaphors of change because it plays itself out so brilliantly. Here in northwestern Pennsylvania, for instance, the hillsides boil with color. The change metaphor seems so common for this time of year—although it holds true for any season—but I could never reduce autumn to a cliché.
My season of leavings continues, and that’s what makes autumn’s change so apparent this year. Here I sit on the cusp of October, at the height of autumn’s splendor, yet all I can hear through the cacophony of color are the quietly creaking branches of bare trees in late November, glazed by a freezing rain that heralds the onset of winter. The thought leaves me forlorn. Continue reading →
Let’s face it — Mitt Romney is so repulsive on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin.
But since you have to begin somewhere, how about the 47% speech, taken in conjunction with Romney’s not bothering to mention the military (aside from Obama’s “defence cuts,” which are as real as his “Medicare cuts”) in his nomination speech. And look, everyone’s favorite surly senator, Jim Webb from Virginia, a military guy through and through, has noticed that Romney seems a bit indifferent to what is owed to veterans, and made a killer speech about it.
If you get the impression that Webb doesn’t seem to like Romney very much, that’s the point.
I eat a cherry pop-tart and try not to get crumbs on yesterday’s New York Times. My girlfriend gives me her copies because she says it’s good for me to know more about the world since I don’t watch TV. I’ve never been a reader so I’m happy when the phone rings, but it’s my brother. His voice is choked and staccato like he’s been crying.
He says, God told me you were going to die.
God told you I was going to die? I say.
Sometimes I have to repeat things to my brother to make sure I understand him. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia ten years ago when he was twenty.
You’re going to die, he says. You’re going to die.
Everyone dies eventually, I say, but my heart beats a little faster. My brother hears voices all the time, even God, but those voice usually don’t say anything about me or make him cry.
I’ve been thinking about Completeness of the Soul: The Life and Opinions of Jay Breeze, Rock Star, the third novel from my friend and fellow scrogue Jim Booth. I finished reading it a few days ago, but for me it’s been a slightly disjointed experience because I’ve seen most of it in its pieces before: chapters like “Fins” and “The Balcony Scene” have been previously published as standalone short stories and there are sections (the “Rock Star Handbook”) that Jim originally developed as an offering for an SMS entertainment company in which I was a partner. So I’ve been familiar for years with the component elements, but this was my first encounter with the unified book in context.
After several days of reflection, I find myself musing on things that many readers and reviewers might not have twigged on. Continue reading →
You simply do not invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a pure evil crackpot Holocaust denier who wants to see Israel obliterated from planet Earth, to the United Nations on Yom Kippur, a Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Oh, the ironies abound here.
First would be Hamill’s apparent failure to understand the observance of Yom Kippur, for instance, as described at chabad.com as part of the observance the day before: Continue reading →
In an attempt to quell growing fan unrest over the job being done by its replacement officials, the NFL today announced a new promotion it expects to increase public engagement with the national pastime. Commissioner Roger Goodell says the YOU MAKE THE CALL! contest will randomly select nine lucky fans to officiate Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
The contest hearkens back to the old You Make the Call series, where the TV audience was presented with an actual game situation and asked to decide the correct call. Continue reading →
I ordered something from an online retailer last week and in checkout I selected the 3-7 day delivery option. As a public service, I thought I’d take a few moments of the time I’m spending sitting by the mailbox to deconstruct some shipping terminology for you.
Here’s the term: Guaranteed delivery in 3-7 business days. Seems straightforward enough. But what does it mean specifically?
If the conservatives were willing to take off their rose-tinted (and probably opaque) glasses and actually accept bad news, they would admit that the polls just aren’t in their favor. But rather than changing the data, they would serve the voters that elected them and do something to boost their polling numbers organically. And rather than pointing fingers and doing voodoo math, they would take action and do something to be approved of and praised for.
A team of researchers at University College London made a fascinating discovery regarding how we as humans retain news: that we remember good news, and we disregard bad news. By using magnets to stimulate the brain differently, they gradually got test subjects to incorporate more bad news into their recall and slowly got their subjects’ optimism to wane. Continue reading →
The clean-shaven man entered the church after the sermon had already begun. He took a seat next to an elderly woman in pink tweed, clutching her own underlined Bible with one hand while fingering her wooden rosary with the other. She looked over at the man with contempt as he sat down. He gave the sign of the cross and winked at her.
The deacon’s voice echoed through the half-filled church.
“I reminded my son of this as he headed to his soccer game. I told him, don’t you forget why you’re here on this earth.” The clean-shaven man put his head down in his hands, his thoughts pushing the deacon’s sermon back out into the holy air around him.
God, I know you may not recognize my voice, it’s been a long time. I haven’t been to confession since my confirmation, probably. I know that’s a sin. It’s probably a sin that I’m not listening to the deacon either. What’s his name? Thomas? Luke? Henry? Whatever. I’m sorry for not listening to what’s-his-name up there. Continue reading →
Suppose New Yorkers decided to retaliate and storm all their diplomatic outposts, killing ambassadors and other innocents because we were outraged by an Islamist film that we found offensive? … And, believe me, we have lots more than one dopey fictional film to be offended by. Continue reading →
We Democrats aren’t very good at this campaigning stuff. But we don’t need to be. Because we don’t have Fox on our side.
The conservatives are a frustrated lot. They are frustrated that a Negro is president. They are frustrated that no matter what they write in their homeschool textbooks, it’s getting warmer and everybody knows it. They are frustrated that economics (and arithmetic for that matter) don’t work the way they think it should. They are frustrated that admitted homosexuals get to sleep with members of the same sex openly and they have to sneak out to toilets in the Minneapolis airports. And, did I mention the thing about the black guy in the White House? Continue reading →
Looking back on his life, Michael could see the mistakes that led him to the street, but knowing them did nothing to change his fate. The world was a hard, cold place, nothing but concrete and glass. Living things struggled for space to breathe, to stretch their arms toward each other, to feel that connection of emotions changing places like osmosis before the starvation withered their limbs. The lucky ones worked their way under its surface, like water freezing in the cracks of a sidewalk to let the weeds through, but the majority were just rain drops pelted against the rock, to be recycled by the sun, whether they lived in houses or not. His hands were numb, despite the fingerless gloves he wore, and the breath he repeatedly blew into his cupped fists. He couldn’t remember the last time he had showered. His beard was a tangled mass of grays and browns, a thicket of coarse hair where bits of dust and grime clung. The strands of his mustache tickled the corners of his mouth and his upper lip. His face was a wildfire of itching dryness, bleached by the cold. In spite all this, he found himself at peace.
When voters elect members of Congress, they are hiring them to do a job. Voters, through their taxes, compensate those politicians well — $174,000 a year, and more if they have committee or leadership roles.
Many, if not most, voters — unless they are among the 12.5 million without jobs — work about 35 hours a week for a median income of about $32,000. They get perhaps two weeks of paid vacation each year. But a member of the House of Representatives this year was scheduled to show up for only 89 days from January to November. He (and it’s generally “he,” not “she“) is taking off a week in February, another in April, still another in May, and — get this — the whole of August and the first week of September. “It’s too hot in the city in August,” he tells you, then takes off for week-long conventions in the hot, humid Deep South before working only eight days in September. That’s 89 days out of the 172 days voters will be at work (minus a few paid holidays) before Nov. 6. Continue reading →
A prominent disarmament and nonproliferation advocate gives his surprise endorsement to an attack on Iran.
On Wednesday (Sept. 19) I posted about how disappointing award-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest’s recent nuclear-modernization series (parts 1 and 2) was. I had thought she was poised to investigate the need for it, as well as for nuclear weapons themselves. After all, that’s what she had done in the past with the U.S. intelligence and classified activity system, as well as CIA detention sites overseas. Continue reading →
I wake up on an average Sunday in Kigali and go for a journey through town. It is an ordinary day to most, but everything seems new and exciting to my two-week-old Rwanda eyes.
I exit my front gate and begin the bumpy hike up my dirt road to town. It’s a short, five-minute walk, but also a steep one. I pant the entire time.
On the way, I pass a church. The doors are open, and vibrant sounds of rejoice echo into the streets. The passionate singing, bright dancing dresses and unreserved clapping makes me smile through the exhausting climb.
Everyone stares as I pass. They do not threaten, nor am I scared. They just wonder about this white woman walking through their African neighborhood. Continue reading →
There’s no nice way to say this, so just let me say it plainly: We live in a criminal culture. This culture rewards bad behavior well; it rewards worse behavior even better. It is a culture where image creation means more than talent, where manipulation means more than hard work, and where self-obsessed self-aggrandizing at any cost is the only game that anyone with “smarts” (read total lack of ethical standards) believes matters.
There are still some, including many of the writers who post their sometimes thoughtful, sometimes provocative musings here, who still believe that we still have a culture worth saving. A few (I’m looking at you, Bonesparkle) realize the sad truth, however; once a culture adopts a model that follows the following tenet nearly exclusively, it’s asking to be doomed:
Last week I got booted from my suicide pool when New England lost. To Arizona. AT HOME. On a missed layup at the final gun. Today I got booted from my new reboot suicide pool – in its first week – when the NFC’s newest ass-whipping runaway juggernaut, the San Francisco 49ers, got waxed by – get this – the Vikings.
Many years ago I read a very funny article about what the writer termed “Zurich games.” Continue reading →