Monday, January 31, 2005

State of the Union Drinking Game

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 4:40 PM

Not to condone such behavior of course, but sometimes a spoonful of alcohol helps the falsehoods go down. Why not have a few friends over and play the game?

While I've got you—and this might also drive you to drink—Mr. Pink points us to a disturbing trend among America's youth. Can anyone find a good reason not to trust the scary conclusions of this study?

Abyssinia, Henry

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 1:05 PM

Well, the Iraqi elections went off without a hitch (well, relatively speaking…these days “a few dozen casualties” and a couple suicide car bombs is a pretty good day in Iraq, although I’m glad I didn’t have to withstand similar circumstances at my Nashville polling location on Nov. 2), and we are now entering a monumental era of history. Or maybe we were already in one. I'm not really sure.

This is exciting and all, but I have an issue of much more pressing concern. Last night, I watched the final episode of M*A*S*H season three, in which Lt. Col. Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson) leaves the show. He is discharged from the army and sent home, but in a surprise ending, his plane is shot down over Japan and he never makes it back to his wife and kids. WHY?!? According to IMDB, this “twist” was kept from the cast until it was time to film to scene. Radar runs into the operating room to tell everyone what happened and then bursts into tears. The cast’s wrap-up party was cancelled because everyone was too sad to celebrate. McLean Stevenson drove straight home immediately after filming the scene. WHY? Why did he die? He could have left the show and just gone back to America to live with his family! I feel like I did the day I found my goldfish, Giggles, floating upside down in her bowl and when I showed my mom, she flushed it down the toilet. Where did Giggles go? Why did Henry Blake die? Life is unfair!

Also, they left Frank Buns in charge of the 4077. Great, now I’m going to have to run out and buy Season Four to see when Col. Potter will arrive and make things okay again.

Are You a Technosexual?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 7:21 AM

Defined as “a male with a strong aesthetic sense and a love of technology.” Not clear to me what makes the Y chromosome essential. A good excuse, in any case, to dial into Word Spy, a Web site “devoted to “lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases.”

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Blue Fingertips

Posted By on Sun, Jan 30, 2005 at 11:28 PM

As I've been watching the coverage of the Iraq elections, something's been bugging me about those inked fingertips, but I couldn't put my finger (sorry) on it for the longest time, then it hit me:

Why don't we do this? Voter fraud has been a problem here in the good ol' U.S. of A. for quite a while now. Would it hurt for us to get temporarily "stamped" in some way to prevent jokers from double- or even triple-voting?

One problem I see: Early voting...the ink won't last that long. Another problem: I doubt Americans will succeumb as easily to getting branded like cattle, even temporarily and even in a benign fashion.

Anyway, I think it's interesting that we've seemed to set up a voting system for Iraq with at least one safeguard that we don't even have.

Also, and in any case, I love the little jokes making the rounds about the voters giving the insurgents/terrorists the "finger". Yes, it's an obvious joke, but still apt.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Republicans and Gays Part 2

Posted By on Sat, Jan 29, 2005 at 9:32 AM

In an interview on Thursday, President Bush waffled on the Florida gay adoption ban, saying he doesn't "know this particular case" but asserting that "studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."

A Saturday New York Times article (registration required) reveals that Bush once again prefers improvisation to science:


Experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples do any worse - socially, academically or emotionally - than their peers raised in more traditional households. The experts, who cross the political spectrum, say studies have shown that on average, children raised by two married heterosexual parents fare better on a number of measures, including school performance, than those raised by single parents or by parents who are living together but are unmarried. But, said Dr. Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology at New York University, "there is not a single legitimate scholar out there who argues that growing up with gay parents is somehow bad for children."


The Times article goes on to discuss some of the genuine difficulties involved with research on this subject, but the bottom line does seem to be that doubts about gay adoption and parenting are grounded more in homorejectica than actual science. Those who like the Florida law -- Republicans? -- apparently prefer that children be wards of the state than adopted into stable households that happen to involve gay humans. (Roger, no doubt, will reply that not all Republicans like the Florida law, but can he identify some in positions of power who have publicly repudiated it for the nastiness that it is?)

Friday, January 28, 2005

friday evening fever

Posted By on Fri, Jan 28, 2005 at 5:15 PM

Whatever you do, don’t go to this blog. Don’t look at the photos of Trading Spaces’ Paige Davis baring her thong. Don’t read the conversation about Jesus and The Terminator. Don’t read the blogger’s story about his friendship with the late Johnny Carson. Just don’t.

I wouldn’t even know about it, if not for that Dewey Decimal diva the Saucy Librarian. (Rrrowl! I’d like to roam around in her stacks, if you know what I mean.) Speaking of whom, the Patrick Swayze mystique can be traced to exactly one source. Hint: it ain’t Steel Dawn.

Republicans and Gays Part I

Posted By on Fri, Jan 28, 2005 at 3:00 PM

This will be the first of (probably) numerous posts to be made from time to time on the issue of the Republican Party's touch-and-go relationship with what we will call, broadly, "the gay issue."

(What happened to that big post on TennCare you promised us?--ed. It's coming...er...someday.)

In his blog, Lance in Iraq, Lance Frizzell, staffer for the Tennessee House of Representatives Republican Caucus (presently on service leave in Iraq),

Continue reading »

Illusions

Posted By on Fri, Jan 28, 2005 at 7:08 AM

We are a newspaper's blog, so the intersection between journalism and blogging presumably matters here. This article recaps some of last week's "Blogging, Journalism and Credibility" conference at Harvard:


We in traditional media should have no illusions. Web publishers and bloggers are already stealing readers, advertisers and classifieds. Particularly for young people, journalism has become, in the words of NYU professor and PressThink.org blogger Jay Rosen, more of a conversation than a lecture.


UPDATE: A good piece by Slate's media critic Jack Shafer on the Harvard conference and blogging/journalism issues.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Self portrait

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2005 at 10:39 PM

Been reading Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One. Makes me want to drop the subjects from the beginnings of my sentences, like Bob does. Hoping that'll make me cool like Bob. Don't think it'll work.

Seriously, I just wanted to share my single favorite sentence in a book full of astonishing sentences. Dylan is in New Orleans in 1989 to record Oh Mercy with producer Daniel Lanois, and things are off to a rocky start. "He got so frustrated," Dylan writes of Lanois, "he flashed into a rage, swung around, flinging a metallic dobro like it was some kind of toy and smashed it to the floor with furious actions."

Furious actions. I had to drop the book and walk a few laps around my apartment when I read that, just letting it pinball around my head. I can only hope to write a sentence that good someday. Later, he describes Memphis production legend Jim Dickinson as having "manic purpose." Oh mercy, indeed.

roll 'em pete

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2005 at 4:56 PM

I got panicky when I couldn't find Pete Wilson's "Nashville Jumps" show last Tuesday on 91 Rock. Not to worry: the city's best radio show has a new time slot from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday mornings. If you're a latecomer, Pete plays jump blues, the rollicking predecessor to rock Ү' roll that flourished in the 1940s; his site includes a shorthand history of the form that's the best I've found online. All you really need to know, though, is that several times an hour you'll find yourself laughing at an outrageous lyric, listening to a band or vocalist whose power seems unearthly, and bobbing your head uncontrollably to some of the most pleasurable music ever recorded.

Try here for an idea of what to expect. My favorite is track 8.

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