Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 8:56 pm

Odds and ends for Aug. 12

Now where were we …?

There might be no more dangerous example of how corporate money corrupts politics than the case of the fossil-fuel industry giving money to candidates who are global-warming skeptics and/or opposed to increasing our renewable-energy supply.

Relatedly, today’s quote, from David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “Treme”:

You know, I wasn’t offended that the Supreme Court decided that a corporation is a person. We crossed that river a long time ago. What freaked me out was money being equated to speech. That f—-d me up. Speech is speech. Nothing will make people say more stupid shit than money. When money is actually transformed into actual words, the words are, by in large, quite stupid, self-serving and disastrous. So money is speech — that to me was an obscenity.

If you doubt there’s a war against women, well, here it is.

Wisconsin Gov. and presidential candidate Scott Walker not only hates women, he also hates free speech.

I said after last week’s Republican presidential debate that Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the only one out of the 17 who sounded both sane and competent to govern. I spoke too soon.

The Civil War was about slavery. But don’t take it from me. Take it from the head of West Point’s history department.

Aldona Wos finally has resigned as N.C. Secretary of Health and Human Services. It’s about damn time.

The N.C. Senate wants to take us into thermonuclear Koch budgeting mode, thus locking us into perpetual budget crises. Oh, goody. Also, they want to do it without any public hearings. Say it with me, kids: TABOR is the reason we can’t have nice things. Like, you know, roads and schools.

Relatedly, N.C. General Assemblyyou had one job: Pass a budget by July 1. But that was beyond you then, and apparently it’s still beyond you. Morons.

I don’t have a happy kicker with which to wrap up today, so y’all are dismissed. Go have a drink.

 

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Monday, July 28, 2014 5:51 pm

The shadow of the U.S. Constitution crosses our state line

Today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit’s jurisdiction includes not only Virginia but also from West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas.

Thus, as of today, North Carolina’s shameful Amendment One has a bulls-eye on its back. Judges in pending and future challenges to it now have guidance from the 4th Circuit. That guidance will make the bigots, the homophobes, and the sincerely misguided alike unhappy, but it is essential if my native state is to become its best self.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 6:57 pm

Oh. Hell. Yes., “Calvin and Hobbes” edition

A documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson,”  has been made about the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. C&H has to be among the top five comic strips ever drawn, and when Watterson quit, he, like Jim Brown and Barry Sanders in the NFL, went out prematurely and on top. Moreover, he never licensed his characters, meaning that the literally millions of Americans who would buy “Calvin & Hobbes” t-shirts, coffee mugs, whatever (and I’m one of them) never got to give Watterson their money.

Scheduled release date for “Dear Mr. Watterson,” theatrical and video-on-demand, is Nov. 15.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 6:03 am

Andy Duncan: Seventh time’s the charm

My friend and former co-worker Andy Duncan, about whom I’ve written a time or two, is what those of us who write for a living call a real writer. I mean, yeah, we’re good enough to put food on our tables with writing in some form or fashion, but we also stare at the work of Andy and writers like him, shake our heads, and mutter, “Daaaaaamn …” Writing is a craft, and a lot of people without any special gifts can become, like me, good, workmanlike writers. Lots of writing and rewriting for 30 years, with some decent editing along the way, can, indeed, allow you to wake up one day at the age of 50 and say to yourself, “Why, yes, I am a writer.” But as far as hard work can take you, you also need a gift to break the surly bonds of Earth and go out into space, where the stars and the nebulae lie.

Andy works as hard at his writing as anyone I know, and harder than most. So do I, for that matter. But Andy has the gift.

Andy’s fiction falls into the general area of sci-fi and fantasy, but much of it is as firmly rooted in the American South and its storytelling traditions as are the work of Faulkner or Agee or O’Connor. When he writes about a blues musician in Hell, Hell is the Mississippi Delta. When he writes a ghost story, it’s set in the Depression-era studios of WBT-AM in Charlotte, with painstaking details that match up with what that studio really was like then. And when an anthology editor got in touch with him once, wondering whether he might have a story on the shelf that involved someone having sex with a ghost, he reported, “I was both proud and ashamed to admit that I had three.”

Six times my friend has been nominated for a Nebula Award, the top prize given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for outstanding work. Six times he was the bridesmaid, not the bride. But 2012 was different: His story “Close Encounters” won the Nebula Award this past weekend for Best Novelette.* What kind of company does that put him in? Well, let’s just say you’ll recognize some of these names even if you’ve never read a sci-fi or fantasy work in your life (and although I’m generally not a fan of the genre, I freely admit that far too many people haven’t). I’ll let him explain the rest of it.

Congratulations, my friend. You are, now and forever, Nebula Award-winning writer Andy Duncan. You’re also a helluva great guy, although they don’t give out cool trophies with astronomical bodies embedded in them for that, more’s the pity.

*A novelette is between 7,500 and 17,499 words. A novella is between 17,500 and 39,999 words. Anything shorter than a novelette is a story. Anything longer than a novella is a novel. You’re welcome.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 8:57 pm

Letter to Scott Nolan, general manager, WDAV-FM, re: Lisa Simeone UPDATE: … and his reply

UPDATE 2: Please click on the link below and join me in thanking President Quillen for doing the right thing. If you’d also like to thank her for making Davidson look good in the process, that’s fine, but I won’t insist on it. ;-)

UPDATE: DAMN. I had no sooner hit “send” on that email and begun copying and pasting it into the blog here when Scott Nolan called me.

Long story short, I am delighted to report that he, the station and the college are doing all the right things here for all the right reasons. They’ve reviewed the terms of their contract with NPR to provide content — i.e., the opera show Simeone produces. They have concluded that the college is in compliance with every stipulation of that contract, and they’re going to ignore the national media and keep doing what they’re doing.

It is a good day to be a Wildcat.

(As you might expect, I bcc’ed a lot of people on that email. I’ll be letting them know about this conversation immediately.)

* * *

cc: Dr. Carol Quillen, president, Davidson College

Scott:

As a Davidson College alumnus and former employee of WDAV-FM during its critical early years as a high-powered broadcast outlet, I was more than a little dismayed to learn that NPR was “in conversations with WDAV about how they [sic] intend to handle” Lisa Simeone.

Here’s some free advice from someone with decades of experience in media and PR: You don’t. You listen politely to NPR, you then tell its representative to take a flying flip at a rolling doughnut and you let Ms. Simeone keep doing what she’s doing for WDAV without interruption or hassle. (If nothing else, I’m sure my late father, Class of ’52, founding member of the WDAV advisory board and a board member at Opera Carolina for about two decades, would appreciate it. He’d have loved her show, I think.)

There are so many things wrong about this situation that it’s difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, that’s exactly the kind of situation where I’ve eaten, professionally speaking, for the past 30 years.

First, if I understand the situation correctly (and I might not; I’ve seen conflicting reports in major media outlets), Lisa Simeone is a freelancer for WDAV and has no direct, formal relationship whatever with NPR anymore. That being the case, then absent any written agreement between the station and her with respect to how she will conduct herself off the air, the station simply has no jurisdiction — no moral, legal or ethical standing to tell her what she can and cannot say, what groups she can and cannot participate with, whom she can and cannot represent besides WDAV. If, going forward, the station finds it valuable to control that conduct, it is welcome to attempt to reach a contractual arrangement with her on that point and to attempt to compensate her accordingly. She, of course, is free to tell you to go to hell, and if you’re foolish enough to try to achieve that goal, then for reasons that have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with my having been a freelancer off and on for much of my career, I sincerely hope she does.

Second, although there are no true First Amendment issues here as no government agency is involved so far as I know, Davidson College and every college and university worth the name has a strong interest in defending freedom of expression, particularly unpopular expression. One of the unfortunate side effects of the evolution of the American economy from one based on manufacturing to one based on knowledge — and, therefore, frequently on relationships — is that otherwise rational people can and do sever perfectly productive professional relationships because overentitled jackasses get a bad case of butthurt over something someone said or wrote or blogged or tweeted about them. The academy, of all our institutions, ought to be the one that stands up and points out both the impracticality and the immorality of shutting down unpopular speech. If you have a problem with that, you’re welcome to seek employment in the for-profit sector. I hear it’s hiring. Oh, wait.

Third, moving from the general to the particular, what, exactly, is it of which Ms. Simeone stands accused? Depending on which news account you read, she’s guilty of being a “spokeswoman” or “organizer” for Occupy Wall Street — again, on her own time, separate and apart from her work for WDAV. Unfortunately, neither NPR nor anyone else has bothered to explain exactly what that even means, let alone why it’s a bad thing. Moreover, from everything I’ve read or heard about Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots (including first-hand accounts from my brother and sister-in-law in Raleigh, friends here in Greensboro, friends in New York and other participants), one of its defining characteristics is that anyone who wants to be can be an “organizer” or “spokesperson” for the movement. It’s a consensus movement, not a hierarchical one. While that might not bode well for its political effectiveness, it also makes defining moral and ethical transgressions on the part of any one participant problematic when we’re talking about an act of speech as opposed to, say, defecating on a police car. Put another way, the terms are meaningless. Two nights ago, as a joke, I created the Twitter hashtag #LWS — Liquidate Wall Street. (This was before Bloomberg Business News broke the story that Bank of America intends to try to stick taxpayers with a looming $53 TRILLION loss on its derivatives; in 24 hours, Liquidate Wall Street evolved with no effort on my part from joke to logical policy proposal, but that’s a different subject altogether.) Does my having created that hashtag make me an “organizer” or “spokesman” for the Liquidate Wall Street movement? If so, neither I nor the movement appear to be deriving much benefit.

Finally, I would point out something that I hope already has become obvious to you in your dealings with NPR: In matters relating to politics — a subject on which its news coverage purports to have some expertise — NPR cannot find its own ass with both hands and a flashlight. It has mishandled every major story of the past decade related to important political issues, from war crimes to the economy, health care to regulation. Probably not coincidentally, it has failed to recognize that it is facing ongoing, coordinated political attacks from one and only one side of the aisle that are bent on destroying it because they are bent on destroying accountability journalism entirely. I have been a registered Republican since 1978, but even I am not blind to this phenomenon, nor do I care for the likely national consequences if this effort succeeds. NPR is blind, willingly or otherwise, but you need not let your affiliation with the network blind you, too.

What you do, or choose not to do, is up to you. But you need to understand that your actions and those of the college in whose name you operate will be watched carefully and interpreted in the context of the values for which this country and Davidson College purport to stand.

Best,

Hooper “Lex” Alexander IV ’82
Greensboro, NC
www.lexalexander.net

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:07 am

Ashes to ashes

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 6:07 am
Tags: ,

My friends with Nawlins ties tell me they measure the success of a Mardi Gras in tons of garbage hauled the next day.

Today, I’m measuring mine in terms of the fact that I got in and I had a number of important people in my life with whom to share the news.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:58 pm

Even a blind pig …

Generally I despise Chris Matthews and think he has the IQ of the average refrigerator temperature, but on this one occasion he righteously slaps the bejesus out of Sal Russo, founder of the Tea Party Express, for trying to change the subject from the ahistorical lies told by his organization’s darling, Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Memo to American journalists: You want to keep your news organizations in business? MORE LIKE THIS:

Thursday, July 8, 2010 11:44 pm

Tasteless but heartfelt headline: Suck it, bigots

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 11:44 pm
Tags: , ,

Federal judge in Massachusetts rules the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bans gay marriage, unconstitutional because it denies members of same-sex couples federal benefits to which they’d be otherwise entitled.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The beauty of this ruling is that it illustrates the perils of what happens when government attempts to legislate marriage. Now, maybe, we can begin the overdue work of getting the government out of the marriage business.

This ruling is another chapter in the long and honorable story of federal courts telling the people of the United States, “What part of equal don’t you understand?”

Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:19 am

Eastern Inferno

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:19 am
Tags: ,

My search did not match any products. But soon it will.

I wrote last year about my brother Frank’s wife’s grandfather, who kept a journal as he fought in the Wehrmacht on the Soviet front during World War II (and, who, being a cartographer in additiont to a rifleman, included a number of hand-drawn maps).

Her brother has gotten the journal translated, and it’s an interesting coincidence that I’m able to tell you on the 65th anniversary of the Nazi surrender that the journal will be published in October as Eastern Inferno: The Journals of a German Panzerjäger [“tank-hunter,” soldier who uses anti-tank weapons] on the Eastern Front, 1941–43.

I hope the book becomes a resource for both amateur and professional historians of that campaign, which stood out even in a war unprecedented in its savagery.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:37 pm

Some GOOD news in the climate-change arena

Amazon deforestation is DOWN 51%:

Amazon deforestation dropped 51 percent from August 2009 to February 2010 when compared to the same period from 2008 to 2009, according to figures released this week by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Much of the progress is due to Brazil’s newly established Green Arch, Legal Land Program. See how the program is working and if it can be replicated in other parts of the world.

Ten months ago Brazil began implementing its Green Arch, Legal Land program and this year deforestation in the Amazon has dropped by 51 percent. According to INPE, of the 43 municipalities with the highest Amazon deforestation rates, 12 saw their rates decline more than 80 percent in the period between August 2008 and February 2009, and another 18 experienced rate drops between 54 percent and 80 percent. Only one municipality showed an increase at 34 percent. The goal of the program is to reduce deforestation by 80 percent by 2020. As Jaymi recently wrote, the decreases are also due to increased policing. The Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Carlos Minc claims that over the last year the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources “seized 62 boats, 237 trucks, and 44 tractors, and the federal police initiated 650 probes and arrested 298 people.”

In other words, lawyers, guns and money. Hey, whatever works.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:47 pm

Snaring geese, ganders and various other foul fowl (not to mention a fish in a barrel)

Filed under: I want my money back.,Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:47 pm

I remarked a little while back about the fact that the liberal group ACORN was losing its government contract on grounds of fraud, which it should, while Xe, nee Blackwater, was keeping its contract despite indiscriminate killing, which it shouldn’t.

That’s one problem. But it gets more interesting. Congress, as it is wont to do, overreacted in its legislation regarding cutting off ACORN. But, unlike most cases in which Congress overreacts, in this case, it may have overreacted to the benefit of the public:

Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately — but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Have I mentioned that I like Alan Grayson a lot? Why, yes. Yes, I have. And so far, at least, my faith continues to be rewarded.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who’s Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The language was written by the GOP and filed as a “motion to recommit” in the House, where it passed 345-75.

POGO is reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

The Florida freshman is asking for direct assistance. He has set up a Google spreadsheet where people can suggest contractors who have been charged with violations and include a link to a media or government report documenting the alleged transgression.

Folks, it’s an open-source partnership between government and the public to get swindlers off our payroll, open season on leeches on the body politic. Lock and load! This could be fun.

UPDATE: It’s fun already. Louisiana Democrats have created an online petition calling for Republican Sen. David “Diapers” Vitter to be “defunded” by Congress because of his past dalliance with prostitutes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009 1:13 pm

Sleeping Giant Awakes and other stories

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 1:13 pm
Tags:

Our friend Andy Duncan, a sci-fi/fantasy writer when he isn’t corrupting impressionable undergraduate minds, is, after a period of relative quiet, having something of an annus mirabilus this year:

Nick Gevers has given me the go-ahead to announce that PS Publishing plans to release my second collection, titled The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories, in 2011. …

In the meantine, PS also will be publishing my new novelette, The Night Cache, as a standalone volume this winter, the 2009 Christmas gift to Postscripts subscribers — though non-subscribers can buy copies as well. The Night Cache is squarely in that fine Christmas tradition of the supernatural lesbian geocacher codebreaker romance. …

Finally, the second edition of my 2005 non-fiction book Alabama Curiosities, which made me world-famous in Alabama, is newly published by Globe Pequot Press. It includes lots of material not in the first edition. …

“The Dragaman’s Bride” is being published this fall in the Ace anthology The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.

If you don’t know his work, you should go find some. This guy’s good.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:02 pm

The first one comes with the uniform. The rest you have to earn.

Filed under: Hooper,Woohoo! — Lex @ 11:02 pm

Unarmed and Increasingly Dangerous

Hooper accepts congratulations from his tae kwon do instructor, Milady Richter, after winning his yellow belt earlier tonight.

He’s learning from the best (here), and we feel very lucky to have her teaching his class. Hooper is embarrassed to admit it, but he adores her, having recently paid her his highest compliment: He asked me if she could come and babysit.

Friday, December 22, 2006 8:39 am

Oh, please, oh, please …

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:39 am

Medical researchers in Canada may have found a near-cure for juvenile diabetes involving the use of capsaicin — yeah, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot.

They’ve injected it into diabetic mice, whose pancreases immediately began producing insulin and, in some cases, continued to do so for months without other treatment.

Hot damn. Now that’s a Christmas present.

(If you’re not a regular reader, I should explain that I have a more than purely casual interest in this issue.)

(Hat tip to Phred for sending me looking for this item; I’d heard nothing about it.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:27 pm

Middle-class tax cut!

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 2:27 pm

Woohoo!

Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year’s budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.

The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.

This will be tough for anyone on either side of the aisle to vote against. That said, I’m not sure why all tax brackets aren’t already indexed for inflation. Seems like we had this conversation during the debate on the 1981 tax cuts, if not even longer ago than that.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:37 pm

Good news for a change

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:37 pm

New jobless claims fall to six-year low.

Not quite as good as job creation jumping to a six-year high, but right now we’ll take what we can get.

Monday, August 16, 2004 6:14 am

Yet another helpful use for lizard spit

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 6:14 am

Amylin Pharmaceuticals recently concluded the first of three clinical trials of a drug derived from the venomous saliva of the Gila monster that reduces high blood sugar and also can help patients lose weight — a promising new treatment for diabetes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:50 pm

How big is the Queen Mary 2?

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:50 pm

Krissa, on the way out of her old digs and into her new ones, gives you a picture and says (and boy howdy, how I’m paraphrasing) that it’s pretty darned big.

Thursday, April 22, 2004 8:51 pm

No candles, no ice cream, no cake, no booze. Just snark.

Filed under: Housekeeping,Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:51 pm

Blog on the Run turns 2 today.

Worship me, mortals.

Monday, April 5, 2004 9:07 pm

‘Bout damn time

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:07 pm

My man Tony finally has started a blog.

Friday, April 2, 2004 9:27 pm

New jobs — and lots of them

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:27 pm

Wow. About 308,000 jobs created in March, almost twice what most experts were predicting.

One month does not a recovery make, manufacturing gained net zero new jobs, and we’re still in the hole about 1.7 million jobs since the start of 2001. And remember, we need to gain about 150,000 to 180,000 jobs a month just to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

But still. This is very good news, and the first news about job creation this good in, well, years. I hope it lasts.

Thursday, March 4, 2004 5:47 pm

My next coffeepot …

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 5:47 pm

… is not going to need an electric plug.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004 12:35 pm

Dooce is a new mom …

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 12:35 pm

” … and I am full of wisdom!”

The only way to describe [breastfeeding] to a man is to suggest that he lay out his naked penis on a chopping block, place a manual stapler on the sacred helmet head, and bang in a couple hundred staples. The first two staples REALLY hurt, but after that it just becomes kinda numb, and by the 88th staple you’re like, AREN’T YOU FULL YET?? But then the comparison really fails because a man doesn’t have two penises, and after stapling the first boob the baby moves on to the other boob and the happy stapling begins ALL OVER AGAIN.

Two words: Ow. Ch.

Monday, February 2, 2004 6:38 pm

Here it comes

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 6:38 pm

Dooce‘s baby is on the way. As do many women in labor, she indulges in a bit of blue language, but the the photo in this post is priceless.

Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:23 pm

Atkins nirvana

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 10:23 pm

Frito-Lay is introducing low-carb Doritos!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 9:10 pm

Polite company

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 9:10 pm

“Sweetie, know what we’re gonna do tomorrow night?”

“No, Mommy — what?”

“We’re gonna carve pumpkins!”

“YAY! And scoop out the — ”

“P-p-p-p-”

“I can’t remember.”

“The pulp.”

“Yeah, the pulp.”

“Good night, sweetie.”

“Good night, Mommy.”

(door closes)

“Hey, sweetie?”

“Yeah, Daddy?”

“You know what another word for pulp is?”

“No.”

“Pumpkin guts!”

(giggles) “Pumpkin guts?”

“Yup, pumpkin guts. Now, that’s not the kind of thing you want to say around other grownups or polite people. Around them you want to call it ‘pulp.'”

“OK.”

“But if it’s just you and me, you can call it pumpkin guts if you want.”

“OK, Daddy.”

“Goodnight, sweetie. I love you.”

“Goodnight, Daddy Pumpkin-Guts.”

Thursday, September 4, 2003 8:31 pm

A baby Beau

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:31 pm

Muchos congratulations to my erstwhile colleagues Beau and Jennifer, who welcomed Brendan into the world at 3:55 a.m. Wednesday. Brendan was three weeks early but still measuring a healthy 7 lbs., 12 oz. and what Beau calls a “somewhat scary” 20 inches.

Way to go, guys!

Thursday, July 10, 2003 8:54 pm

Welcome to the big time

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:54 pm

There’s a great scene in the movie “Patton” in which British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery’s forces are racing U.S. Gen. George Patton’s forces to the Sicilian town of Palermo. Montgomery’s forces, believing they’ve gotten there first, parade through the streets as liberators, with music playing, flags and flowers waving, people cheering, etc., right up until they arrive at the town square — where they meet a bunch of American tanks from Patton’s forces who, unquestionably, got there first.

Hesiod isn’t Montgomery, of course, and no one will ever mistake me for Patton, either. But Hesiod appears to spend so much time blogging that it’s a bit surprising, when we agree at all (he’s rather more liberal than I), to find that I’ve gotten to an issue ahead of him. In this case, it’s the distinction between marriage and civil unions, which became more newsworthy in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning state bans on sodomy.

Given the traffic he draws — I’m betting his is one of the top four or five blogs in the liberal blogosphere in that regard — I’m delighted to be in the same company.

Monday, June 23, 2003 10:23 pm

God did too make little green apples …

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 10:23 pm

… and they’re growing on the beleaguered apple tree just to the right side of my driveway. I picked the two the Volvo keeps bonking on its way in and out, and we’ll just see how they taste.

I’m thrilled about this because last year a pest kept the tree from bearing any fruit. The year before, the kids next door (since moved) picked ’em all before I got any.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003 12:41 pm

An idea whose time has come

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 12:41 pm

Singapore is instituting a five-star system for rating public toilets.

As someone who not only has to go to public toilets from time to time but also has to take toddlers of both sexes into them, I am way in favor of this.

Would I refuse to go in a 1-star bathroom? Of course not, if it were the only facility available. But perhaps the existence of such a system will subtly pressure some places that don’t pay a whole lot of attention to restroom sanitation to clean up their, uh, acts.

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