Sunday, October 26, 2008

Palintology Blog

Out of it…
So my mother had her hip replaced earlier this summer. Since she is 82, this led to complications, including being sequestered at the recovery unit of her retirement village.

It took her a while to get back up on her feet again, leading to frustration and despair on her part, most of it stemming from her environment.

--Her roommate, a vague old woman, wears a colostomy bag. In the middle of the night, she would forget she was wearing it, and try to get out of bed, leading to alarming odors, and a swat team of nurses descending upon the room at three o’clock in the morning. Mother did not like this.

--Another old woman, in a wheelchair, and definitely out of it, was given to shouting in a hoarse voice, “God help me! Help me!” This would occur at any hour of day or night. Mother did not like this.

--Another old woman, under the delusion that she was on some kind of committee, would corner my mother when she was trying to walk up and down the hall, and urge her to participate more: “I can’t do it all myself!” Mother did not like this. She wound up hobbling into her room, and closing the door when she saw this woman coming. I was present when this woman, wheelchair bound, tried to make a break for it through the emergency exit. She wound up setting the alarm off, and a swat team of nurses wrestled her into submission, figuratively.

--On the day she got out of surgery, she got word that her sister died, her last of three, a week or so short of her 90th birthday.

--My father, bless his heart, at one point drove his electric scooter into the glass door that separates the recovery unit from the rest of the facility, shattering the glass. This caused him to hide in the cottage for two days, like an eight year old afraid to be caught after breaking a window with a baseball. My mother, having not seen him for a day or so, freaked out. But then my Dad forgot about the whole thing, and returned. One of the hidden blessings of dementia, I guess.

My sister tried to convince me that because Mother was depressed, she should be put on anti-depressants. My feeling was, “Of course she’s depressed! She’s just had major surgery, her husband is non compos, she’s surrounded by sick and dying old people, and the economy just went into the toilet.”

Anyway, she’s back in the cottage. I got her a scooter. She’s walking around pretty well, and she and Dad are on the waiting list to get into the assisted living unit. We played pinochle, always a positive family health indicator.

“I don’t know about that,” Dad told me. “Next stop: funeral.”

My mother said, “Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.” Her favorite poem, by the way, is The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam. She describes herself as a fatalist. No, duh!

So, anyway, trauma at bay for now, back to the blog!

Palin News
Some friends of Sarah Palin, asked if there was something they knew about her that the world does not:
"She doesn't care for cats very much.”
"Oh, yes, she's afraid of my cat."

Palin News2
Wasilla was recently named the meth capital of Alaska.

Palin News 3
From Alternet: “…Sarah Palin has a new and unexpected problem -- the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Palin and her family in just seven weeks. The figure includes more than $75,000 at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, and nearly $5,000 on hair and makeup. The funds were not just directed at the governor -- about $5,000 was also spent at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.”

I don’t know how much of this to believe, but there hasn’t been much denial, now has there?

Well, some: According to the Associated Press: “John McCain says a third of the money spent on Sarah Palin's clothing and accessories has already been given back. He told NBC's 'Meet the Press’ that ’the rest will be donated to charity.’”

Further on, however, the same article claimed: “A McCain strategist says the third of the $150,000 that was returned included items that were the wrong size.” What? $150,000 can’t pay for a tape measure? And: “Palin's campaign spokeswoman, Tracey Schmitt, says,…’Many of the remaining clothes have never been worn.’ She adds that Palin generally wears her own outfits on the campaign trail.” So what was the point of all this, rather than generate negative publicity for Sarah Palin?

AP again: “Sarah Palin is blaming gender bias for the controversy over $150,000 worth of designer clothes, hairstyling and accessories the Republican Party provided for her, a newspaper reported Thursday.

‘I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race,’ Palin said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday night. ‘Do you remember the conversations that took place about her, say superficial things that they don't talk about with men, her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that? That's a bit of that double standard.’”

Moreover: “Most of the clothes have never left the campaign plane, she told the newspaper.”

Again, point? Why have a $150,000 worth of stuff stuck on a campaign plane?

Oh, the Chicago Tribune claims that the Salvation Army will gladly take any clothing donations from the McCain/Palin campaign.

Christopher Buckley and Christopher Hitchens have both endorsed Obama.

Buckley Fallout
Christopher Buckley endorsed Obama in the pages of Tina Brown's new Huffington Post-y thing, The Daily Beast. Apparently, he received an avalanche of e-mail in response: “7-to-1 in favor,” he wrote. However, he also has a column in the National Review, which his father founded. Even though his endorsement did not appear in those pages, he was deluged with email there as well: “7,000-to-1 against.” Because of the brouhaha, he offered to resign. Buckley wrote, “This offer was accepted—rather briskly!—by Rich Lowry, NR’s editor, and its publisher, the superb and able and fine Jack Fowler. I retain the fondest feelings for the magazine that my father founded, but I will admit to a certain sadness that an act of publishing a reasoned argument for the opposition should result in acrimony and disavowal.”

Then: “So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.”

More National Review Angst!
Timothy Noah, in Slate: “…[G]et a load of this posting on NRO by Andy McCarthy, alleging that Barack Obama didn't write Dreams From My Father. The book, McCarthy writes, was in fact written by the former Weather Underground bomb-thrower Bill Ayers. The logic of this argument, which is accompanied by a remarkable dearth of evidence, is founded on the patently false conceit that Ayers' 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days, was well-written. Excuse me, but this is a book that begins with the words, ‘Memory is a motherfucker.’ It goes downhill from there.”

Frank Rich
Quoting Ron Suskind, writing in Esquire, January 2003, quoting John Diulio, the “disillusioned” chif of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives: “There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you’ve got is everything — and I mean everything — being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.”

On the city bus:
Stylish, 40-ish black woman, sitting with a mannequin head. It is an object of fascination to women around her.

One asks: “Is it a boy or a girl?”

She replies: “Whatever you want it to be.”

Another asks, “Where did you get it?”

She replies, “I found it in the trash.”

Another asks, “Where can I get one?”

“Pray for one,” she replies. “God gonna give me another one.”

Backwards B
(AFP) “A John McCain campaign volunteer admitted she made up a racially and politically charged story of being robbed and having the letter ‘B’ carved into her cheek by an assailant who saw a McCain sticker on her car, police said.

“Ashley Todd, who is white, is being charged with filing a false police report after telling police she was assaulted by a large black man as she was withdrawing money from an automatic teller machine in an area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to the city's assistant chief of police investigations division, Maurita Bryant.”

Well, you know, I had this one sussed from the getgo. I mean, if an assailant were to carve a letter in your forehead, it wouldn’t be backwards, would it? Unless your attacker was dyslexic, of course.

By the way, new rumors that Ashley Todd was a disgruntled former ACORN employee are equally unfounded.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogdeath anyone?

Blog Doom
Paul Boutin, writing for Wired, recently posted a blog advising readers: “Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.”

It seems that he believes that blogs, once the realm of personal ruminations, have become supplanted by “professional” blogs, many of them the online equivalent of a magazine, like the Huffington Post, or Engadget, the post-millennial Popular Mechanics.

Even though he himself was blogging for Wired. And he has his own blog on Valleywag.

Furthermore, he wrote, “When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google's search results for any given topic.” Nowadays, you’re lucky if your blog shows up on Google at all. On the other hand, flamers lurk! And “text-based Web sites aren't where the buzz is anymore.” Plus a guy Paul knows stopped writing his blog. So there you go. Who needs the hassle?

Mr. Boutin wrote, “Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004.”

What? The blogosphere had a year? And now we have to pay really really close attention to Twitter? Twitter? The equivalent of scribbling with Magic Marker on a bathroom stall? It gets a whole year too?

He continued: “You'll find Scoble, Calacanis [famous names in Internet world] and most of their buddies from the golden age there.”

Golden age? What is this, ancient Greece?

“They claim it's because Twitter operates even faster than the blogosphere. And Twitter posts can be searched instantly, without waiting for Google to index them.”

Wow. You can find half-thought-out nitwittery in nanoseconds.

He concluded: “As a writer, though, I'm onto the system's real appeal: brevity. Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter's character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase.”

That’s what we need, more unagonized amateurs blurting whatever pops into their heads.

He gave an example: “@WiredReader: Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won't find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards. C u on Facebook?”

The message I’m getting is that once you cross over to Twitter you start writing like the Hulk? This good? No. Hulk smash.