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Showing posts from September 28, 2008

Who's That Happy Girl?

Octavia turns one next Thursday; don't forget to wish her a happy first birthday -- she'll never have another first birthday, folks. :)

Why is this girl so darn happy?

Satisfaction -- Writer's Poke #119

For Writers:

"You're never satisfied," my wife tells me, and I know that she's right. But is that a bad thing? If I were easily satisfied, I might still be working in a factory, or I might still be an adjunct instructor in Illinois, or I might still be a full-time instructor in South Carolina. The point is, whenever I've felt unsatisfied, I've tried to do something about it.

But when do the feelings of dissatisfaction end? For some people, never. Some of us were raised to believe that "good" in the enemy of "great," and if we're not striving for perfection, then there's something wrong with us. This is a tough lesson to discard. And for me, just being satisfied with who I am and where I am in life is one of the most difficult problems I deal with on a daily basis.

Part of it is this: I don't want to live a "satisfactory" life. To me, that smacks of living a cliche. But how to avoid being trapped in the cliche is the rub.…

Palin vs. Biden -- Draw (by Repetition)

After last night's debates, I was left wondering: why even have debates?

Palin admitted early on that she wasn't planning to address the questions asked by the moderator; instead, her strategy was simply to vomit out all the talking points that she had memorized at McCain's ranch.

And it's probably a good thing she did that, of course. When she was interviewed by Charles Gibson and Katie Couric, she got herself in trouble when she didn't stick to her talking points (i.e. when she had to come up with an original thought on her own).

If you compare Biden's answers with Palin's, it's pretty clear that Biden knew a lot more. Biden, I'd betcha (to use Palin talk), didn't have to prep or study for the debate. He already knew the issues, and he clearly knew what he was talking about. Palin, on the other hand, didn't express a deep understanding of the issues. However, Palin does have an ideology, and she stuck to that ideology, but what use is having …

Palin: Telegenic but Clueless

Have you read John Updike's "A&P"? It's a short story, and the narrator asks what pretty girls have for brains -- perhaps just a fly buzzing around in a jar.

Personally, I don't think Palin is stupid, but based on the limited number of interviews she's granted over the past couple of weeks, it's painfully evident that political issues aren't her forte. And that's unfortunate; since she somehow got elected governor of a state, and was "tapped" by McCain to be VP, you'd expect her to know something about political issues...

Most of you have probably seen her response to Katie Couric's question about supreme court decisions, other than Roe v. Wade, that she disagrees with. Amazingly, she cannot come up with a single case.

I look for patterns. It might even be excuseable for her just to be off for one question, or even one interview, but let's look at the pattern:

1. Charley Gibson asked her about the Bush Doctrine, and she had n…

Clarity and Audience

I'm sure this cartoon was designed with science fiction in mind, but it also is a pretty good attack on James Joyce.Question: If a book is written by an author for his own amusement (i.e. Joyce, Pynchon, most post-modernists), can it ever really be considered "good"? When is it okay to break the rule of clarity in fiction?

Space in 2D (not to scale)


Fun image... if you're at all interested in feeling small.

Click the image for a view that you can actually read, or click the link for this image and a lot more funny stuff.

How Do We End the Iraq War? (And Other Rhetorical Questions)

On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq. Americans have short memories, and no balls. Most Americans don't even realize there are two American wars going on right now. How sad.

Okay, I'll admit that I supported the invasion of Iraq. At the time, I doubted the line of bull the government was telling us, but I supported the removal of Hussein for his past offences. Who cared if we were punishing him 15 years too late, or under false pretenses? But by 2003, it became clear that our declared mission was over. Even Bush said so. And yet, we're still there 5 years later.

If we even talk about leaving Iraq, Sean Hannity questions our patriotism, and says that we are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. So I have some questions:

1. How will we ever know when the mission is over, when it was declared over five years ago?

2. Who do we expect will "surrender" to U.S. forces? We're not fighting an army. We're fighting an ideology…