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August 29, 2004

His Early Influences

Shannon took Will to the Greensboro Children's Museum this afternoon. She called me an hour ago to tell me that Will was having a great time. One of the exhibits, the Construction Zone, allows children to play in a "half-built" house, complete with PVC pipes to practice their "plumbing" skills. Will assembled three or four lengths of pipe, then looked up at his Mommy and said, "I need drumsticks!"

Somebody's parents possibly let him watch their Blue Man Group DVD with them a few too many times...

A Most Disturbing Night

I've had nightmares, and I've had nightmares. Last night, I got very little sleep because I repeatedly dreamed that I was back in college, taking a physics class, not remembering to turn in homework assignments, hopelessly behind and lost, doomed to fail.

Oh, and the class was taught by Bob Saget.

I didn't think there was anything weird on last night's pizza...

August 25, 2004

Ew. Just -- Ew.

Planning a tour boat ride on the Chicago River? You might want to check the Dave Matthews Band's itinerary -- their driver allegedly dumped the tour bus's liquid waste on a bridge over the river. A decent respect for the sensibilities of my readers (both of you) forbids me from going further.

August 24, 2004

Trifecta

As long as I'm pimping Lex's blog, I may as well go all the way and mention his new one for the Greensboro News and Record (Why don't they register newsrecord.com?), The Lex Files. Send him some love.

It's That Twist at the End

Good blog entries are kind of like sudden fiction. This is one of the best I've read. Hat tip, again, to Lex.

August 23, 2004

The Court of Public Opinion

Some re-linking from friends' blogs: Laura brought to my attention the nasty story of Darla Wynne, a Wiccan in Great Falls, South Carolina. Wynne, who so far successfully has challenged her town's use of sectarian prayers at official functions, has paid for it in the form of intimidation and violence (directed to her pets) from unknown members of her community. Regardless of where you stand on prayer at town council meetings (I like what Lutheran pastor Allen Brill has to say on the subject, though I don't have a big problem with nonsectarian invocations or moments of silence), you'd think that -- in the 21st century -- mutilating a pet parrot for whatever reason would be considered, you know, evil?

Well, backyard religious conflicts don't corner the market on community intimidation. Just ask Specialist Joseph Darby and his wife, (hat tip: Lex Alexander's Blog on the Run, August 18), who blew the whistle on the Abu Ghraib atrocities:

Each day, she would catch another snippet of the hostility brewing around her. There was the candlelight vigil in Cumberland, Maryland, to show support for the disgraced soldiers, including the ones who did the torturing, about a hundred supporters standing in the pounding rain, as if beating and sodomizing prisoners were some kind of patriotic duty. Or the 200 people who gathered one night in Hyndman, Pennsylvania, waving American flags to honor Sivits, the first soldier tried in the scandal. They posted a sign in Hyndman. It said JEREMY SIVITS, OUR HOMETOWN HERO. And the mayor told reporters that even though Sivits would sometimes do "a little devilish thing," on the whole he was "a wonderful kid."

Where were the signs for Joe? Bernadette had to wonder. Where was his vigil? Where was his happy mayor? Where were his calls of support? Down at the gas station, Clay overheard some guys say that Joe was "walking around with a bull's-eye on his head," just casually, just like, oh, everybody knows Joe's dead. Some of Bernadette's family even let her know that other members of the family were against her now, that they couldn't support a traitor.

August 21, 2004

Duck and Cover and Tuck In for Nite-Nite

From boingboing: Apparently some people just don't feel safe enough at night. In concept, reminds me of baby Kal-El's spaceship from Krypton in the '70s Superman movie, only it looks like a coffin with a wet bar.

August 6, 2004

Exporting American Culture

Elaine Fallon and Leslie Harvey of Ireland were attending their second DukesFest. They said they believe they will have the only "General Lee" in their country after recently buying a replica in Los Angeles and having it shipped home.

The Irish give us Guinness, we give them The Dukes of Hazzard. Seems an unfair trade for them.

August 4, 2004

Power Beyond Imagining

This week I started really feeling the disconnect I've had with so many of my older friends. In the last few months it's been as though I've dropped off the face of the planet for many of them.

So I call my old friend C, out of the blue, on the way home from work yesterday. Turns out she has a surprise for me. She's pregnant.

Today I call my old friend S, out of the blue, on the way home from work. She has a surprise for me as well. She's pregnant, probably within a few days of C.

It seems likely that I have developed the power to make people pregnant with a single cellphone call. (Okay, I'm sure their husbands helped a bit.)

I will test this theory on the way home tomorrow. If I'm right, Mark will have no idea where his morning sickness came from.

August 3, 2004

You Can't Let THEM in There!

Via Atrios: Sometimes our elected officials seem to do their damnedest to live up to the worst stereotypes of the south.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Iraqis visiting on a civil rights tour were barred from city hall after the city council chairman said it was too dangerous to let them in.

The seven Iraqi civic and community leaders are in the midst of a three-week American tour, sponsored by the State Department to learn more about the process of government. The trip also includes stops in Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Iraqis were scheduled to meet with a city council member, but Joe Brown, the council chair, said he feared the group was dangerous.

"We don't know exactly what's going on. Who knows about the delegation, and has the FBI been informed?" Brown said. "We must secure and protect all the employees in that building."

Elisabeth Silverman, the group's host and head of the Memphis Council for International Visitors, said Brown told her he would "evacuate the building and bring in the bomb squads" if the group entered.

August 2, 2004

Where Comics Should Go From Here

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon gave the keynote address at San Diego's Comic-Con International last month on the subversive, revolutionary notion that comic book publishers should try publishing some comics for children again! It's a great speech, encapsulating everything that the publishers could and should be doing to get the Harry Potter (and, several years ago, the Goosebumps) kids.

Children did not abandon comics; comics, in their drive to attain respect and artistic accomplishment, abandoned children. And for a long time we as lovers and partisans of comics were afraid, after so many long years of struggle and hard work and incremental gains, to pick up that old jar of greasy kid stuff again, and risk undoing it all. Comics have always been an arriviste art form, and all upstarts are to some degree ashamed of their beginnings. But frankly, I donít think thatís whatís going on in comics anymore.

Now, I think, we have simply lost the habit of telling stories to children. And how sad is that?

It's pretty telling that the non-comics programming at Comic-Con, the sci-fi movies and computer games, continues to grow compared to the medium which gives that convention its name.