Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Darkness" by Lord Byron

I'm working on a presentation about one of my favorite poems, Lord Byron's "Darkness." It's popularity was such that there were a few paintings based on it, and I had hoped to find at least one of those images to use in a handout, but I haven't have any luck with that search. One thing I did find was this video, which I probably won't use in my presentation, but I'm going to share it here:

Sometimes words are not necessary

This was exactly what I needed to break up my recent cloudy mood and brighten my spirits:

Many thanks to Molly.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Philly fans put their booing skills to good use

Well done Flyers fans. The sport of hockey has enough problems without being tainted by a parasite like her.

Update: I replaced the video with a different one with better sound.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I get to choose "my friends," and I pick "that one."

The media loves soundbites, and the three debates so far have not provided them with much of a fix, which is why I expect that we'll be hearing a lot of "that one" references in the coming weeks. It's silly because that is far from the most uncivil thing that John McCain has said about Obama, but expecting rationality to apply to American politics is a sure-fire path to disappointment. The media is already disillusioned by the shift from the reporter-friendly, independent-minded McCain of 2000 to the new disciple of Rovian political manipulation and media-bashing, and the many headlines and other mentions of the "that one" moment make it clear that the media is not going to resist the allure of a lovely soundbite just because it is unfair to 2008 McCain.

In an otherwise boring debate, that brief cringe-worthy moment will be the only thing that is remembered. John McCain has established the soundbite that will cling to him as he struggles over the next four weeks to overcome the growing support for Obama, and the words that will be ringing in his ears as his campaign goes down in defeat will be "that one."

Of course, it doesn't help that the record that John McCain is constantly crowing about shows that he does not support breasts:

I think the whole McCain campaign's problem is summed up pretty well by this picture that my Aunt Laura sent me:

Who needs a thousand words when you've got trains?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin Saves her Career

The debate last night was every bit as meaningless as I thought it would be from the moment that I found out that the joke of a debate format would allow Palin to spout canned responses for 90 seconds without ever being forced to deal with a follow-up question. Her strategy is presented very clearly in this flow chart from Aden Nak (via Boing Boing):

It's a shame for Joe Biden that this debate was framed by recent events in such a way that it was all about Palin, as the only way that his performance would be noticed was if he had put his foot in his mouth or had gotten Palin to self-destruct (which the format made almost impossible). Joe Biden presented himself very well to those who didn't know him, and more importantly he showed the people, myself included, who thought we knew him, that he's not just a good vice-presidential pick, he's outstanding.

Biden gets a win for presenting himself to the nation and showing us how lucky we are to have had him as a public servant for the last few decades. Palin gets a win for salvaging her collapsing image by exceeding the subterraneanly low expectations for her, thus avoiding becoming a national joke and a shoo-in scapegoat for a McCain loss. The loser in this debate was John McCain, who got ripped to shreds by Biden and who gains very little from Palin stopping the bleeding about her disastrous interviews because his campaign still has a sucking chest would in the form of his inescapable connection to the Republican policies that have led us into an inexcusable war and a spiraling economic crisis.