Friday Musings 08/22/2008

Posted by lex, on August 22nd, 2008

When I gave up swimming first for soccer and then for fencing, it had not been made at all clear to me the side benefits of the sport. For Oz, losing national treasure Stephanie Rice to Michael Phelps would be unthinkable, it’d be like losing the Olympic medal count to… to… Well: England.

Iowahawk thinks that Obama’s new grass roots effort might not be all that.

In Perrysville, Indiana, special forces douchebag Meilani Cohen uses a softer sarcasm approach when wooing Hoosier swing votes to the Obama column. For the last week, Cohen has been conducting a traveling one-woman show of “Six Years of Tuition,” the pink fiberglass rock that was her Yale Art School master’s thesis.

“The piece is a great conversation starter with the local proletariat,” says Cohen. “I use it to demonstrate how Obama is all about change and unity, and cutting edge postmodern sculpture, and how he will fund public arts programs to bring it to their dismal little hellhole towns.

Heart warmer of the week: In a Buenos Aires slum, a stray dog rescues an abandoned baby from a field and somehow rescues him to her own brood.

We got far the better side of the bargain on that whole “man’s best friend” gig.

In “the Best of the Web” today, James Taranto channels Peg Noonan’s description of odds-on favorite Obama VP nominee Joe Biden, senator from Delaware:

As he speaks, as he goes on and on and spins his long statements, hypotheticals, and free associations–as he demonstrates yet again . . . that he is incapable of staying on the river of a thought, and is constantly lured down tributaries from which he can never quite work his way back–you can see him batting the little paddles of his mind against the weeds, trying desperately to return to the river but not remembering where it is, or where it was going. I love him. He’s human, like a garrulous uncle after a drink.

I love him less well: As a lieutenant, I served as the casualty assistance calls officer for the family of a friend that had been killed in a training accident. His grief-stricken wife insisted upon seeing his body, and when I tried my best to tactfully demur, one of the bereaved family members called the senator on the phone to speak to me. After about five minutes of increasingly emphatic browbeating, I turned away from the family and quietly whispered into the phone that there was nothing left to see – nothing recognizable at least – the plane had burned for hours after the mishap. Did the senator have a way for me to share this with the family that would help lessen their grief rather than increase it?

He did not.

Russia says that it has complied with the withdrawal terms of a European-sponsored cease fire between that state and Georgia.

Well. I guess we can all go back to being friends now.

A collection of universities is discussing ways to eliminate certain barriers to access, says an article entitled “Let’s chuck the drinking age“.

Imbibing is a satisfying and highly pleasurable way to spend a couple of hours. It is completely harmless for the majority of adults. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

And by outlawing even the moderate use of alcohol among young adults, society creates a forbidden fruit. It drives students off campus and underground. It creates an incentive to drink as much as possible in the shortest amount of time possible.

According to the presidents, the drinking age has “created an environment of excess consumption and goal-oriented drinking. While fewer individuals aged 18-20 are drinking, those who choose to drink are doing so at dangerous and alarming rates.”

Are we really considering opening the liquor locker back up to the 18-21 set? Supply and demand, people. Have we learned nothing from oil and food prices?

How’s a man supposed to make ends meet in this kind of environment?

Speaking of compulsive behavior, guess who’s back?

In “Notes on a Scandal,” Ackerman interviews Scott Beauchamp and Elspeth Reeve — and no one else — and shockingly comes to the conclusion that the magazine that fired Ackerman for his anti-war views was wrong to pull its support for a series of articles (”Shock Troops” was just one of three Beauchamp stories) that reinforced those views.

How did Ackerman conduct this investigation? He hung out with Beauchamp and Reeve at a bar and later communicated with them via email. What he did not do is present any evidence to support the contention that Beauchamp’s claims are true, or that Franklin Foer was wrong to pull support for stories that still lack on-the-record evidence of any kind.

This is only the most hackneyed plot device in any absurd horror film: The zombie that Just. Won’t. Die.

All right, that’s it: I’m off to the gym. But I find myself strangely reluctant to perform today’s WOD – 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats.

No. I’m thinking about swimming some laps, just for a change.

Maybe it’s not too late

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Small Stuff

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