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The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Time Since Reboot

  • 1067 days, 19 hours, 52 minutes, 43 seconds ago

Halloween

The time is upon us.  The election, you ask?  Nah.  The annual Memphis Halloween Party!  For the first time in a couple of years, my costume is one that is guaranteed to offend people.  There is a critical element to it that is only good for a couple of hours, after which my costume will transform from “clever” to “just plain wrong.”  It’s going to be great!

I’ll post a full synopsis of all the drunkenness, nakedness and other debauchery on the other side of the weekend.

T Minus 6 Days and Counting

Look.  I am either overloaded or brain-dead.  All I am reading about is the election, and all I am inclined to talk about is the election (and maybe Alabama football).  The problem I run into while I’m perusing all of the various blogs and news articles during the day, is that I cannot possibly make a stronger argument than those who do this sort of thing for a living.  So it is with a strange mixture of relief and resignation that I endeavor to submit my personal list of must-read political material.  I will continue to keep a sharp eye out for these sorts of articles from now until election day.  These will be selected for their relevance to my undecided, conservative and libertarian readers.  My only personal, direct plea to those friends would be that they should read these pieces with unbiased eyes.  You don’t have to take them to heart.  You don’t have to agree with them or with me.  But please click the links and give them a once-over.  I don’t want to destroy your way of life or take away your hard-earned income, and neither do the progressive politicians I endorse.  I don’t want to debate or argue.  I just want to present these closing arguments from a diverse range of political thinkers.  Here’s the first batch:

1)  Ryan Sager on how Karl Rove and his protégés have alienated the fiscal conservatives and libertarians.

2)  Robert Shrum on the changing times – the failure of Reagan-era politics and economic theory.

3)  Andrew Sullivan’s Top Ten Reasons Conservatives Should Vote For Obama.  A snippet:

Until conservatism can get a distance from the big-spending, privacy-busting, debt-ridden, crony-laden, fundamentalist, intolerant, incompetent and arrogant faux conservatism of the Bush-Cheney years, it will never regain a coherent message to actually govern this country again.

4)  Anne Applebaum, an “independent female voter” on Why McCain Lost Me.

5)  An Adobe Flash presentation of the many, many conservative thinkers, writers and politicians who have turned away from the Republican Party due to “The Palin Effect. My favorite quote is from Christopher Hitchens:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

More to come over the next and final week of the 2008 election season.

Snapshots: Searchlights & Floodlights

I used to write at least a poem a day, and at my most prolific, I would probably write five to ten.  Not that they were any good, mind you.  Those bolts of inspiration hit at random intervals, and, looking back, even the pieces I thought were thoughtful and poignant at the time often look linguistically, structurally and intellectually flawed and self-absorbed now.  That case was well-illustrated last night when, as I was attempting to find a good poem from 8-10 years ago to post here, I could not find a single one that was not utterly cringe-worthy.

Even so, as I have written before, and no matter how unfocused the final product may have been at times, I reflect on those fifteen or so years as bursting with flurries of creative energy.  It wasn’t that I was happier then – in fact, reading through those notebooks last night, I was pretty much wallowing in self-pity most of the time… like I was emo before emo existed (preemo?).  I wasn’t happier, but I was somehow more fulfilled.  I felt more like a complete person.  Now, ever since I ended my prolonged collegiate tour of duty and joined the working world, I cannot seem to recapture that insatiable urge to express myself in verse.

The blogging is having its desired effect in that regard, as I feel like I am slowly regaining my confidence as a wordsmith.  One of Natalie Goldberg’s commandments (from the Bible of creative writing – Writing Down the Bonesand I am sure she would abhor my calling it a commandment) is to write every day.  The more you write, the more confident you get – the more you hone your craft.  But the blog is more of a journal… it is not quite artistry.  (Take a gander at this fantastic essay on the what and why of blogging from The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan.)  I still haven’t gotten back in the groove of writing art.  This is not poetry, it is only expression.

And that is why I am taking so much pleasure in my photoblog (and I would like to thank my gentle commenter, ancient scribe extraordinaire, and distinguished mayor of Everville, for making the suggestion – you are about to cost me a lot of money, my friend).  I have always enjoyed taking photographs, but I never thought of my little pictures as art.  Mostly they were hastily and cheaply taken snapshots of vacations, friends and family outings.  But as I have been pouring over some of my more recent photos, judging their blogworthiness, retouching and posting them over the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize that I am generally performing the same function with photography as I am with poetry.  Both media, for me, are methods of preserving moments in time. 

Grammaticastung Fotoblog

I am sure we could spend many a post psychoanalyzing my need to preserve these memories.  It probably involves my fears of loss, change, and death.  Should we leave that for another time?  I think we shall.  My point here is not a gloomy one, after all.  I am excited to be discovering these new outlets for my self-expression.  I am looking into getting myself a real camera and setting up a DeviantART site where fellow artists can provide feedback and view full-size images of my work.  I also bought a photography book.  Yeah.  This will be a more expensive hobby than blogging and poetry.  Ah, well.  It isn’t like I have anything else to do. 

[That ominous sound you hear is the IRS laughing at my reckless naïveté.]

I hope you will enjoy the pictures, at any rate.

Sunday Stats

Time my wife and I woke up this morning:  8:00 am

Time my wife and I got out of bed:  1:00 pm  :-)

# of times my wife tickled me: 27

# of times I slapped her ass:  238

# of times I slapped her ass in public: 46

# of times she called me an “asshole”: 35

# of margaritas I had at lunch: 1

# of dark chocolate M&Ms I’ve had back at the house:  58 (and counting)

# of Dreamland ribs I’ve had over the past 2 days:  10

# of times I’ve exercised this week:  0

BCS rank of my alma mater:  2

# of years I will have been alive on Thursday:  [redacted]

# of testicles John Kruk has:  1

# of shirts my wife ironed for me tonight:  4

# of hickies on my wife’s neck:  1

# of hours until my bedtime:  1

 

Note:  above numbers are approximate and may be enhanced in order to cause my wife extreme embarrassment.

Alabama @ Tennessee

I cannot wait until this one is over.  On paper we should not have any problems.  But then, one could have said the same thing about Tulane or Kentucky or Ole Miss.  I hope Nick has got these guys focused. 

….

AP Photo/Wade Payne

UPDATE:

Alabama 13, Tennessee 3 at halftime.

I don’t really have any complaints.  We are playing well.  We aren’t making many mistakes.  Tennessee’s defense is a lot better than I thought it would be.  JP is taking a pounding, but we’ve done what we have needed to do.  Here’s hoping we don’t hit the 2nd half slump.

AP Photo/Wade Payne

UPDATE:

Final score – Bama 29, Tenn. 9.

Now that was fun to watch.  We finally played a full game.  And, of course, it couldn’t happened against a nicer coach.  But in all seriousness, Saban has got to be pleased with this one.  I feel much, much better about our chances from here on out.  Roll Tide Roll.  Homecoming next.

Thought Dump (Lonely B’day Edition)

It is that time again.  Didn’t we just do this? 

Next Thursday I will grudgingly celebrate my birthday… alone.  That’s right.  My wife will be out of town on a business trip.  Not only do I have to ponder what it means to be striding ever closer to the death that awaits us all, I get to do that all by myself.  So, in the interest of cheering myself up, I am officially opening the comment box (the “Slap Me” link at the bottom of the post) for suggestions on what I should do to take my mind off the passage of time, etcetera.  Good movies, local events, sadness, happiness… it doesn’t matter.  Help me out here.

Politics:

Aren’t we all Scott McClellan and Colin Powell, really?  If we voted for George W. Bush, we were good little conservatives who believed him when he promised to cut spending and reduce the size of government.  If we didn’t vote for him, at least we thought after 9/11 that he might be the right man at the right time.  In the end, we were pawns.  We were blindfolded and led to support wars based on falsehoods and legislation based on ill-conceived notions of “homeland security.”  We were lied to, and our collective name has been sullied right along with that of the administration we elected to office TWICE.  We should all be as pissed and disenchanted as the former Secretary of State and WH press secretary.  We should all be ready for real change in Washington.  The word is thrown around so much now that it doesn’t have much meaning left, but the concept is solid:  it is time for a new philosophy, a new way of doing business in DC, a new image to show to the rest of the globe.  No third term.  No fear tactics.  No smear politics.  No McCain.  No Palin.

Football:

Thanks, Auburn.  Way to screw up our strength of schedule.

Halloween:

It is almost time for the annual Halloween Party in Memphis.  My costume is coming together, finally.  Right now I’m just hoping people will get it.  If not, it will just be offensive.  In previous years, I have been the pope, Prince, and Caligula.

I hope I haven’t set the bar too high. 

Religion:

Those of you who are concerned for my immortal soul will be happy to know that I have taken your advice and purchased Strobel’s The Case For Christ.  I have not given equal time to the pro-religion side of the argument, and I hear this is a good book for that purpose.  Far be it from me to be as closed-minded as the fruitcakes I sometimes rail against.  I’ll let you know my opinion once it has been read (there are a couple of titles ahead of it in the queue). 

And that’s all I’ve got.  We’re going to Ocean tonight for an early birthday celebration.  Last time was divine.  I will let you know how it is the second time around.