Clinton collateral damage

I’m so pissed about what the Clin­ton cam­paign is doing to our country’s chance to break from all the crap of the last eight (six­teen?) years, that it is start­ing to creep into my every­day life. I was lis­ten­ing to some music on iTunes today, and before I real­ized what I was doing, I had down­grad­ed Fleet­wood Mac’s Don’t Stop from four stars to three stars. Man, I used to like Bill Clin­ton.

I’m an Ashley Judd apologist

I con­fess. I like Ash­ley Judd. I will watch just about any­thing she’s in, even though I know it is like­ly not good. I have sat through any num­ber of bad Ash­ley Judd movies. And yet, I keep going back. Just today I watched Twist­ed over lunch, on TiVo-triple-fast-for­ward. You know a movie is bad when you don’t miss any plot points at 60x speed. And the title? No idea what it means. Maybe I missed that. Note to younger gen­er­a­tions: you may empathize by replac­ing the above men­tions of “Ash­ley Judd” with “Natal­ie Port­man.” And by watch­ing them on film togeth­er, of course.

It’s time for a(nother) Styx Tribute Album

Rip­ping (and lis­ten­ing to) some of my Styx albums the oth­er day, I decid­ed it was time for a Styx trib­ute album. If only there weren’t already some Styx trib­ute albums. ((2002’s Trib­ute to Styx, 2003’s Too Much Time on Our Hands, and 2006’s The World’s Great­est Trib­ute to Styx.))

And all the Styx trib­ute bands. ((There’s Milwaukee’s Light Up, and north­ern California’s Par­adise The­atre, and south­ern California’s Grand Illu­sion, among oth­ers.))

Not to men­tion, Styx them­selves, still sol­dier­ing on after all these years. ((An inter­view with Styx in 2004, from the home­front here in Lawrence))

Damn.

Of this you are sure

Think­ing of Valentine’s Day, I remem­bered this bill­board I saw a num­ber of years ago in Oma­ha. It’s for a jew­el­ry store in town, the world-famous Borsheim’s, and it’s the first jew­el­ry ad I’ve seen that I find at all com­pelling. The imagery is greet­ing card trite, but the tag line, “Of this you are sure,” is a rela­tion­ship, a life lead­ing to love, the uncer­tain­ty of every­thing else, all con­densed into a nut­shell of wis­dom.

Borsheim's billboard in Omaha

I Love You, Sweetie

Last week, some­body found this site by search­ing for Tiffany Novo. Sure, it’s beau­ti­ful, engag­ing, smart, and pret­ty much price­less, but it can’t hold a can­dle to the real thing ((My wife, Tiffany, whose last name isn’t actu­al­ly Novo)).

I’m the luck­i­est man I know, and I’d like to wish the love of my life a hap­py Valentine’s Day.

Found a list of my favorite books

So, when I restart­ed this blog, a while back, I post­ed an entry about who I was, and for that entry I came up with a list of my favorite books. Only two of them made it into the entry, and I just came across the full list while clean­ing off my desk. So here, for the edi­fi­ca­tion of the Inter­nets, is a list of my favorite books.

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Dou­glas Adams. Still a delight­ful book, still puts me in stitch­es, still com­pels me to read it out loud to any­one who doesn’t get away fast enough.
  • Cross­ing to Safe­ty by Wal­lace Steg­n­er. Bit­ter­sweet, but com­pelling­ly love­ly. It’s like the best you could hope for out of a real life laced with tragedy and beau­ty.
  • Water­ship Down by Richard Adams. Very human rab­bits strug­gling with life and death deci­sions. It is one of very few books I re-read every so often.
  • Juno & Juli­et by Julian Gough. I fell in love with these girls, I think.
  • The Dou­ble Helix by James Wat­son. Sure, Wat­son is an ass, and Ros­alind got screwed, it’s true, but this account of sci­ence being done fas­ci­nat­ed me when I was a teenag­er, and start­ed me down the wrong road to a life in sci­ence (a mis­take that was cor­rect­ed by my advi­sor in col­lege).
  • Crime and Pun­ish­ment by Fyo­dor Dos­to­evsky. I reviewed this book for my high school AP Eng­lish class (the year’s theme was “Hell”) and loved it. I under­stand it might be his most acces­si­ble work, but there’s no shame in that, right? Don’t for­get the Cliffs Notes.
  • A Zoo in My Lug­gage by Ger­ald Dur­rell. This book, and sev­er­al of the oth­er books Dur­rell wrote about his life as a nat­u­ral­ist, were piv­otal in my inter­est in ani­mals. You note my com­ment about a career in sci­ence above, well these books are what made me focus on ani­mal behav­ior as that sci­en­tif­ic pur­suit. Alas. But still delight­ful books.
  • City of Bara­boo by Bar­ry Longyear. Osten­si­bly a sci-fi book about a cir­cus in space, this is a delight­ful, well-researched book about how a cir­cus oper­ates, full of nos­tal­gia and won­der. The for­mat is a lit­tle weird, kind of like a bunch of short sto­ries, and I gath­er there are two more books in the “series,” but this is the only one I have read.
  • Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mal­o­ry. This is the source materiel for all the sto­ries you know bet­ter, like T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Bradley’s The Mists of Aval­on, and Mary Stewart’s books. It can be a bit plod­ding, but the sto­ries are all there, includ­ing my favorite, the sto­ry of Arthur’s death and the return of Excal­ibur to the lake. You’ll want Vol­ume 2, as well.
  • Chron­i­cles of Pry­dain by Lloyd Alexan­der. You’ll have heard of the Dis­ney movie, The Black Caul­dron, but these books are so much more. Based in Welsh mythol­o­gy (hence the sim­i­lar­i­ties to Tolkien), these are pre-teen, or teen fan­ta­sy nov­els about a boy’s rise on the strength of prophe­cy to save the world. These were the first (and still only) books that could reli­ably make me cry. Five books, all well worth it.

Giants of the mound: Clemens and Pettitte in the halls of Congress

I like base­ball, though I don’t fol­low it like I used to. I watch the occa­sion­al game, but most­ly I watch the ALCS and the World Series. I am as dis­ap­point­ed as the next guy about the steroids scan­dal, and am curi­ous about the out­come, now that Con­gress is involved. But I am struck by one salient thing, see­ing Roger Clemens and Andy Pet­titte on TV in the halls of Con­gress: these guys are huge! They both tow­er over their entourage of lawyers, often by at least a head or more. You don’t real­ly notice, watch­ing them in a game, but Clemens is 6′4″, and Pet­titte is 6′5″. Did they play bas­ket­ball as youths? Add to that the 10 inch­es of the pitcher’s mound, and they must have a com­mand­ing view dur­ing games. Is there an advan­tage to being a tall pitch­er? Any­one know?

Voting for Hillary because she’s a woman

Okay, the last I have to say on the top­ic of pol­i­tics for a while. It is pret­ty clear from all the polling that women are vot­ing for Hillary in large num­bers, and African-Amer­i­cans are vot­ing for Oba­ma in large num­bers. The Press has most­ly dis­cussed this in the con­text of men not vot­ing for Hillary, and whites not vot­ing for Oba­ma, but the flip side is more impor­tant to me.

Vot­ing for Hillary because she’s a woman is a stu­pid way to pick a Pres­i­dent. The same is true of vot­ing for Oba­ma because he’s black. I under­stand that it has been a long time com­ing, and that either one is like­ly to be the best chance in a gen­er­a­tion for a wom­an/African-Amer­i­can to ascend to the high­est office. But you can’t vote with your heart when you’re choos­ing the leader of the free world. ((Though that title may be in doubt nowa­days, thanks to W.))

As a white man, I know I don’t have much foot­ing here, except to say that I would clear­ly vote for either of them over the white man in the race (McCain), but not based on race or gen­der. Nor, truth be told, on the issues. Oba­ma and Clin­ton are very close on most points, close enough that the dif­fer­ences aren’t impor­tant to me. Rather, I vot­ed for them based on what kind of Pres­i­dent I think they will be, and whether they can beat the white guy in Novem­ber.

It doesn’t mat­ter to me if my Pres­i­dent is white, black, male or female. And it real­ly shouldn’t mat­ter to you.

The first of many “vs. McCain” polls

I’m sure there have been oth­ers, but this is the first poll pit­ting Oba­ma or Clin­ton vs. John McCain for all the mar­bles since Super Tues­day (though it must be not­ed that it was gath­ered before Super Tues­day).

Time Magazine’s poll shows Clin­ton vs. McCain tied at 48%, while Oba­ma beats McCain 48% to 42%.

Don’t trust the polls, etc., but I am inter­est­ed to see what the sure-to-be-com­ing slew of sim­i­lar polls pre­dicts in the next few weeks.

I’m not going to say I told you so, yet.

The Dream Ticket? Not Obama-Clinton, but rather Obama-Sebelius

Since the ami­ca­ble Cal­i­for­nia debate, there have been sug­ges­tions float­ing about that an Oba­ma-Clin­ton, or a Clin­ton-Oba­ma tick­et would be a dream for the Democ­rats. I don’t believe it for a sec­ond. First, it won’t hap­pen, unless it is forced on them by Dean and the DNC. I can imag­ine no more dys­func­tion­al White House than one with Hillary and all her bag­gage (includ­ing Bill) in the VP’s suite.

But I do have a dream tick­et in mind. What about Oba­ma pair­ing up with Kath­leen Sebe­lius, the cur­rent Gov­er­nor of Kansas? She’s a re-elect­ed Demo­c­rat in a very Repub­li­can state, she’s a woman, she’s smart, and she just raised her pro­file with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Response to the State of the Union (though she looked a bit ter­ri­fied). That’s a tick­et that could win in Novem­ber, even against a McCain-Lieber­man (the col­lec­tive Dem night­mare, imho) Repub­li­can slate.

I con­tin­ue to believe, with all my being, that Hillary can’t win in Novem­ber because of the poi­so­nous feel­ings she brings out in even rank-and-file con­ser­v­a­tives. Want to re-ener­gize the Evan­gel­i­cals after Huck’s fade? Nom­i­nate Hillary! Want to bring the NRA out to vote after Thomp­son crashed? Nom­i­nate Hillary! Want to dri­ve the heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic youth vote back to their TVs? Nom­i­nate Hillary.

In fact, here’s the advice I’d give Barack Oba­ma. Los­ing is not an option, and you should nev­er accept Hillary as your VP. To win the nom­i­na­tion and not be forced to com­pro­mise your vision, you should choose Kath­leen Sebe­lius as your run­ning mate now. Today. Show the women vot­ers out there that they don’t have to choose Hillary to sup­port women, that there are oth­er (bet­ter) women out there fight­ing the good fight.

What do you think?