Interesting case in Baltimore, where jurors became Facebook friends during the trial. A mistrial may result, because juror aren’t allowed to meet out-of-court. Just shows how connected we are.Leave a comment
Every school, maybe even every schoolbus, has one: the kid that everyone picks on. Even the schoolbus driver looks the other way, subtly sanctioning the bullying. I remember one such scrawny blond-headed guy in high school. It seemed like other guys were always taunting him, pushing him around. I, new to that school, was not heroic enough to intervene. My thoughts were probably more along the line, “I’m glad that’s not me.”
The media does the same thing. A well-known person crosses some kind of line, and suddenly they are fair game for any kind of mockery. It might be something they did, something they said. Or it might merely be the accumulation of too many silly caricatures. Whatever the case, word goes out, “She’s fair game. You can say anything you want, and it’s okay.” A person’s life becomes tabloid fodder.
Sarah Palin found herself in that tabloidesque situation. In her case, there was nothing major that she did or said; it was just the gradual, day-by-day drip drip drip of negative reporting, which led to continual mockery by late-night comedians and pundits. A good person became a public joke. David Letterman felt she had entered the “anything goes” category when he made disgusting jokes not only about Palin, but about her daughter. He thought he could say such things, and America would laugh, because Sarah Palin and her family had become that scrawy blond guy whom it’s okay to pick on. The backlash says that maybe she wasn’t quite in the “anything goes” camp. But she was close enough that Letterman though his jokes would be socially acceptable.
Tom Cruise seems to be in that category, thanks to jumping on Oprah’s couch and a strange interview with Matt Lauer. Britney Spears was there for several years, thanks to her own bizarre behavior. Amy Winehouse is there. Dan Quayle continues living under the “public joke” cloud. Michael Jackson, especially after leaving the country after his latest trial, became the subject of endless ridicule. Jim and Tammy Bakker were there.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel sorry for these people, but that’s not the point. The point is: our society revels in knocking well-known people to the ground. And then kicking them.
Palin, Cruise, Spears, Jackson–they aren’t much different from that scrawny blond kid I observed in high school. It’s open season, in the public’s mind. You can say anything about them, and about the people around them.
Bill Clinton certainly brought this on himself (with some help from Monica Lewinsky). He became a public joke. But Hillary–not only an innocent in this story, but a victim–also got dragged into it. How many sick jokes have we heard about Hillary’s sexual relationship with Bill, and her sexuality in general? How many such jokes have I heard from church people? How many have I then repeated? (Chelsea was spared the ridicule, fortunately.)
I don’t know all the motives behind Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor. It’s quite possible she has her eye on running for president, or getting a TV show, or writing a book. There is probably a mixture of motives. But it’s also possible she’s just fed up with the continual mockery she and her family have been subjected to. Who needs that?Leave a comment
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as expected. I was 16 ounces into that horridly blekky Trilyte when my Miniere’s Disease came to the rescue with a strong vertigo attack. I, uh, expelled everything consumed thus far, and was out of commission for the next few hours, hugging the floor while the world revolved around me. Vertigo is better than Cedar Point.
I remain vaguely haunted by the taste of Trilyte, though I’m hoping the memory will fade as the years pass. I am now informed (thank you, Mom) that there are alternatives to Trilyte. So rather than drink a whole gallon of toxic waste, I could use alternatives involving just 4 oz of fluid intake, though the taste is considerably worse (toxic waste gone sour), and you supplement it with laxatives and enemas. Or something like that. I’ve been avoiding information overload, the TMI Syndrome, lest it bring on another visit from Cousin Vertigo.
The bottom line: no matter what route you go, prepping for a colonoscopy sucks.Leave a comment
The firemen are out collecting money for muscular dystrophy. I put a dollar in a boot yesterday, and will no doubt fork over more money. Pam can never resist giving to the fireman, and she transferred that to me.
It’s a lot different from the police, who call annually about their benevolent fund.
- They call, rather than stand in the street under the hot sun.
- It’s not real policemen–just a firm hired to do their work.They don’t tell you that.
- The fundraising firm takes a huge percentage of the donations.
So I never give to the policemen. But when a fireman’s standing on the pavement holding a boot, I pull out my wallet or scrape out some change.Leave a comment
Watched the Saddleback Civil Forum tonight, with Rick Warren asking questions of Obama and McCain. I think we’ve got two very good candidates for president. I’m happy with both. Some random reactions to the event:
- The commentators on three networks all thought McCain did better. I just didn’t see it that way.
- I don’t like thinking of one person “winning” this event. They both did well, but in different ways.
- McCain was very black and white. I preferred Obama’s thoughtful gray. We’ve had eight horrible years of black and white.
- I preferred Obama’s style of focusing on Rick Warren, speaking and responding to him. I was a bit off-put by the way McCain focused on the crowd. Seemed too much like campaigning.
- McCain did a lot better than I expected.
- Obama came across–to me–as very thoughtful, nuanced, big-picturish, and authentic. That appealed to me.
- The talking-head commentators seemed to be passing judgment on the basis of totally different criteria than I was using.
- Excellent questions, Rick. And you kept control of two guys who like to talk.
- I thought McCain answered some questions better (and certainly had more compelling personal stories), but in general, I was drawn more to Obama’s answers.
- I pretty much agreed with everything both guys said. Don’t know what that means.
Dad preached at Anchor today. He pastored the church from 1995-1998, leading the people to accept the idea of a restart, which occurred in October 1998 (so we’re coming up on our 10th anniversary). He and Mom have attended services at Anchor several times over the years, but this is the first time Dad has preached. Pastor Tim’s on vacation, having just completed (on Friday) his last class at Trinity toward his MDiv.
Mom and I played our accordions together, a duet of “Mansion Over the Hilltop.” Now, I hadn’t played my accordion in a couple years. Shame on me. But “Mansion” is easy. I can get disoriented in the black buttons, but with “Mansion” you only use three of them, and they sit next to each other. Mom and I practiced Saturday night, and it went great. Easy.
Not quite so easy this morning in church.
First, I put my arms through the accordion straps and lifted it onto my shoulders. But Patty, a few rows back, was pointing at something. Turns out the strap was caught around the front of the accordion. If I had started playing, the strap would have been holding several keys down, making a horrible sound. So I needed to remove the accordion and start over. I felt silly.
I had already undone the clasps holding the bellows together, so as I hoisted it up again, it was making noise. “What are you doing?” Mom asked.
Then the strap got caught again, and I had to undo it. Mom was all ready to go, but by this time, I was totally flustered.
As soon as I had the accordion situation, Mom started off. But I still needed to find where to put my fingers. I couldn’t locate the “C” black button, and, like a dork, had to bend the accordion out to physically look at it. Then my right hand wasn’t sure it was on the proper keys (it wasn’t). With an accordion, you can’t really see what you’re doing.
So while Mom was charging ahead, doing a marvelous job, I was fumbling around, hitting the wrong buttons and wrong keys in a two-handed train wreck, and forgetting to open and close the bellows. Can you spell “I feel stupid and highly conspicuous”?
Finally, Mom paused and said, “Do you want to start over?”
Indeed I did. This time I got my fingers in the right places, and it went fairly well. We had planned to play two verses. After one verse, Mom said, “Do you want to go again?” And I said yes. Finally, I actually played the song right.
The moral of the story is two-fold:
- Don’t NOT do something for two years, and think you can ace it, you foolish prima dona.
- Don’t put yourself in a situation where Mom can totally show you up.
Wow. Great movie. And like everyone else, I was blown away by Heath Ledger’s Joker. I kept trying to see Heath Ledger, the guy from “The Patriot” and “A Knight’s Tale,” but he was unrecognizable. Totally disappeared into the character. The take on Two-Face was interesting, too.Leave a comment
Did a lot more yardwork Friday and Saturday. Placed a layer of block around a little island thing in the back yard. Got 50 blocks from Menards, and they didn’t go very far–just one layer. Hauled in a couple loads of dirt and a load of mulch. Good exercise.
Jordi and Molly liked having my red pickup in the back yard. Very curious about it. Sniffed all around, climbed all over it. (Click the photo for a larger view of the cats.)
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You can see Molly walking along the blocks which my nephew Logan helped us lay two weeks ago. The kids are forbidden to go along the side of the house, but they can’t help themselves.
There are all kinds of rules about flying the American flag. I thought my generation just didn’t get the memo. Or school budget cutbacks killed the Flag 101 course.
- When displayed at night, the flag must be properly illuminated.
- When displayed over the middle of the street, the flag should be suspended vertically.
- When displayed with another flag, that flag should be on the US flag’s right (meaning the viewer’s left).
- When flown at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the top for an instant, then lowered halfway.
- When placed over a casket, the blue square should be over the dead person’s left shoulder.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it (so don’t use it as a floor or table covering).
- Nothing should ever be attached to the flag–any mark, insignia, letter, word, design, etc.
- The flag should never be used as wearing apparel (like Kid Rock did at the 2004 Super Bowl).
- If you fly the US flag at half-staff, all other flags flown with it (state flags, Christian flag(?)) should be at half-staff.
- When a flag needs to be replaced, you should burn it. There is a whole flag burning ceremony.
John McCain and George Bush have both publicly autographed flags. Violation!
George and Laura Bush stood on a carpet of the American flag at Ground Zero. Violation!
The other day, Dad mentioned that when we lived in Pixley, Calif., a flag flew outside the church, but didn’t have a light shining on it. There was plenty of other light around the church, but nothing shining specifically on the flag. One morning, Dad found the flag taken down and neatly folded up. He figured some veteran, who knew the rule, did that as a subtle hint.
Pam and I have a very nice all-weather flag hanging on a very nice pole outside our front door. Today we came into compliance with the illumination rule. A ground light now illuminates the flag at night. It’s not a strong light, but hey, we’re legal and conscientious.2 Comments
I watched Larry King interview Ingrid Betancourt about her rescue after over six years as a hostage of Columbian guerrillas. It’s a fascinating story. But I was thinking about viewers in other countries who watched this, wondering what they thought of Larry King. They knew Ingrid Betancourt would be interviewed by a popular American TV personality. But then they see this shriveled up old guy with big glasses, and probably couldn’t help thinking, “What’s with this guy? Why is he so popular?”
That would be a first impression. Those of us who grew up with Larry King recognize him as a masterful interviewer (who gets criticized for doing softball interviews, but get over it; softball is what he’s good at). I wonder how long he’ll still be around, or when he’ll wear out his elbows from leaning on them. I rarely watch him anymore. Almost never, in fact. But he’s still The King.Leave a comment