Thursday, December 27, 2007


So, among the more pointless notions that have been flying around this Presidential election is "authenticity". You can't define, but like leadership, charisma, or pornography, you know it when you see it. Authenticity is the opposite of being a phony, I suppose. Huckabee apparently is authentic. Romney and Clinton are not--they would like to make this election about competence, but when have the voters ever cared about that? The shift away from leadership to authenticity is bad news for Giuliani, who was supposed to have leadership, but is apparently deficient in authenticity.

It's the latest non-qualification that people covering the Presidential election have focused on. Unlike say policy (and I really would like to know who has a better plan to reform health care, and by better I mean works better for me) which requires knowledge and can appear to be boring, anyone can comment on things like authenticity.

Here's the thing. I'm the most authentic person you'll ever meet. I may be obnoxious, I may not be the most diplomatic person you'll ever meet, but I'm authentic. It's my new excuse for being what used to be called a jerk. On that basis, I should be President. If Congress came to me with a bill I didn't like, I'd go on national tv and tell them to stick it up their collective asses. Whenever I made a speech, there would be jokes. Not necessarily funny jokes, but jokes. I'd call myself out whenever I found myself doing something for show. There'd be no need to parse when I was President. I'd be authentic.

On the campaign trail, you'd see me eating wings and drinking beer--but not crappy beer--I prefer fancy micro brew beer (now called "craft" beer). That's part of my authenticity. Since I'm a Democrat, and I wouldn't win Texas anyway, I'd talk about how much I despise the Cowboys. I'd complain about how the Phillies are run (and I'd promise if I were elected President to do something about it).

Does any of that qualify me to be President?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bowl Games

One argument against a playoff system for college football is that it would end the tradition of Bowl games. That has to be the worst reason for not going to a playoff system of all. Most Bowls long ago traded whatever tradition they might have had for lucrative sponsorship deals. And a lot of those bowls have been around for less than 20 years anyway. So the tradition is, shall we say, flexible.

The other problem is that most Bowl games are about as meaningless as NIT games. Rutgers v. Ball State? Would anyone care about that game during the regular season? Utah v. Navy? Boise St. v. E. Carolina? There are too many games, with too many low profile teams that have no national audience playing.

Sure, every year brings at least some interesting match-ups, games you care about. This year features Arkansas v. Missouri, Texas v. Arizona among others. S. Florida v. Oregon is a great opportunity for S. Florida. But a playoff system would produce just as many interesting match-ups, and the games would mean something.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life

My wife loves this movie. Two videotape copies are not enough, apparently, so she bought the DVD. We watched it last night. First, the DVD transfer looked great.

And it's still the best Christmas movie ever. Except that it's not really a Christmas movie, it's a movie where Christmas serves to catalyze the plot. It combines optimism with resentment in a way that is not really sentimental at all. George Bailey really is trapped in his life, and he spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. He thinks he's a failure. Things have not worked out like he planned, and at that level, most of us as we approach mid-life can relate to that.

And while the end of the movie is happy, there's loss too. The immediate crisis is resolved, but the savings and loan will continue to limp along. One can imagine that had the savings and loan been ruined, George would be able to start over and realize his dreams. But George is not getting out of Bedford Falls. There's no starting over. The happy ending is not that George's life is going to turn around. It's that he's been able to reconcile himself with the life he's got. The title of the film, "It's a Wonderful Life" is at first ironic, but at the end, it isn't.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Alvin and the Chipmunks

People will apparently pay good money (45 million dollars of it) to see rapping CGI rodents.

Why? Are your lives so empty you'll kill two hours for this? Do your children hate you so much that they'll willingly sit through this just so they don't have to look at you? Are children utterly devoid of standards? Will they sit through any crap whatsoever?

Of course, I'm commenting on a movie I have not seen, nor will I see it. So maybe it's pretty good. But I doubt it. And, I suppose there wasn't much competition out there.

I gotta come up with something positive for my next post. My daughter has dubbed me Crabby the Elf, and my wife keeps telling me four ghosts are going to visit me one night.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


A few months ago, I finally saw "Thank You For Smoking" which is now one of my favorite movies. After I saw it, I re-read Harry Frankfurt's short book On Bullshit. Frankfurt describes bullshit as a disregard for the truth, and has more to do with the speaker than the what the speaker is talking about. I'm not sure that's correct, as I think lots of rhetoric can be described as bullshit. In any event, it seems clear that though profane, the term can be useful in understanding what someone is doing when they engage in bullshit.

I came to the conclusion that bullshit is bad. It isn't just an annoyance, but in fact does real harm. For a few days afterward, I wanted to make it my life's purpose to call other people on their bullshit, and stop myself from making more than is necessary.

Fortunately for myself and those around me, the desire passed. Every once in awhile though, it flares up again, usually in response to what in my opinion is an especially egregious or harmful example of it. It's campaign season, though, and I fear we will soon be drowning in it.

Rather, I think what might be more productive than calling people on their bullshit is making it easier for others to identify it. I think I'm going to devote at least a portion of this blog to posting various examples I find.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New York Giants

I'm a Giants fan, but I don't get to see them much on TV living in Arkansas as I do. They have a good record, but from what I have seen, I don't see them winning a game in the playoffs. In that sense, the Giants are no different from probably 8 of the 12 teams that are going to make the playoffs. So, this year at least, we're going to have some crummy playoff games to sit through.

Dumb Things People Say

People often ask, "Can I ask you a question?" What kind of question is that? You've just done so. It would be better to either ask the question itself, or if the circumstances seem to warrant more politeness than that, one could ask, "May I interrupt you?" or "I'd like to ask a question."

This isn't really even a pet peeve of mine. It's more along the lines of something people do make no sense. I probably do it myself. But it does make me think how much talking people do that's really just noise--words people say that have no real significance or meaning. The way people drop the word "like" into their sentences almost randomly, a kind of verbal comma.

Or when people come by my office and say "Are you busy?" To which I am always tempted to reply, "No, I've just been sitting here waiting for you to drop by."

I know this blog entry is pretty lousy. I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

War On Christmas

Every once in awhile, as a kind of endurance thing, I'll listen to American Family Radio. Today, I endured almost 45 seconds of bs. This pretend war on Christmas crap is really annoying me. Everywhere I look, I see Christmas crap, and to pretend that Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays is oppressing Christianity is so utterly and totally ridiculous that I don't see how anyone can believe it.

Oh, yeah, I'm some great martyr for Christianity--wishing people a Merry Christmas. A regular St. Stephen.

The really bizarre thing is that to me nothing gets in the way of celebrating the birth of Christ than the commercialization of the holiday. Do they really want ads saying "Celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior with Hitman II, now in stores"?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

On being 42

I got carded yesterday, on my birthday. I don't think they really thought I wasn't legal. Maybe it was one of those if you appear under 30, we ask for ID things. But I realized I have now been legal as long as I wasn't legal. There's no significance to that.

I think I'm in the third phase of birthday. When you're young, you look forward to them. Birthdays mean presents and new privileges--driving, R rated movies, voting, drinking, renting a car. Then, birthdays mean your closer to death. Now, It's back to presents, and an excuse to self-indulge a little. 42? Eh, not much different from 41. And I have absolutely no interest in being 19 again.

I think since the book is going pretty well, and I even did some work on it over the weekend, I'm more inclined to see it as another day, but with someone else making me sausage.

Oh, and the Scotch I bought myself for a birthday present (Balvenie 10) is really, really good. I highly recommend it.

One other thing about this blog--as one of the comments (hey I have readers! woohoo!) says, and consistent with my basic attitude towards life, I'm going to keep it short.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Other things I might address in this blog

I have many interests, in addition to sports and politics that I may comment on from time to time. In no particular order they include:

Beer--brewing and drinking, and other beverages will be addressed from time to time.

Technology--although I am neither technophobe nor technophile, I have strong opinions

Books, movies, and music--but in no way will this become a pop culture blog

Southern Living--or, what it's like for a one time confirmed urban northeasterner to live in Rural Arkansas. It's a real life Green Acres.

Road trips--I find I enjoy long family car trips.

Exercises in futility--my attempts at gardening and home improvement

Sausage--waste not, want not. I'm someone has already written the book on sausage, but if that's not the case, I'm available.

I'm also working on a book, for real, so maybe that process will make it into my blog.


I hope I'm wrong, but I have, after a long period of denial, finally conceded that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Presidential nominee. I am not happy about this, though some people I like and admire seem to be pleased.

First Post--what I'm doing here

I've chosen to celebrate my 42nd birthday by starting this blog. I'm not really celebrating wrongness, I'm celebrating bold predictions that have little or no basis. And, sometimes general commentary. The description thing was too short to really explain this blog, which is probably a sign that I've not really figured this out.