In an article about the World Series of Birding (to be held across New Jersey this spring), National Geographic mentions that the northern saw-whet owl has a call “like a saw being sharpened.” It’s time for birders to stop repeating this. I don’t know what whetting a saw sounds like. Does that sound anything like counting on an abacus or firing a trebuchet?
The March 17 issue of The New Yorker had the funniest cover.
I haven’t updated this list in a long time, so here it is. I’m looking for a way to feed my list so that will link back to IMDb.
- Seven Samurai
- Star Wars
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Blazing Saddles
- Shawn of the Dead
- The Incredibles
- O Brother Where Art Thou?
- Wizard of Oz
- A Christmas Story
- Planet of the Apes
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Falling Down
- King of New York
- The Blues Brothers
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- The Last Emperor
- The Committments
- The Gods Must be Crazy
- Princess Bride
- The Shining
- Blue Velvet
- Human Nature
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Big Night
I’m surprised at how fast a couple of weeks worth of mild weather can beat back this year’s little Ice Age. The receding snow cover is leaving behind an ugly rump of winter: brown grass, piles of dirty snow on the curb, sand in the gutter, a crust of salt on everything, and the threat of floods.
So spring is coming. The mud season John is fond of warning me about is beginning. Everybody notices the robins; boat-tailed grackles and red-wing blackbirds have returned too.
For no other reason than because my neighbor asked me to, yesterday morning I went to the Johnson County Democratic Party Convention to try to get seated as an alternate delegate for Barack Obama. I agreed, not knowing quite what it involved, because it sounded interesting.
Since I wasn’t already a listed alternate, they couldn’t give me credentials, so I had to chase down a couple of party officials who were running around like headless chickens (“If you want discipline and rapid efficiency,” one lady said, “you’d be a Republican.”). They said I could be seated as an alternate to the alternates.
So here’s how the delegate-seating part of the convention went. It’s sort of like the caucuses. You get with your preference group (the candidate you want to represent). Each candidate has a leader, in Obama’s case it was the local state senator. They were supposed to seat 179 precinct delegates, and 128 showed. I asked one lady, “People get elected delegates and then don’t show up?” “Oh, yeah,” she said. “That’s why when you go to the caucus you should ask be an alternate, because there’s always a shortage at the convention.”
Once they counted up the delegates, they surveyed the alternates. They asked for those who really wanted to be seated. Some of the alternates expressed a preference to go home if they weren’t needed. Since they had more than enough alternates to fill up their allocated seats, the rest of us were free to leave. Some alternates stuck around in case they were needed in the afternoon.
As it was explained to me, I could not be seated because I was not a listed alternate. However, upon agreement with the Clinton and Edwards people, if all of the alternates were used up or unavailable, they would be able to seat me and other sub-alternates. I left my phone number just in case and then I left.
The competitiveness of this election is driving better political participation. My neighbor feels strongly enough about Obama that he wanted to make sure they seated all of their delegates. That’s why he invited me as a standby. As it turns out, this is first time in anyone’s memory that all of the delegates for a candidate were seated in a county convention. Eighty percent is usually a good turnout. I don’t know how the Clinton or Edwards group fared in this respect, but Obama commands a very enthusiastic following. One man remarked, “It’s good to see a lot of young people getting involved.”
I still have a lot of reservations about Barack Obama. I don’t see any evidence in his Senate record or his career to support his claim that he’s an effective agent of change. I should not have volunteered to participate without feeling more strongly about Obama. Many of the alternates (and 51 of the delegates) felt the same way, but plenty of motivated people stepped up to take their places.
All the talking heads and pundits who say that the prolonged race between Obama and Clinton is bad for their party or that too much democracy is going to spoil the election are wrong. They need to get off their lazy asses and find out what’s going on for themselves.
Getting ready to pay a bill, something gave me pause. On the return envelope the company neglected to print the idiot box (“Place Stamp Here”) or the lines for the return address. Could it be? Could it be that finally, someone is making an effort to not idiot-proof everything?
I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on how much idiot-proofing costs our economy.
Elliot Spitzer, you have taken Jim McGreevey’s gay-blackmail cake.
I can’t let another day go by without riffing on this debacle. Newsday was kind enough to post screen shots from the “Emperor’s Club” website, along with a full page photo of a $10,000 hooker on the front page. Has Newsday gotten trashier since I left Long Island? Or is it just the nature of the news?
John sent me a link to an article detailing the Cliffside Park connection to this sordidness. It seems gentrification has greatly improved the quality of prostitution there, but has clearly put the American dream (and by this I mean illegal sex with a 22-year old hottie) out of the reach of the common man.
So does a call girl is called “high-end”, does that mean… never mind, I’m finished with this topic. Good night.
Today’s paper had an article about an academic achievement program for black students at the high school called “Fas Trac”. I couldn’t help writing to the editor.
Thank you for today’s article about the program that helps black students at City High. I wonder about the efficacy of naming the program “Fas Trac”. Barack Obama has done well for himself by leaving the final letters on his words. It helps him avoid conveying a confusing message of “chang” and “hop”.
It seems that I’ve spammed myself. Some work I was doing on the site this weekend caused a lot of 404 errors and since the 404 page I use is set up to send me a message whenever there’s an error… well, I’m still downloading my 3,597 new messages. So I’ve disabled that 404 page.
I’ve written before that Iowans are a excessively ga-ga over high school sports. We watched the state girls basketball finals on TV last night. Iowa City High defeated a school from Cedar Rapids. It was an excellent game aggressively played and decided by a last-second lay-up on a long-throw assist. Even I was excited.