Monday, February 13, 2006

Never as Good as the First Time
When you work at home like I do, terms like "Monday" and "Friday" are less redolent with meaning than they are in the corporate world. I don't know what's happening where you are, but in my world, it's fairly quiet today. That's because I know Dick Cheney and his shotgun are nowhere nearby, and even if they were nearby, I wouldn't know unless he shot somebody else, and maybe not even then. So here are a few thoughts and things that have surfaced on this sleepy, birdshot-free afternoon:

Michael Brown Has Left the Building, but His Soul Is Marching On. The Google ads, on the right side of this page, are generated automatically, which leads to some strange stuff now and then. For example, one that came up this morning from Floodsmart.gov, a FEMA agency, said, "Don't be a victim of the next big storm. Learn more now." So far, so good--except for the headline: "Wisconsin Hurricanes." Yeah, helluva problem up here.

"He Really Nailed That One!" After just one night of watching the Winter Olympics, I think I've already seen enough snowboarding. If you've seen one of the 70s-haired verbally challenged twentysomething athletes do whatever it is they do, you've seen them all. The only thing more repetitive may be the commentary that accompanies it, which is 50 percent caffeinated enthusiasm and 50 percent uncritical fawning. Given the likelihood that snowboarding and similar events are among the few events likely to attract TV viewers under the age of 40 (and one of the few Americans will dominate), we'll likely be enduring them every night for the next two weeks, and I say the hell with it.

Frozen Gold. The Mrs. and I had suspected, ever since it was announced last summer, that Green Bay's Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic would be something special--college hockey, which is far superior to the pro variety, on an outdoor rink at Lambeau Field, home of the Packers. Once we got there Saturday, it was a great time, from the pregame tailgate to the reenactment of the Badger football "Jump Around" tradition to the Badger players doing a Lambeau Leap into the student section after the 4-2 win over Ohio State. About 48 hours later, it's turning into one of those memories I'll cherish fondly for the rest of my natural life. They might do it again sometime at Lambeau, and if they do, The Mrs. and I will be there--but it won't ever be as good as the first time.

Aliens in My Back Seat. The Mrs. and I, who are childless, took our nephew and his friend, both age 13, to the hockey game with us on Saturday. It was OK, really--all we heard from the back seat was the buzz beneath their headphones from the Korn and Slipknot CDs they traded back and forth. When they weren't cranking music, they'd talk to one another in a normal tone of voice except when the subject was girls, when they would drop to a conspiratorial whisper. They'd load up on candy bars whenever we stopped along the way. On the way home, they didn't inform me that they'd run out of money for dinner until we were at the counter and ready to order. The only time they exasperated me was while playing grabass at dinner, which caused me to remark to my nephew, "This is why you don't have any cousins." They may seem like an alien species from time to time, but in most of the significant ways, 13-year-olds are not a lot different now than they were when I was 13--although I am sure our music was better.

Recommended Reading: Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory put up a post on the Bush cult of personality that might be the Post of the Year, or the Century, or the Millennium. It's that good. (The comments from Kos on Greenwald's post are worth reading as well.) Also, if you're having trouble believing that our country could put up with a stolen election, or happily embrace torture, or impeach a president for a blowjob but not for a systematic campaign of lying that would make Tommy Flanagan blush, you ain't seen nothin' yet: Barry Manilow has the number-one album in the country this week. It's a miracle.

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