If you can’t say something nice, at least be entertaining.
The My God, You Sound Old Award: December, 2008
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for it’s old-fogyish remark about South Park: “If it’s a cartoon, children should be able to watch it.”
I guess the whole world of anime must leave them cowering under their beds.
Quote of the Day
You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing. - Michael Pritchard
Bad Writer of the Week Award - Richard S. Drake
Yes, I read the editorial in the NWA Times this week before I wrote my blog - “Northwest Arkansas Times and the Ministry of Silly Walks.” I was attempting, albeit in a clumsy fashion, to make fun of the headline used in the editorial.
Good thing I don’t get paid for this stuff, huh?
Then again, it was a silly headline, so I guess we’re even.
Ten years ago, the Fayetteville City Council honored the brave and beleaguered citizens of Tibet For those who may agree with the recent editorial criticizing such “toothless” resolutions, consider Frank Parigi’s words from this article:
“If we do not take the time to speak out now, who will? How can we say that we care about freedom, or the fate of human beings, if we do not try hard to bring an end to this destruction? We may not be able to change anything standing alone here in Fayetteville, but working with the rest of the world, we can change everything.”
This is another excerpt from my book about Fayetteville, “Ozark Mosaic.”
To Break the Chains
Fayetteville Honors Tibetans
Written by Richard S. Drake
To some extent, Tibetans have been reduced to passive onlookers to the destruction of their culture and national identity. This situation is guaranteed by a violent clampdown on voices that go against Chinese policies and by a pervasive surveillance and control that creates Tibetan fear and distrust toward other Tibetans. But many people continue to protest openly despite the threat of immediate imprisonment and interrogation under torture. They try to encourage other Tibetans to act according to what they believe. And they appeal to the international community for political support. - Anders Hoejmark Anderson, of the Tibet Support Committee, speaking at the “Social Development: A Tibetan Experience” conference held in Copenhagen, March 9, 1995.
On March 10 (the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army) Fayetteville will join communities across the world in declaring solidarity with the people of Tibet, who have lived under the cruel yoke of Chinese domination for several decades. The resolution (“Fayetteville Tibetan Independence Day”) was introduced by Alderman Randy Zurcher, at the behest of Students for a Free Tibet, a local group which is concerned about conditions in Tibet.
Zurcher says, “The most important reason for this resolution is that in one way or another, everyone on earth is connected. If we as Americans sit by while we hear of the atrocities carried out by the Chinese government on Tibet, we are not much better than the oppressors.
“On the other hand, if communities around the nation voice their opposition to these atrocities as the Fayetteville City Council has, President Clinton will no doubt get the message that trade must not be separated from human rights.”
Like many oppressed peoples, the people of Tibet have a story which is rarely heard amidst the tumult of a loud, fast-moving world, especially since China has been so adept at silencing critics of its Tibetan domination (including pressure on movie studios who would present the truth). But if the story is not heard by many more, and soon, there may be no one left to tell their story. Many feel that Tibet, a small country with a culture going back over 3,000 years, is in very real danger of extinction.
As Frank Parigi, of the Fayetteville-based group, Students for a Free Tibet, says, “Tibet is one of the worst examples of human rights abuses in the world today. It is a people and a culture enduring deliberate genocidal attack by the People's Republic of China.”
So far, the Tibetan people and their leader, the Dalai Lama, have relied upon diplomacy and nonviolent measures in their struggle for freedom. Unlike other oppressed peoples, they have not resorted to the use of violence and terrorism, in accordance with their Buddhist belief in non-violence.
Still, without international intervention, there seems no way to stop what may ultimately be the destruction of a way of life which has withstood so much.
Timeline - A journey to Holocaust
1949: Tibet is attacked by 35,000 Chinese troops, as China claims (without legal basis) sovereignty over the tiny country.
1951: Under what is known as the “17-Point Agreement,” China agreed not to interfere with the existing governmental structures, and further agreed to allow the society to go on as it was. Eastern Tibet saw these promises broken immediately, and in 1959, China turned its back altogether on the agreement.
1959: The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader, flees the country. 100,000 Tibetans leave as well. The Tibetans rebel against the Chinese. By Chinese accounts, 87,000 Tibetans are killed. By Tibetan accounts, 430,000 are killed during the uprising and the following 15 years of guerilla warfare.
1950-1984: It is estimated by many exiles that 260,000 died in prisons and work camps during this period.
1998: There are still Tibetans, so desperate to leave a land laid to waste by their Chinese oppressors, who brave the 19,000 ft. Nanga-La Pass, below Mount Everest. But once in Nepal, all too often they are turned over to Chinese authorities. Torture is used on a regular basis against political prisoners. Many of these prisoners are given little food, and forbidden to speak. 3,000 are estimated to have been imprisoned since 1987. Their offenses range from writing letters, distributing leaflets or talking to foreigners about the situation in their country.
A majority of prisoners (with sentences averaging seven years) are monks or nuns. The number of female political prisoners has tripled. Independent observers are barred from attending the trials of the accused.
And then there were none?
China has encouraged many of its people to relocate to Tibet, especially into major urban areas. It is said that in eastern Tibet, Tibetans are outnumbered by three to one. In 1994, China announced plans for a railway linking China and Tibet. Besides speeding the influx of Chinese immigrants, the railroad project will deplete valuable resources.
The official language of Tibet is now Chinese. In public schools, all references to an independent Tibet have been excised.
Perhaps 6,000 monasteries and shrines have been destroyed, and after release from prison, nuns are forbidden from rejoining their orders.
India is concerned, since there are signs that three nuclear missile sites, along with 300,000 ground troops, are now located in Tibet.
Throwing a Lifeline
In Fayetteville, Students for a Free Tibet is one group determined to help make a difference. Member Frank Parigi says, “The primary focus of this organization is to educate people about the Tibetan cause, and to create ways to further the goal of Tibetan independence.”
But, he adds, it isn’t all grimness. “Tibet is a very spiritual culture, and since boundless joy is one of the great spiritual treasures a person can receive, Tibetan culture can also be very joyful.”
Parigi says that though the official name of the nationwide grassroots organization is “Students for a Free Tibet,” that should not be taken to mean that only students are invited to join. Rather, anyone who wishes to help, or merely learn more about Tibet, is invited.
At the Fayetteville city council meeting at which this resolution was introduced, Alderman Donna Pettus pointed out that during the holocaust in Germany, no one made the effort to oppose the terrible mass destruction that the Third Reich was bent upon.
Frank Parigi says, “Today, Tibet is undergoing a holocaust just as horrifying. If we do not take the time to speak out now, who will? How can we say that we care about freedom, or the fate of human beings, if we do not try hard to bring an end to this destruction? We may not be able to change anything standing alone here in Fayetteville, but working with the rest of the world, we can change everything.”
Ozark Gazette - March 9, 1998
Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Words fail me.
Oh, I know that folks will be be aghast, and will write thousands upon thousands of words - some entertaining, some pretentious - about today’s editorial, asking the plaintive questions, “Where were they? Does Congress care more about people than about businesses?”
Interestingly enough, the second question never actually made it onto the paper’s website edition.
Wiser heads prevailed, perhaps?
As to whether or not Congress care more about people than businesses?
I was having breakfast this morning with a friend at Village Inn. I passed the editorial in question to him, and after reading the headline, he laughed. I’ll bet he wasn’t he only one in Northwest Arkansas laughing this morning.
That’s comment enough, I think.
Quote of the Day
The value of an idea has nothing to do with the success of the man who expresses it. - Oscar Wilde
The Inimitable Coralie Koonce
On January 10 (10am), at the Bentonville library, the AAUW (American Association of University Women) will hold it's regular monthly meeting. The guest speaker will be Coralie Koonce, author of “Models, Myths and Muddles: Thinking Toward Survival."
Coralie is familiar to many in Northwest Arkansas, not only for her books, but for her many letters to the editor. Her message is that we must develop our critical thinking skills if we're going to survive as a free nation and as a species.
I discovered this letter from Fayetteville writer DeLani Bartlette, while reading through the Summer issue of Ms. magazine this week. I suspect that many of us recall Shirley Chisholm, who ran for president in 1972, but I had no idea that so many women had run for president - some even before women were even allowed to vote in federal elections. I’m grateful to DeLani for giving me permission to reprint her letter here.
And yes, it was the Summer issue of Ms. Sometimes I get behind on my reading.
One of Many
I love your magazine, but I have to point out a couple of errors in the [Spring 2008] issue. First, in her letter “Flower Grandma’ Voter,” [Jenna] Lennon-Dorn erroneously states that Hillary Clinton is “our very first female candidate.” Second, in “Backtalk,” [Donna] Brazile makes the same erroneous assumption: “Let’s take all these steps now to make it easier for the second woman . . . to run as a serious candidate for president” (italics mine).
Ms. Clinton is most definitely not the first woman to run for president; that honor goes to Victoria Claflin Woodhull, who ran in 1872 and again in 1892, well before women could even vote in federal elections. Depending on the standards used to determine candidacy, Ms. Clinton is anywhere from the 31st to the 66th to the 100th female candidate. Every one of these female candidates was just as “serious” in her candidacy; Ms. Clinton is simply the first female candidate that both the media and one of the “official” parties have taken seriously.
Quote of the Day
The least interesting people were the ones who seemed to start with identifying themselves as "conservatives" and then tackled the issue with those blinders on. I've met plenty of uninteresting liberals who do the same thing. - John Moe, "Conservatize Me: How I tried to become a Righty with the help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and Beef Jerky"
Sometimes late at night we’ll watch this dreadful British show, Most Haunted. featuring the real-life adventures of a gang of ghost hunters. It’s an absolutely hideous show, yet once you start watching, you almost can’t pull yourself away from this group of professional cowards as they stumble through the dark, cowering and screaming at the slightest creak in the floorboards.
At some point you have to wonder:
How many ghosts have actually killed anyone? How many ghosts have actually dismembered anyone? How many ghosts have actually stolen anyone’s credit card, and gone on a shopping spree?
Yet these buffoons cower and moan like there’s a gang of spectral bikers about to descend upon them at any moment.
My favorite parts are when they ask the ghosts to give them a sign that they are there. I’d turn their cars over; there’s a sign they wouldn’t soon forget.
I actually heard someone ask once, “If you don’t want to talk to us, please give us a sign.”
Or, the ghost could simply ignore them, if they don’t want to talk to them.
It turns out, however, that our stalwarts may be faking some of their adventures. Several years ago there was an expose on them, and the story wasn’t very flattering, but reading it confirmed my deepest suspicions about them.
Yet the show still has high ratings. I guess P.T. Barnum was right, after all.
Quote of the Day
There's nothing people like better than being asked an easy question. For some reason, we're flattered when a stranger asks us where Maple Street is in our hometown and we can tell him. - Andrew A. Rooney
I’ve already told Tracy how I’ll contact her from the next life
This is how I’ll contact Tracy - she’ll see a Twinkie hanging off the end of a balloon. Not only will it bypass the usual cliches that most mediums will throw at you, but she can have a snack, too.
The most offensive psychics I have seen on TV yet - I really am drawn to cheesy “reality” TV, aren’t I?
A few months ago I saw a show where three “forensic psychics” were set loose in the house where JonBenet Ramsey was murdered. The three stooges wandered around the house, picking up impressions of the killer, telling the viewer what was going through his mind as he was laying in wait, and where he was waiting. It was all very intense - and highly offensive, too.
They seemed to to know so much about the killer - except what direction he turned in once he left the house.
I guess their psychic batteries were running out of juice . . .
If I were a rich man . . .
I really could see myself shooting out my TV about three or four times a week, between jokers like this, and the increasing Ted Baxterization of the news.
Conspiracies most foul
If there is one thing that British television has always excelled at, it is the creepy, the bump in the night, the feeling that something just out of sight is watching and waiting. And unlike American television, with its obsession for happy endings, British programmers don't particularly feel honor-bound to let us down off that meat hook at the end of the show.
Long before "X Files" there was "The Omega Factor," a show which enjoys cult-like status - mainly because so few people have actually seen it. After the original ten episodes were shown on BBC in 1979, it was never shown again. But people remembered it, and the legend grew, as people gathered around their video campfires and told the tale of this neat little exercise into paranoia and the paranormal.
Now, thanks to the BBC, the episodes have been collected on DVD.
The premise of the program was simple. Journalist Tom Crane, following the death of his wife, goes to work for one of those mysterious British intelligence organizations, Department 7. Along the way Crane and Department 7 investigate cases of astral projection, poltergeist activity, and demonic possession.
But Crane soon begins to suspect that there is something else - another, more sinister, organization - pulling the strings behind Department 7. Of course, he is right, and that's where a lot of the fun lies.
It's all pretty grim stuff; there is very little that can be considered "light-hearted" about the series. Viewers spoiled by modern-day television shows may sneer at the special effects, which may remind them of "Doctor Who." But despite the lack of glossy special effects, the direction is pretty good, and there are some genuinely scary moments to be found.
Those who stick with the series will be rewarded by a program that doesn't insult the viewer, and makes the assumption that the person watching is pretty smart to begin with.
Of course, that can't be said for all of the original viewers. Many were repulsed by the occult themes of the program, including the infamous Mary Whitehouse.
For a long time, Whitehouse, of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association (a British version of the Parents Television Council ) had had her steely eye on British entertainment. This was the woman, after all, who had once dismissed "Doctor Who" as "tea-time brutality for tots."
Naturally, there was much that Whitehouse found to criticize in "The Omega Factor." And while many regarded her as part of the lunatic fringe, some saw that her organization had a lot of influence.
It wasn't just Mary Whitehouse; other viewers seemed to dislike the show. One passionate person told the BBC, "I hate this damned program." One must pity the poor soul who has lost the ability to change channels, or - horrors! - actually might pick up a book to read if they don't like what is on television.
When the initial order of ten episodes ran its course, the BBC declined to renew the series. Still, the series made enough of an impact to keep viewers talking about it for decades, until it was finally released on DVD.
It can only make one wonder - as long as other series are being remade, and "re-imagined," can "The Omega Factor" be far behind?
I’ve been thinking about the exodus of Coody folk, seeking jobs elsewhere before Lioneld Jordan takes office in January. I wonder how successful some of them might have been if their new employers had Googled their names, and seen what some in the public have had to say about them and their job performance.
For example, not to be terribly crass, since it is the day after Christmas, but suppose a potential employer Googled a former Public Information Officer from an unnamed Arkansas city, and found the many negative posts written by members of the public. Might that have hurt the job applicant’s chances?
So essentially, what that means is that bloggers, and people who post on blogs, unwittingly become job references, for good or bad.
More and more, employers are looking at the Internet, which is sparking a lot of debate. Folks are even checking out places like MySpace, and Facebook, to see what you are up to in your spare time.
Those interested in reading about some of these debates can check out:
Quote of the Day
Mark how we realize the beauty and blessing of life itself only in rare, inexplicable moments, and then most keenly. It comes to us like a sudden blare of trumpets in the wind. - J.B. Priestley
Farewell, Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter dead. That’s a lousy way to end Christmas day.
UK playwright Harold Pinter dies
Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, who had cancer, died on Christmas Eve aged 78.
He wrote more than 30 plays including The Caretaker and The Birthday Party. His film scripts include The French Lieutenant's Woman.
His style was so distinctive, "Pinteresque" entered the Oxford English Dictionary.
His wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, said: "He was a great, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years."
He had been due to pick up an honorary degree earlier this month from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London but was forced to withdraw due to illness.
To read more:
Gotta love a persistent scammer
It seems that from the very first day I got an email account - all the way back in the 20th Century - I have been inundated with email scams. Some have been more interesting than others. Some, like the ones that promise Bill Gates will send you money if you send along a particular piece of email to, oh, something like 157 other people, are just stupid.
But others are more complex. They usually involve moving millions of dollars out of a country, and that they have been given your name as someone they can trust. Yet, oddly enough, they never seem to actually know your name.
Another intriguing thing about such letters is that those writing them always claim to be devout Christians - yet they are trying to get you involved in elaborate financial scams. Go figure. I understand from watching the news, though, that quite a few people every year get conned by these folks, always sending some money to them to grease the wheels, or giving them access to their bank accounts.
Since the invasion of Iraq, a new version has emerged. “Sgt. Robert King” urges folks to check out a BBC News website, and then contact him. It turns out he has some of Saddam Hussein’s money, and would like your help in getting it out of the country.
If you don’t respond, he’ll write back - again and again. This week I got his third letter to me. It read, in part:
I am writing just to share something's that are on my heart. Always I'm staying in my orations, and my confidence in God. I am trying not to allow this fear and pain subdue my confidence due to this entire transaction.I would never put you in this kind of predicament. However, what I am saying is it is completely unfair to me that after sharing such vital trust and classified information with you, you are not treating me in such a manner. To be very honest with you, I can no longer deal with the fact that you seemingly do not understand what I am going through to see this transaction to this last level.
No it is not your problem that I may lose my life here, court marsshall and the list goes on.
I finally wrote back, suggesting that someone who was actually in the United States military would know how to spell “court martial.” I’ll let you know if the good “sergeant” ends me another email.
Who knows? I may have a new pen pal!
Is Rick Warren Back Obama’s Sarah Palin moment? If so, let’s hope it’s just a blip on the radar.
Obama, in an effort to be “inclusive” - which is a good thing - doesn’t seem to have vetted the pastor of Saddleback Church very carefully. From his interview with Steven Waldman, which probably most people in the known universe have seen by now:
Rick Warren: But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.
Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?
Rick Warren: Oh I do. ……
And that, it seems, it just the tip of the iceberg.
I believe that the president is the president of all of us, and that it is only right and proper to invite conservative Christians to the White House. But someone like Rick Warren, to deliver the Invocation at the Inaugural? That’s not just an insult to gay and lesbian supporters of Obama.
It’s an insult to all the intelligent, tolerant people in the United States, gay or straight.
The World Turned Upside Down: Ted Baxter has suddenly become Walter Cronkite
We were watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show last night, and it suddenly occurred to me that bombastic newscaster Ted Baxter (played to perfection by Ted Knight) has suddenly become the norm in cable news.
From the proudly-sycophantic Wolf Blitzer to Mike Sanchez on CNN, to the buffoons on FOX, to the ever-emoting anchors everywhere on the dial, American TV news has reached the bottom of the barrel. Well, I say that, but I suspect it could get even worse.
Ted Baxter suddenly seems wise compared to the inmates who are currently running the asylum.
One anchor on MSNBC recently began one item with, “This story just breaks my heart.”
“I don’t care,” I snarled back at my TV. “Just tell me the damn story.”
Mike Sanchez - idiot?
I got 44,500 Google results when I typed in “Mike Sanchez - idiot.”
He’s not a well-loved man.
Quote of the Day
True friendship is like phosphorescence - it glows best when the world around you goes dark. - Denise Martin
I know that I fall into an uncomfortable pattern of using editorials in the Northwest Arkansas Times as the start of a rant - especially when I agree with about half of them - but today’s (“A waste of time: Should aldermen be making collective political statements?”) struck a chord in me.
While the NWA Times makes some good points, especially about someone “filibustering” the council, the fact is that there are moments when an elected body can rise above the din of every day city business, and take moral stands, or “feel-good measures,” as the Times so cavalierly dismisses them.
While the rsolition opposing construction of new coal plants in Arkansas may indeed be “toothless,” as the Times put it, in a very real sense it was not.
Sometimes the very act of taking a stand on an issue can promote debate and further understanding in a community, where there was none before. And Dan Coody is right; the resolution was a good way for Fayetteville to take a stand on one of the major issues facing us today.
Fayetteville is not alone among cities that are willing to take a stand on issues facing Americans today. In fact, we are, in anything, following a national trend.
1998: Fayetteville City Council honors Tibetans
October 2, 2003: The Chicago City Council passes a resolution condemning the USA Patriot Act.
June 21, 2005: Oakland, California: City Council passes resolution edorsing Department of Peace.
April, 2006 - Salt lake City: City Council supported and passed a “natural family resolution.”
May 22, 2007: City Council of Portland, Oregon, voted a resolution urging the US not to bomb Iran.
December 7, 2007: Indianapolis City Council Passes a resolution that "urges a moratorium on home foreclosures and for Congressional enactment of a Homeowners and Bank Protection Act."
Over 150 local governments across the United States have passed resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions.
These resolutions are the result of citizens coming forward to their city council, and making their case. Those opposed to the action are free to make their case, as well. But when cities pass these resolutions, other cities across the country take notice. And state and national leaders also take notice.
Toothless? I don’t think so.
If the presentation is well-made, and short (God, I treasure short), the work can be done in a few minutes. If anyone is going to carp, let it be on the preparation (or lack thereof) on the part of citizens making requests.
But a waste of time?
About that Nuclear-Free Zone business
Does anyone else remember the Fayetteville Board of Directors in the 1980s taking a vote, declaring that Fayetteville be free of nuclear-weapons material?
Quote of the Day
No man is the whole of himself; his friends are the rest of him. - Harry Emerson Fosdick
By now, you’ve already bought most of your presents - hundreds of copies of “Freedom Run” and “Ozark Mosaic” for all your friends, relatives and strangers at bus terminals- right? But even given those guaranteed stocking stuffers, some of us still have trouble finding a gift that has a little more charm than a gift card or the dreaded Old Spice.
I swear, if anybody gives me Old Spice this year, they’d better like how the damn stuff tastes, because they’ll be drinking it. Same with that Stetson crap.
But threats of bodily harm aside, there are still some gifts that I like to buy folks.
And, of course, if you don’t want to buy these gifts for other people, just buy them for yourself. You’ve earned ‘em. Probably more than they have, when you think about it . . .
Any CDs put out by Jori Costello or Catherine Reed. Not every music store in town has their stuff, but you’ll be greatly rewarded if you seek them out.
You’d sort of expect me to put this in, but if anyone in your family is interested in the world of television, why not buy them a couple of workshops at Community Access Television? Even if they just want to be able to take better “home movies” - whatever they are called now - C.A.T. is the place to go. You’d be amazed at how expensive the classes are not.
Books! Who doesn’t need more books? Who doesn’t like to read? And seriously, if you know people who don’t like to read, why do you know them?
“Conservatize me: How I tried to become a Righty with the help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and Beef Jerky” is the hilarious - yet thought provoking - story of writer John Moe’s attempt to become a short-term “conservative.” Along the way he manages to skewer such wretched songs as “The Devil went down to Georgia, and the insipid lyrics of Lee Greenwood.
It’s worth the price of admission, just to read the masterful deconstruction of “The Devil went down to Georgia.” You’ll never listen to it the same way again.
Possession,” by A.S. Byatt is a book I discovered when a guest discussed it on Charlie Moorman’s wonderful series, “Hooked on Books” years ago on Fayetteville Open Channel. It’s an intriguing novel about two modern-day scholars investigating the lives of two poets in the 19th Century. Dry and brittle material, you may sneer. Well, you have no soul and no imagination, my friend. This winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize has it all. Love, academic rivalries, bitter secrets, and startling revelations.
The 2002 movie is pretty good, too, actually, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle. I just wish I knew who the hell has my DVD.
“Winter’s Tale,” by Mark Mark Helprin. It is magical, wondrous, and you mean you haven’t read it yet? I wouldn’t have read this book if someone hadn’t put it into my hands years ago and told me that I had to read it. Well, she was right. I had to read it. This is what a reviewer on amazon.com had to say about “Winter’s Tale”:
“Winter's Tale”, a gorgeous masterpiece by master writer Mark Helprin is a book about the beauty and complexity inherent in the human soul, about God, love and justice and the power of dreams, those that take place while we sleep and those that we conceive while awake.
I can’t add anything to that.
Tired of the second-rate series that the once great Spenser mystery novels have become? Well, while Robert B. Parker just continues to cash checks and bamboozle readers, why not treat the mystery lover you know to the Rebus mystery novels, written by Ian Rankin. The Scottish detective series has all the grit of the 87th Precinct novels, plus a whole more more corruption.
Val McDermid’s excellent series of novels about police psychologist Tony Hill are also a treat. They have been turned into a neat series (Wire in the Blood) on BBC America.
I recently did a show with newly elected alderman Matthew Petty, and we talked about "The Green Collar Economy," by Van Jones, which shows an entirely new way of looking at our lives. It’s a book that isn’t heavy on policy, but has examples that everyone in America can relate to, and understand.
Not to be outdone, local film reviewer Heather Drain also sat down with me recently to discuss one of her favorite books, “RE/Search No. 10: Incredibly Strange Films,” which is a book about American underground films edited by V. Vale, Andrea Juno, Jim Morton and Boyd Rice.
It’s easy to sit back to be a snob and dismiss this stuff out of hand, but you may have a somewhat different view if you look through the book.
And who says I don’t learn anything from my guests?
And as for DVDs? Well, four of the best science fiction series currently on the tube are well represented in local stores.
Primeval, Doctor Who, Torchwood and Battlestar Galactica are all available in DVD. I’d write more, but then I’d be writing all damn night, and who needs that? Certainly not you.
Plus, of course, the British version of The Eleventh Hour (with Patrick Stewart) is available.
Naturally, like all writers, I expect you to drop everything and rush out to the stores, clutching my list in your hand.
Do NOT buy a Christmas puppy!
For god’s sake, don’t buy a puppy! I see the previews for Marley and Me, and wonder how many people plan to surprise the family with a Christmas puppy. Millions of words have been written on why people shouldn’t do this, and yet they do.
Dogs aren’t toys, to be put aside when someone gets bored.
As Tracy and I travel between here and Texas. And here and Oklahoma, we often see dogs abandoned on the highways by the morally unfit, because they are “too much trouble.”
What are these people thinking? That someone will think the dog is adorable, and will adopt it? No, they don’t care what happens to it. And you know what happens to it.
These people are literally too stupid or too mean to take the animal to a shelter, where it at least might have a chance at being adopted.
I’m not kidding about the Old Spice
Try giving me some. You’ll be drinking it.
Quote of the Day
You can make more friends in a month by being interested in them than in ten years by trying to get them interested in you. - Charles L. Allen
Reading yet another editorial (this one in the Northwest Arkansas Times) about the Employee Free Choice Act, and how, hey, it’s really not that good an idea, Folks.
No particular offense meant, but I’m not terribly interested in hearing patronizing management views on this issue, especially not when that seems to be the predominant view we read in the editorial pages. I think the public would benefit from hearing something from the union perspective on this issue.
Let’s have a real debate, and not the panicked union-bashing we’re seeing so much of.
Especially given the horrific record of the Bush administration regarding worker safety, now, more than ever, we need to hear from the unions.
Quote of the Day
Be slow in choosing a friend, be slower in changing. - Benjamin Franklin
Read more books!
Kudos to Meredith Oakley of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for her column, ““The world in books”” (December 17). We live in a world in which far too many people regard reading as a chore, and not as one of the more pleasurable activities people of almost all ages can indulge in.
I am constantly inundated with demands that I read particular books so that my eyes will be opened to particular political or spiritual truths. Very few people ever say, “Here, I enjoyed this book. I hope you do, too.”
For my money, the world needs more of the latter than the former.
Speaking of reading, does anyone else remember Magnus, Robot Fighter?
I used to read this Gold Key comic when I was a kid. All I really recall is that he spent a lot of his time beating up robots - which still seems like a pretty good idea, actually. Especially now, while they are still so small.
Quite a number of folk lately have been whispering that Dan Coody would be the “ideal” candidate to run against Republican John Boozman, come next election.
Of course, folks have been saying that for a long time now.
But as admirable as the new urban god of Sustainability is, that seems to be Coody’s only real issue. Oh, yeah, aesthetics - but maybe the less said about that, the better.
But there is a lot more to being a congressman than spouting off about just one issue. If Coody wants to run for congress - and I believe he does - he should he talking about a whole range of issues, including labor and poverty issues, two topics that Dan is spectacularly ill-equipped to talk about.
If he sticks to the sustainability issue, intellectually is on the same footing as those who run on anti-immigration platforms, or anti-abortion promises - he’ll he a Johnny One-Note.
Or a Danny One-Note, if you will.
Quote of the Day
We ought to write oftener, if only little notes. The frequency of the expression of affection is a very important thing in human life. - George E. Woodberry
The Truth about Green Jobs - looking at both sides of the issue
The December issue of Mother Jones has an excellent article about Green jobs, exploring truth versus reality, that a lot of people should look at. There is an article that follows it that is sure to inspire a lot of debate: “What about the Dirty Jobs - Memo to the Sustainability prophets; coal miners have to eat, too.”
I hope that somebody on your Christmas list got a subscription to Mother Jones. Or The Nation, or In These Times, or The Progressive, or, well, you get the idea.
The Truth about Green Jobs
And no, they're not immune to outsourcing.(the new economy industrial revolution)
David Roberts - Mother Jones, December, 2008
MESSAGE DISCIPLINE has never been one of the left's strengths (oy gevalt), so it's been somewhat astonishing to hear the chorus of support lately for "green jobs." From city officials in Albuquerque and Minneapolis up to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, more and more Democrats are framing climate change as "a moment of opportunity for innovation and job creation," as Obama has put it, that can revitalize the flagging US economy. But occasionally, enthusiasm outpaces reality. Let's sift through a few of the more popular claims.
 Green jobs are everywhere!
Does the administrative assistant in the front office of a solar power company count? How about the vanpool driver? Using extremely generous assumptions, energy economist Roger Bezdek calculated that green jobs accounted for about 5 percent of the US workforce in 2006. That's not shabby, but it's a long way from a clean, green economy.
 We'll turn miners into solar installers.
Working-class Americans still feel burned by NAFTA, when they were told not to worry about lost manufacturing jobs because they'd be trained for new, high-skill jobs. Clean-energy advocates, promising that jobs sent offshore by future carbon taxes will quickly be replaced, are now pushing an uncomfortably similar line.
To read more:
One of my last official acts as Telecomm Board chair will be to appear before the Fayetteville City Council, and explain the changes that the board has recommended to the C.A.T. contract for 2009. There are two that some may raise their eyebrows at. In a nutshell, they are:
Changing the required number of new producers every year from 40 to 30
Required new programs: 500 to 300
The reasoning for this is simple, actually. For one thing, this takes into account equipment malfunctions.
But for another? Public access stations across the United States - though committed to free speech - operate under different guiding principles. In New Orleans, for example, political candidates were not allowed from appearing on their public access station during an election year - even as guests on interview programs.
There have more more than a few elected officials in Washington County over the years who would have objected to that rule if it were in place here. There are other cities with policies just as restrictive.
Fortunately, Fayetteville is not so restrictive. But because C.A.T. allows candidates - and candidate forums - to be appear on the schedule, examination of the schedule from year to year will reveal that during an election year, there will be quite a few more producers/new shows than during the “off” years, when programming runs a more “regular” course.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at past years and look at key issues besides elections that have brought an increased flow of traffic into the public access studio, whether it be Fayetteville Open Channel, Access 4 Fayetteville, or Community Access Television.
The incinerator fiasco.
The Access Wars of the early 1990s
The move to change to city government from City Manager to Mayor/Council
The Human Dignity Resolution.
Some of you reading this may have even taken part in some of those shows. The truth is, you just can’t factor this sort of thing in when you predict how much programming a channel will have in any particular year.
Little Drummer Boy - I hate that song!
Well, so far I have been spared, and none of the stores or restaurants I have been to have been playing the Christmas song I most detest, “The Little Drummer Boy.” Can’t tell you why, I just hate that song, with a passion that borders on irrationality.
I love “Carol of the Bells,” though which is is based on an old Ukrainian Christmas carol - which was in turn based upon a pagan New Year’s chant. Bet you didn’t know that.
Quote of the Day
Strangers are friends you have yet to meet. - Roberta Lieberman
Ronnie Floyd and the Gay Menace
"My point is, homosexuality is an idea. You have never heard a doctor say,‘‘Mr and Mrs John Doe, you have a bouncing baby homosexual.' It's an idea. - Ronnie Floyd, "The Gay Agenda."
To say that Dr. Ronnie W. Floyd is a man with a powerful voice would be something of an understatement. The mega-church pastor not only preaches to two churches - First Baptist Church of Springdale, and The Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers - but also has a syndicated television program ("Winners"), and is the author of several books.
I first became aware of Floyd's book, "The Gay Agenda: It's Dividing the Family, the Church, and a Nation" through the letters column in the Northwest Arkansas Times. From there it was only a short trip to a local Christian bookstore to buy a copy of his sincere "warning" about the "Gay Agenda."
The Gay Agenda is not just any agenda. For Ronnie Floyd and his flock, the Gay Agenda - you know it's serious because of the capital letters - is set to destroy American culture as we know it.
"The Gay Agenda" opens on a bizarre note - Ronnie Floyd is watching an episode of "The West Wing" that he says "astounded" him. In the episode in question, the President of the United States, played by Martin Sheen, confronts a radio talk show host obviously patterned after "Dr. Laura." As Floyd recounts the incident, he writes, "My eyes widened as his anger rose."
After confirming that the Bible (Leviticus 18:22) does, indeed, refer to homosexuality as an "abomination," the Sheen character then recounts a few other warnings from the Bible, such as working on the Sabbath, or touching the skin of a dead pig (specifically, footballs).
Floyd leaps from describing the scene on his TV screen to discussing his take on the Gay Agenda, charging that "proponents" of homosexuality have declared war on American culture. He also writes that, "It seems that everything you see these days, everything you read, and everything you hear, is about the gay lifestyle."
Well, maybe if you are specifically looking for it. Other than that, the casual reader of "The Gay Agenda" may have some difficulty with his views.
Of course, "The Gay Agenda" isn't written for the casual reader. It is addressed to those who feel as Ronnie Floyd does, those who look at the world around them, and see trials and tribulations.
It is difficult, writing in the early stages of the 21st Century, to understand the paranoia and fear-mongering that Floyd stirs in his cauldron. Liberals have made great strides? The institution of marriage is in danger?
Floyd is already known to many through his television programs, and the fact that a complaint was filed against him with the IRS, charging that his infamous July 4, 2004 sermon in which he exhorted his flock to "Vote God," violated the law.
In 2006, he claimed that a vision from God meant that he should seek the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. Sad to say, a majority of other Southern Baptists were not privy to Floyd's vision, and he was soundly defeated.
"The Gay Agenda" is essentially bathtub reading (159 pages), adopting what some might call "down to earth" writing. Others might shake their heads at the simplicity of both Floyd's arguments, and his writing style.
Issuing what he terms a "warning" to those who support traditional marriage, Floyd writes at length about how the Gay Agenda (as he spells it) is dividing the country, from the family hearth to the halls of power.
And all the while, he says that the gay community " . . . continues to sing the song of inclusiveness."
Well, yes, it is dividing families, but an outside observer might answer that that is because so many families are unable to deal with the fact that a family member is gay.
Nowhere is mention made of just how difficult a decision it is to come out, and reveal oneself to a family that may only react with anger.
The problem with writing something is so obviously meant for True Believers is that a lot of the arguments contained in such a book may not pass any sort of Logic Test. This doesn't just apply to those on the Right; liberals are just as often capable of writing things that make absolutely no sense.
When you write something meant for the choir, you fall into a sort of intellectual shorthand - you don't have to expand on some arguments, because you are all on the same page, as it were. Books like this really aren't meant for those on the other side of the fence.
One glaring example of this sort of intellectual fuzziness is reflected in Floyd's writing, in declarations such as "Those who embrace the gay lifestyle feel the dread that comes from living without a moral anchor."
The kindest thing that can be said about such a statement is that it is silly. But it goes far beyond that in its sheer offensiveness. Does Ronnie Floyd actually mean that gay men and women have no moral compass?
One is tempted to wonder at this point - how many gay people does Dr. Floyd even know, other from those anguished souls who have been led to believe that the life they lead is the result of "choice"? How many gay men and women has he actually sat down and broken bread with, just to have an actual conversation?
No moral anchor?
And yet Ronnie Floyd doesn't exist in a vacuum; he is just one the many voices out there that people pay heed to. And while he may not recognize it, books like this are helping to further divide the country.
"What could actually prevent a person from marrying, say, an animal" An inanimate object?" - Ronnie W. Floyd, "The Gay Agenda
Those who see acceptance of gay men and women as one of the great evils in society will find plenty to confirm their suspicions in this book. Floyd tells a horror story of gay marriage, gay unions, gay adoption and the striking down of statutes that criminalize sexual relations between those of the same sex.
There is also high praise for President George W. Bush, who "courageously" spoke of the sanctity of marriage in July, 2003, and supported a amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
That Bush may have been cynically appealing to the GOP base doesn't occur to Ronnie Floyd.
And, of course, there is everyone's favorite whipping boy, the media. Besides his discomfiture with the "West Wing," there is also "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," and "Will and Grace."
Also mentioned is the Showtime series, "Queer as Folk." I suppose the reader should be grateful that Floyd is unaware that one of the creators of "Queer as Folk" is the producer of the revitalized science fiction classic, "Doctor Who" - one can only imagine what hidden meanings he might find there.
In September, 2003, the pastor preached a sermon on gay marriage, which was picked up by the Baptist Press, and included on their website. His language in the sermon is harsher than that in his book.
"It appears now that everywhere you look, everything you read and everything you hear is about the gay lifestyle. Satan has taken his tool of homosexuality, a gross and evil sin, and done a con job on the American culture, making it seem like all is okay when you are gay. I hope you are aware that what was once subtle has now turned into the rage of a lion as brazen and threatening as anything in our culture." - Ronnie Floyd, Sermon, July, 2003
Time and again he refers to what he describes at the culture "war." Those who are gay are at "war" with traditional Americans values.
Sounding eerily like Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Congressman who was widely ridiculed for his belief that lesbians were laying in wait for young girls in High School bathrooms, Floyd preached that, "One of the hot things happening in our high schools and colleges today is bisexuality, mainly occurring with girls. This means that girls enjoy being with boys sexually and also enjoy being with girls sexually. They are bi-sexual, meaning they cross over the sexes. I have been informed this is happening very much in our local schools as well."
"The Gay Agenda" also speaks highly of Steven Bennett, one of the most famous "ex-gays" in America. One of Bennett's best known remarks is that, " . . . God doesn't recognize these so called ‘‘gay' marriages. They are an abomination to Him and a putrid stench in His nostrils."
Steven Bennett - ear, nose and throat specialist to God.
After a while, Ronnie Floyd's Eternal Innocent pose wears a little thin, as well as his stoking the fires of fear and, yes, intolerance. Interestingly, in the 2003 sermon, Floyd proclaimed that he had never seen any of the aforementioned gay-themed shows, and had no intention of ever doing so.
It's easy to demonize - and that is what Floyd is doing - others if you make no attempt whatsoever to listen to what they have to say. It is sadly apparent that the only message he is interested in hearing from gays is that they are filled with shame, and would like to become an "ex-gay." He warns against watching such programs, claiming that such shows attempt to "baptize" others into their lifestyle.
As cheesy as "Will and Grace" is, Floyd might benefit from watching a couple of episodes.
Parts of "The Gay Agenda" Resemble nothing so much as a clarion call to return to the days of intolerance. No cliche is left unturned as Ronnie Floyd rails against the perils of the Gay Agenda.
At one point the book actually becomes farcical, especially when he discusses the reasons that so many conservatives are silent on the issue. He writes that many "pro-gay men" work for the ACLU, star in TV series, or are professional lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Such men are all too often "married" to the gay cause. And have lots of time to write and speak out on the issue.
A "pro-family dad works in a factory, as an accountant, or as a high school football coach." At this point one must wonder again, how many gay people that Dr. Floyd actually talks to.
Naturally, the Episcopal church, ordaining gays into the priesthood, and even as bishops, comes in for criticism.
Along the way the point is made that God did not make gay people the way they are. The old "choice" argument rears its ugly head again. That point can not be made too often, or too loudly, I suppose. It gets people off the hook from actually thinking about the issue, or from actually talking with gay people - let alone have any as friends.
In the final analysis, "The Gay Agenda" is just adding more fuel to the fire of ignorance. At the same time that Floyd is preaching that Christians should open their hearts to gay people, the case is being made that they shouldn't be opening their minds.
Ronnie Floyd might have done better to examine that possibility in his book.
I have been watching the financial gurus on CNN lately, advising folks on how to manage their 401K plans, including some wonderfully sage advice about consulting with your “personal financial adviser.”
I don’t have a 401k plan now, but when I did, I call tell you who my financial adviser was - it was me. I’ve been doing a lot of asking around, and everyone who punches a time clock now tells me the same thing; they are their own financial adviser.
So you watch the markets, and react to yesterday’s news. You fill out the paperwork, or go online, and change how you want your money invested - all based on yesterday’s news.
The stock market may be a crap shoot, but if you really have no idea what you are doing, there’s a lot of serious damage that you can do yourself.
And then they put my underpants on backwards - honest!
Just before bed last night, Tracy and I were watching these oddball UFO investigators” looking into a case where a guy was abducted, taken aboard an alien ship, unmentioned things happened to him, and he was returned to his bed.
If one is to believe the History Channel, or any number of other cable offerings, all one really needs to investigate UFOs these days is a computer and some baseball caps with a really cool logo on - and dress like you get all your clothes from yard sales. I sort of suspect the same principle applies to ghost hunting, actually.
But I digress. But then again, it is Sunday morning - what else is a fella gonna do?
Our victim claimed that once the evil aliens had their nefarious way with him, they returned him to his bed. But when he awoke, he discovered that his T-shirt and boxers were on backwards, and the screen was missing from the bedroom window.
You mean to say that these guys can pilot a spaceship across the galaxy, but can’t handle the intricacies of a window screen, let alone underpants? Off hand, I’d say we have nothing to worry about from these guys, at all.
One of the characters on The X Files once said that in modern America, just about anyone could manage to convince someone they had been abducted by aliens, because of how much abduction documentation is available.
One of the “investigators” said that the fact that the guy’s underwear was on backwards “clarified” his experience.
Meanwhile, back on Earth . . .
Quote of the Day
The art of leisure lies, to me, in the power of absorbing without effort the spirit of one's surroundings; to look, without speculation, at the sky and sea; to become part of a green plain; to rejoice, with a tranquil mind, in the feast of colour in a bed of flowers. - Dion Calthrop, "The Charm of Gardens"
On the Air with Joe Alexander
On Monday, December 15, (7pm) Joe Alexander will be a guest on my show.
Alexander, a well-known Fayetteville artist, has long been critical of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which a writer for Mother Earth News once described as possibly being the most hated current government program. The NAIS would require farmers across the United States to register all individual livestock with the government. Several states have already implemented the program, though there is much criticism and protest against it across the country.
Monday - 7pm
Tuesday - noon
Saturday - 6pm
There was once a joke about a Dickson Street bar - The Landing Strip - that applied equally as well to Fayetteville City Board or Washington County Quorum Court meetings.
They would search you at the door for guns or knives. If you didn’t have one, they gave you one.
This is an account of those thrilling days of yesteryear, when QC meetings were pretty exciting. It veers a little off-topic near the end, but then it snaps back.
And look, I wrote something nice about Dan Coody.
This is an excerpt from “Ozark Mosaic,” which makes a pretty good Christmas present! But then, I’m biased.
Washington County Activists: Clap ‘em in Irons!
Written by Richard S. Drake
“You’re fooling yourselves if you think the citizens who come to Quorum Court meetings are reflective of the citizens of the county. Many of them are here to try to influence you based on a show of group support.” - Charles Johnson, Washington County Judge, March, 1991
You should be ashamed of yourselves. You’ve been incredible pests, distracting our elected officials from their duties.
You mangey curs.
You’ve finally done it; you’ve attracted the attention of the Washington County political machine, and frankly, they’ve had enough. And who can blame them?
Perhaps it began with the incinerator, the first time the public reared up its head and challenged the will of the machine. After the incinerator (a fairy tale local bankers tell their children to warn them of the dangers of the unwashed multitudes) it got easier.
Ambulance companies, golf courses, improvement districts, and “authorities” of all shapes and sizes. Unexpectedly, the ordinary men and women of this county are realizing just how much political muscle they have, and to the movers and shakers, it is a terrifying notion. To think that hordes of people, many without benefit of higher education, would dare to challenge the testimonies of bought and paid for “experts” goes against traditional wisdom.
It also says something very ugly about the political process here in Washington County, and perhaps other parts of Arkansas as well.
Some years ago, an opponent of the incinerator project was dismissed by a Fayetteville official as being “just a painter,” as if this put him into some niche, a slot from which he could never (and indeed, should never) emerge. How could a common laborer have the temerity to think he had the education to speak up?
In a candid conversation with an instructor from the University of Arkansas last week, I was told that there is a natural prejudice in Arkansas against people from the working class. And, if you lack a college degree, it is like a double whammy against you. “They feel they don’t need to pay attention to you,” I was told. “It isn’t right, but that’s the way it is.”
No, it isn’t right; it is contemptible.
The current move on the part of the Washington County Quorum Court to limit public comments sounds reasonable, as does the similar move by the Fayetteville Board of Directors. Some meetings do drag on for hours, but these meetings often involve volatile issues which require a lot of debate.
Fayetteville Director Dan Coody is right to oppose the move, however. The County, and to a lesser extent Fayetteville, does have a terrible image problem in dealing with the public.
The Quorum Court's attitude was evident during the February meeting of the Policies and Procedures Review Ad Hoc Committee, well away from the intrusive cameras of Fayetteville Open Channel. A resolution was brought up which concerned changing not only the citizen comment period at the start of the meeting, but also to gut the minutes severely regarding the reporting of citizen views. No longer would your comments be reported accurately in the minutes, but recorded simply whether you favored or opposed legislation.
It seems to me that the recorded minutes are an historical document, and that often why people oppose or favor action is more important than the simple aye or nay. If JPs actually read the minutes, they could reflect on the views, and it might possibly affect their final votes, assuming of course, that they don't just declare an “emergency” and ram something through without public debate. They've gotten rather good at this over the last few years, which may account for a good deal of the public's ire.
JP Lois Imhoff stated that “Most people don't want to speak anyway. Perhaps we could simply ask for a show of hands from the audience.” You didn't see this comment in the local newspapers, did you? Don't bother looking; this incredible remark evidently wasn't considered newsworthy. Nor did you read this comment by JP Bennett Brogdon, an otherwise charming man who has a tendency to make ill-timed remarks:
“The only reason we're having to deal with this in the first place is because last month somebody was upset that their pearls of wisdom weren't reflected in the minutes.”
I don't like speaking in public; I get the jitters, and occasionally stutter when I get nervous. But I was out of my chair in a flash, and when I was given leave to speak, I reminded the Court that, for most people, getting up to speak on live television is an act of courage which should be commended, and that snideness has no place in dealing with the public. One thing that people don't need is hostility from their elected officials. From the angry response, you'd have thought that I'd questioned their morals.
Imhoff said, “We're the ones that face a hostile audience.” Perhaps she should consider why this is so. One JP said, “This is the first job I've ever had where somebody called me a goddamn liar.”
Well, he has a point. I was in attendance the night when someone yelled the accusation out from the audience. No matter the motivation, yelling something like that is incredibly stupid, because it just makes the court’s actions seem reasonable.
But aside from this one action, I have seen nothing which deserves the attitude that the Court so often exhibits. For the most part, the speakers have been polite, and well-informed.
Does it all come back to the fact that, for the most part, the speakers are working class, armed with only a high school diploma? I think perhaps it does. I’ve seen the same thing happen in the workplace, where young kids with a degree in almost anything can come in off the street and take a position away from a man or woman who has earned it by dint of their sweat and practical experience. There are plants in our area where morale is almost nonexistent, because management pursues such self-destructive policies.
Limiting debate on public issues won’t turn the tide. The citizens of Washington County have learned an important civics lesson; they've learned that democracy can work, and that every voice is equally important.
Let's see what the Machine comes up with next.
Grapevine, March 15, 1991
Preparing to write the annual Telcomm Report to the Fayetteviulle City Council - probably my last official act as TB chair - and a question occurred to me:
Why am I even writing the damn thing?
Granted, it’s required under the original ordinance setting up the Telecomm Board, but as far as I can determine, the TB is the only body of citizen volunteers in Fayetteville that is required to turn in a “What I did on my Summer Vacation” type of report to the City every year.
Isn’t that what meeting minutes are for?
What anal retentive lunatic slipped that requirement in?
Quote of the Day
"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side": Aristotle
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette goes ice skating on lake Bigotry?
"We call Bombay ‘Bombay’ because that is its name in our language." - Griffin Smith, quoted in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
This was in response to a reader taking the paper to task for insisting on referring to the Indian city by its older name, rather than by the name Mumbai, which it formally changed to several years ago.
The only possible response one might have is this:
One can’t help but notice the references to Beijing, rather than Peking. I wonder what convoluted logic the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette might use to explain that?
So - it’s not just me?
It was bound to happen sooner or later, I wonder if folks actually imagine what network they might be on?
For some patients, life is like a reality show
‘‘Truman syndrome’’ leads sufferers to think they are secretly taped for TV
updated 2:12 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 24, 2008
NEW YORK - One man showed up at a federal building, asking for release from the reality show he was sure was being made of his life.
Another was convinced his every move was secretly being filmed for a TV contest. A third believed everything —— the news, his psychiatrists, the drugs they prescribed —— was part of a phony, stage-set world with him as the involuntary star, like the 1998 movie "The Truman Show."
Researchers have begun documenting what they dub the "Truman syndrome," a delusion afflicting people who are convinced that their lives are secretly playing out on a reality TV show. Scientists say the disorder underscores the influence pop culture can have on mental conditions.
To read more:
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