Sunday, August 31, 2008


Not merely a hat tip, but a grand flourishy Musketeer-type courtly doff of my hat, whilst making a long leg, to Wretchard at the recently-relocated Belmont Club.

At bottom of the linked post, he points to a (now not readable at no monetary cost by mere humans who are willing to submit to a registration gauntlet) NYTimes article. Below is my excerpt of his setup and a sweet secant thereof. I can only wish I could I encourage interested parties to RTWT. [Later: a pity it doesn't stay that delicious all the way through; it devolves into an Iowahawkesque send-up of Obama, which weakens the nonpartisan aspect both Wretchard and I draw from the excerpts we chose to post]
David Brooks captured the pompous, yet unreal quality of modern political debate in a satiric, cutting, fictional convention speech. Brooks lampooned the phenomenon of words upstaging reality. Brooks imagined a statesman telling his rapt audience:

My fellow Americans, it is an honor to address the Democratic National Convention at this defining moment in history. We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last year’s “American Idol.”

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.

We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isn’t about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. It’s about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.
Yes. This is truly the essence of modern political speechifying as she is spoke. It's not just the Dems who do this, of course. It's merely one strain of the common amphigory of every Senator Claghorn and Gov. Slingwell Slugwell on the stump. {Hooray for Slugwell!!!}

And thanks for Sarah Palin for maybe, just maybe, breaking that mold a bit.

[Edited after a kindly soul clued me in to the "free reg" option at the NYT. So I created a fake-data NYT login account named pissedoffuser with a password of pissed -- I wonder how long that one will work?

There's a point where Mr Brooks goes the Monty Python "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch one better:
As a child, I was abandoned by my parents and lived with a colony of ants. We didn’t have much in the way of material possession, but we did have each other and the ability to carry far more than our own body weights. When I was young, I was temporarily paralyzed in a horrible anteater accident, but I never gave up my dream: the dream of speaking at a national political convention so my speech could be talked over by Wolf Blitzer and a gang of pundits.
Yeah, that's the real deal. That's Quality there.]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hiatus? What Hiatus?

Here's a link to a beautiful quick demonstration of inattentional blindness.

Richard Wiseman's AMAZING COLOR CHANGING CARD TRICK (via Youtube).

I will avoid putting spoilers here, but I do think it worth commenting on. Maybe soon.

Hat tip to Jeff Fry via the AST's AST UPDATE pdf zine.

The next time you are facing a gumption trap in your life, I hope you can find a way to consider, in a more relaxed and constructive way: Hmmm. What is it I'm not paying attention to?