On Dying [updated]

30 July, 2008

I was told a story about myself yesterday. When I was 7 years old my uncle passed away before his time. He was my favorite uncle, who had made me some really cool toys. Made them. I was apparently asked by a family friend if I understood what had happened, that he was not coming back.

I am told that I said something along the lines of “I understand it the way a seven year old does, which isn’t the same way grownups do. Maybe when I’m older I’ll understand it differently.” As I was raised to be a Unitarian Universalist, and my church school teacher was within earshot, it became a story that others have heard about me, but one I only heard yesterday for the first time.

I do understand it differently now – But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

[update: Tomorrow I find out how many months my mother has left with us. Have any of you been through this? I think it’s gonna suck, b/c I still pretty much have a 7 year olds understanding, just with 26 years more practice.]

Why I hate Katie Kouric

23 July, 2008

Ok, not really, but I don’t like her work much these days.

Last night I was struck with a bit of insomnia, so I do what I always do – I turned on my TV and zoned out. I don’t have cable so I’m stuck with a very few chanels. One of those is CBS, so I got to watch the back to back interview with Senators Barack Obaba and John McCain, at least 3 times. Insomnia was real bad. You can watch the interview yourself at CBS News.com. I’d post them here but there are Exxon advertisements imbedded, and so I won’t.

So, here’s what struck me about the interview. The Obama interview was the two of them in an open space with lights. Two cameras, no other stuff. She asked Obama some reasonable questions, but then she got to asking about “The Surge”. As soon as Ms. Couric asked Obama three times about The Surge (once vague, once more specific, and once insultingly directly after he answered three times quite thoroughly). He used answers that were direct and showed a nuanced understanding of the situation. Then they cut the last 2/3rds of the interview and suddenly, as soon an Obama stopped talking there we were, mid-interview with Sen. McCain. Her interview with him was, well, different. It was a once camera thing and she and McCain were not in the same room. His sentences were shorter, and were more about Obama than about The Surge itself. Also, whenever McCain was asked about The Surge, he answered, but the video went from a one-shot of his face to footage of our servicepeople being heroes in Iraq – building schools, directing traffic, etc…

So, when Obama talks about Iraq, he gets asked obtuse questions, and when McCain is asked, he gets footage of our servicemembers at work.

In the end, the piece was poorly edited, and had an agenda so palpable I had to duck repeatedly else I be brained by it. The Surge is a media narrative every bit as much as it is a military strategy, and Obama threatens the simplicity of their narrative by using big words.

Katie Couric, You are not now and you never will be Tim Russert. If you love America, please take a page from Helen Thomas and ask real questions of the right people.

Time Horizon

19 July, 2008

What’s the difference between a time line and a ‘time horizon’?

Well, on a time line, things move in a linear fashion – through time. An event horizon causes time itself to slow down, so I think that means a ‘time horizon’ makes events slow down. As if that were really possible in Iraq.

[Edit: turns out investopedia offers this gem: “The length of time over which an investment is made or held before it is liquidated.”]


2 July, 2008

Let me start by saying I have no great love and only grudging respect for MMFA, but….

The photos depict New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg with yellowed teeth, “his nose and chin widened, and his ears made to protrude further,” according to a statement today by Media Matters for America. The other image, of Times television editor Steven Reddicliffe, with similar yellow teeth, as well as “dark circles … under his eyes, and his hairline has been moved back,” according to the Media Matters statement.

… damn they are useful to have around. Sometimes.

Neither Steinberg nor Reddicliffe were reachable for comment Wednesday. But Times Culture Editor Sam Sifton called the Fox photo work “disgusting,” and the criticism of the paper’s reporting “a specious and meritless claim.”

“This was a hit piece by Fox News. It is beneath comment.”

Beneath comment. I’ve been not saying that (or anything else) for years about FoxNews.

Fuck ’em.