Monday, November 30, 2009

Sarah Palin

Liberals, environmentalists, intellectuals, and public employees often scorn Sarah Palin. However, real political activists from the left are terrified of her. They know that deep inside the heartland of America people are more like Sarah Palin than Nancy Pelosi or Obama.
If you sit down with people in the suburbs or small towns of America you will find she is admired by people. She has gumption. She is the lady who sits at the Board of Education meeting and shouts, " I don't care about all this nonsense about T1 lines and shared connections, I just want to know why the Internet is so slow!" Then she gets elected to be head of the Board of Education and terrifies school teachers for a couple of years till she runs for mayor or later, governor.
She is the true America. The America of NASCAR, tailgating, Sunday school for adults, dessert parties and singing Christmas trees. You haven't lived till you've seen a singing Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lady Gaga

It all happened so fast. I've been exposed in a week to the most important cultural icon of the aughts (the 2000-2009 decade). It started last Wednesday when they discussed her on the Slate Cultural Gabfest. Then over the weekend I saw snippets of her on the American Music Awards excerpts. Monday night I saw an hour special on her on cable. An interview followed by some of her videos. Then I went to her website and read about her on Wikipedia. Yahoo offered up 5 videos. Today I saw Newsweek magazine and read that she was not really artistic just because she mentions Marcel Du Champ and Andy Warhol in interviews. Even Sarah Palin knows those names.

Of course she will lose her bohemian Lower East Side creds now that she is famous. She is probably passe among the hip 20's crowd just as the baby boomers are discovering her. She is the obvious post modernist version of Madonna (Italian American woman, sexual outfits) especially Madonna's Sex Vogue period. However, to me, she is closer to being Cher. She does disco like Cher and does those modulated vocals like Cher did in "Do You Believe". She is dressed sort of like Cher did in her tv show in the late 60's early seventies. However in a Marat Sade sort of way. She is a little more M than S methinks. Her latest hair style looks like her hair was cut with a lawn mower. She is the star for our times.

The fifties was the decade of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. The 60's was Kennedy and the Beatles. The 90's was Madonna and Clinton. The aughts are Obama and Lady Gaga. A decade defined.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How we spend our days

How we spend our days. This is a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2008. To this typical day I would like to add the following:
Processing Microsoft updates: 25 minutes
Processing Virus protection updates: 15 minutes
Processing I tunes updates: 10 minutes ( 60 minutes a week divided by 6)
Cleaning my hard drive: 15 minutes
Defragging my hard drive: 15 minutes.
One extra hour of every day of my life is spent doing these activities. I want to check my email; but first I must perform an update to my operating system. I want to download one of my favorite pods. But first I must update I tunes. Then at the end of the day there is disc cleanup and defragmenting. Now does this time come out of my sleep time, my eating time or my work time? I guess it comes out of the time I would otherwise spend on sports.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dreams from my Father

I have just finished Dreams from my father by Barack Obama. Being cheap, I borrowed it as a library book and after some searching, managed to procure a paperback, taped on both front and back covers. A bildungsroman of an individual who has a racially mixed background who looks for his African ancestors and discovered and in fact met some of them. He also played basketball and did some politicking in Chicago with American born African Americans. Like many people of mixed ancestry, he got to see the strengths as well as the disappointments of his peoples. A dilettante of people but not a true member of any group. The description of his life in Indonesia is also interesting and describes some of his childhood.

If he was an obscure senator in Illinois, this book might have become the darling of the academics and been assigned in high schools and colleges nationwide but because he is now our president, he can't be assigned without it looking overly political. It is a good book. Someone who wrote a decent book is now our president. That's really scary. Americans prefer B students who are well liked for their presidents.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ah counters

As this recession drags on, many people are looking into other professions where there is hiring. According to the Occupational Outlook Survey, one of the fields with good prospects is that of the "ah" counter. This is a position where you sit at a table and whenever the speaker says "uh", "er", "like", or makes other useless interjections, the "ah" counter makes a little mark with a pencil. At the end of the speech, the "ah" counter tells the speaker how many times he said "ah". Fines or, in some cases, thrashings are then administered.
As a full time salary, an "ah" counter can be expected to clear over $80,000 a year. There has been a creeping towards piecework in the field, however, ie. payment for "ah"s. In this system the "ah" counter is paid a set amount for each "ah" he counts.

While I was an English major at college, I thought I might be a poet. I'd toss off a poem every week, make humongous amounts of money, and spend the rest of my time drinking beer with my friends. I was disappointed when the professor told the class that poets get virtually no payment for their work unless they are endowed by a major university. As good a deal as being an "ah" counter seems, it could turn out to be another fleeting position where the aesthetic rewards outstrip the monetary. Sort of like being a librarian.

Editor's note: Apologies to Toastmasters. "Ah counters" are volunteer positions.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I went to sleep a Democrat and woke up a Republican

After being born a Democrat, Wednesday morning I woke up a Republican. It felt funny at first. I still remember my Democratic upbringing and the wild parties with the Young Dems I was subjected to as a child. I went through my pseudo
college radicalism in college, then through adulthood easily slipping into the whiny liberalism of a mainstream Democrat. Then when I woke up and heard the election results, I realized I was now in the army of service to Republicanism.

Lifestyle changes can be abrupt. David Letterman will have to go and certainly no more Chelsea Lately. From now on I will watch the Jay Leno show. The mustache is toast. Maybe I can get a good deal on a General Motors SUV.

Now that I am a Republican I can safely eat at Denny's and enjoy the breakfast specials at Bob Evan's without feeling guilty. I will have to give up WXPN radio now and learn to listen to country western. Glad I didn't throw out my ties. I'll need them now. After all, I'm a Republican. Anybody want to go to Branson Missouri for a show?
Editor's note: Paul Krugman, the New York Times Nobel laureate and Princeton professor has a good article on Obama's dilemma.