Saturday, March 19, 2011

News and Notes

I'm in Seattle for what has been a very intense research trip. I am kind of slacker today because it is beautiful outside and I tired. Nonetheless, I have been spending an exciting afternoon looking at back to the land articles from 1914......

While I slowly go through this stuff, a few news, notes, and ephemera that is on my mind.

1. Former Denver Bronco Mark Schlereth has a pilot in development? Why? Is there any low network TV won't sink to?

2. Of course this nation is going back to debtor prisons. Since we are determined to roll back 2 centuries of increased economic, environmental, and social progress, why the hell not. With the Republican Party reading Charles Dickens novels as a guide to creating an ideal society, is this at all surprising?

3. Could someone please explain the 1970s to me?

4. I recognize that Wisconsin public sector unions are taking the new anti-union laws to court and hope to fight the battle there. But I am shocked and dismayed that they haven't accompanied this with a strike. Shut down the state.

5. I could not be more torn on this Libya operation.

6. Warren Christopher, RIP. A middling Secretary of State in the annals of the office, but certainly not a terrible one. Interestingly, he was our last white male Secretary of State. We have had 4 non-whites or non-males in a row. Trivial but fascinating. Which reminds me, I wonder if we'll ever see a non-white male Secretary of the Treasury?

7. Love this Disunion piece on divorce in the mid-19th century. I've seen these debates in the territorial records for Washington. Sometimes they granted the divorces, sometimes they didn't.

8. And linked within that piece, Abe Lincoln, working blue!

9. Owsley. Which very much reminds me of Frank Zappa's "Who Needs the Peace Corps?"

10. If the Phillies sign Luis Castillo and he turns out to be a useful replacement while Chase Utley is hurt, I'm going to laugh at Mets fans. I hope he gets a game winning hit against the Mets.

11. I'm wearing the first wool shirt I've ever owned. I wonder how much grassland in Mongolia I turned into desert in order to get this garment. I also realize I have no idea how to wash a wool shirt.

12. I've been reviewing wilderness publications for discussions of loggers. All the great photos make me sad that I haven't done more wilderness explorations in my time. It's a weakness of mine; I love these places but I'm terrible with my hands and too lazy to really take the initiative to get better with things like setting up tents and such. Essentially, I need someone to push me into it. And I haven't been friends with a lot of wilderness-y type people. But when I have been pushed into more hands-on situations, I've really loved it. I think I became a backyard type hiker (by which I mean I explore a lot of places close by to where I live rather than drive hundreds of miles to more established wilderness areas) in part because I really enjoy taking day hikes in part because I can remain in my comfort zone. And I've set up a whole ideology around these actions.

13. If you were ever wanting a sequel to Belle de Jour, and I know you were, I watched Manoel de Oliviera's Belle Toujours last night. It was OK, except that Michel Piccoli's character was drinking at Nicholas Cage Leaving Las Vegas levels, except at 80 years old and with no behavior change. I had a problem with that. Not a moral problem, I just thought it was a weakness of the film.

Well, this pretty much sums up my random thoughts for the last hour. If only all my hours weren't filled with random and mostly depressing thoughts like this.