Monday, December 31, 2007
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
-- Bobby Burns
I wish you and yours the happiest 2008. I'll be working on it, I assure you.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
And I think the notion that you can sit at the table and negotiate and compromise, and these powerful interests will give away their power, I think is a fantasy. If it were true, it would have been working over the last few decades. And it does not.-- "This Week", 12/16/07
Friday, November 09, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
How's things by you?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
J Street Invisibles
tommyspoon's tea cozies
Tied for Sixth Place
All in all, not bad. Just don't bring up tommyspoon's Fantasy Baseball team, The New Homestead Grays.
So, anybody got any suggestions for me?
Monday, October 08, 2007
- I share TRP's desire for a more civil, thoughtful political discourse.
- Not only do we disagree on how to get there, but I am afraid that his approach is dangerous not only for the Democratic party, but for all of us who believe in social justice and other progressive ideas.
- I consider both of our majority parties to be pretty much one and the same. They are both heavily funded by big business and, as such, are not generally beholden to the people of this country. So this is not a Blue/Red, Dem/Rep, Liberal/Conservative issue for me.
- It is, however, about winning. Because only by winning can you change the rules of the game and change the cultural climate. This isn't NCAA Division I College Football where the champion is determined by some sophisticated algorithm. This isn't baseball, where the rules are elegant and can be interpreted many different ways and there is poetry and grace in every pitch, swing, hit and catch. This is old school smash mouth football. You must advance the ball to score points. Quoth Herman Edwards: "We play to win the game."
- TRP and I are very close friends. This response may raise the color in his cheeks, but we'd probably go out and have a beer anyway. (Probably a Mudslide for him and a single-malt for me, but to each his own.)
"Just win, baby."
(Point of order: I hate Al Davis. I love that quote. Kinda sums me up in a nutshell.)
Our mutual friend Joe made the comment that groups of people cannot have "morals". I'll go one step further: politics isn't about morals. Politics has to do with winning and losing to see who gets to make the laws. Now, those laws can have a particular "moral" bent one way or the other. And certainly those who participate in the political process can hold a particular moral point of view. I don't find the "moral" issue particularly helpful when it comes to discussing politics; thus I was tempted to reject TRP's argument en mass. I was going to say that we were talking past each other speaking different languages and that the whole debate is rendered pointless as a result. Besides, I'm not a very good debater; TRP coaches debate. This is the equivalent of me stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson, for goodness sakes!
But the more I thought about his argument, the more I agreed with it. I just vehemently disagree on his approach. As I said in my opening, I think it's dangerous to the causes of social justice that we both care so much about. So this is why I'm responding to TRP. I don't suspect I'll change his mind, but I hope to make him see why I disagree with him.
TRP wants to raise the level of political discourse. But his way to get there is fraught with disappointment and defeat. He wants Charlie Brown to reason with Lucy and ask her to hold the football so he can kick it. And the fact that she takes it away time after time doesn't seem to trouble him. Well, it pisses me off. I'm tired of playing politics like it was the 1970s. It is now 2007: times have changed. They call for different strategies. This "suffering in silence" routine is getting old and getting us nowhere.
I sent this cartoon to TRP last week to preface this response. While I think it's funny, it also happens to be the best summation of the current political climate. Reasoning with the current GOP is like trying to reason with a drug addict: it's impossible. The only thing to do with an addict is to inform her that if she does not clean up her act then there will be consequences. The only thing that the current GOP will respect is their own downfall. They must know that their tactics will not work anymore. I believe the only way to do that is to give back to them in full measure. If we can beat them at their own game then they may think twice about playing it in the future.
I once had a Republican strategist tell me that the only way that the American people will rally around the Democratic party is if they won something. "It took us over 20 years of winning to pull the country our way," he said, "it will take the same kind of effort to pull the country back your way."
As I see it, the only way to raise the discourse is to win. Win back the Congress so we can tone down the rhetoric and restore some sense of balance, comity and cooperation. Because make no mistake, all of that has disappeared from the Capitol building. The GOP is mainly to blame, but Democrats such as Joe Lieberman and others have played the role of enabler. The time for hand-wringing and nuanced debate is over. The Democrats must play to win so we can bring an end to our role in Iraq, so we can expand SCHIP, so we can bring about civil rights to everyone in this country. There are so many reasons to "get up" for this game. It's time we got up, got out and won something!
Q: In Congress, would you rather have a thinking person who sometimes disagree with you? Or a non-thinking me-too party lackey who usually agrees with you?
A (TRP): My answer is found in my priorities: Conscience first, country second, party not even in the top ten.
A (tommyspoon): Depends. Right now I want a Congress who is completely committed to getting us out of Iraq. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that's what Mr. Baird's constituents want as well. I consider nuance and intellectual parsing of the Iraq issue to be a complete waste of time. The only questions worth asking are:
- What is the timetable for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq?
- What kind of help do the Iraqis want from us and how can we best provide that assistance?
- What is our long-term foreign policy in the Middle East? More of the same? Or something different?
I believe that we can only answer questions 2 and 3 after we answer question 1. Questions 2 and 3 require nuance and thought and rumination. Question number 1 requires committed, resolute action. After the Democrats have veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, then we can bring nuance and intellectual rigor back to the floors of the House and Senate.
Q: ... why crucify Rep. Baird for what is clearly a thought-out stand? We both disagree with him, but does that make him a bad guy or even a bad Democrat?
A (tommyspoon): I believe that Rep. Baird got played like a piano. Read this statement from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and ask yourself why there is such a disconnect between Baird's positive outlook and Schakowsky's observations. While I don't approve of Baird's constituents calling him names, I share their frustration. I'll give him props for holding the forum and explaining himself, but he's not doing what his constituents want him to do. That's not the kind of representation I want, TRP.
Shouldn't the Congressman represent the views of his constituents as well as his own? I admit that this is a hard line to straddle, but in the case of Iraq both you and I think the answer is pretty clear. So do Rep. Baird's constituents. We get it. I don't think he does. While I don't want a lapdog, I also don't want someone who disregards my wishes. That's not the kind of representation I want in Congress.
If I don't think that my reasoning will change TRP's mind, then why did I take the time to write it all down? Because I believe in the conversation. Despite all that I've said in this post, I believe that all conversations are valuable and necessary to our intellectual health. Conversations don't have to have winners and losers. TRP and I are (hopefully) big enough to know that there is room for all kinds of points of view int his world. TRP always gives me something to think about; I just hope I returned the favor.
One of the points that TRP made in his subsequent post was a comparison of MoveOn.org to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: "...and I'd argue that, unless and until the candidates disavow their tactics, MoveOn represents the Democrats in the same way that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth represented the Republicans..."
This may be nit-picking on both of our parts, but I don't think that this is a fair comparison. I offer into evidence these summations of both MoveOn.org and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
TRP may still disagree with me, but he has challenged me on my assertions before so I thought it only fair to challenge him on one of his.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Visitor making fresh coffee in break room: Does this office make coffee with one packet or two?
Employee: Usually one... But there are factions...
1920 East Parham Road
via Overheard in the Office, Sep 28, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
J Street Invisibles Last Place in League
tommyspoon's tea cozies First Place in League
Clearly I'm better at picking games than managing players.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The antipathy [toward mime] is often justified. With the exception of a few rare talents, most are nothing but genetically inferior spawns, mimicking the one true practitioner. The trouble is that these watered-down Marceaus rarely get it right -- and in so doing have made mime a four-letter word. "There is," as Marceau says, "only one Marceau." Yes, he's the real thing. He has an impeccable comic sense, and knows how to make you feel, in your soul, the tragic moment. It's no accident that children are his best audiences, because his art demands active participation, imagination. His is a world fashioned out of thin air. You see a statue, a pickpocket, a matador, a lion tamer, a soldier, a man passionately embraced by his lover. Marceau's highly stylized, lyrical sketches can be light and whimsical or bitingly satiric and dark. "Marceau in our time," says New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes, "remains the supremely eloquent voice of silence and poet of gesture."
While mourning the passing of a true master of performance, I am also mourning the passing of our collective sense of wonder and imagaination. I have an audition this evening and Bip will be on my mind (and hopefully in my soul).
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
(I know, I know. The Divorce is getting to me in ways I couldn't have predicted.)
So, without further ado, meet tommyspoon's first team, the J Street Invisibles!
QB -- Peyton Manning, IND
WR -- Donte' Stallworth, NE
WR -- D.J. Hackett, SEA
RB -- Deuce McAllister, NO
RB -- Jamal Lewis, CLE
TE -- Todd Heap, BAL
W/R -- Fred Taylor, JAC
K -- Adam Vinatieri, IND
DEF -- Baltimore Ravens
Warming the bench are Jeff Garcia (QB -- SF), Brandon Jones (WR -- TEN), Reuben Droughns (RB -- NYG), T.J. Duckett (WR -- DET), Antwaan Randle El (WR -- WAS), and Justin Fargas (RB -- OAK).
(Seriously, who is Justin Fargas? I drafted him only because my last pick, Priest Holmes, is on all-but-permanent IR -- a fact that I was unaware of at the time of the draft.)
My second team, tommyspoon's tea cozies, is an entry in a pick 'em league on Yahoo!. I don't think I'm making any radical picks this weekend except Buffalo to beat Denver. That may be a sympathy pick on my part, who knows?
I am really glad that football season is starting tonight. I'll probably watch Indy and NO duke it out while doing an inaugural load of laundry at my new place. I'll try not to live it up too much, I promise.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
So here's a video (scroll down to the bottom of the page) I found this morning: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Stevie Wonder jamming together on "Superstition" (which is my all time favorite Stevie Wonder tune). The video is not so great, but the sound is pretty good. I suggest turning up your speakers at some point today. SRV would approve.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Pretty good. Pretty good.
- Moved a bunch of stuff into my new place yesterday. In 100 degree heat. All by myself. Yes, my knees hate me now.
- All utilities have been canceled and/or reshuffled.
- Paperwork is slowly being completed.
In a quest to keep myself busy, I'm entering a Fantasy Football league at the office (draft is this Tuesday night--I wonder if I can get that Heap guy from the Ravens) and I'm going to take part in TRP's Underdog pool. I don't know why I didn't do this last year; I'm a big fan of the underdog. My, that's a lot of sports-gambling related activity. How will my moral center cope?
To all those who sent us emails of support and love: thank you. I have no more words to tell you how much that love and support means to both of us. And I've wept over too many keyboards to count, so I'll stop here.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
We wish we had some clever way of starting off a letter like this, but there isn't any nice way to say it: we are getting divorced. This may come as a shock to you, but this has been a long time in coming. Rest assured that we have made every effort to avoid this outcome, but we realized that it is the best solution for both of us. We would like to have told each and every one of you in person, but airfare is awfully expensive.
We're not going to try and answer all of your questions with this letter, but we can say the following with no reservations:
So, what's next for us? In the
- This is an amicable divorce.
- There is no need for you to take sides. Please don't fall into the trap of "Well, I can't talk to him because I just talked to her…" You can talk to both of us. Really. It's OK.
- This was not the result of infidelity, financial chicanery, or any of the usual reasons why people divorce.
- We still care about each other a great deal. Yes, this is making the process harder, not easier.
, a couple has to be separated for 6 months before a divorce can be finalized. So Sweetie is going to try to keep the house and tommyspoon is moving out September 1. Commonwealthof Virginia
This is a time of uncertainty for both of us. But we both cherish the love and support that all of you have given to us; the certainty of that love and support is what will get us through this rough time. We love all of you very much! That remains certain, always.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
What? You want it handed to you? Go read the post and the comments!
And while you're at it, go out and buy his dynamite SF debut novel Infoquake. You'll be a better person for it. Really.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
P.S. I did serve on a Jury this week and am going to write it up this weekend. I'll post all the details (with names changed to protect the innocent) next week.
UPDATE: Just got an e-mail asking if I'd be interested in auditioning for this. Any thoughts?
UPDATE 2: Thanks for your input, but I've decided not to audition for anything at this time. I spent one whole day last week putting our team calendar together, and March is going to be very busy. I'll still support the Great American Musical, just not onstage!