Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The People's Republic of Sodor...?

My five-year-old son, like Robert Murphy’s little boy, has also been a lifelong Thomas the Tank Engine fan. And while I agree with Murphy that Thomas offers a lot of positive examples for children—peaceful cooperation, mutual respect, the virtues of a job well done, etc.—there are a few things about that show that have always gnawed at me just a little.

First off, it seems that Sir Topham Hatt has a nice little monopoly rule going on the Island of Sodor. Notice that there’s only one railroad on the entire island, and it’s owned and managed by Hatt. He has no competitors. Does he own all the other industrial concerns on the island as well? I can’t be positive--perhaps I’ve missed something--but it seems that he does. And while I’ve never been able to ascertain whether or not he in fact does retain a monopoly on final decision making authority over all disputes that arise on the island, it sure seems like it, judging from the many episodes that I've watched.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Blagojevich

I still stand by what I wrote about this whole tawdry affair two and a half years ago when he was removed from office:
"I feel no empathy for any power-seeking politician. If one gets tossed into the river by the other capos to swim with the fishes, well, he shouldn't be that surprised, and his cries of outrage will have no effect on my deaf ears. If you're going to run with that mob, then you deserve whatever they stick you with. There are a lot more people being railroaded by government legislators and prosecutors who are exponentially more deserving of my empathy than Rod Blagojevich.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings: 'Caleb Meyer'

In the Shadow of the Palin Eclipse: Bristol Palin, Liberals and "Blackout Sex"

You have no doubt seen the story going around the web or have seen it on one of the pop culture distractions on the Tee-Vee, but apparently Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol has made her own contribution to the confessional autobiography industry for our post-Oprah media age.

I normally don’t spend much time dwelling on stories about celebrity tell-alls, which are usually nauseatingly self-involved and rarely provide any insights I find of interest. I had a great suspicion that there wasn’t a whole lot about 21-year-old Bristol’s “journey so far” that I would have deemed worthy of my scarce time. But this story on one of Bristol Palin’s self-revelations published in her book, appearing on something called Poopeater.com, which I found linked on a friend’s Facebook page, happened to catch my eye.

The headline:  BRISTOL PALIN REVEALS SHE LOST VIRGINITY WHILE DRUNK

From the second paragraph (emphasis is mine):
“The 'Dancing With the Stars' finalist reveals she lost her virginity to [Levi] Johnston when she got drunk for the first time on wine during a camping trip, then woke up in a tent with no memory of the blackout sex. Though she and Johnston agreed they should wait until marriage, she admits they were soon intimate again. She claims that in their rocky relationship, Johnston ‘cheated on me about as frequently as he sharpened his hockey skates.’”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yesterday and Today

This is my first full length post since March 1, 2009. It seems like only yesterday this country of ours was mired down in multiple wars, an economic meltdown, unbridled government surveillance and harassment of the people...Yup, getting back into this blogging thing will be just like riding a bike. Nothing much has changed in the past two years, has it? So much for Hope and Change©.