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Archive for April, 2007

Required Reading?

I have shelves of books about 9/11. Most of these were given to me because I was personally affected. On my shelves are books about loss and coping, including at least three by 9/11 widows who scored early book deals. I’ve got books by pundits, politicians, military men and conspiracy theorists, consummate insiders and perennial outsiders. Of course, I’ve got a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report. Now there’s a new book by George Tenent – “In the Center of the Storm” – and I must decide if: (a) I’m still interested in this subject, (b) I want to spend money on a book about this subject, (c) it’s worth getting upset once again over what I might read. Me being me, I probably will look at it. And me being me, I’ll probably peruse it at Barnes and Noble over a cup of Starbuck’s rather than commit my cash to buying it.

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Early Debates

April 27th
The Democratic Presidential candidates were on last night. You can be forgiven for not watching since it competed with “Grey’s Anatomy”
and “CSI” (thank God for TiVo) and since the first primary, even with all the rearranging, is still nine months away. Substantial field, I must say. I thought I remembered everyone who was running but  was a little surprised to see eight bodies onstage. Even Brian Williams looked confused. My favorite was Mike Gravel (yeah, I know, who?) whose crotchety, irritated demeanor really livened things up. His proposal to make it a felony to stay in Iraq has got to be a foreign policy first. Republicans are on next week – ten of them, I understand, all white middle-aged men but hopefully their ties will distinguish them from one another.

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I think I’ll give everyone a break, including myself, and not comment on Rosie’s departure from “The View.” First of all, commenting on it would be so lacking in originality. Second of all, I don’t have a strong opinion about it. It’s one of those things where I can see it from a few angles and that’s if I even give myself over to thinking about it. And third, not commenting on it is in line with my philosophy that it’s not necessary to express, much less have an opinion on absolutely everything.

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I was drinking my daily does of V-8 juice (man, that’s good) and reading about further fallout from the Imus foot-in-mouth story. A few television and radio journalists and talk show hosts have called on hip-hop performers, promoters and producers to avoid three especially inflammatory words (two sexist and one racist). Some performers have responded that the lyrics are art or maybe they’re terms of affection. I appreciate the gesture but let’s face it: We live in a culture that celebrates the art of the insult. From shock radio to blog warfare to the public humiliation of reality contests with at least one nasty judge (usually British), it’s all cruel and crude and disgusting and it’s making someone a boatload of money because we’re buying it. If we’re just figuring that out, maybe we all shoulda had a V-8.

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Doc Knows Best

My dog Molly had a bout of diarrhea so I took her to the vet yesterday. The doc on duty recommended an antibiotic, which I fed her with dinner. About an hour later she started to scratch furiously; her heart rate increased and her temperature rose. She was pretty frantic and so was I, especially when she finally slowed down and collapsed in a heap, breathing rapidly. I frantically phoned the vet, who’d just left the office; the nurse said to watch the dog and call in the morning. Molly seemed okay after awhile so I waited until today to call the vet and ask him if it could have been the medicine. Unlikely, he assured me, which was interesting because, I mentioned to him that I’d looked up the drug on an Internet animal health site and read that there could be side effects such as itching, racing heart and elevated temperature and even (oops) diarrhea. But since that didn’t jibe with what he was reading in his medical textbook and since he’s the doctor, I let it slide and went out to walk the dog.

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It’s a slow day when all I have to do is read about Alex Baldwin’s angry voicemail to his daughter. Now that’s real YouTube fodder. Contemplating the Baldwin backlash, I detect hints of a sympathy vote in the blogosphere for the volatile but beleaguered dad. Who hasn’t been tempted to lose one’s temper with an uncommunicative child? Oh, and leaking a private telephone message to the press? He gets extra points for coming up against some dirty fighting. I was actually enjoying the articles and talk show segments that popped up in the wake of the Alex attacks, offering parenting tips like how to talk to a tween. See, some good can come from this long-running and ugly saga of bitterness. I’d suggest another life lesson here: always erase the draft voicemail or e-mail you’ve written in anger. The first words that come into your head when you’re ticked off are the last ones you want to send.

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