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Radar blips: 1 May 2008

May 1st, 2008 · No Comments

Lou & Laurie
– I just heard that Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson have gotten married – to each other – after many years together.  No matter what you think of her art, Laurie Anderson always seemed like a very kind person and Lou, well, Lou Reed is Lou Reed.  Good for them, I say.

Leading by example
– The mayor of Homewood, Alabama, was exposed this weekend for giving a discount rate to the John McCain campaign for a room rental at the City Hall.  Mayor Barry McCulley immediately admitted his error – whether it was an error of oversight or just political favoritism – and pledged to get the city the money it deserved.  His first step was to ask the McCain campaign for the money; his alternate plan is to come up with the money himself, either out of his own pocket or from a benefactor.  The buzz locally is that another local politician is acting with authority that is not entirely his, sidestepping the chain of approval that includes the city council.  My take on it is that people make errors every day, willfully or not, but it takes a particularly humbled person to admit to making the mistake and to provide restitution (forget about the “political backpedalling” angle).  Birmingham’s Mayor Larry Langford could take a cue from Mayor McCulley.  Langford’s modus operandus is to steamroll costly vanity projects through the city council, blasting the civic goodness of any who might have an opposing viewpoint.  Langford made a show of “humility” this past weekend by spewing fire and brimstone about the city’s crime rate while wearing a burlap sack over his Nike-insignia’d sport shirt, under a large banner bearing his name.  Maybe these two should meet.

May First
– Today is the first day of May.  It is May Day, though I doubt I will see a maypole or a maypole dance during my travels around town today, or in my immediate neighborhood.  It is also National Prayer Day (don’t tell Larry Langford).  Today is Thursday: the lunch special at V. Richards cafe and market is a chicken caesar salad.  I had that for my lunner (lunch/dinner) last Thursday, and have rarely eaten anything so good.  There will be a new episode of Lost airing tonight, which I will watch.

– I have never had a professional one, but I am going to soon.  It’s time.

The Mist
– I have got to say that I was impressed by how director Frank Darabont presented this Stephen King novella as a film, which I watched on DVD over the weekend.  Marcia Gay Harden was particularly good, chewing the scenery (the interior of a supermarket) with all the fervor she could muster, though the character was basically an exaggerated caricature of religious fundamentalism.  But that ending!  It was somewhat shocking, but after seeing it I was overcome by a wave of hopelessness.  And then the movie ended.  Blecch.

“Race for the White House”
– While I work in my office, I sometimes have the television on in the background, often tuned in to MSNBC or CNN.  You know, the dreaded talking, yelling heads – and these days the themes are either politics or domestic slavery.  One new show on MSNBC, called “Race for the White House,” is hosted by former political correspondent David Gregory, and it really pisses me off.  Or, more accurately, I should say that Gregory really pisses me off.  He is constantly rushing his guests, barking commands like: “GO, NOW!” “HURRY UP, REALLY QUICK!” “QUICKLY, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT?!”  Irksome, at best.  Ironically, one of his regular guests is Pat Buchanan, who has made a career out of being a shouting head on radio and TV shows.  The only bright spot on this show is hearing David Gregory shout down Buchanan on occasion with some obnoxious vocal blast, such as “GOTTA COMMERCIAL BREAK!!”  I don’t know why this guy bothers me so much in this format, especially since I am such a fan of Chris Matthews and his similarly-paced “Hardball” show.  Chris Matthews has a sense of humor, that’s the difference.

– I approached the aquatics director at the pool I frequent to ask him if the chlorine level in the pool was indeed as high as it seemed.  He said, Yes, we’ve been having a pH problem.  It has been this way for at least five days.  He anticipates it getting back to normal levels within the next two days.  Have you ever spent 45 minutes in a pool with an excessive chlorine level?  You begin to grow cotton in your mouth.  You feel like your nose is bleeding, probably a minor version of what coke nose feels like.  And God help you if you aren’t wearing goggles!  My hair is turning dry as straw, and my formerly black swim trunks have become a strange color combination of purple and brown.

The exercise ball
– It is just a ball, after all, but the wide array of really effective exercises you can do while sitting on or leaning against this big inflated rubber sphere amazes me.  What an obvious use of a basic object!  I got one this week and, frankly, the exercise ball is kicking my butt.  Makes me want to develop about twenty exercises to do with an empty shoebox, then market it and retire with my millions.  Or the “resistor bands” made up of entwined plastic grocery bags.  Or the “push up stands” made of empty, upside-down cat food cans.

Tags: film · food · health · music · politics · self

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