Metaargus

April 22, 2008

Staying Late

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 7:57 pm

So I’ll be staying at work late tonight to read about the Pennsylvania Democratic Nomination contest returns, and the commentary on the returns, and the commentary on the commentary of the returns, on the internet. I don’t have a connection at home, so when something like this happens, I hunker down in my office, grab some Baja Fresh, and have a f-ing blast. Hmm….

Hopefully Clinton won’t win by more than 10%. That’s the benchmark that the media’s setting, even though she was up by around 20% after Super Tuesday. If she wins by less than this, she’s got real problems. She’s already got major issues, and numerically her chances of pulling out ahead are practically zero, but as long as a glimmer of hope still remains, it seems she’ll hold on. I wonder how much she’ll sleep tonight. Can you imagine how jittery that would make you?

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April 21, 2008

Ctrl-T, www.dailyko…

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 9:33 pm

So I’ve spent lots of time today, way too much time, reading about politics. Given that this seems to be a recurring condition for me, and given that significant time spent doing any one thing deserves a proportional justification, I’m going to give an account of why I spend my time this way. There are, after all, any number of other things I could read about.

Bullet points. Bang bang bang. I’m going roughly in reverse order of importance/legitimacy.

  • I am a sporting chap. That is to say, I like to watch contests, to root for one side, and cheer or boo at the outcome, and then to assess why the winner won and loser lost. Some people like professional wrestling, some like soccer. I like politics. Shameful and nerdy, I know.
  • I like to know about what’s going on. In other words, I don’t like to not know what’s going on. When people are talking about a particular political situation, and I’m ignorant about the situation, a little voice inside me says “nuh uh,” so I read in order to feel like less of an idiot around people who really know what’s going on. Pretty shallow, no? …which leads me to my next bullet point…
  • I am shallow. Politics these days, with the likes of Vitter, Larry Craig, Norm Coleman’s dad, Mark Foley, Ed Schrock, and well shit, all of these, sometimes feels about as substantial as the Cosmo gossip column. This is why Wonkette works, because just reporting the news, albeit selected particularly for its juiciness, is rife with delicious little tidbits that make us gape at, scoff at, laugh at, or shake our heads at the American A crowd. And while all those listed above are republicans, the increase of sex scandals in undoubtedly one of the most bipartisan of trends, embraced whole-heartedly by both sides. Maybe it’s just that people in general are perverted and shameful, and the media lens just happens to focus in on lawmakers and decision makers. Or maybe it’s that politicians are all power mongers, who self-select for their insatiable appetite for gratification and constant reiteration of their own importance, and sex with multiple people just happens to be a pretty efficient medium for self-validation. You make the call.
  • Politics matters. Ok, so this is my first actual legitimate reason for paying attention to politics. So despite what Ralph Nader tells you, whoever wins these elections actually makes a difference. Both sides aren’t always the same. On their quest for power and validation as a human beings, the better politicians out there might make a few good moves and improve the quality of this country, fix the problems we have, and reposition ourselves geopolitically, so that more people out there stop hating America, Americans, eagles, and the colors red, white and blue. The worse politicians, while being on parity with their more progressive colleagues in terms of their general selfishness , might actually make things much worse as a byproduct of their quest to curtail their cosmological vertigo via attention and power.
  • Policy really matters. Policy, or the specifics of legislation, execution, and judicial decision, is unquestionably a worthwhile thing to read about. I don’t really read about that very often; I read about elections, superdelegate numbers, gerrymandering, the media, expensive haircuts, Obama’s former ties to hippie radicals, etc. I haven’t read a bill for weeks. I haven’t read a judicial decision in months. I don’t know what the Ag department is allocating to food stamps this year, though I purport to care about all these things. And I think I’m better than most. I know what a continuing resolution is and why last year’s omnibus appropriations bill was a disaster. But really, when it comes down to what I’m attracted to, what I tend to surf around and read about when I’m bored at work, it’s politics, not policy. But good men and women write good policy, and policy matters.
  • I care about myself. I recognize the extent to which the government is involved in my everyday life, and I realize that bad policy and corrupt leaders will probably harm my personal well being. Pretty simple first order economics. I’m rational actor, hear me rationalize!!!
  • I care about others. I recognize the (perhaps even greater) extent to which the government is involved in the lives of the less fortunate among us, and I’m a big sissy bleeding heart liberal who wants good policy to help those people along, both domestically and globally.
  • I really despise people who don’t care about others. I want to see the bad guys lose. Nothing makes me more upset than domineering, trampling leaders who care little about who’s dying for what cause and only really care about making money or buying hookers or whatever gets them going.

Wow. I just reread this screed, and I sound like a blood sucking Birkenstock. Well there goes my political career. It’s probably for the best.

April 18, 2008

Wildflowers

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 6:35 pm

More on the food crisis. Overcome with American guilt today. I walked into Whole Foods yesterday and was astonished at how much food we have at our disposal, and it costs only a small percentage of our US income.

I baked bread yesterday. It came out a little dense, but it was still pretty good.

Going to West Virginia this weekend. The wildflowers will be out.

April 17, 2008

Tigercity and Bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 8:00 pm

I absolutely cannot stop listening to this band. Tigercity

If you don’t follow that link and listen to them while you’re using excel for work or whatever you’re doing then you’re absolutely crazy. I can’t stop listening, and their music puts me in an exceptional mood. It’s like auditory cocaine. See how they’ve had like 150,000 profile views? About half of them are from me in the last 5 days.

At least listen to Powerstripe.

I saw Tigercity last Friday at Rock and Roll Hotel and I can definitely say that I haven’t had as much fun at a show in years. They blew me away, both as performers and as musicians. Prince has gone indie.

In other news, I bought a breadmaker the other day. Gonna make wheat bread tonight.  Getting domestic here. Metamartha Stewart.

Thursday is Verse Day, April 17 Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 1:24 pm

The seasons change, rotating ageless round,
Endowing earth with everlasting youth,
Regenerating. I look onwards, still
And stifled, seeking sanctuary, truth,
Or maybe just my place amid the growth:
These wild grapevines, raised from raisins dropped
From vines now dead. The mother, father, both
Have perished. Save their offspring, they are stopped.
And now they’re gone into the muggy fog,
That place where unremembered beings range
Oblivious to us, forgotten, done
With in our minds, without an epilogue.
The tyranny of this renewing change
Will save this moving world, but spare no one.

Another ABABCDCDEFGEFG, written Monday of this week. Happy Thursday everyone.

April 16, 2008

Bikes

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 2:37 pm

So I love my bike. It’s my favorite possession. It’s a red trek from the early 80s. I got it in great condition about two years ago, and it’s served me really well. It’s just a wonderful machine.

I am intrigued, however, by alternatives to the traditional chain-driven bicycle. I was talking to a co-worker the other day about how cars and motorcycles, both of which were originally powered by chains, are all driven by belts these days. It’s nearly universally considered a huge improvement, resulting in a smoother ride. To my surprise, belt driven bikes actually exist. I’d be interested in riding one of these to see how it feels.

Also out there are shaft-driven bikes. I’d love to see how one of these feels. I wonder why you don’t see more of them around.

April 10, 2008

Thursday is Verseday

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 8:01 pm

And when the fall is nearly over, I

Will take myself to ends of worlds to find

My long lost pet, to wish her a goodbye,

Where she roams in the woods, now unconfined.

And always living, which we know, is just

An always dying, which we do not know:

An ancient realization crowned with rust,

A stolen thought that lingers in the snow

Of early autumn, when I march the ground.

The novel wander through the harvest days,

When searching is the occupation, when

Religions come to be, when pets are found,

In blurry corners of the garling blaze.

Yet how I wish to start the trip again.

This is an older poem, from November 2006 or so, one that came to me out of the blue this morning as I was walking to the office from the train station.  I remember having major difficulties with the gg couplet at the end of the Shakespearean sonnet form during this time of my life, so I started writing sonnets ababcdcdefgefg, instead of  the ababcdcdefefgg, or “Shakespearean” form. This sonnet variation has a somewhat wandering feeling to the end, and doesn’t end with the aphoristic snappiness that the final couplet has in the Shakespearean, but I like the temporary suspension of rhyme resolution that this alternative form effects. The change in rhyme scheme is at first jarring, and you almost wonder if it’s headed into a blank verse section. Line 11 comes as an unwelcome surprise on the heels of the rigid, quadrangular two initial quatrains, but then in lines 12 and 13 the change of pattern begins to solidify, actualizing just as the poem draws to a close, resulting in a cresting, graceful finish.

This is one of my all time favorite forms. Happy Thursday everyone. Love, Spencer

April 9, 2008

Ducks and such

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 6:55 pm

So rising food prices don’t only affect the world’s bottom billion inhabitants. Here within the fat and happy US, where the trans fats flow freely, there is certainly no dearth of cheap food, but what of the ducks?

An article in today’s NYT begins thus:

“Out on the farm, the ducks and pheasants are losing ground.”

And it only gets more more dramatic from here. So back in the day, Uncle Sam made a deal with US farmers where they would get paid a moderate yearly per acre subsidy for land that they set aside for wildlife conservation. According to the article, it comes to about $51 per acre per year, not that much really. But since wheat is like 9 bones a bushel these days, farmers aren’t renewing their contracts and the ducks are, well, the ducks are fucked.

In other news, Costa Rica is powered 99% by renewable energy. That makes me hopeful but at the same time very upset that we’re not doing better here in the US. Costa Rica is an amazing country. No standing army, extremely high literacy rate, great natural resource conservation policy, and now this. It’s also pretty beautiful, so I hear.

April 8, 2008

A book to read – The Real McCain

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 5:37 pm

There’s a new book out that I intend to read when it hits bookstores next month, The Real McCain, by progressive blogger and author Cliff Schecter.

Preorder it on Amazon here.

Typically I don’t read these types of books. I’m not all that interested in political biographies or hit pieces from one side on the other, but given the gravity of this election, I’d like to be able to articulate clearly and cogently why voting for McCain is a terrible choice. I follow politics pretty closely, and I have my talking points against him pretty well summed up, but I get the feeling that I’m going to need some more background in order to strengthen this argument, which I foresee having to give again and again here and there throughout the next 9 months.

This is especially the case because I have quite a few friends and family members who still consider McCain some sort of “Maverick” or some such bullshit. They recollect the American popular conception of him from  his persona in the 2003 Republican Nomination Campaign, from McCain-Feingold legislation, etc. For some reason, he’s still viewed by some as one of the few politicians who has the ability to overcome partisan divisions and get shit done when need be, because he’s friends with John Kerry or something.

But the truth is that he blew all that for good when he started backing bush and talking about how the American People don’t have the slightest problem with the U.S. occupying Iraq for the next 100 years. That’s nearly enough for me, but others need more convincing, beyond the Keating Five Scandal and a general craziness that Colonel Tigh exudes at nearly all times.

Well I hope that this book will provide some other pointers that make anyone anywhere near the fence in this election quickly poll vault away from McCain and towards Obama, because honestly, that’s really just common sense that this point.

The book promises to be very entertaining, and many of the more outrageous items in it have already been leaked out. Here’s a pretty good review. The book will contain some gems, for example: how McCain was once witnessed calling his wife a  that nasty little word that starts with a C and rhymes with “punt.”

Hear that, ladies? McCain sure knows how to treat a woman. And don’t forget that this is the guy who left his last wife who waited seven year for his homecoming, shortly after she had been his a car accident that left her seriously disabled. Then he married a very rich, much prettier wife just a month or so later. Classy!

Word on the street is that the former Mrs. McCain has been paid major dough to keep a sock in it about her feelings on the Mavierck. According to her, he voluntarily gave her the family home and some additional money in the divorce settlement. Great!

April 7, 2008

Conflict Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaargus @ 7:27 pm

Uh Oh. Show on Saturday in DC that looks good too. Ra Ra Rasputin is playing again at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday night. The other bands look really good too.

I live within walking distance of the Rock and Roll hotel, so this might be the more ecological option.

I can’t believe I just said that.

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