Saturday, March 31, 2007

TDIH: I Shall Not Seek, and Will Not Accept, the Nomination of My Party...

On this day in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he would not be seeking the Democratic party's nomination for re-election to the presidency of the United States.

Through all time to come, I think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have all done together in these years of unparalleled achievement.


Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead.

What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace--and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause--whatever the price, whatever the burden, whatever the sacrifice that duty may require.


His address to the nation was much longer than this excerpt and can be found here at the University of Texas/Johnson Library website. This address in my mind goes hand in hand with Cronkite's "Stalemate" speech--Johnson said following Cronkite's speech: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." And he made his decision to not seek re-election.

Smorgasbord Saturday

It seems like I have had wonderful plans for analytical posts for some time now and they just don't seem to be manifesting themselves--soon they will, I hope. Like I have said before I hope to post on the politics (and genius) of James Patterson, my recent annoyance with Orson Scott Card, and the "project" I have been working on that has required a great deal of reading of short stories. The sad part? The project has absolutely nothing to do with school, it's just one of those things that has been buggin' me, so why not?

By way of other sites and blogs, I'd like to point you all in the direction of this piece at The Washington Post about Emmett Till's family reviewing the final autopsy report. Till would be the young black boy that was brutally murdered in 1955 (the summer before Ms. Parks took her ride on the bus) in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. I found this particularly interesting--mostly interesting that a family would find so much closure in an autopsy report. I would also like to point you in the direction of this particularly courageous act by the blogger at A Seattleite in Idaho. I don't read this blog, but when it popped up on Lefty Blogs, I thought a link to it would be appropriate. Definitely worth a minute.

Life here in Pocatello seems to be in a holding pattern. I was feeling quite well today, thoughtI was on the road to perfect health and hopeful that I would be back to classes and work on a regular basis quickly, but as I write this post the last couple of days are catching up to me and I think I need to slow down a little. I have just been catching things here and there and working a couple of hours in the afternoons on the Stallings papers, but I really look forward to getting back to a regular schedule. I need the structure.

Has anyone heard any more details on the reason Mel Watt was absent for the Iraq vote? I'm confused. How do you become indisposed inside the Capitol building while one of the most important votes of the year is taking place? I've always liked Mel Watt so I'm not jumping to conclusions, but come on...what's the story?

I'm not one for throwing in a plug for a particular product, but let me just say two of my favorite things in life are bubble gum and baseball caps. I got a new Braves hat with my brother last weekend and yesterday in the mail came this lovely brown Puma hat, but the product I am most happy with is the new flavor of Orbit gum--Mint Mojito. I love Orbit gum, I keep a stash in a cupboard in my kitchen and have always been pleased with their citrus kind (can't think of the name) and the traditional pink bubble gum kind (bubblemint?), but this new kind is WONDERFUL! It's refreshing, the first couple chews (quite possibly not a word) are zingy and your ears pop like the new lemon lime flavor does to you, but most of all after a few minutes you are just so content with the flavor you could be sitting on beach somewhere drinking a Mojito for all you know. The only down side to this gum, like most of the sweeter Orbit flavors, is there isn't enough gum base. Maybe it's the large quantity of sugars in the gum that do this to the gum base or maybe I just chew the gum for too long, but truly the gum base depletes long before the flavor. You would love to keep chewing the slimy, lifeless gum, yet you wonder if it will ever come out of your teeth.

Last, but not least, has anyone seen Ted Kennedy lately? I caught him on a evangelicals/immigration special and he is looking old... He has even lost some weight or at least his face looks like he has.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Elaine Hofman

For those of you who knew Elaine Hofman, you are surely as saddened as I am to hear that Elaine Hofman has passed away. Elaine Hofman was a former Democratic state legislator, had a key role as a district representative and campaign worker for former Idaho Congressman Richard Stallings, and was the wife of former ISU professor and former chair of the Department of Economics Cor Hofman. Just yesterday I was sitting in my cubby hole in the basement of the ISU library working my way through some files in the Stallings Collection and my colleague commented that it would be wonderful to have recorded interviews of former members of Stallings' staff and I said that one of the greatest would be an interview with Elaine. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Hofman and his family today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The short story is like an old friend who calls whenever he is in town. We are happy to hear from it; we casually fan the embers of past intimacies, and buy it lunch.” --R.Z. Sheppard

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

TDIH: Introducing Mr. Khrushchev

On this day in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier and 1st sect of the Communist Party. As you may remember, Old Joe Stalin had died March 5, 1953 leaving a handful of men in power, with Khrushchev clearly leading the Communist Party.

Instead of a Stalin-like dictatorship, Khrushchev was known for a policy that ended the most inhumane practices of Stalin's reign. The Soviet Union, of course remained a one-party totalitarian state, but conditions in the USSR were much improved with Khrushchev rejecting Stalin's extremes. However, he did create new factions in the party as well as schisms in the U.S. Communist Party which had lost a great deal of members during the McCarthy days and proceeding Stalin's death. Beginning in 1953 he became the First Secretary of the Communist Party (premier) and from 1958 to 1964 he was Chairman of the Council of Ministers. In 1964, Khrushchev was removed from power by members of his own party and spent the rest of his life, a few years, mostly banished from Party activity and under close watch by the KGB.

As someone very fascinated by the relationship between Kennedy and Khrushchev as well as someone intrigued by the personality and character of Khrushchev, I can't help but think that Khrushchev is a highly overlooked individual in history. He of course was overshadowed by Stalin, Brezhnev, and later in the legacy sense, Gorbachev.

There is certainly something to be said for the fact that whenever I am watching a questionable news story unfold (for instance the WMDs that were originally reported in Iraq), I can't help but think of what Mr. Khrushchev once said during those dark days of October 1962: "Someday history will tell the whole profound truth about what is happening today." Positive legacy, or not, there is no denying the very influential role this man played in the history of the Cold War.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Weekend Hiatus

Just a note--I'm taking the weekend off from blogging to rest, spend some time with my kid brother, and to work on the short story. No, I'm not writing a short story. I'm reading short stories. Trying to figure out why I have such a problem with short stories. No Smorgasbord Saturday, quote of the day, or TDIH this weekend, but I'll be back in a couple of days with a piece on the politics of James Patterson. Until then, to quote a good friend, peace be the journey!

News on the Road to 2008

Could the Road Be Harder? (Elizabeth Edwards)
The Road to the Hill (Al Gore)
Institute for Tomorrow's Workforce (Vilsack)
Anti-Clinton? (Obama)
Are You Serious? (Giuliani)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Reading, in contrast to sitting before the screen, is not a purely passive exercise. The child, particularly one who reads a book dealing with real life, has nothing before it but the hieroglyphics of the printed page. Imagination must do the rest; and imagination is called upon to do it. Not so the television screen. Here everything is spelled out for the viewer, visually, in motion, and in all three dimensions. No effort of imagination is called upon for its enjoyment." -- George F. Kennan

Taken from “American Addictions,” New Oxford Review (June 1993).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TDIH: Be My Yoko Ono? Oh No.

On this day in 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono. On that same day, President Nixon announced he would end the war in Vietnam in 1970. Merry X-Mas war is over? No that'd be the sound of the greatest band EVER falling apart...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Our Books, Ourselves

I just read a wonderful article out of the 3/19 edition of Newsweek. It is a lovely piece by Malcolm Jones about the baby boomers and their books. The way it depicts the 60s in connection with literature is magnificant. Check it out!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

"War does not end strife - it sows it. War does not end hatred - it feeds it. For those who argue war is a necessary evil, I say you are half right. War is evil (where strife, there every evil work: Bible, James 3:16). But it is not necessary. War cannot be a necessary evil, because non-violence is a necessary good. The two cannot co-exist."

-- U.S. Congressman John Lewis

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

I almost feel as if I should say, hi, welcome to Nerdville, I'll be your host with this post... I'm a little excited for two reasons. The first and most important being that for the first time in a very long time, I feel GOOD! The second being that I have a new library card--Marshall Public Library has new, lovely, plastic library cards for their patrons. They are in no way comparable to the old, paper, flimsy cards. And they have a picture of the library itself on them. Exciting, isn't it?

In other nerdy news, I finally received my very own copy of a GPO book called "A Guide to Research Collections of Former Members of the U.S. Senate." Not something every 21 year old aspires to own, but for me it's a great addition to my wealth of books. The GPO no longer prints these handy books because of the switch to a web edition Biographical Directory of Members of Congress, but for my purposes the hard copy is much more usable since I wouldn't know to search for say the Texas 16th if looking for a specific type of research collection.

In other news, I will be adding another list of books to the sidebar--as you can see, I haven't deleted any of my recent reads while I've been home recovering from an illness. To be added, hopefully by the end of the day, are: Judge & Jury, Step on a Crack, and Cross by James Patterson. Hornet Flight by Ken Follett, Bad Company by Virginia Swift, The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman, Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, and Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett.

In addition to this scattering of books, I should be adding to the sidebar under In the CD Player a great new artist by the name of James Morrison who was recommended for me. Great guy. Great music. And his inspirations include Cat Stevens and Van Morrison. The only thing I was hung up with when I first listened to him is that he's only a year older than I am. It used to be that the hot new artists, athletes, and actors were just a bit older than I and for some reason I was comfortable with that, but more and more they seem to be just around my age and in some cases younger. I'm not liking that too much...

It's a beautiful day here in Pocatello with a predicted high of 75 degrees. I think I'll go for a walk. And maybe if I'm still feeling this great tomorrow I'll pull out my bike.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Weeg to Arizona

Here's a bit of news from New West Boise... Recently I was surprised to learn that Richard Stallings had excepted the party chairmanship again, but now I'm beginning to see why. With Maria headed to Arizona, now I guess wouldn't be the time for an entire change-up. I have always had mixed feelings about the state party, but for as long as I've known Maria, which is awhile since her mother and my grandmother are lifelong friends, I've really looked up to her as a trailblazing Democrat, westerner, and woman.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No, We'd Rather Have Bigfoot

One of the things I have been attempting to accomplish while I have been at home is bringing the David Thompson Bicentennial Quilts to ISU as a traveling exhibit. My first thought was to bring them to the Idaho Museum of Natural History on campus, but after many, many talks, yesterday at a museum cabinet meeting, they collectively decided that this traveling exhibit does not fit within the parameters of their museum mission.

What I find so frustrating about this is that since June of 2006, the IMNH has had on display an entire exhibit (quite extensive) on Bigfoot. Yes, Bigfoot. And the Bigfoot exhibit is even running into Summer '07.

Tell me, what makes Bigfoot fit within the parameters of a natural history museum's mission, but bringing a quilt exhibit that celebrates the bicentennial of one of history's more prominent fur traders does not fit?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must." --Goethe

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

Since I have had so much time on my hands lately, I have picked up a few books--a few very good books, some okay books, and some not so great books. Here's a list of what I've been reading in case you didn't catch them on the sidebar as I was reading them: Daisy Miller by Henry James, Lone Star: The Life of John Connally by James Reston, What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] by Zoe Heller, The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb, War and the American Presidency by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee, Henry Adams and Henry James by John Carlos Rowe, Argument Without End by Robert McNamara, The Points of My Compass by E.B. White, Revelations by Philip Booth, The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, Ashworth Hall by Anne Perry, a mere 285 pages of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, I am finally finishing up Cross by James Patterson, and today I'll begin something new.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed most of what I read, though I can't say Zoe Heller's book was anything like what I expected it to be and the only thing I liked about it was the last sentence. I did read it in less than a day, so I may not have taken the time to let it all sink in, but still, I went into with fairly high expectations and came out of it thoroughly disappointed.

I've also seen my fair share of television and movies lately. Last night I watched a very odd film called The Great New Wonderful. In the last month or so I've also watched The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, The Aviator, The Girl in the Cafe, Arsenic and Old Lace, Father Goose, North by Northwest, Little Black Book, It Happened One Night, The Producers, season two of Six Feet Under, all seven seasons of The West Wing, a great PBS special titled Backstairs at the White House, Lawrence of Arabia, reruns of Gilmore Girls, Casanova, and plenty more that I can't seem to think of at the moment.

Though all of this seems quite exciting, I'm sure, I look forward to getting back to some sort of schedule that includes leaving the house daily. Don't get me wrong, it has been nice to rest, relax, and read, but you can only be cooped up for so long before you seriously contemplate throwing the television out the window and running away to Botswana.

In terms of what I have been listening to, I haven't really been listening to much, but I did finally break down and purchase a CD off of iTunes since I haven't been out to any stores lately and I've had my eye on Two Lights by Five for Fighting for awhile now.

Here's my only political comment of the day--Did you know that Idaho was one of only four states who did not create a commission for Bicentennial of the United States Constitution? I was reading something about the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution and it had a list of all the state commissions and Idaho wasn't on it. Neither were Texas, Colorado, and Massachusetts. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia had commissions. Why not Idaho? It's a shame, really.

Friday, March 9, 2007

No More Vilsack for President

**Editor's Note: The following is an email I (and many other Vilsack supporters) received from the Tom Vilsack for President campaign when he decided to drop out of the race. Thought you all might find it interesting.

Dear Tara,

I am very fortunate -- blessed in love, family, friends, job, and by this campaign.

I have the boldest plan to get us out of Iraq and a long-term policy for energy security to keep us out of future oil wars. Our campaign has built the strongest organization here in Iowa, with almost 3,000 supporters among Democratic caucus goers. We are organizationally positioned to win the caucuses in January 2008. We have everything to win the nomination and general election.

Everything except money.

That is why this morning after discussing with my wife Christie and our sons Jess and Doug we have decided to end our campaign for the presidency.

Thousands of you have given so generously of your time, energy and money. And together, we've built a campaign that has stood up and taken courageous stands on the issues that our country must face. In just the past few weeks, we've shaped the debate on the Iraq War and laid out an aggressive plan to achieve energy independence and security.

I firmly believe that our leadership on these issues ­ -- the defining issues of our time ­ -- will be recognized for years to come.

In recent weeks, just as our message has begun to resonate with voters and pundits alike, our fundraising has suffered. The fact is, each hour I spend with voters, press and policy experts is an hour taken away from our campaign paying bills.

More than any other race in history, this presidential campaign will require candidates to commit more time, energy and influence raising money than developing ideas. I worry that this process, involving hundreds of millions of dollars, holds our democracy hostage to insiders, influence and establishment when we are so in need of just the opposite.

But this is a fact I cannot change with this campaign.

I am leaving one campaign, but I am not saying goodbye. I will continue to fight for outsiders and underdogs who are the backbone of the Democratic Party and our country. Our work is far from over. Because here in Iowa ­where the first caucus will be held in less than 11 months ­ and all across this great country, voters are longing for bold leadership, big ideas and courage from our elected officials.

We want the war to end ­ -- today.

We want a real plan to provide universal access to healthcare ­ -- today.

And we want policies to keep us secure and environmentally sound by ending our addiction to oil, both foreign and domestic.

Again, thank you for everything you've done. It has been an inspiring few months and I know that, with your continued support, our work is not over.

With great appreciation,

Tom Vilsack

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Note on Bookstores


Isn't this a lovely little bookstore? Really clever, naming a bookstore Boo Radley's. A friend of mine has been in Spokane for several days and she emailed me this pic as she knew I would just fall in love with the idea of a bookstore named Boo Radley's. Not only do they have books, they have music too! How wonderful.

You must understand that in Pocatello there aren't really any great bookstores. Aren't really in that we have a Walden's Books in the mall which is mediocre at best...they didn't used to keep in Robert Frost in stock until one day I threw an enormous fit about it being an American bookstore and all without a single work by the American poet.

The other bookstore option is much better--The Walrus and the Carpenter in Old Town Pocatello. Great name, too. Lewis Carroll. Not nearly as cool as Boo Radley's, but really how can you compare anything with Harper Lee? The only downfall to Walrus and the Carpenter is that Will, the owner, doesn't do internet. Not at all. Doesn't buy or sell on the web as far as I can tell. But I can't complain, many of my favorite books have come from that fine establishment. I'm just saying there is a certain amount of comfort I take in knowing if I call up Barnes & Noble they can order me just about anything.

Or better yet I can order it myself on the Barnes & Noble website. At last the long awaited answer to the question that has been bothering me for some time--which is quicker the Barnes & Noble website or Amazon.com? Drum roll please... if one chooses the standard shipping option, an order from Barnes & Noble will in fact arrive at least one day ahead of an order from Amazon.com. The price of shipping isn't much different (if at all) and it doesn't matter much if you're like me and rarely make an order of books less than $25 which automatically guarantees free shipping.

Speed may not matter to you, but to me it means that the book that arrived on Tuesday (from Barnes & Noble) is now completely finished, I've moved on to a new book, and what arrived today from Amazon.com will have to wait.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Poor Bart

**Editor's Note: A hat tip to both Julie and Bryan Fischer for picking up on this first.

Flooded with emails from concerned constituents? What ever will you do?

Evidently you contact the office of Legislative Services and have them discontinue the option of emailing entire House and Senate committees with a simple click of the mouse.

February's vote in the Senate State Affairs Committee deciding whether the state should require parental permission for minor girls having abortions led to Senator Bart Davis complaining of too many emails.

"Most of the committee got bombarded by literally thousands of e-mails by somebody who just clicked the 'send all' button," said Davis in the Idaho Statesman. "We don't have enough staff to sort through them. Every person can still communicate with all 105 legislators. They just have to make an effort to send them to all of us."

Uh huh. And every voting Idahoan has a staff to go ahead and send 105 emails for each issue important to them?

This reminds me of Senator Davis' stupidity last February when he responded to an email I sent to the entire Senate State Affairs Committee regarding placing a student on the State Board of Education. Davis said then that we shouldn't jump to conclusions in that situation. Maybe I should ask him now about jumping to conclusions--if you receive 1,800 emails you shouldn't jump to conclusions by eliminating the option of sending those mass emails, right?

It is just plain inexcusable for a representative of the people to eliminate any option a constituent has in attempting to communicate with the representative that they elected.

TDIH: Cronkite

On this day in 1981 (four years before I was born), Walter Cronkite signed off as anchorman of CBS News for the last time in his career. For me Cronkite represents a portion of history that means a great deal to me and that I find fascinating. In honor of this event in American history, I would like to post Cronkite's "We Are Mired in a Stalemate" broadcast (from February 27th, 1968) as a reminder of the brilliance of Cronkite and as a reminder of his place in American history.
Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we'd like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities? I'm not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw. Another standoff may be coming in the big battles expected south of the Demilitarized Zone. Khesanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there; but the bastion no longer is a key to the rest of the northern regions, and it is doubtful that the American forces can be defeated across the breadth of the DMZ with any substantial loss of ground. Another standoff.

On the political front, past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation. Another standoff.

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi's winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that -- negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer's almost certain standoff will either end in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation, the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.

To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.

As you might remember, it was after this broadcast that LBJ stated that if he had lost Cronkite he has lost the heart of America in support of the war in Vietnam. He would later go on to announce that he would not be seeking re-election through the nomination by his party for the presidency.

I once wrote Walter Cronkite a letter. As a senior in high school, writing my senior research paper on the media and presidential elections (specifically how television changed the nature of the national convention), I felt Cronkite would give me insight. He never responded. And now at the age of 90, I doubt he will, but after reading his memoirs I found the answers to my questions and now as a senior in college truly believe Walter Cronkite to be the largest character in the American play that we now remember as the 1960s.

New Books


It's FINALLY here!! I'm very excited to read this book--I haven't felt good about seeing the movie until I have read the book.



I have never owned my own copy of this epic (probably because until recently I wasn't intimately acquainted with more than one hundred pages of it), but now I have no reason to quit reading. One of my life goals is to finish this one!



I've never owned my own copy of this book despite the many times I have read and loved it. And if anyone is interested, a new edition of this book comes out this month.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

It seems like it has been centuries since I've had a traditional Smorgasbord Saturday post. It seems like it has been quite some time since I've done anything that a regular schedule/routine warrants.

As I type this, the Idaho Democrats are meeting in Boise for the annual Frank Church Banquet. I'm very sad to be missing out on this event, but I'm still on the couch--doctor's orders.

In all my "resting" lately, I have had the time to catch up on a few of the movies that came out in the last year or so. Just today I watched Little Miss Sunshine and was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually loved the show. With a few fine moments of laughter and quirkiness, this is a must see drama. However, I am wondering how Alan Arkin won the Oscar. His role is so limited. But his presence is not. The writing is just brilliant--who knew a pudgy beauty queen wannabe, a dirty old heroin addict, a suicidal genius, a screwed up teenager, and two very angry parents could make for such a wonderfully real story.

Another film I watched this past week was The Departed. I was less than impressed. For a film set in Boston (one of my all-time favorite places) with a cast full of dynamic actors, it just didn't capture my interest. Martin Sheen's last scene in the film is when I finally gave up on the notion that I could even somewhat like the film. And if anyone deserved an Oscar nod for that film it was Leonardo DiCaprio, not Mark Wahlberg.

One of the last times I went to the theater to watch a movie, other than the numerous times I went to see Bobby, a preview for the Heath Ledger flick Casanova was playing. At first glance I thought it would be just another off-the-mark period piece with lighthearted humor, but I was surprised by my response to it. More than once I caught myself laughing out loud and more than half of those times it was me laughing at Oliver Platt. What a great performance! And for those of you who love Jeremy Irons, his role is superb as well.

My couch potato days have not been limited to movies alone. Thanks to very good friends, I have plenty of reading material. You'd think with my own personal library I'd have at least something worth reading, but none of my reading material is appealing to me at all. So, I have magazines, books, the American Historical Review, and tons of E.B. White on hand to keep me entertained.

Being sick has sure taken its toll on my brain power. It sure doesn't take a whole lot of brain power to watch television and nap all day. The greatest discovery of the week? Coloring books. Did you know that coloring requires little to no brain power? You just have to stay inside the lines and believe it or not coloring is quite stimulating.

Well, clearly nothing political going on here. More news from the couch coming soon.