Saturday, August 2, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

Is it me or did the first Saturday in August sneak up rather quickly? Certainly has nothing to do with the fact that fall semester begins in twenty-three days...

Happy Census Day! What? That's right, on this day in 1790 the first United States Census was conducted. As an historian I have great appreciation for the Census, not that I always understand it or find it helpful!

Yesterday, Tom over at Fort Boise pointed out a story that will run this weekend in the New York Times Magazine. After reading Mattathias Schwartz' entire article entitled "The Trolls Among Us," I was deeply disturbed by these people who have taken trolling to an entirely higher and scarier level. I don't watch scary movies, if I did I'd have to find someone kind enough to let me sleep at the foot of their bed for a week (with the lights on), and for the most part I avoid things that I know will keep me from sleeping at night. However, I didn't realize that reading an article about trolls would be so earth-shattering. Whatever will be said once this article is widespread, I stand by my belief that trolls and anonymous bloggers are very different people. Those who choose to blog anonymously do so to protect themselves (families, careers, friends, etc.), those who choose to troll do so to hurt others, period.

My kid brother, who is staying with me for the weekend, suggested I listen to an artist named Tara-Leigh Cobble. How my fifteen year-old brother known for his bizarre taste in music could find something so mellow and wonderful is beyond me, but after listening to the singles that play on her homepage ("Somehow Stay" being my favorite there) and a few other tracks on her myspace page, I think this is an artist I'll be listening to a lot of in the coming days. It is refreshing to find young, talented artists who actually write their own music and lyrics. I'd wager a guess that the poor boy, my brother that is, has a crush on some girl who likes Tara-Leigh Cobble and he's listening just to prove his devotion. Oh, teenagers.

In other music news, I woke up to a song by Toby Keith this morning that I actually liked. I'm not a fan of Toby Keith--the man or the musician--but, his new single is a little softer and I'm liking it.

It's official, Manny Ramirez is now a Dodger. Sporting Dodger blue and acting in his traditional "Manny being Manny" way, Ramirez met with reporters and fans yesterday before starting in left field for skipper Joe Torre. Batting clean-up, Ramirez joined the roster as former teammate Nomar Garciaparra went to the disabled list AGAIN. Of all the post-trade deadline games being televised this weekend, the game I am looking forward to most is the Sunday MLB on TBS game of the week featuring the New York Yankees and the unstoppable Angels. With Teixeira in the Angels lineup and Pudge in the lineup for New York, it should be a great game. And then next weekend MLB on TBS will bring the Boston/Chicago match up with newly traded outfielders Jason Bay and Ken Griffey, Jr. Sunday's game will be on TBS at 1pm (EST).

I would have other baseball news if I could remember which network I caught former MLB second baseman Harold Reynolds on last weekend. The former player who also has a company that puts out training videos for young athletes (I have this catching instructional video) is a nice addition to regular baseball commentary and it is good to see him back after ESPN fired him in 2006.

Read in the South Idaho Press this morning that the SIP is merging with jointly-owned Times-News in Twin Falls. Looks like Magic Valley and Mini-Cassia residents are going to start getting the same product and maybe equal coverage.

The August 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine has a great article by Haynes Johnson about political conventions--specifically four that changed America. "Parties to History: Four Political Conventions That Changed America" looks at the conventions of 1912 and 1964 for the Republicans and the 1948 and 1968 conventions for the Democrats. Will either of this year's conventions eventually be seen as historically important moments in 21st century politics? Too soon to say, but there is no denying the importance of the conventions Johnson writes about. Of the four conventions, I've read the most about the 1912 and 1968 conventions. If I could go back in time and attend one of these conventions, surprisingly the '68 convention wouldn't be the one I'd pick. The election of 1912 remains, for me, one of the most interesting in American history. That convention was something we in 2008 cannot possibly fathom--a real, dirty, back room sort of convention.

Yesterday afternoon when I came home from work I turned on the tv to find the anthrax story unraveling on MSNBC. Living through the chaotic days post-9/11, I didn't grasp the seriousness or logistics of the anthrax threat. I knew it was scary, I just didn't know why. It was much later, when I read Senator Tom Daschle's book Like No Other Time: The Two Years That Changed America, when I finally understood what the anthrax threat meant to America both on a domestic level and in terms of our foreign relations. Now as I've watched the clip of John McCain from 2001 on the Letterman show saying that the anthrax in question may have come from Iraq and listened to the truth unfold that it was a government employee responsible for sending anthrax via the mail system to Senators Daschle and Leahy as well as NBC studios in New York City, it amazes me that in the almost-hysteria following the terrorist attacks the American people weren't blindly led into more than we were.

I may have already mentioned this, but Monday afternoon I am having another minor procedure to combat the herniated disc and nerve issues in my lower back. Not sure what my posting schedule will be next week, but plan on two more posts between now and then.

1 comment :

Sage Word said...

Bummer, I'll miss the SIP. I *loved* that paper far more than I ever cared about the T/N, even back when it tried to do a Rupert-specific section.

I believe there are lessons about local journalism to be learned in the SIP's style: local news really is interesting enough to make a small-readership press viable if papers just embrace and put a trust-oriented crowdsourcing and become editors rather than struggling to generate all the stories themselves.

But Rupert-Burley getting equal coverage out of a Twin Falls publisher, though?! (snicker) Fat (giggle) Cha- (Busts into unrelenting laughter and falls off his barstool, breaking laptop and network connection).