Saturday, July 4, 2009

Smorgasbord Saturday

Happy Independence Day! Please remember that today is a day to celebrate our freedom and not simply a day to shoot fireworks into the neighbors yard...

I have been thinking a great deal this week about a handful of writers, the Shelleys, E.M. Forster, and James Joyce. For reasons I'd rather not share, I've found a certain amount of solace in the firm understanding they each seem to have had on the suffering and struggles of all human beings. You'll notice my quote of the week comes from Joyce's second greatest work and talks about pity, terror and human suffering. Somehow I think that the mind behind Howard's End and Mary Shelley who created a character, Victor Frankenstein, with the wherewithal to say that "the different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature" may have known something the rest of us have yet to grasp. Without meaning to wax somewhat philosophical, I don't see writers of this magnitude in our midst today. More on writers, books and what they mean in this digital day and age when fewer people actually crack open a book and lose themselves in the pages to come in the next few days.

On a lighter note, the Major League Baseball All-star Game Selection Show will begin at 1pm (EST) tomorrow on TBS. 32 of the 33 roster spots will be announced and voting will soon open to fans for the final roster spot. The Homerun Derby will take place July 13th with the 2009 All-star Game the following night, July 14th.

I have been rather intrigued by the decision of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to resign as governor of the state of Alaska. The Vanity Fair article that preceded her announcement to resign effective July 26th is a rather interesting read that I would recommend to anyone that hasn't already taken a look. What role, if any, the article played in Palin's decision to resign is unknown, however, Vanity Fair is recognizing the timing of their article and directs your attention to yesterday's press conference and Palin's appearance in Runner's World (with her adorable son Trig). There are so many questions yet to be answered, but one I can't help but articulate is how on earth did Vanity Fair become the go-to for political and cultural analysis? It's worth nothing that the great reveal of one of history's bigger questions--Who was Deep Throat?--happened in Vanity Fair when former G-man Mark Felt gave them the exclusive interview.

In other magazine news, the Smithsonian magazine has a great feature on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Hollywood fifty years ago. The article (with video) shows a man who was almost as unpredictable as Sarah Palin visiting a country with which he was at odds. It is hard to imagine today that at the height of the cold war, a visiting head of state would be welcomed, nearly everywhere but Disneyland, and entertained as if there were no serious concerns in the world. I suppose the only thing as unimaginable at the time, looking back, is that Richard M. Nixon was truly a rising political star.

That's it for this smorgasbord installment. No music links to share, even. Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

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