I do not believe that camera.

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Hm. Okay. I’m thinking you shouldn’t be in the icon design business when your drawing of a video camera has to have the words “video camera” on the side in order to even remotely resemble what any human might call a video camera.

And I don’t even want to know what it’s plugged in to.

At any rate, rest assured, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s (controversial) parking deck construction site is really, really, really well protected. Restricted! Monitored!

By what, you ask? Uh…

Always listening.

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

I’m going to have to figure out a way to pull back from politics and settle back into my usual vast panoply of micro-obsessions with geeky minutiae, and I will, soon, I promise, but for now consider this paragraph of wisdom:

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy’s heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

That’s unfortunately about twice the size of a 140-character tweet, but I send its common sense out to you nonetheless.

It’s by William Ayers. Bill Ayers. The real guy behind the caricature concocted by the Republicans in order to try and win the election. The so-called domestic terrorist.

And you know what? Even if you completely disagree with every thing he has done and stands for (and I urge you to at least read the short piece I’ve linked to above (right now their server is slogging a bit) before you jerk your knees in that direction) you have (I assert) to respect that he nailed a key difference between the President-elect and the current office-holder, and, at the least, McCain v.2008 (as opposed to the 2000 model, which seemed to have a better listening subsystem.)

Simple for me: we have to keep listening.

Here’s one more chunk:

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

On Oct. 4, Palin described her supporters as those who “see America as the greatest force for good in this world” and as a “beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy.” But Obama, she said, “Is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America.” In other words, there are “real” Americans — and then there are the rest of us.

In a robust and sophisticated democracy, political leaders—and all of us—ought to seek ways to talk with many people who hold dissenting, or even radical, ideas. Lacking that simple and yet essential capacity to question authority, we might still be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings today.

and at the end:

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.

Something to work on while we’re waiting for January 20th.

A triumph of science over fear.

Friday, November 7th, 2008

No, it’s not a real headline, but it cracks me up in a way that I really can’t explain.

There are more here. I think this gets close to the kind of fake headlines and odd stuff we’d stick to the walls of my college newspaper’s office and laugh at over the sound of Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne late into the night. Nice of them to share. Hee, hee.

And yes, we’ve been celebrating all week. I was out getting milk at the Kroger last night and a carful of kids headed up Ponce joyfully chanting “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” This was Thursday night!

Sometimes a Great Notion.

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

And just like that, we’re past Halloween, through the tissue-paper barrier between October and November, and headed down the chute toward the first Tuesday in November…historically, Election Day.

But for maybe as many as 35% of eligible voters, they’ve been there, and, in many cases, stood in line quite a while before having done that…voted, that is.

That’s heartening, to be sure. But here in Georgia, the potential of early voting still collides with the realities of state law (flatly forbidding early voting on Saturday and on the Monday before the election) and our classic oh-we’re-a-sleepy-southern-state-isn’t-it-cute state government that is now forecasting that, aw, shucks, it might be several days until we get that darn avalanche of ballots counted.


So Sammy, smart enough to see I could use a distraction along with some exercise, took me up to Northwest Georgia for a nice hike, and I brought my Obama-Biden button along to counteract some of the vibes cast by the dozens of McCain-Palin signs that dot the rural Georgia landscape. The leaves were beautiful, the air was clear, and I’ve returned in a good place to enter my final 40 hours or so of focused, intense concern and active internet monitoring of our Tuesday general election.

And yes, we will, as tradition holds, walk down to the library to cast our ballot…in the morning. If we’re still standing in line as the sun goes down…well, we’ll stand, feeling fortunate that we have the kind of schedule where that can happen. And I’ll make sure the iPhone is fully charged.

One linguistic tic that I’m noticing all over the darn place this campaign…but especially coming out at the beginning of Barack Obama’s carefully-crafted responses, is this notion of…this notion.

It’s this quasi-intellectual way of holding an idea up between two fingers, with apparent scientific detachment mixed with a dash of disdain, moments before you toss it aside as not quite what you want to sign your name to.

“we should overcome this notion of North-South…”
“this notion of the little person going up against the big and powerful…”
“this notion of self- constraint is one that is set out in terms of the ability of the self to be governed by pure practical reason…”
“This notion of punishing people by not talking to them has not worked…”
“But this notion of no coal, I think, is an illusion.”

After I started batting this notion around in my election-soaked brain, I came across this AJR piece that suggests that its use is on the rise precisely because Obama uses it as a rhetorical device: “it may mean that Barack Obama’s speech pattern has gotten into our brains…even those of conservative commentators and reporters – all unawares.”

So be prepared for a post-election boost in notional discourse. Or, perhaps, invest now in “items used in sewing, such as buttons, pins, and hooks”…definition three in my Mac’s New Oxford American Dictionary.

Hope to see you at the Starbucks with your “I voted” sticker on tomorrow.