Archive for Blogging

Going Away

I’ll be away for the next two weeks, returning on the 16th of July. Aggie has been away, but will be back soon to shepherd you through these times of turmoil and tragedy.

You didn’t think I’d leave you with Obama alone, did you? I’d have left you with a pistol and a shot of whiskey as well if that had been the case.

Here’s hoping the world’s still in one piece when I get back. If that Islamists don’t get us, the hurricane will.

BTL

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Just Call Me “Thirstradamus”

BTL on April 1:

Which means that of the “estimated 48 million” uninsured Americans, only 1.4 million—or 3%—have actually availed themselves of the “right” to health insurance.

RAND Corporation, yesterday (April 8):

When it comes to the previously uninsured, 7.2 million gained employer-sponsored coverage, 3.6 million gained Medicaid and just 1.4 million signed up through Obamacare exchanges through the survey’s conclusion on March 28.

Don’t take it too hard, Randies, I also named Pat Boone as Public Enemy Number One before he actually was.

I also nailed John Kerry as a humorless dolt and Yasser Arafat as a diseased old queen—not that the former was difficult or the latter condemnable. I also called it when I said the “peace” talks between the Israelis and the terrorists would go nowhere (though 70 or so convicted violent criminals did).

Now, let’s see if my prediction that the Senate will go Republican (and the House more so) holds true.

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Too Soon?

Somewhere in the story of the lost Malaysian plane is a kernel of tragic loss. But it’s been lost in the accretion of absurdity. It’s as if the five (or is it seven?) stages of grief had one more stage—hilarity.

Of course I’m sorry for the suspected deaths of hundreds of people, but one can remain sorry for only so long before the insanity of the affair overwhelms us. It’s as if the whole disaster was yet another Sacha Baron Cohen stunt.

Iranian nationals with stolen passports show up late and buy tickets with cash. The plane soars to 43,000 feet, then plunges; it sneaks and swerves to avoid radar. No one aboard places a single cell phone call; perhaps they can’t. The Malaysian “authorities” change their story more than I do my socks. The plane is suspected to have plunged in this sea or that ocean with a certainty somewhat smaller than a gnat’s left nut. Search areas are compared in size to some of our larger states—New Mexico, Texas, Alaska. The weather in these areas is always “among the worst on earth”. (I blame global warming.) Conspiracy theories range from space aliens to the US military. (As X-File fans know, the two are hardly mutually exclusive.) Suspected debris fields decline to reveal themselves on closer examination, or turn out to be nothing but “sea trash”. Oil slicks turn out to be commonplace, and hardly a clue of anything. Mysterious red arrows turn up in the strangest place:

No, not Sacha Baron Cohen. Remember a few months ago the suspicion that comedian Andy Kauffman hadn’t died, but had staged his death 30 years ago as the ultimate piece of performance art? Are we sure that one of those Iranians wasn’t dressed as an Elvis impersonator?

Maybe not, but you come up with a better idea. In he meantime, I’m beginning to think the whole bizarre affair is popcorn-worthy.

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Palate Cleanser

Before I venture out into the arctic wasteland known as New England to walk the Bloodthirsty Puppy, let me dispel the fright and worry of infanticide and Liberal Fascism with this wonderful, awesome, spirit-livening sonata by Domenico Scarlatti.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Scarlatti lately—a whole lot—but this is the piece (and the performance of the piece) I keep coming back to. During the two and a half minutes of its duration, I am never more grateful to be alive. Can I bestow higher praise?

When I mentioned this piece to an acquaintance, she came back with Dubravka Tomsic:

She’s got a point.

Feel beter, Bloodthirstani. How could you not?

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Speaking of Birthdays, Happy Birthday to Us!

While Michelle Obama was cavorting with dozens of her nearest and dearest intimates, someone else was celebrating a birthday.

BTL.com!

We were eight years old on Saturday, thanks for remembering. (Don’t worry, we forgot too.) Blog years are like dog years, or close enough. A lot of blogs our age are long since dead. Maybe they were on to something.

We’re moving a little slower these days than in our heady youth. Indeed, we tried to end it all last year (or I did). But Aggie bound our wounds and sent us back into the fray. For which we are grateful. Imagine having signed off before the worst year of Obama’s presidency (among stiff competition)!

When we started, Barack Obama was a simple senator; the surge had “won” Iraq; kill ratios against the Taliban were routinely 100-1; and the economy had been kicking tail for years. Now look at us—rather the US.

Some may call this blog a failure, a useless pursuit, “the expense of spirit in a waste of shame” (as Shakespeare described us). Guilty as charged.

Though I prefer the few epithets we’ve set aside over the years: “The hobgoblin of little blogs.” “A knack for taking the already disturbing and turning it into the abjectly ghastly.” “Hamsters with hobbies.” Guilty as charged.

We used to have higher hopes… I guess, No, really, we did. We—I—thought this might be a tiny cherished gem buried deep within the mountainous blogosphere. Not the Mother Lode, maybe, but not pyrite either. The fool’s gold was in thinking we made a difference. That we made a sound. That we made a ripple in the great ocean of the Internet. Even if we did accomplish the latter two, sounds die away and ripples are lost to other ripples, waves, tides.

In the end, we just scratched an itch—like we all do every night in our sleep, in unmentionable areas. This isn’t the end, of course, though that will come eventually. Until we find the right ointment, however, there will be itches to scratch. If you don’t want to watch, avert your eyes.

By all means, please toast us, if it crosses your mind.

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Caleb Jacoby

Aggie and I wondered about posting this, but if we can do anything at all:

There has been an outpouring of support on Twitter and other social media sites as police continue their search for the missing son of Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby.

Caleb Jacoby, 16, was last seen at about 12:30 p.m. Monday. His apparent disappearance has triggered a police investigation and a grassroots effort by members of the local Jewish community to find the missing teen, an 11th-grade student at Brookline’s Maimonides School, a religious institution focusing on the teachings of the Torah.

The investigation was ongoing as of early Wednesday morning, according to a spokesman for the Brookline Police Department. “It’s still active; no changes at all,” he said.

Efrat Lipshitz, Caleb’s Hebrew teacher, is helping to distribute fliers with information about the teen, who’s about 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds with short, light brown hair.

“We don’t know anything. We don’t have even a clue,” Lipshitz said Tuesday about the whereabouts of his quiet and serious student.

Authorities said Caleb is known to frequent public libraries and Young Israel of Brookline on Green Street. There have been no reported sightings at those venues since he went missing midday Monday, however, and his family hasn’t received any communications from him, electronic or otherwise.

Wicked Local Brookline reports that police do not suspect foul play and are treating the matter as a missing-person case.

Those of us who read Jacoby regularly, know Caleb—or of Caleb—well. Jacoby has written an open letter to his son since Caleb’s birth.

I particularly recall this one:

Of course Mama and I care about your progress in English and science and religious studies, too. Sure, we want you to grow up to be good at math. But it’s even more important that you grow up to be a mensch.

It’s a message I try to reinforce whenever I can. After every meal, I tell you constantly, make sure to thank the person who prepared it — and that includes the “kitchen ladies” at school. When you play with your brother, you’re not allowed to torment him — kindness and courtesy aren’t only for outsiders. “Make me proud of you,” I say each morning when I drop you off at school — a daily reminder that while your parents’ love is automatic, their admiration is something you must earn.

At 9, you’re off to a great start, Caleb — bright, energetic, inquisitive, articulate. Who knows what great things await you? Just remember: Whatever else you grow up to be, make sure to be a mensch.

All my love,
Papa

I’m praying, as best as I know how, for the safe return of Caleb Jacoby. Please join me.

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No Gloating

My only comment on the Red Sox 3rd World Series title in ten years:

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is the signature tune of Sox outfielder Shane Victorino. I love it because it’s the antithesis of the hard-rocking, bad-ass-rapping of most ball players’ in-themes. A perfect musical expression for the wide-eyed Flyin’ Hawaiian. And wonderful for the fans to adopt it so full-throatedly, as they already had with Sweet Caroline.

There was nothing inevitable about this world championship. Unless ultimate victory was ordained the moments two bombs went off at the Marathon finish line, maybe a mile and not more than a few minutes from Fenway Park where the Sox had just defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2. The connection may be lost on the rest of you, but we would ask you how else to explain the improbable success of this season. Just as a team named the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl after 9/11.

We can’t explain it. But we don’t have to. We know that “every little thing goin’ to be alright.”

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Heading Out

I’ll be away for two weeks, but Aggie’s back online. So, it’s most definitely worth checking in.

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20,001

Not for nothing, but our blog-o-meter indicates that we just published our 20,000th post (this is 20,001), each one a gem.

I believe Abraham Lincoln said it best: the world will little note nor long remember what we say here.

Still, a milestone is a milestone (or millstone, if you prefer).

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Hamster Hotties!

Aggie, I know (or at least assume) that your rodentia prognosticators, Barney and Frank, are hamsters, not gerbils, and boys, not girls—but what’s the difference?

The American Gerbil Society’s annual pageant brought dozens of rodents scurrying to New England this weekend for a chance to win “top gerbil.”

The Bedford competition called for agility demonstrations in which the gerbils must overcome obstacles and race to the end of a course. Breeders of the small animals vie for coveted ribbons based on body type and agility.

“A male gerbil should be a good, strong, hefty-looking gerbil,” said Libby Hanna, president of the American Gerbil Society. “If you are going to think of it in human terms, you might think of a football player — somebody who’s big, thick neck, nice, strong-looking male gerbil.”

An ideal female gerbil will have a more streamlined appearance that even humans covet, she said.

“So she would be strong and athletic-looking — not really scrawny, but slim,” said Hanna, who serves as a judge in the show.

Someone get me a fan! I’m feeling flushed!


Check out the tail on her!

If Barney and Frank are anything like their namesake, they don’t take after either ideal. As for “coveting” either one, gerbils are not my type. Though I did feel something when a chipmunk gave a come hither look the other day.

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BTL Away for a Week

I’ll be consulting with former Pope Benedict about life after abdication. Same as before, Benny, but without the hassles. You’ll love it.

Aggie leads this surly sing-along in my place.

Back next Sunday.

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