Friday, November 6, 2015

I’m no cat and I’m still kickin’

I saw this on the Goodreads newsletter and it immediately resonated with me.

This blog’s motto is “Boredom is not an option.” It’s right up there under the title, see? I never feel bored and feel like there is always something out there to do or learn or explore. One of the best things my parents ever gave me was an abiding sense of curiosity about the world around me and the ability to find joy in learning about even the most mundane things.

The growing stacks of books in our spare bedroom attest to this. It’s gotten so bad that on the rare occasion that we have a houseguest, I feel that I’ve done right by them if I “clear a path.” I’m not kidding. Ken said, “We probably need to clear some of these books out of here.” I said, “No, he can get in there. See?” Our last houseguest seemed to sleep pretty soundly, so I don’t think he was overly bothered by the books!

I fully realize that it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to work my way through so many books in the years I have left. But it gives me great joy to know that no matter what I’m in the mood for, I can browse my library and find something that will interest me. (Thank goodness for my Kindle! Without it, there would be books piled up even higher.) I have books about politics, memoirs of rock stars, classics, post-apocalypse sci-fi, art books, science books, mythology collections, horror, legal thrillers, psychology, microbiology….

[deep breath]

But it doesn’t stop at books (or music or movies or documentaries). I’ve somehow managed to maintain an abiding curiosity about interesting things that catch my eye. A spider sitting in its web. A stick with a really interesting pattern. A bluebird splashing around in the bird bath. The way bananas will get all liquidy inside if you let them ripen long enough. (That one is kind of gross, but there is no denying that it’s kind of cool, too!)

There is just so much out there to fascinate me. At times, I almost feel overwhelmed and somewhat scattered as I go from thing to thing.

That’s not an entirely bad thing to deal with, though. I am ennui immune!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Taking your ball and going home

I’m sure all of my politically minded friends have seen what transpired at the last Republican debate, as well as the aftermath.

It was the usual tactic of attacking the media, saying that they were giving them “gotcha” questions, accusing them of being liberal, blah blah blah.

And this debate was on CNBC! The same CNBC whose Rick Santelli gave birth to the freakin’ teabaggers! Give me a break.

Anyway, it didn’t stop with several candidates piling on the media at the debate. Subsequently, the RNC decided to cancel the debate that it was holding with NBC because of their supposed liberal bias. I guess “liberal bias” means everything except for ass-kissing ClusterFox. ::eye roll::

Granted, some of the questions from the CNBC moderators were phrased poorly. However, the accusation of the Republicans that CNBC asked no “substantive questions” is absolutely absurd. They asked plenty of substantive questions, including about how so many of the answers and plans just did not add up. In other words, they were doing their job as journalists. The accusation that CNN wasn’t hard on the candidates at the Democratic debate is also absurd. They asked hard questions and pressed the candidates for answers, even putting them on the hot seat with questions to Sanders about his electability and to Clinton about her private email server. It was not “Which of you is more handsome and wise?” as Ted Cruz put it.

Here’s the thing: journalists are supposed to be journalists. They are supposed to ask questions about the candidates’ positions on various issues, and if the answers don’t make a lot of sense or don’t add up, or if the candidate just refuses to answer the question, they are supposed to press them on it. Debates are not held to let candidates have a free forum in which to speak uninterrupted or without further questioning. They are held to showcase the candidates’ positions, the difference between all the candidates, and it is the actual, bona fide JOB of the moderators to ask follow-up questions.

So the Republicans have decided that that is unacceptable and are calling for people like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh to moderate upcoming debates. I find this quite amusing on several levels.

First, they are coming across as petulant children who don’t like being challenged. At the first sign of criticism, they have decided they are going to pick up their ball and go home.

Second, if anyone thinks that Hannity or Limbaugh is unbiased and will be a fair moderator, let me just say right here that you need to go see someone because you are delusional.

Finally, if these candidates are going to bitch and moan about how the CNBC moderators and the “liberal media” are being mean to them, how in the hell do they think they are going to play with various actors on the global stage? If Putin disrespects them, are they going to throw a hissy fit? If Kim Jong-un decides to test a bomb, are they going to get the vapors and take to their room and cry themselves to sleep?

Come ON.

One more thing about this. This article by David Atkins at Political Animal raises an excellent question about whether or not the media and journalists everywhere will stand up to what is essentially bullying of their profession and an attempt at controlling the message. It’s a legitimate concern. You know who else controlled the media, right? Sure you do. Don’t make me Godwin myself.