...so named not just because the disposal people came today (rather than their usual day, yesterday), but because I have a bunch of random topics I want to get off my chest.
Bought myself a DVD player today. The things have become almost criminally cheap, so it seemed dumb that I'm still using my Powerbook to play DVDs through my TV. Now I have a remote control; yaybo! As usual, the first DVDs I played on it were Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Shawshank Redemption. (Peter David apparently always buys and plays Goldfinger when he gets a new video media player - VCR, DVD, or whatever.)
I also watched a bit of the Babylon 5: Season 1 DVD set, in particular Joe Straczynski's commentary on the "Signs and Portents" episode, which was the first momentous episode in the series. There wasn't much there I didn't already know from the Lurker's Guide, but some of it was enlightening. I already had tapes of the first season taped off the TV broadcasts, but the quality was predictably low so having these on DVD is quite nice.
I'd kind of like to buy the In The Beginning/The Gathering DVD, but I'm annoyed that it only includes the re-cut version of "The Gathering" rather than the originally broadcast version. The former is admittedly a better edit, but the latter has the superior Stewart Copeland music score. I still have the original cut on tape, but my tape is nearly 10 years old at this point (taped way, way back when my friend Karen and I were actually dating, believe it or not), is not in good condition, and I wish I could get a more permanent copy. Sigh.
Today I went up to join Debbi for lunch, since I have the week off and she, well, doesn't. We had a nice lunch despite the glowering clouds which roamed over the region all day (glower, glower). I got to see her cow-orker Joan's clutch of Dancing Hamsters, and met their office cat TC, who is a real charmer, but who isn't really supposed to be in the office. He wrangled his way inside - which he does from time to time - came to the second floor, and located us - two of the only three people actually on the floor at the time. Smart cat!
My own cats got more turkey giblets for dinner tonight. Jefferson spent the next 15 minutes after eating making urping noises. Maybe it was a little richer than he was prepared for.
I've sort of been burying my head in the ground where politics are concerned, ever since the outcome of last month's elections. Bush so clearly has no interest whatsoever in engaging the domestic problems of the country (i.e., the economy), he just wants to use the issue as a way to provide a big payoff for his cronies. His policy towards North Korea ("engagement was a mistake, we need war!") is clearly a disastrous mistake, and one which he is also hell-bent on committing in Iraq to distract us from his stance on the economy ("let them eat cake!").
With leaders like Bush, who needs enemies? I no longer think he's an ignoramus, I think he's very clever, diabolically so, in fact.
The news over the last month of course has been Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's comment at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party that had Thurmond won the Presidency in 1948 that the country would have been a better place. (Note that Thurmond didn't even win his party's nomination, since that was the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" election.) This was widely inferred that he was supporting Thurmond's platform at the time, which was one of segregation of the black and white races.
Conservatives have fallen all over themselves defending Lott, to no avail as Lott was forced to repeatedly apologize and eventually to step down as Senate Majority Leader. However, it's probably correct that Lott was mainly intending to praise Thurmond - in whose honor, after all, he was speaking - rather than come right out in favor of segregation.
Then again, Lott is probably not a fool. I believe fools can be elected to the Presidency (Reagan was one, Bush Sr. was also probably one), but it's harder to become a congressional leader if you're a fool. He must have realized what he was saying and how it would be taken. Why did he say it? Beats me. Maybe he was caught up in the moment. But I think his statement suggests something that liberals have long suspected about conservatives generally: They don't like the way things are. They think the way things were 40, 50, 60, or 100 years ago was a better way, and that segregation was a part of what made things better. Maybe not all conservatives, but many conservatives, and certainly many prominent ones. I think regardless of his intentions, Lott confirmed something about his ilk.
Who benefits by Lott's ouster? President Bush, actually. One of his closest allies will become the new Majority Leader, making it easier for Bush to pass his agenda. That's why he didn't stick up for Lott. It ended up being an intra-party struggle, and I doubt the left will get any real benefit from it.
It could be a long couple of years.
Speaking of war with Iraq, I keep hearing that holiday shopping is down partly due to concerns about the economy (check; I'm pretty "concerned", myself), and partly due to fears of war with Iraq. This part I don't quite get. Doesn't war usually result in a pumped-up economy? Or are people afraid they're going to be sent off to die? I personally don't want to go to war with Iraq (there may be reason to do so, but the trumped-up reasons presented by Bush are pretty ridiculous), but it doesn't really affect my perception of the economy.
I'm not an economist, but then, neither are most of the public. While economists might see war as a bad sign for the economy, I'm curious as to why the public perceives this. Or is this just some made-up reason the media has come up with?