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Thursday, May 19, 2011

On the Death of Osama Bin Laden

Enough time has passed - both on this blog and in the real world - for me to feel comfortable writing about this. There are two reasons why I'm choosing to come back now, and on this topic. The first is that, after months of inanity, a story that cuts across the political spectrum - that actually seems to matter - was finally front page news. It may seem strange that I, someone who wrote about leafblowers, was not sufficiently inspired by all the other inanity to comment. But, I felt then and I feel now that not commenting is in a sense making a statement on how I feel about the place of those stories in our political discourse. The second, more personal, reason has to do with my own reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. As in, when I heard the news I wasn't sure how to react. At all. For me, this is strange, as any bit of news - no matter how trivial - will usually elicit at least a visceral reaction from me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Better, Not Worse, Just Different

I have two passports. More importantly, I have two cultures - American and French. Or French and American, so nobody feels like the less-loved child. I've lived most of my life in the United States, but I have spent enough time living in France (lately especially) to consider myself an expert - for the intents and purposes of this particular forum - on the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between living in the United States and living in France.

I know the stereotypes, and it must be said that many of them turn out to be true in at least some cases: French people are rude, Americans are friendly, French food is the best in the world, the US has this, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I'd like to go beyond these and get down to what I've noticed are the most interesting differences between living in the United States and living in France.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the Inanity of Leaf Blowers

You already know the sound. There really is no adequate way to describe the sound, but one imagines that this is very similar to what the First Circle of Hell must sound like.

But I'm not here today to talk about the sound. That's a lost battle. I take issue, today, with the very idea of leaf blowers themselves. Unlike a rake - that carefully organizes leaves in neat piles, thus facilitating their collection into large plastic bags - or even a lawnmower - that mulches them down into handy specs of organic matter, neatly hidden below the grass - a leaf blower takes your solution and turns it into someone else's problem.

A leaf blower is the answer to the quandry, "I have leaves to take care of, but I'm too lazy to actually get rid of them. What if I just moved them and made someone else deal with it?" They are the very definition of out of sight, out of mind. But with that noise added just out of pure cruelty.

Nothing False About Hope

There has been no shortage of ink spilled and hot air expended in the wake of last Tuesday's midterm elections. And while there was a spirited combat joined for the most ridiculous assertion made post-November 2nd - if you must know, 2nd place went to CNN International's proclaiming of "A New Republican Era" - top prize in my view must go to those who uttered things along the lines of:
"Go back and listen to Obama's 2008 speeches. They sound so naive now."
"Obama shouldn't have used such soaring rhetoric during the campaign. He just set himself up for failure."
"The President who is now in office is a long way from the idealistic, fiery candidate of 2008."
There's a word for this kind of talk, and if you'll kindly click that link below, you can find out what it is.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where We Go From Here

I'll be completely honest with you, I'm not yet entirely sure how this thing is going to play out. I've been considering the idea for quite some time, and there were several points that felt like "the right moment" and, yet, I didn't pull the trigger for whatever reason.

Well, tonight, another "right moment" arrived and I pulled the trigger. I wanted a title and I wanted a theme. I'm at least halfway there, and I hope you'll come along for the ride. Now, some things you should know going in...