There’s something to be said for leaving a bit to the imagination

In his suicide note, rocker Kurt Cobain, quoting Neil Young, said “it’s better to burn out than fade away.” I imagine it’s nice to catch alight at all. I’d rather almost anything but fizzle out, but then whoever lived up to expectations?

I’ve always hated the 19th century Romantic poet John Keats. If he isn’t it, he’s at least in the conversation of greatest English poets. “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “The Eve of St. Agnes” are really good stuff, by any measure, and “Ode on a Grecian Urn” gave us one of the handful of all time wonderful poetic lines: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth and all ye need know.” He died at 25 and has haunted high school students and their exams ever since.

Twenty-five! And famous forever. How could you not hate him?

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The image is less revolting than what it’s describing, I swear

Lately everyone has been reading in the newspaper about how newspapers are dying. Or maybe everyone is reading about it online, which is the problem.

But other than people employed by newspapers, who really cares, or should? They had a good 300-year run in this country. Why be greedy and push for more?

Continue reading “The image is less revolting than what it’s describing, I swear”

On Valentine’s Day, love and restraining orders were in the air

I had to work all evening on Valentine’s Day, which is just as well because I didn’t have a date to take anywhere anyway.

Misery loves company, so I should have been comforted at work knowing my coworkers were the same as I, either loveless or kept from love.

One of them in particular, seemed to be taking the whole night pretty rough, and Jay, we’ll call him that, subjected the rest of us to about eight solid hours of whining, sniveling and muffled sobbing. Finally to shut him up, I said that after work we’d both go to a bar and drink until we forgot what today was. He reluctantly agreed and told me I’d be driving.

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There are worse things than being the world’s biggest celebrity

During last autumn’s presidential campaign, John McCain ran ads calling Barack Obama the “biggest celebrity in the world” and meant it as an insult – which coming from a senator who’d hosted “Saturday Night Live” and from a ticket that eventually included Sarah Palin, was a bit hypocritical.

But largely accurate. Already Obama seems to have appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” more than Bush 43 ever did; we care about the present Obama’s wife bought and the outfits his daughters wore, even how his daughter reacted when she met other celebrities. We didn’t know FDR was crippled, but we know Obama drives to the left to get to the basket.

Secret Service agents with orders to shoot-to-kill are the only thing keeping paparazzi away.

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The weekend’s most important sport event didn’t involve a bowl

I spend a lot of time putting together these weekly columns. Days, sometimes weeks of walking to and from lunch, kicking rocks down the street. Hours scribbling in various notebooks, then a night getting all of them together and typed into a computer file.

There’s a lot of writing, a little praying and great weeping and gnashing of teeth involved before I finally fall asleep sobbing and wake up to remember it still isn’t finished, and I’ve got to stay at work until it at least looks like it is.

So in the middle of all of this, writing a column about politicians and celebrity, I noticed the Australian Open final was about to start, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. (2) Roger Federer. I’m not a tennis fan in any way whatsoever. The sport bores me, especially when it doesn’t involve women I can objectify.

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Drugs are bad, but they’re good enough

There’s an interesting debate going on now about the nature of our drug laws.

If you look on the Odessa American’s website and read some of the comments to the Kopbusters sting and related articles, between the specifics of the Yolanda Madden case and the hoax itself, and ignoring a lot of abusive language, there’s a conversation about illegal drugs, law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and what should be done about it.

Maybe we’re at a place where we can talk about the issue without shrillness or hyperbole, because everyone can admit something definitely isn’t right.

Continue reading “Drugs are bad, but they’re good enough”