Birthday over, I think

Well, it was nice while it lasted. 364 more days of being 36. Then, with any luck, something else happens.

Yesterday I went and kicked the tires on what at first appeared to just be an old Toyota pickup. It’s near this park where I like to run and it had a big For Sale sign on it. It’s one of those early 80s 2wd trucks- really minimal little truck, with doors so light that when they’re slammed they make an almost musical little *poing* sound. I figured $500-$750- cheap transportation with utility and dignity.

Well, what to my wondering eyes should appear when I walked up on it? A little black sticker that says “diesel.” It’s a 1980 HiLux- one of the most dependable trucks ever made, though only a tiny handful of these trucks ever made it to the US. In Latin America and Southeast Asia, the HiLux is the absolute workhorse truck.

It’s got to be cheaper to maintain than the damn mercedes that’s been sitting in my driveway for three months. (argh) The plan as it stands right now is to sell the Mercedes asap and snatch up that Toyo. Cross your fingers for me.

Enthusiasm and Quality

Critics of the administration in power are certainly not suffering for lack of numbers. Compare the climate of dissent now to the climate year ago- it’s pretty clear.

The factors contributing to this are legion and omnipresent- that much is hardly worth discussing this morning.

What is fascinating is the number of reasonable, eloquent voices on the web and in the media that are speaking out and calling it like they see it. A year ago, there were plenty of people (including myself, I’ll admit) that were fairly easily dismissed as shrill, out of touch, ineloquent, maybe even hysterical. I mean, I may not have had all of the facts at my disposal to eruditely criticize what was clearly a bad move by what I felt was a bad president. I could not have succinctly and cogently laid out exactly what was wrong with this Marvelous Little WarÙ, but I do know an asshole when I see one. And there were a passel of them stepping on each others heads to get in front of a camera and say “Fuck the U.N., fuck ‘Old Europe,’ fuck the arms inspections, fuck the Red Cross, and fuck YOU, hippie- let’s just get in there and kick some ass.”

Well, who’s looking hysterical and out of touch now? (Judith Miller? Christopher Hitchens? Andrew Sullivan? Instaredneck? Richard Perle? Rush? Et cetera, et cetera?)

And here, for your edification, I’d like to present a short (and by no means comprehensive) list of some of the New Right Folks (meaning, the New CORRECT Folks…) that I was talking about earlier:

War and Piece
Jack Beatty
Digby at Hullabaloo.
My affection for Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo is no secret.
Nor is my newfound favorite for the view from the streets of Iraq I get from Christopher Allbritton’s Back to Iraq.
Rather enjoying reading the All-Spin Zone.

Nice to be among the Voices of Reason, isn’t it?

Real Journalism

Look, I don’t know what you think the web is good for, but I know that I like it because I can get articles like this for just taking the time to look for them. (I would encourage you to contribute to Allbritton’s mission- there’s a link at the bottom of the entry.)

The article itself is gripping, but this exchange from the comments section reminded me that every real journalist on the ground- that is, every journalist like Danny Pearl or Christopher Allbritton- makes a deal with fate- I will agree to possibly trade my life to pursue the truth.

Er, just thinking, here. When you hear a car bomb go off, is it really a good idea to run toward it as fast as you can? ÎCause if I were a bomber intent on inflicting maximum casualties, IÌd set off another one as soon as the first crowd assembled.

Maybe this is what journalists are paid to do. Maybe thatÌs why IÌm not a journalist, I dunno.
-Posted by defib at May 26, 2004 01:52 PM

secondary bombs are usually set in the path of the rescue workers. I wasnÌt on that path. But yeah, most sane people run from bombs instead of running toward them. I actually didnÌt think about this until you mentioned it.
-Posted by Christopher Allbritton at May 26, 2004 02:21 PM

there was a time when I was a younger man that I wanted to do exactly what Allbritton is doing- being the eyes of my country on the ground in some place (it was Beirut, San Salvador and Managua when I was 18) where I could dodge flying shrapnel as I ran pell mell towards “the Truth.” I also drove too fast, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and found 100 other ways to put my life at risk. I don’t particularly care to sell my life so cheaply these days. “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now….”

Upon further reflection

Just a little rumination about the whole “If you’re not using turntables, then we don’t want you to spin here” thing at the bar that was going to be my regular Thursday night gig.

I don’t know why these guys thought that someone could come in and use turntables to spin a downtempo set. It’s not like all the Kruder and Dorfmeister stuff is out there on vinyl. I think that it’s more that people have this idea of what they are going to get when they get a DJ for anything remotely urban- a guy that scratches and cuts, wears his baseball cap backwards and says “Know’m’sayin’?” at the end of each sentence.

I mean, vinyl is going to be retro, by it’s very nature as the primary sales medium of music from fifteen or more years ago. I don’t object to going out and pawing through the records at the flea market and picking up some Zapp and Roger and some Parliament 12″ slabs, but if you want me in your Ikea-themed upscale bar spinning air-conditioned downtempo music, don’t plan on getting a guy with turntables and a slamming sound system that jumps around and greets his ‘peeps’ as ‘Dog.’

I mean, perhaps it’s a crisis of expectations- these guys went looking for a DJ, and their booking manager went out and got them one, and they said “Doesn’t he have turntables? I mean, don’t all DJs?” I think that it might just be a misapprehension on their part about what it means to be a DJ. To me, it means having the most massive collection of a particular kind of music as anyone in town (in my case, world hip hop) and having the ability to deliver it to the sound system (in my case, through my laptop). I think these guys had this idea that a DJ comes in, sets up his turntables and then amazes everyone with a massive display of turntablist dexterity and his ‘skillz.’

We call that a disconnect.

I’m reading more today

Today, I am reading more than I am writing. I wanna share the love.

Judith Miller gets a little testy for being called out as a willing rube for the NeoCons.

Did anyone not read this and simultaneously think “I knew this was gonna happen,” and “Ewwwwwwwwwww…”?

Just because the Department of Homeland Security seems to be sitting on a full diaper doesn’t mean you should be, too.

I’m with Matt Drum on this, (UPDATE: I, of course, meant Kevin Drum. I had him and Big Media Matt crossed up in my mind.) I think Tom Clancy should have beaten Richard Perle like he was beatin’ on someone else’s mule.

Just reading the transcript, I have this suspicion that Al Gore actually doesn’t have to be coached on how to pronounce Abu Ghraib…

if you don’t think this is funny, it’s because you aren’t paying attention. Particularly the Lileks parody. oh, my, iddn’t Gnat special?

running update

I have so little to talk about today.

I have been running hard again.

Feels good.

averaging 3.2 miles every other day- running pretty fast, except when Addison is with me. He has to stop and smell stuff.

I have a lot of training to do between now and October for the marathon. I am starting with short distances and fast runs, because it hurts less. Today, though i am going to do a five mile trail run.

Wow.

Runners are boring, aren’t we?