That Was Then, This Is Now Dept.
Shirley Jones to pose nude in Playboy at 75?
I feel the same way about this as I do about that new Andy Samberg-Justin Timberlake video.
HT: Ace of Spades
Farewell, Dean Barnett
"As I grew sicker, I had what for me was an extremely comforting insight. I came to view serious and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center. The interior of the circle represents the contents of one’s life. As the circle gets smaller, things that were inside get forced out. Some of these things are dearly missed; others that were once thought precious get forced to the exterior and turn out to go surprisingly unlamented.
"At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: family, faith, love. These things stay with you until the day you die. At the very end, because the circle has shrunk down to its center, they’re all you have left. But as we approach that end, we finally realize that all along, they were what mattered most. As a consequence, life often remains beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end."
You lived a life that was beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt, Bill Kristol, Ed Morrisey and Allahpundit, Mark Steyn, Jim Geraghty, Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Iowahawk, Ace of Spades, Jim Treacher, John Podhoretz, Peter Robinson, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Jennifer Rubin, Ed Driscoll, Paul Mirengoff and John Hinderaker, Baseball Crank, Stop the ACLU, Jon (at Exurban League), Glenn Reynolds, Sister Toldjah, Flap, Neo-Neocon, Dirty Harry's Place, Dan Lamothe, Matt Lewis, Protein Wisdom, Katie Favazza, Wizbang, IMAO, Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, John McCormack, Sean Hackbarth, W. James Antle III, Flopping Aces, Little Green Footballs, Roger L. Simon, Meryl Yourish, Stephen Green (Vodkapundit), Bookworm, Vanderleun, TF Boggs, Andrew Sullivan and Patrick Ruffini all offer their goodbyes. Even Markos Moultisas found a kind word for Dean: "I may not like many of you guys on the Right, but Dean was a class act and someone who was a true online friend. I'll miss him terribly." Boston Globe obit is here.
And now Mitt Romney.
Prayers for Dean Barnett
I was saddened to discover this post from Captain Ed Morrisey:
So often in this business, we become friends with people whom we’ve never met face to face. That’s certainly true of Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard. I’ve long admired his writing, and Dean has always been kind enough to request me as a guest whenever he guest hosts for Hugh Hewitt. He calls me his “crazy uncle”, a humorous reference to Jeremiah Wright.
My friend Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson tells me that Dean has had to be admitted to the hospital and is currently in the ICU with a terrible attack of his cystic fibrosis. I’d like to ask Hot Air readers for their prayers for my friend and his family. I know they will appreciate the support.
I’ll update you as I hear more.
I've known Dean since his Soxblog days, before his collaboration with Hugh Hewitt and The Weekly Standard. Like Captain Ed, I've never met him face to face, though we've talked on the phone and corresponded on and off over the past four years. He's one of the most decent, intelligent people I've met in the blogosphere.
Dean once wrote:
As I grew sicker, I had what for me was an extremely comforting insight. I came to view serious and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center. The interior of the circle represents the contents of one’s life. As the circle gets smaller, things that were inside get forced out. Some of these things are dearly missed; others that were once thought precious get forced to the exterior and turn out to go surprisingly unlamented.
At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: family, faith, love. These things stay with you until the day you die. At the very end, because the circle has shrunk down to its center, they’re all you have left. But as we approach that end, we finally realize that all along, they were what mattered most. As a consequence, life often remains beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end.
I profoundly hope this isn't the end, and that Dean will live to blog another day.
Please join me in praying for him.
Here's Dean's most recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, talking about the first presidential debate.
Another recent interview here.
Is the blogosphere the MSM's farm club?
Heads up, bloggers! The Washington Post is waving paychecks.
The Washington Post's site was recently stung by its hiring of 24-year-old conservative blogger Ben Domenech, who was found to have plagiarized and made racially insensitive comments before he resigned after only three days of blogging.
Now, however, according to a report on the Web site Raw Story, washingtonpost.com is again trying its hand at extending its opinion blogging, this time with the coming hire of one conservative blogger and another liberal one.
If it did hire bloggers from opposite ends of the political spectrum, the site likely hopes to avoid the kind of criticism it received originally from liberals for only hiring the conservative Domenech.
Blogs are also infiltrating The New York Times, according to public editor Byron Calame (who seems less than thrilled about the prospect):
Across the paper's Web site, blogs run by assigned staffers are posting opinions and information they consider insightful on topics such as dining, wine, real estate and the financial world. And The Times has "a bunch on the drawing boards," Jonathan Landman, the deputy managing editor, told me Tuesday.
The Times has been slower than the online versions of The Washington Post and other newspapers to embrace full-fledged blogging. That cautious approach hasn't bothered me, given my conviction that serious journalism starts with the authentication and verification of information. Staffers directly posting their own thoughts or those of others that they found insightful—generally the essence of blogging—was a step to be taken with care at a serious paper.
It's interesting that The Times' approach is to set staffers up with blogs rather than to bring bloggers into the paper itself. Perhaps they fear that "unserious" bloggers would have the place trashed in no time, leaving unauthenticated, unverified information littered everywhere.
Elsewhere in the mainstream press, a handful of bloggers—mostly conservative—have already found a second home: Matt Welch at The Los Angeles Times; Glenn Reynolds at The Guardian; Ed Morrissey, Dean Barnett, Hugh Hewitt and slew of other over at Jonathan Last's The Daily Standard.
Some time ago, I wrote that if journalism is the first rough draft of history, then blogging is the first rough draft of journalism. By the same token, I have a general sense that the mainstream media looks at the blogosphere partly as a repository of ideas free for the taking, partly as research service and partly as a farm club for editorial talent.
But it seems to me the blogosphere is more than just the sum of what it represents to journalism. It's not, if you will, an adjunct to the fourth estate but a fifth estate in its own right, with its own evolving ethos and its own healthy skepticism of the other four. At heart, I think, most bloggers don't aspire to be journalists any more than they aspire to be rock stars or quarterbacks or CEOs—even if their blogging occasionally places them in a quasi-journalistic role, as they're caught up in a breaking story.
We blog, not to become journalists, but to be more of what we already are—informed, thoughtful, articulate citizens of a democratic nation.
For us, blogging isn't a training ground for the big leagues, for "the Show."
It is the Show.
The world's great skylines
Most are in Asia—and, interestingly, only one in Europe (Frankfurt). Chicago, New York and Seattle made the list; San Francisco, surprisingly, didn't.
My hometown of Pittsburgh, however, merited an "honorable mention," at number 16:
Although Pittsburgh only has two buildings over 200m tall, its skyline is very impressive nonetheless. Pittsburgh has nicknames like the "city of bridges", "the Burgh" or the "golden triangle" which outlines its true characteristics. It is surround by three rivers and the CBD is shaped in a triangle and surrounded by golden color bridges. The city is also surrounded by hills and valleys giving access to great views of the city. The city has not had a major skyscraper raised since 1988, but good planning and a scenic surrounding region still makes it a great skyline.
No mention could I find at all of Denver.
Fans of Pittsburgh's spectacular skyline, by the way, should have a look at pittsburghskyline.com, which offers some remarkable photographs (like the one above) of the metropolis once, for a brief shining moment, known as The City With a Smile on Its Face.
Sic transit gloria mundi
Lillian Narvett Morrow
July 24, 1925–April 7, 2005
In the geography of the heart, there are many tribes and nations, but the one we call motherhood is not a country; it is a world—a world that, in our lifetimes, we shall have no end of exploring. Its oceans are so vast, there is no ship to circumnavigate them. Its continents stretch beyond the limits of our reckoning.
Yet motherhood—the force that gives motion to this great chain of being—is not unknowable. It has no maps, but it does give us guides, and the one chosen for me was, in a word, impeccable.
She was the Beatrice to my Dante—surefooted and wise and infinitely patient. I could not have been more lucky to have her, for she was the very substance of luck itself. On a summer evening, she would stroll with me in the grass, look down, and reach to pluck a four-leaf clover. She performed this small miracle so often, in fact, it became routine.
Her gifts were small, yet astonishing in their profusion. In her hands a scrambled-egg sandwich became a gastronomic masterpiece that would have made Escoffier weep. She could transform a Christmas tree into a Fabergé jewel. She turned grocery money into a stock market portfolio and a rough-hewn farm boy from Shippingport, Pennsylvania, into a man of the world. Her alchemical powers always seemed, to me at least, without limit.
No puzzle was ever invented that could defeat her. Alas, poor Rubik, she knew him well—and bested him in hours. The Sunday New York Times she did in pen, likewise the The Atlantic Monthly’s dread double-crostic. She could read upside down as well as she could read rightside up. She handled words the way Einstein handled numbers, and her solutions were no less elegant.
And elegant she was, in every aspect of her being. She was always Queen of the May, belle of the ball, the one you pick out of the crowd. The summer before she became ill, I took her with my family to a concert with Livingston Taylor (the less-known, though no-less-talented, brother of James). Before the concert began, Livingston wandered among the crowd. He walked straight to my mother as if he knew her. She put out her hand and said, “Hello, I’m Lillian Morrow.” He said, “Pleased to meet you, I’m Livingston Taylor.”
“Oh, I know who you are,” she said. And I remember thinking, “Good God, that’s my 78-year-old mother—flirting with a pop star!”
She made everyone feel special, even pop stars. She was always reserved in her judgment. Like The Great Gatsby’s Nick Carraway, she was “often privy to the secret griefs of wild young men”—to say nothing of a few wild young women. I’m sure she listened to as many confessions in her lifetime as Pope John Paul II—though she never asked for penance.
Listening was her great gift, and she gave it without reservation. In her understanding you felt somehow redeemed. Without judgment or reproach, she made you want to do better, made you want to be worthy of the trust she placed in you.
She was wise in ways that could not come from experience alone—though she saw much in her 79 years and not all of it pretty. She venerated knowledge—and sought it in the books of wisdom she read throughout her lifetime. A love for the power of the written word was deep in her, a love that gave me my vocation, that made me who I am. She put the poet’s fire—the fire Dante called il foco che gli affina—in my soul.
She was my muse, my inspiration, my music. She sang beyond the genius of this world.
And her song will always live in my heart.
MSM mash notes
Most bloggers on the right tend to view the mainstream media with as much trust as you'd accord a pit bull with a string of foam trailing from its mouth.
As a result, most of us respond to the MSM in one of two ways: outright hostility or avoidance.
But, despite the best efforts of the Bolsheviks to burn it down (to use Hugh Hewitt's memorable phrase), the MSM will probably be with us, at least through the end of 2005 and quite possibly for some time after that.
What's more, not all of its editors and journalists necessarily have big political axes to grind (at least not as manically as, say, the ones at The New York Times or CBS).
This being the case, may I offer a modest suggestion—one I believe has as much, maybe more, transformational potential as congressional hearings over Memogate.
Mash notes to journalists.
Some of these folks—particularly at the local/regional level—do have their heads screwed on right and are generally doing a pretty good job of getting out the news that people need. (And even some of the diehard liberals do lapse into sanity from time to time.)
So why not let them know when they get it right?
Post an item on your blog, drop them an email, send them a valentine in the mail next month—or, better still, all of the foregoing.
Most local journalists are woefully underpaid and underappreciated. And most of the mail they get is critical. (In many cases, you really have to wonder why they do it.)
Anyway, I think you might be surprised by the response you get. And, if B. F. Skinner taught us anything, it's that behavior that's rewarded tends to produce more of the same.
Which is more powerful in the long run: The stick? Or the carrot?
Think about it.
UPDATE: The Power Line guys are writing favorable things about the Iraq election coverage of Geraldo Rivera, Christiane Amanpour, The New York Times and even Aljazeera—with a few disclaimers, of course. Captain Ed even offers a tip of the hat to the Gray Lady. Hmmm … could they possibly have taken my advice here yesterday? (Nah … but it's heartening to see nonetheless.) Joe Gandelman—who does occasionally read this blog and is never stinting with a kind word—also commends the Times for its election coverage.
A foolproof cure for hiccups
I don't claim to be the next Jonas Salk. But I have discovered a cure for hiccups.
It works like this:
- Fill a drinking glass with water.
- Cover it with a clean handkerchief or a dish towel.
- While holding the cloth stretched tightly over the top of the glass, drink all the water through the cloth.
By the time you're finished, the hiccups will be gone.
Don't ask me why this works, but it does.
In 30-odd years, I've never seen it fail.
(Tip of the hat to Piers Gardner—now a London barrister—who showed me this little trick when we were schoolboys at Bryanston School England.)
Rather's replacement named
"Merry Christmas" may be difficult to wish aloud in our politically-charged culture, but there are other ways to say it.
A story in today's Chicago Tribune describes the tragedy that befell Eddie Barry and his dog Ollie:
Getting run over by a 16-year-old girl driving a Hummer was pretty bad, Eddie Barry acknowledges.
His right leg was shattered below the knee, he spent a week in the hospital and, despite seven months of physical therapy, he's still in pain and still can't walk right.
But what really hurt Barry about the May 15 accident in a Villa Park crosswalk was that it killed his 9-year-old miniature schnauzer, Ollie.
"He was a big part of my life," said Barry, 36, a learning-disabled school janitor who lives alone in a modest brick home left to him by his parents.
"Ollie was almost like a brother to me, like a person. He slept with me on the bed; when I'd eat, he'd eat."
For years, Barry and his dog were fixtures in the neighborhood--visiting the local firehouse, taking long walks all over town.
But the gang at the local firehouse came to Barry's rescue:
When members of the Villa Park Professional Firefighters Association union heard Barry was well enough to care for a dog again, they took up a collection for a new dog.
Earlier this month, they delivered a male puppy to Barry at his home as an early Christmas present.
"We knew that [Ollie] was his life. With nobody else around, it was really like losing a family member to him, and we just really wanted to fill the gap," Biagioli said.
"Ed's a part of our neighborhood," said Lt. Bill Tauchen. "We know how much the dog meant to him."
And the new dog, Buddy, seems to be fitting right in:
"I really missed having a dog," Barry said, announcing that the puppy, the fourth miniature schnauzer of his lifetime, will be known as Buddy. "It feels like things are starting to get back to normal.
"I've had a dog since my fifth birthday, and I had pretty much figured that Christmas was going to be without one.
"I know [the firefighters] didn't have to do it, [and] I'm greatly appreciative."
Holding 6-pound Buddy to his face and cooing into the animal's neck, Barry smiled widely.
"It's hard for me to put in words exactly what it means to have a dog," he said.
Actually, I can think of two words: Merry Christmas.