September 29, 2004

of horses wet with melted ice they would not heed my advice

It would seem to me that the harm is coming from what is in her hand, not what she is hearing. Any guesses (besides the obvious that it is Roanoke, Virginia) why the paper would run that caption given the picture? [via freakgirl]

* Thieves, a short story by Richard Yates. If you have not yet read Yates, do. excerpt:

That was how the evening's talk began at Blaine's bed. There was always a lull in the tuberculosis ward after the wheeling-out of supper trays, when the sun threw long yellow stripes on the floor below the west windows and dazzled the silver spokes of wheelchairs in its path; it was a time when most of the thirty men who lived in the ward convened in little groups to talk or play cards. Jones usually came over to Blaine's bed. He thought Blaine the most learned man and the best conversationalist in the building, and if there was one thing Jones loved, he said, it was a good gabfest. Tonight they were joined by young O'Grady, a husky newcomer to the ward who sat hunched at the foot of Blaine's bed, his eyes darting from one speaker to the other. What was talent? Blaine had used the word, Jones had demanded a definition and now the lines were drawn--as clearly, at least, as they ever were.

"Best definition I can give you," Blaine said. "Only definition there is. Knowing how to handle yourself. And the ultimate of talent is genius, which is what puts men like Louis Armstrong and Dostoyevsky in a class by themselves among horn players and novelists. Plenty of people know more about music than Armstrong; it's the way he handles himself that makes the difference. Same thing's true of a first-rate ballplayer or a first-rate doctor or a historian like Gibbon. Very simple."

"Sure, that's right," O'Grady said solemnly. "Take a guy like Branch Rickey, he knows everything there is about baseball, but that don't mean he'd of made a top ballplayer."

"That's right," Blaine told him, "that's the idea." And O'Grady nodded, pleased.

"Oh-ho, but wait a minute now, Bob--" Jones squirmed eagerly in his wheelchair, charged with the cleverness of the point he was about to make. "I think I got you there. Branch Rickey is very talented--but as a baseball executive. His talent is in that field; he's not supposed to be a player."

"Oh, Jones." Blaine's face twisted in exasperation. "Go on back to bed and read your comic books, for Christ's sake."

* How Republicans define security. excerpt:

"Election Day approaches, which means it is time for House Republicans to run fully amok. Today, the House will take up a bill by Indiana Republican Mark Souder to lift the gun controls in the District of Columbia. Souder's bill legalizes ownership of semiautomatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition. How this would increase security around the White House and the Capitol is something that Souder and Co. have neglected to explain, but no matter. The House Republican leadership knows the bill won't pass the Senate. The only reason it was even introduced was to force House Democrats -- a number of whom represent gun-loving districts -- to vote on this nonsense.
"The definition of security, I suppose, can depend on who you think poses the greatest threat to the nation. In the age of Bush, Republicans (with a few notable exceptions) surely don't believe it's al Qaeda, from which they diverted our forces to fight in Iraq. Nor do they believe it's now our enemies in Iraq, against whom they did not prepare so much as a battle plan. Only if you believe the greatest threat to Republicans -- excuse me, to America -- is the Democrats, that it's worth blowing off the danger from Osama bin Laden to eliminate the peril posed by Daschle, does the Republicans' security policy make any sense at all."


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