08 March 2008


When I saw the news headlines yesterday about an Obama aide calling Clinton a "monster," I thought "Who would be so stupid?"

Then I read the actual quote.
"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Ms Power added. The newspaper described her as "hastily trying to withdraw her remark".

As someone who does a bit of reporting (though admittedly my recent articles are more in the realm of pie-eating contests than national politics) I have to cry foul.

I have seen comments online that said Ms. Power should have known what she was doing, that if she wanted to be off the record that she had to state that at the beginning of the interview, not selectively in the middle.

Feh. This is "gotcha" journalism at its very worst. One word is used to indict an otherwise very competent woman who immediately recognized that she had made a slip and tried to correct it.

If reporters don't recognize that anyone can say something stupid and give them a chance to retract it immediately, they are asking for trouble. No wonder it is so hard to get people to speak at all. And when they do talk, they are often so guarded as to say absolutely nothing of interest or value.

The reporter betrayed her subject's trust and confidence. She did not give her a chance to be human.

Maybe it is because I am a sucky reporter and too much of a softy to be a real journalist, but if someone told me something was off the record during a conversation, I considered that done. If they called me later and tried to backtrack, that would have been a different story. I would listen and consider, depending on the source.

I cut average people much more slack than those - government officials, public relations people - who were used to dealing with the press. I felt like the Mayor should know to keep her mouth shut, while Joe the Construction Worker might not.

Samantha Power's comment was utterly insignificant. Having it out in the international press added nothing to our discussion over who should be president.

The only thing this story did was to further batter the credibility of the news media, which was already limping and did not need another whack.

06 March 2008

Who did for you?

Over at Flawed but Authentic, Kelly asks about people who inspired you when you were a young person. She tells about some teachers who made a difference when she was a high school student and already a mother:
Small things like bonfires and cocoa and laughter fill my memory bank and it may seem silly, but I am forever grateful. They fortified my belief in myself and my contribution to the world (they were the best kind of hippies) but also invigorated my conviction that I wasn’t a Throw Away. As confidence builders, they were extraordinary.

I had to comment about one of my favorite all-time teachers:
Mr. Robert Drew, my HS creative writing teacher. He did not use letter grades but instead employed symbols - an exclamation point for something that was good, two exclamation points for something wonderful and the beloved H (two joined exclamation points) for something truly stellar.

He taught gently, respectfully. You could read your work aloud in class or he would, or if you did not want him to, he would keep your privacy.

He treated paper as if it were magical, walking around the class with paper offered on his outstretched palms. You could take it or not take it. We all took it because we knew the paper from class was somehow better than paper from the outside world.

He died in my senior year. I still miss him.

Losing Mr. Drew unexpectedly was my first experience with grief. Because I was a bratty high schooler, I never properly thanked him. I only hope that in the cosmic scheme of things, he is somehow aware that I finally became a writer and that I think of him quite often.

Who did for you?


And in case you never make it over to Linkateria, here is a video that made me laugh and laugh. Gotta hand it to the Japanese for wacky game shows.

05 March 2008

Things I thought I would never be

I never thought I would be a Twitter person, but now it is part of my life. My name over there is suebob, if you want to follow me.

I thought it was the stupidest damn thing I had ever heard of, especially when I heard that people were receiving tweets (TWEETS! I said "tweets," a stupid name if I have ever heard one. God help me) as text messages. I imagined getting alerted 600x a day to some sily 140 character nonsense.

But now that I have been bitten by the Twitter Vampire, I see that it is more like the cracker barrel at the Olde Country Mercantile - a gathering spot to shoot the shit breeze all day and all night - but in this case I don't have to put on my overalls and drag my butt down to meet my cronies. My cronies are virtual.


I never thought I would text while standing in line, either, since I considered myself superior to those geekazoids that I saw doing it.

Peets Counterguy: Um, I'll help you NOW??

Suebob: (looks up confused) Where am I?

Peets Counterguy: Would you like a delicious coffee beverage?

Suebob: Uh, yeah, I was just...what was I doing? I'm sorry.

Peets Counterguy: That's a Crackberry, isn't it?

Suebob: I'm sorry. I won't do it again.

Peets Counterguy: How OLD are you? Leave txting to the young, ma'am. It is not for your kind.

Suebob: You're right, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking.

Peets Counterguy: Next time you come in here, I want to see you with one of those simple cell phones with the big buttons, okay?

Suebob: (meekly) Okay.

04 March 2008

I would not have voted for Tracy Flick, either

It's not her hair.
It's not her voice.
It's not her age, or her wrinkles.
It's not her relationship with her cheating husband.

I'm disappointed in Hillary Clinton as a candidate.

In my mind, she has been suspect ever since she arrived in New York to run for Senator.

She hasn't done anything to assuage my suspicions.

  • She agreed not to count Michigan and Florida, but changed her mind once she "won."
  • She used her husband as an attack dog when she didn't want to look mean - Bill said Obama winning South Carolina was nothing "Jesse Jackson won there, too." (Translation: any black person can win SC).
  • She claims she has 35 years "experience" - at WHAT? She also claims the media is too nice to Obama, but have they ever totted up this so-called "experience"? Why not?
  • She put out the first fear-mongering campaign ad. The children! Think of the children!
  • She has said "Day One" so many times that it is beginning to sound like Rudy Giuliani's "9-11".

In other words, she makes me wonder if Karl Rove is secretly running her campaign. It sounds all too familiar. Business as usual. Business as dirty.

Meanwhile, Obama has acted in a fairly consistent gentlemanly manner.

Maybe Hillary is right. Maybe he is too naive to be president. He acts like a decent human, after all.

02 March 2008


First the goats the other night, now a horse in the corner grocery. I am not kidding - this is kind of a bad photo but check the silhouette.

Yes, that is a horse in the doorway. Do you have a guess? I don't.
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