Adventures in Bureaucracy
The women's gymnastics finals were amazing to watch. I was hoping for better from my favorite Russian, Anna Pavlova
, but she should be good for another Olympiad. She's got a long way to go to catch up to the attitude of Svetlana Khorkina
- but maybe having your mother as a coach discourages that. She may be done with gymnastics, but she has a lot of potential, be it as Bond villain
or something more
reminded me of one of those filmstrips in "The Simpsons", something like "Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory".
As if there's not enough to worry about, the news media goes out and find more. I mean, honestly. "But, in terms of grave threats, are we really looking in the right direction?"
Hmmm.... which is a more likely to hit New York in the immediate future: a tsunami, an asteroid or al-Qaeda?
But the talk about Tambora
reminded me of a pretty decent book I read earlier this summer about another massive volcanic eruption in the Indonesian archipelago. Krakatoa
was perhaps the first global media event, taking place at a time when the telegraph could spread news nearly instantaneously. The ramifications of the explosion were widespread - the blast itself was heard thousands of miles away, the ash affected weather worldwide, and the scale of the event weakened Dutch colonial rule and contributed to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the Indonesian isles. Not a bad read.
Driving back home this evening I caught a bit of a radio interview with Dr. Justin Frank, who apparently has written a book analyzing President Bush. This
seems to be a pretty fair assessment of his position. He made the same points in this interview
a few months ago.
Not that he seems to have an axe to grind or anything
Or might be operating from any sort of political agenda other than of strictly clinical interest (he was formerly in charge of the Washington branch of this apparently non-partisan group
From the bits I heard, according to Dr. Frank's analysis, President Bush is barely capable of functioning. And even though he personally doesn't believe it's true, the good doctor nevertheless wondered aloud why nobody in the news media has ever raised the question of whether the President might be drinking again.
The only acknowledgement from Dr. Frank of any good on the President's part was when Bush admitted to some personal flaw. Which annoyed me even more than the rest of the interview. To some, we should wallow in our flaws, foibles, insecurities and other problems. Strength and resolution are just facades to mask the same. Why is it that with all the therapeutic talk in our culture, nobody ever seems to improve? It's better to revel in weakness than to press on and actually DO anything worthwhile.
I wonder what Dr. Frank thought of the British during the Victorian era. Repressed emotions, living in denial, blah blah blah. But yet during that time they managed to rule one sixth of the planet. Are they really better off now that the famed Stiff Upper Lip has been Oprahfied?
Maybe the Doctor will turn his clinical eye next to the issue of Bush Derangement Syndrome
. Physician, heal thyself.
I know that department stores like to get a jump on the seasons, so when I saw heavy autumn clothes on the displays at Hecht's even as Washington swelters in 90 degree heat and high humidity, I wasn't exactly surprised. No, the double-take came when I saw the Halloween decorations in housewares. Come on, people! It's still three months away! Can't you at least wait until Labor Day?