Thursday, August 31, 2006

You don't get a vote

Does this whole "Is Pluto a planet?" kerfuffle strike anyone as harmful? I'm not talking about the honest scientific debate; I'm talking about public outcry over the prospect of stripping Pluto of its status as the 10th planet in the solar system. I was reading about teachers getting children to write letters in support of keeping Pluto a planet, and I couldn't help but think that this approach to scientific debate is harmful.

I realize that many Americans (myself included) grew up learning in school that the solar system had nine planets, and we carefully memorized their names. So what? At one time people believed that the world was flat, but when it became obvious it wasn't, they got over it. Scientists have certain standards a heavenly body must meet to be classified as a planet, and Pluto didn't make it. Too bad. However, the idea that popular opinion should have weight in that debate just strikes me as wrong, wrong wrong. That's the kind of thinking that gets you "intelligent design."

On an unrelated topic, I've been slowly memorizing the words to "One Night in Bangkok", which until this week I didn't know was from a show. I also discovered that I had already memorized the lyrics of "I've Been to Paradise (But I've Never Been to Me)." Isn't that awful? Think about it...some producer sat in a recording studio and thought, "Yeah, Charlene, that's gold."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My favorite Democrat

Do you know why Ed Rendell is my favorite Democrat? One, because he's a smart guy who knows how to compromise and doesn't get sidetracked on foolish issues like posting the Ten Commandments here there and everywhere. Two, because his campaign staff says funny things, like so.

Gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann has written a book that details his plans for Pennsylvania should the voters be foolish enough to send him to Harrisburg. (The "foolish" part is my add-in; I don't imagine Swann would put that in his book.) Anyway, he plans to hand out the book for free at campaign events, but otherwise charge $10 for it. Uh, Lynn...most voters can't be bothered to look up the location of their polling places; do you honestly think they want to spend ten bucks on a book that tells them what you should be telling them for free?

Excerpt from the book:
"My opponent tries to dismiss me as a mere football player who doesn't understand government... . The mind-set this criticism reveals - that politics is best left to the career politicians - only shows which one of us is really out of touch."

Response from the Rendell campaign:
"I do not dismiss him as a mere football player who doesn't have experience. I dismiss him as an unbelievably fantastic football player who doesn't have experience."

And that's why Rendell is my favorite Democrat.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Vote Sith in '08!

At first I thought the suggestion of voting the Sith into the White House was a joke, but now that I think about it I'm more and more inclined to favor this. Say what you will about Palpatine, but the man had a rational (if evil) plan for governance and he knew how to win a war. That's a step up from what we've got now.

The other day I was walking by a construction site peopled by all these burly, man's-man guys. Out of their radio came Bette Midler singing, "The Rose." Ah...that kind of man's man.

I've come to learn that the combination of perfectionism and incompetence is a truly toxic thing.

I'm currently reading John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience." Great book. Buy it now. I'm also reading a collection of Robert E. Howard's Conan novellas, which I got at Between Books in Delaware. Between Books is the only thing that redeems Delaware in my personal estimation; otherwise that state could be sold to the Chinese to repay a fraction of our national debt. Then you could at least get good fried rice in Wilmington.