Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ed Rollins on his irrelevant party

From this recent commentary by Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who was President Reagan's political director:
The battle to be the "de facto leader" of this party is akin to the question of who wants to steer the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. Who represents the party or its values is not relevant when only 26 percent of voters have a positive impression of the party ...

Republicans are not relevant. We just lost two back-to-back elections (2006 and 2008), and obviously, what we are selling, the voters aren't buying. In the midst of the most severe economic crisis in my lifetime, we have a president who is taking the country on a dramatic sea change. This is what he said he would do and he is doing it. And where are Republicans? ...

For the foreseeable future, the Republican Party is in the position of being the minority party. Until it nominates a candidate who can attract new voters and expand the base vote of the party, it will stay there.

The Lovecraftian school-board member of Arkham, Mass.

For those who haven't seen it yet, here's the best Onion article in some time. Among my favorite passages:
"Fools!" said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. "We must prepare today's youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods -- not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. ...

West has served on the school board since 1997, when he defeated 89-year-old incumbent Doris Pesce by promising to enforce dress codes and refer repeat disciplinary cases to the three-lobed burning eye. ...

"Charles sure likes to bang on that madness drum," fellow school board member Danielle Kolker said. "I'm not totally sold on his plan to let gibbering, half-formed creatures dripping with ichor feed off the flesh and fear of our students. But he is always on time to help set up for our spaghetti suppers, and his bake sale goods are among the most popular." ...

West's previous failed proposals include requiring the high school band to perform the tuneless flute songs of the blind idiot god Azathoth and offering art students instruction in the carving of morbid and obscene fetishes from otherworldly media.

The Periodic Table of Typefaces

I admire this without reservation.

Sumer is icumen in

She's not in one of my classes, but I had to brag: Frostburg State University track star Sumer Rohrs just won her third consecutive national championship in the 55-meter high hurdles, setting a national record in the process: 7.97 seconds. Here's the story, with a photo of the champ.

Creating Indiana Jones: the paper trail

At his blog, anonymous Script Magazine contributor Mystery Man on Film has posted a link to a long-buried treasure for Indiana Jones fans: "the 125-page transcript (in the form of a .pdf document) of the original 1978 story conference between [director] Steven Spielberg, [producer] George Lucas, and [writer] Lawrence Kasdan for a little film called Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Anomalies in the news

  • What caused the two separate booms that rattled Californians in early March? Not weather, an earthquake, a meteor or an aircraft, apparently. Dittto the two booms heard in New York state.
  • Meanwhile, astrophysicists at Columbia and Brown are photographing the moon every 10 seconds, hoping to solve the 400-year-old mystery of those occasional bright spots on the lunar surface that are not meteor impacts. "About 1,500 of these have been reported," Arlin Crotts tells National Geographic. His theory: pockets of gas exploding, which would mean some vestiges of geologic activity.
  • Also meanwhile, police say that falling metal object that punched through a Dallas roof was ... a drill bit from a nearby wood chipper (huh?) ... but that's all they're willing to say publicly, other than "case closed."
  • If Watchmen were a Saturday morning cartoon

    Barry Johnson passes along this truly sick and twisted creation, which nevertheless is utterly Safe For Work.

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    What's not in Columbia anymore

    Buddy Moore alerted me to Columbia Closings, one depressing if addictive blog for us natives of the South Carolina Midlands.

    I married a senator

    Announced today: Sydney is one of 14 faculty members just elected to the Faculty Senate at Frostburg State University. Her term's up in 2011.

    She's the only newly elected senator from the English department. Of the others, two are from history, two are from visual arts, and one each is from accounting, biology, economics, educational professions, foreign languages and literature, mass communication, political science, sociology and the library.

    A quick quiz

    Judging from the faculty-search pages alone, which university would you guess has a College of Engineering?
  • Frostburg State University, or
  • North Carolina State University?