As some of you have probably noticed, this is a fairly idiosyncratic blog. Where most of my peers will (and can) post something anytime they want, depending on the topic and focus of the blog, I update mine nearly every Tuesday. Why is that, you ask? The fact of the matter is, I'm a creature of habit; I do my best writing on a deadline, and for some reason I'm motivated to type my thoughts with a rigid schedule. When I started this blog not quite five years ago, I figured that one entry a week was enough to let my friends know what was going on in my life. Nowadays, I feel compelled to write more but my work and class schedules hinder that. What was initially a gimmick has become a necessity of sorts, a creative outlet in an increasingly left brain-dominated lifestyle.
I feel inclined to say this because January 2010 is shaping up to be a very eventful month for current events, and so far this year I've only covered two topics (health care reform and the late night wars) with any ponderosity. Though this week's blog has a "random notes" feel, I'm just playing catch-up on current events:
+ I watched news coverage of the Haiti earthquake and it kept triggering memories of Hurricane Katrina. The two disasters don't compare in terms of fatalities and destruction, yet I wish the government reacted as quickly to the earthquake as they did the hurricane. Where Haiti was purely a natural disaster, Katrina was arguably man-made. The denizens of the 9th Ward were poor, though the people of Port-au-Prince are far worse off. Sadly, the big question now is how long it will take before the historically corrupt and feckless Haitian government pockets all that Red Cross money.
+ The Democrats might be losing that super-majority a lot sooner than I thought. Today's election day in Massachusetts, and that vacent senate seat is still very much up for grabs. I'm posting this less than 12 hours before the polls close, and even I can't make an educated as to who will win. Regardless, I've always found Bay State politics to be quite alien; unlike most of us, the voters there aren't terribly concerned about the personal discretions and character flaws of their candidates. Case in point: 20 years ago, Rep. Barney Frank's boyfriend ran a prostitution ring in their garage, but he's just as powerful in Washington as ever. As long as the streets are clean and the taxes are low, in Massachusetts, who gives a hoot about their representatives' personal lives?
+ "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" --and several key elements of O'Brien's on-air persona-- are as good as gone. It's a shame it ended the way it did, and far too soon. His stint at NBC is all but over, and the network has reinforced their intellectual property rule, a policy that hindered David Letterman's leap to CBS 17 years ago. Basically, that means if O'Brien lands another talk show on a new network (*cough* Fox *cough*), "In The Year 3000" and "Celebrity Survey" won't be tagging along. Of course, there's a loophole or two; maybe the Masturbating Bear will be rechristened the Self-Pleasuring Ursine, who knows? Either way, this is the end of Conan as we truly know it, and we should savor his remaining shows for all its worth.
+ Apparently, French neo-conservatives are just as paranoid about immigrants as their American counterparts. Click here for the story.
+ Speaking of racial strife, a couple guys in the Deep South are still coming to terms with having a black president.
+ After nine ballots, Andre Dawson and his paltry .323 OBP was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 6th. Though "The Hawk" wasn't on my Cooperstown short list from last month, I begrudgingly accept the sportswriters' final vote. After all, Dawson was a eight-time Gold Glover and a seven-time All-Star, not to mention one of the most-feared power hitters of the 1980s. He's not as deserving as some of the players I've watched in my lifetime, but I'd rather have Dawson in Cooperstown than, say, Ron Santo. On a semi-related note, I tip my Royals cap to the one guy who voted for Kevin Appier. Yes, Kev had no chance of being inducted and his career stats are better suited for the Royals' Hall of Fame, but at least he wasn't shut out entirely like Todd Zeile or Shane Reynolds. Appier was slightly more deserving than that.
+ So what becomes of Mark McGwire? As pained and earnest as his confession might've been, it was too little, too late. Pleading the fifth and dodging the media for half a decade merely augmented the general assumption that Big Mac took steroids. His long-delayed admission had no element of surprise, though at least he complimented the MLB's current drug-testing tactics (which like McGwire, was demanded by the general public after years of dilly-dallying). There's nothing to say on this topic that I haven't articulated in past blogs; I might've waffled on McGwire's guilt on at least one occasion, but the Hall of Fame ship has long since sailed. Good luck trying to coach Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, Mark... unless that's the point.
Next week: the year in music, 1980.