It was a long, grueling summer here in Debrisville. Fall didn’t fall until last week and it’s heating up a bit again, but I’m hoping for a period of running neither the air dish or heater. Now that I’ve bored you with that brief weather update on with my first omnibus post in eons.
Spooked: I have a confession, I’m an espionage buff. I grew up reading John LeCarre and Graham Greene’s spy novels and I’ve had a lifelong fascination with the real life Cambridge Spy Ring. Right now I’m reading a biography of Wild Bill Donovan who established and ran the OSS during World War II. This is kind of weird for a hemophiliac liberal such as myself but what can I tell ya?
Now that I’ve set the table, on with the main course, such as it is. I’ve been cynical about the Greenwald-Snowden revelations, but they remind me of what a double edged sword all forms of spying can be. It’s fine when it works but when it’s exposed it blows up in your face. Kapow. That’s an apt description of the Merkel affair. It’s no secret that the US spied on German pols during the Cold War and this seems to be a vestige of that period. But the time has passed for that, all it does it punch Germany’s STASI button and end up embarrassing the administration that inherited the tap, bug or whatever the hell it is.
Even for cynical folks like me who think that every country spies on their friends, allies, and even in-laws, the NSA has gone too far and needs to reign it in considerably both at home and abroad. Bugging foreign political leaders is bad form even if George Smiley would have done it.
World Serious: I get all curmudgeonly and old farty when I watch baseball today. The games are sloooooow and to speed them up all they’d have to do is to enforce the rules and make the players stop farting around so goddamn much. I guess it’s hard for umps to tell millionaires what to do. Anyway, the endings of the last 2 games remind me why I fell in love with the game as a kid. I’ve never seen consecutive games that ended so weirdly: an interference call and a pick-off. That’s why live sports can be so exciting. Now if they could only make them stop fucking around, the games wouldn’t all last 44 hours…
The George Will Of The Left: The recent dust-up between Joan Walsh and Ezra Kleinreminded me of how insufferable I find the latter. Even when I agree with him, I find him to be OTT pompous and self-important. He’s one of the reasons that I DVR MSNBC programming. If I see his smirking, smug face, I can either zip through the segment or erase it if he’s the guest host. The only thing separating his teevee style from George Will’s is a bow tie.
Speaking Ill Of The Dead: I was on the tweeter tube yesterday when Lou Reed died. I’m down with all the paeans to the importance of his early music, but then the tributes verved into what a great, humble and nice guy he was. I got in trouble for pointing out that the great man was a major dick when encountering his fans, the press or even innocent bystanders. I saw Reed in stage door action once. A woman approached him and said: “You’re my hero.” Now I understand that that kind of stuff can be weird, but his response was OTT nasty: “Who gives a shit?” When she got all sniffly about it, he laughed at her. As my pal Liprap tweeted yesterday: “Lou Reed, one of the awful people who’ve brought us awesome things. It happens.”
That sums it up nicely. I’ll give Lou Reed the last word with a tune from his New York album:
One more numbah with Reed at his crankiest featuring jabs at Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldehim and Pope John Paul: