If Only All Our Political Debates Could Be Musical

The arguments may be tiresome, but you have to admit they go down a little more easily in musical form.

First entry (not embeddable): Kristin Bell channels Mary Poppins in a plea for an increase to the federal minimum wage. (Go ahead, watch; it's cleverly done.)

Then Reason's Remy with the rebuttal. I always liked Burt best anyway.

To My Daughter, I Just Have To Say

I Just Have to Say

That I didn't miss
the plums
that were in
the fridge

but now you
have eaten
an entire two pints
of raspberries,
my favorites,
I hoped to share at breakfast

Were they delicious?
and cold?
I didn't get
a one.

*With apologies to William Carlos Williams

Remembered With A Smile

Shamelessly pinched from here
(doodle doot) DOON-DOON-doo-de-doo-doon.... doo-doo-de-doo, doo-doo-de-doo... DOON...doo-de-doo-de-doo.... 

Raise your hand if you've had the theme to the Rockford Files playing in your head all day on the news of James Garner's passing?

I associate Garner, and especially the Rockford Files, with happy family life because for years we'd barely see my dad from Tuesday-Thursday as he "put the paper to bed," but on Friday night he'd be home and we'd have dinner in front of the T.V. to watch Rockford together. If Rockford was on, then Dad was home and all was right with the world. Mom was enjoying her eye candy and Dad was getting a kick out of Rockford's rumpled fight for justice and the juicy-delightful cowardice and betrayal of his erstwhile sidekick, Angel.

I had a crush on Rockford, of course, but I also recall loving the father-son relationship between Rockford and his dad, Rocky -- their crusty, undemonstrative tenderness for each other.
Jim: What's wrong?
Rocky: I am THROUGH talking to you! Look at you, an inch or two to the right and you'd be missing that eye!
Jim: Yeah, but look at it this way, an inch or two to the left and he'd have missed me completely.
Did any actor ever play annoyance, chagrin, reluctance or wheedling a favor to such comic effect? Until very late in life the man had the most pliable face in show business.

I don't actually know much about him beyond his being a self-proclaimed "bleeding heart liberal" and having a long-lasting marriage, which is always impressive in Hollywood.  I thought about reading his memoir when it was released, but was afraid it would cool my affection for him.

This appreciation from law professor Randy Barnett gives me courage to attempt it though. If you're a Maverick or Rockford fan, click over and read it. It's lovely and it captures what was great about Garner's work. (It's also nice because Garner's daughter read the piece to him while he was still alive and it pleased him: the internet is good for something! Read about that there too.)

Here's the Variety review of his career.

Update: List of Rockford's answering machine gags

It's Not The Dispassion, It's The Haste

FOX news was on in the background of a family visit last night, its reporters and commentators hyperventilating over President Obama's allegedly dispassionate response to the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

Here's Charles Krauthammer for instance:
The only way to explain the unbelievable passive nature of his speech today…there was no passion there was no interest in this. And I think if you want to explain it rationally, maybe he thinks the U.S. doesn't have to do anything,
Hmm. Far be it from me to defend this amateurish President, but is this criticism fair or wise?

Three observations.

1) I didn't hear anyone propose a concrete policy the President should be pursuing yet isn't.

2) Is it the President's job to emote over national and international tragedies, or to be a calming presence? I don't find his remarks or affect dispassionate necessarily, though I understand why some would. I think an argument can be made he's trying to be level-headed. Since we don't yet have clear facts, great moral outrage would be wasted since there would be no one concrete at whom to direct it.  His address seemed alright to me given what we know so far.

3) Compare Obama's remarks with those of President Reagan after the Soviets downed KAL-007. Reagan's reaction is definitely superior -- he lays out the facts and makes the moral case against our enemies and has the appropriate passion--  but he also has the advantage of working from facts rather than conjecture -- perhaps because he gave his speech to the nation four days after the event and not the following morning.

If there's a criticism to be made of the President's remarks, perhaps it's that he squandered his ability to say anything meaningful by commenting prematurely. He suffers from his generation's belief that one must always be commenting, whether or not one has anything to say.

A Few Questions About Our Border Crisis

Where immigration is concerned, I'm a pox-on-everyone kind of gal, but here VDH asks all the right questions. Such as hey, if Venezuela & Nicaragua & Cuba & Bolivia are such economic successes, why aren't the people streaming THERE? And...

What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the United States? What sort of government allows its vulnerable youth to pack up and leave, without taking any responsibility for such mass flight?

And he has more questions for Wall Street, for Nancy Pelosi, and just about everyone. 

Remote Control Women

Bill Gates is funding development of a remote control birth control microchip. You put two decades' worth of hormones in the woman's body and time release it in increments remotely.

That's what I like, giving Planned Parenthood and third world governments a chance to manage women's fertility as they DVR their favorite shows.

What could possibly go wrong?

(And who the hell cares? It's only women.)

The Tomatoes Don't Lie, X

I should have picked it this morning when it was intact --during Mass a squirrel took a bite out of it-- but nonetheless the First Tomato of Summer has arrived. It was a big ol' beefsteak tomato, so there was quite a bit left to enjoy once the squirrely part was sliced away. It wasn't a total loss.

Looking over the data, it seems that even taking weather and variable planting dates into account, I pretty get much get tomatoes around Independence Day. Which is nice, because depending on how the country's going I can either have a nice, celebratory BLT or throw the bad ones at local politicians. Tomatoes: the nation's most patriotic fruit.

For record keeping purposes, however:  July 6, 2014.

And here are all those other years, minus 2013, when unusual rainfall more or less flooded the plants and depressed the gardener.

2013: no data
Years 2005-2010