Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Am I Repeating Myself?

I know I've thought this for some time. I know I've said this to friends off and on over the past year. I may have even posted this idea at some point last fall (who knows. I'm lazy).

Each of our daily news shows should re-run the first five minutes of the coverage from that day a year ago. The original idea, which came to me last summer was for latter 2003 to include a recap of latter 2002's news and administration spinning points. With that in mind, playing the first 5 minutes of the days news from 2002, the first 5 minutes the news from 2003, and then today's news strikes me as a fantastic approach. Some website, if not an actual network, should be doing this.

To a very real extent, whatever was reported last year is always at least partially wrong. It is, afterall, based on less history, less knowledge, etc. But to re-air the claims that were made could only help make the political discourse in the present more honest. Are you telling the same story? If not, why have you changed your stance? If you are telling the same story but the underlying facts have changed, why is this not relevant?

It is, on one level, quite shocking to me that in this age of ready access to extensive digital libraries none are deploying these archives to force public figures to embrace coherence.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Why I Love My Job

Reason #37a

T&A E-Mail Reminder:

"Be sure to fill out your T&A"

Related statements overheard on the phone:
"I'm having trouble with my T&A"

"Where do you find the T&A"

"They're the biggest T&A provider in the area"

"Do you need me to sign your T&A"

Monday, September 20, 2004

Why I Love My Job

Reason #23

In response to a post-project survey question: "Did anything good come out of this project?"

The desired response was somewhere in the neighborhood of: "We harmonized the ZZ estimates with the YY source data which should result in a more sound methodology and smaller revisions in the future."

Instead, they got: "It was nice to be occupied for a change."

The crowning glory? This response was among the highlighted responses the Associate Director shared with entire staff at a Directorate meeting.

That wasn't my answer. But I must admit, it was nice to be occupied for a change.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

You Call that Advice! The return of Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I recently started dating a man I'll call Freddy. We met through an online dating service. We live in the same city and have had several dates, including a sleep-over. I am completely taken with him.
My problem is that Freddy continues to keep his profile on the dating site and visits it frequently. He says he goes there only if someone contacts him. I told him it makes me feel insecure; he said until he feels "safe" (previous women have left him for other men), he's going to continue to go to the site.

Am I wrong to feel insecure about this, or do lots of people leave their profiles active while dating someone? -- SUSPICIOUS IN COLUMBIA, S.C.

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Many people do -- at least for a while. And if I were you, I'd remember that several dates and a sleep-over are not a committed or exclusive relationship. Although you may be "completely" taken with Freddy, he may prefer to test-drive several models before buying a car -- or anything else. Slow down.

In fairness, Abby isn't terrible in this dose of advice. A few dates and a sleep-over do not a fully committed relationship make- at least not on their own. Suspicious should, and should have been advised to, have a conversation with "Freddy" (aside, who picks a pseudonym for their new beau from the Nightmare on Elm Street series?). Where does he see 'them' going. Is he seeing other people. Does he want to see others. Is he willing to stop seeing others.

The sad thing is Suspicious was doing a pretty good job on her own. She'd had the start of the conversation. But she hadn't pushed it all the way to useful. A little encouragement to chat him up a bit more is what Suspicious really needed. Communicate but with an open mind (an especially open mind as this is a young relationship), that's what a competent Abby meant to say.

DEAR ABBY: In a few weeks I will be attending my boyfriend "Don's" daughter's wedding. Several years ago, Don cheated on me with a woman I'll call Mona. It was only a short fling, and since then we have worked hard to repair our relationship. My problem is, Mona will be attending the wedding, too.
Should I go and hold my head high -- or not attend? I know it will be hard seeing her and not acting in a negative way. Mona has never stopped trying to interfere with our lives, and I have had a lot to swallow. What would you do? -- NEEDS SOME INPUT IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR NEEDS: I'd ask Don how he plans to handle it if Mona tries to attach herself to him, and agree upon some ground rules. Then I'd attend the wedding, be gracious to everyone, and revel in the fact that I was Don's girlfriend while Mona is the "loser" in more ways than one.

What makes "needs some" the winner in all this? Is it the fact that her boyfriend cheated and came back? The fact that "Mona" is still in the picture well after the short fling ended?

Let's put the pieces together, just for fun. Mona is invited to Don's daughter's wedding. Does anybody else get the scent of a much better story which isn't being told? Does the daughter know about Dad's past and still invite Mona? Does "Don" even give a crap about "needs some"'s needs? I'm wholly unconvinced.

If you even have to ask "Don" how he'll handle it if his former mistress tries to sidle up while his current girlfriend is there, it's probably already a lost cause. Communication, usually the right way to go, should take a back seat to putting your foot down here.

A Kerry Ad? Well it Should Be

Today Kerry rolled out a new angle of attack, titling the Bush Administration the "excuse presidency." Hopefully they can run with this one because it strikes me as quite powerful.

"This president has created more excuses than jobs. His is the excuse presidency -- never wrong, never responsible, never to blame," Kerry told the Detroit Economic Club. "President Bush's desk isn't where the buck stops, it's where the blame begins."

Very powerful. In the spirit of pitching in, might I suggest they turn some of the footage from Bush's April news conference into an ad. In particular segments from this little exchange:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

THE PRESIDENT: I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. (Laughter.) John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet... I hope I -- I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

Toss in a little voiceover offering a few mistakes he could have chosen from- say inadequate supplies of body armor to start the war, too few soldiers to hold the country, floundering (multiple iterations of this) post-war plans- from Garner, to Chalabi, to Bremer, to accepting UN help, and on and on, feckless strategies, Haliburton scams, pulling resources out of Afghanistan and loosening the noose on bin Laden and company, ignoring (except in rhetorical terms) the threat of al-Zarqawi. You get the idea. Oh, and the "Mission Accomplished" show and the "Bring it On" taunt to wrap the package. And Abu Ghraib, the abandonment of segments of the country, and Sadr's militia weren't even on the list yet at that point.

"How, Mr. President, did all of these mistakes escape your notice?"

Why I Love My Job

Reason #37

T&A workshop

Oh. Sorry to confuse you. Time and Attendance. What were you thinking I meant?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

You. or who You seem

There is an old world flair to your hair. That trademark wave as it travels from the top of your head to your ear. Or maybe that's just how I choose to see- illusion as my private fact. Is it natural- a gift?. Meticulously crafted- a graceful visage?.

But the eyes, they do not lie. Do they? Big. Excited. Hungry for happiness. Teaming up with an excitable smile to sell this image. This image of a hip but refined woman. Pulsing with excitement. Yet coolly so. Eternally warm, but no one quite knows it (you hide it in all the right ways). Simultaneously tieing and untieing knots in my guts.

Is it real? Or only in my head? But that hair. Does it say everything? Or nothing?

Mood Lights in a Haunted House

You inspire in me a persona. A persona which is not my own. A recklessly oblivious character. You talk of troubles. Of lost jobs, botched days. And I respond with blissful irrelevance. I need to find a recipe. I overslept and no one cared. Where might I find such a scarf?

Your tribulations release me. Free me. Instead of concern for your well-being- which anyone else would get- you're served musings on the banal. I'd almost call this persona an ass. But it's not cruel. It's not self-obsessive. It's not vain. It is a little scared- how far am I from an unceasing string of calamity?- but not in flight.

It's wholly inappropriate. Yet there is no shame. No regret. No impulse to reform.

This irrelevance is met with kindly sighs. Does it lift us both? I do hope so.