Sarah Palin reduced to gibberish by Katie Couric’s unrelenting niceness

September 30, 2008

Sometimes I find politics hard to crack into. It seems like there’s so much backstory, and I have no hope of ever catching up. Not so the Palin saga, she has no backstory! She’s like a fresh new baby and I know almost everything there is to know about her after only a couple minutes a day.

Here’s Palin’s second big interview, with hard-nosed journalist Katie Couric. Couric graciously gives Palin a chance to clear up some of the gaffes she made in her first big interview with Charlie Gibson, and Sarah Palin takes the opportunity to … um… re-iterate the same meaningless answer she gave last time and sound like a total idiot once again.

I'll ramble, you blink.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: I'll ramble, you blink.

The cherry on top of this brown sundae is that SNL does us all a solid once again, by immediately calling upon Tina Fey and Amy Poeher to hurry up and make it hilarious.

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

September 29, 2008

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget is a lovely reminiscence by former cab driver Kent Nerburn:

The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers.”

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget

Air Miles are jerks

September 26, 2008
Am I seeing things, or is that happy face totally mocking me?

Am I seeing things, or is that happy face totally mocking me?

I’m not gonna even tell you how long I’ve been collecting Air Miles, both on my Air Miles card and on an Air Miles credit card. I have never redeemed any miles. And this amount of miles- collected over a period of YEARS- is about enough to trade in for a $20 yoga mat. I don’t even think I could fly to Rochester with this piddling dribble of miles, let alone somewhere good. Air Miles are jerks. I need a new loyalty card. Maybe one that will give me a free bag of popcorn every five years, that would be a step up.

Bubbles! (Not the creepy chimpanzee)

September 22, 2008

Bubbles from Nick Campbell on Vimeo.

Filmed at 250 frames per second. Pretty!

Demetri Martin

September 22, 2008

This dude is good.

6 minutes, pretty safe for work.

His 6-part Edinburgh Festival show is good, too. Some cussin’.

Where the Democrat party at?

September 20, 2008
I think its Outkasts Hey Ya.

I think it's Outkast's "Hey Ya".

Note that Hillary has man-hands of an unexpected shade.
Thanks to the other Hillery for the tip.

Dan Hanna’s Aging Project

September 19, 2008

Dan Hanna made an elaborate 360′ photography rig and has used it to take a photo of himself every day for 17 years. When the photos are viewed sequentially, his head appears to rotate like the Earth.

Scott Hepburn, Comics illustrator

September 19, 2008
some nerds are attractive.

Scott Hepburn.

Washington Times interview with comic book illustrator Scott Hepburn.

Washington Times: What comic book character would you like to work on?
Hepburn: Garfield, or Batman. I can’t decide.

Hepburn has a solid weekly webcomic called The Port.

The Port - Butch, Jon-Jon, and Horace, by Scott Hepburn

The Port - Butch, Jon-Jon, and Horace, by Scott Hepburn

Styrobot will terminate the pile of computer boxes in the garage.

September 19, 2008
Styrofoam robot is impervious to biodegradation.

Styrofoam robot is impervious to biodegradation.

Styrofoam robot made of computer packing pieces. Awesome.
I forget where I found this.

To generate quality, prioritize quantity.

September 19, 2008

Blogger Alice of Finslippy wrote a good post about writing.
This anecdote stood out to me:

A ceramics class is divided into two groups. The first group is graded on quantity: it doesn’t matter how good their stuff is, just how many pounds of work they end up with. The second group is graded on quality: it didn’t matter how few pots they create, just how perfect the final product is. Can you guess who ends up doing the best work? It’s the quantity group: the students who churned out work day after day and learned from their mistakes. Meanwhile, the quality group had wasted time mulling over how they could achieve perfection, so by the end of the class they had “little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

There’s also a video in the link featuring Ira Glass, so you know it’s of the zeitgeist.