Fulcrum Ruminations

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Racist? Really?

This is the absurb depth to which we've sunk during this campaign. A little girl wears a Sarah Palin t-shirt to school and is branded a "racist" by some of her classmates.

I could launch into a polemic about how this came to be, what it says about the current state of American politics, and bemoan the implications for the future of our country. Instead of all that, tho, I'll just say . . . sad. Very, very sad. And utterly ridiculous.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Journals, Blank Books, and the Perfect Little Black Notebook

Diverting for a moment from Fulcrum Ruminations' main purpose, I'm going to talk for a bit about something that's become a minor obsession for me. Like it says in the title of the post, I'm referring to blank books, also known as anything books or journals. There's something about a blank book that strongly appeals to me. Maybe it's that they look for all the world like a finished book and lack only content. Maybe it's the endless possibilities of a blank sheet of paper magnified by the satisfaction of having it bound into the form of a book. Maybe I'm just warped and in need of counseling. Be that as it may.

My hunger for the perfect journal runs deep. Every time I'm in a book store or stationer's, I paw thru whatever versions they may have. Barnes & Noble has a very nice selection, tho most of them are not quite what I'm really looking for. Borders has a lesser selection for some reason. Books a Million is, well, pretty much hopeless. So I google for what might be there. I've found some that I quite covet at places like Aspinal of London, Journal Shelf, and Epica. These are high-end products, some quite pricey, but oh, how they call to me.

I've also found many cheap ones and of course the legendary Moleskine. I have several of these since I do have moments of weakness. I use them to draft blog posts, to write short stories, to take notes, and to do pretty much anything for which you could use a notebook. This obsession has led me to a couple blogs, linked for your convenience over there to the right. Notable here is Black Cover, a blog run by a man whose obsession for the perfect little black notebook dwarfs my own fascination with journals. I find his reviews of pocket-sized notebooks oddly intriguing, even tho I personally think his preferred size (about 3.5″x5.5″) is too small to be truly useful. But right now, he's running a contest in which you can win a new Picadilly notebook. In accordance with the rules of this contest, I've sent him an email with my blog's URL, my email, and my home mailing address. The link to his site has been here on Fulcrum Ruminations for some time already, and now I've added this post to draw further attention to the contest.

You, gentle reader, are invited to peruse Black Cover and see if you find it as interesting and entertaining as I have.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled viewing.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fannie and Freddie Fall Down Go Boom

It's been terrifying to watch the financial markets unravel these past weeks and months. Decades of bad decisions, bad policies, and bad legislation are paying off. The government is enacting a bail-out plan on a scale never before contemplated, let alone seen, with hundreds of billions of dollars in extra spending suddenly piled onto our already unbalanced budget. Debt, debt, and more debt. This money will come from where? Will be paid back how?

The bottom line is simple, gentle reader: I don't trust the buffoons in Washington to get this right. They are, in my estimation, going to make the crisis much, much worse than it needs to be with their hasty and ill-considered "rescue" plans. We are looking into an abyss. What may be on the other side is hard to determine. America could and probably will lose its preeminance in the world economic order. We're already the largest debtor nation by a huge margin. Loss of economic strength virtually ensures loss of military strength, and the Pax Americana will go the way of the Pax Britannica before it. We may be looking at several decades of world chaos.

Here's an interesting little video regarding Fannie and Freddie. While the presidential campaigns play out, the whole situation is even more politicized than it would normally be, and that's saying something. Altho there's no shortage of blame to go around for this fiasco, somehow the Republicans in general and McCain in particular are catching the worst of it. While I calculate that it's too late for anything as mundane as facts to influence the elections, I nevertheless present this for your edification. Go ahead and watch while I run out for MREs and ammunition to stock the bunker.

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