Monday, November 28, 2005

Back From The Bucolic Tundra

New Hampshire was cold and snow showers imperiled the roads, but from behind toasty car windows, it looked like a Currier and Ives. (Worcester Art Museum link here.) I saw real-live clapboard churches with steeples on snowclad hills, brightly painted colonial homes and barns with lanterned posts standing amid the bare birches and evergreens, and icy streams gurgled over rock and rill. Big chunks of NH really looked like this picture, except we were hauling our cargo in a minivan, and passed more than a few strip malls and Dunkin' Donuts franchises. Still, the time was nicely spent in gluttony and conviviality, and I have returned to a warm Manhattan, over 60F today.

Catching up on my electronic reading, I've found many- if not exactly outrages- things I wish to comment upon. A few seemed to overlap for me, as they so often do, in a theme not precisely indicated by the story's lede or summary. Still, to do my ideas justice, or even my usual injustice, will take more clear thought than I have available in my cheery but scattered brain today. So, how about some miscellania as an amuse-bouche with international flair?

1) ShrinkWrapped has another psychoanalytical take on this Architectural Digest story of the overwhelming narcissism and therapy-inducing distress of New York's realty-deprived.

2) Despite what you may have heard from a hairdo with porcelain veneers (and despite the undeniable and egregious abuses and scandals), we have seen international peacekeeping work to reduce the deaths by ongoing conflicts over the last decade and a half. Oh yes, there are still largely-ignored horror spots in the world, but we're not powerless. We should do better and by whatever means to stop the killing short of handing a blank check to Kofi Annan which guarantees nothing but interior redecorations for those with diplomatic immunity.

3) In Saudi Arabia, forget romance. The key to luring quantities of mobility-restricted babes into sharing their paychecks and your care and feeding is being a good driver.

4) For those who think moral rectitude is always irrelevant to fitness for public service, read how the rejuvenation of mistresses as status icons in China has helped create case after case of graft and political corruption.

5) A recent revision of a long-famous children's book has Photoshopped the illustrator's picture to delete the cigarette curled in the hand of Clement Hurd. This truth of an era and a man that families reading Goodnight Moon have- apparently- grievously suffered by confronting for 60 years has, at last, been visually expunged. For those who view the facts of history as an opportunity for discussion and education, as well as those who merely dislike the PC whitewash, the move has spawned a blog called Goodnight Reality. Louis Bayard of the WaPo has textual suggestions as well.

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