From potent heat to bone-cracking cold: 24 hours in Minnesota. Today we got a foretaste of the month’s conclusion, with a stern curt wind that seemed intent on reordering our perspective. You don’t know how many dead leaves your backyard has until you hear them all rustling around on the patio stones. Grim skies, too. Intermittent rain. Fall has two sides – the clement decline, and the brisk broom whisking summer to the gutter. I turned the heat up in the car on the way to the Play Place, and as ever remembered: we forget how heat smells. We forget what it feels like when the car is rocked a few inches back and forth by a hectoring wind. In summer we always forget how forlorn and forsaken the world looks in February. But even in February we can describe summer down to the smallest detail.

The long-standing Thurlsday tradition has not fallen by the wayside. I present this, which should bring back long-buried memories for those of us who were slack-mouthed video sponges in the 60s. I was particularly drawn to the NBC color peacock - the theme that has the same resonance for my generation as the Intel sounder (bong! In-tel-in-side) has for 20 somethings. Click around and you’ll also find NBC snake and the NBC chime, which had a timeless and reassuring sound; it’s the audio equivalent of the feeling you get when you sink your glutes into the groove of your favorite chair. The CBS sounder isn’t as good; it leaves you unresolved, which may have been the point. It’s like giving people shave-and-a-haircut without two bits. They’ll stick around and wait. ABC’s version fits the network’s image perfectly, at least for that era – cheap, brassy, fun and showy.

You could write an entire thesis about the difference between the 50s Peacock theme and the 60s theme; the former is authoritative, the latter seductive. The former is institutional; the latter is personal. The former sounds like the first few bars of a Perry Mason score; the latter could come from a Wonderful World of Disney story about the miracles of pollination.

(Side note: I stumbled on that site while clicking around to find a particular font. Turns out the author of the site has in his possession an ancient color TV camera, and to my astonishment I have –

- no, save if for tomorrow.)

Ivan from the International Space Station. Incredible shot. Made me start whistling the theme from “The Black Hole,” which, if you know the theme, is damned hard to do. But I can do it. I’m a very good whistler. Make sure you click for the large version.

This does not reflect poorly on Spain. This reflects poorly on Socialists, subset Spanish.

In case you’re wondering if the new definition of truth was limited to the New York Times, here’s the local headline:

The story in the paper says “Asked about her politics, he said she had never voted for Bush.”

That line does not appear in the online version. That piece says:

“She said she had never voted for Mr. Bush because she disliked his record in office.”

Relevant info? I paste and copy, you decide. In any case, the whole “fake but accurate” line shows how tone-deaf these people are; it’s like saying a body in a pine box is “dead but lifelike.” It boggles, it really does: the story is true, the evidence is faked, but the evidence reflects the evidence we have not yet presented that proves our conclusion – ergo, we’re telling the truth. They just can’t give it up; they just can’t say the memos were typed by the guy in the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!” commercial and leave it be, because that that puts the knife in the story regardless of what happened. So they keep going.

They’re not alone. Again, from the Times, a quote from the lawyer re: the fellow who, it seems likely, may have forged the docs, or passed them along.

Asked what role Mr. Burkett had in raising questions about Mr. Bush’s military service, Mr. Van Os said: “If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973 - which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done” - then, he continued, “what difference would it make?”

Leave aside “without much evidence,” which is a standard rhetorical trick; you spin a fib about damning evidence en route to making your final point, so your interlocutor argues that last point and appears to concede the parenthetical assertion. Focus on that last line: “What difference would it make?”

On the other side of that question stretches a hall of mirrors a mile wide and ten miles long. Translation: the issue isn't whether the memos are fake. The issue is what the faked memos prove to be true. You want that to be your standard for accuracy?

Look. They’re fake. CBS screwed the pooch on this one. They pursued the story for years, and in the end they lost perspective, just as lousy pilots become disoriented in bad weather and think they’re flying level when they’re actually heading down at a 45 degree angle. Imagine if the GOP had spent three election cycles trying to impugn Kerry’s service, and finally came up with a Swift Boat Vet guy who said he saw Kerry shoot himself in the foot – and within a day it was revealed that the source spent the entire war in a supply depot in San Diego. End of the entire Magic-Hat / Xmas in Cambodia / V-for-valor/ rice-shrapnel story. The fruit of the poisoned tree, baked in a nice pie, smashed in the face of the accuser.

The left thinks that the issues around the TANG service are relevant – Bush was AWOL then, Bush lied about WMD, both instances involve acronyms, and can’t you SEE the cloven hooves? It’s the same sort of thing that gripped the feverish elements of the Right in the 90s: Clinton winked at drug-smuggling out of Mena, therefore he sold nuclear secrets to the Chinese for campaign donations. ISN’T IT CLEAR? But that sort of nonsense was confined the margins; the editor of the Clinton Chronicles wasn’t sitting in the presidential suite at the 2000 convention like Michael Moore sitteth at the left hand of Jimmy Carter in 2004.

The right thinks that the provenance of the documents is relevant, because it suggests that someone was attempting to influence the election with forged documents, and a major broadcaster may have been complicit – either by cherrypicking experts or mischaracterizing the debate over the authenticity, or going with a story whose fraudulent particulars illuminated a greater truth, or


Ah. Much better.

Someone needs to do a Flash animation to that beat. Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather BURKETT! BURKETT! Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather Rather FAAAKE! IT’S A FAKE! IT’S A FAAAAKE

You have the time? Put on your pajamas and get to it, then.


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