Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm Baaa-aaaaack!

I'm proud to report that Oklahoma is just the same -- hot, dry, dusty, and home. Not much of a wheat crop this year. They've had an awful drought and we grazed ours out earlier in the summer. Spent the rest of the long weekend of working in the yard, hiding from the heat, eating home-cooked Panhandle food, and visiting with family. Even with four flights and 10 hours of driving to get out to the homestead, it's worth it. (Enjoyed the audio version of Anne Garrels' Naked in Baghdad while I was on the road. It's a terrific account of the NPR correspondent's time broadcasting out of Baghdad during the invasion.)

Home is always just that -- settling into a routine that was mine for 18 years and still feels familiar when I slip it back on. For the first few hours I'm back in Oklahoma, I always feel like the city mouse in the country, but then I get home and it all just feels comfortable again. The routine becomes mine again, church on Sundays with lunch out afterwards, cutting fresh flowers to take to the cemetery for "Decoration Day," visiting aunts and uncles who like to keep up.

Yesterday, we went out to the cemetery early to help put flags on veterans' graves and clean and decorate family plots. We puttered in the shed (rehabbing an old 10-speed road bike), ran to Wal-Mart for tire inflater, deferred fixing the broken valve stem, had lunch, took a nap, then pruned hedges, and sat outside with the new barn kittens playing in the back yard.

But, as usual, I come back to my own home with a fresh mind ready to tackle big projects. It feels good to be at my old home, but good to be at my own "new" home, too. Tomorrow, it's back to work -- calls, email, lunch meetings, manuscripts, proposals, deals, contracts, and conference calls. In the meantime, it's late and I'm off to rub antiseptic ointment over all my bug bites, thorn scratches, and splinters from home.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's a Media Frenzy!

Three people in the past week have quizzed me -- ok, *grilled me* -- on what I'm reading. As a book editor, I always think it's interesting to hear what people are digging into, or putting down, or finally getting to, but for some reason, I find it oddly uncomfortable when I get asked about it. Contrary to popular opinion, some editors don't read that much for fun. I read almost no fiction (primarily because most of it's just so awful.) Plus, I think books are pretty personal. Half the time, I'm reading something embarrassingly bad. So, for those of you who are interested (and apparently you're out there which mystifies me, but to each his own voyeuristic freakshow), here's my current media list:

Books: Just finished Freakonomics. Loved it. Everyone is telling me to read The World is Flat, but I looked at it in the bookstore and it looked too deep. As a rule, I don't read books that take the fun out of learning. I'm currently reading The 911 Commission Report, Triathlons for Women (by Sally Edwards), The Complete Book of Triathlons (also by Sally Edwards), and an unpublished manuscript that I have to finish by the weekend.

Over the holiday weekend as I'm traveling, I hope to read The Twentieth Wife (sort of an Indian Memoirs of a Geisha), Tony Bordain's new book The Nasty Bits, and another manuscript. I'll do a bookswap with my dad when I get home and end up re-reading the most recent Harry Potter book. (I read a lot when I'm gone.)

Audio: In the car (10 hours of driving), this weekend, I'll be listening to Naked in Baghdad (NPR correspondent Anne Garrels' book on her time in Baghdad during the Iraq war) and The Devil in the White City (by Erik Larson). Yes, I know I'm the last person in America who hasn't read this book.

Music: What's on my playlist these days? Why, inspirational post-workout tunes, of course! Teddy Geiger's Love is a Marathon (ain't that the truth), Confidence (also by Teddy Geiger), and Mick Jagger's God Gave Me Everything I Want. (Hey, baby, you put Lenny Kravitz on guitar behind The Old Rugged Cross and I'd love it.)

Blogs: OK, what blogs I'm reading is something I'm comfortable with. I share pointers every day! Welcome to Jeffrey and Carole's new addition, Revelin Newton McManus. Cool name, kid! Good thing Jeffrey didn't follow through and blog the whole thing from the delivery room. Over at IndyNess, I'm loving reading all about Vanessa and Mel's quest to be their own baby mamas down to every last excrutiating detail about ovulation and insemination. At IndyScribe, Jennifer Bortel posts some pics of the mini Marathon, focusing especially on the weird music groups along the way.

Food: What? What? You want to know what I'm eating? Right this second? OK, I give up. Total yogurt with honey from Trader Joe's. There! Is that enough for you? Sickos.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rove Indictment: The Story that Wasn't

More from today's Washington Post on the big blog story that never happened -- the Rove indictment. The day of the highly blogged big meeting?

Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's lawyer, says he spent most of the day on May 12 taking his cat to the veterinarian and having a technician fix his computer at home.

He was stunned, therefore, when journalists started calling to ask about an online report that he had spent half the day at his law office, negotiating with Patrick Fitzgerald -- and that the special prosecutor had secretly obtained an indictment of Rove.

Sadly, at the root of it all is yet another "journalist" who could have potentially fabricated sources in this story and others. Blogger or not, this sort of thing gives all of us who worked hard to earn journalism degrees a bad name. It's not a blog-related phenomenon as those at the NY Times can tell you. There's no question that good bloggers are bird-dogging good stories for the mainstream media now on a regular basis. But an alleged bad apple just puts a rotten shine on the whole system.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Anonymous Lawyer Revealed!

I'm in DC at a publishing show and among the literally 1000s of books, what was the single coolest title I saw today? The bound galleys (advanced reading copy) for Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman. Coming this fall from Heny Holt we get the story of a hiring partner at a fictitious LA law firm and his personal and professional battles -- as well as a whole lot of ways to torture associates and "summers'. Based on the Anonymous Lawyer blog it's not clear what came first -- the book or the blog. Either way, it's pretty damn funny. I'm halfway through the book now -- first person to email me gets it. Or really just gets a huge pile of extra work to do over the weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Duck and Cover: God Punishes Seattle

Is anyone still listening to Pat Robertson? How did anyone ever think he was credible enough to run for President? Oh, wait, it was back when we had a Republican party that actually cared what we moderates had to say and the right-wingers had to run their own candidate. But I digress...

Robertson is chock full of wacky predictions these days, his latest straight from the big man himself. From "The 700 Club" via WFTV in Florida : (Are you kidding? Do you think *I* watch "The 700 Club"?)

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. He added specifics in Wednesday's show. "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest," he said.

I can't decide if he needs to move to this claptrap from CBN to The Psychic Network or join the guys from Ghost Hunters on SciFi. On the other hand, if he's got a direct link to God, I wonder if he could find out something useful, like what kind of season the Colts are going to have this year.

Make sure you check back in this space in case there actually *is* a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest. What could God possibly have against Seattle? It seems like in Robertson's world anything bad that happens is punishment for sin, so I'm trying to think what God has against all those coffee drinkers and grunge rockers. Wouldn't Hollywood be a better target? (Although, he might want to warn Kirk Cameron who's doing the Left Behind films.) What about that bastion of decadence, that Babylon by the Sea, San Francisco? Wouldn't it be a great tsunami target? (I mean, as long as we're killing sinners, all those foodies should be up for grabs, right?) Maybe it's an indictment of alcohol -- maybe everything will be spared but the vineyards. Or maybe, just maybe, Bill Gates really did sell his soul. Puts a whole new spin on the Microsoft "evil empire", doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Here and There and Back Again

I'm traveling this week and weekend so this may be all you get until next week. (Then I'm out again but may be able to share some dispatches from the hinterlands.) In the meantime, here are a few tidbits that have been accumulating.

Are you red or are you blue? Sadly, 11:00 a.m. Air Raid calls it quits leaving the rest of us to deal with the actual 11:00 Friday air raids on our own. I understand first hand the difficulties in balancing blogging, work, and life as well as blogging and writing. It's a personal struggle each of us has to solve in our own way -- and productively. Here's to hoping he can figure it out or he appears in a blog in another form. How else will I get my footie fix?

Speaking of Done ... Buffalo Wings and Vodka has a significant announcement. That's done with law school, folks. It's the shortest posts that say the most.

Beating a Dead Horse, Pt II: Doug Masson blogged on Bosma's prayer appeal last week and I meant to link since he rails on it better than I would have. Bosma is milking this prayer appeal for all it's worth. And in the "I Think I'm Going to Throw Up" category, Mike Delph used way to much valuable editorial page space in last Sunday's Star describing his "Contract with Indiana" which, of course, includes restoring hand-raising, praise-Jesus loving sectarian prayer to the statehouse. "Senators should invite members of the faith-based community in their districts to open our sessions in prayer." Wow, Mike, do you think they could invite Jewish, Wiccan, Islamic, and even, gasp, Episcopalian clergy? There's never a gay priest around when you need one.

And in the News that Wasn't News Category: I thought Karl Rove was supposed to be indicted and resign last Monday? Hmmm. Maybe the blog world got it wrong this time. In the blog world it's always a new day (and no one knows you're a dog -- old Internet joke.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On Why Franklin Lost

Tully reports his column tomorrow will be on the upcoming Congressional race between Julia Carson and Erik Dickerson and why Ron Franklin lost the primary. I won't come as any surprise to anyone that the Marion County GOP screwed the pooch on this one. From Political Junkie:

Franklin said political advisors assured him Dickerson was no real threat, that he didn't need to spend money on TV or radio advertising in the days leading up to the primary. That's hard to believe, as even pontificating pundits around town knew Dickerson was a formidable candidate. And Dickerson's campaign was plenty visible, with advertising and a Mitch Daniels-like RV rolling through town.

The comments section over at Tully's blog promises to be a real hoot over the next few days. There's no question that there's plenty of blame to go around. The Marion County GOP for being arrogant enough to think they could win and Franklin for being stupid enough to believe them.

Newsflash: Nutjob Still a Nutjob

Matt Tully interviews Senate-candidate Greg Walker in yesterday's Indy Star. Walker still comes off as an idiot. I really think people need to rethink voting for someone who says their first priority is going to be concentrating on anti-abortion legislation. Regardless of how you personally feel about the issue, don't you want a candidate who's first priority will be working on legislation that actually might make a useful difference in your daily life? (That means you, yes you, rural Indiana old white guy.) Plus, there's the whole flogging thing. Loon.

A Day of Pros and Cons

I'm not sure there's such a thing as a "bad day". Sure, there are days when the stars just fall out of alignment and every single thing is off track, but for the most part, days are a system of pros and cons. For every large disaster or tiny mishap, there's a fantastic discovery or just something you think is funny. If you're in tune, it all balances out. For example, today:

Cons: Hungover, rainy-windy-cold, morning meeting stood me up

Pros: GOMEZ is part of the White River State Park series this summer and will be here July 2! I found the folders I wanted at Staples. (Gomez is a treat live -- they did one hell of show here at Birdy's a couple of summers ago.)

Plus, a great Brezsnyscope for this week (courtesy of Free Will Astrology):

You now have the power to raise a million dollars for charity. For that matter, you could launch an organization that would last a hundred years, make an invigorating connection with a resourceful ally, or talk a depressed person out of suicide. On the other hand, it's also conceivable that you could tally the highest score on the Berzerk video game or engage in spectacular drunken stunts that earn you a spot on the local TV news. In other words, Cancerian, there's a high potential for you doing something very big, whether it's smart and great or dumb and useless. Choose wisely how you want this cosmic tendency to manifest.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fast Day at the Track

I only get to the track when I have a VIP Suite pass firmly in hand. Today was lovely -- not crowded, fast times, no waits for shuttles, and enjoyable with lots of track food and beer. And I was already on my way out when it started raining.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

As if I need one more crazy thing in my life, I'm doing the Danskin Triathalon in Chicago in July. Eiyiyi! It's a long story that involves more than just a personal desire to succeed, but I finally just committed and will be starting a 9 week training program tomorrow for a July 9 competition date. As I was sitting have multiple beers with friends yesterday who ran the mini, I could only think how crazy I was to begin training just about the time that they're all getting ready for the summer off-season. I like being fit and working out, but it seriously cuts into my drinking time. I'm celebrating the start of training season by taking a long warm up bike ride today. After I hydrate this hangover. And finish coffee. And breakfast. And a nap. I feel like I already need a cocktail.

In other news around the bloggy world today:
  • I didn't go home this year for the Guymon Rodeo like I usually do. I'm making the trek on Memorial Day weekend instead. TEditor gives us a little taste of home.
  • Tim Goodman breaks down the latest doings on Survivor. (Yes, I admit it, I'm a Survivor junkie.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lawgeekgurl over at Cerulean Blue has a solid take on the Garton defeat and what it means to Indiana. It's a sad state of affairs when the economic development and progress for this state we all work on is made to sit in the back seat of the religous car driven by a right-wing nutjob. I disagree with her about the governor, but in terms of the legislator, I think she's spot on. She writes:

The whackjob religious extremists have made startling inroads in the legislature. There were always what we called the "God Squadders" who cared more about what you were doing in your bedroom than the state's economic health, job creation, public health, or any of the other myriad problems facing Indiana. But in the last five years or so, it's become downright scary. Moderates have given way to extremists. Reasoned debate (to the extent that there was any - it's the legislature, after all) has given way to hyperbolic, incendiary rhetoric. What the hell is it that someone like Larry Borst could be knocked off in the primary by an unknown nutjob whose sole platform was anti-abortion, anti-abortion and more anti-abortion? What kind of place is it where an institution like Bob Garton, President Pro Tem of the Senate for 36 years can get booted in the primary by someone with no legislative experience whose positions are: home schooling, anti-abortion, and a gun in every pot. He says things like "Revisionist judges should not secularize religious expression in Indiana" for crying out loud. That doesn't even make sense, for God's sake!

More from her (along with an excellent post on Stephen Colbert's skewering of the President.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We Live in Interesting Times

In what was ultimately no surprise, Erik Dickerson wins the Republican primary for Congressional District 7. Julia Carson (Tully reports) presented her Congressional ID to vote which isn't a valid ID since it has no expiration date. The inspector let her vote anyway. How's that for a technicality? It will be interesting to see how the GOP embraces him now.

And in an upset that almost everyone missed, Sen Pro Tem John Garton was upset in his primary race by a guy who thinks public flogging is OK with him. I know there were a lot of politics happening in that race, but that whole thing is just weird.

And, by the way, the Chinese have absolutely no idea what we're talking about with the "ancient curse" of "May he live in interesting times."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Readers Respond!

Woo-hoo, the email I've gotten! I love how my blog readers care less that I called Ron Franklin the GOP's bitch and are more focused on the fact that I find Mike McDaniel oddly attractive. OK, let me clarify things. I like what Mike McDaniel has to say -- we think very much alike -- but I'm really more a Jim Shella kind of girl. (I'm not so much with the facial hair, but hey, at least he *has* hair.)

So, hey, Jim, if you're not doing anything Friday night... Hey, it could have been worse. I could have been oddly attracted to Matthew Tullly. Now *that* would have been weird.

Jim Shella's Blog
Matthew Tully's Blog

Monday, May 01, 2006

Primary Day in District 7

With all the Kiser craziness over at Bilerico plus general Kiser chat, I haven't weighed in yet on the Republican primary side. And since the Indy Star was so helpful as to provide a voter's guide in yesterday's edition (NOT!), I'm having to do my own research for tomorrow's primary. The biggest focus? The Congressional GOP primary for District 7.

My pick? I'm voting for Erik Dickerson. (Half of my very serious Marion County GOP pals just felt cold shivers down their spines.) Hey, you've got to give the scrappy Dickerson credit. Some would say he was purposefully left out of the slating process while others wail he missed the deadline (by only 2 hours.) Me? I can't imagine who thought Ron Franklin would be a good idea. With the multiple arrest record, the drugs, the failed city-county council term, I just can't see him as Congressional material. Dickerson, OTOH, is the only one with the money and drive to make Julia work for this election. (And yes, Julia will win the primary. I would be incredibly surprised -- delighted, but surprised-- if Kiser won.)

I have a closet crush on Mike McDaniel and usually love what he has to say, but on last Friday's Indiana Week in Review, I found it laughable listening to him try to spout the party line jusifying why they slated Franklin. Reasons ranged from worry that Dickerson would spend too much money too early and make Julia gear up the war council (sure, and what benefit is there to spending no money and not effectively running against her) to the concern that Julia would drop out of the race over the summer with health problems. The Marion County GOP is naive if they think Julia won't seamlessly transition her heir apparent into her role as candidate. This woman isn't stupid; she's got a backup plan. McDaniel's explanations did nothing but help finalize for me who I wanted to vote for: the scrappy outsider who seems to be gaining traction driving around in an RV spending loads of his own money and thumbing his nose at the stuffy and out-of-touch party. He wants this primary, he's spent money on it, and he knows the issues. I haven't even seen a *yard sign* for Ron Franklin down here in the heart of Julia's district. (Pssst, Ron, if the GOP is going to make you their bitch, you should at least get paid well for it.)

At the end of the day, I agree with Kris Kiser's philosophy of running on fresh ideas and making a change instead of just running against Carson. Julia needs to end her Congressional career this fall and we need to bring someone to Congress from central Indiana that can serve with some credibility and dignity. I'm not sure the GOP can get it done this year, but if they can, Dickerson is the best shot.