Wednesday, March 25, 2009
John Hope Franklin
The prominent historian John Hope Franklin passed away today at the age of 94. He was a black intellectual who never compromised his dignity or his scholarship to fit some 'place' others thought he should be in. He often said that the racial slurs and slights he suffered never cut too deep with him because, "I knew something they didn't -- I was as good as they were."
My wife and I had the honor of sharing a meal with Mr. Franklin while he was visiting in our area. He sat next to me and spoke softly of fly fishing and Southern summers and how he doesn't like the cold anymore. I didn't really know very much about him then. I sensed he knew that, and I think it pleased him. He took an evening off from being John Hope Franklin the prominent black historian and got to be an aged fly fisherman talking weather with a rube.
A moment of silence, please, for the Professor. John Hope Franklin, they are all Southern summers now.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
You Been Pwned. Woot. Woot.
Awhile back we did a Motel 6 radio spot having some fun with the online gaming culture. In it I use the term "pwned", pronounced "powned", meaning "owned", or decisively defeated. I'd never heard the word before or since until yesterday. Ken Nichols, the co-creator and producer/director of AskANinja.com wrote to me very excited about this so I sent him the spot, which you can hear on his website. I gather this is really funny for some gamers, and probably excruciating for others. It would be like when your dad started saying "far out" and "mellow" in the early Seventies. As soon as that happened we knew those words were dead to us. Sorry, gamers. You just got pwned.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
In today's show I referred to my elected position as a member of "The Board of Selectmen". This is the outdated though-still-official name in most towns of the local governing body now commonly referred to as the gender-neutral "Selectboard" We are no longer Selectmen. We are Selectboard members. I suppose it sounded quainter and weightier and funnier for me to use the archaic form in the show. Apologies to all my fine female fellow (fellow?) Selectboard members.
All a twitter
I have joined my fellow Twits at Twitter and while I'm enjoying following the posts of my friends Peter Sagal, Paula Poundstone, Kyrie O'Connor, Scott Simon and others, I've yet to fully understand the medium. I can barely keep up with this blog of mine. Most of the reason for that is brevity has never been my strength. I'd rather take a beating than made to write a 100 word commentary. My regular email correspondents -- fewer all the time -- will testify that my replies often go "below the fold", and I'm confident many of my missives are opened, groaned at, and closed unread.
Twitter may cure me of this. You are only allowed 140 characters -- about as long as this paragraph. My twitter handle is TomBodett. Check it ou...
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Democracy As We Know It
I received an anonymous comment to my blog about our White House visit that went something like this, Wow! You can tell your children you were there to see the man who ended Democracy forever. That is a once in a lifetime event! I've avoided inserting politics into this otherwise pointless blog, but I can't resist addressing this sentiment. It seems to me these were the very kinds of statements being made by the Left when Bush was in office, by the Right when Clinton was in office, by the Left again when Reagan was in office...oh, and by the Right again when Carter was in office, and let's not forget Richard Nixon... Can we please stop this? Just because your choice is not in the White House does not mean the end of democracy as we know it. It only ends the government you exactly want for awhile. We can thank our Constitution and human nature for the continued existence of a petulant and self-interested Congress, an independent Judiciary and a free if underfunded press. Not to mention free and fair presidential elections every four years when we can work hard and vote to get people into the White House who do govern like we want it for awhile. That sure looks like democracy to me.