Archive for September, 2007

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News we will use

September 1, 2007

As expected, Larry Craig tendered his resignation from the Senate this morning (overshadowing the much more significant news of John Warner’s retirement – more significant because it heralds the final blue-ination of Virginia, whereas Idaho will remain beet red for the foreseeable future, from both Republicanism and embarrasment.)

On reflection, I think it’s fitting that almost as many inches of ink and megapixels of phosphors have been spilled over this story as if Larry had been a missing blonde woman. After all, the war in Iraq has little day to day impact on most Americans, and the fact that both political parties have now begged Big Brother to watch us as closely as he likes has even less, since by design and by the catch-22 lack of judicial “standing”, all that surveillance is as invisible and unknowable as the count of jitterbugging angels on Monica Goodling’s head.

In contrast, Craig’s story has already immeasurably altered people’s daily lives. All over the land, for weeks to come, whenever he enters a public stall, every prototypical American male will nervously pull his feet into a narrower stance, and pluck iPod buds from his ears for fear that some plucky groove tempt him to begin tapping his feet.

Salutations, mainstream media. For once you’ve got your priorities, um, straight.

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Mirkwood comes to Midland

September 1, 2007

The New York Times reports that a state park in Texas has become home to a spider web several acres in size.

Sheets of web have encased several mature oak trees and are thick enough in places to block out the sun along a nature trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park, near this town about 50 miles east of Dallas.
The gossamer strands, slowly overtaking a lakefront peninsula, emit a fetid odor, perhaps from the dead insects entwined in the silk. The web whines with the sound of countless mosquitoes and flies trapped in its folds…
Mr. Dean and several other scientists said they had never seen a web of this size outside of the tropics, where the relatively few species of “social” spiders that build communal webs are most active…

The Times doesn’t mention the possibility, but one predicted consequence of global warming is that tropical species will extend their ranges northward. Maybe the spiders have congregated to reward all those Texas oilmen for providing them with new habitat.

The Grey Lady is also mum on the explanation I find most likely: once both Tom DeLay and Karl Rove headed back to the Lone Star State for good, word went out on the grapevine that the nucleus had formed for a creepy crawler flash mob.