18 August 2009

A Slumgullion

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Is it me, or does this segment from last night's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart bear a strong resemblance (in POV and substance, at least) to my previous post? With the obvious exception that theirs is funny. I've been a fan of TDS since the Craig Kilborn days. In fact, I remember thinking when JS replaced him that it would no longer be any good. I was wrong. TDS, in the tradition of such political comedians/satirists as Pat Paulsen, early Al Franken, and many others, is a tremendous program which cuts through all the political bullshit. If I were to find out (hint, hint) that one of the writers of the show had actually read my blog and used an idea or was inspired by what I wrote, I would be thrilled!


Here's another idea: let's put all those who tote guns to Congressional or Presidential town halls in "Second Amendment zones" modeled on the "free speech zones" the Secret Service used for protesters against the former president and his party. As a matter of law, I don't believe the Second is any more sacrosanct than the First. There, they can talk amongst themselves, compare their signage, and brandish or whatever it is they do with their firearms.


In other news, you can find a podcast of J.M. Coetzee reading from his forthcoming work—Summertimehere.


If you're into old-fashioned reading, Hunger Mountain has reprinted George Saunders's first short-story, "A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room" here.


The diving in Harbour Island was, on average, about a B/B-; though, one day, the last, it was A- when we swam through a coral arch at 110ft alongside a six-foot barracuda into an outcropping of elkhorn and staghorn corals and giant barrel sponges at about 75ft where huge schools (100s each) of amberjacks and large mahogany snappers and several varieties of parrotfish (including the rare midnight) were feeding, spotting large specimens of all four varieties of Caribbean angel fish(!) (the Queen being my favorite)—85ft visibility, 83 degree water temp. Brilliant! On several dives, we swam across coral 'nurseries' like the one in Finding Nemo with tons of tiny baby fish of many varieties feeding on the coral and hiding out from predators and the currents. The reefs were vibrant, no visible bleaching or damage in the 12 spots we hit. Best sighting: a pair of large eagle rays during a 10 knot (that's fast, by the way) drift dive through the appropriately named "Current Island" cut. I swam right between them!

In my spare moments, I continued my trek through the addictions and obsessive athletics of Infinite Jest; but, on my return, I discovered I was nevertheless behind the Infinite Summer pace. I'm a slow reader (a good man), and thorough, which is a problem when dealing with an encyclopedic text by a polymathic mind. IJ is so chock-full of information, it was making me nauseous (see J.P. Sartre). It's so easy to get lost in all the details, to get bogged down, to lose motivation. Yet, there are some moments of absolutely fine writing that make it worthwhile. Still, I was getting discouraged, knowing full well that if I set it down I would probably never be able to pick it up again.

This article by Scott Esposito at Conversational Reading, however, has persuaded me to keep at it. Thanks, Scott, for pointing out the forest.

I can't go on, I'll go on—though at my own pace.

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