What is that color she’s wearing?

What is relevant criticism? If you are a woman running for President of the United States, even your supporters will criticize your hair, fashion, emotionalism (or lack thereof). Stanley Fish called the irrelevant criticism of candidate Hillary Clinton for what it is in his recent blog post. I wouldn’t be as diplomatic as he is about it.

A Twenty-First Century One Act Play

Scene: Anchorage, AK; Living Room on Vassar Drive

We see Stephanie engaged in an on-line chat with her friend in NYC.

[laughing]

[typing]

Time passes and we see Stephanie take her MacBook into the kitchen.

Scene: Kitchen of same house

Stephanie and her friend continue their on-line conversation.

Stephanie fills pot with water for cooking pasta.

[typing]

Stephanie adds pasta to water, stirs.

Looks to see if there is a response from her friend.

Puts broccoli in a container and places into microwave. Starts microwave.

Reads text from friend and replies with a question about kitchen light fixture.

Scene: Same kitchen

We see Stephanie holding the MacBook so camera points to ceiling. Snaps picture of light fixture with Photo Book program. Places Mac Book on counter. Stirs pasta.

Stephanie returns to MacBook and uses Photo Booth to take a picture of herself with funny expression. Opens e-mail program.

Stephanie e-mails the two photos to her friend and awaits response.

Drains pasta.

Stephanie returns to online chat as husband John enters and they begin talking about work.

[improvised conversation]

[typing]

Stephanie [aside]:
It was a really big deal when my mother got a microwave.

– end –

"Hillary Rodham Clinton is a man."

For the past three years I’ve been working in public media, at a company that runs a public TV (PBS) station, a public radio (NPR) station and also a statewide public radio news network. In that time I’ve gotten more and more involved in the actual creation and publication of content, especially on the web. Indeed, for the statewide news network I pretty much handle all inquiries / complaints from the public personally.

Well, in these handful of years I’ve discovered in media what’s true of working in almost any public-contact job: there are crazy people out there. And I don’t mean unreasonable or biased or unnecessarily mean. I’m talking mentally ill, in the sad or scary way. And for some reason, when you have a media company, they believe it’s their right — actually, their duty — to set you straight about the facts of the world. For example, consider all the insane ramblings about 9/11 being an “inside job” and so on. We get that kind of stuff.

So yesterday, our News Director at APRN gets a voicemail. And it’s one of these voicemails — the rambling screed / raving message that makes you laugh, cringe, shake your head — whatever.

At first I was outrageously entertained. The claims are fast, furious and fabulous. Then I felt bad about it, because clearly this person isn’t getting along in the world very well. And now, with a few hours looking back, I’m just profoundly amazed by the whole thing.

First off, listen to this 4-minute voicemail and/or read the complete transcript:

AUDIO: clinton-is-a-man.mp3

Duncan Moon:

I’m a 70-year-old Canadian living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that has taken the duty and responsibility as a human being to advise nations of our world of 90 banking institutions connected to 9/11 that their citizens on 9/11 of New York City are held hostage alive in Canada’s underground.

Now I realize I’ve talked to your station before in some manner, one way or another. My name is the Right Honorable John Baptist [indecipherable].

I want you to mentally realize and accept the reality that the Calgary police force members — every last one of them — knows today what I am doing in talking to you on the phone.

I want to enlighten you that Hillary Rodham Clinton … known to be a mentally sick man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and every policeman of Canada knows Hillary Rodham Clinton really is a man.

Now realizing every candidate running to be President of America as a candidate… they have the knowledge that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a mentally sick Canadian man that has to be arrested and placed within a federal institution until he is declared mentally sane, to face the charge of treason.

But every candidate running to be President in their knowledge that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a man — they are to be arrested by our American military commands for the crime of knowledgable treason and letting a man from Canada campaign to become the first woman President. When every child over 12 will tell you if you asked them the question, “Can a known man from Canada campaign to be the first woman President?” the children will say to their parents even at the age of 12 and older, “Are you mentally sick, Mom or Dad?”

Just ask the question because everyone with a brain knows a man can’t become the first woman President. Hillary Clinton is a man.

Now when the world of our nations… of our banking institutions know that, they also know a man, George W. Bush… George W. Bush and his mother Barbara Bush whatever married and … never had a son.

And when the Calgary police of Calgary, Alberta, Canada years ago arrested Robert Gauthier — G-A-U-T-H-I-E-R — for robbing a Jewish rabbi’s house and pistol-whipping him… and then taking 225,000 out of the safe and received a term of… imprisoned for 7 years and he boasted of having raped a Jewish rabbi’s wife upstairs… upon getting caught in the house in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the money was not recovered.

Robert Gauthier is known to be Laura Bush by every Jewish rabbi to the world, and every mayor and leader of the world… and Robert Gauthier being Laura Bush proves to the world our Canada’s criminal record… you do not have a President in Washington, D.C. unless you truly are a mentally sick American news broadcaster.

I know all your military commanders have received their faxed documents from Calgary… why they’re being given some kind of story… but they’ve got no excuse to the honor and dignity of America’s laws of not following directions in the national interests of America.

You see, if you reported and made the question available in your population… TV news broadcast or radio station broadcast — here is the question: is the 70-year-old Canadian in Calgary, Alberta, Canada so mentally sick… so mentally sick he believes Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Question mark.

Okay… Thanks for your call.

So it’s crazy, right? But hold the analysis for just a moment and consider the complex interplay of neuron firings that must happen to string together all these real names, places, events, circumstances and wild claims into a largely intelligible set of sentences. If a fiction writer sat down to come up with something like this, could she or he come close?

It’s almost beautiful in its derangement. To come up with this you clearly have to have some wires crossed. Yet this man’s wires aren’t so crossed that he can’t pick up a phone and dial it to reach a media company. Remarkable.

Anyway, the thought has crossed my mind to call back (we have the source number) and ask if everyone is okay. Or maybe call the local police and advise them that there may be someone in trouble, someone that needs help. But I’m unsure whether that’s appropriate, and I definitely don’t want to earn an enemy that calls every day to rant crazily about whatever pops into his head. We’ve had those kinds people bother us before — one guy would call and cuss out the receptionist for any news on the radio he didn’t like. That went on for 18 months virtually every business day — we don’t need more of that.

In the end, I’m left in awe of the kind of mixed chaos and order that the mind can conjure up all at once. It’s simply amazing.

Well, all that plus now I know not to vote for a mentally ill Canadian man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada for President this fall. Whew!

UPDATE (1/26): Turns out this guy has called our offices several times in the last six months. The receptionist knows his voice by heart now and just hangs up on him immediately when he calls. So whatever problem he may have, it’s definitely chronic, but doesn’t appear life-threatening.

Mac usage pretty high in Alaska

Interesting stats from a recently-released report on who’s using Macs to access the Internet…

The states with the highest percentage of Mac users, in order, were Hawaii (15.9 percent), Vermont, (15.1 percent), California (12.8 percent), Oregon (12.7 percent), New York (12.3 percent), Alaska (11.9 percent), and Massachusetts and Maine (both 11.2 percent).

I’m not sure what this says about these states, other than they tend to have more than their fair share of mavericks and independents in the public.

Super Mario Galaxy is go!

About a year and week ago I picked up our Nintendo Wii. I had actually stood on line at a retailer in friggin’ freezing Alaskan weather for about an hour the night of release, but missed out by one sales ticket. One! Anyway, I kept checking a local retailer at every opportunity and finally stumbled across one about a week later and snapped it up on sight. Little did I know that a full year later people are still trying to get Wii consoles. You can’t even order them on Amazon for cryin’ out loud! Meanwhile the Nintendo DS Lite continues to break records, too and Nintendo stock continues to rise…

Anyway, since the purchase we’ve pretty much stuck to Wii Sports, plus the first Zelda title. The Zelda game is pretty cool, but I’m not much for endless quest games, so that’s pretty much sitting on the shelf. But late on Black Friday this year I ventured out and picked up Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii, based on podcast recommendations.

Best. Game. Yet.

Serious gamers scoff at the Wii’s graphics (I also have a 360, so I know the difference). But the Wii control scheme is second to none and makes for a fun — and even exhausting — gaming platform. Super Mario Galaxy kicks up the graphics a notch with a fast-moving colorful Marioesque 3D world. Even the musical score is well done. It’s much more immersive than Wii Sports.

So IF you can get your hands on a Wii, be sure to pick up Super Mario Galaxy. Next up: Super Paper Mario and perhaps that new Battallion Wars 2. Oh, and two more controllers. We’ve got friends coming over…

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

If you’re feeling a little nutty – in a fun sort of way – take some funny pictures of your cat and submit them to icanhascheezburger. Or just browse through the photos and see if you find yourself smiling, maybe even laughing.

In need of a reflective moment? Visit The Center for Improved Living for a daily question to ponder. Post your response or keep it to yourself as you wish.

Beyond reflective and in need of a cry? This Forget-Me-Not blog might do the trick. This side of Venezuela isn’t represented in American news.

These are a few of the blogs I visit regularly. There is no overarching theme and no connection between them. Simple, individual moments disconnected one from the other until I click. 

Halo 3: Best graphics on the worst Halo

So Stephanie was kind enough to pick up Halo 3 for me this week. I played it. It was gorgeous to look at initially. But ultimately it kinda sucks.

In Halo 2, the story was convoluted and both over- and under-written. It was confusing and cliched to an embarrassing degree. I figured the nerds just couldn’t pull a story together and whatever plan they might have had got away from them. I forgave them.

But they made millions upon millions of dollars on Halo and Halo 2. Couldn’t they have spent a few hundred thousand bucks on a story developer / writer / screenplay expert for Halo 3? Please? No. No they could not.

To follow the story line in Halo 3 AT ALL, you must know Halo 2 already. To know Halo 2’s story, you must have played it through several times, listening carefully to figure things out and make several big assumptions. But even if you know Halo 2 (and I do), Halo 3 makes little sense and the ending is absolute unmitigated ambiguity.  No closure, and bad writing to boot.

I don’t play the multiplayer much — the weenies on Xbox Live aren’t worth the trouble, especially at $50/year. So that aspect of the game — a huge aspect, I’ll grant you — is lost on me.  From here I’ll play through the “solo” game a couple more times just because some of the graphics are good and the new weapons and vehicles are great. But after that, Halo 3 goes on the shelf. Or out to eBay or something.

Shame on Bungie and Microsoft for continuing to screw this thing up. Lots of potential. Little delivery.