The Text Message of Obama

This morning, 23 August 2008, at 1:03 am, I had the following exchange via text message:

Obama: Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3pm ET on Spread the word!

Me: k, lol

Obama: Um… why do you find Biden funny?

Me: nOOb. jK.

Obama: I’m afraid I don’t…

Me: MacCne pwns Obma

Obama: Look, if you, as a voter, have something constructive to say about my vice-presidential choice…

Me: Zzzz. YGTbKm? Biden = old, wrkly

Obama: I was hoping that Senator Biden’s experience would add gravitas, especially in the realm of foreign affairs.

Me: |-O. W/evr.

Obama: Frankly, I was anticipating this reaction from some of my supporters. However, polling data indicate that Biden will complement what the public perceives as my vulnerabilities vis-a-vis John McCain.

Me: Hold on, need WC.

Obama: If you want to continue your critique of Senator Biden later, at a more convenient time for you…?

Me: NP, just #1. Does Bdn 4:20?

Obama: Excuse me?

Me: lmao! w33d!

Obama: I’m not sure this is going in a productive direction.

Me: Yr br8kng up w/me?

Obama: jK.

Blogging That Matters

Most blogs are bullshit.* Although most people tend to think highly of their uninformed opinions, the reality is that almost no one is interested in other people's thoughts, experiences, observations, or insights. Even in conversation, Americans don't listen to other people; they just wait until it is their turn to talk.

So it is refreshing when a blog actually does something good.

The New York Times recently profiled Karen Gadbois, a women who moved to New Orleans in 2002. Ms. Gadbois came up with a brilliant idea: Why not drive around New Orleans to see if the houses that city hall claims have been restored from Hurricane Katrina actually have been fixed?

It should surprise no one that very few of the homes she inspected actually received reconstruction work. Houses claimed to have been renovated were later demolished as uninhabitable. In one case, an entire city block that city hall claimed had been restored did not even exist. Money had, of course, been spent. $1.8 million. Federal funds have been distributed for work that was never done. A good place to look for it might be in the bank accounts of the city leadership.

Rarely does blogging have any real effect. But this time it has: The FBI has raided the offices of the reconstruction agency, and Mayor Nagin is being investigated for possible corruption charges. Someone, after all, received the money that has gone missing.

Karen Gadbois has done a great job and a great service to New Orleans. It is shameful, however, that the local mainstream journalists seem so unable to do such a basic thing as their jobs.

*including, of course, this blog

Dream of the HIdden

In my dream, I'm crawling through an old, abandoned military fort. It reminded of Battery Mendell, in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco, where once I engaged in an epic hide-and-seek game with schoolmates. We seemed to spend hours hiding and hunting among the crumbling concrete bunkers, probing the dark recesses with flashlights in search of giggling friends.

In this dream, I am alone in this empty fort. I am searching for something, but I don't know what it is. As I dig in the darkness among the rubble and exposed wires, I find an opening and crawl through. It is a completely dark. But as I crawl through it, I find that I am descending into a water. I can see light through the water, and against better judgment, I dive into the water to see what I can find. This is still part of the fort, and there is an open door I can swim through into a pocket of air.

As I surface, I realize that I have found a completely new part of the fort, one that is isolated from the rest. There is a gigantic bedroom, with 4-post canopy bed. Everything is wet and moldy. The high walls are covered floor-to-ceiling in antiquarian books. I pull off a few titles and examine their moldy, smelly pages.

I discover that I am not alone. There are a few other people there, but strangely I do not feel threatened. I suspect that they are trying to steal souveniors and are not much concerned by my presence.

As I leave this strange area, I see dozens of blue-shirted people descending upon me. They grab me under water and pull me to the surface, where I am placed under arrest for trespassing.


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