Wednesday, March 29, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #108

A Melon-headed Whale was recently rescued off Corpus Christi. Sandy is now at the SeaLab facility of the Texas State Aquarium. A Video of the rescue is here.

Here’s a joke from Walt Lacy:

A guy is driving around eastern Kentucky and he sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog For Sale." He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador retriever sitting there.

"You talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the Lab replies.

"So, what's your story?"

The Lab looks up and says,"Well,I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running."

"But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in."

"I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

"Ten dollars," the guy says.

"Ten dollars? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"

"Because he's a liar. He never did any of that shit."

And Susan Sander dropped off this column from the Dallas Morning News:

Steve Blow: Bush library – it's not exactly academic
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Heaven help me, with all the talk about the George W. Bush Presidential Library, a question keeps coming to mind:

What's it going to have? Coloring books?

Now, don't get all defensive on me. We can tease because he's one of us, right?

And you have to admit: There's something ironic about building a library for a guy who has never been in one.

Oh, maybe not "never." He did marry a librarian. There may have been some "research" in the stacks back in the day.

But no matter how you feel about the president, I think we can all agree that "academic" is not the first word that springs to mind.

In fact, it's one of the things his admirers like best about him.

As presidents go, he really is an ordinary Joe. And let's face it, ordinary Joes – and Georges – don't spend a lot of time hanging around libraries.

Even the first lady has joked about it. At last year's White House correspondents' dinner, Laura Bush said their marriage must have been meant to be.

"I was the librarian who spent 12 hours a day in the library," she said. Pause, pause. "Yet somehow I met George."

Go ahead, add the rim shot.

Yet here in Dallas and down in Waco, folks are falling all over themselves to build a fancy-schmancy library for a guy who clearly would much rather be out chopping cedar.

In Texas.

In August.

And thank goodness he didn't meet a wife that way.

Officials at the three finalist universities are nervous Nellies right now – afraid to say squat for fear of offending someone on the presidential team. So what little they do say is all sweetness and light.

But you have to wonder if there isn't some nervousness about building a grand temple for a fellow whose legacy is so uncertain at the moment.

Could this highly sought prize end up as a national joke? The Millard Fillmore of presidential libraries?

Already there are a few jokes. Jay Leno expressed astonishment at reports that the Bush library will cost $300 million. He gasped, "That's about $150 million per book!"

I didn't say they were good jokes.

But I come back to my original question: Exactly what is going to be in this library? What's going to make it the big tourist draw everyone seems to expect?

As my colleague Colleen McCain Nelson reported in a front-page story Friday, most of the other presidential libraries have seen declining interest and attendance.

So what's going to make the GWB version any different?

Let's be honest. He doesn't have the greatest personal story to tell – no log cabin beginnings, no impossible odds to overcome.

I can see the exhibits now – "The Frat Boy Years," "The Failed Business Years," "The Figurehead Baseball Job," "Cool, I'm Governor!," "Holy Crap, I'm President!!"

So, no, personal history probably won't be the big draw. But perhaps the museum could highlight some of Mr. Bush's soaring oratory:

•"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."

•"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

•"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

Hmm. Maybe we had better keep thinking.

Of course, these museums aren't just for tourists. They are also official archives, where serious presidential scholars will do their research.

But with the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy, the archives might be a challenge:

"Met with CLASSIFIED to discuss CLASSIFIED . Heckuva CLASSIFIED."

You know, it dawns on me that I don't need to fret about creating this library. I'm sure the Bush folks have a perfectly good plan:

Outsource it to Halliburton.

Walt also sent this link to a cool illusion.

The program of the International Congress on Bivalvia.

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