Friday, March 02, 2007

Thirsters Again

My borrowed copy of Burden of Dreams coming due, I swung by Thirsters again while in the neighborhood.

I partially caught up on a system for rationalizing English spelling, then tuned in a Reed College professor, ending up talking about R, which he uses to teach statistics, and J, which he hadn't heard of.

The political analyst across the table talked up corruption in Cook County politics, about how they paid people to knock new voters off the roles, other shenanigans, and about how Senator Wu seemed so circumspect (inscrutable?), despite recent press.

Actually, I think Wu was somewhat on target characterizing neocons as Klingons, not Vulcans. Plus I take some credit (not a whole lot) for getting those trekkie monikers applied to brands of Washington insider in the first place.

For example, I used the term "Vulcan" in May of 1999 with reference to the CIA's former executive director Nora Slatkin, her tenure overlapping Deutch's as then DCI:
Nora came from a background in defense, as did DCI Deutch. Some of us called her "the Vulcan Queen" or something like that. She was a tough cookie -- smart too.
But in calling her a Vulcan, I never intended Slatkin to be perceived as a neocon, who are more like Ferengi (I don't really see Condi as a neocon either though).

All this Star Trek talk led a Thirster from LA to talk about being one of the very few privileged enough to get on the Deep Space Nine set. I'd been talking about how Kirk's chair in the Paul Allen museum would never pass muster on HDTV (you only need detail to the limit of scan line or pixel density).

The Deep Space set was pretty detailed, but did contain Easter Eggs you'd never see on TV, such as Gilligan's Island lyrics on one of the space station's monitors (but "the real" Deep Space might've had those too, having a shared Earthian past).

More remarkable were the garish colors. What you need to do with color, to make stuff look good on television, is kinda odd sometimes.

Back to Thirsters, Lew assured me Gore's global warming road show rivaled the very best of the ISEPP lectures, and received high marks from the public. Lew compares Gore to Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould, even if Gore's scientific credentials are more humble than theirs.

Lew himself is way above average, in terms of being scientifically literate, but then he's a Wanderer.

Speaking of Wanderers, Linus Pauling might be another role model, though I was assured yesterday that if you really took as much vitamin C as LP recommends, you'd generate some nasty Fe3+ oxidants, so better not.

Fred was going on about how the Irish really took it in the neck for awhile. Worse than slavery, for awhile. More like The Gangs of New York.

I also chatted with a musicians' union leader who thinks local radio stations should be required to devote at least a percentage of their air time towards advancing the careers of talented locals, i.e. by playing their music. If the airwaves really belong to the public, wouldn't that just go with the territory?

In some parts of the country, finding enough talent to fill the slots might be a problem, but not in Portland certainly.