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Monday, April 10, 2006


Okay, a break from politics -- it's been a while since I've posted what I'm up to.

I'm supposed to be swamped with free time now that I only have a normal number of classes, but it hasn't really seemed that way. Though I did goof off all Saturday. I guess one reason I've stayed busy is that I was asked to increase my hours at State Highway from about 12 to 16 per week. Nice to feel needed, and I enjoy it most of the time, so that's good. Earning money's always nice, too. (It'd be cool to write about what I'm doing there, but as per personal policy, I won't.)

Andrew P. visited as planned to check out the Hopkins fiction writing MFA program he'll be attending next fall. (Picking him up, I found out that I don't actually know how to get to the airport, but figured it out eventually.) It was cool to have him here for a few days; I gave him a brief Baltimore tour and told him the things I wished I had known before arriving. At one point he said something to the effect of "This place is so strange," and I must agree. (I'm looking forward to seeing more of it on my bike this summer.) He's trying to pick a neighborhood, and seemed to be leaning toward Mount Vernon, the very old and pretty neighborhood just north of downtown.

We hosted Chris S's 24th b-day party here on Friday. After some folks left for barhopping in Federal Hill, a few of us stayed behind and talked. I made a bet with Thom that Iowa won't have a nuclear plant for turning corn into ethanol fuel within 5 years. I think I'm gonna win this one, long as I remember to collect.

Saturday, we had an IPSSA (IPS Student Association to you) social event that was supposed to help us socialize with the international fellows, whom we barely know. But they ended up with something on their schedules that conflicted, so it was a bit of a failure from that point of view. The duckpin bowling place we went to, however, was awesome. It's in an only-recently-reviving neighborhood in east Baltimore, and is housed in a typically skinny two-story rowhouse -- I think there are maybe 5 lanes on each floor. For those who know our old Sunday morning hangout in Mpls, Stardust Lanes, this is even more authentically retro. Wood paneling, decrepit pin resetting/scoring equipment, a couple running it who are prone to making cranky announcements over the (perhaps unnecessary) PA system, and a rudimentary snack bar. And, I kid you not, it's BYOB. We brought a 24 case of beer. I think we need to go back before the hipsters find it and drive a stake through its authentic little heart.

That neighborhood (Patterson Park) also rose in my esteem a couple weeks ago when I rode my bike there and found an adorable bakery with the best doughnuts I've had in a long time. Patterson Park also has a strong Community Development Corporation that has been fixing things up, and another group doing a lot of good work on the titular park. I've arranged for the guy who founded the CDC to speak at IPS at the end of the month -- should be cool to see what he has to say, because the neighborhood is definitely a success story. And not in the "We drove out all the poor people and our new condos are awesome!" way.

Yesterday, I went to see the Orioles get beaten by the Red Sox with Ira (from Carleton) and two of his visiting Boston friends. It was good to get out, and Camden Yards is a really nice ballpark, even if they don't have a good team to go with it. I'd say the stadium was almost half Red Sox fans. I acquired a sunburn on the left side of my head. This is convenient because if I stand one way, it looks like I'd been out goofing off all weekend. If I stand the other way, it looks like I've been inside studying. I'm like a reversible parka.


LJ said...

That bowling place sounds really awesome. Speaking of hipsters and old bowling alleys, Becky invited people to BLB on her birthday, and after several hours we got a lane. I hadn't bowled there before (nor bowled at all since Madison), and it was fun. You have to keep score yourself, paper and pencil, which I admit I hadn't done before and it tooks some thinking before I felt like I was getting it right.

Also, I forget if this happened while you were here, but Stardust Lanes had some kind of make-over, and at least from the outside it looks like it's gone from actual authentic retro to fake nostalgic retro--it's now called Memory Lanes or something. I don't think anyone has daring venture inside for a look.

But back to politics: Bush wants to nuke Iran. Moveon.org has a web-form petition to contact members of congress.

teague said...

Yeah, I'm really into this bowling alley. And Doug had told me about the Stardust makeover, which is infuriatingly stupid. I can't imagine it's very successful, either.

On the Bush/Iran/nuke issue, it makes me wonder if I'm living in some sort of absurdist play. That Seymour Hersh article is terrifying with respect to both the U.S. and Iranian leadership. The idea that the Bush administration is actually considering using tactical nuclear weapons on Iran boggles the mind. As some dude asked in the article, exactly what happens in the rest of the Muslim world when America freakin' nukes Iran? All hell breaks loose, that's what. Way to give Muslim moderates traction.

It all seems so beyond sense that I'm tempted to dismiss it as sensationalism. But as Josh Marshall has pointed out in recent days at Talking Points Memo, we really should have learned our lesson by now that when it comes to the Bush administration, just because it seems too stupid/insane to be true doesn't neccessarily mean it's not.

I got the MoveOn email today, too. When MoveOn.org, the organization routinely cited as the most extreme left-wing force in U.S. politics, has to stake out a position of saying, "Hey, we think nuking Iran is a bad idea," things have run seriously amok.

LJ said...

Seriously. When H first said to me the other night, "Bush wants nuclear Armageddon," and I read articles in the wash post and nyt, I thought, "Well, it's the job of military advisors to have plans drawn up for any possible plan of action, no matter how unlikely." But the Seymour Hersh article is so scary because it seems to be proving that it might seriously be on the table, not just as a remote possibility. And to make it more complicated, the idea of the nutcases running Iran having the Bomb is no less scary, and talking out of them is not going to be easy (even me, cynic that I am, is not willing to totally give up hope and say "not possible", but very difficult).

The thing about a nuclear strike is that the entire radical Muslim world going full-bore apeshit on us would probably be only one of many problems we'd have on our hands.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend at work who's Vietnamese, and when I mentioned this subject he started to say, "nah, they're not that crazy, it won't happen," but then stopped himself and related the story of how in the December before we invaded Iraq he was in Vietnam and got into a discussion/argument with a doctor who had come to the house. The doctor was sure that the US would invade, but my friend was adamant that they wouldn't do that, because it seemed totally illogical to him, and hey, heads of state are surely more informed and intelligent that an everyday Joe like him. He said he owed the doctor an apology if he ever sees him again.