I Hope One Day to Write This Well

Every weekday morning I have one ritual I repeat if at all possible: I sit at my computer and read first Day by Day, the excellent cartoon penned composed on computer by Chris Muir, then I read James Likeks’ Bleat, which he composes on computer Monday through Friday unless he’s overwhelmed with working on the writing he does that pays.

Todays Day by Day:

is a perfect example of Chris’s skills.

As today’s Bleat is of Lileks’. I’ve been on the road a lot the last couple of days, and when I’m doing windshield time, I try to listen to stuff that engages my brain. Pop music has a tendency to put me to sleep. Country music generally just irritates me (slide guitar and warbly voices can be like fingernails on a blackboard to me.) Music from the Spanish-language stations is annoying as well. (What is it with the accordions? Accordions annoy me.) So, unsurprisingly, I listen to talk radio.*

Yes, I’m a brainwashed toady of the far-right wing, hypnotized by the minions of the vast conspiracy: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt et al. Except for Michael Savage. I cannot stand Michael Savage. But I blame Savage on his surroundings; perhaps if I lived among the vast hoards of leftist undead of the San Francisco Bay area, I too would become as embittered and vile as Savage.

Which is just one more reason I deliberately won’t live there.

At any rate, while listening to talk radio this week, I was able to hear the majority of several speeches given by President Bush, VP Dick Cheney, and James Carville – speeches covered (if at all) with extreme brevity by the standard news media outlets. Talk radio has no such limitations. Getting back to Lileks, I find in today’s Bleat a paragraph that sums up precisely my thoughts – a summation so precise that I could not have accomplished it in less than a full essay (thus this piece):

I heard four speeches this week – one by Carville before some firefighters, screaming like cat that had been dipped in turpentine; one from Kerry about something or other (it’s hard to stick with it; he sounds like a 45 RPM record played at 33 1/3, and you keep making revolving-hand motions in the hopes you can somehow, like a butterfly that flutters its wings in Brazil and causes typhoons in Tahiti, cause him to pick up the pace a little); one from Dick Cheney, and one from Bush. Cheney’s speech was tailor-made for his speaking style, which consists of pressing the point of the sword into the opponant’s arguments and slowly pushing the entire blade in with steady force. Bush’s speech had many thick sheets of boilerplate, but it had economy and optimism.

The description of Cheney’s speaking style is so perfect, it defies improvement. As does the description of Carville’s. Damn.

*(I also listen to NPR, which – like talk radio – when filtered for bias has a surprising amount of useful information contained therein.)

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