Jeez, the stuff Glenn links to

Why do smart people take Don Surber seriously?

Prediction: Look for Bush to hit 45% approval (or better) in the next polls as he drags Republicans to victory this fall.

Oh hell, I’ll say it: Santorum is safe and Republicans win Maryland and Florida. Might lose Montana or Ohio, not both. In the House, net gain of 5 for Republicans.

That’s right – Bush’s approval will soar twenty points below what it was in 2002, to roughly around where Clinton’s was in 1994. Thus, Republicans will win seats that they have already written off.

Also, Don: Where are those five House seats Republicans will win? Does that count their sure-thing losses in FL-16 and TX-22?

What’s Canadian for “Awesome”?


The release of Degrassi High on DVD has been pushed back because of delays in production. We apologize for the wait. It has been tentatively rescheduled for released in the Spring of 2007. It is subject to change so check at WGBH Shop online at then for more detailed information.

I lucked into catching a run of Degrassi High when The N ran it late last year. It’s far, far better than the more storied Junior High episodes. And I assume we’ll see School’s Out in 2008 or so.

Very Good Year

I think we can all agree that 2005-2006 was the most successful year in Weigel history. To recap:

– semi-successful stint as freelancer
– loss of 40 pounds (followed by addition of 10 points, followed by loss of 5)
– hiring at Reason magazine
– guest-stints at Wonkette and Andrew Sullivan’s blog
– move into Washington, DC
– avoidance of venereal diseases

If there were any problems, they were entirely due to my own mania – constant worrying, stress-related digestive difficulties. I got marginally better at keeping track of things, although I still make at least six costly mistakes (costly is a relative term – we’re talking blowing $50 on a jersey that doesn’t fit right, $7 losing a set of stamps, $15 paying for a woman’s meal) per week.

To wrap it up with a trite observation: If I can supplant my hours of worry with hours of philosophic contemplation, I’m fucking aces.

How My Brain Works

I wonder if I have time to watch a DVD tonight? Can I do this re-write? Oh, I should probably re-write the other article first. Where’s the belt for my black trench coat? I think I made a mistake ordering the medium sized England football jersey. I wear medium T-shirts, but aren’t jerseys supposed to hang looser than T-shirts? Except that the footballers don’t have loose hanging jerseys… that’s just the way fat dudes wear them, isn’t it? I should have gotten the large anyway. It wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t white. Where’s the belt for my black trench coat?

Wrapped Up In Books

Sorry this took so long, everybody.

1. One book that changed your life?

D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, read at that critical juncture when I was deciding whether to become a video game geek or a history geek.

2. One book that you have read more than once?

I don’t re-read novels, but I often find myself thumbing through both Lester Bangs anthologies.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Ship Construction by David J. Eyres.

4. One book that made you cry?

I’m pretty sure Hiroshima did that.

5. One book that made you laugh?

The Iron Dream, Norman Spinrad’s double-what if classic. (What if Hitler had moved to America after the Beer Hall putsch? And what if he wrote a sci-fi novel?)

6. One book you wish had been written?

This is an odd question; again, as a geek I want to hypothesize some book that would have prevented the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or something. Actually, that’s not a bad answer. How To Dodge Bombs When People Throw Them At You (Klaus Rolfandenbaumen, 1913).

7. One book you wish had never been written?

There’s no book I wish had never been written.

8. One book you are reading currently?

Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

The Decline of the West. I mean, even Darby Crash read it.

10. Pass it on

Julian, Jim, and John.

The Lowry Test

Today’s Meet the Press debate between Sen. George Allen and former Navy Secretary James Webb wasn’t quite the rout Dean Barnett claims, but Webb clearly won it – when Allen started blubbering about “evidentiary items” (is that a fancy way of saying “facts”?), I nearly felt sorry for him. And it reminded me of something. Liberal bloggers like to make fun of National Review Editor Rich Lowry for his 2005 cover story on Iraq, “We’re Winning.” In 2005, Lowry also authored this story:

If you can’t read the text below the title, it says: “Sen. George Allen, first-string presidential talent out of Virginia.”

This cover, combined with the experience of the “We’re Winning” cover, has inspired me to draft the Lowry Test.

If Rich Lowry believes something will happen, it will, in fact, not happen.

Speak of the Weigel

I was one-fourth of a panel on Latin America tonight, and boy is my ego tired. In the days before the panel I tried to bone up on a subject I was already pretty much obsessed with, drafting a 1800-word “speech” that I didn’t actually planned to give – I reckoned if I put together a speech like that in advance, I could roll from memory. And that’s what I attempted. Speaking third in the lineup, I tried to riff off the intense, learned, heavily-accented presentation a Brazilian journalist gave – “I have less expertise than the rest of this panel, and I am going to be in the position later of disagreeing about Brazil with you.”

My timing was off, I was laughing, and it wasn’t funny in the first place. But when no one got that I was trying to break the ice, I started to sweat and ran through my main points faster than I wanted to. The two minute warning came sooner than I expected, and stupidly I tried to joke about it, then joked again when I wanted to make a long point in 60 seconds. Eventually, I blew past my time limit and hung my head a little for the rest of the panel.

I think I made a comeback during the Q&A, though. Honest friends said as much. When an actual question was posed, and I had an opportunity to briefly frame my points, I sounded like the expert Ivan Osorio thought he was hiring in the firts place.

So am I congentially not good at speeches? A little, I think. I’m far better at debating and Q&As than I am crafting a long statement.