December 10th, 2008


We're number one!

I am a native of Illinois. In my life, eight men have served as governor of Illinois; four of them have been indicted and/or served time in federal prison for corruption. My home state is to honest pols what Mississippi is to public education.

Best commentary I've seen thus far on the whole sordid affair comes from Michael Crowley of The New Republic:

FBI Blagojevich affidavit:

Throughout the intercepted conversations, Blagojevich also allegedly spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat and expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including: frustration at being "stuck" as governor; a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor; a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016; avoiding impeachment by the Illinois legislature; making corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office; facilitating his wife's employment as a lobbyist; and generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office. [emphasis added]

Image remade! Congratulations, governor. Now he just needs to be out of jail by the '16 Iowa caucuses.

  • Current Music
    David Willcocks: Choir Of King's College Cambridge - A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 - V Balulalow
Christmas, Advent

Advent 2008: All I Want for Christmas Is You

One of my favorite Christmas movies is Love Actually. (Though arguably it's not really a Christmas movie, just a movie that happens to take place at Christmas.) I find it almost compulsively watchable, and it has a great commentary track featuring director and screenwriter Richard Curtis and actors Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, and Thomas Sangster. I've already featured one song from that movie -- "All Alone on Christmas" by Darlene Love, back on December 2 -- and here's another, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Olivia Olsen. Remarkably, Olsen was only 10 when she recorded this. Her performance was so good that the director felt compelled to edit it post-production to make it sound more like a child singing. Backing vocals are provided by the British soul singer Ruby Turner, who scored a number one hit on the Billboard R&B chart in 1990 with "It's Gonna Be Alright."

Olivia Olsen - All I Want For Christmas Is You (MP3, 3.2 MB)

Previous Advent posts:

2003: Make We Joy
2004: Merry Xmas 1921
2005: The Night Before Christmas
2006: Our Christmas Tree
2007: Flight into Egypt
surprised, popeye

"People speak some kind of weird Moon-man language."

Sveikinam tave su gimimo diena.

At the store today, I found a note written in a foreign language left behind by a customer. It was like nothing I'd never seen before. "What kind of crazy moon-man language is this?" I said, showing to my co-workers. They had no idea either. I thought it looked vaguely Scandinavian, based on the appearance of the name Agne at the bottom of the note; one of the guys suggested it might be Dutch.

I being me, I copied the note and Googled some of the words when I got home. The verdict: Lithuanian. Which sort of explains why it looked so unfamiliar; it's part of the Indo-European language family, but one with only one living relative (Latvian). The phrase at the top of this post means, as near as I can work out, compliments to you and happy birthday. Apparently it's part of the Lithuanian equivalent to "Happy Birthday to You."
  • Current Music
    They Might Be Giants - James K. Polk