Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
My favorite description of him described his ability to "use the F-Word as a comma." Like a lot of netroots people, I'm not a fan, but that's an ability that an old cav sergeant can admire with a deep appreciation that approaches reverence.
There's a guy I remember from my days as a student at Appalachian State University, and even though we never spoke to each other and I can't recall his name, he became an important figure in my life. He was a writer -- specifically, a playwright -- and in that small, transient student world, he was recognized as such.
I wasn't so recognizable, but I was a wannabe writer, too. I wrote short fiction and articles and plays and poems and I went to parties and performances where such people tended to gather. So this guy was known to me, and judging by the way he looked at me a couple of times, I may have been known to him as well.
But here's the thing: In the zero-sum world of wannabe writers circa 1982-83, only one of us could be "up" relative to the other. Which meant that, because we wanted similar things, liked similar things and probably had plenty of stuff in common, we circled each other warily instead of just saying hello. I suspect that he, like me, figured there just wasn't enough success for the both of us in that little college town.
Remember how everyone was so nervous about how the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was going to create a black hole that would swallow the Earth? These videos pretty much explain why I think that black hole would be a good thing.
How are things in Washington? Busy, I'm sure! Of course, it's probably a "good sort of busy," and I can certainly understand why you've not yet had a chance to reply to my e-mail of Nov. 5 (Subject line: "GREETINGS FROM YOUR NEXT SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES!").
To advance the matter just a bit while I've got your attention, I've been doing an awful lot of thinking about it since the election, and I just want you to know that I'm not "married" in any way to the HHS posting. I just thought, you know, that since HHS isn't the "sexiest" appointment there "inside the Beltway," maybe you might be open to volunteers. I looked it up online and found out that the current HHS secretary is some guy from Utah named Michael Leavitt. So there's my point. The bar's been set pretty low.
There's a line that runs like this: Bad economic times beget creative periods, the formative lull when energy that has receded from the marketplace pools and mingles and becomes the beginning of the next cycle. I'm not sure that I believe that, by the way, but there it is.
And here we are, heading into a recession, with more than a million jobs already lost this year, and here in Charleston -- where artists and writers and geeks have been saying for decades that this backward-looking city will never step up to the next level -- everyone seems to be talking harmonic convergence.
Tonight's evidence: Pecha Kucha Charleston, which had its maiden voyage tonight at Memminger Auditorium, packing the rear performance space with writers and artists and designers and architects and chefs and creative directors. If you want the details (and they're cool), follow the link, but suffice it to say that Pecha Kucha's goals are ambitious: The awakening and connecting of the city's cultural creatives.
Not only is this a noble goal, it's essential for the future of the city and -- to be really blunt about it -- an economic necessity for people like me.
"Fundamentally, the conservative movement failed -- and I've been in it my entire life -- because it hasn't addressed the problems of today: The rise of China and Russia, the rise of inequality, energy, health care. It's great to worry about Reagan -- I loved Reagan -- but those days are over."
--David Brooks on Face The Nation, Nov. 9
Brooks typically founders when he strays away from politics into pop-culture commentary, but this felt like a sincerely thoughtful insight by someone who cares about conservativism..
How big should the pending economic stimulus package be? Paul Krugman does the math and comes up with this answer: $600 billion.