Notes From a Friday Afternoon (After the Deluge)

Friday, 26 August 2011 12:01 PM Written by 
(ringing the bells of my mind)

For your consideration: another curious collection of thoughts, reactions, and observations that didn’t make it into a full-length post this week...

• When I wrote the last of last Friday’s Notes,  I knew that bad storms were coming. And I knew that our local meteorologists had not predicted them, nor prepared us for them, at all. Little did I know that the preparation we really needed lay not in our television and our Mega Super Doppler radar screens, but in our sewer lines, our storm drains, and our about-to-be-broken hearts.

no-prayer• Once again, when personal tragedy and meteorological calamity struck, The Mayor was out of town. (Maybe, as counterintuitive as this seems to people who love both the city and good governance, we just shouldn’t let him leave.) Once again, he was slow to return and sluggish to respond. But then, by God, he took to a podium and went to a funeral and behaved, dare I say, with a comportment uncannily like that of a real mayor.

• Good for him. And good for all of us, if it continues.

• Which I doubt.

• One nice step to prove me wrong would be to dump his shrill, condescending Harpy of a spokesmouth, Joanna Doven, whose whole history of snide, indefensible statements — I’ve chronicled some, and the great Infinonymous (who shares my pleasantly surprised assessment of The Mayor's recent gestures) has made something of a side cottage industry out of chronicling far more — may have been eclipsed by her tone-deaf, brain-dead declaration, roughly 48 hours after four people drowned in the rain on a wide-open Washington Boulevard, that The road is open, therefore the road is safe.

Next time it rains, before any mothers attempt to drive their daughters down that raging river bed boulevard, I propose Ms. Doven be the one to test her theory.

Plenty of chatter the last couple of days about a local market research firm’s findings that The Mayor has a makes-George.W.-look-like-George-Washington approval rating of 19%. Even to an almost (see above) inveterate critic, that number seems impossibly low for a guy who’s now won two city-wide elections, plus a primary that may as well be a city-wide election. If that number is accurate, at least two other thing seems certain: everyone in that 19% votes, and most of that 81% ought to be ashamed of themselves for not voting.        

• Just so we’re clear on this: A 10th anniversary memorial ceremony to honor and remember 3,000 dead will include no clergy and no formal prayers? That may be — and Lord knows, it has some stiff competition — the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

• The East Coast Earthquake (8/23/11: Never Forget) really was the best thing to happen to Facebook in quite some time. And perhaps also to Twitter, if only for this backhand from @TheTweetOfGod: There was just a 5.8 earthquake in Washington. Obama wanted it to be 3.4, but the Republicans wanted it to be 5.8, so he compromised.

• As an Apple acolyte, power user, and borderline zealot since the mid 80s, the resignation (and declining health) of Steve Jobs fills me with equal parts sadness, nostalgia, and incredible-career-spanning appreciation. What it has not filled me with, and what I suspect it may never fill me with, is trepidation over the company’s future offerings. I’d been wrestling with how to explain, but then Slate’s great Farhad Manjoo went and did it for me. So just go read what he has to say.

• If you want just the nub of the gist, here it is: Jobs' achievement wasn't just to transform Apple from a failing enterprise into a staggeringly successful one. More important was how he turned it around — by remaking it from top to bottom, installing a series of brilliant managers, unbeatable processes, and a few guiding business principles that are now permanently baked into its corporate culture. Apple today operates in the image of Steve Jobs — and it's going to remain that way long after he's gone.

Quaker Dark Chocolatey Chewy Dipp Granola Bars. Insanely good and alarmingly addictive. Just saying.

• I don’t care if Sidney Crosby doesn’t come back to the Penguins in time for training camp. I don’t care if he doesn’t come back until January. Or March. I just want him to come back healthy and ready to play. Getting into the playoffs isn’t this team’s goal. (And they can do that quite well without him anyway.) This team’s goal is to win the Stanley Cup again. And, though I think they’d still have a shot without him — given Action-Figure Geno, a healthy defensive corps, and a top-of-his-game Flower — their best chance is obviously with him. And that’s with him in April, May,  and June, not with him against the Panthers or (God forbid) the Islanders in October and November.

• I have for several years declared that if my teams has to win one football game, or if it has to make one drive to win one football game, the quarterback I want under center is Ben Roethlisberger. Period. (Tom Brady is a close second, but Roethlisberger’s all-costs toughness and elusivness give him the edge). Local sports scribe Joe Starkey thinks that way too, and makes a compelling case for it here

• And, finally... Thoughts, prayers (this ain’t no 9/11 memorial service), best wishes, good vibes, and all sorts of fervent hopes for everyone in the path of Irene this weekend. May you weather the storm soundly and safely...    

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