We’ve entered the time of year when things are different from how they look. As the skies and the woods and the yards turn to gray and brown, the things that stimulate our other senses grow stronger.
That’s especially so out here in the country.
The media are setting us up. This is nothing new; they have basically carried water for the Democratic Party for at least 50 years and that habit shows no signs of abating. Have you noticed that they've been telling us for a year that the Dems are going to be shelled in this election? There is more to that prediction than meets the eye.
It was five years ago, riding back on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River from Ashland, Kentucky, that I noticed it. We had been at the dedication of a memorial to Jack Kerouac at the Paramount Theatre there. What was stunning about the trip home was the festoonery. Every house, it seemed, had some elaborate Halloween decoration. Even fairly woebegone trailers could be counted on to have out front a 20-foot-high Frankenstein’s monster, well lit and kept inflated by a powerful fan.
It may be that all of us have “hot buttons” – things we sometimes hear other people say that irritate us or even enrage us. A hot button for professors of religion (or at least for me) is to hear someone juxtapose the word “Christian” and the word “Catholic.”
Elections come and go. And as those cycles occur, various big ideas also have a tendency to move from their fifteen minutes of fame into the dust bin of old ideas, left there to rot without ever delivering their promised benefits. Health Savings Accounts is one such idea that, unfortunately, has mostly been relegated to that political purgatory.
Shortly after I moved here I received one of those documents that make the e-mail rounds. It was based on the then-popular “you might be a redneck” comedy act, only each stanza of this one ended with “you might live in Ohio.”
The concept of an “app store” in which normal, everyday people easily download applications for their devices vaulted to the public consciousness two and a half years ago with Apple’s iPhone App Store. The store shook up the way people view and use mobile phones. The Mac App Store announced on Wednesday appears poised to be just as big of a seismic shift. This is not an attempt to simply make a little revenue on Mac software sales; it is Apple’s plan to translate iPhone and iPad momentum into a full-fledged attack on Microsoft’s Windows stronghold.
It’s election year, which means that the national media are dusting off their maps and trying once again to figure out exactly where Ohio is. You will note that I said “media are,” not “media is.” That’s because I’m a member of a secret organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered portions of the language. “Media” is plural — the singular is “medium” (as in “The Athens News is an unparalleled advertising medium.”) Likewise the word “data.” If someone says “that data is not available,” he or she may know whether or not those data are available, but he or she is illiterate.
The Tea Party movement threatens to be a very big presence in the coming mid-term elections. The people at the rallies are true believers. They come at their own expense and wave homemade signs. Some slogans are really very clever. What you may not know is the gatherings are heavily sponsored by major corporate donors.
The project finally got far enough along that I could do something with it.
For years I’ve carried around tens of thousands of negatives and transparencies, the result of a career of writing stories and making photographs. But the digital world has so taken over photography that the real, silver-based stuff is all but dead. Soon it will be so far in the margins that any work of chemical photography will be proceeded by the ubiquitous and annoying word “artisan.” So if all those many thousands of images were to have any further life, they would need to be digitized.