Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

Archive for January, 2010

Poll: 100% of Me Thinks Political Polls Are Nonsense

A recent CNN poll reports that a majority of Americans think that money from the federal stimulus package has been wasted. Because, you know, everyone has a firm grasp of how the money was allocated and how it’s been spent. Just once it would be swell if pollsters asked follow-up questions like, “You’ve replied that the money is being wasted. Can you list three programs receiving this money and detail the ways in which the money has been wasted?”

Twenty-five years ago Neil Postman wrote this about the Iranian hostage crisis in Amusing Ourselves to Death:

Nonetheless, everyone had an opinion about this event, for in America everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different order from eighteenth- or nineteenth-century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us.

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Blogging About Blogging

So over at the Running Times site we’ve updated our blogs. For now I’m opining a few times a week on Talk Test. (Warning: Of interest only to those interested in running, and most likely to only a small subset of that subset.) Over the next few months we’ll be adding other blogs, and I’ll be the main contributor to one of those as well.

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Maine Winter Ameliorators

Stacey and good friends across the street and around the corner.

Ibex clothing.

A huge stash of tisane mixes from Homegrown Herb & Tea.

The new stove in the living room.

Friends to run with.

new music acquisitions, and occasional dips into old favorites.

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Why, Hello There!

I still exist. As the David Brooks Gross Oversimplification Watch seems to have run its course, I’ll turn the focus of this site back on one of my favorite subjects, me, until I find another muse. (Parting words on Brooks: Note his new schtick of writing his columns like bad college essays, with a couple theme-setting paragraphs followed by enumerated explication, with subsequent paragraphs beginning “First..” or “Second,” etc.)

The current (January/February) issue of Running Times includes a profile I wrote of Boaz Cheboiywo. Boaz will become a U.S. citizen in June. On Jan. 17, we’ll have more info on whether that means there will suddenly be another fast American marathoner, because Boaz is running Houston on the third-time-might-be-the-charm plan. (He ran 2:21 in his debut at NYC in 2008, and dropped out of Chicago in October.)

The March issue will include a profile I wrote of age-group wunderkind Ed Whitlock. Stacey and I spent a few days with him in Milton, Ontario, Canada the weekend before Thanksgiving (American, not Canadian). If you have questions about Boaz or Ed, post them below.

Finally, for now, on the professional front: For those who wonder how I spend my time and pay the bills, I’m fortunate to be back full-time with Running Times with the title of senior editor.

On the personal front, I’m keeping the tea and merino wool industries in business, am not yet sick of root vegetables, haven’t missed a day of running in more than two years, am about to start Wolf Hall, am pleased with my progress doing Myrtl and fear that my composting worms recently suffered mass extinction.