Bob Schwartz

Month: September, 2012

What Must Todd Akin Think of Sarah Palin?

What must Todd Akin think of Sarah Palin?

Todd Akin has lots of opinions about the ladies, inside and out. As for the inside, he has apparently been graced with some sort of revelation—dare we call him a prophet?—about a previously undiscovered physiological process whereby a woman’s body “knows” whether a rape is the kind that should or should not allow a resulting pregnancy. He has been asked to write a monograph about this process, profusely illustrated, but he has been otherwise occupied with his race against Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri. It is a loss for medical science, but maybe he will have lots more time after the election. Citizens and gynecologists can only hope.

His views about the outside of women came clear after his debate with Sen. McCaskill, when he said:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike, but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

A review of Sen. McCaskill’s debate performance shows that she was thoughtful, firm, politely aggressive, and unrelenting—which is exactly what you would expect and hope for from a former prosecutor and current United States Senator.

When it comes to men dealing with women in politics—as candidates and voters—there are two ways of looking at it. One is external and pragmatic. Whether those men are saintly idealists or craven devils, women can play a role in their obtaining and maintaining power—given that women have had the vote for almost a century, and have held public office even longer.

The second and more fascinating view involves what’s going on inside—inside the heads of those men. This political season, something that got touched on in the 2008 campaign is now even clearer. It’s something that can be said about some small number of men who have been complicit, as actors or fellow travelers, in what for a while this cycle was called the “war on women”:

They don’t understand women.
They can’t control women, at least not easily.
They fear women, because they don’t understand them and can’t control them.

Keep these in mind and much will make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is what Todd Akin must think of Sarah Palin.

There are a thousand things to say about Sarah Palin, and particularly about her controversial role in the 2008 election. One thing is certain: she does not fit Todd Akin’s idea of “ladylike.” She is happy to be the pitbull with lipstick. Think of a political woman who is ambitious, confident, outspoken, and likely to dismember the man or moose who crosses her. Quick: Is that Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton? Exactly.

In America, women have failed to reach their deserved heights and presence in many fields. Elective politics, particularly at the national level, is one of them. By definition, the U.S. Senate can’t be the world’s greatest deliberative body, overstuffed as it is with men. And it certainly won’t be enhanced by Todd Akin’s membership; just ask most Republicans who nearly killed him over his “legitimate rape” remarks.

Conservatives worship Margaret Thatcher. Some of them no doubt hold out hope for the love that dared not speak its name, the hope that the obvious affection between Thatcher and Ronald Reagan went all the way, and that one day, not long from now, the offspring of that union will arrive in our political life as a savior.

If it’s a son, that is. If it’s a daughter, we might still have a problem.

While we are playing with ridiculous fantasies, here’s another one. Suppose that instead of Claire McCaskill on an open stage, Todd Akin had to face Maggie Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin behind closed doors to explain his visionary, man-centric thinking.

It wouldn’t be ladylike, and it would be worth paying to see.

Soylent Green, My Friend, Is People

Mother Jones has already changed the trajectory of the Presidential campaign with the “47%” video. It’s latest video find may not have the same effect, but it is still revealing.

It comes from a promotional Bain Capital CD-ROM from 1998. Along with other artifacts of the Bain culture at the time, it includes a video of Mitt Romney from 1985 explaining the Bain business model:

Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit…The fund was formed on September 30th of last year. It’s been about 10 months then. It was formed with $37 million in invested cash. An additional $50 million or so of what I’ll call a call pool, which is money that we can call upon if the deals are large enough that they require more than a $2 or $3 million dollar initial investment. Why in the world did Bain and Company get involved in this kind of a business? We’re not particularly noted for having years and years of experience in financing. Three reasons. We recognized that we had the potential to develop a significant and proprietary flow of business opportunities. Secondly, we had concepts and experience which would allow us to identify potential value and hidden value in a particular investment candidate. And third, we had the consulting resources and management skills and management resources to become actively involved in the companies we invested in to help them realize their potential value.

It’s the “harvest” line that is getting the most attention, presumably because it suggests to some that the companies are viewed primarily as abstract opportunities that are optimized for profit, rather than enterprises that make particular things and where particular people work and build their lives.

Fans of sci-fi movies are burdened by seeing the “real” world through the lens of those films. So this line flashed two iconic and unforgettable scenes.

One is from The Matrix (1999), when we first see the humans being used as living batteries to power the world of the Matrix.

The other is from Soylent Green (1973). In 2022, the desperate population of overcrowded New York City is being kept alive by the nutritional drink Soylent Green. At the end, we learn the dark secret of Soylent Corporation, as screamed by Charlton Heston (spoiler alert): “Soylent Green is people!” Yes, it is processed from the oversupply of corpses.

All this probably has nothing to do with Bain Capital harvesting companies. Somehow, though, “Corporations, my friend, are people!” just got mixed up with “Soylent Green is people!”, Charleston Heston got mixed up with Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney.

As noted in a post a few days ago, this campaign may not just be threatening to drive us—candidates and voters—mad. It may have done that already.

Victims of the Federalist Laboratories

This morning, a pundit again tried to square the circle by explaining how Mitt Romney can be both the heroic father of Romneycare in Massachusetts and the sworn enemy of Obamacare in the U.S. It goes like this: the states are political/social/economic “laboratories” in which 50 different experiments can produce 50 different solutions. (It isn’t clear why the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, etc., are not capable of conducting these experiments too.)

This is nonsense. Not as political theory or as Constitutional interpretation. It is nonsense because it makes no sense, or at best, tragic sense.

America’s most notorious state-by-state experiment was slavery. And if an experiment is judged by its results, slavery was in some ways an excellent economic solution for the states that tried it. No matter how much other states tried to convince them that it was flawed, those slavery laboratories kept on operating—right until the time that they were forced to close them down in a bloody war.

This is how experimental laboratories work. Different scientists race to solve essential problems. When one comes up with an effective solution, that doesn’t necessarily stop the others from continuing their work on better answers, or from criticizing competitors. But in the meantime, if the problem is critical, the solution is rolled out widely to relieve the situation, at least until something better comes along.

Let’s say that the Massachusetts laboratory developed a cure for cancer. After some clinical trials, it was deemed worthy to be given to the whole state. The benefit was positive and obvious. One of the developers went out of his way to make a high-profile public case for its success and his role in it.

But the other 49 states said: not so fast. They believed that there was a better solution to cancer, if not right around the corner, then soon. All they needed was more time, and in the meantime, they didn’t want the people of their state subjected to these wild experimental solutions.

That is a much more apt metaphor than merely talking about laboratories in general. Call it what you want—Heritagefoundationcare, Romneycare, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act—we have a proven solution. Standing in the way of it, promising to repeal it, simultaneously owning and disowning it, is unconscionable in the face of knowing that with it, people who are well can be kept well and that people who are sick can get better.

Anyone, from a Presidential candidate on down, who can look at people and tell them that they will just have to suffer a little longer while the political scientists of the 49 states tinker in their laboratories needs to look elsewhere. They need to look at themselves, and see where the real problem is.

You Kippur and Job

The days from Rosh Hashanah (“Head of the Year”, the New Year) and Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) are the ten holiest on the Jewish calendar. Known as the Days of Awe or Days of Repentance, they are a time for reflection on the year past and the year to come, and a time to make amends—not by asking God for forgiveness, but by asking it from those who have been wronged, and through the practice of repentance (literally, “turning”), prayer and charity.

During these days, the Book of Life is metaphorically open, and on its pages your life is weighed: “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed.”

The liturgy for these holidays, and particularly for Yom Kippur, is some of the most moving and soul-searching in all of the religious canon. There are Old Testament readings included, but not too often from the Book of Job.

There are two solid consensuses about the Book of Job.

Literary types agree that it is probably the greatest work of literature in the Bible.

Religious types agree that it is the most puzzling book in the Old Testament, and that even when you look at it in the most common and superficial way (“Why do bad things happen to good people?”), you end up scratching your head.

Job is the book to read for Yom Kippur. It is the book to ponder at the start of the year, at the end of the year, and at points between. (It was, by the way, Abraham Lincoln’s most studied book of the Bible.)

We begin with the book itself.

It is unusual for it to have been included in the canon of the Hebrew Bible because it is not about a Jew. When non-Jews appear in other books, it is usually a story of helping Jews or hurting Jews or marrying Jews or eventually becoming Jewish. None of that applies to the Book of Job.

The story is relatively simple, at least until the end. Job is a rich and pious man who has everything: health, wealth, family and friends (or so they seem). Satan wants to prove that Job’s piety is dependent on his having everything, and challenges God to take it all away. God does.

Job’s friends are convinced that he must have done something wrong, and urge him to figure it out and repent. The scenes with his friends are talky, like a play, or maybe like the film My Dinner With Andre—except this is My Dinner with Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite.

Job’s wife has a different suggestion: “Curse God and die.”

Job remains steadfast in his faith.

And then, in Chapter 37, God appears to Job, to explain it all.

The chapters that follow are a poetic and breathtaking description of the world’s wonders, by the one who made them. God tells Job that his friends don’t know what they’re talking about (God takes care of them later). And God implicitly tells Job the only two things to do: Be awed. Be humble.

Job’s reply in Chapter 42 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. It is not only the watchword for Yom Kippur; it is the watchword for everyone, religious or otherwise, who is convinced they are smarter than anyone in the room or in the universe:

Then Job answered the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you declare to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

“I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

Whether this is a day of reflection and fasting, reciting centuries-old prayers, or an ordinary day of work or study, managing others or being managed; whether you are Job beset by unexplained misfortune, or Job’s wife, ready to kill him if he doesn’t kill himself, or Job’s friends so quick with advice; whether you are being punished by God, Satan, or whatever other forces you believe are working against you; whether you are the smartest person in the room or not; this is what we can do, even if there is seemingly no comfort in it:

Be awed. Be humble.

Diztronic: The Wonder Case for Smartphones

The world’s most advanced tech companies spend unlimited money and time to make sure your smartphone is as thin, light and beautiful as possible. And they have succeeded. The Samsung Galaxy S3, for example, is a work of practical art.

Then you put it in a box. An expensive box. As in, say, an OtterBox case.

You do that because you are human. And human beings have been known to drop or otherwise destroy five hundred dollar smartphones in the blink of an eye.

What was once sleek and sexy—but vulnerable—is now bulky and unattractive—but safe. It’s like the father who demands that his teenage daughter go out wearing a dumpy and loose-fitting dress that hides her arms, legs and everything else.

Then there is Diztronic.

Admittedly, the Diztronic cases do not include three or more layers of protection that some other overly-expensive body-armor cases offer. So if you know yourself to be dangerously clumsy or demand a case that will withstand an asteroid, you may have to live with your phone in a box.

But if you want to enjoy a more than reasonable amount of protection, be able to appreciate and enhance the beauty of your phone, have it feel great in your hand and save money, the Diztronic cases are for you.

Diztronic makes its cases from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a plastic stronger and tougher than silicone, offering excellent shock absorption and scratch resistance. The cases are flexible, ultra-thin and perfectly custom fit for each type of phone. A subtly raised edge allows you to lay your phone down on the screen side without damage or worry. Then there are all the colors that match or complement your phone.

On top of that, Diztronic cases are ridiculously inexpensive, currently $9.90 for Android cases and $11.90 for the new iPhone 5 cases (some even less at their Amazon store).

If you have a new phone, visit Diztronic and buy your phone a new outfit. In fact, at that price, you can afford to buy it more than one look. And if your phone is currently encased in an unattractive hard shell, think how much better you and it will feel with something a little less restrictive and a lot more beautiful.

The Art of the Lock Screen

If you are a smartphone user, you look at the lock screen—the opening screen you swipe to get into your phone—maybe a hundred times a day. Just a second at a time, but seconds add up to a real experience and impression.

The pre-loaded images on lock screens are pretty banal, meant to show off the screen’s high-resolution capability without offending or overexciting anyone. The state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S3, for example, out-of-the-box displays a close-up of a dandelion. It can be changed out, but the few stock alternatives are not any better—beautiful, color-rich, but not much else. There is a cool effect that when swiped, the lock screen image ripples like water and fades, but a rippling and fading dandelion is still a dandelion.

As noted, it can be changed out, to any image at all. Outside the parameter of its being a vertical rectangle, the possibilities are infinite.

That’s how Jackson Pollock came to this lock screen.

It wasn’t an easy choice, but the road to it was a fascinating journey in art.

The first decision was to steer clear of the figurative. Even if a work was found that could properly fit the dimensions of the screen, or it was cropped to fit, people and things didn’t seem so appealing. There was also the issue of having typed words—time, date, etc.—and maybe icons on top of those figures.

That left thousands of variously abstract works of art. To narrow it down to a manageable, shorter-than-a-lifetime task (this is, after all, a phone, not the Getty), the online collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate were reviewed.

And so, for a couple of hours, an intensive search. Surprisingly, the functional nature of the application wasn’t a drawback. It wasn’t like the derisive cliche about an interior decorator picking paintings on the basis of whether they match a planned color scheme. Instead, it was like speed dating art in a museum—in a good way. Every image had a chance to speak, but instantly, because that is exactly how it was going to be seen from now on.

A few styles were rejected. Pure monochromatic paintings may be important as works of art, but on a phone screen just look like a single color background. Op art seemed like it might work, but in that confined space, the screen seemed overbusy and dizzy, and a little jarring.

The finalists were Ad Reinhardt and Jackson Pollock. From Reinhardt, his blocks of color were especially inviting, including this version of Abstract Painting (Blue) (1952):

In the end, Pollock’s Full Fathom Five (1947) is the art of this lock screen. Here’s a description from the Museum of Modern Art:

Full Fathom Five is one of Pollock’s earliest “drip” paintings. While its lacelike top layers consist of poured skeins of house paint, Pollock built up the underlayer using a brush and palette knife. A close look reveals an assortment of objects embedded in the surface, including cigarette butts, nails, thumbtacks, buttons, coins, and a key. Though many of these items are obscured by paint, they contribute to the work’s dense and encrusted appearance. The title, suggested by a neighbor, comes from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, in which the character Ariel describes a death by shipwreck: “Full fathom five thy father lies / Of his bones are coral made / Those are pearls that were his eyes.”

All along, before the search started, there was something about putting Pollock on the phone, just as there is something about putting him on the wall. People mocked abstract expressionism—and Pollock as its most famous artist—as some kind of cultural con game. “Anybody can do that, hell, my five-year-old can do that.”

Well, no. If you want evidence that this is art, check out the few square inches of screen above. Even if the screen says “swipe,” even if you’re in a hurry to get to a call or an app, just linger and look for a few extra seconds. What is going on there reaches out sixty-five years, from a time when pocket phones and pocket computers were glints in the eyes of scientists, madmen and mad scientists. And now Jackson Pollock lives there.

No dandelions. Just pure digital cool.

Think the Same: Apple as IBM, Android as Apple

Think Different.

That was the theme of Apple’s award-winning and successful ad campaign that ran from 1997 to 2002. Among other creative inspirations, the concept played off of the even more famous one-word IBM slogan “Think”, which had been in use since the 1920’s, when it was devised by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

To make the point, Apple created a series of commercials and posters featuring those who had thought differently, including Albert Einstein.

The ad copy included this:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

Keep this in mind as thousands line up—camp out in tents on the street—to be one of the first to own an iPhone 5. Even many self-aware tech pundits have had to admit it: in the current state-of-the-art, the iPhone 5 is not all that cutting edge. But even knowing that, they too are craving it. Resistance is futile.

Apple began as the “other” personal computer. The IBM/Microsoft-based paradigm relentlessly rolled on and over the market. The hardware technology was almost universally licensed and adopted as a standard. Microsoft dominated the operating system, and software was developed for it. PCs were available at every price point and capability, and the market exploded.

Apple thought differently. From the beginning, and with only one brief foray into third-party licensing, Apple decided it would control everything. Quality and style could not be left to the vagaries of the market and to the poor judgment and penny-pinching ways of third party vendors. The result in personal computing was that while Apple won only a minority share of market, its products were not only different but (in the view of some) better, and adopted by creative and thought leaders.

The turning point came when Apple went mobile with the iPod. There had been portable music players for years, beginning with Sony’s revolutionary Walkman. By applying its computing model to this device, Apple did something just as revolutionary. Unlike having a minority position in computing, Apple took the lead in digital music players and never looked back. It not only owned the device, it owned the store for feeding the device. Apple was no longer the other; Apple was it.

Apple took the same tack as it always had when it entered the mobile phone market: superior technology plus superior style. And as with its earliest computers, it maintained complete ownership and control. This was more than just a matter of not sharing the rewards with third-parties. As a consumer, you could be sure that any application would run flawlessly with the Apple OS on an Apple device.

The iPhone is now a standard, one embraced by millions with a fanaticism that approaches a cult. Henry Ford’s famous message to car buyers of the original Model T was that you could have any color, as long as it was black. Steve Jobs may have never quoted this, but this is the experience of the iPhone buyer. And they are ecstatic at the lack of choice.

The iPhone is a standard, but not the standard. The other force in mobile phones is Android.

The metaphorical differences between Apple and Android are infinite. If Apple makes the trains run on time, Android has powerful trains still looking for the conductor, the schedules and even the track. If Apple is a tightly produced Broadway show, Android is a three-ring circus with the ringmaster on acid. If Apple is Singapore, Android is the Wild West.

And yet, Android is the dominant mobile platform in the world, and its lead over Apple is widening.

The Android system—if you can call it that—works like this. The operating system is developed and upgrades. Each version goes out to device makers, who adopt it to their own needs, including overlaying it with proprietary additions, and test its integrity and compatibility. These devices are then sent to carriers and service providers who add their own proprietary touches and do further testing. It is a lengthy process that is fraught with missteps, and explains why new versions and upgrades can take months to reach consumers.

Then there are the applications and developers. Quality and qualified developers face the challenge of making sure that their applications work properly on all permutations of Android versions and device-specific overlays. Developing for Apple iOS, on the other hand, is as simple as developing for Apple iOS: if it works, it will work for everyone. And anyone can and does develop for Android. With the exception of malicious apps kept out of the Android market, anything goes. There are thousands of Android apps that are dysfunctional, sometimes comically so.

For some of us who appreciate the excellent and forward-thinking devices in the Android world, even the weirdos and app pranksters are part of the charm. Yes, it can take far too long to get Android upgrades, and even then things may not work perfectly. But most of the time, the results are spectacular. If that is the price to pay for not enlisting in the Apple Army, we’ll pay it.

In the final analysis, that is the irony. Apple has become the world’s leading tech company the way IBM did in the 1950s and 1960s: by telling the world how computing should be done and making them accept it. IBM salesmen—in fact everyone in the company—was required to wear a uniform white shirt and tie. One of the legendary mantras of that period was recited by corporate purchasing agents: “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

Android is an adventure. It might say of itself, as one corporate iconoclast used to:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

Apple is now IBM. Android is now Apple. It doesn’t take a genius to see that.

Mitt Romney Doesn’t Really Want To Be President

Mitt Romney doesn’t want to be President. This has been apparent for a while, but it seemed so unlikely—so strange for a person who is actually a nominee—that it defied saying. But it is the clearest explanation of everything that is happening.

Why would Romney run if he doesn’t want the office? The clichéd but useful explanation goes to a father-son dynamic.

In at least one objective respect, Mitt has spectacularly surpassed George Romney. Mitt Romney is a very, very rich man, wealthier than his father ever was.

As a businessman, it is a little more complicated. George Romney was, as the saying used to go, a captain of industry. He worked his way up to become head of one of the largest automakers, back when that mattered much more than it does now. Even if American Motors wasn’t one of the Big Three, it was a notable, forward-looking player in the field.

Mitt Romney’s success is different. Even treating the financial world as a discrete industry, which it of course is, the term “captain of industry” doesn’t seem to apply to Mitt. In the annals of financial history, no one will be talking about the creativity of Bain Capital the way business historians still do about the ahead-of-its-time thinking that marked American Motors—the company that believed the oversized car era was over, and that consumers would be buying compact and efficient automobiles. Eventually they would.

Politics is where the distinction is sharpest. George Romney was elected Republican Governor of Michigan three times—a state that was then decidedly Democratic. He had substantial political appeal and support, but his dream of being President was scuttled in part by the infamous “brainwashing” incident. He had visited Vietnam, and was told by the generals how well the war was going—in spite of evidence to the contrary. When he spoke about his opposition to the war, he said he had been “brainwashed” by the generals. George Romney’s political career never recovered.

As a politician, Mitt Romney has run for office just twice, and won only once. He was defeated for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts in 1994, and then was elected Governor in 2002. He chose not to run for re-election in 2006. Indications were that he would have a difficult race, and he instead began his run for the Presidency the day before he left office.

This father-son analysis—that Mitt Romney is trying, at all costs and for whatever reasons, to do what his father never could—may sound too easy. But the story of fathers and sons is just about the oldest story ever told. The patriarchal sagas of the Old Testament begin there, and great stories derive their greatness from the fact that some things never change.

Mitt Romney is following a program that he may not see or understand but that he has little or no choice about. It is a program, this running for President, that normally requires some combination of skill and desire. A surplus of one can balance out a deficit in the other. But trying to run without either—which we have never seen in a Presidential race—is bound to produce some anomalous results.

In the case of Mitt Romney, we can set aside the issue of how much political skill he has, though many have their doubts. The real question is how much desire he has. The answer, strangely, is little or none.

The outcome of the election is far from written. In case Mitt Romney loses, there is reason to believe that he will suffer some nagging psychic pain. But given the possibility that it is not something he really wants. there is also reason to believe he will go back to an extraordinarily comfortable life, and secretly be relieved.

Too Much of Nothing

The last post was called a political break, with the prospect of returning immediately to earnest observations about the current campaign. For those who didn’t read it, that post included a Marx Brothers movie and a Weekly World News exclusive about Mitt Romney and Bat Boy. Now that’s a break.

If it’s possible for political junkies to overdose, this may be it. There are already a bunch of posts drafted and ready, political and otherwise (this is a blog about everything, not just politics). But just for a moment, the will to post seems to have gotten a little lost.

So the political break continues. In the same spirit of free association that gave rise to the guest appearance of Bat Boy, here is some commentary from Bob Dylan. “But when there’s too much of nothing, nobody should look.”:

Now, too much of nothing
Can make a man feel ill at ease
One man’s temper might rise
While another man’s temper might freeze
In the day of confession
We cannot mock a soul
Oh, when there’s too much of nothing
No one has control

Too much of nothing
Can make a man abuse a king
He can walk the streets and boast like most
But he wouldn’t know a thing
Now, it’s all been done before
It’s all been written in the book
But when there’s too much of nothing
Nobody should look

Too much of nothing
Can turn a man into a liar
It can cause one man to sleep on nails
And another man to eat fire
Ev’rybody’s doin’ somethin’
I heard it in a dream
But when there’s too much of nothing
It just makes a fella mean

Political Break: Mitt Romney and Bat Boy

“Sometimes I think I must go mad.”

That’s a quote from the Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers (1932). And that’s how a lot of us feel right about now, after months of campaign craziness and days of political bombshells. There will be plenty of time for insightful analysis and cogent commentary. But just for a moment, a break.

Here’s something from the movie:

Retiring President of Huxley College: I am sure the students would appreciate a brief outline of your plans for the future.

Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): What?

President: I said the students would appreciate a brief outline of your plans for the future.

Wagstaff: You just said that! That’s the trouble around here: talk, talk, talk! Oh, sometimes I think I must go mad. Where will it all end? What is it getting you? Why don’t you go home to your wife? I’ll tell you what, I’ll go home to your wife and, outside of the improvement, she’ll never know the difference. Pull over to the side of the road there and let me see your marriage license.

President: President Wagstaff, now that you’ve stepped into my shoes…

Wagstaff: Oh, is that what I stepped in? I wondered what it was. If these are your shoes, the least you could do was have them cleaned.

And here’s something from the Weekly World News in March of 2007, during Mitt Romney’s first unsuccessful run for the Presidency: