A long line. I was out with the kids a little earlier today and it was hot, so on the way home I promised them we'd stop and get some Gatorade. The 7-11 in my neighborhood is one of the 12 in North America that's been turned into a Kwik-E Mart for the new Simpsons movie -- we drove by there and there were 30 people, roughly, standing in the sun in a line outside the Kwik-E Mart, to get inside a slightly redecorated 7-11 ...
I'm probably old enough to start muttering about how things were better when I was a kid ... OK, I did once sit in line for 36 hours to get into the first showing of "The Return of the Jedi," but I still feel smarter than the people standing in a line in the hot sun to get into a 7-11. The damn thing's open 24 hours. I guarantee you, there won't be a line tonight at 2 AM. You could set your alarm clock, get up at 2 AM, go down to the 7-11 and look inside and you'd still be less stupid than the people standing in line in the sun to get into the 7-11.
I don't really think American society is doomed, but sometimes I wish I did, because it would require a lot less mental effort on my part than looking at that line while trying to remember that people are doing work like this and not getting burned at the stake for it ...
I'm not going to do a lot of politics on this blog, but I will note that George Bush commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence yesterday.
I never liked Bill Clinton (did and do like Al Gore, and think it's shameful the lies conservatives have told about the man) -- but Clinton was a weasel all the way down. His politics mirrored mine eerily at times -- usually center-left, sometimes center-right -- I distrust extremism regardless of the direction it's pointing, and because of this I appreciated Clinton's moderation. But it always annoyed me when Clinton would take some sensible moderate position with which I actually agreed -- and I'd look at him lying about it and think, "You don't believe this, Lying Weasel, this is what the damn pollster told you to say."
Having said that -- I didn't hate Clinton with the fiery passion he raised in conservatives, and really, I used to look at that bile and think to myself that this was a little unbalanced.
I ended up apologizing to several of my conservative friends after Bush took office in 2000. I have exactly the response to him that conservatives had to Clinton, this visceral response to a mama's boy trying to play tough guy that makes it hard to credit the man even when he does something with which I agree. The closest thing previous to this was Newt Gingrich -- (and, I admit, Al Sharpton on occasion) ... but even with Gingrich I could detach myself from the gut-level response and listen to his ideas, which were worth listening to even when I fundamentally disagreed with them -- Gingrich is a bright guy. I've had a very hard time doing that with Bush --
-- and I'm pretty much at the point where I don't think I need to, any longer. I won't pretend Libby's last straw territory; I was past that with Bush years ago. But I have reached the point where I can almost enjoy those parts of the show that aren't about how our soldiers are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The worst cheeseburger in Los Angeles might be the double-bacon cheeseburger at the Rally's on Venice Boulevard east of Overland. I'd only eaten at Rally's once before, and vaguely remembered not caring for it, though I'd forgotten the details. I pulled through the drive-through at about 10:30 in the evening a few days ago, and spent twenty minutes waiting behind a pair of cars in one of those cement cages that won't let you drive off once you've driven in. I forget how much the burger cost -- $2, $3, something in that range -- for something about the size of a McDonald's hamburger. Bread and bacon were both soggy, meat was dreadful. A minus-2, minus-5 for the service that went with it. I threw the burger out after the second bite, went home and had a peanut butter sandwich instead, and let me tell you, it was a better burger than what they sold me at Rally's.