Here’s a great idea: put cosmetics vending machines in schools, so ten year old girls can have instant access to enhancing their sex appeal and learning how to be “real women” early! I wonder what would happen if boys started using them, instead? Boys wearing make-up would be totally hot. Think, Velvet Goldmine. Maybe they’d mix and match mascara? Use compacts as poker tokens? Who thought this up?

There’s a new interview with Stephen King that’s worth taking a look at – I was interested in his sudden intensity with the writing of the Dark Tower books, a series that looked to be one of those always-in-progress writer’s constructions. I did fully expect that he’d die before he finished them. The accident in 2000 kick-started him into finishing. “I decided that I wanted to finish it. I wanted to be true to the 22-year-old who wanted to write the longest popular novel of all time. And I did: it’s 2,500 pages long, maybe longer. I knew it was going to be like crossing the Atlantic in a bathtub. I thought I’m just going to keep on working, because if I stop I’ll never start again.” The interview also includes, some, uh, bile from Harold Bloom about King’s winning the National Book award. I’d never read so much of Bloom’s diatribe. It’s pretty spectacular. And then, to end on a good, writerly note, there was this bit: “Now he has completed his personal equivalent to The Canterbury Tales and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, can he die fulfilled? `It’s always the way. I know what I wanted to achieve and not all of it is on the page. That’s the writer’s torment.’ So why continue the torment? `Let’s not go crazy. It’s just such a buzz to write. While I’m doing it, there’s nothing better in life. It’s what I was made to do.'”

That’s a writer for ya.

Sidney Blumenthal’s got an interesting article about Bush’s use of “positive thinking” to undermine reality in the Guardian. It helps explain why he runs into so much trouble trying to talk to international audiences – he doesn’t know how to speak to them. He’s used to speaking to Americans wearing blinders. “‘The liberation is ‘succeeding’, he insists, and only pessimists cannot see it….Bush explained that, for him, intelligence is not to inform decision-making, but to be used or rejected to advance an ideological and political agenda. His dismissal is an affirmation of the politicisation and corruption of intelligence that rationalised the war.”

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