Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Watch The Speech: Read The Transcript

Neither of us in Our House plans to watch the SOTU speech. At his best, President Obama can be an enthralling speaker. But the moment you contemplate the original meaning of the word "enthrall," you'll understand why it is best not to watch the speech.

Forget your real-time response... it's not worth it. Don't be enthralled. Read the transcript and respond primarily analytically, not in the way Mr. Obama doubtless hopes you will respond. You'll notice more details, more choices of word or phrase, more deliberate obfuscations... in other words, you'll come closer to the true content of the speech. It may not be as much fun; it may not be a feel-good experience... but you'll learn something.

It's finally reliably, steadily cold here, by Houston standards, 30°F, with a forecast high of 34°F and a low tonight of 26°F. The seats, backs and arms of the patio chairs are visibly iced over right now. As recently as last weekend, we were comfortably sitting out there, wearing long sleeves, reading... and we probably will be out there again this weekend. But not right now, thank you...


  1. It has been around freezing and raining since 1pm over here, and we are becoming a skating rink. They not only closed the schools, the Air Force shut down to keep people off the roads, because the bridges and overpasses are going to be unusable without the studded tires that no one sells down here.

    The rain is light enough that we shouldn't have a problem with local power lines, but further north I can see it happening.

    It is cold and damp and miserable.

    1. Bryan, I just watched the evening news, and saw the most amazing thing: all the freeway interchange cameras showed drivers going at very moderate, downright safe speeds. A survey of the county and the emergency management office revealed that they had had no significant traffic accidents... none... last night and today. Maybe people are adapting to the change in climate. Or maybe all the really dangerous drivers have killed themselves off. Of course, we still have tonight to get through. But it's encouraging to see people behaving sanely.

      A lot of the communities north of Houston are getting snow, sleet and freezing rain. Some adults sent in pics of their kids playing on snow-covered trampolines; apparently none of them managed to damage themselves. For a day or two, this is novelty. After that, it will get old.

      And Stella's employer has still not called off tomorrow. They're forcing employees to take vacation days if they can't make it in safely. Many years ago I worked for those people; they have an unsympathetic, not to say greedy streak.

  2. One of the advantages of not watching television is that I avoid being spellbound by the oration. As you say, the flat text is far more revealing.

    Not that there was any hope of me watching it on television anyhow. Our Internet went down at 5:20PM this evening and I was talking with AT&T trying to get it back up until 8PM. Sigh. The life of an IT worker. So it goes.



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