The anonymous op-ed in the NYT

It is either:

1) Pence with a speechwriter’s help, angling to position himself as a reasonable replacement for Trump.

2) Someone pretending to be Pence, in which case they will be undetectable with stylometrics as currently practiced. Mattis or another veteran, I would suspect.

Accusations will come in the next few days, but without a confession, will be useless.

A guitar

I have not bought a guitar since 2003, and not a new one since, oh, 1993. This summer I decided to change that, and bought a brand new 2018 Gibson J-15.

It is the most inexpensive acoustic Gibson makes, which in layman’s terms means ‘not very bloody cheap’ because like all Gibsons, it is USA-made and gorgeous. I got it at a very steep discount online that felt almost criminal. Its main competition was a gently used 2013 Gibson Songwriter, which was a very nice guitar in its own right, but it didn’t scream BUY ME in my ear as the right guitar tends to do.

I tried a lot of Martins and Taylors. The Martin 000-015 was a live wire, but its lack of electronics was a dealbreaker. The Mexican Martins were all duds. Most of the Taylors, even the higher-end ones, were ok, but felt like toys. I found a nicely discounted GS Mini-e, but I could have snapped it in half over my knee.

I used to have a ’77 Gibson Heritage that I bought in Boston in 2001 or so. I sold it at a reasonable profit several years ago and have regretted it since. Now I feel much better. Getting a different guitar usually triggers a long period of increased playing for me, and I have been needing that.

Melania, you could save us

It occurred to me today that Melania Trump could singlehandedly save the Union and be the most beloved First Lady in history. It might take her a few hours, tops.

All she would have to do is call a press conference, and during it denounce her husband’s presidency and behavior, and announce she is filing for divorce.

I don’t think the GOP has any possible countermove to that. Neither does Trump. Attacking her in any way would backfire. They would have to maintain a stony silence while she undercuts everything that he has claimed about himself.

I don’t think she has the guts, though. There is little chance she married this man while blind. And I’m sure such an action would violate her prenup. Trump would have been sure to muzzle her with a threatened lawsuit and a cutoff of funds.

However, I’m positive a grateful nation would make sure she wasn’t left penniless. Do the right thing, Melania. It is easy when you know what is right – much harder, though, when you don’t.

Funded Leave & Other News

I got an email tonight saying that I have been awarded a Funded Faculty Leave (FFL). Other universities call this a sabbatical. In this case, it means that I will get paid to do little but research for one semester (likely Spring 2019) – no teaching and no service (though I suspect some will sneak in). This is good news. I will use it to draft a new book on the gospels and rhetoric.

In other news, I sent out another article today. That makes four journal submissions in four months. M is due May 7; I should be able to do one more, a chapter in a collection, before he arrives. Actually, I already have a draft, it’s mostly editing at this point.

I could grade, but it’s late, almost 9:15. I think some time with Stellaris is in order…

Gaming Updates

I can’t recommend Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC enough. It was a blast from start to finish. Highlights include Benedictine monks following their schedule; knocking myself unconscious while riding a horse in full plate under a low overhang; getting drunk with a parish priest; accidentally shooting my horse in the head with an arrow; sabotaging a beheading by dulling the blade, leading to socially awkward hacking; the satisifying crunch that maces make on armor. The graphics are top notch. There were over a hundred quests, all well written and interesting, and I did all of them.

Other thoughts…

I think there is a big opening for old consoles to move their assets to tablets. I would love to play NES and SNES games on my iPad as opposed to the current best method of an emulator on PC.

But it is not like I am suffering. H’s Switch and Zelda on it are pretty awesome. And, until KC:D intervened, I was playing a lot of Civilization 6. It is turn-based so I can play it a little while watching L.