Second Chance

I don’t know how people watch as much television as the polls say they do. There are only two shows I try to watch regularly, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and I download them from the iTunes Store and watch them on my iPod during my commute to and from work, at least when I’m not doing something else like reading or solving puzzles or working on my laptop. That comes to only about three hours of television a week, which is apparently less than most people watch in a day, but I can’t keep up with it. I have maybe 10 unwatched episodes of The Daily Show on my iPod and maybe 25 or 30 of The Colbert Report.

Which is by way of explaining why I am always catching up with yesterday’s news these days. On the way to work today I watched a couple of episodes of The Daily Show from two weeks ago, including one with an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, touting his new book Second Chance. Man, this is one sharp guy. His main point is that if we can get through the next 20 months without making any more terrible moves like declaring war on Iran, the United States still has enough residual goodwill in the world that we can repair some of the damage; but if we spend the next 20 months embroiled in a war that spans Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and probably Pakistan too, then we will at last finish the job of depleting our strength to the point where we are not the most powerful nation any more.

Unfortunately the interview began with Jon Stewart making a few jokes about his name, and since we were making jokes about it back in the 1970s when he first became well known, by this time it’s just a wee bit stale. Though I was pleased to learn that the final W in Zbigniew should be pronounced F. I guess I should have figured as much since I do happen to know that you say “padder-EFF-skee” and not “padder-ROO-skee” and so on with Polish names. Yet “ZBIG-nyoo” is how I’ve always assumed it was pronounced. From now on I’ll say “ZBIG-nyeff”.

I may go back and listen again and jot down a few of the wise and funny things he said, or maybe I’ll go buy the book since presumably he says the same things there only in a more polished manner instead of off the cuff. Though I’m even more backed up on my To Be Read shelf than I am on my iPod.

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