Three Reasons to Smile

We've marked five years in Iraq. The stock market is crashing. And we're in a recession. These are tough times -- soon to get tougher. But here are three positive things that help keep me smiling this week.

1. Race discussion. Who would have thought a week ago that something positive would come out of Geraldine Ferraro's divisive comments and the news of Eliot Spitzer's trysts with the former Girl Gone Wild Ashley Dupre? Well, the latter led to the appointment of David Paterson, not only the first black governor of New York, but also the state's first legally blind leader (see the Weekly Wikipedia link). And, of course, Ferraro's comments led to this week's memorable and historic speech by Barak Obama.

Also, last week in Florida, Peggy Quince became the first black woman to lead the Florida Supreme Court or any branch of state government.

2. The NCAA Tournament. Two weeks ago, most people thought that none of the Big Five teams were going to get into the tournament. Well, surprise, we've got three -- Temple, St. Joe's and Villanova. Now they may all be gone by the time I post the Playlist this weekend, but it's great to see three teams from Philly -- or, should I say, two more teams than the whole state of Florida.

3. The SXSW Festival. One day, before I get too old, I'd like to get out to Austin and enjoy this festival. But the Web has made it much easier to enjoy the concerts -- without all the crowds. I've been able to hear My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo and the resurgent R.E.M and watch Billy Bragg from my home in South Florida thanks to NPR's coverage.

There are literally hundreds of bands at this festival. Paul Ford of The Morning News, who also wasn't there, downloaded a file featuring one songs from some of the bands. Reading 763 reviews would be pretty time-consuming -- almost as long as reading one of my Playlists. But Mr. Ford did us all a favor, by limiting his review of each of the songs to just six words. Some of the reviews --

Bildmeister, Tenx. Five seconds of music, 120 times.
The Clutters, 9999 Ways (To Hate Us) -- I just found one more way.
AJ Croce, One and Only -- Rhyming's a tool, not a weapon.

Blog written, kids asleep, good night ...
Mr. Ford's limited word usage reminded of the Ernest Hemingway legend. The author was once asked to write a life story in six words. His story -- Baby Shoes. For Sale. Never Used.

Well, the six-word memoir has not gone away. Smith Magazine recently published Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Head on over to the site to read some of the memoirs. And Sue Katz of Consenting Adult recently blogged about the six-word memoir and some of her readers replied with their own. Pop on over to her site and leave your own memoir.