The State of the Union Address was on tonight, so (naturally) I haven't been watching it. I sometimes wonder why anyone would watch this media event which, for the last two decades at least, has never been anything more than a sort of half-time show in the ongoing super bowl of political campaigning. It invariably consists of one part pious platitudes and bogus claims to undeserved credit for success, one part attempts to explain away glaring failures, and one part pie-in-the-sky projections about our impending achievement of ultimate greatness. It is as though all the vacuity of all the political speeches ever made had been distilled into one heady elixir of illusion and delusion, and spooned out to press and public as a cure-all and magic potion, guaranteed to triumph over the nation's, and now the world's, ills. All the best word smiths of the party in power put their heads together to fashion a bejeweled container for the snake oil to be peddled by their talking-head-in-chief, hoping that turns of phrase will turn public attention from the mysteriously invisible contents. And people watch, without even so much as the promise of a blessed interruption by a redeeming commercial featuring Ozzy Osbourne! Not I. I was lured away by the thought of pouring molten lead into my ears, and piercing my eyes with hot daggers. Of course, I did neither of these things, but contemplating them was far more pleasant than enduring the mother of all political speeches. I'm sure I made the right choice.