Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
On a sort of related note Peter thought of a funny shirt for me: I have cancer, bitches. Hopefully very soon that would be lie if I wear it.
The primary problem isn’t the rules. The real problem is the lack of consistency. Take some of the ballots that only marked the oval for Coleman, but where the oval is also marked through with an “X.” The Canvassing Board determined that those marks meant those voters intended to support “other/no one.”
The different rules for Franken versus Coleman are staggering, just look at the visual examples they provide.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I loved the Dwight bumper sticker...I might have to get one for my car. The Brandeis visual pun was also cool. The car also had support the IDF and Israel stickers, on top of which there was hiking gear in the trunk (yes I looked). This car was the epitome of a dream guy for the Jewish conservative, Brandeis attending, Office watching, girl. Although it was a Suburu.... (Hey my mother drives a Suburu Jim Gaffigan audience voice/)
Here's a reference point for Jim Gaffigan inner monologue voice:
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Interoute, the internet networks company, reports that three of the four internet sub-cables that run from Asia to North America have been damaged.
These carry more than 75 per cent of traffic between the Middle East, Europe and America. It's hard to gather what this actually means - is it that the internet is down or (more likely) significantly slower than usual between the Middle East and America?
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It seems that Blagojevich was corrupt on a truly staggering scale, and any politician who dealt with him regularly would almost have to fall into one of three categories:
1.) Knew Blagojevich was corrupt, and engaged in corrupt practices with him.
2.) Knew Blagojevich was corrupt, avoided engaging in corrupt practices with him, but never raised any kind of stink about it in the interest of getting along.
3.) Is dumber than a grilled cheese sandwich.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Meanwhile, an area where too many in the mainstream media have been oddly AWOL is in the response to the attack on Mumbai, India, two weeks ago by a squad of Pakistan-based terrorists, who killed nearly 200 people. Reaction in the U.S. was somewhat muted because the protracted standoff occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday, when many Americans were traveling or absorbed in family business. But I was troubled by a persistent soft-pedaling of the identification of the attackers as Muslims --as if the mere reporting of that fact would be offensive and politically incorrect.
Because seven years have passed since 9/11 without another attack on native soil, many Americans, particularly urban professionals, seem to have been lulled into a false feeling of security. But jihadism as a world movement -- even if its membership is a tiny fraction of young Muslim men -- will continue to pose a serious threat to every open democratic society over the next century and more. Anyone who has studied ancient history knows that great civilizations, from Egypt and Persia to Rome and Byzantium, broke down in stages separated in some cases by many superficially tranquil decades. Because of the unprecedented fragility of our intertwined power grid and complex transportation system, the technological West is highly vulnerable to sabotage and chaos.
The tragic fate of so many innocent victims in Mumbai deserves our pity. But what should live in special infamy was the ruthless execution of the Lubavitcher rabbi, Gavriel Hertzberg, and his lovely wife, Rivka, who was 5 months pregnant. These were two idealistic young people of obvious warmth and humanity, who sought only to serve. The rescue by their Indian nanny of their orphaned 2-year-old son, Moshe, crying and smeared with his parents' blood, is already legendary. Was this zeroing in on the Chabad Jewish Center in Mumbai about Israel, or was it simply a gruesome eruption of the medieval tradition of anti-Semitism? Why have Muslim organizations, very quick to protest insulting cartoons, been mostly silent about the atrocities in Mumbai?
The slaughter of the Hertzbergs and other Jews at Chabad House should be a wake-up call to Western liberals who believe that jihadism can be defeated through reason and happy talk. Only other Muslims can launch the stringent internal reform necessary to stomp this barbaric extremism out. But the events in Mumbai confirmed my opinion about the looming problem of a nuclear Iran: While I oppose all American military operations and bases in the Mideast, I continue to believe that Israel, whose security is directly threatened, has every right to take preemptive military action against Iran.
I also like her take down of a recent snobbish Palin critic, the Yale groomed Dick Cavett:
Yes, that is the lordly Yale that formed Dick Cavett's linguistic and cultural assumptions and that has alarmingly resurfaced in the contempt that he showed for the self-made Sarah Palin in "The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla." I am very sorry that he, and so many other members of the educational elite, cannot take pleasure as I do in the quick, sometimes jagged, but always exuberant way that Palin speaks -- which is closer to street rapping than to the smug bourgeois cadences of the affluent professional class.
English has evolved, and the world has moved on. There is no necessary connection between bourgeois syntax and practical achievement. I have never had the slightest problem with understanding Sarah Palin's meaning at any time. Since when do free Americans subscribe to a stuffy British code of veddy, veddy proper English? We don't live in a stultified class system. In the U.K., in fact, many literary leftists make a big, obnoxious point about retaining their working-class accents. Too many American liberals claim to be defenders of the working class and then run like squealing mice from working-class manners and mores (including moose hunting and wolf control). What smirky, sheltered hypocrites. Get the broom!
via Hot Air Headlines
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Reading about John Updike (I'm not a huge fan) - I realized one of the things I most respect in an author or poet is if their careers span more than just sitting behind a desk and writing. For example, Williams Carlos Williams, one of my favorite poets, was a doctor all his life. I feel like his "day time" profession, infused a lot of his work, gave it meaning and perspective he others would not have, sitting at home constructing his poems out of thin air. Had he not practiced medicine, his writing would have lacked the depth and the keen observation his worked exposed him to. Imagination is important, but so is living among the mere mortals.
That's another phenomena I've observed when a some indie-director makes it big in Hollywood and then makes crappy movies. My theory is that these directors (and actors for that matter) have forgotten what it's like to have a daily routine, to not just focus on art and yes-men that surround them. Art is the bone marrow of life, living in a ivory tower makes for some very dull, uninspiring, and lifeless art. Of course drugs help and reading others for inspiration doesn't hurt, but nothing like life experience gives a great piece of art its juice.
Here's on of my favorite poems of Carlos Williams Carlos:
They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
in the rigid wheeltracks.
The door opens.
I smile, enter and
shake off the cold.
Here is a great woman
on her side in the bed.
She is sick,
to give birth to
a tenth child. Joy! Joy!
Night is a room
darkened for lovers,
through the jalousies the sun
has sent one golden needle!
I pick the hair from her eyes
and watch her misery
Monday, December 08, 2008
The best thing about these, besides their taste, is that once you are done you have these very functional little pot bowls.
(I don't put brown sugar typically, I find it sweet enough without it.)
Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
The Polish man might have been in his mid-forties but seemed older, just as people in my parents’ generation had. Foreign blood, or an abundance of responsibility, had robbed him of the prolonged adolescence currently enjoyed by Americans of the same age, so his face, though unlined, seemed older than mine, more used. His eyes were red and swollen from crying, and his nose, which was large and many-faceted, looked as if it had been roughly carved from wood and not yet sanded smooth. In the dim light, he resembled one of those elaborate, handcrafted bottle stoppers—the kindly peasant or good-natured drunk who tips his hat when you pull the string.
I've noticed this phenomena when I was living in Scotland, people seemed older, more age appropriate somehow.
The Polish man didn’t want dinner, just waved it away with those king-size mitts of his, but I could feel him watching as I cut into my herb-encrusted chicken, most likely wondering how anyone could carry on at a time like this. That’s how I felt when my mother died. The funeral took place on a Saturday afternoon in November. It was unseasonably warm that day, even for Raleigh, and returning from the church we passed people working on their lawns as if nothing had happened.
None of us reminded her that Monica had died of a terminal illness, as, in a way, that didn’t matter anymore. The point was that she was gone, and our lives would never be the same: we were people who knew people who died. This is to say that we had been touched by tragedy, and had been made special by it. By all appearances, I was devastated, but in fact I had never been so happy in my life.
The next time someone died, it was a true friend, a young woman named Dana, who was hit by a car during our first year of college. My grief was genuine, yet still, no matter how hard I fought, there was an element of showmanship to it, the hope that someone might say, “You look like you just lost your best friend.”
Then I could say, “As a matter of fact, I did,” my voice cracked and anguished.
It was as if I’d learned to grieve by watching television: here you cry, here you throw yourself upon the bed, here you look in the mirror and notice how good you look with a tear-stained face.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
I recognize that Beyonce is talented and works hard, I even think the song is catchy, even though I like "If I Were Boy" more. However, I always find her dancing somehow ungainly. Her limbs are all over the place and the dance moves are the opposite of graceful. I read someone describing the video as "Fosse getting raped by a GAP commercial." Not to mention the hideous metal glove, which I can only guess is a homage to Michael Jackson? Anyhoo, she has always looked weird dancing and this video, plus her annoying and ugly ad for Direct Tv, just confirms she should not dance ever. I mean the woman inspires this (click at your own paril).
Thursday, December 04, 2008
However, what happened in Mumbai was hard to ignore...not only because of the overall tragedy, but as a Jew, it plunged me back into yet another reality check of Anti-semitism being alive and well. India is the last country I would expect to hear about Jews being murdered and yet when the photos of the young rabbi and his wife flashed on screen it wasn't much of a surprise. Besides being angered and horrified it reminded me of the Lech Lecha Torah portion from a few weeks ago. Avraham is promised by G-d:
"I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and he who curses you, I will curse; and through you, will be blessed all the families of the earth."Basically G-d tells Abraham that it will protect those who protect Jews and he will punish those who cause harm to the Jews. This is one of the central answers to why the world should care about what happens to Jews and to Israel. Even if you don't believe in G-d, the pure historical evidence is that Jews have been the "canary in the coal mine" to the world. When something happens to the Jews it will eventually happen to the rest of the world, this is why gentiles and Jews should care that these thugs targeted Jews and Israelis. As Dennis Preger notes so well in his column about the Mumbai terrorist:
For years I have warned that great evils often begin with the murder of Jews, and therefore non-Jews who dismiss Jew-hatred (aka anti-Semitism, aka anti-Zionism), will learn too late that Jew- and Israel-haters only begin with Jews but never end with them. When Israeli Jews were almost the only targets of Muslim terrorists, the world dismissed it as a Jewish or Israeli problem. Then it became an American and European and Filipino and Thai and Indonesian and Hindu problem.
Ultimately, the people set to destroy the Jews have been destroyed themselves and those who sheltered Jews have prospered:
M.: Are you car sick?
M.: Are you home sick?
A few minutes later I hear Z. whisper to M. "I think she's lady sick."
So from now on I will tell people that I'm lady sick. Kids say the cutest things.
“This wasn’t just an election in which supporters of the two major party candidates divided on ideological lines or separate goals for the direction of the nation,” said Wilson. “It was also an election where the electorate was literally divided by separate realities of the world around them.”
“As the data from these surveys show, the information believed to be true by, respectively, McCain and Obama voters directly correlates not just to the candidate each voter was likely to support, but also the sources from which the voter received his or her political information,” Wilson commented.
Some quick thoughts:
- One of the accomplices explains his reasoning behind being involved: "I liked the spirit of it, it was illegal without being mean or destructive."
- The idea of tight rope walking only being meaningful and beautiful because of the death element. Without the possibility of death - the act becomes ordinary and uninteresting. Dying for ones dream/art is tangible reality.
- French men can pull of crying and still seem manly.
- I loved how devoted everyone was to the goal. Not only was Petit's accomplishment impressive, but so was his devotion to practicing his art and figuring out a way to accomplish the impossible.
- Once a dream is achieved life changes forever, not necessarily in a good way or bad way. I like how the film left it a mystery.
It seems when it comes to re-using water, psychological factors are important:
Reuse works better when it involves camouflage. This technique is used, appropriately for a militarized country, in Israel. During a presentation at a London wastewater conference, a beautiful woman from Israel's Mekorot wastewater treatment utility, who stood out in a room full of gray suits, explained that they fed the effluent into an aquifer, withdrew it, then used it as potable water. "It is psychologically very important," she told the rapt audience, "for people to know that the water is coming from the aquifer." This is a clever way of getting around fecal aversion. Not having wastewater—and not wasting water—would be better still.
Devotees of ecological sanitation—"eco-san"—think that composting or urine-diverting toilets are the solution. Though it only makes up 5 percent of the flow, urine contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 45 percent of the phosphorus that has to be removed at treatment works. Separating it at source would cut down treatment processes and costs. A urine-separation toilet also cuts water use by 80 percent. In the remote Chinese village of Gan Quan Fang, a schoolteacher named Zhang Min Shu extolled the virtues of his urine-diverting toilet to me with a big grin. "It's very scientific. There are two solid waste containers. We only need to clean it once a year. Once it's full, we swap the containers around." The contents of the full container are removed, hopefully now safely composted and pathogen-free, and applied to fields. The empty container moves into the full one's place, and another year should go happily by. Done properly, eco-san turns waste into safe, sowable goodness. Done properly, there's little argument against it. It is sustainable. It closes the nutrient loop, which sewers and wastewater treatment plants have torn open by throwing everything into rivers and the sea, damaging water and depriving land of fertilizer.