Archive for October, 2008

My husband’s sense of humor makes a little more sense to me after reading this. Check out these excerpts from the BBC about the joint meeting yesterday between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

As they were walked towards the lecturn there was a lot of touching, as is common in a new relationship. All evening they were attentive to each other. An arm across a shoulder, a little touch on the arm, a full embrace.

Barack Obama is a natural toucher. An arm around Mahmoud Abbas. An arm around Sarkozy. The arm is outstrectched because he is consensus man who believes that his warmth, his magic can cross any divide. (The only time I have seen him recoil was when he was leaving the Elysee and Sarkozy tried to kiss him goodbye. As Sarkozy stood on his toes Obama turned his head.) But last night touching, embracing was in.

Bill Clinton was neither coy nor coded.

Afterwards came the full embrace, the hug, their arms lingering around each other.

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I saw the enlightening film Why We Fight when it came out a few years ago. In this article filmmaker Eugene Jarecki describes his unsettling experience with McCain. The whole article including video from the film is worth a look.

John McCain was featured prominently in my documentary film Why We Fight, which premiered at Sundance in 2005. In pre-screenings of the film across the country before its theatrical release, John McCain wowed audiences with his outspoken words onscreen. On the subject of misguided U.S. foreign policy, he said “Where the debate and controversy begins is how far does the United States go and when does it go from a force for good to a force of imperialism?” About defense industry corruption, he declared, “President Eisenhower’s concern about the military-industrial complex — his words have unfortunately come true.” In specific, McCain criticized not only the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war but even the contracting and billing practices of Halliburton.

Later when Jarecki talked to McCain’s advisor:

When next I heard from Salter, panic had grown to fury. He said the Senator’s critical comments
about the dangers of preemption and of American imperialism could give the mistaken impression McCain was opposed to the Iraq war and the Bush Administration broadly. But the moment in the film that was his greatest concern was when, responding to a question about the controversial awarding of no-bid contracts to Halliburton, McCain concedes, “It looks bad. It looks bad. And apparently, Halliburton more than once has overcharged the federal government. That’s wrong.” When pressed on how he would tackle this problem, McCain boldly declares, “I would have a public investigation of what they’ve done.”

At that moment in the film, a phone rings off-screen and Senator McCain is advised by a staffer
that Vice-President Cheney is calling. With a nervous laugh, the Senator excuses himself. “The
vice-president’s on the phone,” he stammers, rising and scrambling off-screen, leaving the
camera rolling on his empty chair. Different people see this scene differently. Some see McCain’s sudden departure as perfectly normal. He’s a high-ranking Senator, and the Vice-President is calling. Others see McCain’s departure as evidence of a too-close relationship with Cheney. They note a certain embarrassment in McCain’s body language. To yet a smaller, third group, McCain’s reaction underscores Dick Cheney’s omnipotence in Washington. Given the Administration’s penchant for wiretapping, one viewer laughingly told me he thought perhaps “Cheney had decided the interview had gone on long enough.”

Jokes aside, when McCain’s office voiced their concern about this moment, I expected, if
anything, they might fear the suggestion of uncomfortably close ties between McCain and Cheney. When Salter instead declared to me that I was “making it look like John McCain was critical of the Vice-President,” and that “Vice-President Cheney has nothing to do with Halliburton,” I realized that what he was objecting to was not that McCain might appeared too close to Cheney but rather not close enough. Mr. Salter demanded that I send him a transcript of the Senator’s interview, not just the parts that appear in the film. Since none of the film’s more than twenty other interviewees had been provided such a thing, and since I valued the film’s independence from political pressure, I told Mr. Salter I would seek advice from other journalists and get back to him.

Salter next resorted to threats, saying that, unless I complied, he would smear my name in the
media and exert pressure on the film’s principal funder never to work with me again. I said I
thought the BBC would be unlikely to welcome such pressure from an irate chief of staff to a
senator. Salter then changed gears, appealing to my sense of fairness. “When Senator McCain
sat down to talk to you,” he explained, “he thought he was talking to a television crew from the
BBC.” I said that that was true, but that the film had then gone on to win Sundance and secure a
theatrical release. But then something troubling about his remark dawned on me.

“If you don’t mind my asking,” I said, “are you suggesting there are things Senator McCain will
say to a British audience that he isn’t comfortable saying to the American people?”Needless to say, this didn’t help matters. But I wasn’t trying to be snide. My question was just the logical extension of what Salter had intimated. But it clearly touched a nerve. He became enraged and, after hanging up, sought to make good on his threat to tarnish my name and career.

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Mad Men has entered the popular consciousness.

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At Seattle’s own Woodland Park Zoo.

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I just visited the newly renovated Arctic Club in Seattle. Click here to see my previous post about the history of the Arctic Club.

1. In the lobby you’ll see some photographs of the original members and a display of detachable collars.

More photos after the jump.


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These images and more on the BBC.

It’s kind of like the computer version of the blue screen of death.

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Via Seattlepi.

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I’ve got close to 40 hits based on search combinations of “Jamie Moyer tongue.” I even got some “Jamie Moyer Gene Simmons.” Clearly this gesture has touched a nerve. This picture comes to you from the Seattletimes.

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Cobain Unseen,” Charles R. Cross’ “illustrated biography” of Kurt Cobain (Little Brown, 159 pp., $35) in bookstores Monday, is a deeply personal, tactile, even visceral examination of the late, troubled Seattle rock star.

Through his artworks and writings, you can see — and, thanks to the many facsimile pullouts, even feel — tangible evidence of the mental and physical torment that plagued Cobain throughout his short life. Suicide was part of his personality from adolescence, the book shows in quotes and writings, so that when he finally does it (in 1994, when his band, Nirvana, was at the height of its fame and popularity), it seems almost inevitable.

See more photos by clicking on the link.

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Giving further proof that right-wing Republicans haven’t a clue what socialism is, we find this statement from Rush Limbaugh:

We’re going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain.  But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie…

Well, they’re not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They’re following their own self-interests, so I say fine. They have just admitted that Republican Party “big tent” philosophy didn’t work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it.

Gee Rush, you toss out words like socialism, communism and marxism and yet here you are whining about the bourgeoisie. Do you know who popularized the term bourgeoisie in his Communist Manifesto when he vilified the middle class? That would be Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. By your own standards you’re as commie as they come.

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I had a great time yesterday watching the third game in the World Series where the Phillies beat the Rays 5-4. We used to get to watch Jamie Moyer all the time here in Seattle when he was pitching for the Mariners, but I’m quite pleased to see Jamie go on to better things. So professional. So old school. What a great game.

If this was the last game of his 22-year career, Jamie Moyer went out on top.

The soon-to-be-46-year-old left-handed starter for the Phillies, pitching in his first World Series game, put on a clinic.  Like Greg Maddux of the Braves before him, Moyer proved you don’t need a howitzer for an arm to pitch in the big leagues.

And pitch is the operative word.

Moyer painted the corners like a Renaissance Master.  His changeup—can you have a changeup when you pitch that slow?—kept the talented-but-inexperienced Rays sluggers off balance all night (and morning) long.

In fact, no one even hit him hard until Evan Longoria launched a bomb that Mother Nature was kind enough to knock down harmlessly into Pat Burrell’s glove in front of the left field wall.

Moyer’s reaction was priceless.  He stuck his tongue out in his best Gene Simmons impersonation, knowing full well he got away with one.  Instead of trailing by one, the Phillies continued to cling to a tenuous 2-1 lead.  That is until the Phillies went back-to-back with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard home runs in the bottom of the sixth.

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I just saw Mike Leigh’s new film Happy-Go-Lucky last night. HGL is a film about a woman who refuses to change her cheerful demeanor despite the ravages of the hardened world. In the opening scene the heroine goes into a book shop and tries to get a surly clerk into a conversation, but he proves to be too tough for her. I actually just had a similar situation last week — only I was the bad guy.

I was at a crowded bar when my husband told me a man had offered to share his table with us. He pointed me to the table and I went over while my husband got drinks. The guy reached out his hand and said “You must be Jacob’s wife.” I shook his hand wondering if Jacob actually knew this guy beforehand. I said glad to meet you. He then said “great smile” at me. I was a bit taken a back by the friendliness which I must assure you was not intended as a pass or anything of that nature, but it did surprise me as being a bit too familiar. I thanked him and then pretended to watch TV. After a few minutes the sports game was over and he left telling us to “enjoy the view.” As he left Jacob said to me that he had tried to start a conversation with him. Really, me too I said.

I felt really bad. We’d both been perhaps not rude but not especially friendly. We had been like the surly clerk in Happy-Go-Lucky.

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Mormons surprise me

Here’s an article from the Salt Lake City Tribune about how the LDS is fighting to get gay marriage banned in California.

The LDS Church’s campaign to pass Proposition 8 represents its most vigorous and widespread political involvement since the late 1970s, when it helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It even departs from earlier efforts on behalf of traditional marriage, in which members felt more free to decide their level of involvement.

This time, LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church’s built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members’ willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty.

Why am I surprised by this? I have had relatively large contact with Mormons both in high school and later when I worked various jobs in California. Honestly the Mormons I met were some of the nicest people I’ve ever come in contact with. In high school they were the smartest kids and usually very popular. On the other hand they weren’t mean like many of the other popular kids.

Call me biased but when I read about fundamentalist Christians in America I get scared. I’ve never felt that way about Mormons. My impression is that they are not trying to take over the country in the same way the Focus on the Family fundies do.

So I admit I am perplexed by this latest effort in California. Why would a marginalized group support the marginalization of another group? It just doesn’t make sense to me and it doesn’t fit in with the kindness that I have witnessed from Mormons over the years. It is sad for me to think about this church in this new way.

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My life as an elitist

Okay I admit I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being called an elitist. If I’m going to get called that name I want to have the lifestyle to go along with it. Despite purchasing lottery tickets for several years I will still qualify for Obama’s under $250k tax plan. Although admittedly, I’d get more of a tax break with McCain.

When it comes to spending, I tend to be thrifty except for certain splurges. For instance my new pair of glasses cost over $500. I always get the thinnest lens possible and scratch resistant is a must. I figure I purchase glasses so seldom that I might as well get the best.

I hate brand name labels. I hate how there are some things that you cannot get that are plain. Try to buy a cap lately? You can’t buy a cap without a logo on it anymore. And glasses? You have to work hard to not get a Fendi or D&G insignia blazened right on both stems. What makes Fendi think that I would want to see that in the mirror everyday? It’s tacky to say the least.

I buy clothes maybe twice year. I shop at thrift stores sometimes, but not all the time. When it come to purchasing bras, I go straight to Nordstrom and I don’t look at the price tags. Nordstrom has a great lingerie department (Oprah will back me up). They measure you every time and with service like that I’m happy to spend a bit more.

Shoes are easy. I got planar fasciatis a few years ago and now I can only buy shoes that have arch support. The good news is this prevents me from buying shoes just because I like the way they look.

I’d rather spend money on going out to a nice meal than buying an iPhone. I constantly ask myself why is this. The things I like to spend money on, namely going out and traveling, are intangible. But if I bought an iPhone I’d actually have something to show for it. But that’s the way it is for me. I think one reason I don’t like to buy toys is that I invariably think about what it will be like when I have to move. I hate moving. The more things you buy the more you have to move. I use to have an IKEA addiction, but after a couple of moves I don’t go there anymore. Why do I need a microwave cart anyway?

When I got married, everyone asked me who was going to do my hair and makeup. Me I said. My hairdresser gave me some tips for the big day, but other than that I was left to my own devices. I look back at my wedding pictures and I think “damn, I did a good job.” I mean I really did a good job. Why would I want to pay for that?

I do travel quite a bit. I like visiting other places and it can get pricey. I’d rather travel than have a fancy car. By the way in typical Seattle fashion my husband and I share a Subaru. It’s the first car I’ve ever bought (used) and I love it.

If I should ever win the lottery, and god knows that’s the only way I’ll be rich because I have no ambition, I do have a list of things that I want. A weekly massage, a house cleaner, and I’d like to fly first class from then on. Obviously, I’d quit my job. But other than that I really can’t think of anything that would make me any more happy than I am right now.

I can’t imagine spending $150,000 on clothes and makeup. I can’t fathom having millions of dollars charged on my credit card. I’m just not comfortable spending a lot of money. But somehow I am an elitist.

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Happy Days Reunion

I have to admit I like this video. There’s something about seeing The Fonz again that makes you happy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Sick as a dog

I won’t be blogging today.

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The best photographers show us the moments that we can’t see in moving pictures. Earlier I wrote about how pictures of Obama’s family reminded me how in the end he is just a father, a husband, a man, and a human being.

Lola has some great photos of children and Obama which you can find at the Chawed Rosin. Today, I found some more great photos.You can see more photos from the set below at Callie Shell’s Digital Journal which also include the photographer’s captions. I highly recommend you check them out.

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The Explainer on Slate tells you how to do it. I’m not sure when this will come in handy though.

At a Seattle fundraiser on Sunday, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden warned supporters that, if elected, Barack Obama will be tested by “an international crisis” early on in his first term. He also advised the crowd to “gird your loins,” since the tasks ahead for the next president will be “like cleaning the Augean stables, man.” What’s the best way to follow Biden’s advice?

With a belt. To gird means to bind or encircle, and loins refers to the area between your hips and ribs. (Note: In this case, loins does not refer to the genitals, as with Nabokov’s “light of my life, fire of my loins.”) So, “to gird your loins” means, literally, to wrap a belt around your waist so that your clothes don’t flop around. The phrase stems from the Bible and is scattered throughout both the Old and New Testaments—composed during notoriously floppy sartorial eras. When Elijah “girded up his loins” (1 Kings 18:46), he was probably wearing a knee-length robe. It’s likely that he fastened a cord tightly around his waist, then shortened his garment by pulling it up and letting it flounce over the belt. Or he might have taken the hem of his robe and tucked it into his belt, creating a makeshift pouch or pocket.

Romans prepping for a fight also needed to gird their loins. Especially if he needed to ride a horse, a Roman might have gathered up the skirtlike portion of his outfit, passed it through his legs, and fastened the whole mess with a girdle (a leather belt, basically, also used to hold tools or weapons).

Biden, of course, was advising his supporters to gird their loins in the figurative sense—that is, to brace themselves for a test of mental or emotional endurance. He was perhaps unintentionally echoing the apostle Peter, who recommended “girding up the loins of your mind … and [setting] your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Also, Paul, who in the Epistle to the Ephesians, mentions “having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

Picture via LurgenFreePresbyerian.

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So I’m channel surfing the other day when I happen to find the movie Deliverance on CMT aka Country Music Television. This is curious to me. You would think that many viewers of Country Music Music Television are from the places depicted in Deliverance. I’m quite certain they don’t like the insinuation that back country folk are inbred and practice bestiality and male on male rape.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie, but I was struck with how great the direction is. The movie is absolutely terrifying. The idea that you can be a victim of a crime and yet be unable to ask for help because the enemy includes law enforcement. The idea that acting in self-defense can land you in jail. The idea that you must carry the shame by keeping the crime a secret. And you’re a man. It’s powerful stuff.

I was also struck that Jon Voight is little more talented than his daughter Angelina Jolie. Sadly this is not the first time I’ve had that thought. How great is Burt Reynolds though! Man, that guy can act. Pity he’s made so many bad movies. And Ned Beatty? Well, Neb Beatty is a very brave actor.

No pigs in this preview.

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Via ABC:

If a card that reads “you’re too hot to be out of action -– I got diagnosed with herpes since we played” ends up in your inbox, think twice before marking it spam.

A public health Web site called Inspot.org has put the trend of e-cards, e-mail, and e-vites to a unique purpose: the e-postcard that notifies you that a past sexual partner came down with a sexually transmitted disease or infection.

The sender can choose the STD, and whether to disclose their name, while Inspot.org will automatically send a list of local health resources to the recipient.

“Believe it or not, I thought I’d rather get something telling me than not,” said Susan, who lives with herpes and runs the herpes support group HELP in Manchester, Conn.

“But then, the first reaction was, is this for real or is this a sick joke from somebody?” said Susan, who asked that ABCNews.com not use her full name.

Remember, good cats wear Hello Kitty condoms.

Photo via SweartoShakeItUp.

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McCain supporters ask this question to the guy giving out Obama/Islam bumper stickers.

The strategy is not working guys. You’re going to have to talk about the issues.

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This weekend I was reminded how much I preferred Depeche Mode before they got all serious.

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The LA Times has an interesting article about Annie Proulx and how she fits in with the locals in Wyoming. I’ve never been to Wyoming, but I somehow doubt that in the tourist shops you’ll find a copy of Open Range. Or maybe I’m wrong. Of course you see The DaVinci code at the Louvre and various galleries in Italy, and I’m sure you see the Shipping News in New Foundland.

Here are my favorite bits from the article.

On bridge street, few shopkeepers know the name Annie Proulx. But they sure know the title of her most famous short story, “Brokeback Mountain.”

“Yuck,” says a wiry older woman in the Hat Creek Gift Shop, which sells cowboy tchotchkes. “Some people are just plain strange.”

“I wish I’d never written it,” Proulx says at her home five miles outside town, looking out enormous windows onto the river and the limestone cliffs that define her property.

The first of these books, Proulx explains, “was a backhand swipe at the mythology of the West — the old beliefs that aren’t really true, like the idea that there are no homosexuals in Wyoming. Everyone here is playing some role: the brave pioneer woman, the cowboy.”

“Wyomingites had a hard time with that story,” he says. “I like her books — they get you to think about stereotypes; they help you expand and grow. I talk to a lot of people who struggle with homosexuality. But that’s not totally what a person is — you have to be compassionate even if you don’t agree with their lifestyle.”

Saratoga seems to be run by women who cluck at the mention of the word “brokeback.” Since the bookstore closed six months ago, the nearest is now over an hour away. A few beefy men are in evidence at the Inn or the Old Baldy Golf Club.

“How’d you get in here?” the woman in charge of the Women’s Valley Christian Assn. meeting asks when I wonder if she knows the author of “Brokeback Mountain” lives just a few miles down the road.

Another woman with bright eyes says she’s heard of Proulx. “Don’t worry about them,” she exclaims, gesturing at the group. Her favorite Proulx book is “Accordion Crimes.”

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You can become a 4-star General in the U.S. Army, hold the office of National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan, go on to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush and then finally Secretary of State under his son. But in the end to some people, you’re nothing more than a black man.

Rush Limbaugh

“Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race… OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”

George Will

There will be “some impact,” Will declared. “And I think this adds to my calculation — this is very hard to measure — but it seems to me if we had the tools to measure we’d find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he’s black for every one he loses because he’s black because so much of this country is so eager, a, to feel good about itself by doing this, but more than that to put paid to the whole Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson game of political rhetoric.”

There will be more. Just wait.

Update 1 (I’m expecting more):

Pat Buchanan

Later in the day, Pat Buchanan echoed Limbaugh’s refrain. “Alright, we gotta ask a question,” he declared on MSNBC, “look would Colin Powell be endorsing Obama if he were a white liberal Democrat…”

Update 2:

Gordon Campbell (cartoonist)

“The only reasonable explanation for such a public political “about-face” in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House,” Campbell said.

“It’s my opinion that General Powell has based his endorsement of Barack Obama on the color of his skin, not his qualifications, his experience or the content of his character.”

Update 3:

Mike Gallagher

right-wing talker Mike Gallagher declared on his radio show today that “race is the factor I think that drives much of this” because Powell is “enamored and in love with the concept of a black man being president of these United States.” Gallagher then suggested that Powell might not “have the intellectual capacity to, you know, make a distinction and realize the difference” between Obama and the “long list of black Americans who would make fine presidential candidates.” Listen here:

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Great story.

Obama arrived at the barbecue joint around 12:30 p.m., where an older and majority white clientele of several dozen were eating lunch after church services. Many patrons applauded as he walked into the diner, but Diane Fanning, 54, began yelling “Socialist, socialist, socialist — get out of here!”

Obama did not look directly at her, as she was across the diner, but it was loud enough that he most likely heard her.

The gentleman next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, flashed an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her. Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning (per Reuters), “At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Bramble told Reuters’ pooler that he wasn’t voting for Obama because he didn’t think he had enough experience. Bramble’s wife, Kit, 75, said after meeting Obama, “He was very nice,” but added she’d been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s era and said she wouldn’t vote for Obama.

Fanning said she’d heard that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had endorsed Obama but said that “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only.” Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake his hand.

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