Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Friday, October 31, 2003

When It's Not A Two-Way Street

Bob Goodsell talks about a group of Catholic high school girls who turned the tables on a guy who had repeatedly exposed himself to them by chasing him and essentially beating him up. Bob then asks us to "imagine a 25-year-old woman showing her breasts to a bunch of teenage boys. Black teenage boys. White woman. They chase her down the street, where neighbors tackle her so the boys can beat her up. Who gets arrested?" Now, I'm not sure what race has to do with this hypothetical except to weight it even more in favor of the boys getting arrested, but it worries me that Bob (who has no comment section, else I would have asked this on his blog) thinks the scenarios of a man exposing himself to girls and a woman flashing boys are equivalent. It's not, it will never be as long as our society views male and female displays of sexuality and power so differently. When a man exposes himself, unless it's specifically in a consenting-adults, exhibitionist atmosphere, it's a power thing, it's a way for him to (usually literally) get off on victimizing women. It is visual assault, and damn it, it's traumatizing. I had it happen to me twice when I was younger and it took me years to get beyond. When a woman exposes herself, it is generally read (regardless of venue) as an invitation for others to objectify her, to "come and get it." It is vital to understand that in both cases, the women are the objects and the men are the subjects. The only difference is consent; in the first case the women are subjected to a sexual overture they have not sought, in the second the woman decides to present herself to men willingly. As long as this disparity exists, turning this scenario around by switching genders does not work. I'm surprised I have to explain this. Now, I'm not by nature a violent person but I wish to God I'd had enough presence of mind and strength as a teenager to drag that masturbating asshole out of his car and to the nearest police station, and as a college student to walk out on that bogus "science experiment" and head right for the campus cops. (At least that guy was eventually caught and expelled.) So sue me (unless your name is Luskin, I don't need the aggro) but I applaud those girls. Update: Jeanne D'Orleans has more background on the girls' school and its namesake.
My Current Favorite Rep Player

Via Avedon Carol, here's a nice article about Tina Fey, but when are we going to see some about Maya Rudolph, one of the most talented and versatile SNL cast members in years? I wonder if her desire for privacy, as evidenced on this page regarding her late mother Minnie Riperton, is one of the reasons more people don't talk about her.
Friday Cat Blogging (TM Kevin Drum)

It's Hallowe'en, the day we traditionally celebrate as the birthday of our tuxedo-coated cat Datsa, he of the "mrow see tüng." Here is a picture I took of him a couple days ago where you can see the tüng sticking out if you, I dunno, squint or something.

I like it 'cause Amy's in the background (it looks like the far background due to their disparate sizes but she's really only just behind him aways) and they both have eerie looks in their eyes, quite befitting the holiday.

Update: Here's Google's adorable Hallowe'en picture:

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Step-by-Step Escher LEGO®

Via Bob Goodsell: Goodness, Andrew Lipson is bloody brilliant. Here are his LEGO® versions of the Escher works "Ascending and Descending" and "Relativity" and "Balcony" and "Belvedere" and "Waterfall." And I'm still in awe of my friend David Oakes' LEGO® superheroes...

Oh, and speaking of art and superheroes, only five days left to bid on this. For details and to see a scan of the inked piece, please e-mail Robin.
Hollow Weenies

What kind of idiot Congressional aide dresses up in a costume that requires a toy gun? Sure, we could all use a few hours out in the fresh air, but I really don't think causing an entire office building to be evacuated is the way to do it. Can't everyone just celebrate the spirit of the day by, I dunno, dressing up their websites or something?

In more serious news, a section of the Trop parking garage in AC has collapsed. This sent a real "oh my God I've been there" shudder through me...
Firesign Heads-Up

Yeah, I know it's late in the day but my boss was in till 3 and I'm still struggling against the Trojan program which has slowed online activity to a crawl as my IE freezes regularly, particularly when I'm typing onto a website, so blogging will be sporadic during work hours for the foreseeable future (probably as it should be, I suppose). Just wanted to remind folks that every Thursday at 9 PM Eastern time, a bunch of Firesign fans get together online and just chat about anything and everything. Here's the URL for the weekly Firesign Chat.
Another Milestone

I scored a job interview, set for this morning at 8:15, so I'm up early trying to catch up on blogroll reading which I couldn't do despite a 10½-hour workday yesterday because my work computer has a nasty little Trojan-induced spyware program on it that the IT guy doesn't have time to wipe and it's screwing up all my programs, mostly my browser, but I digress. A very happy belated blogiversary to Bryant Gries at Make Me A Commentator, whom I'm still bummed I didn't get to meet on his recent trip to NYC...

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Maintenance Notes

Got rid of the PayPal button I've never used, so folks wishing to purchase this or do any other monetary transactions involving me or Robin are just gonna have to use the ol' checkbook. Also consolidated the section dealing with the groups of which I'm a member, since I guess folks who know about these groups probably know that "<" means "back" and "?" means "random" and ">" means forward and "!" means... I forget. Anyway, all so that I could put up the spiffy shrunken League of Liberals logo (thanks Barry, and Mazel Tov again on your daughter's wedding!) and the equally spiffy Javascript created by NZ Bear to automatically list all the LoL members by blog name. Haven't yet decided whether this means I'm going to stop listing many of them by their names or handles in my News+Views section; at this point I'm leaning against doing so, as I tend to go through my sidebar from top to bottom.
Spreading Memes

Last week Robin noticed, and I noted, the use of the phrase "perception gap" to describe how out of touch the Miserable Failure in Chief has been with reality. Now Krugman picks up on it as well. By the way, spreading the Gephardt meme "miserable failure" has become Blah3's latest project. Not sure how often I'll be participating in this one; I tend to prefer Maru Soze's many nicknames for GWB, like Smirky McSimpleton, Napoleon Bonehead, Creepy McCodpiece, Squinty the Liar, Drinky McDumbass, pReznit Bunnypants, etc. They're just somehow more dignified... Update: David Yaseen has another good meme to spread, via George Lakoff: that paying taxes should be talked about in terms more analogous of "membership fees" or scalable "citizen dues" rather than as a burden from which rich people need relief; and Bob Somerby takes to task the idiot reporters spreading the "Wesley Clark is just too confusing" script.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fun At Work

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has compiled a list of Bullshit Bingo cards. Am I like the last person on the planet to have heard of these? I'm still playing mock drinking games (the last one was the World Series Drinking Game, where I got to take an imaginary chug every time Joe Buck or Tim McCarver mentioned that Josh Beckett was "23 years old" and/or "playing on 3 days rest"), I feel so out of the loop! Also from Teresa, some well-reasoned thoughts on why the people in power are aiming to stay that way (it starts at "Ever since the ballot count in Florida...").
Didn't We Just Go Through One of Those?

Via Susie Madrak this time: looks like we're in for yet another major solar flare, the biggest since 1989 and the third largest on record. Due to hit on Thursday, possibly causing a major geomagnetic storm. The NY Times evokes 1859 and also explains why last Friday's storm turned out so relatively minimal:
But only when the speeding plasma has an intense magnetic field that is opposite to Earth's... does it cause a powerful magnetic storm. And scientists can measure a storm's magnetic field only about 30 minutes in advance.

The space storm that careered toward Earth last Friday, for example, was traveling in the right direction, at a high speed, and with a somewhat intense magnetic field — three of the criteria — alarming scientists as they watched it approach for two days. But the direction of its magnetic field was not opposite to Earth's, so it had only a small impact...
So in other words, we won't know what kind of havoc it may cause until about a half hour before it reaches us. Swell.
Apparently They Do Grow on Trees

Via Gianna: Condom trees in Western Australia! Bet this won't sit well with the Vatican...
Hallowe'en Plans

Looks like it might be a fairly balmy evening this Friday. In years past I've gone to the Village Halloween Parade (jam-packed website, by the way, check it out) but Robin's not much for parades or travel and he's fighting deadlines and it's just not fun going alone so I'll probably watch the coverage on NY1 instead. That way I can also listen to Nightmare City Halloween, which starts at 7:00 PM Central time on Friday and can be accessed here, or so I'm told by host Stevo's good friend Max Nuclear...
The God Within

I know I don't give Mark Morford nearly enough plugs, but I'm not always able to read his Morning Fixes as soon as they arrive in my in-box so I tend to save 'em up. The one from last Friday, for instance, was bloody brilliant. Please Become More Selfish is one of the best responses I've seen in awhile to burnt-out and depressed progressives wondering how we can counteract the madness around us. It's not really a paeon to selfishness as much as to self-nurturing, to paying more attention to the divine spark within us all. And it's quite lovely and funny and touching and highly recommended (the action as well as the article). And you know, if that doesn't work there's always Clowning 4 Christ (recommended - actually, warned against - in Morford's latest e-mail missive).
Giant Rats and Great Pumpkins

It's only a block and a half from the subway to the office, but as that block and a half contains entrances to Macy's and Penn Station it tends to be a fairly bustling one. Sometimes walking billboards give out cool free stuff (food, tiny subway maps, newspapers), a couple weeks ago the Hasidim were milling about with their lulavim and esrogim (good thing I swerved at the time, I was hungry enough to eat an esrog), and you can always count on the odd, um, oddity. Now that the scaffold's come down on the west side of 7th Avenue between 34th and 35th, the giant rat is back. No, not the "tale for which the world is not yet prepared," but a union mascot for "rat contractors" who employ nonunion labor, which makes an appearance at lots of union activities both in NYC and elsewhere. It's certainly eye-catching and I would assume a good ice-breaker, but the union doesn't even seem to have any handbills to educate passers-by so I'm not sure how successful this action is. I mean, I'm interested in this stuff and I can't even remember the local's number or the company they're protesting. Then I turn the corner on 35th and see a makeshift pumpkin patch inside the little fence surrounding one of those sickly saplings that struggle among the skyscrapers. I thought it was sweet, all these li'l pumpkins beautifying an otherwise drab side street. Then, cynic that I am, I reasoned the little shop across from the tree, the one that sells all the tacky t-shirts about 9-11 and The Blackout and "Welcome to NYC Now Die M'F'er!" and such, is probably selling the pumpkins as well, and that's why they're there.

Monday, October 27, 2003

On Ramadan

Laura Poyneer aka al-Muhajabah blogs about Ramadan on Open Source Politics, welcomes the celebration on her own blog (where she has put up a Ramadan FAQ), and directs interested folks to her and others' participation in the Ramadan Journal.
Travels with Eric

Via Mark Evanier: Eric Idle is keeping a journal of his Greedy Bastard tour. I'm only on Day One (it's not really set up like a blog, you have to click on each day's entry from the main GB page) but so far it's hilarious. And yes, one of the first things he does is compare himself to Palin. The tour info is a subsidiary of PythOnline which I never knew Idle ran, and the show is coming to NYC this coming Wednesday and Thursday, playing at Town Hall, if anyone local has the bucks to spare for it. (Alas, I do not.)

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Bearable Lightness of Being

Today, thousands of Hindus across the US celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Light. Here's a cool Happy Diwali card from Hallmark. Asked for comment, Lieut. Gen. William Boykin released this statement through a spokesperson.
Rhymes with Bloggers

So, you know, be careful you don't misspell things, because as far as I know blogging is a very separate thing from this. Then again, as Jason Bergman points out, maybe blogging is more exciting than we know...
It's Tha Bomb

Tom Burka has the real story on the attack on Wolfowitz's hotel, without that pesky media filter.
You Say It's Your Birthday

Happy 41st birthday to Seth Farber at the Talking Dog, who probably used the above title ages ago. And a belated happy blogiversary to Johnny Bacardi, who celebrated one year of blogging on Friday. [Both Johnny and Laura Gjovaag, who had her 1-year blogiversary on Wednesday, count Pen-Elayne as their progenitor so I feel very proud and protective of my "children." :) ]
The Truth Will Out

Via my husband: I found today's media analysis by Frank Rich actually rather upbeat, with its reminder that Most of the press was as slow to challenge Joe McCarthy, the Robert McNamara Pentagon and the Nixon administration as it has been to challenge the wartime Bush White House. and its subsequent prediction that in America, at least, history always catches up with those who try to falsify it in real time. That's what L.B.J. and Nixon both learned the hard way. Page 2 is far more interesting than page 1, in my opinion, but it's all good, and does answer the question "what's up with all these administration folks appearing on talk shows lately?"

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Baseball Withdrawal

Ah well. As Phil Ochs never would have sung, I believe the game is over, It's over, It's over... Rather a denoument for me - first the Cubs lost, then the Sox, then the boys from the down the road a bit here in the Bronx. Baseball widower Robin is already dreading the start of Figure Skating Season. I dunno, skating's great to have on in the background when I'm ironing but it just doesn't provide that same alpha state. How many days until spring training starts?
The Latest 411 on 419s

Jonathan Edelstein has an informative essay about the latest version of the "419 e-mail" scam letters hitting the circuits.
Work in Progress

I'm keeping Robin company today as he inks. And because he knows I'm such an Alan Davis fangirl, today he's doing this piece:

When it's inked and colored, it will become the cover for this year's Mid-Ohio Con program book. If you want to see the original pencils, Alan posted them on his board. If you want to place a bid on the final piece, please contact Robin.
When Hosting Matters

As a follow-up to the problems I mentioned here and the explanations in the comments section and in the affected blogs themselves, Glenn Hauman at Peter David's blog points to this article that goes into a bit more depth about the hack-attacks on Hosting Matters. Update: Patrick puts it into perspective.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The Boy (King) in the Bubble

Via my husband: On High-Speed Trip, Bush Glimpses a Perception Gap. They're apparently not referring to the kind of high-speed trips he used to take upon tooting, although I'm sure the powder probably resulted in him being about as out of touch then as he is now... I just love the expression "perception gap," though. Great euphemism for "the guy hasn't the first clue about what's going on in the real world."
Friday Cat Blogging (TM Kevin Drum)

Great entries at Calpundit and Trish Wilson's blog, as usual. Here's mine. Paul Ryan said he likes my kitty blogging, so I thought I'd show him how much Amy likes his (and others') comics. She's nestled in on the left amid the stacks (we've found this is the absolute best way to stack and file comics on bookshelves for easy reference and location). Datsa's a more down-to-earth type, and he's hanging by the rug, which I finally laid back down on the foyer floor after sorting and storing all our DC comics (not shown in picture).
Flaring Up

Still under the weather, so I'm not really thinking straight yet. So I forgot to blog about today's solar flare, which should happen in just about an hour, but Ms. D's there with the story! So everyone out there in the blogosphere, be sure to batten down those electronic hatches or, um, whatever. Please note, this has nothing to do with my previous entry... at least I don't think so...
God Don't Like It Too

Via Julia H, who is most certainly not "the only blog in the whole wired world who doesn't post this" - in other words, I didn't hear of it until I read Sisyphus Shrugged - apparently there's been a bit of an accident on the set of Mel Gibson's controversial movie The Passion of Christ. Again. What are the current Vegas odds on when Gibson will get the hint?
Mark Makes Good

Mark Evanier got an award last night from the Writer's Guild's Animation Writers Caucus. He looks very spiffy indeed in the photo he posted, and, true to form, instead of tooting his own horn Mark talks in his blog entry about what a wonderful person the award presenter Gary Owens is (I can well believe it, as I've heard much the same from Dave Ossman). So if he won't do it, I will - this award is well, well deserved. Congratulations, Mark!!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Hell's a Poppin'

Okay, bear with me while I do new stuff again. I've just joined a loose alliance called the League of Liberals, whose purpose seems to be, among other things, to cast votes as an organized bloc in The Truth Laid Bear's New Weblog Showcase. Rush Limbaughtomy's Barry Bozeman is still walking me through all this, so I expect to receive instructions on what to put where here shortly. The LoLs are voting this week for Hell for Halliburton. That's funny, I'd vote for that concept any week. Oh, here's the spiffy LoL logo:

I'd love to get that downsized for my sidebar...
Time Time Time, See What's Become of Me

Bob Goodsell is spreading the word that tomorrow is Take Back Your Time Day. Here's the full scoop. Now, mind you, I've thought this was a spiffy idea since the days when Processed World was touting it back in the '80s, but at the same time I realize that not everyone has this sort of luxury at their jobs. Particularly jobs that dock your pay if you take a sick day (she said, preparing to lay her head down on her desk as another dizzy spell comes on).
CD in the 21st Century

While the media seems to be concentrating on Nathaniel Heatwole, via both John McCreery on Jerry Bowles' blog and August Pollak comes this news of a group of Swarthmore students who've "launched an 'electronic civil disobedience' campaign against voting machine maker Diebold Election Systems." Here's their website, and here's the page with the Diebold action updates. Let's hope it's not forced down like Bev Harris' Black Box Voting was...
Behind the Scenes

Teresa Nielsen Hayden passes along this explanation of Google's PigeonRank system. I love this kinda stuff; reminds me a bit of those Nextel ads featuring the antelopes with migrating antennae.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


I have a list of about half a dozen people who I long to see blog. An amazing woman by the name of Anna Ackner tops that list. When I have a bit more energy and a bit less Dreaded Lurgy (Anna's the first one from whom I ever heard that expression) I'll tell you why. On the extremely slim chance that she may be reading this: Happy Birthday, Anni. You're still one of my heroes. And a very happy blogiversary to Laura Gjovaag, someone else who continues to inspire me.
"If they asked me, I could write a book..."

Good luck is hereby extended to Lis Riba and Oliver Willis, both participating in National Novel Writing Month; and all due mojo is extended to Wil Wheaton who says he's got writer's block but after reading this I'd kill for that kind of writer's block... Me, I'm giving my MS Word program a nice workout here at the office but mostly to keep busy and teach myself how to concentrate when all hell is breaking loose around me, so I doubt I'll ever see the end of Chapter 1...
And Speaking of Law-Related Stuff...

My ex-husband Steve Chaput points today to The Smoking Gun's reproing of the legal complaint David Gest filed against Liza Minelli alleging, among other things, that he was a victim of domestic violence that left him in "virtually constant, unrelenting pain" requiring "11 prescription medications per day, some more than once." So many tasteless punchlines, so little time...
Q&A Wingnuts

I loved Mark Evanier's review of the Rob Reiner interview with Al Franken last night, particularly the following observation:
Maybe it's always been like this but lately, every time I'm at a public event and they have a microphone set up for questions from the audience, the following occurs. The mike seems to attract people who really don't have a question... they just want the spotlight for a little while. Often, they seem to appoint themselves spokespersons for the entire audience ("On behalf of all of us out here, I just want to say how grateful we are that you came here tonight...") or they've figured out some way to tell everyone about themselves in the guise of a question. You have to be especially wary of that one guy who spends the whole speech or panel hovering near the audience mike, waiting for the moment when they throw it open to questions and he gets his big break. He's usually the first one and he's got a speech all prepped for the occasion.
Trust me on this, Mark, it's not just your perception. I've seen this time and again as well. On the other hand, between comics conventions and political fora I think we do attend many of the same types of events, so maybe it's just us. :)
Re: The Sushi Memo

Blogs may be marginal compared to online newspapers and professional writing, but in some ways we're still the cutting edge. And in some ways we're still a lot more frustrating. Take the sushi memo. The NY Times finally caught up with it, but Howard Bashman has been discussing it for at least a month. Today Howard promises "I will have more to say on that topic a bit later on this morning. For now, let me observe that if you're searching the Web for the sushi memo, perhaps you don't have a copy of it." Count me among the searchers; I can't actually find a copy of the 3-page memo anywhere, so I'm hoping that Howard actually winds up reproing the entire thing rather than just bragging about his possession of same. It sounds like a hoot. Update: Howard actually points to the memo, at last! Here you go. It's a 3-page PDF file, just so you know. And yes, it's terrific even if it doesn't mention Monster. And damn it, now I want sushi for dinner...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Link Problems

Anyone else able to get to the following links?:
  • Kevin Drum
  • Matt Yglesias
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Peter David
  • Theresa Nielsen Hayden
  • Tom Burka
    They're not working from my work computer... Update: I can now get 'em all from home base. Anyone know what happened?
  • Shorter Jefferson Morley

    (Bear with me, this is the first time I've engaged in this increasingly-popular blog practice.)

    Hey, whaddaya know, newspapers from different countries report things from different viewpoints!

    Update: As usual, Paul Krugman says more with less about this whole matter.
    Going to the Dogs

    There's really no excuse for this, particularly if "commanders make a continual effort to educate their troops to the cultural differences and sensitivities" inherent. Then again, if we were sensitive rather than boorish and provincial and stereotypically "ugly American" I suppose we wouldn't be occupying their country in the first place. Riverbend mentions that, because the incident involved a woman, there are even women demonstrating.

    Monday, October 20, 2003

    Blaine and Simple

    I tend not to follow the silly performance-art antics of grandstanding, useless idiots, but something about David Blaine's latest stunt bothered me more than usual. As usual, the blogosphere to the rescue. I think Stuart Hughes sums it up best. (Permalink seems to be bloggered; scroll down to Sunday, October 19.)
    He Be The Law

    Tom Burka has uncovered the latest White House plan to replace our troops in Iraq with fictional characters like Judge Dredd. Sounds about right for a fictitious war!
    Group Hugs

    Guest blogging is becoming a trend of late, to the point where I'm beginning to wonder whether I should be moving blogs like Jerry Bowles' Best of the Blogs or Markos Zuniga's Daily Kos to my Groups section. I don't see any broth-spoilage yet from this sudden influx of cooks, and aside from the aforementioned frustration with not knowing where on my sidebar to list these sometimes-more-than-one-person ventures (and really, as someone who doesn't like to see her blog pigeonholed as primarily politics or comics or personal or whatever, I really have no ground to stand on there) I actually think it's great community-building. All this intro was really just a pretext to welcome Dwight Meredith back to the blogosphere, as he will now be guest-blogging semi-regularly on Mary Beth Williams' Wampum. Hoorah!

    Sunday, October 19, 2003

    New Kid in Town

    Via Salam Pax, another Iraqi blogger has made the scene of late. I've added Zeyad to the blogroll. Also, Salam's cousin makes some predictions after his third beer.
    You Can Take It With You...Can't You?

    Via Kevin Drum (Happy Birthday, Kevin!!), who sweetly mentioned my Friday Cat Blogging (TM him) again (and who's inspired me to take lots more Datsa/Amy pictures this weekend for future use), if you believe there have been more cell phone deals offered lately than usual, there's a reason. Come Monday, November 24, you'll have cell number portability. If you thought people changed services a lot now, just wait until they can take their numbers with them! I'm amazed that this is going into effect but Las Vegas still doesn't allow my parents to retain their home phone number when they shut down service for the half year that they move back East... My guess is that the next big push will be GSM phones, where I'm sure the companies won't mention that GSM operates on a different frequency band in the US than in Europe, so you'd actually need to buy a tri-band (aka "world roaming") cell phone if you want to use it overseas, and (to avoid excessive charges) buy the proper chip for local GSM service whilst in Europe.

    Saturday, October 18, 2003

    Tea and Sympathy

    Fascinating essay by Riverbend on her family's discussions over their evening tea.
    Not Every Lefty Blogger Hates the Yankees

    Check out Lesley's new decoration on her top bar. As much as I would have liked a Red Sox/Cubs Series, the Yankees are the team I follow during the season, so I wanted to give Lesley a shout-out and say, hang in there girl, I'm witcha. Update 1: On the other hand, if you don't want to engender knee-jerk disgust, it's probably a good idea not to introduce the visiting team to the background tune of Darth Vader's theme and the Yankees to the Star Wars theme. (Sadly, to this day I cannot hear the Darth Vader theme without picturing Peter David dancing the macarana to it a few years ago at a Lulu fundraiser at the Cedar Tavern...) Update 2: Okay, my favorite line so far: "You're one Whoopi Goldberg short of a Comic Relief." - Joe Buck interviewing Robin Williams, who's sitting next to Billy Crystal in the stands...
    Maintenance Note - Community Building

    Well, Robin's talked me into it. For awhile he's been saying that I should just link to the folks I mention in my entries instead of parenthetically typing in "link at sidebar," and he's given me several good arguments besides readability as to why I should do this. The most compelling is that people's blogs get more hits (and most everyone seems to appreciate increasing their hit-count) if you link to them in your text rather than referring readers to a sidebar. I know that whenever a popular and well-respected blogger like Atrios or Kevin Drum or Tom Tomorrow mentions me my hit-count soars, so the least I can do is "carry it forward" to others. And after the NY Blogger gatherings and especially reading Elaine Frankonis' excellent musings on virtual community, I think it's worth changing the way I do things. So bear with me whilst I gradually work backwards, time and my aching arms permitting, eliminating the "link at sidebar" parentheticals from my past entries and replacing them with the actual links. Next up, breaking myself of the habit of eliminating the slashmark at the end of many URLs when I embed the links... Update: October 2003 is all done, including embedding URLs in my "cool things about the folks on my blogroll" entries. Do readers think I should keep going further back to change the "link at sidebar"s to embeds, or just worry about doing it henceforth? I'm inclined toward the latter, but don't let that influence you...
    Humble Beginnings

    In a very amusing post at the Mahablog, Barbara O'Brien rates the Democratic presidential hopefuls' "log cabin" score via their website bios. I'd probably get about a 5 on mine. My dad emigrated from Rumania as a teen, taught himself English, and put himself through college driving a cab among other things; my mom took care of her mother (after Baba suffered her first stroke) while she was still in school studying to be a nurse, and dedicated her working life to helping people in hospitals, elementary schools (she worked as a school nurse until she retired), day camps, etc. But you know, my brothers and I grew up in the Jersey suburbs and never really wanted for material possessions, and my dad retired after being a corporate CFO, and my brother in CA runs a successful accounting firm and has a nice house in Northridge, and my other brother in NJ (happy birthday, Jay!) lives in a beautiful house in Millington and drives a Lexus SUV and has a terrific new job (also a CFO, I believe) paying more than I'd probably see in a decade. Yeah, my "log cabin" index would probably be fairly low. Hey, does it bump the score up if I was harassed as a kid 'cause I was Jewish and fat and overemotional (and, um, still am)? How about if I throw in that I've always had a one-word job description (secretary) and so have both my ex (librarian) and current husband (artist)? Everyone knows the fewer words you use to describe your job the more "working class" it is, right? Except, I guess, for President or Senator or something...

    Friday, October 17, 2003

    Friday Cat Blogging (TM Kevin Drum)

    I always love Kevin Drum's FCB, but this week Trish Wilson's takes first prize as far as I'm concerned. Here's mine for the day, featuring Datsa and Amy back to back.

    Gives you a pretty good idea of their relative sizes. :)
    Religious Intolerance Update - Same As It Ever Was

    Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
    And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
    And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
    And everybody hates the Jews.

    I'm reminded of that lyric from Tom Lehrer's National Brotherhood Week when reading two significant stories making the rounds on lefty blogrolls this week: this religious nut spouting off (remember folks, since these Cabal loonies have come to power it's really been two sides of the same coin, "our" religious fanatics versus "theirs" with all the sensible people caught in the crossfire) and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad making the observation that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them." (Not true if you've ever known anyone in the IDF or even the JDL; there are some scary militant Jews out there, and they all do their own fighting. Now, if he'd said that we wield disproportionate financial and political influence compared to our tiny percentage in the world's population, I think many of us would readily agree!) And people wonder why I generally have no use for organized religion... But you know, pieces like this one found by Lis Riba do give me hope... Update: J.C. Christian has returned to his blog after two months just to weigh in on Boykin, thanks to Billmon.
    More Incriminating Photos

    Click here for large versions of the photos Julia H took of the NY bloggers gathering last week.
    Foliage Deprived

    Yeah, it's that time of year again. I need to see autumn foliage, and I need to see it soon. Preferably in person but until then photos (particularly of foliage in New England or even Old England) will do. Linkmeister has a lovely picture atop his page. Anyone know of any URLs of autumn foliage photos available for download as free desktop wallpaper (meaning "not a trial, no membership required") for an 800x600 screen? Le sigh...
    Consolation Series

    In my head there's a great Consolation World Series going on between the Sox and the Cubs. If someone in a position of power actually suggested this idea for real, even if it were just three games - even one! - it would probably garner huge ratings and give Bud Selig apoplexy. Two good reasons to pursue it, methinks! In any case, we're left with the Yankees vs. the Marlins, and my desire for the Bronx Bombers to crush yon Floridians has nothing to do with my previous entry, honest.
    A Gift of One's Own Property

    Robin received a surprise in the mail yesterday - art returns of approximately a third of the work he did for CrossGen (for background on this story see here and here and here and here and here), which amounts to 2 of the 7 pages he inked on The First #34. Interestingly, the pages were stamped on the back "Art and text Copyright CrossGen" (emphasis mine) which of course is, to say the least, something of an exaggeration as Robin's copyright on his portion of the artwork (i.e., the inks) was never signed over and the company still hasn't purchased the work by paying him for his services. You'd think a company in financial trouble would be more careful about such legalities (but then if they were I suppose they never would have printed the work in the first place).

    Thursday, October 16, 2003

    How and Where To Read

    As mentioned on October 8, Karin Kross did a very nice column for Bookslut about vestiges of anti-comics prejudice among reviewers who actually like the stuff. Today she points to this article in Toronto's eye weekly which she says is about anti-comics prejudice too but I read it as more of a plug for this cool site plus an added point about people who never actually learned how to read comics, something I used to encounter a lot in talking to women whilst working the Lulu booth. Most schools don't teach this sort of thing (yes, I know the PDF link is somewhat ironic, but whaddaya gonna do), and one simply cannot assume the knowledge is innate.
    For Those Who Hate Housework...

    Via Eva Whitley, it's FlyLady to the rescue! I can hardly wait to try out her tips once I'm in a house where I feel like I can move around without being subjected to a constant stomp-stomp from above...
    A Helluva Town

    Alerted via Tom Tomorrow : hot on the heels of yesterday's mess comes another one. Honest, New York City isn't always like this; October's usually the best month to visit!
    Spiffing It Up

    Consider this an open call for suggestions on how to put a bit more zing into my résumé so I'll actually start getting called back when I send it out. Please be specific; if you want to play with it a bit in terms of formatting and phrasing then e-mail it back to me that'd be great. It's retrievable at the sidebar. Thanks in advance.
    Surely You Mean Every Day Is

    Today is National Boss Day. Yesterday in a company-wide meeting, after talking about how we all need to pull together and volunteer to help each other (which usually translates into "give Elayne more work"), my boss firmly laid down the law prohibiting personal phone calls and Internet activity while at the office (which unmistakeably translates into "give Elayne no stress outlets"). Therefore, it's unlikely my blog or my husband will be hearing from me until I get home this evening, whenever that is because it'll probably wind up being another 12-hour workday for me. No, of course I don't get overtime. No, no chance for a raise in the foreseeable future, I'm still making what I was before 9-11. No, no call-backs yet in response to the dozens of jobs for which I've applied, so it looks like I'll be stuck come the new year taking two busses and a train just to get to a job which gives me no incentive to work there as it is other than a regular but relatively low paycheck. You'll excuse me if I don't celebrate today's momentous occasion.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003

    Sleeping With the Fishes

    Dang. Marlins win the NLCS. My heart has ceased to really be into the World Series now, even if the Yanks win tomorrow. I mean, the whole point was supposed to be Cubs-Redsox. Can we somehow blame Jed Bush for this? Update: You must read Wil Wheaton's Open Letter to That Guy (who by the way has apologized anyway even though he didn't need to).
    Body Loving, Had Me A Blast

    Via Paul McAleer , today is Love Your Body Day, which the NOW Foundation describes as "a national day of action to speak out against ads and images of women that are offensive, harmful, dangerous and disrespectful." Gosh, where to start? How about, it's an ironic shame that the pop-up ad I got when clicking on their contribution form was for eDiets showing a skinny black-dress-clad woman and the text "Drop a Dress Size - Get a Free Diet Profile!" Yeah, that'll be my first response on their reader survey on body images. Looks like New Hampshire celebrated early, but the Women's Center at Old Dominion has all kinds of stuff today. USC has been celebrating all week. Probably lots more going on but I just got a whole workload dumped on me so I'll have to abandon the Google search...

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    The Only Way To Follow The Game

    When your options are limited (muted sound, no TV, radio playing discouraged) and you want to follow a Major League playoff game at work, you can't beat Gameday. Just go to MLB's website and press the "Gameday" option. Great refresh rate!
    Cool Things About the Blogs on my Roll, Part 2

    Today I'm going to go through the blogs from my "Kultcha" section. As I mentioned in the comments section to Part 1, a number of those blogs aren't updated very often, and others are mainly for reference, but here's what I love about the ones I try to check daily (as before, they're listed alphabetically by first name or nickname):

  • Bill Sherman - The cheerful purple background and blue boxes, the picture of the big statue (I've been afraid to ask), the reviews of music I don't have time to listen to.

  • Budgie (aka Lee Barnett) - The layout (despite it being LiveJournal which usually means jumping through 2-3 hoops to leave comments), the self-effacing good humor, the beaming friendliness, the true confessions.

  • Darren Madigan - An acquired taste but I appreciate his forthrightness and frequent admissions of his own failings, the fact that I inspired his blog's name, and his cute illustrations.

  • Daryl Cagle - His quality reporting on what's going on in the world of editorial cartoons, his compilations, his general advocacy.

  • Eva Whitley (hasn't updated in a couple weeks) - The white text crawl on the top, the clean layout, her affinity for interesting quizzes and lists.

  • Franklin Harris - The clean layout, the cool links, the friendliness towards folks who don't agree with him politically, the book recommendations.

  • Jason Kimble - This is a tough one; I can't quantify specific reasons I like it, I just do.

  • Johnny Bacardi - Why, he's just so hep, he is. I love his energy, his visual birthday tributes, his rambling essays.

  • Karin Kross - Recently discovered via Neil Gaiman; I like her quirkiness, her outrage at stupid comics, her cool links, and her potential!

  • Laura Gjovaag - As with Mark Evanier's News From Me, Laura's Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog has so many things I like! Her comics reviews, her unique viewpoint - where else can you get in-depth Aquaman analysis alongside news updates on the Marysville teachers strike? - her breezy style, her techie knowledge, her great use of visuals... there's just so much great stuff there that Laura should be on far more blogrolls than she's presently on.

  • Mikhaela Reid (hasn't updated in about a week) - The kick-ass cartoons, the mixing of culture and politics, her circle of friends.

  • Neil Ottenstein - Really coming along for a newbie blogger, also cool reviews of music I should be listening to.

  • Peter Glavodevedhzhe - I mean really, how cool is the conceit that here's this professor from the year 2525 doing research on the strange late 20th and early 21st century? But this is so wonderful and literate besides, it's a must.

  • Sarah Dyer - One of my inspirations from way back; I appreciate her eclectic tastes, her personal musings, and her site in general.

  • Skot - Well, Izzle Pfaff! is just terrifically sick; even saying the name gives me giggle-fits. Skot's humor is cruel but fair!

    And because Tish is getting all pouty and I want to frustrate Robin more because he thinks I should be embedding links instead of referring folks to my sidebar all the time, Part 3 will return to the News+Views section and list Cool Things about some of those blogs in reverse alphabetical-by-first-name-or-nickname order. :) And when this list is all done, I think I'll take the advice Steve Bates gives in Part 1's comments section and try to attach titles to my blogroll that you can see if you put your cursor over each link...
  • Gnome, Gnome and Deranged

    Oh, way cool, the Garden Gnome Liberation folks are still in business! Found via Larry Lurex.
    Oldies But Goodies

    Via an e-mail from old friend Tom Maxwell, newsreel buffs will want to check out British Pathe's database, "the world's first digital news archive. Now you are here you can preview items from the entire 3500 hour British Pathe Film Archive which covers news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1896 to 1970. You can also license higher resolution copies of the same items for PowerPoint Presentations and Web Publishing, or simply buy a still from the item for private use." Sounds like a terrific research and self-education tool!
    "This is a relationship that has been cemented by 40 years of money, power, and political favors that goes much deeper than most people realize."

    Via Anne Zook I read this very good historical overview of how and why the US cozies up to Saudi Arabia (whence came 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers). Anne is disappointed that the article "manage[s] to avoid discussing the Bush family's long-time ties with the ruling family...and the amount of money those ties have generated for the clan over the years," but I think the historical perspective is very needed, as it's important to remember that this has been going on a long, long time, and even I was shocked when I read depictions of the Wahhabis' intense anti-Christian (in fact, anti-anyone-who-isn't-Wahhabi) religious persecution.

    Monday, October 13, 2003

    Christopher Gets Bitch-Slapped But Good

    Things Margaret Cho's blog needs:
  • A blogroll
  • Permalinks
  • A comments section

    She's got the attitude part well covered, though. Today she muses on Columbus Day, naturally. Wonder if she knows about these folks...
  • Red Light District

    Via Karin Kross, come and get your Tramp Lamps. Avedon, if this doesn't appear on The Sideshow I shall be severely disappointed. :)
    Fun Word of the Day

    Natalie Davis has been great at beefing up my vocabulary with her Reindeer Games entries, but I think my favorite word today, courtesy of "Media Blades" over at Daily Kos , is taikonaut, no question.
    The Dreaded Lurgy - A Survey

    Is there something in the air? I haven't seen or heard any mention on TV in the mainstream US media, but that's not a surprise as I generally try to avoid them anyway (give me EuroNews and the Beeb any time!), but I'm curious as to whether anyone else has been feeling a sort of physical malaise lately (like over the last couple weeks). Robin and I have been hit pretty badly - in my case, not enough for me to take sick days but enough to leave me punchy and unable to really think that clearly for the most part. A few of the symptoms seem to include interrupted sleep (I had insomnia two nights running last week), muscle aches, a few allergy-type things like stuffed-up nasal passages... Anyone else out there going through this sort of thing? Any definitive diagnoses floating about?
    Monkey Mind Control

    No, it's not another bad Ahnuld joke. It's a cool study I found out about via Kevin Raybould. And here's the Google news search result, if you want to check out all the angles.
    Cool Things About the Blogs on my Roll, Part 1

    I've promised this for awhile, and today being a totally boring day at one of the relatively few offices open in NYC I figured it was as good a time as any to finally get this list together. It's by no means complete, I didn't want to force myself to muse about some of my more recent blog discoveries just to say something (please bear in mind folks, if I didn't love your blog you wouldn't be on my blogroll!) but I wanted to at least start this general appreciation sum-up. I'll go through the Top Six first, then as many of the News+Views as strike my fancy, going alphabetically by first name.

  • Neil Gaiman - The layout and colors, the openness, the kindness, the wonderful wry British humor.

  • Wil Wheaton - The sheer poetry of some of his entries, the wonderful sardonic look at the Hollywood game, the infectious geeky delight with life, his willingness to experiment and bare his soul at the same time. (And hoorah, his comment section is back!)

  • Tom Tomorrow - The way he can make an observation in a sentence or two that would take me a few paragraphs, his brilliant cartooning, his self-effacing self-promotion (I'm informed he's not actually shy, just unwilling to suffer fools gladly, so I guess I'm on the "Put Dan on The Daily Show bandwagon" now), his healthy skepticism, that when he e-mails me it gets me all giggly like a schoolgirl 'cause I've followed his career, like, forever.

  • Mark Evanier - His wealth of wisdom about so many topics from politics to entertainment, the way he seems to be friendly to and about everyone, his facility with language, his knowledge of all things California and many things NY (particularly Broadway shows), his sensitive and informative eulogies to famous people who deserve to be memorialized, his new layout, his wonderful anecdotes, his (I hope) forgiving nature now that I've corrected the error of not writing him in previously...

  • Peter David - His entry headers, his lively comments section, that I can hear his voice when I read his entries.

  • Steve Chaput - Hey, he's my ex-husband and still my friend, I have all kinds of reasons I like his blog.

  • Adam Felber - His New Yawk no-bullshit attitude, his funny set pieces, his plugs for his performances, his comments section.

  • Ampersand - His unabashed feminism, his thoroughness in his multi-part blog entries (like the current one about the wage gap), his generosity to his friends, his chatting about his home.

  • Anne Zook - Another blogger who can say in a sentence or two what would take me forever (which should amuse her because she also has a lot of wonderfully long rants), her comprehensive news roundups, her overall political sensibility which matches mine a lot, her blog design.

  • Atrios - His sheer volume, the earned respect he commands from other bloggers, his amazingly active comments sections, his twists of phrase, his news scoops, his general humor.

  • August Pollak - His sleeping kitty animation, his hilarious bluntness, his youthful energy, his weekly 'toons and the illos on his entry, his sick humor.

  • Avedon Carol - The great balance she strikes between the serious and the silly, the great perspective we get from the POV of an American living in Britain, her literacy.

  • Aziz Poonwalla - His esoteric essays about a world about which I know too little, his intense focus.

  • Barbara O'Brien - Her great daily Hot Links, her Instant Condi Rice picture.

  • Betsy Devine - The fellow-blogger in-jokes I don't understand, the wonderfully bad jokes I do understand, the observations on foreign customs.

  • Bill Connolly - His ability to zero in on stuff that I don't see anywhere else in the blogosphere.

  • Billmon - His layout, his well-thought-out analysis.

  • Bob Goodsell - His reprinting of good editorial cartoons.

  • Brooke Biggs - Her internationalist sense, her new layout, her photo albums, her invaluable insight.

  • Bryant Gries - His layout, his top bar quote, his readability, his patience with actually reading right-wing nonsense.

    I think that'll be it for awhile, I got through most of the A's and B's. Stay tuned for more; I'm determined to get to all the reasons I love Tish Parmeley as soon as possible!
  • Sunday, October 12, 2003


    I never did get a chance to pass out my résumé at the NY blogger gathering but, just to let prospective employers know, Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog is also looking for work. Here's her résumé, which I found kinda cool 'cause it means I think I may know her from when I worked here. Good luck to the both of us!! Also, via Barbara's daily (and wonderful) Hot Links list, my favorite Dude, Where's My Country? book excerpt is reprinted in Rolling Stone.
    Rent-A...Excuse Me?

    I don't care if she is a performance artist, I still found this damn funny. Via Avedon Carol.
    NY BloggerCon, Day Two

    When NY bloggers get together (at least in "my" area of the NY blogosphere) we generally don't charge $500 a person and have lectures in college halls. We go to a restaurant or gather to shoot the shit and have a picnic/barbecue in someone's backyard. Yesterday was the latter.

    The day after the very successful NY blogger dinner (see previous posts), Julia H of Sisyphus Shrugged and her husband John hosted about a dozen of us, including Seth "Talking Dog" Farber and wife Liz, MadKane and hubby Mark, Patrick "Electrolite" and Teresa "Making Light" Nielsen Hayden, Mary Beth "Wampum" Williams, Dwight "late of PLA" Meredith, Julia's brother George and of course the girls "Her Majesty" and "The Loquacious Pup." As Julia and John and Her Maj live way the heck out in Queens (in a lovely quiet neighborhood which certainly inspired me to consider looking around there before our current lease is up) it was about an hour and a half commute from Riverdale, made even longer by the sudden discovery that the Manhattan-bound subway was bypassing my station and passengers had to "go up to go down." Which wouldn't have been so bad, except the lone turnstile entrance to the "uptown" line wasn't working correctly, and folks were backed up halfway down the stairs because their MetroCard swipes weren't registering properly, and we had to double-up because some people's cards just didn't work at all (mine did after about a dozen patient swipes) and I missed at least two trains just trying to get onto the platform. Yes, weekend mass transit can sometimes be an adventure, but it wasn't like I was on a strict timetable, and I was actually happy to ride up to Van Cortlandt Park because it's the first local place where I've seen the leaves actually turning and it was quite colorful and pretty. But I digress.

    Since Julia had promised a possible viewing of the Yellow Submarine DVD, I wore my Marx/Lennon shirt with the following image:

    This Beatles-related page explains a little more about the Marx/Lennon stamps from the Republic of Abkhazia. I have a fair number of these stamp sheets left over from when I bought them in bulk to sell to Firesign Theatre fans back when I was publishing FAlaFal, and I figured this would be the most appropriately appreciative type of group to which I could give some away as pressies. My relief was palpable that they didn't even ask who The Firesign Theatre are, and I was delighted to impart the news that the 4or5 are still recording and have had lots of new stuff out in the past few years. Maybe I can get a few of them to show up on the Thursday chats now...

    Mary Beth had to take off fairly soon after my arrival, but I still got to hear about her tomato-growing and -canning prowess of which I'm in awe (I possess, to put it mildly, something of a black thumb), and from her and Dwight about Temple Grandin and her amazing hug machine. It was a pretty cool and esoteric crowd, and the cross-conversations reflected that. As I've said previously, it was like we've all known each other anyway, so everyone's comfort level was pretty high; there was just the formality of "oh, that's what you look like" to get out of the way. (And I found it way cool that all the women there were of substance, both physically and intellectually!) Theresa (with whom I was delighted to finally talk at length, as we have a lot of friends and experiences in common even though we'd never met) said she'd pictured me as a redhead; oddly, so had Robin before we met! So it's settled, I have to "go red" again before Mid-Ohio Con. The left-leaning group didn't touch on politics as much as one might expect, although I enjoyed Madeleine and, I think, Julia getting all catty over Maureen Dowd. Mad and Mark told the story about their adventure in the Utah mountains. Theresa talked about cataplexy and narcolepsy, as well as her fascination with the pathology of people who live in garbage houses and amass tons of neglected animals, which of course led to talk of tigers (see the links in this entry). Everyone seemed to get down with their bad selves singing along to this, and I felt bad that Robin was too exhausted to come with me because he and Patrick would have had a great time swapping obscure Beatles trivia. By the way, we never did get around to watching Yellow Submarine, but no complaints as I had a wonderful time, John's grilled sausages and chicken and Julia's pasta salad were delicious, Mad and Mark's wine was superb, the bourbon cherries and wine-drenched mushrooms were amazing, and the company was stupendous. Guys, we have got to do this again real soon! Thanks so much, Julia and John, for your lovely hospitality!

    What? Oh yes, of course I took pictures. Here's my montage. As with Friday's dinner, if anyone wants the full-sized, higher-res, uncropped versions of any of these pictures, just e-mail me.

    Update: Check out Mad's song about us! And Julia's going to find us a house, it seems. :) Dwight talked MB into hosting this year's Koufax Awards (yay!), and driver extraordinaire Seth weighs in as well.

    Saturday, October 11, 2003

    Bilingual Blogging from Iraq

    "Hello," reads the e-mail. "My name is Thierry Robin. I'm a freelance reporter and a member of the ABIR association. I will go on a trip to Iraq from 8th to 22nd of October and I will blog from Baghdad about women's rights (in French and in English)... With other members of ABIR, we will bring material to a dispensary and an orphanage. We will also meet Hanaa Edward from the local NGO 'Al Amal' and other persons involved in the promotion of women's rights in Iraq. It will be an opportunity for me to make several reports with the aim of catching people's attention about the appalling fate of Iraqi women and girls: Sexual violences, abductions and murders are widespread, preventing the women from taking part in the postwar society. If you feel concerned by this burning issue, feel free to mention my weblog." At last, a chance to brush up on my French whilst learning new stuff at the same time! Highly recommended.
    About Last Night...

    Some impressions on the NY blogger gathering, now that I've gotten some sleep.

  • I don't know what other gatherings have been like, but with this particular group a lot of personality shines through in their blogs, so when you meet them it's absolutely like you've already known them and you've simply "forgotten" what they looked like or something. And it's qualitatively different from meeting folks I know from other Internet venues like Usenet or message boards; even though you can certainly glean a number of things about people from reading comment threads, with blogs you're going out of your way (relatively) to seek out that person's writing because you're eager to read what they have to say, so it's more analogous to visiting their home than meeting them at a party where other folks are milling about.

  • The food at Brothers Barbecue was wonderful, and I highly recommend the place. But I was a bit surprised to see a Southern-style restaurant with no grits on the menu... And Rocco's on Bleecker, where some of us went afterwards, has the tastiest-looking desserts around, although they didn't have my first two menu choices...

  • MadKane is just about how I pictured she'd be, very Earth mother-ish (that's a compliment) and so infectiously bubbly! And her mom's better (on the proper meds now) and her parents have relocated comfortably to NC and we were both amazed and amused at how much you can know about people you've never met just from reading their blogs. She also mentioned that she's the one who talked Steve Bates into doing a blog, so thanks again, Mad!!

  • Did I mention that Dwight Meredith (link not at sidebar because *snif* PLA is no more, but he does do some guest-blogging from time to time) came up all the way from Atlanta? And he's very cute, with the warmest smile! His writing always seemed so far above me, and him being a lawyer and all, that I guess I thought he'd be more staid or something, and he wasn't, he was so incredibly friendly, with that real Southern charm! And he complimented me about my blog, which totally blew me away because I still can't get over when people do that (especially people who write so much better than me, which was, um, just about everyone there last night).

  • Jim Capozzola is more wiry than I thought he'd be, but other than that his personality definitely seemed to fit his blog. Also a great smile. And give this man a job, now! (For that matter, someone please give me one too...) We had a great conversation about how we both love Philadelphia. I don't visit nearly often enough, it's just an NJ Transit/SEPTA ride away after all...

  • Julia H is taller than me! I'm about 5'8" which I think is a little taller than average, and I love when I meet women who are taller than me (although I think I'm rounder than her). And she calls her daughter Mary Rose "a force of nature," but she's no less of one herself. I look at her and see the kind of person I wish I could be. She's got tremendous presence. We spent a lot of time talking with her brother George ("because he's the Procrustiest!"), who has a wonderful wry sense of humor and a great deadpan delivery.

  • Seth Farber reminded me of a quieter Woody Allen without the creepiness. He admits he's running out of Beatles songs to use as blog headers, and I suggested he get Penny Lane out of the way by plugging my blog (as that song is, after all, whence the pun originates). He then informed me that reviewing other people's blogs is what he used to be known for, which I didn't know 'cause he's fairly recent to my blogroll, so he asked me what my favorite dog breed was (I think I said "golden retriever and terrier" because in my punchiness I couldn't remember "American cocker spaniel" or "Irish setter" but I did remember that Teenie, our family's dog when I was growing up, had some retriever in her) and one other question that I don't even recall now (hey, I said I was going on two straight insomniac nights, didn't I?) and then said he'd do a review of this blog. Robin suggested that after he runs out of Beatles titles he can start on the solo stuff...

  • I think Mary Beth Williams and I were the only ones there to have gone through the 2003 Blogathon, and we agreed that she was allowed to have guest bloggers for parts of that because she has four kids and I don't. :) I didn't talk with MB or with Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden as much as I would have liked, but there's always next time!

    And my goodness, there just must be a next time, mustn't there?! Next time I want to see Tom Tomorrow and August Pollak, and meet Jerry Bowles and Maru Soze and Adam Felber and Barbara O'Brien and Lesley and Lisa English and Elaine Frankonis and I'm sure there's other folks I'm leaving off my "wish list" but you get the idea. Thanks again to Jim and Julia for a wonderful time! Scroll down a bit to click on the link to pictures from the event.
  • This One's For Calpundit

    The persuasive power of Kevin Drum never ceases to amaze. Because of his mention yesterday of my cat-blogging from last week as well as my job search, I got my highest one-day hit count ever. I figure 563 unique daily visitors may be just a drop in the bucket to someone whose comments sections can elicit over 100 responses per entry and who was ranked, last I looked, at #6 on The Truth Laid Bear's Ecosystem, but it's not something I'm used to at all. :) So, since I was out at the NY Bloggers gathering last night (about which more anon) and returned too tired to get anything else besides that picture page up, here's my belated Friday Cat Blogging TM Kevin Drum for the week. They're ready for their close-ups. On the left, Amy nestles quite comfortably inside my computer table's cubbyhole. On the right, I snapped the camera whilst holding Datsa and loved the way the extreme close-up of his head made his green eyes blue.

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    BloggerCon, NY-Style

    Just got back from the wonderful NY blogger gathering organized by (Philadelphian) Jim Capozzola and (Queens resident) Julia H, where Robin and I had a terrific time! I always like being able to put names to faces, and what with so many eloquent and fascinating folks the conversation flowed more than the alcohol! Here's a page of pictures. You'll have to guess who's who, I'm really really tired after two straight nights of insomnia and my brain isn't working. Present were Jim, Julia - along with her brother George, her husband John and her daughter Mary Rose - MadKane and hubby Mark, Mary Beth Williams (all the way down from Portland ME!), Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Seth Farber, Dwight Meredith of the much-missed PLA (all the way up from Georgia!), Dave Yaseen, and a number of folks not on my blogroll like Ryan and I apologize for neglecting to recall any other names but I really need to go to sleep now. Thank you again, Jim and Julia!
    Bring It On, Bill

    Very funny entry at the Mahablog featuring folks writing to challenge Bill O'Reilly's boorish behavior on Fresh Air. Update: Paul Krugman's article today is all about Lessons in Civility. Because, you know, liberals are ever so much ruder than conservatives, I guess...
    Another Reason to Go to Sleep After The Daily Show

    NBC Supports the Politically Partisan Leno (by the way, I got to this one using my new Google toolbar, which I'm totally loving and which lets me search Google News and has a "Blog This" button which accesses my Blogger edit window instantly; trés convenient and yet another reason to stay with Blogger/Blogspot!)
    How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

    Via Julia H comes this link to a study where "Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles have discovered the human brain reacts to physical and emotional pain in the same way." This is not good news for someone like me whose first emotional reaction to new situations is usually panic, on top of being something of a hypochondriac as well. :)
    Fuller Frontline Story

    Rob watched Truth, War & Consequences last night and thought it well worthwhile. He mentioned that, as of this weekend, you can watch the full program online here, including longer interviews than some of the snippets aired, and so you can. And later this morning (at 11 AM Eastern), the show's producer, writer and director Martin Smith will be live on washingtonpost.com to discuss the film.
    The Fighting Jesus

    Insomnia leads me back to the blogroll. Digby led me to this Salon article whose author seems to be channelling Leni Riefenstahl: "Californians...have elected as governor not a man but a symbol, a symbol of strength perfected by the will into a kind of triumphal capitalist beauty." Yawohl! Says Cary Tennis, "I have been thinking about Schwarzenegger as a man with the appeal of a violent Christ..." Hey, I was there when the SubGenius thought of that first...

    Thursday, October 09, 2003

    RIP Neil Postman

    Found out via Atrios, who linked to this obit from the Toronto Star. Via Google's news site, here's the NY Times obit.
    Cool Archaeology News

    Via Trish Wilson, which led me to a Google news search: The remnants of a 6th century synagogue have been found in the Albanian coastal city of Saranda. Unfortunately, I can't get an English version of the press release on the Hebrew University's website and my Hebrew is way too rusty to do an effective search, so no pictures as of yet...
    Say What?

    Just when I thought I was getting the hang of Cockney rhyming slang, Gianna introduces me to Strine. I think my head may explode soon. (I wonder, has anyone made a list of all the translation-into-wacky-speech sites out there? What with Talk Cockney and the Shizzolator and the Splendidiser and, um, this, there must be dozens of fun sites out there based on Nick Donaldson's Universal Translator. Sounds like a job for an enterprising young linguist! Ah, I remember when I was one of those...) Update: Via PinkDreamPoppies at Ampersand's blog, this one translates perfectly good writing into meaningless babble.

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    Left Talk

    The overwhelming victory of Ahnuld in the California gubernatorial recall election has many lefty bloggers quite upset. I was hoping against hope that the "no on recall" vote would pass, as Ahnuld's ascension would be meaningless had that happened, but I guess I'm not really surprised that he won. As Robin observed, people like to vote for a winner, and Ahnuld's public image has been that of a winner for a few decades now, despite (or perhaps, for some perverse supporters, because of) his propensity for sexual assault and other power trips. That doesn't make the voters idiots, at least not in my opinion. And can't we possibly make any cogent points about our disappointment with the outcome without calling them morons?

    Over at TalkLeft, Jeralyn Merritt has the opposite situation - she writes of the election, among other things,
    Arnold gave a great victory speech. He reached out, he was sincere and he had a good message. And he had Maria, his biggest asset. We give his speech an A.

    He wanted this job, he campaigned like crazy for it, and he earned it. The good cheer on the stage was infectious. We hope he maintains his passion and does great things for the state of California. We know we'll disagree with him on certain issues, particularly his support for the repeal of the law granting drivers' licenses to undocumented residents, but there isn't any politician we'd agree with on every issue.

    Finally, we're glad the smear campaign failed. It was irrelevant, trash politics. We're glad he won. Congratulations, Arnold, you earned this.
    Well, this engendered one of the more controversial backlash comments section I've seen in awhile, with at least three people informing her that her entry has led them to drop her from their blogrolls or un-bookmark TalkLeft.

    I guess this is understandable - after all, I too disagree with Jeralyn dismissively characterizing the public discussion of Schwarzenegger's criminal behavior once he declared his candidacy as a mere "smear campaign." I also disagree with her asking people to give her money or a computer so she can carry on her hobby, as well as with her deletion of my Labor Day comment taking her to task for same (prompting this), and hey, I even find her use of the first-person plural (the royal and/or editorial "We") pretentious. But you know something? TalkLeft isn't about me. It's about what Jeralyn finds important to discuss, and it's got at least one item that I find of vital interest just about every day. To me that's more than worth an occasional rolling of the eyes and shaking of the head. I guess every lefty blogger needs to decide things like this for him or herself, but various clichés leap to my mind involving forests and trees, babies and bathwater, and cutting off noses to spite faces, not to mention the immortal words of Frank 'N' Furter when Janet Weiss expressed a lack of attraction for men built like Der Terminator: "I didn't make him for you!" Not everything on TalkLeft is "for you" or for me, but I still find enough there that's "cherce" to retain Jeralyn on my blogroll for the foreseeable future.

    Essentially, it's called agreeing to disagree.

    Update: Some nice ruminations on the California recall election by Peter David and Barbara O'Brien and Julia H.
    Meme Warfare

    Two interesting articles brought to my attention this morning. Via an e-mail from Cat Simril Ishikawa, this Salon article about his longtime acquaintance Kalle Lasn and his latest venture in culture jamming. You probably know the drill - if you want to read the whole article you need to click through an ad to get a Salon Premium Day Pass, which today is sponsored by the good folks at The Well.

    And speaking of shaking up memes, Neil Gaiman points to this great Bookslut column about comics by Karin Kross, which impressed me so much that I've added Karin's own blog to my Kultcha section on the sidebar. My favorite bit: she quotes some good comics reviews, and then notes that "in each case, the bad reputation of the comics form is brought up again, ostensibly with the intent of demolishing it by demonstrating that there really are good comics out there. This sort of thing has been going on since Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer for Maus. (Which, mind you, was 11 years ago.) To these critics, and to all others who are listening, I have one thing to say. Stop it... please, please, I beg you, stop it already with the condescending asides like these here. They do not help. They only reinforce the idea that the comics form as a whole is unworthy of serious consideration." You go, Karin!