Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Gitmo Tribunals Ruled Illegal

About time. Judge Joyce Green (a Carter appointee) said, "Although this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the commander in chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats, that necessity cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over two hundred years." Except for, you know, those who send other people to fight and die. (Oh, and take that, Judge Leon.) So, how packed with Adminstration ringers is the DC Court of Appeals, I wonder?
A Post About the Post

Welcome to another edition of Cleaning Out My E-mail In-Box!:

Simbaud, King of Zembla, wants to know, is How to Score with Women a Silly Site or not? Seems to me that, while the execution is obviously silly and it's certainly consensual, the woman in question didn't exactly come away unscathed.

The prolific Michael Russell announces that CulturePop 021: HistoryPulp!, is now online. I found the lettering a little small, and of course M.E. includes those wacky footnotes at the bottom which make it more of an encyclopedia entry than a comic strip, but enjoy nonetheless.

I've been informed that Dave Cockrum's creation The Futurians has been optioned for the big screen by IDT Entertainment, but I can't find anything on IDT's website (which is very fancy-schmancy and all but doesn't appear to have a simple search function), nor has Dave's site been updated with this news, so who knows?

I'm probably the last person to mention that MadKane has helped launch HumorGuru.com, a humor magazine featuring eight professional humor columnists writing about every topic imaginable. And people wonder why I don't resurrect INSIDE JOKE - with stuff like this around, I don't need to!

Last but by no means least, Alan Davis e-mails to inform me that he's updated his site: "I have only changed the text on the index page - added a response link and a 'Requests' section at the bottom of the index page to four or five linked pages." Still well worth a look, as some of us can stare at Alan's art for long periods of time without ever getting bored...
Hillary in Hospital

Brief fainting spell up in Albany, probably due to a flu bug making the rounds in these parts. Yet another reason I don't go out much in the winters; NY has been hard hit by the flu this year.
Ming Takes It!

Heck with spoilers, I'm very pleased that former Food Network chef and currently indie (PBS) chef Ming Tsai wiped the floor with Bobby "back away from the deep fryer" Flay on Iron Chef America last night! It was a very good battle, actually a bit closer than my crowing would indicate, but I'm still happy Ming won, I really like him (and he has the most adorable parents, his mom's on his show a lot). Laura reviews this episode briefly, and Karin Kross reports on a book signing/Q&A session by culinary commentator (and my favorite Food Network person) Alton Brown in Austin, TX.
Silly Site o' the Day

Light posting today (as if you couldn't tell already), but I'd be remiss if I didn't wish everyone a happy National Gorilla Suit Day! Here, have a banana guard! Via Xeni at BoingBoing. And a tip of the - well, whatever people in gorilla suits tip (probably not much, where would they keep the coins?) to Mark Evanier for keeping this bit of silliness alive!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Vote or Starve

Disturbing news about the Iraqi election from Raed Jarrar. And what an utterly horrid comments section his first-hand reporting engenders. Ugly Americans, indeed. Update: TBogg found a corroborating report on this, as did Simbaud.
Liberal Coalition Blogaround

I really shouldn't try to manipulate Bloglines before my eyes are properly open; I just marked all my posts "read," including all the LC ones. Fortunately, I had cleared all the other categories before going to bed around midnight so I haven't missed that much, and Bloglines lets me reread the last 100 posts on any blog in my subscriptions, so I can take another look at what my fellow LC members have been discussing this past week:

Alex Greenwood & co. at Sooner Thought have uncovered "blatant engineering by the Republican Party" in Oklahoma County (I'm shocked!)

Amy at blogAmy announces her blog appears right at the top when you "Google horseshit and bananas." I wonder where Pen-Elayne stands now that I've used the phrase as well...

Andante at Collective Sigh warns North Carolina locals against travelling in today's weather conditions.

Bryant Gries at Make Me A Commentator! (hey Bryant, neither Blogmatrix or WCC are working any more, you might want to try switching to Atom as that's Blogspot's default RSS feed) does a nice LC blogaround of his own, and examines how privatization of retirement accounts went down in Chile.

Chris "Lefty" Brown is trying to shake off his loopy medicine. Lots of folks coming down with nasty illnesses lately; take care of yourselves, people. I try to cocoon as much as I can in the winter months, it's just not worth risking one's health in this weather.

At Corrente, Lambert sums up my feelings about football to a t, and mentions Bill Gates' lack of faith in the dollar.

Echidne of the Snakes channels Dorothy Parker to comment on family planning.

Proud papa Edwardpig watches his daughter wean herself from a pacifier.

Eryk at And Then... updates his blogroll.

Holden at First Draft tells of a lawsuit over an anti-Bush bumper sticker.

All sympathies to Guy Andrew Hall at Rook's Rant for losing his internet privileges at work. As I'm probably the best web searcher in my officeI'm glad that can't happen to me.

Jeff at Speedkill takes a look at Montana's Max Baucus getting ready to confront the administration's plan to kill Social Security.

John at archy proudly announces the Carnival of Bad History!

Jude Camwell at Iddybud offers her thoughts on today's sham election in Iraq.

At The Invisible Library (still with no RSS feed), Keith introduces us to his photographer wife's lovely blog and passes along his sister-in-law Naomi's latest news from Iraq.

Maru Soze at WTF Is It Now?? has some great Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum), as well she should with four cats, and mentions that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has refused to endorse Bush buddy-and-fellow-torture-supporter Alberto Gonzales.

Mercury X23 gets an amusing form letter from his congresscritter.

Michael at Musing's Musings is back from France and photoblogging his trip! All the pictures are gorgeous but the one that made me smile the most is the front page of Le Monde from a week ago Friday...

Mike at Left is Right recommends an article from Common Dreams talking about whether we should feel guilty over Bush and Blair's terror war. Dr. Whitehurst says that Guilt Requires Intelligence, Thoughtfulness and Moral Clarity, but I think it also requires culpability. Maybe the word she seeks is "responsible" rather than "guilty."

Happy belated blogiversary to Moi at bloggg!

Mustang Bobby, king of the LC blogaround, offers some Sunday reading. And dang, one of my favorite actors was arrested for DUI.

Natalie Davis at All Facts and Opinions laments lessons unlearned and passes on welcome news about the suspension of a hate-speech-espousing DJ and her crew.

Norbizness at Happy Furry Puppy Story Time reminds us again that he's the authentic face of the Left, so scandalize his name, dammit!

NTodd at Dohiyi Mir has a local take on Margaret Spellings' horror at rabbits and lesbians in Vermont.

Jon at Kick the Leftist also reports on Oklahoma loonies, actual college students who should know better, celebrating "straight pride" because, you know, those with societal privilege are somehow the most victimized of all...

Jesse at Republican Sinners profiles one J. Grant Swank, a real piece of work.

Scott at the Gamer's Nook is on the case of crack Russian pilots.

The Scrutiny Hooligans have all the coverage you want of the Iraqi elections.

Steve Bates, the Yellow Doggerel Democrat, has a nice little blogaround as well.

Steve Gilliard's computer go bye-bye. Ouch.

T Rex starts an LC blogaround but doesn't get past the "B"s... at this rate he'll never notice Pen-Elayne. :) He also has some ideas on blogrolls.

Trish Wilson ponders fame as she's profiled on What She Said.

At Rubber Hose, upyernoz is amused by an upside-down sign.

Lastly, why is Wanda quoting Drudge?

And as a bonus, here are some sums of the total number of LC blogs mentioning the following items talked to death on the blogosphere this past week:

  • A third Repundit (and a doozy of a hypocrite), Maggie Gallagher, taking thousands in taxpayer money under the table for PR purposes: 7
  • Cheney's duck-hunting attire at Auschwitz: 6
  • Quoting Krugman on Social Security: 5
  • The United Church of Christ extending a welcome to a cartoon character: 3
  • Pretend reporter Jeff Gannon and his wignut media corporation: 3
  • The Loser/When Will I Die/Nerd Score quizzes making the blog rounds: 2
  • Rice and Bush sharing that special look: 2
  • Feith stepping down: 2
  • Gitmo goings-on involving menstrual blood, both fake and real: 2
  • Rightie blogger Glenn Reynolds whining about lefty bloggers: 1

    I'm especially pleased that the last item only got one mention out of all the LC folks; I think it bodes well that the Coalition isn't as obsessed with what right-leaning bloggers say as the left blogosphere in general seems to be.
  • Silly Site o' the Day

    "Car-mon with the rain, I've a smile on my face..." Brilliant UK-based ad (I recommend copying and pasting the URL into QuickTime or your favorite media player), via Betsy Devine.

    Saturday, January 29, 2005

    My Reward

    As long as we had to take the car to do our local errands (sometimes there are drawbacks to our house being set in from the sidewalk and only accessible via an icy driveway), Rob treated me to the dim sum place "down up-the-hill" by where we used to live. The food did not taste nearly as blurry as it looks here.
    Shelving Finished!

    The two standalone bookcases in our library (aka the small third bedroom) are now filled with indie (non-Marvel and non-DC) comics. Here's the one between the room's entrance door (ajar) and the closet:

    In the foreground is a side view of that first standalone, with a front view of the other standalone between the closet door and the window. After filing we were left with a shelf and a half on the bottom, and as the case leans forward a bit Robin put a few large hardcovers on the bottom to try and steady it (and the EC collections on top are pushed all the way in the back). Nice to have some room left over, though!

    As I said below, the final step in this process (which has taken us over half a year, in my estimation, between sorting and filing and shelving) is putting all the now-empty longboxes and lids up in the loft. I laid out all the old-style longboxes in the living room, out of the way of the travelling sunbeam, which Datsa usually follows during the late morning/early afternoon. Naturally, he confounded expectations again by choosing to briefly settle on the boxes themselves (with Amy looking on from behind the lids)...

    It's been a pretty productive "5-day vacation/weekend" so far, which pleases me as I take great personal satisfaction in "having done." Next up, paying and posting my credit card bill, which I had to call to follow up on last week as it had never arrived, and depositing my check to Robin for half our February rent. We'll need to drive to the bank and post office, which are only a couple blocks away, because the ice in our U-shaped driveway hasn't melted (nor has anyone bothered to salt or sand it) and I'm nervous about walking on it (even though Robin helped me across it when we went to take public transit to and from The City yesterday). Then, maybe an actual afternoon nap...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Today's the day I finish my comics filing - at present about six longboxes await shelving, with another two needing the finishing sorting touches before they're ready, at which point we store the emptied boxes and a few other things in the loft, and the living room will then be taken over by the next project, organizing Robin's built-up studio clutter. I'm also catching up quickly again with my blog reading, keeping up with every category except my fellow Liberal Coalition members, and I plan to get to that one later today or tomorrow. Then there's also comics reading, as I picked up the last couple weeks' worth yesterday when we were in Manhattan, which puts me in mind of Jack Chick Goes Greek, via Arthur Hlavaty.

    Friday, January 28, 2005

    Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)


    The funny thing about it is, they're each on the wrong side of the bowl, and they know it. Datsa should be on the right and Amy on the left. Rob tells me they "trade off" like this all the time...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    I doubt I'll top yesterday's (which I've played about four times now), but forge ahead we must. Via Cory at BoingBoing, it's Atom Smasher's Error Message Generator!

    Thursday, January 27, 2005

    Never Forget - Never Again

    When you treat other people like subhumans, you become far less than human yourself; when a country's leaders do it, they have ceded any moral high ground they might once have trod, losing all right to call their country a civilized nation. The official paper of the country that actually liberated Auschwitz 60 years ago today draws the appropriately tragic parallels to the 21st century.
    "They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus..."

    ...well, not all, as many folks knew the world was round even in his day, but you know, they probably still laughed at what they thought was a futile endeavor. I bet people laughed at Morgan Spurlock endangering his health too, but look how that turned out. Now people are doubtless laughing at Jeff "Boom Boom" Tweiten as he queues up on a couch in front of the Seattle Cinerama theatre for the opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Even though there's nobody else on line. And the movie doesn't open for five more months. How is he supporting himself? From what I understand, Cafe Press doesn't return all that much, and being married to a graphic artist I can tell you there's not a lot of money in them there hills. Maybe notoriety helps (and he's looking for a book deal now). BoingBoing has been on the case for a couple days now, and my favorite bits in the Seattle PI article about him read:

    "Coming out here and sitting and waiting -- embodying the anticipation -- I think people need to see that," Tweiten says. "Maybe they'll slow down. So many people are in such a hurry that they miss the savoring of time."
    A whole community has developed around Tweiten's mission. His friends bring him changes of clothes, snacks and their company. Nearby businesses offer a bathroom, a shower or a warm cup of coffee. Passersby might laugh in amusement, shake their heads in wonder or strike up a conversation.

    "Embodying the anticipation." Gotta love it. Even if he is a graphic artist.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Well, my vacation plans got juggled around so I'm taking off a few days today rather than next week, which means I still have to call some places and change the plans I'd made back when those original days were set in stone. As it's supposed to be pretty darn cold today and tomorrow, my travel plans are fairly limited; today I'm driving Robin to his dental appointment then taking care of some local errands, and tomorrow we're going into Manhattan so he can visit DC and drop off the last pages of Bloodhound #9 (by the way, the solicitation needs updating, as the penciller on that issue is a fellow named Eddy Barrows), after which we'll swing by Midtown then down to my old haunts in the East Village for some Sharaku and shopping.

    Mostly, though, I'll be updating my finances (haven't cracked open my checkbook since the start of the year) and filing indie comics, having gotten through the majority of my reading backlog yesterday. Oh, and blog reading, of course; the only categories in my blogroll with which I haven't caught up yet are News+Views Gals and my ever-patient compadres in The Liberal Coalition. But I've read and skimmed enough others to garner some more fun Silly Sites, including this very amusing Llama Song (beware the prompt whilst you're loading the page; you do not need to download the software in question). Via Rana, who's absolutely right that's just plain eeee-vil...

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    On Getting Local Breaking News

    Our modern telecommunications era can be a frustrating thing; I can find out what's happening in close to real time in so many spots in the world, you'd think I'd be able to find out with a couple mouse clicks or channel flips why there were helicopters circling around our area for hours last night. This news item this morning is probably the reason, but like I said it's frustrating. Anyone have any advice on tuning into breaking news stories in the NYC area? (I still haven't found out why my morning commute yesterday took almost two hours, with the usually-10-minute bit on the Cross County Parkway stretched to over an hour... a major reason I've decided to take the rest of the week off, what with more snow expected today.)
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing has also been doing variations on our theme of the last couple of days, and her latest offering is a chocolate solar system (from Barcelona, no less!). Update: Xeni passes along yet another chocolate sushi site - this one looks truly yummy!
    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

    Happy Australia Day! Here are some celebratory sites in Brisbane, Canberra, Northern Territory, Sydney, Queensland, Victoria, London (!), Mollymook (site comes complete with the expected music), Barcaldine Shire, Bellingen Shire, Pine Rivers Shire, Sutherland Shire and Wingecarribee Shire. NY-based Aussies apparently celebrated last weekend.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Burns Night

    Thanks to Jessica at Bookslut for the reminder. As we're in an Irish neighborhood rather than a Scots one, I doubt we can get our hands on the haggis in time, but I do plan on reading this poem to Robin tonight.
    Maintenance Notes

    So Jesse and Ezra have gone their separate ways (Jesse kept the panda), and as far as I'm concerned what this means to me is that I get two great blogs instead of one! Also, I just noticed a number of dead blogs among the News+Views Guys, so I've cleaned that up a bit. Lastly, MadKane's started a group blog called President Boxer, so that's been added. Just as a reminder, if you have me blogrolled and you'd like that reciprocated, I usually have no problem doing so, but you have to let me know because how else would I find out? (Remember, I read most of my blogs via Bloglines, and I don't even have time to keep up with many of those any more, let alone egoscan blogrolls...) So drop me an e-mail if I'm on your sidebar but you're not on mine yet; thanks!
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Continuing from yesterday with variations on a theme, via Betsy Devine we present chocolate sushi! I can't believe it's not fish...

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Reigning Supreme, Part Two

    Laura reviews the second episode of Iron Chef America, and I put in my two cents in her comments section. While I quite like Morimoto from the Japanese IC, I think Batali is my favorite American Iron Chef of the current three. He reminds me a lot of a fanboy type - not only because of his build and fashion sense but due to his infectious and enthusiastic personality. I thought last night's episode was much more enjoyable than the premiere.
    Silly Site Lovers of the World, Unite!

    In 2004 I linked to at least one Silly Site every single day. Given my Real Life, sometimes it was the only post for which I had time and/or inclination, but it was my way of giving readers at least one new-content post (and perhaps a smile) daily. Some Silly Sites were political, some cultural, some (like me) just pretty much uncategorizable. My Silly Site series, which I intend to continue for as long as I maintain interest, has been nominated for a Koufax Award for Best Series. I highly doubt I'll make it past the first round, as most kudos seem to be going to far more serious and thought-provoking and academic and overtly political series. But it would be nice to get a vote other than my own. So if you're so inclined (and if you believe, as I do, that there should sometimes be more to life than one-track blogging), please consider casting a vote for me in this category. As a side note, I'm very happy and grateful that I've been nominated for two Koufaxim (yes, we use the "im" plural as a default at the Riggs Residence) for this past year, as I'd never previously been officially nominated for any.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Well, that was an interesting commute. Not white-knuckle inducing, but very, very long. I'm glad we shoveled yesterday! Streets weren't that bad in the Bronx, except the city could only plow one lane on many of the side streets because of the cars parked/buried on either side. Overturned SUV monster, completely upside down, on the Cross County this morning, leading to bumper-to-bumper one lane for about 15-20 minutes. Once I got off I found my car, and many others, stuck behind a sanitation truck for about 20-25 minutes on what would normally be a five-minute traverse. Then there was the snow blindness... took me about an hour and fifteen minutes just to get to the building my boss owns, by which time all available plowed parking lot spaces in the back were filled so our porter directed me to the customer parking area for our tenant the bank (property management has its privileges!). Wish I were home with some Twinkies sushi (via Tom Negrino at Backup Brain).

    Sunday, January 23, 2005

    There's Johnny

    I always liked Johnny Carson. He reminded me of my southern Cal-based brother Gene, or maybe Gene reminds me of him. So I always associated him as well with the word "genial." His TV persona was pleasant, witty, both comfortable and comforting, and left a bit of a hole in my viewing night after he retired from The Tonight Show. Mark Evanier has, as ever, a lovely remembrance.
    Blizzard of Aught-Five

    Well, they're saying it's still snowing in NYC, but from our front window it just looks as if it's blowing all the snow about; some of the roofs nearby are almost cleared. Naturally I took some pictures. Here's the general view from our front window (the part without the screen):

    Here's one I took through the window and the screen (I wasn't about to open the window), looking straight down on my car and our downstairs neighbors' cars:

    Pretty well covered up, as you can see. One amusing observation is that the tree right in front of us still has a tenacious branch of dead leaves, and if even this blizzard isn't loosening them I figure they won't fall off until new ones push them out this spring:

    Between the drifts and the cold it's pretty dangerous out there, and there's no way I'm going out to clear the car today, so it looks like I may have to stay home from work tomorrow. Not that I'm complaining, mind you!

    Update: Well, we went out and shoveled anyway, as I felt like the car was kind of boxed in. It was remarkably easy to get the snow off the car, and the downstairs neighbors' son took care of most of the big triangular area behind it (as he needed to get his car out as well), and now it looks like this (the empty spot behind the left-hand car is where his vehicle was):

    That's Kingfisher (my Hyundai) in the middle; the sun actually started melting the remaining snow as I was brushing it off, so it looks like things will be clear enough tomorrow morning for me to just warm it up and take off for work! Yay! I mean, um...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via an e-mail my parents sent to Robin, Worth1000 had a Photoshop contest and some pictures are making the rounds under the title When Graphic Artists Get Bored. As I'm not a member of Worth1000 and haven't visited the site that much (plus they've disabled guest access to certain pages, possibly to increase book sales), I have no idea how to search for these pictures within their massive Photoshop contest galleries.

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    Belated Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    In an effort to make up for the fact that I completely forgot to post a kitty picture yesterday, I decided to get the two of them together in one shot this evening, on Datsa's favorite new resting place, the box in the corner of our computer room:

    Alas, Datsa didn't think this was such a good idea (and okay, Amy wasn't that thrilled about it either)...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Blizzard expected. Staying indoors from about noon today until further notice (we've decided to try and shop for a shovel this morning). Wish I were in warmer climes playing Segway Polo (via Augie DeBlieck).

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via Jessica Crispin at Bookslut, a fairly filthy essay about Oedipus entitled, for some unfathomable reason, Planes, Trains and Plaintains.

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Whose Review Reigns Supreme?

    As folks lucky enough to get the Food Network (which our local cable system finally offered us a few months back) doubtless know, the 10-installment Iron Chef America series has now debuted. (The less said about some other FN shows the better.) Hanan Levin found a nifty online ICA game on the site (I really should visit the FN site more but, you know, not enough hours in the day...). And so far I've read two nifty reviews of the debut show, one by Laura Gjovaag (whose birthday is today - happy birthday, Laura! - so why don't you give her a really nice gift and enter her Bloggity Contest to win cool stuff?!) and a slightly longer and more detailed one from Natalie Davis. (My favorite part is where she talks about the Chairman, as she's a big fan of actor Kaga Takeshi. I had no idea that the end of the IC story has the Chairman heading the fictional Gourmet Academy "until his untimely death by fugu"!)

    Overall I agree with the ladies' conclusion, that the show is well worth watching. I tend to disagree with Laura about Alton Brown - watching the Battle of the Masters reruns I was also a little taken aback at first that he was the lone commentator, but Brown does seem to talk with the fairly nondescript floor reporter and celeb tasters enough, and he usually has another Iron Chef American commenting briefly as well, so it breaks up the monologue nicely. The thing is, Brown is so gosh-darn knowledgeable as well as entertaining that he's like Fukui-san and Hattori-san rolled into one, and let's face it, those two are usually the only commentators worth listening to in the Japanese show. And while Laura thought Bobby Flay did a nice job on the premiere show, I think he tends to be a little too, um, intense for my tastes. It's like you want to cross over to the other side of the street if you see him coming. I got that from his Vegas special too (and honestly, if you're a filthy rich big-name TV chef with umpteen successful restaurants to begin with, how much of a "gamble" is it really to open up another franchise place in Vegas, one of the upcoming food capitals of the country?).

    Natalie's review reminded me of other observations I wanted to make:

  • I wish the American uniforms were more costume-like, I think those blue denim workshirts are fine for Iron Construction Worker America but not for chefs. And I see the flag everywhere, it's all over baseball uniforms, I don't think it's needed on the chef togs. You never saw the rising sun flag on the Japanese Iron Chefs' costumes. Although I will say I loooove that Batali wears shorts.
  • I think the American in-jokes and nods to the original more than make up for the loss of some of the Japanese campiness. While I agree completely that the fictional American Chairman doesn't seem to have an actual reason to pursue a culinary passion (it's just not set up that well), I think the nephew part works well, and I love the winking substitution of him biting an apple instead of Kaga's honestly-I'm-not-really-choking-on-this yellow bell pepper.
  • Also, I wouldn't really use the word "bland" to describe ICA. If anything, it has much more in-your-face attitude, in keeping with modern Bush-era culture, rather than the ultra-polite "we pretend it's gladiators but they all have great respect for each other and constantly bow" Japanese style. Remember, it was Flay who danced atop a cutting board when he won his first IC battle, much to the shock of Japanese viewers (and, let's face it, most of us normal people) who consider such antics inappropriate at best. And honestly, how does Chairman's "allez cuisine" karate chop, which you castigate as "ridiculous," make him "dull?" If anything, it would make him too hyper. :)
  • Um, Natalie? The reason Masaharu Morimoto "looks remarkably like Kaga's third Iron Chef Japanese" is because the third Iron Chef Japanese is Masaharu Morimoto... unless you meant that line as a joke?
  • Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing a female challenger too. I also like that there are female sous chefs, and that ICA pays much more attention to sous chefs than IC does. Maybe in the next series, a female Iron Chef? (No, not Rachael Ray! - but I'd pay good money to see Iron Chef Paula Deen or, if they brought a non-Food Network person in, maybe Iron Chef Lidia Bastianich...)
  • I'm glad ICA kept the "secret ingredient" motif (although I really wish they'd call it the "theme ingredient" the way IC does), but I hate that the battles are pre-selected by the Chairman rather than having the challenger, you know, challenge. One of IC's charms is that you usually didn't know who was going from battle to battle. In contrast, FN's site already lists the contestants for almost every match and they're trailing the one from this coming Sunday. Bah. (And oh, yes, I'm sooo rooting for former Food TV chef Ming to wipe the floor with Flay...) I also don't like that they've pre-set the number of dishes at 5, and they're calling them "courses" as if they have to go in a certain order. And is it me, or do they just seem to show one plate of every course at the end of the 60 minutes, rather than every plate (x5 or whatever) laid out? If they only need to plate one dish of each course by the time limit that's almost like cheating.

    Well, that was far longer than I had intended, and I didn't even get started on the "foie gras phenomenon" (sometimes if Robin and I are really tired we wait until the first appearance of either foie gras, truffles or caviar and then turn off the TV, as at least one of the three ingredients will inevitably appear early on in any given IC episode). Nitpicks aside, like Laura and Natalie I'm quite enamored of the show, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    Update: David at Barista puts in his two cents.
  • Silly Site o' the Day

    Has anybody mentioned to Air America that it's rather a conflict of interest to loudly, almost smarmily proclaim "Ignore-Guration Day" whilst at the same time airing ads for an NBC special about Bush and the inauguration? Just saying. Me, I have better things to do; we started watching the Return of the King extended-to-umpteen-hours DVD last night, so I think that'll take us at least through the upcoming snowy weekend. And really, for those who can't get enough of the little gnome's face, it's not like you can't put him in your yard or anything. (Via The American Street.) If you had a yard, that is. We have a top-floor apartment and a parking space and a landlord who only upped our second-year rent by $50/month which is really good for non-rent-controlled places in NYC (and I'm not being charged for parking!), so I'm not complaining. Oh, and we also have a car, which reminds me, my Cultivate Peace car ribbon magnet came in yesterday, really quick and fairly inexpensive and as soon as the snows pass I'm affixing it...

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Well, that was a nasty little Blogger glitch. I had my post all written out, pressed Publish and apparently broke Blogger for about half an hour. Wonder what this second attempt will do. More proof that timing is everything. If I'd blogged about Darth Tater back on Sunday when I first saw it on Gary Sassaman's blog, it wouldn't have looked like bandwagon-jumping now that it's all over the blogosphere...

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Getting Your Alan Davis Fix

    Yes, this is your Obligatory Canadian Comics Content for the day. I'm pleased to announce that Alan Davis' comic art website is now live! Rob and I got to see it in progress, which was a lot of fun, and it is nifty looking indeed. Lots of never-before-seen stuff to peruse, including thumbnails and pencilled art and convention in-jokes and whatnot. (The whatnot is my favorite!) A great place to go whilst waiting for the glitches on the ThyTe message board to be straightened out...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    David Oakes writes to say his LEGO® page (which I've plugged here on many an occasion) has moved, so I thought it a good opportunity to plug The Cubes™ (via BoingBoing), which I can't believe hasn't gotten served yet with some sort of cease and desist...

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    Steinem at Seventy

    Thanks to Arthur Hlavaty for the link to this Guardian interview.
    Pardon Me While I Have a Strange Interlude...

    Back in the mid-'90s when I was in my heyday of comics reviewing, I devoured each issue of a quirky little number called Innocent Bystander, whose writer, Gary Sassaman, is a devoted proponent of Groucho Marxism. (I still haven't totally converted Robin, he keeps falling asleep every time I put this in our DVD player...) Well, I'm pleased to say that Gary now has his own blog of the same name, which features regular visits from Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, and here's the latest installment, as the Perfesser muses about January and parking validations and the case of the missing blonde...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Not fun coming into work on a day when most everyone else has the day off and it's snowed (however lightly) the evening before and it's supposed to be bloody freezing all week. Thank goodness for morning drive radio. Speaking of which, an enterprising listener has put one of Marc Maron's Dream Diary entries to animation (via Avedon Carol).
    "...it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution..."

    Timelier-than-ever excerpts from some speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. on AlterNet today. It's also a good day to once again link to the MLK Jr. Papers Project.

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Vacation Blogging of the Week

    Stuart Hughes goes waaaay beyond northern Iraq and decides to hike the mountains of Nepal. His artificial leg is holding up well so far. His audioblog posts are fascinating, but then so is Stuart.
    Me Heart August!

    Hooray, as promised August Pollak now has an RSS site feed! Now the only must-read-daily person on my list without one is Bob Harris... I can but hope... Update: I should probably also mention that You Will Anyway has moved, and Michele's just added the site feed for the new address...

    Google inaccessible in Australia for about 15 minutes yesterday. LiveJournal losing all its power. A bug in GMail. A possible hijacking of Panix, my old ISP from my dialup days. Welcome to the 21st century. Think I'll go back to my safe, printed-on-paper comics reading now...
    The New Media

    Cleaning out my in-box with a couple mass-emailed pass-alongs:

    Jay Tharp has started up The Hard Left, "a 30-40 minute radio show for the more liberal minded. From Bush, to war, to liberal politicans, nothing is sacred." Hang on, if nothing is sacred, does that mean everything is sacred?
    And David Pakman writes to tell us all that "I run a political commentary and research website, Hear The Issues," which I've added to my check-out-if-there's-time Bloglines blogroll under the folder called Magazine and News Sites, even though it's not really a news site per se. It's a little reminiscent of BoingBoing but more explicitly political most of the time. Still, any site that reproes the generic soft drink map can't be all bad, despite the plethora of Google ads on the right sidebar. Lots more interesting surveys and meaningless stats too, so wonks who are into this sort of thing will probably like it.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via Hanan Levin, it's the Greatest Action Story Ever Told, which looks like it might have been a MAD-TV sketch...

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Credit Where Due

    Watching the tsunami relief telethon/concert, and O'Reilly did indeed show up to talk for about 20-30 seconds. Wonder if the 'thon will match the Saudi one.
    Worthy Commentary

    Last week I got wind of a blogger named Michele Agnew who came up with a unique and participatory fundraising strategy - for every comment she received to her blog within a 24-hour period, she promised to donate a dollar to Oxfam International's humanitarian efforts to help victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. Alas, by the time I found out about this the thread had already closed. But John Quiggin has now taken up the mantle, at first promising to donate $1 Australian for every comment he receives by midnight Sunday (that's 1:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time, 8:00 AM US Eastern time, 7:00 AM Central, etc.), then raising that amount with the help of sponsors to $3.45 A per commenter. Go to his thread now and leave a message! (Thanks to Tim Dunlop for the tip...)
    An Outsider's View

    A lot of the current lefty blogosphere brouhaha about bloggers and the Dean campaign is too inside-baseball for me, but I sense that's part of the point. Seems to me it's not just a matter of "if you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas," it's that so many famous and wanna-be-famous left-leaning political bloggers want so badly to be On The Inside and Important Newsmakers and, well, anything other than just ordinary citizens behind keyboards - and what's wrong with that? that's democracy in action in its purist form, after all - that they'll leap at the chance to hobnob with the political glitterati. And then they'll cry foul when an issue is made out of their associations. Now, obviously there's no equivalency between a blogger working with a political campaign (and letting all his or her readers know about it) and a television commentator taking a six-figure cash gift of taxpayer money to specifically flog a government program (and not disclosing that transaction), and the reactionary-rightie bloggers and TV pundits insinuating such equivalency are idiots and deserve to be ripped new ones. And I'm enjoying the ripping as much as anyone who has no real emotional stake in how this shakes out but kinda-sorta knows some of the parties involved because I read their blogs.

    But at the same time, it seems to me that it becomes more difficult to objectively distance yourself from political goings-on when you become a willing part of those proceedings, via taking any money from any politicians (including accepting ads from them) whilst being a political blogger. If it's not right when They do it, it's certainly not right when We do it. Yet another reason to stay away from the idea of Making Money Through Blogging - as long as one can blog for free via Blogger or MSN Spaces or whatever, there's no need (other than personal greed) to accept or request money from anyone for blogging. And thus, no possible conflicts of interest can arise. But hey, what do I know, I'm just one of those unnoticed outsider-type political-and-cultural bloggers who does this as a hobby.

    Addendum: And yes, I realize that all this discussion means They've won again. They're experts at distracting from the real topic (a pundit illegally taking 5-figure taxpayer money to promote a government program) via misdirection, and the left blogosphere's self-obsessed echo chamber has again played right into their hands, wasting energy going on the defensive when that shouldn't even be the issue. Also, August has it correct, straight on down the line.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Gosh, is it afternoon already? Trying to file comics but am once again stymied by my body, this time in the form of my left thumb not behaving opposably. Must have thrown something out of alignment at dinner last night. Fortunately, the left thumb is the one finger not used whilst typing, so I may yet get a chance to compete in the Herculympics. Via Renee at Random Thoughts.

    Friday, January 14, 2005


    My mind is officially blown. We puny humans have managed to land a spacecraft on Saturn's moon Titan. On the moon of a Whole. 'Nother. Planet. And we still have a couple crafts roving around on Mars. Say what you will about our eff'ed-up politics - and lord knows we all have - but this is friggin' amazing. We should be honored and amazed to live in such an age. (Thanks to sf author extraordinaire - and fellow Firesign fan - Rudy Rucker for the link to ESA.)
    Annie's Song

    Hoorah, Anne Zook is back! Thanks for helping spread the word, Avedon! I missed you, Anne!! (Alas, Anne has chosen not to enable her comments, so I hope she reads this here...)
    Silly Sites o' the Day

    Speaking of kitties, how about the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics (via Lis Riba) and, for the more adventurous kitties, the latest Joel Veitch co-direction (via Amanda Marcotte)?
    Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    Datsa is a bit too large for the windowsills of this apartment, so we had to set up a special cat shelf for him in the library:

    Amy, on the other hand, fits just about anywhere whenever she wants to peer out a window, including squeezing herself onto a little section of my bedroom bookcase:

    I think she's wistful for the warmer weather...

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    And As For Non-Blog Awards...

    Looks to be a rather frigid weekend, so we've both made indoor plans - Robin's hard at work inking Bloodhound #9, and now that my leg has recovered somewhat I hope to finish up the filing of my 19 longboxes worth of indie (i.e., non-Marvel/DC) comics. Then I can start catching up on the still-unread ones; alas, that'll be a bit too late to give my suggestions to the pro in the family for submissions to the Harvey Awards nominations, which close tonight, but by the time the final ballots come out maybe I'll have caught up enough to suggest which ones he ought to vote in...Update: Bloody hell, I'm so tired lately I can't even keep my months straight. Nominations close on February 13. That gives me a month to catch up and suggest to Robin my picks for '04.
    What's the Frequency, Ken?

    You know, I used to really, really like Ken Tucker. He was my favorite Entertainment Weekly writer. But this profile of The Daily Show is so far off the mark, and descends so much into Ken Tucker's Opinion Uber Alles, that it's pathetic. "Stewart overthinks his questions into circular logic"? "Lewis Black has really never been funny a second in his life"? Sounds to me like Kenny-boy's trying awy too hard for that Ain't I Hip For Going Against the Grain demographic. Article found via Hanan Levin.
    It's All About Me

    Okay, my jealousy has somewhat abated. At long last, I've finally been nominated for a Koufax Award! The category is Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. So if you think I deserve to be deserving, please give me the votes you believe I deserve. You know, "deserve" is one of those words that starts to sound funny if you keep saying it out loud...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Well, it took awhile yesterday, but job equilibrium has now been achieved once more. I wound up making another trip after work to the local Home Depot to resolve another personal matter for my boss and his wife, then got lost as I tried to figure out a shortcut back and couldn't remember whether I should take the Hutchinson Parkway north or south, but on the positive side I've discovered the fabulous Pelham shopping area... Anyway, all's well now and I feel like randomly generating a product idea. Via Rana at Frogs and Ravens.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Well, the trip to Manhattan to do errands for my boss is going to be today instead of yesterday, and now involves exchanging opera tickets as well, which means an unexpected trip across town then back to Grand Central. Oh well, it gets me out of the office and into the City, so I can't really complain. Don't nobody bring me no bad news, that's my motto. And it's apparently also the motto of the folks at FOX Blocker (via Tom Ball at Political Strategy).

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Milestone Note

    Happy blogiversary to The American Street! Hard to believe it's only been around a year...
    A Magnet for the Rest of Us

    Ever since I started bitching about the Jesus fish-like yellow ribbon magnets, I guess I've secretly yearned to put something on the back of my car to counter their faux-patriotic mindlessness. I don't have any bumper stickers other than my AAA one (although if we ever do take road trips I want to add on stickers from places we've been), but since my blog is where I bitch I really didn't want to take out my anger or frustration on the back of my vehicle. After all, it's not like many drivers need another reason to behave dangerously around here. Well, via Frank Paynter I now discover that one of my favorite sites also sells ribbons with a positive message I can absolutely get behind. And the shipping costs are reasonable as well!

    Update: Tild~ found another nice one.
    The Passing Crisis

    My work-related one, that is. I couldn't exactly fix what I broke, but the workaround has my boss in the South Pacific for an extra day (awww) and me going into Manhattan this afternoon to effect the ticket revalidation. Nonetheless, the whole experience has shaken me up to the point where I'm once again, as the euphemism goes, exploring my options. Now that I'm resettled in our current residence and have a car, not to mention still being employed, things should go a lot better than they did last year at this time.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Carolyn Ibis tells me she's found a very cool photo blog, and I agree. The bilingual (French and English) 09h09 has the author taking a self-portrait (sometimes with friends) every day at precisely 9:09 AM. Probably more "creative" than "silly" but a cool idea nonetheless.

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    The Pen-Elayne Pledge

    I agree with Duncan that this is a good idea. Therefore, I hereby swear that I have never taken money -- neither directly nor indirectly -- from any political campaign or government agency -- whether federal, state, or local -- in exchange for any service performed in my capacity as a blogger. I furthermore swear that, as long as I can blog for free, I will never ask anybody to give me money for blogging unless I'm hired by someone specifically to blog, in which case you'll all know about that as soon as it happens. There, let's see half the famous lefty bloggers swear that bit. :)
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Back at work, suffering wave after wave of panic attacks. Makes me long for the '80s, and that job I loved which I still miss (14 years, after which they outsourced all secretarial). Need some nostalgia, like this LEGO® version of Michael Jackson's Thriller (via Susie Madrak). David Oakes, take note! Yeah, those were the days... remember when Jackson appeared a normal, talented, good-looking young black man?...

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    More Awards and Anti-Awards for the Rest of Us

    Round Two of the Feministe Anti-Awards has been posted! Congratulations to all the winners of Round One. It's an honor just to self-nominate! Looking over the categories, sadly, I don't think I even qualify for any of these... I think I'm going to do an Elayne Awards next year. :) On the other hand, via Tild~ I just found out about the Golden Guano Awards, so maybe I'll just grab me one o' those. [Update: Via Moi at Bloggg, I also found out there are also the Spanglemonkey Awards for All. Love their illo!]

    Are we really this needy? Oh yes, we are, all of us. Especially we uncategorizable ones. Because look, here are a couple more awards for which I don't qualify - the Brass Crescent Awards being organized by Aziz Poonwalla (not being Muslim I'm out of these ones), and the Jewish (and Israeli) Blog Awards which specifically states "A blog is ineligible for being nominated if, although it is written by a Jewish blogger, the content of the blog is anti-Israel." 'Cause, you know, you apparently have to agree with the heinous policies of a government in order to be considered a true Jew, or a true American, or something like that...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    As today is my Dad's birthday, I tried to pick the Silly Site that would most amuse him out of all the pages I've saved. For you, Dad, here's some Road Rage cards, via Xeni Jardin and the good folks at BoingBoing. Happy birthday!!

    Saturday, January 08, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Can't sleep, keep going over my job mistake in my head, replaying over and over, feeling like I'm drowning. It'll fade with time (perhaps by the close of the weekend I'll be back to normal) but there hasn't been enough of that yet to shake it off. Friends and well-wishers help, thank y'all. Silly Sites help too, so I want to thank Kathy Pearlman for finding limited-animation pasta doing the Macarena. Not as much fun as seeing other people do it to different music, but it made it smile.

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    Datsa enjoys one of his perches...

    (Cats and boxes, they just seem to go together...)
    The Worst Has Passed

    I keep my job, and I'm probably not out any bucks either. But I desperately need sushi tonight, and I have more incentive to get on with my comic book writing so I can at least gain more experience to lead to tiding-over work should something like this recur (which needless to say it won't but don't mind me as I'm still shaken up and rambling).
    Worst Case Scenario

    Okay, my boss just came in and told me I wasn't fired but if my mistake can't be rectified it would probably cost me a couple months' pay. So I guess I'll have to look for some freelance work somewhere to make up the difference... if only it were that easy...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    I'm not feeling very silly, I'm afraid. I did something very stupid at work today, over which I will probably (and deserve to) be fired. Anyway, via Mark Evanier, here's some animation of Ashlee Simpson that I actually haven't watched but Mark says it's clever so maybe I'll see it when I'm in a better mood...

    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Man, almost 11 AM and I'm just now getting some breathing space. And this is on a day when my boss isn't in the office! Speaking of which, this little game, passed on by Budgie, is just wrong. Nonetheless, I found all eight ways to whack the bad guy in fairly short order...

    Wednesday, January 05, 2005

    Silly Site o' the Day

    As if it weren't bad enough that I'm having trouble keeping up with my blogroll and with posting, now a cute little icon can come along and read my mood. Yes, blog pets are here! You can click on the pet, the CPU, the floor, and just about everything around the computer desk to receive cute and pithy messages. Via Shaula Evans. I haven't yet decided whether to add it to my blog...

    Tuesday, January 04, 2005

    The Ol' Bait and Switch

    Via Nathan Newman, "That $350 million for Tsunami relief is not going to be new money in the budget, but is going to be subtracted from other aid programs." Also, you know that victory that all the lefty bloggers are jumping up and down and celebrating regarding the Republican reversal of their threat to scuttle the House ethics rules they themselves set up? Let's not forget that, as Democracy Now points out, "Republicans changed a party rule so DeLay could retain his leadership post if indicted by the grand jury in Austin. Republicans gave no indication before the meeting that the indictment rule would be changed." This is standard operating procedure with these people, folks; let's not kid ourselves that progressives' efforts on both fronts actually won anything substantial. I tend to doubt many of them even have enough of a conscience to be truly embarrassed by either action, as many blogs claim they were.
    Will Eisner RIP

    Damn. Lovely reminiscences of a great, great man from Neil Gaiman, Heidi MacDonald and Mark Evanier, among many others. Laura Gjovaag reproes a very comprehensive article on the man and his work, and of course various other tributes abound in the comics blogosphere. To say that Eisner was seminal would be a gross understatement; I don't know anyone in the industry who wasn't influenced by him to one degree or another. He will be greatly missed.

    Addendum: Ken Gale writes to say that "The next installment of 'Nuff Said!, the sporadic radio show about comic books, will be overnight on Tuesday, Jan. 18 (technically early in the morning on Wednesday the 19th) from 3:30 AM to 6:00 AM eastern time. I again substitute for Susan Brown's show, "Punk and Hardcore," but there will be a little less music than usual because I'm going to devote the whole show to Will Eisner, possibly the best or most important person in U.S. comics history. His name came up in other interviews more than any other artist. He was the artist other artists talked about and learned from and admired. Former 'Nuff Said! co-host Mercy Van Vlack will be with me the entire time and comics historian (and writer) Mark Evanier will join me at the top of the show. We'll also take listener phone calls throughout the show. For those of you in the listening area who won't be up that late, you can tape the radio using a vcr by simply connecting the input of your vcr to the output of your stereo. There is a more detailed description of this on our website."

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via an e-mail from reader Reinhold Mettmer, it's the quite scandalous Republican Society Magazine. It's, um, eclectic!

    Monday, January 03, 2005

    It's An Action Girl!

    Congratulations to Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer on the birth of Emily Jane Dyer, who came into this world at about 7 PM on Thursday, December 30!!

    Update: And congrats to Liberal Coalition member T. Rex and wife on the birth of their twin sons, also on December 30!
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Sadly, Bumpernuts appears to be an actual fad. Via Echidne.

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    Out with the Old

    One of the reasons I like blogging is that it allows me to use the same excuse for laziness that I used to employ back when I was self-publishing INSIDE JOKE all those years ago - that, because I do one-to-many essay writing in a regular and chatty format, there isn't as much need to be a perfect e-mail (or snail mail) correspondent, and besides pretty much everything I'd say about "what's up with me" and "what do I think about such-and-such" in a personal letter or e-mail has already been published here. In fact, if it weren't for Pen-Elayne on the Web I probably wouldn't have been able to write our first-ever "Riggs Residence Roundup" insert that I put in our holiday cards to friends and family; it was a lot easier reviewing the year from seeing what I wrote at the time than going by my ever-worsening memory!

    That said, I do recognize the excuse for what it is, and one of my goals for '05 is to be a lot better about responding to those personal e-mails, as well as not letting ones that request I pass on various bits of info languish in my in-box. To that end:

  • I thank David Chin for keeping me continually updated on his A Picture's Worth project and his fascinating travel life; during his holiday a couple months ago he "visited parts of the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and France. I had a wonderful time, particularly celebrating my 25th birthday in Paris on Halloween and doing many of the touristy 'must-do's in Europe." It's no wonder David has such a wonderful perspective on things!
  • And speaking of pictures, I have a lot of in-box comics-related links to pass on as I heard from old friends and acquaintances like Jason Armstrong and Paul Ryan, as well as new but interesting strangers like the editor of FreedomToons (whose simplistically-drawn work accompanied by invective reminds me a lot of Tuli Kupferberg's old contributions to IJ) and Mike Russell, selling the book he illustrated called Santa's Lil' Gimp (I detect some Gahan Wilson influence there, I love the illo on Page 10, and shouldn't that be "Li'l" with the apostrophe before the second "l"?). Also, Ken Gale is famous, having gotten his picture in the NY Times article (which you can't see any more without paying for it, but Mercy sent me a photocopy) about his activism with Audubon NY and the red-tailed hawks.
  • Lastly, a few politically-oriented plugs to pass along: Igor Volsky has both a blog and a radio show which is broadcast from Marist College in Poughkeepsie every Friday from 4-6 PM. I should have gone into college radio, I had the face for it and it was a cool place to hang out, but I was always doing too many other things... Also, Bob Hayes wants to plug his blog, Let's Try Freedom; and Tom Ball from Political Strategy asked for a blogroll/link exchange which I'm fine with because my News+Views Groups section isn't all that unwieldy yet.

    There we go, all caught up, save a reply to an e-mail from Priest and those always take time anyway. This past weekend, and my enforced relative inactivity (i.e., my decision not to move comics longboxes these past few days because I don't want the leg/groin injury to worsen and render me completely unable to drive), have enabled me not only catch up on e-mail pass-alongs and blog-reading (less than 300 posts to read, but I just found out Ampersand moved Alas, A Blog to a new server so I please update your links and RSS subs) but also on many comics; I'm currently going through the last of my saved-up Vertigo and Wildstorm stuff, after which it looks like I only have one box worth of books to read. Of course that doesn't include graphic novels and newspapers and magazines and... oh well, welcome to 2005!
  • Liberal Coalition Milestone Notes

    Happy belated blogiversaries to fellow LC members Steve Bates and Trish Wilson! (And while I'm at it, a happy belated blogiversary to Glovefox [sorry, password required], who's off to start the "next stage" of her life as a "London Career Girl!" Knock 'em dead, Glovefox!)
    More Blog Awards

    Actually, I think the Bloggies are probably the most prestigious and long-standing ones, and as with the others I don't reckon I even stand a chance of having the honor to be nominated...
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via David Pescowitz at BoingBoing, a cute animation about getting one's stuff done that, swears Robin, nails the freelancer mindset. "Welcome to my life," he said after watching it.

    Saturday, January 01, 2005


    So glad Powell was able to fit in the important stuff, pressing a button in Times Square, in between meeting with the UN secretary general and heading off to Asia with the president's brother to make excuses for our government ('cause, you know, it's all about us) and perhaps check out some of the "sights" recommended by brother Neil Bush while they're in Thailand (no, curbing sarcasm has never been one of my New Year's resolutions, why do you ask?)...

    I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I usually do my annual stock-taking at Rosh Hashanah, and make the usual promises to myself to try and be a better Elayne. (Kath David puts it nicely: "I strive to be better at what I do so I want to exit 2005 a better person than I entered it.") In terms of specifics I generally keep the bar pretty low and aim for practicality; I think my pseudo-resolutions last year had to do with getting into a better situation, both at home and at work, than I had at 2004's beginning, and that's more or less been accomplished; our current place is much quieter and efficient and the rent less expensive and there's actually room for a car, but I'm still at the same job (albeit not in the city any more, and with a far shorter commute than I ever had when working in Manhattan) and seem to have more responsibilities (and less authority) than ever, not to mention all the nightmares but I won't mention them. Yeah, I'd like a job that doesn't leave me too physically and mentally exhausted at night to write stories, but considering our current political and economic situation my take is that I'm just lucky to be employed.

    So "get a new job" isn't really a resolution any more; things like that are too dependent on outside forces. Neither is "get in shape and become healthier" - while I know it's necessary I can't submit it to a resolution or it'll be riddled with failure from the start. And to an extent that's externally-dependent too; like hybrid cars, organic food is generally too pricy to be affordable by the middle class, and while the idea of cooking still appeals to me I don't have the time and instincts for the prep. If I got out of work the same time (and had the same sort of commute) every day I might consider a fat-accepting exercise class like the one I used to attend on 72nd Street a decade or so ago, but that's not going to happen. And I'd rather just get on the stationary bike 2-3 times a week (after my current injury heals) than promise myself I'm going to, because if I make the promise and can't keep it due to work exhaustion and/or the commute I'll feel even worse. That's how resolutions are; they're made to be broken because, after all, we're human beings affected by our environment and not paragons of unbreakable will.

    Which brings us back to the "be a better me" line of thought, where my pseudo-resolutions include things like not becoming the kind of driver I used to yell at when I was strictly a pedestrian, giving more to charities if I can afford it, and finally writing the Book of Vashti comic book story I've talked about for years. Yes, still externally-dependent to an extent, but laudable goals to which I should aspire. And that's what I think resolutions should be - not hard and fast "I must do this or be a miserable failure" rules, but goalposts for which it's not a bad idea to shoot. And if I don't make it, oh well - rather than being incentive to quit one needs to look at falling short of goals as incentive to try again, perhaps with a different strategy.

    Here's hoping all the goals you set for yourself this year are within sight and within reach. I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2005.
    We Are Here! We Are Here!

    Your New Year's present for 2005: Fafblog hears a Who, and gives the blogosphere what for.
    Silly Sites o' the Day

    White Rabbits, and Happy New Year! I've decided to keep doing Silly Sites in 2005 'cause it's a great way to make sure I have new daily content and I always seem to have sites lined up now. Speaking of white rabbits, here are today's offerings: the poignant animation Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me (I first saw it via Guy at Rook's Rant, although a lot of people have already linked to it) and Angry Alien's It's A Wonderful Life in 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies (via Mark Evanier).