Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Milestone Notes

Very happy birthdays to Susie Madrak and Kathleen Pearlman! (Whew, that's my News+Views Gals section finally cleared. Onward...)
Good Reading from the Past Week

I can appreciate Bloglines wanting to streamline things by refreshing my feed tree more often, but freezing Explorer every time it refreshes (and that takes a good 10 seconds at least) doesn't really accomplish that. I had to switch to Firefox (yes yes, I know it's better in lots of ways but I still prefer IE for other things) in order to review the posts I'd meant to mention this past week but never got around to:

• Wil Wheaton has a date with his wife.

• Some great "mommy blogging" from Kath David on Caroline's "all by self" progress and Lauren on Ethan at seven.

• Avedon points out that "absentee ballots don't always seem to get counted if someone decides that counting them wouldn't affect the outcome from the on-the-day ballot results." In other words, if they don't feel like it. But then, considering the events of this week y'all aren't surprised to know we're becoming less and less of a democracy with each passing year day of this administration.

• Bill Shermanreviews the comic book Fat Free. I'm glad Mary Wilshire has work, but this book sounds like a fat acceptance advocate's nightmare. Just what we need, a self-hating, overeating fat protagonist who refers to herself as an "obese invalid." About as disappointing as, say, the trailers for the new Eddie Murphy movie (about which I'm considering writing for the fifth Big Fat Carnival.

• Speaking of self-image, Sigel Phoenix at Shrub.com didn't want to be a white girl growing up, she "just wished I was exactly like a white girl" rather than the stereotype of the "Oriental" beauty which is just as false to her. She wants to start a conversation on body image, on "what kind of messed up things society tells you about being female (or not) and having a body, because for some reason those things aren’t good enough on their own, even though they should be."

• MB wants to converse about why most people won't acknowledge how "the use of the R-word is as oppressive and derogatory as the N-word," and go right on doing the tomahawk chop (which makes me cringe every single time I watch an Atlanta baseball game) or support retention of the Washington football team's current name. And hubby Eric discusses something that really oughtn't be over my head considering I majored in linguistics back in college, Native American glyphs.

• I never had the pleasure to meet or even read anything by the late Mike Ford. In fact, I never heard of the man until he passed away. But he was a friend to lots of folks on my blogroll, who have been doing various tributes. Among the best (and longest) are Jim MacDonald's compilations of Ford's occasional writings at Making Light, here and here.

• Brian McFadden thinks people who want to stop buying Citgo due to Chavez' UN hyperbole have chosen to support the Saudis instead, which is probably worse. I thought Chavez' remarks about Bush were unfortunate and lacking in imagination, but they don't suddenly negate the good things he's done for Venezuela and for needy folks in this country.

• Tekanji has a terrific three part analysis of sexist language and attitudes found in Wizard magazine's "How to Draw" series. Here's part one, part two and part three.

• Lastly, if you haven't yet read Amanda's essay on red herrings, now might be a great time to do so.

My Liberal Coalition post review will, of course, be tomorrow. I'm sure there's lots more good stuff out there, but Bloglines tells me I currently have 290 unread posts from News+Views Gals, 725 from da Guys, and 650 from Da Groups, so it's time to catch up!
Silly Site o' the Day

So when we all temporarily move to a safer, saner country, I think we're all going to need new identities, so why not opt for royal ones whilst waiting to get our good name(s) back? According to the Princess Name Generator, I shall be Princess Philippa Natasha Honora Gwendolen von Astibois, so there you are. And apparently I'm wearing a "beguiling lavender crepe gown, adorned with tiny gemstones, [which] seems to have been made for a little girl," according to the Fantasy Gown Generator, or perhaps I should change into the "smock made of tawny silk and scattered with runes in white," recommends the Outfit Generator. All part and parcel of the many, many Serendipity generators that patriotic citizen "Manon" has created to get us through these hard times. Via Gerard, of course.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Silly Site o' the Day

Or should I say o' the evening? I woke up this morning to find both Bloglines and Yahoo Mail have instituted changes, the former shrinking the type on my feed tree in order to implement some things to improve cruising speed, and the latter deciding to bring out a beta that looks just like an Outlook in-box. So I was looking forward to trying both of them out during the day, but the office internet connection which had gone down yesterday afternoon wasn't back up yet, and today it was discovered the culprit was a bit of fried hardware, and the new local IT consultant (hired just in time!) couldn't get there with the new part until I left (I greeted him on the way out of the parking lot), so it was a fairly unproductive day and I now have tons of online catch-up to do over the weekend. The political stuff alone will probably leave my head spinning. Have we gone to war with anyone else yet? 'Cause I'm ready with the Wartime Catchphrase Generator (via Gerard)!
Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

Oh yeah, they're still way into the gold string from the Godiva box, going on two weeks now.

Amy in particular can't get enough of it, and has taken to waiting on the floor near my side of the bed for me to wake up so that she can get some playtime in before I leave.

She's also started following me around. You have to understand, to all intents and purposes Amy is Robin's cat. She's tolerated me, at best. Now I think we've finally bonded. Way cool.

And here's a guest cat. Never mind who, I know who she is, and she's adorable.

Lastly, Colleen passes along a video of a cat so fascinated by the swirling water in the toilet that he's learned how to flush the thing. His owner audibly despairs of this new trick. Uh, fella, all you have to do is close the lid and the cat can't see the water any more...
One of These Things is Too Much Like the Other

Whilst perusing Mark Morford's latest column, I suddenly realized where I'd heard this kind of "oh no, they're outbreeding us" kind of talk. From conservatives talking about minorities. So you know something, liberals? Stop it, just, just stop it, 'k?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Without Representation

Spam Bloggers and Spamming Bloggers

Blogger reports that today's posting problem was due to "a bunch of spammers creating spam blogs at a high-rate." With all the problems in the world today, you'd think people with so much energy and talent could be able to put it toward some useful purpose rather than pointlessly frittering it away.

I've received a disproportionately high number of blog-spammers myself of late in my email in-box, wanting to "exchange links" with me. Most of them are also wasting my time, and I'm getting tired of responding to them. Therefore, the following is my policy on link exchanges, and I'm putting up a link to this post from my sidebar so that anyone with half a brain can read it before approaching me, assuming they're not lying when they say they've looked at my blog:

1) If you are selling something, I'm not interested. Go away and spam me no more. Look down my sidebar a bit and you'll see the little icon indicating that this is a no-ads blog. I don't know what you've been told, but not everyone is interested in making money blogging. As I have written time and again, this is a hobby for me; I don't shell out a single cent to blog, I give of my valuable time willingly because I enjoy it, and I have no intention of ever asking anyone else to pay for my hobby. Kindly look elsewhere for greedier people. I'm sure you can find them, even in liberal circles there are tons of blogging hobbyists begging their readers for money. I'm not one of them.

2) If you are providing a free service in which you think Pen-Elayne readers might have interest, I welcome your email; include your URL and I'll check it out. No promises, but generally I have no problem letting folks know about stuff like that.

3) If you're just a regular ol' blogger like me, well, that's an actual link exchange. So please write and ask, particularly if I'm already on your blogroll. (Remember, as I read blogs via Bloglines I don't actually click on the sites themselves so I have no way of knowing if I'm on your blogroll unless you tell me.) And my answer will almost always be along the lines of "probably, but give me awhile to get to know your blog first by putting it on my Bloglines bookmarks and checking it out that way, then if you still don't see it on my sidebar after a few months feel free to give me a nudge." My sidebar, she is a pendulous and unwieldy thing, to which I'm not actively looking to add, but neither am I inclined to be rude to new writers trying to become better known. I was there once m'self, after all (some would say I still am).
Silly Site o' the Day

An upset tummy kept me up way too late last night, so I'm a bit bleary today. Here's an amusing generator to keep you occupied (thanks again, Gerard):

Lots of cool options for creating your own error message at this page.

[And apparently an appropriate day for an error message, since Blogger seems rather, well, bloggered in terms of posting ability...]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Finger on the Pulse

Now you see, if Air America hadn't let Marc Maron go from its morning show, maybe I'd still be listening to them. As it is I've gone totally FM anyway except if I'm out and about during baseball games. And since I've chosen to listen to music in the mornings and never looked back, I haven't evening been tuning into The Goddess Randi Rhodes in the PMs - just too many good drive-time playlists, I guess. So am I like the last progressive in the country to know that Air America is no longer on WLIB but in fact moved to WWRL (yeah, I've never heard of it either) a couple weeks ago? The only way I found out was by flipping to AM this morning when all the FM stations to which I listen simultaneously run ads (or promos in the case of the NPR station), usually around 8:16 AM or so. And more often than not Air America would be in mid-commercial as well. But this time there was actually music, which I thought was ironic. Until the end of the song when DJ self-promoted LIB as the "praise and inspiration station" and I'm like, sweet Jesus! what happened? So there you are, yet another liberal blogger with her finger on the pulse of the progressive media. I'd be curious as to whether the Young Turks could bring me back to the station, but - and I hate to admit this but it's true - I kind of glaze over Cenk Uygur's posts on Huffington so if he didn't grab me in a venue to which I actually pay attention I don't hold out much hope for repositioning my radio dial.
Spring Into Autumn

The first four pages of Colleen Doran's Distant Soil prequel Seasons of Spring are now up on her website. This is probably my favorite story of Colleen's, like, ever.
Silly Site o' the Day

Still a bit under the weather, but definitely improving. I haven't had to use any cold medicine yet today, so here's hoping. Say, did you know that in 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit? Sure you did, and now you can't get that damned theme song out of your head, can you? Well, in that case the A-Team Episode Generator mad-lib thingie (via the Generator Blog) sure isn't going to help any.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sneak Preview, Part II

Downloadable pages from Manhunter #26 available in PDF format from DC Comics' website. Actual boards from Manhunter #26 available to Elayne any time she feels like wandering the 10 or so feet into the studio. Nyah. :)

When someone is angry at me, and they know that giving me the silent (or curt) treatment is guaranteed to push my buttons because I'll inevitably ask "what's wrong?" which will then give them carte blanche to haul off at me verbally and make everything worse-- if I resist the impulse to smooth over that person's perceived problem with me by confronting them, and instead pretend that I don't even notice anything's amiss with their behavior, the situation may work itself out after all and their anger will disappear and I won't have had to put myself through any tsuris. It just involves a little bit of patience on my part. It took me over four decades to learn this valuable lesson, which didn't sink in until this very afternoon.
Another Reason Handles Are Sometimes a Bad Idea

Or should that read, "Another reason the truth is always easiest"? First sock puppets, and now this. Until someone's writing has proven to me that they have a good reason not to use their real name, or that their real name has no relevance to what they write, I will continue to harbor just that little bit of healthy and necessary skepticism regarding pseudonymous bloggers and commenters.

First they lose half my template (good job I'd just copied and pasted it to my word processor this morning, which facilitated somewhat quick recovery - see my Maintenance Notes below), and now they're cutting my full feeds to partial ones again (at least on Bloglines). I need this like I need a hole in the head. No wait, maybe a hole in the head would drain out the stuffiness...
The Cure for What Ails You

Posting in short bursts today, to match my cold-or-allergy-affected attention span. That's how I'm dealing with these stuffy-head days, I make sure the windows are down when I drive home from work so I stay alert, then I do little organizational things, one at a time, to take my mind off the fact that I can't concentrate enough to read much or catch up on doing the finances. Last night I emptied a few trash cans, organized my occasion card/blank card/postcard files, emailed my mom, and watched the Yanks win and the Mets lose. TV, I can still multitask. So when I heard that Pat Buchanan was to be Jon Stewart's guest last night, I made alternate plans. While Buchanan was pontificating (Robin confirmed that he was indeed still a "loopy bastard") I went to my computer to watch the video of Keith Olbermann's special comment, which I'd forgotten to watch live because, well, I can't think straight when my head's all stuffed up. Via Bryan, here's the link to both the transcript and video; well worth your time. The page (which also links to more of Olbermann's recent gems) doesn't mention it, nor do any of the many bloggers who've rightfully praised his words so far, but he ended the comment by echoing Murrow's "Good night, and good luck" again, which I hope becomes a habit because, as far as I'm concerned, he's Murrow's current successor.
It's That Time of Year Again...

...so I'll just refer folks to this post I wrote last year about "challenged" versus "banned" books. Honestly, my head's too stuffed up to deal with this nonsense. We have enough criminal activity going on in this country as it is without having to resort to alarmist tactics.
Maintenance Notes

Please make a note of MadKane's new blog address and name change from Notables to MadKane's Political Madness. Explains Mad, in her own inimitable way using a Blog Relocation Limerick:
Coding by hand is quite hard.
It takes time from my being a bard.
So I now blog with WordPress,
New name, look, and address.
Please link, so my traffic ain't marred.
Also, thanks to Avedon I realized that Lisa English is back posting at Ruminate This, which I've moved back from my "Where the Women Bloggers Are" Bloglines bookmarks to the News+Views Gals section. (Lisa's posts have been showing up on Bloglines but my "Where the Women Bloggers Are" sections are so huge that I rarely get to peruse them so this flew right by me.)

As this computer and Blogger don't usually get along, I'll wait till I get home to re-add Lisa to my sidebar. The only reason Mad's URL has been updated was because Blogger torpedoed half my template earlier in the day and I had to paste the template information back in anyway (and it took me multiple tries to succeed there).
Silly Site o' the Day

Meaningless songs in very high voices - it's the HeeBeeGeeBees (via Robin)!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Steve Gilliard opines,
When Bush said Iraq was a comma, he was speaking in dog whistle to the fundies. It comes from a saying "Never put a period where God puts a comma."
But given that this quote is attributed to Grace Allen and is used most prominently as the motto for the United Church of Christ - they're the ones whose all-inclusive ad was deemed "too controversial" to run on certain homophobic networks - I'm not sure to whom Bush might have been sending the coded message.
Silly Site o' the Day

Still feeling like crap, and I probably should have taken a sick day but I'm pretty sure this is an allergy rather than any sort of contagious illness so I'm struggling through the day. I'm too hypochondriac to consider alternatives. So I should probably stay away from the Random Di$ease Generator (via the Generator Blog), designed to "help pharmaceutical companies come up with profitable ideas" by, as the drug companies doubtless do anyway, making up diseases then offering a cure for them. Upon generating the diseases, however, I do think I could be suffering from Congenital Bush-Cheney Disorder...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 9/17 thru 9/23/06

Time once again to see what the members of the Liberal Coalition have been up to:

• Bora has a good link to Chris Nolan, who explains (fairly definitively, to my mind) why some bloggers were more equal than other bloggers at the Clinton schmooze last week. Surprise surprise, it wasn't just select/white/A-list bloggers whom Daou invited, it was bloggers who had been particularly critical of his boss Senator Clinton, said to be mulling a presidential run, presumably in an effort to swing them 'round to the pro-Clinton camp. Which, considering how some of them have been blogging the Clinton Global Initiative meeting this past week, seems to have worked out pretty nicely. As I said when discussing the Amsterdam junket, everyone has their price, and it will be interesting to see if these bloggers have indeed been bought and paid for. Oh, Bora also tips his hat to H.G. Wells and to one of his unexpected readers.

• Charles2 has returned, and implores that we seriously consider impeachment.

Chris is psyched to meet two celebrities I wouldn't mind meeting myself, so yes, Chris, consider me jealous.

• Echidne tells of an apocryphal anecdote that turned out to be true, and examines people who examine the female brain only to reach the conclusions they set out to find in the first place; funny how often that happens.

• Kathy notes that it's real interesting when Republicans want to use the same filibuster they deem so evil when the Democrats employ it.

• Keith's friend's brother reports from Thailand.

• Maru is a bit swamped and looking for a co-blogger, but I don't think she'll ever find one with her facility at clever epithets and amusing illustrations.

• Michael has a new job at uni - congratulations!

• Moi grosses us out. I mean, ewww.

• Mustang Bobby is up in Canada attending the Stratford Festival.

• Steve Gilliard gives a history lesson to poor, poor, rich black Republicans, brings us excerpts from Katie Couric's blog, and takes another look at big-box store wars in Manhattan.

And so to bed again, one hopes...
Silly Site o' the Day

It's officially Sunday, and unofficially the third or fourth day of this nasty 'lurgy that nothing seems to help. I can't breathe, and my right shoulder muscle, just by the collarbone, is strained so much I keep yelping when I try to turn in bed, so I may as well do something productive before I give up again and try to get another hour or two of shut-eye. I only wish I could be as productive as this guy:

Kind of reminds me of a 21st century version of something Mike Jittlov would do. "My Animated World" is via Chazarmaveth, the Pig of Death, just because.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sneak Preview

The first pages of Robin's tenure as inker of Manhunter are now up for perusal at Newsarama.
I'm going back to bed. This dang 'lurgy has gotten me completely befuddled.
Milestone Note

Happy birthday, Peter David! I'd go to your blog as well to give you birthday wishes, but it seems to be down; maybe it's still in shul?
Silly Site o' the Day

From the good folks at the motivational-poster-parody company Despair, Inc.:

The Parody Motivator Generator is courtesy of Elaine of Kalilily (Gerard, take note!).

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

Datsa's ready for his extreme close-ups now:

All photos taken with him on my lap as we sat on the bed, me pointing the camera downward and towards us with the "close-up" feature toggled. Love that "tung!"
Signs of the Times

Well, I was right, bloggers have started having fun with this. Here's another:

Heh, bet you didn't think you could use two wacky symbols, eh? :)

Here's Chris Clarke's.

Here's Roxanne's.

Leave a link to yours in the comments section.
Happy New Year!

When my heretofore-technophobic parents told me they didn't send out paper cards any more for Rosh Hashanah but only e-cards, I realized that I needed to get with the times. :) My e-cards are now all sent, thanks to a place I found that lets me send ten at a time without signing up for anything or giving them addresses of friends. Here's one of their cards, and my greeting to y'all:

Granted, the site's loaded with more pop-ups than I'm usually comfortable with, so I'm hoping recipients don't get any. If you're someone who still buys Jewish New Year paper cards in bulk, have you noticed the 8-packs have now become 6-packs (for the same amount of money if not more)? Yet more incentive to stick with the electronic variety and save a few trees, to plant in Israel or whatever...
Silly Site o' the Day

One of the only good things about working in an office that's suffered the attrition this place has is that there's nobody around to swipe personal things out of my office when I'm not there, so my cell phone I'd forgotten yesterday was still sitting on my desk this morning, at which I breathed a sigh of relief. And the spot on my windshield that I thought was a "ding" of sorts, as it didn't rub off yesterday afternoon, turned out to be a bit of sticky sap from one of the acorns the squirrels have been dropping on my and Lillian's cars in our home driveway, and washed off fairly easily this morning (in fact, the combination of the dew, the sap, and my windshield washer may have actually lubricated my wipers, as the left one didn't drag and smear as it often does). And the weather's gorgeous and the weekend's coming up and I actually slept for and "tonight's the night the world begins again" and so life, at the moment, is good.

Except for my shoulder. Have I mentioned my shoulder's bothering me?

Ah well, never mind. How about some Friday fun? I've been playing with silly signs today:

The warning sign generator is care of, you guessed it, the Generator Blog. Lots of fun symbols from which to choose, so I want to see some creativity out there! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pre-Maintenance Linky Love

Blogger's down for more maintenance a bit later today, so I wanted to clear the last of my tagged posts beforehand:

• Mark Evanier (who posted the YouTube video of that historic Dodgers/Padres inning from Tuesday night) details his current union activism.

• Nona's got a video too, of a British documentary wherein Buzz Aldrin claims to have seen a UFO during the Apollo 11 mission.

• Marie's looking forward to Robin helping her get her new scanner and OS X to be friends. Yes, Marie, it'll be worth it, trust us...

• Lots of interesting posts on the situation in Thailand from Bill Scher, Jonathan, Kevin Drum, Hilzoy, and particularly Doug Ireland,

• Speaking of Hilzoy, he she (hey, Hilzoy's a gal!, am I the last to know these things? gah, I hate 'net handles) tells us about a real cool bit of performance art (but only because no damage was done).

• Shakespeare's Sister Theater presents the continuing Adventures of Dr. Zero and the Pink Petulance! And Chris Clarke presents Michael Bérubé's What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts in graphic novel format!! Both are in-jokey and fairly incomprehensible (particularly the latter) to those not in the know, like me!!! Meanwhile, said Michael Bérubé and Janet Lyon celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary!!!! Gosh, I love exclamation points!!!!!

• TV or Not TV: Ezra reviews Studio 60, and chicago dyke examines Star Trek and Andromeda.

• Okay, you an American you so smart (yes, two Firesign refs in a row since tonight's chat night), "what is the square root of 98?"

• Is the Earth growing? Well, Michael Netzer Online certainly is, with a new Science Theory sub-site in addition to the five other sub-sites he runs (check out the "backstage" section of his left sidebar!)...

Thus having linked, and gone past 5 PM in doing so, I'm hooomeward bound... "home, where my aspirin's waiting silently for me..."
Would I Be In Dutch...

...if I were to observe that all the very good live blog reporting I've seen so far on the Clinton Global Initiative conference is from white bloggers, a couple of whom were also at last week's schmooze?

[Points to those who get the "in Dutch" pun as a reference to a previous liberal blogger conflict-of-interest junket...]

Update: Holy moly, I'm Panda-linked! Thanks Pam, and welcome Pandagon readers!

I weep today with Chris about Zeke, and with Colleen about Sawyer. And I will go home today and hug and kiss and pet my kitties that much longer. I've said goodbye to two animal companions during my adult life, I know one of the two we have now may not be long for this world (we believe Datsa's been on borrowed time since January of '04), and damn, it's never easy. The only thing you can do is keep loving.
Two More (Plus Two More)

The current elephant in the liberal blogosphere's living room is attracting more notice after all, although its acknowledgement still doesn't begin to equal the amount of pixels given over to mocking Ann Althouse for obsessing about Jessica's boobs almost as much as liberal blogs obsess over the wingnutosphere. [Once more with feeling: It's not news when a right-winger says something stupid and anti-feminist, and therefore not worth paying attention to. It is worth noting when a photo bound to be plastered all over the internet features an all-white gathering of movers and shakers.] MB Williams calls race in the blogosphere "our own 'don't ask, don't tell' policy and advises people blogging solely about race to diversify their subject matter if they want to attract wider audiences to keep posting their expertise at "niche" issues to which others fail to pay attention (hope I got it right this time, MB!). As a blogger who doesn't write about only one subject I can still appreciate the appeal of specialization, even though it tends to pigeonhole. And Chris Clarke demonstrates why spelling and grammar flames are the last refuge of trolls as he dissects Ferguson's attack on Liza Sabater.

Also, Kai follows up on his earlier post about the great perceptual divide evidenced in the liberal blogosphere, and Terrance proposes forming a bloggers of color alliance as a way to move forward on the subject of diversity.

Meanwhile, did anyone who watched Jane Hamsher on Keith Olbermann's show last night note whether she even mentioned questions of race in discussing "how the Clinton campaign is allying itself with bloggers to get its message out" during the monochromatic schmooze? (Update: Pam watched, and she reports that the topic never came up.)
First Fall Foliage

I have to remember to pack the camera again; on the way back from getting the car washed (the squirrels have been gorging and hoarding furiously, and acorns and attendant oak leaves have been pelting my poor Hyundai for at least the past week making quite the crunchy mess) I noticed at least three trees whose leaves are starting to turn already! Wonder whether the weird weather from the past couple months has affected foliage timetables; I didn't expect foliage at least until the official autumnal equinox. Which, by the way, occurs at precisely 12:03 AM Eastern time on Saturday, September 23, although the Wikipedia calendar puts that as 4:03 AM UTC/GMT which is actually 5:03 AM British summer time. (Confused? You will be!) No egg-balancing attempts this year, though.
Silly Site o' the Day

Is it insomnia when you collapse at 8:30 in the evening, awaken briefly at 10:45 and mutter to your husband "no, you can watch The Daily Show and Colbert without me but please make sure the DVR is taping it," then wind up wide awake at 2:30 AM? Missed the Yanks clinching, too; although doing it after losing the game they just played really does seem weird to me, so I don't know whether I would have watched the celebrations (were they televised?). Nonetheless, I'm definitely psyched for a possible Subway Series, though I'd be hard-pressed to choose a side for which to root. :) I thought this was an appropriate honor of the NY baseball teams' victory:

The Yankees don't have a Godzillatron. Neither do the Mets. Only UT's Memorial Stadium does. The Godzillatron Sign Generator is via the Generator Blog. And no, I don't care about football all that much; to me there's "baseball" then there's "every other sport" (although I have been known to tune into European football games and the occasional figure skating contest).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Casual Coup

As usual in the 21st century global informationwhosywhatsis, if you want to find out what's happening on the ground in any given country, you could do worse than blogs. Sheila Lennon led me to Steve then to Lynn, who has a whole list of Thai blogs, and from those you can just follow the sidebar blogrolls for others. The overall impression I get from perusing these blogs is that the writers are all pretty surprised that things in Bangkok, Phuket, etc. seem so normal and casual.
Klinton Kerfuffle Kontinues - A Limerick

When MadKane emailed me her latest limerick, Ode to Ann Althouse, yet another example of the relative ease with which liberal bloggers take to mocking opponents as opposed to examining their own culpability in something, I was so frustrated that I shot one back 30 seconds later, which Mad then helped clean up a bit scan-wise and suggested I post:
Some bloggers are way too amused
By wingnuts who bitch about boobs.
They choose to ignore
The stuff that counts more
Like the absence of Blacks at the schmooze.
Near as I can tell, "boobgate" posts still far outnumber "hey, there are only white folks in that photo" ones in the supposed more-open-to-self-examination liberal blogosphere. Belledame has now weighed in with a nice post, but I haven't seen too many more yet...
Maintenance Notes

I've added Robin Cook (The Truffle) and Bint Alshamsa (My Private Casbah) to the blogroll, and was all set to add Kai Chang (Zuky) when it occurred to me that nowhere on Kai's blog does it say whether Kai is male or female so I'm not sure in which of my sections to slot the blog. Kai? By the way, if you haven't read Kai's post The Color Line and the Perceptual Gulf, I highly recommend it. Update: Kai is a guy, and has been added under the News+Views Guys section. Also, a friend of mine is editing the new Gender Issues Digest, so I've added that under Resources.

Thanks to Simon Owens for asking me to participate in Bloggasm's latest survey about the diversity in the blogosphere. I'm sure my stats are in there somewhere even though I'm not mentioned by name.

And a very happy belated fifth blogiversary to The Talking Dog.

Oop, time to go to work...
Silly Site o' the Day

True Majority Action presents Operation (Cure the Cabinet), via flame821 at Blondesense.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Klinton Kerfuffle Kount

According to my very unscientific method of reading through all the blogs on my blogroll, so far liberal blogosphere posts about the Althouse & co. "wingnut" reaction to Jessica Valenti's pose in the Clinton/blogger group photo appear to outnumber posts about the liberal blogosphere's possible myopia regarding the racial non-diversity in that same group photo by at least four to one. And let's not kid ourselves that "support of feminist causes" outweighs "support of anti-racist causes" either, this is strictly "making fun of people whose politics we don't like" versus "self-examination of how we may have dropped the ball."

Not that I have an opinion or anything.
Silly Site o' the Day

Aye mateys, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day once morrrrre, an' 'tis also the culmination o' Holy Pasta Week (Raaaaaa-mennnnnn), but ye won't find this landlubber doin' the West Country accent much longerrrr, as 'tis a bear ta sustain and I have an important appointment on the fair island of Manhattan this afternoon at which I don't believe pirate-talk would be particularly appropriate. But who better to find the strangest "silly" site associated with both evolution (the ignorant rejection of which inspired whole idea behind the Flying Spaghetti Monster) and pirates than PZ Myers, who leads us to Christian pirate puppets rapping.

Monday, September 18, 2006


That was a lot of fun to watch. Not as much welling emotion as '86 - I'll always think of those guys as "my team," I was just at the right age I think - but pretty exciting nonetheless.
Implausible Deniability

Paul Krugman asks, "why is the Bush administration so determined to torture people? To show that it can." Well, that may be part of it, it's a hallmark of any corrupted empire to throw its weight around and bully other countries, and the radical regressives in power have never been reluctant in that regard. But I think they're also looking for a fringe benefit. They want to be able to misuse information gathered via torture, when prisoners are so eager to stop the pain that they'll confess to anything their captors want to hear no matter if it's true or not, and when the basis for whatever adventure they then undertake is proven as false as the rationales for Iraq, they can then point the finger at someone else for giving them the information they wanted to hear. After all, they've done it before. Call it implausible deniability.
Robin's New Assignment

I wanted to wait until the official solicitations were out. As you can see if you peruse the DC Comics offerings for the coming months, Birds of Prey #100 (out in mid-November) will be Robin's last as inker. However, he will be inking Manhunter starting with issue #26 - which goes on sale on December 6, his 45th birthday! As with BoP, I have no qualms about recommending Manhunter as a darn good read. In fact, the protagonist reminds me a lot of a character I wanted to write once upon a time (a divorced mom struggling with newfound power), even down to her physical look. (Arthur Adams takes liberties with certain anatomical parts on the cover shown, but he's Arthur Adams so it's to be expected.) And I kid you not, whilst I was reading earlier issues I kept thinking to myself how good Robin's inking would be over penciller Javier Pina, so I think this will be a terrific fit. Issue #26 guest-stars Wonder Woman, by the way. Oh, and Nancy Goldstein's wife edits, and it's neat to have Rob working with Joan again.
The Perfect Holy Pasta Week Post

I'm glad Laura pointed me to this, as I'd completely missed it on my last trip through my Kultcha Gals section because Rachel has a partial feed instead of a full one. Considering that Pastafarianism is at its heart all about evolution and/or pirates, I think "The Dino and The Pirate Should Be Friends" is utterly perfect.
Silly Site o' the Day

Sorry this is so late, but it figures after a weekend of heavy posting and blog catch-up (not to mention day-job stuff taking priority) I'd be rather burnt out. I think I need some sleep. Maybe with a "cuddly friend" over my eyes. Via Meg at Cute Overload.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 9/10 thru 9/16/06

I've given up on the baseball games for now - I think all this stupid "magic number" talk has helped make the NY teams complacent, and it's just not that much fun watching them lose - so it may as well be time to take a look at the Liberal Coalition blog posts that caught my eye from this past week:

• Bora warns that smoke gets in your eyes, whether in a church or in analyzing how helpful an addictive substance like nicotine can be in treating depression. Also, his son has a run-in with a new local law regarding the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.

• Chris wants to know, "With Civil War and related titles' delay, what does that mean for the writers and artists of the various series that it affects? Do they continue working like normal just get even more ahead of schedule (and in some cases, try to get back ON schedule)?" Speaking from second-hand experience, artists always try to get ahead of or on schedule, and when there's a delay on the front end with the primary storytellers (writer and penciller) more pressure tends to be put on the folks next down on the assembly line. I've lost track of how often Robin, who is that rare artistic combination of fast and good, has made up time lost by late pencils (some of which were due to late scripts). That said, there's a good chance the writers and artists involved in affected titles from the particular situation Chris cites have already gone through their adjustment period long before the fans learned of the delays. Oh, also of note on Chris' blog are his thoughts on 9/11 and pacifism. I can't believe wanting to stop a cycle of ever-escalating violence is actually seen these days as anti-American and pro-terrorist!

• Echidne reiterates why (scary) men are from Mars - Hill, that is - and imagines the pleasures of spacewalking.

• Jane's FDL Book Salons may be a bit clunky in terms of using blog comments for something which would be better accomplished via a real-time chat mechanism, but they're a great excuse for her to talk books, like her thoughts on Arianna Huffington's On Becoming Fearless and her announcement that Keith Olbermann will be doing the FDL Book Salon on Guy Fawkes Day (easy to "remember - remember, the Fifth of November"!) to talk about his book The Worst Person in the World: And 202 Strong Contenders.

• John tells us a bit about dwarf planet namesakes, shakes his head at right-wing bloggers who recommend getting someone to make the Iraqi trains run on time, and shows what stuff not to put on your cat.

• Jude examines the state of health care in Africa and the obstacles which faced President Jimmy Carter in his hoped-for meeting with former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

• Kathy thinks President Bush has a funny way of "not politicizing 9/11."

• Keith shares the story of his ex-spiritual rebirth.

• Ken suggets that right-wing bloggers should use the dictionary more often. I'd like to see a non-complacent press corps demand that Bush define words like "freedom" in his press conferences.

• Maru catches a talking points training session.

MercuryX23 is back, now from beautiful Phoenix!

• Michael has a better way to remember 11 September.

• Mike gives us all we need to know about the upcoming election.

Happy belated birthday to Mustang Bobby, who in turn celebrates the coming around of Andrew Sullivan and the coming apart at the seams of just about every radical reactionary remaining.

• Norbizness offers a great way to remember the late great Ann Richards, and reinterprets the President's September 11 address to the nation.

• NTodd has new kittens! They're almost as gorgeous as his first pre-fall foliage photos. And speaking of definitions as we were above, do you know what a primary is, kids?

• Scrutiny Hooligans report that the sun has nothing to do with global climate change. Woohoo baby, that's all us, we've screwed ourselves without any help from that stupid star!

• Steve Gilliard extols the wonders of tea, reviews the path after the Path to 9/11, and reminds us all once again that torture doesn't work, because this pro-torture administration and its supporters need to be told this over and over again.

As an added bonus, because I want to do all my linkage in one post today, here's some recent non-LC blogging that I've found of interest:

• Today is the Global Day for Darfur. "Despite the signing of a Darfur peace agreement on 5 May 2006, the violence in western Sudan has not stopped; in fact, in some parts of Darfur, the violence has grown worse. People are still being killed and raped and displaced - every single day." Eszter provides links to background information. John Amato brings us the video of George Clooney speaking to the UN Security Council on the subject. And Randy Paul and Mércia attended the Refugee Camp Exhibit in Central Park sponsored by Doctors Without Borders.

• Heidi mentioned that yesterday was the first annual Brooklyn Book Festival, run by some of the same folks who used to run the late lamented NY Is Book Country. Did anyone go to this? It's a bit out of our way nowadays.

• Nona reports from Pastafarian HQ about all Ring of Fire's goods for sale.

• I find it incredibly wondrous that Susie Madrak is a self-confessed tetrachromat. Not sure if that explains her migraines, but the scratching wouldn't help. Now see, that's a very familiar sound in this apartment, it's woken us up the past two mornings.

• Justin's been tooling around New York City attending the Daily Show and bumping into cool people and did he call?, did he write?

• Great news - Greg Palast won't be arrested after all; Exxon's backed down, since they didn't go after Google Maps either.

• More good news on the blogger front, as Lisa Fortuner finds a host for the next Carnival of Feminist SF and Fantasy Fans; submission details here. She also expresses her disappointment at current movie previews, none of which even come close to the Mo Movie Measure.

• PZ Myers knows the real reasons for that planetary name change.

• Dangerous veggies being in the news, Pam issues a caution about the Veggie Tales cartoons coming to network TV. Now see, this is where I part company with fellow liberals. I don't think the cartoons ought to be censored of their heavy-handed Christian preaching; that's their whole point. I just wish they were on one of the many religious channels instead of secular network TV...

• John Hodgman finds hobbit homes not nearly as efficient as holes in the ground.

• Billmon wants to know why Mike Judge's Idiocracy isn't getting more PR. He also shares what he's learned since 11 September 2006 and, in another definition-related post, suggests we refer to the radical reactionaries in power as, um, radical reactionaries. (Rather than right-wingers. I've been doing this for awhile now, as you'll see by a perusal of recent posts.)

Well, it's been a couple hours since I started this, and after I finally finish reading Frank Rich's column today it's time to start on dinner. My first rutabaga peel, woo-hoo!

Now that I'm fairly caught up with most of my political blog-reading again, I'm amazed and not a little disappointed to note how many folks in those sections of my blogroll seem to be getting off on mocking the Ann Althouse-instigated aspect of the Clinton gathering whilst totally ignoring the appearance-of-racism aspect pointed out by Liza and Pam, among others! (Once again, beloved Zuzu is an exception that proves the rule.) [Update: Here's Angie's take, and finally, finally an actual attendee, Barbara O'Brien, speaks to the subject as well.] [Update #2: Here's attendee Jessica Valenti's response, which I'm glad to see as she was the object of the boobie-based attack so I can understand her having been preoccupied with that.] I know how we bloggers all love to talk about ourselves, but it's almost like the combination of boobies and the opportunity to make fun of right-wing blogtopia (y!sctp!) was just too irresistable. It's guaranteed "ratings fodder" during a time when many bloggers just happen to be running fundraisers. And it's easy, like a comedian making fart jokes for cheap laughs, or a comic book artist resorting to tons of fight scenes because he can't think of another way to convey action.

But you see, every time liberal bloggers (particularly A-list, widely-read ones) do this sort of thing - expending so much energy making fun of the motes in someone else's eyes to the absolute exclusion of examining the logs in our own - I think we lose a little more credibility among those not in our inner circle, and look even more like the political version of Just Another Kind of Fandom that we have in large measure become.

I like to call it Wonkdom; the one-to-many mechanisms are the same (it's just blogging tools replacing apas and zines), the in-joke community feel is similar, you have your wanna-be sense of entitlement that leads to blogads and junkets and blog-begging fundraising drives... it even has its fans-turned-pros aspect! And while fandoms are certainly fun to belong to and great mutual-support networks - I've been involved in enough of them in my lifetime to agree there! - they're also easily marginalized and self-marginalizing and actual citizens (does Wonkdom refer to non-bloggers as "mundanes" as well?) will never truly take them seriously, nor should they.

That said, I should add I have no intention at this point of abandoning reading and enjoying any of the blogs that seem to have this blind spot, as they still write terrific stuff on other topics, and I still genuinely like the bloggers involved, even at times when some of them don't seem to like each other. Sometimes I just get a little frustrated, is all. After all, I'm sure there are quite a few times when y'all get frustrated with a post I make, and I'm glad you still read Pen-Elayne.

That's also why I'd never ask anyone else to financially support a personal hobby that I've never laid out any money to pursue, and to which I give my time voluntarily and happily without expectation of reward. It's not just the idea of independence, it's the fact that, if I write a really out-of-line post, my conscience is the only thing I need answer to for it. My idea of blog-begging will continue to be "please let me know of any executive assistant jobs available in the NYC area." Because I believe, to the extent that I will ever pay for anything having to do with blogging, that should come from my income, not yours and not some corporation's ads. And it's all to the good if bloggy connections can lead me to a better day job. Because to me that's what blogs are about - not advertising, not making money, not even "turning pro," but strengthening a sense of community.
Silly Site o' the Day

Robin was perusing PC World's list of the top 25 worst websites, and came across Inmates For You (the "you" in this case being hetero men and lesbians, as the inmates pictured are all female). And that's just at #23!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Argh, Matey

I see the Mets are busy celebrating Holy Pasta Week (which culminates in Talk Like A Pirate Day) by letting the Pittsburgh Pirates beat them for the last two days, delaying the Inevitable Clinch yet again. *sigh*
Internicene Fallout

Okay look, I was only half-joking about my jealousy over not being A-list enough to wrangle an invitation from Peter Daou to meet with Bill Clinton the other day, which I think readers figured out by the following day's Silly Site. But many bloggers took other aspects of that gathering quite seriously.

For instance, Liza Sabater didn't understand why she only saw white faces at that group picture, particularly considering the meeting was in Harlem. Peter wrote to her to explain why, but I should think if Oliver Willis sends his regrets (and then tells liberal bloggers to stop taking offense on behalf of others because he personally isn't upset) and Steve Gilliard doesn't want to attend because he'd consider it a conflict of interest (as opposed to running Blogads?) it might have behooved Daou to look a little harder, maybe go outside of his normal corner of the 'sphere to seek out active, connected political bloggers he didn't personally know about, maybe even to ask Oliver and/or Steve for their suggestions on whom else to invite to increase the meeting's diversity.

What I think is a bit beyond the pale, as it were, is David Ferguson's rude response (edit: apologies to Ken Quinnell, I didn't realize there were two "TRex" handles floating about) to Liza's critique of Jane Hamsher, who happened to be one of the invitees. Yes, he actually scolded Liza for sassing her "betters" - in essence, not knowing her place - before stooping in the same sentence to the usual refuge of trolls, a spelling/grammar flame. Maybe this post should have been vetted by Firedoglake's new press secretary? It's not a real leap to consider a blog that hires its own press secretary as elitist to begin with, but to then fall into that same mindset of "those [non-white] people are crude and don't know their place and can't even grasp basic grammar" is just... well, I'm shaking my head.

It's really weird reading the liberal blogosphere at times like this, not the least because I like all the people involved on either end of this particular argument. I've met Liza a couple times and she's intense and cool and super-nice, and I think my fellow Liberal Coalition member Jane is a terrific citizen journalist with a very vital weblog, and I just don't get where all this anger is suddenly coming from. I wonder if much of it isn't redirected frustration at our inability to do anything to stop the radical regressives in power from subverting all the wonderful things America used to stand for, which finds its expression as a kind of autocannibalism as we snipe at each other while the "other side" laps it up, pointing to us and snickering, "you see, that's why they can't win anything, they're too busy fighting amongst themselves" when, meanwhile, they pride themselves on their boy's ability to follow Gold Leader's order to "stay on message, stay on message..."

Neither do I mean to belittle the overall issue here. I think triangulation and the appearance of racism among Democratic bigwigs ought to be of concern to liberal bloggers, particularly those who tout the Democrats as a "big tent" party. And damned if an A-list blogger gathering doesn't make us (both NY-based liberals and bloggers) look about as diverse as a Daily Show writing staff. (And I use that analogy very purposefully - both the Daily Show and the liberal blogs serve a wonderful purpose and do a lot of good things, but we all do need to go that extra mile to be a bit more inclusive, particularly if we often chide the "other side" for their exclusionary practices.)

Pam adds that, to her, another issue has to do with "the difference between full-time and part-time bloggers and proximity to power centers," but to me that's more of the same old "blogging is just a goddamned hobby" versus "blogging is a way of life" mentality that's been in play since blogging became popular, and there will always be people who take hobbies way too seriously so I don't think one can do much about that beyond acknowledging it exists (although self-mockery is also highly recommended) and trying to keep a little perspective. After all, it's not a mass convention or even a campaign rally we're talking about here, it's just a meeting with a select bunch of bloggers; does one expect cultural diversity when arranging to meet a couple guys on the corner? Not every event in one's day can contain multitudes.

I mean, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, which I suppose sometimes has complicated consequences when you're talking about meeting with Bill Clinton. The final topic at hand here is a tricky one, so I'll try to break it down: Group photo is taken of Clinton and A-list bloggers. One of those bloggers is Jessica Valenti from Feministing. Ostensibly feminist blogger Ann Althouse, for reasons known only to her, takes a close look at Jessica's boobies as one of her commenters decides Jessica's stance is too Lewinsky for comfort. Here are some posts about this tempest-in-a-teapot from Echidne, from Jill and Zuzu at Feministe, and from Jessica herself. I found Zuzu's post particularly interesting (but then I'm really inclined to like her writing) because she ties it into previous discussions on "the generational divide in humor" where, as I've said before, I still tend to sit squarely in the section of second-wave feminists who believe it's extremely difficult to turn around or "deconstruct" certain exploitive images and make them empowering as long as we have a culture that still revels in perpetuating those images straight-up. On the other hand, sometimes there's nothing that needs deconstructing, like the way someone happens to stand when they pose for a group photo, and people who insist on analyzing photos with no context often get it completely wrong.
"Terror is still terror, whosoever gets to frame the rules"

Via an email from Neal Adams, here's the video performance of Roger Waters' song Leaving Beirut, on which Neal helped with the illustrations (mostly by Bill Sienkiewicz):

Here are the lyrics. A pretty powerful indictment of Bush, Blair and the warmongering "Christian" radicals.
Silly Site o' the Day

Just for Robin, it's the Trumptonshire Web. Now he feels like he's six again. It's his own darn fault for going around muttering "Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb" at me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

I brought home Godiva chocolate today, a lovely and unexpected gift from a coworker in our midwest-based office.

It was very exciting for Amy, who adores Godiva box-string. She has quite the eye for the pretty shiny stringy things...
Maintenance Notes

Apparently the Atom feed has gone wonky, so there are a ton of blogs whose site feeds I can't read at the moment. (I'm inclined to point the finger at Blogger rather than Bloglines, but it's hardly worth it as these things tend to fix themselves in fairly short order.) (Update: It appears to have been a Blogspot problem, and Blogger has apologized for the "downtown," which has in turn caused the Petula Clark song to insert itself into my brain for at least the next couple hours.) If you have a site feed reader you may want to bookmark my alternate feed that someone set up for me via LiveJournal a long time ago, as posts are getting through on that one.

I bid a somewhat tearful goodbye to Rana, who's burnt out after three years of blogging. I always liked her writing, it was like a gentle oasis in the relentless desert of high-pitched and high-anxiety political stuff that constitutes so much of my blogroll.

By the way, I'm not looking to add anyone new to said blogroll at the moment, which I'm sure you'll understand if you glance at my sidebar (every month it gets longer anyway, as another line gets added to our archives), but if you've blogrolled me and I haven't returned the favor please let me know. There's no way for me to tell whose blogrolls I'm on because I read all blogs via their site feeds using the aforementioned Bloglines, so I don't actually peruse most blogs directly.

Update: Oh, and one more thing I forgot. If you're considering emailing me to inquire about a link exchange, please do me a favor and actually peruse enough of my blog before making your request to see the sidebar button indicating that this is a no-ads blog, which means I will not link to any for-profit businesses that aren't run by personal friends. So you can, you know, save yourself the time.
Silly Site o' the Day

Wow, would you believe that Holy Pasta Week is here once again? Well, you would if you were reading Laura's blog, she's been leading up to it the way Mark Evanier leads up to National Gorilla Suit Day! However, aside from Diane Duane sharing a recipe, I see nobody else celebrating yet. For shame! For your penance you are hereby requested to play the Flying Spaghetti Monster game until you feel justly contrite. See, as far as I can tell Pastafarians don't care all that much about "sinning" or whatnot, so it's just a suggestion, not a commandment or anything.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Silly Site o' the Day

I do seem to have a knack for schlepping heavy tote bags into Manhattan on rainy days, don't I? I still can't walk more than a half block without feeling excruciating back pain, and it's mostly when my arms are being used for something like holding up a pocketbook or umbrella or tote bag or, today, all three. And I should have known I wouldn't be able to use both the brolly and the walking stick, which would have lightened my load a bit had I left the latter at home. But I'm back now (laden with three weeks' worth of comics which, thankfully, my work-at-home husband was able to carry back to our place from the bus terminus) and resting up a bit before my dental appointment. Maybe I'll troll through the Uncyclopedia as well (via Riggsveda). Say, did you know that today is Grátúïtõùs Üs? öf Ðîåçrïtícãl Mârkš Dàý? Well, there you are.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Silly Site o' the Day

There are bloggy catch-up days, and there are days to set doctor's appointments and interviews and clear one's in-box (except for medical claim payment follow-ups for my boss' family which I'll have to psych myself into on Friday). Guess which one today was? My mood's just been blackened by someone calling for a dentist and me responding twice that "we are not a dentist office," and the stupid woman saying "Don't yell at me, I'm not deaf" and hanging up on me before I could respond, "Sorry, but I also tend to raise my voice and talk slowly at stupid people, lady," but there you are. Maybe I'm still short-tempered from yesterday...

The kerning kinda sucks but it's a fun newspaper snippet generator (via the Generator Blog) anyway...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Other Pigs

While Bloggers Who Count were invited to a a fun little meeting with Bill Clinton today about which they could then brag to make the rest of us feel like crap, the big plans long-time-but-uncategorizable bloggers like me have involve going out to vote this evening. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Oh, and for the record, if President Clinton does read blogs after all and he happens to read this one (hah) and feels bad about the omission, I'm sure he must be able to find an open position (as it were) for an experienced executive secretary who lives a scant half hour from Harlem via the subway or express bus. Later, all.
Silly Site o' the Day

Yesterday was one of the few days in the year when I'm glad I don't work in Manhattan at the moment. I was lucky to only encounter one person yesterday who wanted to wallow in "where were you then?" conversation about a day whose horrors I'd really prefer not to remember but which are nonetheless seared into my brain for the rest of my life, even if I was in midtown rather than the Wall Street area. [And lefty blogs were just as bad, particularly the ones that chose to run photos of people leaping from the Twin Towers to their deaths; I'd successfully managed to avoid viewing these horrific photos for five years until you bozos decided to post them without so much as a warning.] So can we, you know, drop the morbid nostalgia craze now?

Classic Car Grill Sign Generator via the Generator Blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget

Remember remember, Eleven September
Terrorists, treason and plot
I see no reason why neocon treason
Should ever be forgot.

Remember the administration on whose watch this tragedy happened.

Remember which rich family dynasty has bosom-buddy ties to the bin Laden clan.

Remember how that family's current White House occupant and his cohorts squandered all the world's goodwill that followed the tragedy until it evaporated within months.

Remember how much power a complacent Congress ceded to those who had never proven, and have still never proven, they can use it responsibly.

Remember how, every time these radical regressives use that power the terrorists win, as we see more and more of our real freedoms erode – not the freedom to buy things, but the freedom to speak our minds, to be secure within our persons, to worship or not as we see fit in a secular society belonging to no one religion.

Remember that what these radicals really want isn't to govern, but to amass more wealth and power for themselves and their friends, and that every single thing they've done for at least the past six years has been toward that end.

Remember who's really responsible for keeping this country secure, and who's fallen down on that job time and again. And remember who's responsible for getting them the hell out of power so we can restore our precious democracy once more.
Silly Site o' the Day

As Leah, whose birthday this is, is into anime and such,and considering the day, I decided to put my own words in the mouth of anime-style videogame character Phoenix Wright. Here's what I have Phoenix saying. The Objection Generator is via the Generator Blog.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Silly Site o' the Day

What's your monogram? Okay, now what is it in cuneiform? Here's mine:

Write Like a Babylonian is brought to us by the Generator Blog.
Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 9/3 thru 9/9/06

Note to self: next time, take the Pepto-Bismol after the ravioli and garlic bread but before going to bed. Or skip the garlic bread altogether since you know that can't be good for your blood pressure... Oh well, at least the heartburn-induced insomnia gives me a chance to catch up on my Liberal Coalition blogaround:

• Please send good wishes out to Chris Brown's wife, the lovely Kel, as she battles through her chronic pain for which doctors have yet to find the cause.

• Some good seasonal posts this past week: Echidne celebrates Labor Day with two posts about the history of the holiday and women in the workforce. Meanwhile, John reminds us that even though Labor Day has come and gone summer is still with us, and Michael connects the season with the gearing up of election propaganda. Speaking of which, NTodd has thrown his hat into a Connecticut ring. And Just in time for tomorrow's somber commemmorations (by New Yorkers and other thinking people) or glib propagandizing (by the people who let the tragedy happen and their supporters), Steve Gilliard reminds us why 9/11 ain't entertainment.

• Echidne also takes note of the current situation regarding the royals in Japan and the sexism of succession.

• Jane Hamsher reviews the revelations provided by John Dean when he was a Firedoglake comments-section guest for her last book review. Isn't a comments section a bit awkward for a live discussion? Wouldn't an IRC-emulator be better?

• Maru brings us yet another Bushism, wherein the president admits that lying is indeed hard work.

• I don't know how Norbizness gets access to all these super-double-secret-probation Presidential speeches, but I'm glad he does.

• Lastly, I'd like to recommend two more good posts from NTodd about revisionism, one by Yahoo News about the fight against terrorism and the other by Disney, not about what you think it is but about the disappearance of Sunflower.

Big day of driving ahead of me, best try to catch a few z's again before leaving...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

RenFaire 2006 Pictorial

As promised, below are lots of pictures from this year's RenFaire in Tuxedo, NY, about a 45-minute drive north of where we live, up in Orange County. As we took advantage of the half-price tickets on Labor Day, and knew there'd be a huge crowd of others thinking along the same lines (particularly after the horrid weather the previous Friday and Saturday), I'd foolishly arranged to meet Leah in the parking lot around 9:15 or 9:30 (gate opened at 10), but 'twas not to be. First they split up parking so that we couldn't go into the usual lot, and secondly as it turned out Leah didn't make the scene until later that morning anyway but couldn't connect to let us know because, unlike her cell phone, ours don't get a signal in Sterling Forest.

But not to worry, we reasoned we'd meet up eventually even with the daunting crowds, and this year I was determined to actually see a show or two. After looking in vain for Leah we settled down by the Maypole, as festivities there were just getting underway and the sun wasn't blisteringly hot yet. (Thing #1 to know about RenFaire: Most of the entertainment takes place in sunlit areas, which can get very uncomfortable on cloudless days even with mild temps.) Besides, since Labor Day was created by the government in part to discourage workers from celebrating on MayDay along with the rest of the world, I reasoned why not celebrate MayDay on Labor Day after all, complete with Maypole?

After these folks untangled the ribbons in preparation for the dance, a faux-"gypsy" couple did a kind of lame but earnest warm-up. (Thing #2 to know about RenFaire: Most of the workers, entertainers and vendors effect fake accents to go along with the fake clothes, and it's accepted knowledge that priates, gypsies and English folk didn't actually look and talk like that back in the Renaissance era but that pretending is fun so just sigh inwardly and accept every "thank thee" graciously.) The gal was friendly enough (even tried to engage me in conversation but I admit I don't follow Thing #2 as well as I should) and the guy was pleasantly amusing, particularly with his "Baby Bait" act. He had a rubber duck on a string which he claimed would attract babies which he could then sell for pets or meat, I forget the narrative at this point, but darned if it didn't work:

That's a lot of kids! Speaking of which, it was very cool to see lots of kids dressing in garb this year. Hey, that's the best age to pretend anyway, isn't it? So I snapped some "cute kid" pictures:

Mother and child, I presume. Here's the child among other dressed-up kids:

And I think this little girl was my favorite. Not only is her dress gorgeous, but she had a smile that lit up that beautiful little face, and how she loved to dance!

Speaking of which, back to the "action" as it were. Some musicians came out to play, and would later accompany the Maypole dancers:

I should have turned my camera for the first photo below, but even though you can't see the top of the pole I think you'll still get a good idea of the progression of the dance:

It only now occurs to me that I should have used my camera to film a silent movie of the dance and uploaded it to YouTube for y'all to see but, you know, hindsight is 20/20. Besides, there's always next year!

While we were watching the dance, I suddenly realized there were some peculiar things floating on the stream in the background:

Yes, it's a "sea monster" and a "treasure chest"!

There was a "pirate" raft with a skeleton on it further along, but I didn't get a photo of it as I needed to get out of the sun by that point. We noshed a bit (Thing #3 to know about RenFaire: The food is overpriced but lots of fun and usually pretty good, so bring money and a don't-care attitude if you want to eat and you'll have a great time.) So we scoped out the new pub Leah had told us about, the Blue Boar, to see if she'd arrived yet, and no luck but we did catch a cock:

The rooster was right around the entrance to the pub. My only animal picture this year, I fear; maybe next year I'll get photos of the birds of prey show. Anyway, no Leah yet, so we decided to take in a glass blowing demonstration:

I didn't have a very good seat, so my photos of the glass blower herself didn't come out all that well, particularly this one:

But I still like it because her head is obscured by one of her more fanciful creations, so it's "her" all over anyway! Anyway, after I got the mandatory turkey leg we finally found Leah and friends, and eventually made our way to the Blue Boar. She was spot-on that it was shady and comfortble and had table service, but way off in her assurances to us that there would therefore be no bees.

Thing #4 to know about RenFaire, and I'm not putting this in parentheses: There are bees. Always. Tons of them. Nothing keeps them away, except maybe rain, and then you won't want to sit around outside anyway. Anywhere there's food or drink, there are bees. The rest of my very good, very tasty turkey leg went uneaten because the bees just surrounded it and took it over. We tried lighting incense, hoping the smoke would make them somnambulent; didn't work. We left a little mead in our little mead glasses as an Offering to the Bee Gods; didn't work. We were informed that wearing Bounce dryer sheets will keep them away, so I look forward to trying that next year even though I'm figuring it's going to be hard for folks who like to dress up to make them look garb-like. My idea is to create a tablecloth out of the things to set down at whatever spot we park ourselves next year, and use it as a cape when we're walking about. As my sewing abilities are next to nil, this is unlikely, but I'm willing to pay someone good money to do it for me! Seriously. And a Bounce kilt for Robin, please. Sporran optional.

Due to having to constantly dodge the bees and cover up our drinking glasses whenever we weren't actively imbibing, we were pretty exhausted after our pub stop, and that wound up putting an early end to our day. Leah had met up with her friend Kate aka "Cricket," who brought the accessories for her "Black Monday" costume. (Thing #5 to know about RenFaire: As I've mentioned in previous pictorials, there's a whole fandom subculture at RenFaires, just like with sf or comics or sports or whatever, with its own in-jokes and rules and games and message boards and LiveJournals and "doing the circuit" and so forth. One of the in-jokes is that Labor Day is called "Black Monday" when all the in-the-know Rennies customize their garb by adding something goofy, usually involving animal ears and/or tails.) This year Leah and Kate-Cricket decided to be Renaissance-era Playboy bunnies. Of the six photos I took of them (yes Leah, I'll email them all to you), this one came out the best:

Don't ask about the tails, just, just don't.

Anyway, like I said by 3 PM or so we were too bee-draggled to stick around for any pub sings or foot-long sausages or any of the other shows, so we headed on home to collapse, and I'm only just recovering. Naturally, tomorrow we head down to south Jersey to visits the 'rents, so I expect that'll be another few days of fatigue to follow...

P.S. Peter and Kath David are going there today to celebrate her birthday, so if you see them wish Kath a happy 43rd!