Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RIP Molly Ivins

Damn and double damn. I know it was expected, but still. Damn.

In one of the pictures of Ivins my fellow bloggers have chosen to accompany their tributes (and there are many, she was a real hero and inspiration to so many of us), she looks a lot like Leah, at least to me.

Have I mentioned yet how much I tend to despise January, and am glad it's finally behind us?
Why Watching March of the Penguins at Home is So Much Fun

"...but more than that, this is a story of love..." - Morgan Freeman's narration

"...hot, hot penguin love." - Robin
RIP Sidney Sheldon

The TV stuff he wrote was a large part of my childhood.
Silly Site o' the Day

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day! Looking forward to the annual Nairobi Trio Video Playing tonight. I didn't have any saved Silly Sites with hairy knuckles, so I hope this will do:

Knuckle Tattoo Generator via Gerard.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Roxanne, You Don't Have to Put Out the Light

Damn, Roxanne Cooper is hanging it up. I've been reading her blog since before it was Rox Populi, and she's one of the relatively few bloggers I've hung with on a number of occasions even though she lives around the DC area. I think she's also the only political blogger who's met my first and second husbands. :) Obviously I hope she changes her mind but, if not, please don't be a stranger, Rox!!

Update: Rox's light is still on, but it's now at Pandagon because Amanda has been hired as blogmeister for John Edwards' presidential campaign! Yay Rox, and congrats Amanda!
Silly Site o' the Day

A couple of mighty strange ones via BoingBoing. First, via Cory, it's Captain Eeyore. Never having seen the original, I'll take their word for it that this is a short-for-shot parody. Then, via Xeni, it's, um, baby meat. It's so very, very wrong.
Bandwagon Jumping

Because it's tomorrow, and because we all love Mark Evanier and Don Martin:

That's tomorrow, January 31. Time to get that gorilla suit out of the cleaner!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Up since 4 thanks to Datsa, although I managed to drift off again for a fitful two hours before the meowing became too much to ignore. I wonder if they make a feline equivalent of Beer for Dogs (via Stephanie McMillan), maybe that'll get him to sleep through the night...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 1/21/07 through 1/27/07

Still trying to shake off the effects of last night, but at least I put the insomnia to good use by getting through my unread Liberal Coalition posts, so it's time for my weekly LC-plus-others blogaround!

• Bora's basking in his well-deserved fame, shaking his head at newbies who purport to know more about blogging than people who've been doing it for years, and exploring the word of the day, quotidian.

• Echidne notes that any movement that defines women as objects (say, cars) doesn't have their best interests as human beings in mind; and joins the chorus Blogging for Choice, as does Trish. I was particularly pleased to see so many male LC members who will never experience pregnancy blogging for choice this year, like Jeff and Mustang Bobby and Norbizness and

• John passes along the exciting news about the possible discovery of the legendary Lupercale.

• Kathy reviews yesterday's anti-war demonstration in Washington, and mocks the reactionary blogosphere's resort to a loyalty pledge to avoid patriotic debate on disastrous foreign policy errors.

• Keith links to the ALA list of the to ten great graphic novels for teens. I can't believe Identity Crisis (aka "we need a rape as a plot contrivance") made the list, but I'm glad Pride of Baghdad and Castle Waiting and American Born Chinese did, as I found them all well worthwhile.

• Natalie gives us a heads-up on some changes occurring to AF&O and her Armchair Activist project.

• Norbizness scores an interview with the Cheney-bot and rejoices in the Superbowl history about to be made.

• Steve B has a wicked cool cat blogging photo.

• Steve G has moved his blog, and continues his variations on the theme of how the '60s anti-war movement failed, as well as how the American media continues to hide ugly war truths from the American people

• Trish sings the praises of Lindt chocolate. I prefer Galaxy but can't always be assured of finding it in this country...

• Lastly, upyernoz takes a look at the latest t-shirt flight flap.

Sorry I haven't had a chance to praise the following non-LC posts until now:

• Bloggers correct the record: Neil Gaiman debunks the supposed press release about the Grand Canyon that appeared in New Scientist (you know, the one that says staff aren't allowed to talk about the canyon's age), and Aidan Brooks talks about the current fad of microwaving kitchen sponges.

• Mary Beth looks at a Hillary For President ad campaign using non-whites as "listening props", and Texas Jaye at Blondsense doesn't much care for Ms. Magazine's suggestion that women give up their privacy in order to secure reproductive privacy rights.

• Gah, what is it with these supposedly liberal causes promoting themselves via sexism? You've doubtless seen some of the blogospheric reaction to PETA's latest nonsense featuring nekkid chicks, and Ann Bartow found a shirt engaged in, as she puts it, raising awareness of breast cancer research by putting a violent message on a headless female torso. Less liberal perhaps, but no less sexist, is this Microsoft ad and this Toyota one. Crikey, no wonder tons of people see nothing wrong with "sexpresso" shops.

• Cheryl Lynn is starting to open her selective sight not only to the racism in comics she's always spotted but to concerns about sexism as well.

• My favorite submission this year to Blog for Choice day was this one by Lisa Fortuner on how a comic book character (one whom I adore as well) changed her mind from being anti-choice to being pro-choice.

• Ken Jennings wonders about the content of the Fleischer Superman's character.

• Nicole Bell at Crooks & Liars takes exception to how a Yahoo News headline chooses to describe our current Speaker of the House.

• A couple gems courtesy of the Comedy Central Insider: A pointer on how to make the Alanis Morrissette song Ironic actually ironic; and Alex Foley asks, What's your Hugh Laurie Age?

• Lance Mannion utterly rejects the premise that national politics is like high school, even fake high schools like we see in movies and TV, and wonders when some boomers will start acting like grown-ups. This is another in a series of terrific essays about Beltway Media Insiders, and it's so good I was compelled to read it aloud to Robin. Lance also supplies a great parable about the reasons why some people don't like the radical reactionaries currently in power, which I fear is not literal enough for them to understand.

• The Rude Pundit is also being way too subtle for these people in his State of the Union analogy. And Steve M. presents the Cliff's Notes version of the State of the Union.

• PZ Myers cautions us to beware of any society that runs on the engine of despair. And Avedon cautions us that not everyone who happens to agree with us on one point is automatically on the side of the angels; didn't we already travel this road with John McCain?

• Say Wayne, did that remedy for the upper respiratory ailment work? It sounds like something I'd like to try.

• Lindsay has once again participated in the Idiotarod, and has loads of photos.

• And hoorah, another episode of The Adventures of Dr. Zero and the Pink Petulance! I live for Shakespeare's Sister Theater.

Ah good, Rob's up again (neither of us had a very restful night), time to make brunch...
Silly Site o' the Day

No "mandatory change to New Blogger" directive yet, but I've already read a few blogs that speak of Blogger doing that to them, so fair warning - if Pen-Elayne switches over (and I'd let Laura handle that, I'm too chicken), at least two dozen of my past posts will suddenly show up in your RSS readers. Advance apologies if that happens even though it's none of my doing. I hope it doesn't happen today - I had a horrible, mostly sleepless night (not the cat's doing) and when I finally drifted off around 5 AM or so I had nightmares involving Leah's death and bad things at work and that lot so I'm not terribly eager to go back to bed now. I need something soothing, like the Winterbells game (via Susie)...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Sorry I'm late with this, I wanted to get more caught up with reading, plus I've been busy test-blogging for my "second job" at that pop-culture site I've been teasing y'all about. Launch date gets closer and closer! Hoping for s link-rich post later today, but with my reading backlog it's likelier I'll just bundle them up with the Liberal Coalition blogaround tomorrow, and take to my bed with some magazines during the rest of this chilly afternoon. Does that qualify for a First Life (seen first via Julia but now making the rounds)? I sure hope so, it's the only life for which I currently have time...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

Have I mentioned Amy likes to get on top of things?

Well, a couple days ago was laundry day, so she got to fluff herself into the comforter and pillows...

...and then onto the laundry bag later on. Life's rough for kitties! And seriously, how cute is that upside-down face?
Punch and Bind

So I was in the windowless conference room doing velobinding for the annual reports my coworker generates, and suddenly there was a ruckus outside which I heard even from my location. I figured it was just some folks shouting at each other, as they tend to do around here. Then a couple minutes later I heard my coworkers talking from my boss' office and discerned the phrases "run over" and "crushed his head." Turns out that, right outside our building, a man on crutches (one of the clients of our social services tenant) was crossing the two-line highway, a dangerous proposition at any time but heaven forfend anybody actually walk down to the corner and cross at the light, and a truck didn't see him and backed over him, apparently decapitating him in the process. I say "apparently" because, quite fortunately, my coworkers were very good about keeping me from any angle at which I'd be able to see the gruesome outcome. (My coworker who saw it is still sick to her stomach.) This happened around 11 AM or so, and it's now 2 PM and the police and emergency vehicles are still blocking off the street and the entrance to our parking lot. I keep glancing out at the yellow tape, not wanting to see any more, but the blood is there under the truck and... What makes people watch this? Why am I glancing at it? Nothing's going to happen at this point. I dunno, maybe it's the idea of being close to death but spared from it one's self, and so we have to keep looking over to reassure ourselves that we're still spared this poor man's fate and that, by continuing to look, we're somehow paying our respects.
Silly Site o' the Day

Ah, the frontiers of science: via Sean at Cosmic Variance, there's a proposal to put a geostationary banana over Texas.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Or deadly serious site, depending on your viewpoint. When even President Kookoobananas pays lip service to global climate change (and despite Jon Stewart I don't think that's a weasel phrase, it encompasses much more than "warming" as it addresses weather extremes of all kinds, like arctic cold where it's never been felt before and vicious storms of increasing magnitude) then there's a chance it's starting to sink in. Via Bora, Auntie Beeb gets in on the act with the Climate Challenge Flash game, which I'm sure is worthwhile if you've ever played Risk (which I haven't) or have some free time (which I don't; slow blogging continues)...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Coincidence that "old Blogger" was bloggered during last night's SOTU, so even if I'd decided to watch it (instead of just skimming the transcript at Eschaton and shrugging) I wouldn't have been able to live-blog it? Nah, that's just silly. But at least it's not cruel, like the Magic Makeover Generator (via Gerard)...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If You Must Watch, Watch and Drink

I've seen two State of the Union drinking games referenced today, one at Alternet (via Maya at Suburban Guerrilla) and one at this site (via Laura). If I see any more in my blog catch-up before the actual SOTU speech, I'll add the links to this post. Update: I found two more before the speech - Rachel Maddow's at HuffPo; and, at BoingBoing, Mark has a Buzzword Bingo game. Unfortunately, Blogger was Bloggered when I tried to post them, so they appear after the fact...
Silly Site o' the Day

I should know better than to consider my boss' holiday a breather for me; my two coworkers couldn't wait to heap more stuff on me on the assumption that I have "nothing to do" because he's out of the country, completely ignoring (1) the huge data-entry project he left for me before he took off and (2) my desire to get caught up with my own work before taking on stuff for them. Ah well, it's 3 PM and I can now relax a bit, having done massive paperwork for coworker #1 and two months' worth of filing for coworker #2. The last thing I need now is to be anywhere near the State of the Union speech tonight, but I felt like putting up a political Silly Site so, via Syntax at Scrutiny Hooligans, here's Global Politics in 30 Seconds:

Anyone know anything about Wonder Showzen? Is it still on MTV2? Is it worth watching?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

The ninjas are blogging for choice; are you?

I really don't have anything to add to my post from last year, so I hope a link will suffice. Ninja text generator via Gerard.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 1/14/07 through 1/20/07

I'm behind in my reading again, but it's a "good kind of behind" (wait, that didn't come out right) since so much of my weekend was spent with friends. At least five hours visiting Jan, not including travel between the Bronx and Brooklyn and dropping her off on the Upper West Side. Yes, for the first time in my life I drove in Manhattan traffic. Really only around Broadway and West End Avenues in the upper '90s/low 100s, but that was plenty for me! I like to think Leah would have been proud, but I've been feeling pretty white-knuckled since, so I need to relax my hands by doing a Liberal Coalition-plus-others blogaround, don't I?

• The folks at First Draft have moved, but LC member Tena does not appear to have posted since.

Bora's book is out! Actually, The Open Laboratory is a compilation of science blogger posts from 2006 put together by Lulu.com, so it's a self-published kinda thingy, but it's probably a great resource if you want hard copies of some of the best science blogging around. Bora also cannot believe people are still defending Uri Geller. Ah, but some people want to believe...

Charles2 shudders at the implications of the President firing attorneys without cause and appointing cronies indefinitely without them going through an approval process.

• Echidne lists five things she likes about her physical and emotional self.

• Jeff feigns outrage at hypocrisy over obscenity.

• John lists the concepts our current president doesn't seem to grasp, like sacrifice and science and history. Michael also notices the president's sheer bogosity.

• Keith, whose novel is almost wrapped up, is amazement at Scientologists' gullibility has no end; also, he points to a nice remembrance of Robert Anton Wilson, and passes along some more controversy about the Dubya presidential library.

• Ken would like to see Dr. King remembered a little more accurately, and Natalie presents some music appropriate to the day.

• Moi tries a new recipe for first aid, and finds it as cool as I do that Helen Mirren won two Golden Globes for portraying both Queens Elizabeth in the same year.

• Mustang Bobby celebrates the probability that we only have at most two more years of sheer madness, and the fact that his blog has passed 150,000 hits.

• Norbizness presents an ode to jerks and to a strange Texas winter.

• NTodd has a great kitten-to-cat photo pairing of Sam.

• Steve G examines internet-phobia and begs to differ with MaxSpeak.

• Yay, Trish is coming to I-CON! My last I-CON was with Leah some four or so years ago, but as Trish will be there this year I'm planning on making the trek again.

• And upyernoz wonders what to do when the G-word appears in your fortune-cookie fortune.

And I saved up a few more non-LC posts before I got behind again:

• Comedian Elayne Boosler, whose entire name differs from my birth name by a mere three letters, has started getting almost as much Google juice as me since posting on HuffPo, and her latest relates her own experience as a White House Press Correspondents' dinner entertainer. And Mark Evanier found a Washington Post article that seems to be backpedalling a lot on what Rich Little was or was not told.

• Over at Shakespeare's Sister, Melissa introduces us to the organization See Jane, which deals with character gender equity in media (alert to When Fangirls Attack!); and Paul the Spud brings the incredible news about how the Democrats are being criticized for bringing in their "100 Hour Agenda"-- ahead of schedule!

• Andrea deals beautifully and eloquently with her grief over her grandma.

• Happy birthday to Bernadette, Laura and Eric (Laura's was yesterday, and I think it so cool that the husband-and-wife birthdays are one day apart, mine and Robin's are a full four).

• Jenn has a very interesting review of The Atom #2. I'm not sure I agree with it, and I'd swear that the creators didn't intend any racial ignorance, but it's food for thought anyway.

• Gary examines the various romantic entanglements going on at The Office.

• And speaking of TV, last up is another gem from Quick Stop, the two-part Debra & Stephanie Show video blog featuring the writer and guest star of the Scrubs' musical episode.

Wow, that took way longer than I thought it would - I started it well before dinner and it's a bit past my bedtime now. Nighty night all!
Silly Site o' the Day

Via Robin, and because Heidi will get a kick out of it:

After all that, I'm not sure what I have or need. (BTW, Rob counts 12 picture lights on the painting in the circular room. 'S what he does.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sometimes You Need to Go Out of Your Way

That's all I'm saying. Some things are worth going out of your way for. Like one's first purchase of blood oranges and Meyer lemons:

I'd been hearing about these exotic fruits for awhile during my foodie "travels" (okay, mostly from watching Iron Chef America) and getting ever more curious, but none of the fruit and veg places I normally haunt had 'em, and there isn't a Whole Foods Market near me at the moment. So I had to wait for an excuse to visit Manhattan, specifically Monster Sushi (our favorite haunt when I worked in midtown and we wanted to celebrate Robin finishing an issue of work), as I figured Garden of Eden right next door would have these babies in stock. And sure enough they did. The oranges taste mild and quite sweet but like nothing specific on which I can put my finger. The lemons taste sweeter than ordinary ones, definitely juicier, and quite mellow (it nicely soothed my stomach, which had gotten rattled about a bit during the bus ride home). I'm looking forward to having slices in my morning tea.

The reason we found ourselves in Manhattan was to have dinner and get caught up with Heidi, whom I hadn't seen in way too long. And tomorrow we're venturing into my old stomping grounds in the wilds of Brooklyn to pay a call on my friend Jan. My friendships with these two women go back at least 15 years, but I don't see them nearly as often as I ought to. And they're both well worth going out of my way for on a cold January weekend.
Silly Site o' the Day

Every morning I ask Leah, the angel on my shoulder, which Silly Site to post. Today she giggled at Adopt A Black Baby.com, via the Comedy Central Insider. "Now you are Madonna!" the site screams. "Uh, no, I don't think so," Leah would have responded.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

The cats have been very therapeutic this past week. Here are a couple of nice close-ups:



Of course, we tend not to think of them as therapeutic when they meow at all hours of the night...
A Song To Go With the Candle

Laura lit a candle for Leah this morning. I will do so this evening, and listen to the following song while it flickers:
All my life's a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life's a circle;
But I can't tell you why;
Season's spinning round again;
The years keep rollin' by.

It seems like I've been here before;
I can't remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we'll all be together again.

No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

I found you a thousand times;
I guess you done the same;
But then we lose each other;
It's like a children's game;

As I find you here again;
A thought runs through my mind;
Our love is like a circle;
Let's go 'round one more time.
The song is Circle by Harry Chapin, one of Leah's favorites.
Silly Site o' the Day

I keep adding to my remembrance of Leah, on this day when her earthly remains will be buried, not only as I gather more tribute posts to list at the bottom but because I keep recalling more and more wonderful things about her. Would that all of us leave such a legacy! I've dedicated my column for the pop culture startup site (whose debut is imminent, and boy will comic book fans be happy when they see some of the names slated to participate) to Leah, and renamed it "It's All Good" as that was one of her favorite expressions. And that characterizes my thoughts of her as well. She's the angel on my shoulder now, kibbitzing and making snarky remarks and always smiling while I "talk" to her in my thoughts. This blog is, of course, also dedicated to her, as anyone who subscribes to the RSS feed via Bloglines has probably already seen in Pen-Elayne's subtitle. So, let's see what Silly Site she'd pick today out of my pile... how about Litterbox's Bag of Bones (via Diane)? It's a little old amd a little loud, but hey, it's got cats so It's All Good.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Leah's Name

A lot of folks have been asking me if Leah had designated a charity to which people could donate in her memory. Her brother Brian Fogelson is accepting personal donations towards helping out Stephen and Daniel, who are now orphaned, at his address of 17 Senator Stout Road, Frenchtown, NJ 08825-3721, but if you want to donate to an organization, Leah's friend Rhoda says "I talked to Brian and we thought that the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund might be a good charity to donate in her name. It's a charity that she would have supported." I'm renewing my membership ASAP.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Posts go on, brah, la la how the posts go on. Not wanting to neglect all my bloggy friends and acquaintances - in fact, now more than ever I'm keenly aware of how much I love y'all and appreciate your wisdom and your entertainment and your friendship - let's turn to some of the posts which have caught my eye recently:

• January sucks, have I mentioned that? Now Art Buchwald is gone as well (although that was certainly expected, and thanks to Roxanne Cooper for the link), and Liberal Coalition member Jane Hamsher is in the hospital again. While I haven't read Firedoglake since around September (when the blog first hired a press secretary, then Jane and Christy attended the all-white-bloggers Clinton luncheon in Harlem, then the FDL bloggers greeted queries about that dismissively, further adding to their reputation, begun when Jane first ran a blackface Photoshop back in August, of not really caring about non-white folks' concerns), I certainly wouldn't wish all this suffering upon her, and hopes she pulls through okay. Damn it, we've lost enough people.

• Teresa Nielsen-Hayden charts the BBC hamster stories. Leah would have giggled at this one.

• Reb confesses a fondness for Mary Sue characters. Would that make her a candidate for Mary Sue Anonymous (via A.R. Yngve)?

• In an uncharacteristically long post, Zach Braff reminds everyone that Scrubs' musical episode is on tonight, which he says "might be the best ½ hour of television you will see this year." But of course he's biased.

• I had no idea plans are afoot to tear down the Hotel Pennsylvania (via BoingBoing)! I've actually stayed there. Granted, the hotel is kinda cheap and lousy but-- but-- Pennsylvania 6-5000! I'm really surprised it hasn't been declared a historical landmark yet.

• One of my newest must-reads is the weekly celebrity interview from Ken Plume (aka UncaScroogeMcD) on Quick Stop. Last week it was Ricky Gervais; this week it's Stan Lee. Plume takes the time to do his homework, and that always makes for a better in-depth conversation.

• Anne Zook has posted again, giving us more war news.

• Christie Keith has been blogging the heck out of the Xena Convention.

• According to Glenn Reynolds and , there's some sort of pissing contest among A-listers regarding what liberal bloggers actually said in the fall of '02 about the run-up to the Iraq War. Since it's a pissing contest apparently no chicks are allowed, but (as with Terry Welch) my ass is more than covered anyway; I checked my September and October 2002 archives (all the Pen-Elayne archives are accessible via the sidebar) and, every time I mentioned Iraq, I talked about how obvious it was that the government was making up pretexts to attack. I know I was new to blogging then, but as I recall I wasn't saying anything different than what most of the folks on my blogroll then were also saying. This shouldn't even be an issue but, as A-lister Oliver Willis notes, we love to gaze at them thar navels. More from A-listers Digby and Tristero over at Hullabaloo.

• Apparently PZ Myers is cutting back on his blogging, which I believe means he's going from a gazillion posts a day to a mere umpteen.

My boss has left for the day, so I can now post this and resume blog catch-up activity...
Silly Site o' the Day

A lot of the cool generator sites to which Gerard has linked are part of a huger site called RedKid.Net - a great place to play around if you have time to kill.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend

Ten years ago one of my heroes, Kim Yale, was taken from this world by breast cancer. I was lucky enough to have called her friend, and her courage and sensibility guide me to this day. Last year Bill-Dale Marcinko, my closest buddy from college who taught me so much about how and at what to laugh at, passed away in a house fire. So much of what I am today I also owe to Billy.

Now my best friend in the world, Sondra Leah Fogelson Adezio, has gone to a place where I cannot yet follow. And I am bereft another hero, another mentor, and another very large piece of my heart.

I met Leah about 15 years ago at a comic book convention in New York. It might have been at the Javits Center, I distinctly remember hanging out with her around the steps that led down to the exhibition hall and gabbing about anything and everything. It hadn't been that long since her mom had died from cancer, and she'd decided to embrace an artistic career with the support of her husband David and two young sons Stephen and Daniel. She'd done a bit of professional inking but was also working on her own concepts to write and pencil. In those days another woman at a comic con, particularly someone around my age, was still an anomaly and we bonded immediately.

Over the years we saw each other as often as we could, what with me living in Brooklyn and her in Newton, NJ. We journeyed to conventions together (I've often joked to Robin that he's not the only inker with whom I've shared a bed), attended Friends of Lulu NY meetings which I hosted in the loft of my old office, and talked on the phone as frequently as though we were still in high school (having not known each other back then we had a lot of catching up to do).

Leah adored Aqualad. Garth was the character on which she had fixated as a girl, and she identified him strongly with her closeness to her mom (who'd bought her first Teen Titans comic for her) and her love of the sea. She loved discussing the character with some of her favorite comic book artists like Nick Cardy and Colleen Doran and Phil Jimenez. (She and I also appreciated the attention Phil and a few other artists paid to proper male anatomy, which became one of many running gags with us.)

Leah and I worked together on three scripts for her pet project, a 6-issue series called Ari of Lemuria about a teenager and her best friend (who just happened to be a prince) and their adventures in their undersea kingdom. Writing with her was one of the highlights and joys of my life, and it was always an occasion when she'd come over for a session. She spent months shopping around her detailed outline looking for a publisher and, after finding one, was crushed when they requested she cede the actual art chores to Anne Timmons and Trina Robbins. Which might not have been so bad (after all, those two ladies went on to work together on the wonderful GoGirl series) except that the publisher also turned out to be one of those shady "contracts were made to be broken" outfits from which we never saw a penny for the scripts. The only bit of Ari that ever got published was a four-page story (which we both wrote, she drew, and I lettered) that appeared in the Friends of Lulu Storytime anthology. When she and David and the kids moved to suburban PA and she concentrated on being the family breadwinner due to his epilepsy-related disability leave, that kind of put paid to further collaborations, but even after Robin and I moved to the Bronx we still got together as much as was possible (more often than you'd think, but then "Leadfoot Lass" rather enjoyed making the long drives). After David passed away a little over 3 years ago, Leah never regained her desire to create comics, although she still read them passionately for the rest of her life.

Leah prided herself on being the Cool Mom, always taking interest in Stephen's and Daniel's hobbies, encouraging them without indulging or pushing, showing by example all the wonderful pop-culture avenues available to them. And her sons have grown into kind and intelligent young men of whom any parent would be proud. She latched onto manga long before I did (but on the other hand I was responsible for her first taste of sushi), exhibiting a particular fondness for Pikachu and other cutesy stuff. (One of her last great passions was for Happy Bunny.) For the last half dozen years she was a regular at area Renaissance Faires, always garbed and in on all the private jokes among faire workers. Robin and I attended the NY festival around September 11 every year to celebrate her birthday (she really resented that the date became so infamous that she felt guilty celebrating it); needless to say, we don't plan on ever going to any more faires.

Leah loved cats, and liked to name hers after various bits of Aquaman lore. She was near inconsolable when Kako died, but Tempest and Atlanna and the twins Mera and Maleika are all still around and purring. She loved to bake bread from scratch, when she could find the time, and to make miso soup. She loved singing along with the car radio, sometimes even in tune (I kid; she had a lovely trained voice), and she adored the late Harry Chapin. She loved Star Trek, which reminded her both of David and of her late brother Scott, cut down by a bullet in his prime. She had an appetite for all sorts of fun, and delighted in bawdy humor. She loved the New York Mets, and loved to relate the story of her dad having arranged for her to meet Rusty Staub (for whom her younger son is named) for her 16th birthday.

And yes, she had her own sense of time. During the years I was dependent on her for transportation I learned to wait and to not make too many clock-related plans. And yes, she had a tendency to neglect her fiscal and physical health in favor of pursuing her bliss. But in the end that's what it was all about anyway, living her life as fully as it could be lived despite all the tragedies life threw at her, and it was her nature to give herself fully to her passions as well as to her family and friends. And yes, she loved her cigarettes a bit too much, but few of her health problems (with her liver and other body betrayals) were due to that or to her weight; she never seemed uncomfortable being a fat woman, and was always impeccably made up and carried herself as the beautiful creature she knew she was. She tried to instill some kind of fashion sense in me but, other than coloring my hair and getting me into garb a couple of times, it never took. Still, her generosity insured I would never lack for hand-me-down dresses in my closet from my sister of the heart.

To say my best friend will be greatly missed is to insult her memory with understatement. Leah will be present in everything I ever do for the rest of my life. She will live on not only in her sons but in all the people whose lives she deeply touched, none of whom has ever had a bad thing to say about her. I am privileged to have known her and to have been a part of her life, and I will always cherish the gift of herself that she left me.

Rest in peace, my special friend, together with your beloved David once more.

Other remembrances of Leah:
Peter David
Kath David
Laura Gjovaag
• Colleen Doran, here and here
Steve Chaput
Kathleen Pearlman
Cheryl Lynn
Mark Evanier
Tom Spurgeon
Michael Grabois
Heather V. Long
Heidi MacDonald (with links to others)

Obit on Wench board linked in post below.

From the Wench boards, about arrangements for Leah's final rest:
"Services will be held on Friday January 19, 2007 at 11:00 A.M. from the Irwin Funeral Home, 175 N. Main St., Spring Grove, PA 17362, 717-225-1677. Visitation hours are from 9:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. at the funeral home preceding the service.

"Donations may be made for the children at 17 Senator Stout Road, Frenchtown, NJ.

"Please note the family has requested that no garb be worn to the viewing/funeral. Please keep this the solemn event that it is. The funeral will be a traditional Jewish funeral, short, sweet and to the point."
Robin and I would like to attend, but it's a 4-hour drive from our home to Spring Grove, which is practically on the MD border, and I don't think I'd be fit to drive that kind of distance, so if anyone from the NYC area plans to go please let us know.
RIP Leah Adezio

I just read on Peter's blog that my best friend passed away yesterday. I assume I'll get a call soon. I'll post my eulogy this evening when I get home.
Silly Site o' the Day

Still no word from PA. My life is starting to normalize again in between the crying jags. I actually felt calm and rested when I awoke this morning, then I immediately felt guilty in a how-dare-I-feel-okay-when-my-best-friend-is-dying way, then I remembered that Leah would think that was very silly indeed and she'd want me to continue living to the fullest. So I'm not going to apologize to myself any more for smiling and laughing and enjoying things, because the more I do that the more I feel like, in some way, I'm still sharing it all with her. Like the Saxton Freymann gallery of extremely cute produce "sculptures" (via Meg at Cute Overload).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Leah would have loved this YouTube video of Star Trek scenes set to the tune of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit (via Colleen).

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Long, Sad Day

We just got back from suburban Pennsylvania, where I said my final goodbyes to my best friend, Leah Adezio. Turns out the hospital gave me erroneous information - she was still breathing but no longer conscious at all. So I hugged her brother Brian and her son Daniel and her friend Chloe, and we sat there for an hour and a half comforting each other whilst watching her and hoping, in vain, to see her wake once more, and when we knew it wasn't going to happen and that it was probably for the best as she seemed to be in some discomfort we said our farewells.

I've written a eulogy, which I will post when I receive, as Kath puts it, the phone call that we know will come soon. I feel like I've lost a sister, and I'm fairly inconsolable. This too shall pass, I know, and soon she'll be with David and her mom and her brother Scott again, I know, but it doesn't make me miss her any less.

It was foggy throughout most of our journey, which I thought appropriate in a pathetic-fallacy kind of way, fog resembling that space between waking and sleeping, between life and death, the place where Leah now resides. She also resides within my heart and within my soul, and always will. Bye, Leah. I love you, my special friend
Silly Site o' the Day

The hospital says Leah is receiving visitors and she's still conscious, so we will be traveling shortly to suburban PA to say our goodbyes to my sister-of-the-heart. I'm fairly well cried out, having dreamt of her the last couple nights and noticed that the dreams were all about the wonderful things we did together. And needless to say, the Silly Sites (her idea) will continue. I think she'd really get a kick out of Cat Galaxy (via Progressive Gold), the radio station for cats...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 1/7/07 through 1/13/07

A little belated but it's been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster these last few days. Although my heart's not really into it for which I do apologize, here's what caught my eye from Liberal Coalition members and others this past week:

• Condolences to Scott on the loss of Xena.

• Bora weighs in on the iPhone.

• Echidne doesn't watch enough sitcoms to recognize the "goofy male" stereotype.

• Apparently there was a big college football game last Monday, and Mike from Ken's blog and Mustang Bobby and the Scrutiny Hooligans all seem happy about it.

• Maru says the reviews are in!

• MB met Billy Joel at the Art Deco Festival Car Show, and appears to have acquired an actual live cat.

Norbizness' coupon review brings me back to the days of visiting my parents' house and clipping their Sunday coupons.

• Steve G opines on Beckham in America.

And now for the non-LC posts:

• I was right to bookmark those posts from Reb, they were all good reads: one about how to write dynamic female characters, one about having to live down the Nerd Girl label, and one about women in sketch comedy.

• Also terrific post from Lauren on a type she calls Save The Day Guy™.

• Get well soon, Victoria!

• Condolences to Tony on the loss of Oscar, and Zuzu on the loss of Charlie. And congratulations to Kevin on the acquisition of his new yet-to-be-named tuxedo kitty.

Lindsay and Teresa fill us in on male bankers who don't believe in the profitability of knitting.

• Yes Truffle, I remember Carole and Paula as well.

Atrios has declared February 3 Blogroll Amnesty Day, and is preparing to delete his blogroll entirely and restart it from scratch.

• Congratulations to Bill and Jessica on their new positions.

Now to get some sleep before tomorrow's journey...
Silly Site o' the Day

Yes, I'm here. But no returned phone calls from Leah in hospital, which leaves me hanging on the eve of our visit and worries me lots, and it's been a dreary day besides so it's hard to summon up the wherewithall for anything really. Nonetheless, I'll try to do the Liberal Coalition blogaround later, and in the meantime I'll pass along this Fortune Cookie Message Generator (via Gerard) in the hopes that all our fortunes change for the better real soon.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Maintenance Notes

I've just finished a major overhaul of the Kultcha section of my sidebar blogroll to sync it up a lot more with my Bloglines subscriptions (i.e., the blogs I actually read now). Not 100% sync-up, since I often subscribe to blogs (particularly Kultcha Gals) to give them a trial read before deciding whether to put them in my regular 800+ blog rotation. Anyway, lots of folks have gone on hiatus (or "the Dead Zone" as I call it on my Bloglines subs, where I store their feeds in case they ever return) but I'm happy that at least as many have started blogs. If you see a link on my blogroll to someone you know is no longer blogging, please let me know as I do like to stay updated if I can; thanks.
Silly Site o' the Day

Say, did you know that Mac's Safari browser doesn't support the formatting and hyperlink buttons in Blogger's editing window? I had no idea you couldn't compose using Safari until Len Wein emailed me with a query about it. Now I'm even happier that one of the first things I did when we got the Macbook was download Firefox! Anyway, since I'm still in a comic book'y mood, what with the email from Len and commenting from Tammy Pierce, here's a Captain Haddock Insult Generator (via Gerard). Maybe you can use it to swear at Safari.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

It's kitties peeking 'round corners! First Amy...

...now Datsa...

Nothing 'round the corner but me and my camera, kitties, honest!
Silly Site o' the Day

No further word from Leah, but we've changed our PA-bound trip date from Tuesday to Monday as my boss won't give me the day off any time he's in town even if I'm legally allowed the vacation time (have I mentioned how much I want a new job?). Today's been horrid, so I could use the 3-day weekend; if I'm going to deal with emotional stress I'd much rather it were my own than my boss' family's. Today's Silly Site is dedicated to Leah, of course (they all are, actually, since it was her concept), was mentioned by Kevin in the Newsarama blog, and is a series of comics based on David' Rees "Get Your War On" having to do with Marvel Comics' current Big Event. Ladies and gentlemen, what else but, Get Your Civil War On. Oh, and if you have a chance, do try to catch the Phil Jimenez segment on the current installment of the PBS series In the Life. It's one of the best in-depth interviews/explorations of the life of a comic book artist that I've ever seen on mainstream television. One more reason to be thankful for a DVR, as we were able to record it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Father of Fnord

According to his blog, Robert Anton Wilson has shuffled off this mortal coil, apparently joyfully.
Please Do Me A Favor

Please, please send all the mojo and prayers and best wishes you have in the direction of Leah Adezio, who just called me from the hospital. I'm hoping to take next Tuesday off work so Robin and I can go visit her. (As readers may know, Leah originated the concept of the Silly Site o' the Day, and is about my closest friend in the world.)
RIP Yvonne DeCarlo

Damn. Here's my favorite Yvonne DeCarlo scene, from The Ten Commandments:
A jewel has brilliant fire, but it gives no warmth.
Our hands are not so soft, but they can serve.
Our bodies not so white, but they are strong.
Our lips are not perfumed, but they speak the truth.
Love is not an art to us. It's life to us.
We are not dressed in gold and fine linen.
Strength and honor are our clothing.
Our tents are not the columned halls of Egypt,
but our children play happily before them.
We can offer you little... but we offer all we have.
(Chuck Heston, interrupting to whine)
I have not little, Sephora. I have nothing.
(Back to Yvonne)
Nothing from some... is more than gold from others.
(Chuck again)
You would fill the emptiness of my heart?
(Back to Yvonne, who had me at hello)
I could never fill all of it, Moses,
but I shall not be jealous of a memory.
Booyah! She will be greatly missed.
Silly Site o' the Day

Slow posting continues as long as my data entry project does. Where do you people find the time to post? And play every video game imaginable (via Augie)? You've invented the 40-hour day and are all keeping it from me, aren't you?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cleaning Out the In-Box and Bookmarks

Because you just have to sometimes. First the email clearing:

• David Chin writes to inform me that A Picture's Worth has relaunched for 2007. By the way, it has an RSS feed as well for folks who like to read stuff that way (like me).

• Stuff going on in NYC boroughs that I can't attend as long as I'm working in Westchester includes Up, Up, and Away: Interpreted Comics and Graphic Novels, an exhibition of three comic inspired artists (Kyle Baker, Jonn Alex Gonzalez and Joshua Peters), which opens at the Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn this Sunday, January 14 and remains on view until February 10 (alas, typical mainstream coverage always seems to have a "Pow!" in the header); and, on January 16 and 18, Charlie Anders and Annaee Newitz will be doing a couple readings to promote their new book She's Such A Geek: Women Talk About Science, Technology & Other Nerdy Stuff. More info at their blog.

Now for some of the open bookmarks:

• Of course, Michael Bérubé's departure from the blogosphere will leave a little scar on my heart:

the infamous Bérubé appendix scar photo

But it reminded me that I need to work on updating my sidebar blogroll, having now given what I think is a reasonable amount of time after the last general election to see if other bloggers have returned from their hiatuses (hiati? hiatim?). I've created a new category at the bottom of my Bloglines subscriptions for these absent friends, so if they return and their feeds work properly I can reinstate them on the blogroll proper.

• And speaking of feeds, Marv Wolfman's now works, as he's moved his Today's Views blog from Dreamweaver to Blogger. Anyway, thanks so much, Marv (and Laura, I suspect), I can now remove that "site feed wonky" asterisk from your name when I update the sidebar blogroll. (And if I may just say, it does my ego a world of good to be called "wonderful" by Len Wein and "wondrous" by Marv Wolfman in the space of a week...)

• With my current responsibilities I don't have time to check out every link from When Fangirls Attack (it's hard enough keeping up with my current 800+ blog subs), but until those circumstances change (as I hope they will shortly) I can be grateful Lisa Fortuner points out posts I find so fascinating that I get caught up in new blogs like Adventures in Lame; so far I've bookmarked three posts Reb wrote during the last month to read later during my "copious leisure time."

• Condolences to Valerie on the loss of her kitty Buffy. I know Datsa and occasionally Amy have been frustrating the heck out of us lately with their early-morning wake-up meows, but I'm so grateful they're around and healthy!

• Marie Javins defines (and defies) the differences between being a traveler and a tourist.

• Congratulations to Chris Weston on becoming a father for the third time! Mother and baby are doing just fine.

• The Stupid Analogy of the Day award goes to Ken Levine for "Just think, if the Rock n’ Roll Hall-of-Fame had a drug restriction its only members would be Debby Boone and the Singing Nun." Because, you know, recreational drugs somehow give you a performance advantage in rock and roll, and mean you're cheating when you play guitar against... oh sorry, you're not competing when you play music. I like the guy's TV writing, but geez.

• Cool interview with Stephen Merchant at Quick Stop!

• You can prepare for tonight's propaganda speech by readying yourself for a drinking game a la Rachel Maddow. Or just don't watch, which is pretty much my plan.

• Today's sermons are brought to you by Will Shetterly, on Zoroastrianism, and Steve Gerber, on putting aspects of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic G-d in DC comics.

Lastly, Newsarama has a nice interview up with Manhunter writer Mark Andreyko about upcoming issues, including "#28 - with absolutely jaw-dropping art on that sequence by the under-rated Brad Walker - and a shout out to Robin Riggs for some glorious inks." Thanks Mark! I thought they were glorious too; I'm really digging how exciting Rob's inks look over Brad's pencils and I hope they get to work together again after this.
Silly Site o' the Day

I don't know whether to blame my boss, Steve Jobs or myself, but I missed calling my Dad for his birthday yesterday, and I feel just awful about it. So I'll try to make up for it not only by calling him this evening but by dedicating today's Silly Site to him - a really cute Flash game called the Grow Cube that I found on Eszter's blog. Assuming it will work okay on Mom and Dad's dial-up, as far as I can figure out all you have to do is click the little pictures on the side and they'll do things on the cube, depending on what order you click 'em, or something like that, so it's different every time you try it. Happy belated, Daddy!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Going Over to the Dark Side?

We just watched the Quicktime video of Steve Jobs' entire keynote address at Macworld on our Macbook. Yeah okay, I'll be wanting that iPhone thingie eventually (and hoping Cingular has a good 2-phone plan a la the $50/month-and-talk-to-each-other-free plan we have with T-Mobile and that we could afford another internet plan). I was really impressed by the ease of everything Jobs outlined, just as I was surprised by how easy it's been for me to get used to the Macbook. So I can definitely see moving over to becoming an exclusively-Mac user eventually, at least in the home (and on the road). And, you know, even maybe talking my parents into it. Still don't like the idea of typing with one or two fingers, though...
Silly Site o' the Day

Blogger's planned outage during the last few hours (which produces lots of Bloglines feed errors so new posts probably won't be coming through on "old Blogger" blogs like this one for another couple of hours), combined with my boss not being in the office yet, gave me a chance to get fairly well caught up with blog reading in between doing data entry and IM'ing my husband about the iPhone and such (not really enough incentive for me to want to switch to Cingular, sorry). On the other hand, I think I can get behind Wiikitty (via lots of blogs but I saw it first on BoingBoing)...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Silly Site o' the Day

Ooh, that smell, can't you smell that smell... guess this is one of those days I should be glad I don't work in Manhattan at the moment. Not that things are any less hectic in the office today. So write your own stories, I'm busy again. Here's a Story Starter to get you going. Via Gerard again!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 12/31/06 thru 1/6/07

My first Liberal Coalition-and-bonus-non-LC-posts blogaround of 2007! Let's get right to it, then:

• Andante catches us up at the turning of the year. Guy is sad and restless. Send mojo to both of them, won't you?

• Bryant notes the double-standard of reactionary pundits when discussing Democrats' financial status. Echidne finds that this seems to apply as well to radio hosts who advocate murder, but in a courteous manner of course. And Kenneth has way too much patience with a troll who insists on seeing liberal media bias where exactly the opposite can be empirically (not anecdotally) proven to exist.

• Charles2 saw a UFO!

• Horatio indulges in some grammar nitpicking.

• Keith reviews a book that sounds out-of-this-world fascinating, and Lilith unveils her 2007 reading list. Ah, I vaguely remember having the time to read them book thingies back when I was a young'un...

• Wow, you're right Moi, even I know those are some uuugly-ass shoes.

• Mustang Bobby takes a look at how well he did with his 2006 predictions. And Norbizness makes resolutions in a way only he could, whereas Steve B makes a new year's irresolution.

• And true New Yorker Steve G flips the bird to a CNN anchor who thinks a city-destroying hurricane in New York would be just dandy, less than a half-dozen years after the WTC attacks. Also good posts this week about sacrifice and how to treat soldiers.

Here's some more stuff I've found since yesterday, now that I've "finished the internet" again:

Nominations are now open for the 2006 Koufax Awards given out annually to left-leaning political blogs. Here's the nominations boilerplate:
Best Blog
Best Blog -- Pro Division
Best Blog Community
Best Writing
Best Post
Best Series
Best Single Issue Blog
Best Group Blog
Most Humorous Blog
Most Humorous Post
Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
Best Consonent Level Blog
Best Expert Blog
Best New Blog
Best Human Equality Blog
Best Coverage of State or Local Issues
Best Commenter
Possible nominating categories for me might include Best Post (if you've enjoyed a particular essay of mine) or Best Series (for the Silly Sites) or Most Deserving of Wider Recognition, but the one for which I'd really like to be considered is a new category, Best Consonent Level Blog, which "seeks to recognize those moderate-sized blogs which have not yet, or perhaps are happy not to, reach the ranks of the 'A-listers'." And, considering the nature of this post, obviously I'd like to see the Liberal Coalition in the running for Best Blog Community.

• I've read two great food-for-thought posts today about rising above religion from Michael Bérubé and PZ Myers. Excerpts, first from Michael, about a conversation he had with a preacher-type a couple decades ago:
Right, here’s the way I look at it, I said. If you’re right about this and I’m wrong, then you and I agree that we have the obligation to treat others as we would have them treat us, but because I believe that we humans just made that up one day, I’m going to Hell for an eternity, and you’re pretty much in the clear. Whereas if I’m right about this and you’re wrong, my beliefs don’t visit any punishments on you. We live, we act as best we can, we die, end of story, except that we hope that maybe some of the good we do on earth will live after us for a little while. And that’s it.

Well, the Lawn Preacher said, I can’t say I’ve ever heard the argument for agnosticism put that way before.

Dang, that’s a shame, I said. Because lots of us agnostics have a coherent moral code. We just don’t feel the need to ascribe our moral code to a supernatural being. We don’t think that solves anything, honestly.
And from PZ, in response to an RJ Eskow challenge at HuffPo:
I think it's a fine idea to oppose the most malignant eruptions of religious thinking. However, I don't think it's enough to fight the nastiest symptoms while pretending the underlying disease is a beautiful thing. Sure, I'll join moderate Christians in arguing against the excess of fundamentalism, but that doesn't mean I have to retire from arguing against the inanity of faith; it's that lack of critical thought at the core of religious belief that allows fundamentalism to flourish.
It all reminds me a bit of how an atheist friend of mine recently explained his views, and I paraphrase: "There are people who do good, and people who are bad. Good people don't need incentive to do good things. Organized religion hasn't been proven to make bad people become good, but it's always served as a convenient excuse for otherwise good people to do bad things."

• Kevin Drum talks a bit more about the late Jasmine and about his hopes to become a 2-cat family again. Condolences also go out to DJW on the loss of Henry.

• He's rude, he's crude, he's a little bit lewd, but the Rude Pundit Lee Papa usually hits his mark, as he does with this review of the Bush-Merkel press gaggle on Friday.

• Kevin Hayden needs someone to take over the running of American Street come March, when he'll be stepping down due to financial and personal considerations.

• Christopher Tassava gives us goats in trees. The original blog post insists it's real and not PhotoShopped.

• Liza Sabater salutes School House Rock on its 34th anniversary.

Speaking of which, the American Dialect Society has just released its winners and runners-up in its 17th annual Words of the Year vote. Here's the PDF with all the finalists. Now back to tackling that comp box of unread DC comics!
Silly Site o' the Day

Finally caught up, or I will be again once I do my Liberal Coalition blogaround in a bit. Then I can catch up on financial filing and do some work for my "second job" with the startup website to be revealed later (basically writing up my bio, which will be a bit tricky as my area of professional expertise is secretarial and administrative, but when it comes to writing and editing I'm literally an amateur compared with most of the others involved in the venture). I actually slept last night - not unbroken, but I got in enough hours and the cat didn't wake us until 7 - so I should be able to concentrate, particularly if the weather isn't as balmy (in both senses of the word). Rob read me this article from today's NY Times which started out covering a Polar Bear Club protest (there's constructive activism for you, speak out against global warming by bowing your heads and turning your backs on the Atlantic Ocean) and quickly devolved further into this nonsensical paragraph:
Although global warming is a popular theory for the Northeast’s warm winter, the Weather Service cited a specific meteorological cause. "We have a mild air mass that we're in right now, kind of tropical in nature," said John Murray, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. "The cold air masses in Canada have stayed up there."
Wow, I don't see how more specific and technical you can get than that! As French newscaster Melissa Theuriau might put it,

Newscaster image generator via Gerard, of course.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Year of the Hero

Sometimes I really love living in New York City (although admittedly I'm about as far northwest as you can be and still be in NYC, since my back window looks out on Yonkers). First Wesley Autrey, then Pedro Nevarez and Julio Gonzalez. It does one's heart good to live in a world that has such people in it. It's also been great reading lots of very positive and activist blog posts this past week, perhaps reflecting the mood of the country in general. Sorry I hadn't been able to point them out earlier, but I've fallen way behind on my blog reading again, and have only just finished the "must read" blogs. Here's some stuff I liked from them:

• If it's January, it must be Body Shame month again. Is there anyone who doesn't know this comes around like clockwork and gird for it, in the same way the online world used to prepare for September newbies? Thank goodness for fat-awareness posts like Zuzu's about how fatphobia indirectly affects subway commuters and who really benefits from the manufactured "obesity crisis" propaganda, Amanda Marcotte's following up on that same topic of fat being seen as disgusting, and Melissa McEwen on fat chicks finding contentment in their own skin. All point out in their various ways that it's just as wrong to judge people's health primarily by their physical appearance as it is to judge someone's character by the color of their skin. Perhaps there's hope for Mark Morford yet!

• If it's January it must also be "rethinking this blog gig" month. I'm glad that Tom Tomorrow, after announcing plans to wind down his activity on This Modern World the way Susie Madrak's wound down on Suburban Guerrilla, then presented a flurry of posts during the days to follow. I can only hope the same outcome for Michael Bérubé, who said something in passing about his "my final week of blogging" which touched off a flurry in his comment section (and he's just reiterated in today's post that "it’s the last Saturday of this blog"), but he's still being ultra-mysterious. However, it sounds like he could have good news along the same lines as Susie's, so we're all waiting for the big reveal. Eric Williams has more thoughts on this.

• I'm glad to see the concepts raised at my Writing the Other panel are still being discussed all these many years later, as Jason Kimble examines straight writer Chuck Dixon's latest views on homo versus hetero kissing, Cheryl Lynn despairs of mangaka-produced blackface, and Lisa Fortuner grits her teeth once more to explain that sexist (i.e., bad) writing includes "writing characters of one gender as who your readers want to be, and characters of the other gender as who your readers want to have" - really not that difficult a concept to grasp if you're, you know, a professional.

• Speaking of Lisa, she thinks 2007 will be another year in which fiction has a more powerful grip on illuminating people's minds than non-fiction, and all feminist culture vultures owe her and Melissa Krause a hearty congratulations on When Fangirls Attack reaching its first blogiversary!

• With the ascension of women to powerful political positions like US Speaker of the House (although Jen bemoans the constant coverage about her family as if that were job-related and as if men didn't have families as well) and UN Deputy Secretary-General (thanks Jessica), a number of bloggers are examining how, as a gender, we're sometimes our own worst enemies. For instance, Colleen Doran talks about Female Status Cannibalism and "selling out" amid "gender traitor" accusations. Do check out the comments as well, wherein she discusses working with folks like Joan Hilty, who has repeatedly spoken in public about the need for women in powerful industry positions to mentor other women (and who has mentored at least 2-3 assistant editors herself, I believe).

• Ilyka Damen's been on quite the roll, with her consideration of a blog renaming thanks to a drive-by You Tube comment; grumbling about kids withdiamonds wheels on the soles of their shoes, presumably on her lawn; and her grammar resolutions for 2007.

• Deepest condolences to Kevin Drum, founder (near as I can tell) of Friday Cat Blogging, on the loss of Jasmine (also a founder of FCB). I consider every day that my Datsa is still alive to be a blessing, much the same way that belated birthday boy Chris Clarke feels about Zeke.

• Steve M encapsulates George Bush's (or Karl Rove's?) need to always distract the media away from Democrats and onto him at seemingly crucial moments. It's all part of what Digby terms "governing by tantrums." My question is, why is the media still capitulating to this nonsense after 6+ years?

• Laura Gjovaag loves her new TiVo, and Bibi loves her some periodic tables.

• Bob Harris examines Telemundo looking up its own cameras regarding a "copycat hanging" and the gullibility of humans to believe wax can cure headaches.

• Lastly, a good catch from Mary Beth Williams about the Democrat-led resolution ending the K Street project, and Melissa plays pictorial Jeopardy!.

Now to get to the rest of my blog reading and perhaps add to this post later...
Silly Site o' the Day

Mold spores, baby, mold spores! (With apologies to the B52s.) Thanks to an inconvenient truth, today's temperature will hit above 70°F here in NYC, and the winter weather hasn't yet been cold enough to destroy mold spores, so if live around the northeastern US (or, you know, other areas affected by global climate change) and you're sneezing more often as Robin and I have been these past few weeks, now you know why. Take a prescription generator (via Gerard, who must have linked to it before it became password-protected) and call me in the morning. Oh, and don't have Indian food at the end of a sleep-deprived week; even though it tastes yummy and you may think it's comfort food, it's not if the indigestion will keep you up at night and then you won't be able to get back to sleep after the cats have been fed because your neighbor decides to run his sanding tool starting at 10 AM because, well, it's going to be 70°F here in NYC...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)


Outta the way, kitties. String or no string, I'm collapsing...
Silly Site o' the Day

A brutal three days in a row at my day job, on very little sleep - Datsa keeps meowing very loudly earlier and earlier in the wee hours, and we're at a total loss as to what to do. This morning he woke us at 4 AM and Robin, who's on a killer deadline at the moment, elected to stay up with him (as has become usual) so that I could try and get a modicum of fitful sleep until my usual 7:30 AM wakeup time in order to be able to drive to work without crashing the car. I'm still cranky and tired, and although there's no place in the office I can go and lie down I'm trying to take things easy this morning; if my boss is true to the form he's shown the last few days, he'll come in at around 3 and just be getting geared up as everyone else in the office is leaving, and it'll be another evening of unpaid overtime for me. When your cat wakes you at 4 or 5 and you start your workday at 8:30 AM and don't leave your desk for lunch, a 6:30 PM quitting time is a bit much. It's all I can do to make dinner and collapse, so it's a good job I didn't make any new year's resolutions about exercising, as I haven't the energy (it's probably not a good idea to exercise when you're sleep-deprived anyway). Sometimes I wish I were a cat. Or a dog. An exercising dog. Like the ones in this Mariko Takahashi video, via Mark at BoingBoing:

I don't know how she does it - the heads look like real poodles... And a special bonus silly site via Keith - it's the "Dalek Workout: Exterminate the Flab"!