Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Silly Site o' the Day

But first, a joke that Dad just sent me...

In light of the on-going discussions all over the world about human cloning, we have to ask ourselves a hypothetical question. If you pushed your naked clone off the top of a tall building, would that be:
a) murder;
b) suicide; or,
c) making an obscene clone fall?

Thank you, he'll be here all week, enjoy the veal, don't forget to tip your waitress...

Now, speaking of obscene clones, here you go. Don't say I didn't warn you, even if I didn't.

Well, that should wrap things up here for 2003. I'm pleased that I was able to keep my promise to myself that, barring Blogger problems, this weblog would contain new content every day, and I hope to continue that into 2004. Have a happy and healthy new year, everyone. I'm off to finish the sushi and watch Dick Clark and ball-dropping...
The Coalition of the Hopeful

[Sorry, I tried to post this in the morning but Blogger was down, at least the portion of the server dealing with this blog, and then we went to The Movie and dinner and I've only just gotten home...]

One of my favorite magazines is called Hope. It's essentially about people who are making positive differences in the world around them, and it's a great source of inspiration. The latest issue of In These Times seems to have taken a few pages out of that magazine. In an article entitled "Reasons to Hope: Bush Catalyzes a Nascent Protessive Movement" (which doesn't yet appear on the biweekly mag's website), Cynthia Moothart has an interesting quote from ITT founder James Weinstein:
People have to understand that the major parties are not political parties in the European sense. They are coalitions of parties and provide an arena in which people can operate and express themselves. That's what the Republican right did. They represent only about 20 percent of Republicans, but they have organized and pushed their ideas and their organization and now have effective control of the Republican party. That is why it makes sense to run in a Democratic primary instead of staying on the outside until that whole process is over and then run as a third party. That way you won't be totally ignored - and appropriately. [emphasis mine]
This reminds me of what Grover Norquist advised at the What Liberal Media? panel last March. He prefaced by saying something along the lines of, "I feel like I can give you liberals this advice because I'm confident that you won't follow it, which is good for our side," and then proceeded to talk about how, back in the '60s, conservatives were in the same kind of factionalist disarray, and they gradually decided to avoid the fighting in pursuit of power, got their act together, and now lo and behold they hold that power.

And the power to actually effect substantial change is what it's all about, now more than ever as the minority 20% that Weinstein mentions has managed to do so within the Republican Party to the great detriment of our country and indeed the security of the world. It also ties in nicely with what Tony Kushner said in his Mother Jones interview which lots of bloggers have been quoting:
The system isn't about ideals. The country doesn't elect great leaders. It elects fucked-up people who for reasons of ego want to run the world. Then the citizenry makes them become great. FDR was a plutocrat. In a certain sense he wasn't so different from George W. Bush, and he could have easily been Herbert Hoover, Part II. But he was a smart man, and the working class of America told him that he had to be the person who saved this country. It happened with Lyndon Johnson, too, and it could have happened with Bill Clinton, but we were so relieved after 12 years of Reagan and Bush that we sat back and carped.

In a certain sense, Bush was right when he called the anti-war demonstrations a "focus group." We went out on the street and told him that we didn't like the war. But that was all we did: We expressed an opinion. There was no one in Congress to listen to us because we were clear about why they couldn't listen. Hillary Clinton was too compromised, or Chuck Schumer -- and God knows they are. But if people don't pressure them to do better, we're lost.
Now I admit it, I’ve been a supporter of a multi-party system since 1980 when I voted for John Anderson. But these quotes have really made me rethink that strategy. I'm a lot more comfortable voting Democratic rather than third party henceforth if I view the Democratic Party as a coalition of smaller parties, caucuses, whatever you want to call them, than as a great monolith. After all, I'm the one who's reminded folks repeatedly, while working the Friends of Lulu booth at comic conventions and posting online at comics-related sites, that women are no more a monolithic reading group than men – so why expect voters in any one party to be a monolithic group as well? We're all individuals with our own agendas and hopes and dreams, and the only way to realize them is to make our voices heard effectively. As Tom Tomorrow says, "Together, we will get through this." And we must. We don't currently have the luxury of living in an ideal world, but we have the necessity of working towards that ideal world in the way we currently exercise our franchise. Progressives can't afford to continue to marginalize ourselves. Compromise is not abandonment, and neither is it a dirty word. We must give up something to receive something greater. And for me, if the something I give up is voting in a general election for the third-party Presidential candidate who most embodies my ideals and the something greater I receive (along with the millions of other like-minded souls who similarly exercise their franchise) is the ability to influence the eventual Democratic candidate away from DLC conservatism and towards progressive causes I support, it's more than worth the compromise. (That said, at this point I do intend to support the most progressive Democratic candidate, Dennis Kucinich, in the party primary, as one of the ways to voice my particular preferences.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

When It Positively Has to be Copied Overnight

Hey look #2, FedEx is buying Kinko's.
That's a Lotta Parm!

Hey look, the SEC is filing a fraud lawsuit against Parmalat! Well, they did such a great job with Enron (PDF file), after all... Seriously, when are we going to hear their recommendations that Ken Lay share a cell with Calisto Tanzi? Is it okay if I don't hold my breath?
"Dear Secretary Norton..."

Following up on my post regarding faith-based parks and memorials, I note that Jesus' General (J.C. Christian, Patriot) has the definitive word, as usual.
A Miserable Failure Even at Doggerel

Via Eli Stephens, remember that stupid poem that George W. Bush wrote to his wife while she was in France? Well, turns out he didn't even write it (scroll down towards the bottom of the article). So many possible punchlines, so little time...
The Slippery Statistics of the Glass Ceiling

Ampersand mentions this Washington Times article (the byline says "UPI," which is owned, like the WTimes, by the Rev. Moon's Unification Church, operating as News World Communications) which says, "Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that, as of Nov. 30, women represent 50.6 percent of the 48 million employees in management, professional and related occupations." Considering that I take everything the Moonies write with a heaping amount of salt, I went on the BLS website to see if I could find the raw data. Friends, I rooted around there for almost an hour this morning, and couldn't find a damn thing. Maybe I just don't read stats very well. Can someone point me to the data in question on the site? Of course, even then you have (presumably) non-Moonies pointing out that "15.7 percent of the top officers of companies in the Fortune 500 are women and that their corporate boards include just 13.6 percent women." In other words, "Women getting better jobs, but exec suite remains men's club." Nothing we didn't already know. So as this "news" has yet to hit any feminist sites that I know of, it doesn't really seem to me like there's a gain for women at all, as much as it's right-wingers playing with numbers to scare their predominantly male base or something... Update: Thank you, Echidne, for finding the raw data and explaining it better than I ever could.
The Bitch is Back

Susie Madrak has done something I've often toyed with, but I think she'll be better at it than I would anyway. She's started an advice column blog. It's called The Bitching Post (Advice for the Lovelorn and the Otherwise Confused), and she's asked that people submit their questions via e-mail (her address is clickable on the blog's right-hand sidebar). Sounds like a cool venture if others are interested in contributing. I've already sent her a Dear Abby-style question. Update: The question and answer have been posted.
The Religious Litmus Test

Barbara O'Brien reminds us in The Mahablog that "The United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 3) says, No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States," in a follow-up to her Holy Holy piece.
Sideshow Attraction

A very happy birthday to Avedon Carol, who says she's "152 in Delany years," whatever that means.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Pass the Indian, Please

I just finished watching probably the best miniseries (actually a four-hour movie shown over two nights) I've seen since Gulliver's Travels. It's called Dreamkeeper, and it aired last night and this evening on broadcast TV. Robin likes to say that everything happens for a reason, and I have no trouble believing that our upstairs-now-downstairs neighbors completed their move when they did just so I could watch this series in peace. It's essentially a story about the power of storytelling, and it's absolutely wonderful. Hallmark only has the soundtrack CD for sale right now but I'm grabbing the DVD the moment it's out. I can't recommend this enough. I've always found Native American/First Nations tales among the most powerful and fascinating in the world (not the least because so many seem to involve brave women), and some of the best are recounted herein. I particularly enjoyed the way the Coyote/Inktomi stories were filmed (lots of cool camera tricks and such abound in the movie) and the recurrence of many actors in dual roles. Quite wonderful.
That's a Load of Bollocks

Via Maru Soze, damn her to hell (too late!), it's the Silly Site o' the Day, Testicle Theater! Now my QuickTime program actually picked the time to work, it couldn't have operated correctly for any of the Bush in 30 Seconds ads, noooo....
Poor Poor Richard!

Via South Knox Bubba: Beware the almanac carriers!
Back to Work

But not really in the swing of things yet. I can't seem to multitask very well today. I've been doing job-stuff and reading blogs but I haven't really had anything to post yet. Still, I need a place-marker for today, so I'd like to recommend the entry that intrigued me the most after I finished catching up on all the blogs in my Kultcha section: Anil Dash's Whence the Name and the 90-post discussion following. It's all about how great Manhattan is, which of course elicits tons of assent and dissent all around.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Blame Shatner?

That's right, I'm bored of the US always blaming Canada whenever our economy takes a hit from something we did wrong. I submit that we if we're this intent on this arbitrary bullshit anyway, let's have some fun with it and put the onus on specific Canadians for no reason at all. So, any suggestions on which particular Canadian ought to take responsibility for the sick cow? Update: I see Lisa English is thinking along the same lines, only far more eloquently of course. Read her Weaving the Blame Fantastic.
Graying Less (in a) Gingerly Sea

The two phrases above (not counting the parenthetical) are anagrams of my first and last name, courtesy of the Anagram Generator. Via Echidne, who has more on the subject.

I thought our holiday cards (particularly those from England) were quite lovely this year, so I took a picture of the display on my dresser:

I especially love the die-cut 3D robin in the front, Rob's dad sent us that.

Below is the e-card we sent out to friends and family. The picture might look familiar, as it appeared first on this blog:

This is the first year we haven't sent a "snail mail" card. Even though I know it's not a contest or anything, I kind of feel badly because not everyone on our Christmas list has e-mail. I hated not being organized or well enough to send them our yearly greeting in time; one more reason to look forward to a new living space and (I hope) a new job in 2004.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

LC Saturday (Pessimistic) Round-Up

The water's back (came on about 4:30 AM) but full of brownish silt, so I'm waiting for other apartments in our building to run their taps for awhile before I step into the shower. Might as well spend the time catching up with my fellow Liberal Coalition members, even though Jesse and Mustang Bobby and Stradiotto beat me to it (thanks for the plugs, Bobby and Stradiotto!).

  • Over at the group blog Corrente, Lambert smells something fishy with the way the Plame-outing investigation is proceeding. He also concurs (as do N. Todd Pritsky and Jesse and Peter) with Atrios' assertion that the new Republican buzzword-smear word against Howard Dean is "pessimism." 'Cause, you know, nobody's pessimistic about the world mess our current leaders have gotten us into. It's such an unusual reaction!! We should all be wearing rose-colored glasses!!! Don't tell me I'm the only one who's heard the expression, "I'm not pessimistic, I'm realistic." I think this meme has a huge backfire potential, but I'm going to make fun of it anyway in the rest of this post. You have been warned.

  • N. Todd calls our attention to what he calls "a new peace site," but quite honestly it just looks to me like a way for this guy to sell his books. N. Todd's also doing his best to spread the meme of NODWISH (a wonderful acronym of Non-Denominational Winter Solstice Holiday), but until Mercury23 returns from vacation and fixes his permalinks I'm afraid I'm not going to bandy that word about that much because I can't link back to the specific post wherein he originated it. I'm such a pessimist!

  • Steve Gilliard observes, "It's now to the place where every word the government says about Iraq is either wrong or a lie." He also has some very interesting ruminations about gun control. Lots to think about - I had no idea the NRA leadership was more of a problem than the organization itself, but they (like so many other groups) have been pretty much taken over by the wacko right so that kinda leaves level-headed debate in the dust. (Or is that too pessimistic an evaluation?) Also check out Andante's thoughts on the subject.

  • Scott at the Gamer's Nook recommends seeing Return of the King in IMAX. Good grief, 90 minutes of IMAX is enough for me )and 90 minutes too long for Robin), I couldn't imagine three and a half hours of it! But maybe I'm just being pessimistic. The evil lad also wishes Strom Thurmond's family a happy Kwanzaa.

  • T. Rex has been counting reasons why Bush won't get "re"elected. Here's Number 64. Gosh, what "pessimism"!

  • Guy Andrew Hall is pessimistic about the Republican Convention.

  • Scout is pessimistic about the right-wingers' reactions to their own news that "U.S. women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations." Pardon my intense pessimism skepticism, but I don't believe the pronouncement in the first place, I want to see actual data.

  • Jeff is sick of people whining about how "Merry Christmas" became "Happy Holidays", although his "WHO FUCKING CARES?" sounds a bit pessimistic to me. In all seriousness, as someone who grew up having stuff thrown at her and her house every December because we dared celebrate Chanukah when the rest of the neighborhood was awash in Christmas decor, I rather like that we're at least paying lip service now to the idea of inclusion during this time of year that's supposed to be about, among other things, togetherness and harmony.

  • Mustang Bobby excoriates Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. The Times notes pessimistically, "It is hard to argue that Mr. Stevens is breaking any Senate rules, for, stunningly, there is no explicit ban on a senator's engaging in profitable dealings with businesses and individuals who benefit from the lawmaker's official actions."

  • Peter reviews the Top 10 Words of 2003. He shouts gleefully, " 'Angry Left' is number nine on the Top Phrases list! We made it! Now that we've been recognized by the geniuses at yourDictionary.com, we shall catapult into the mainstream." Pessimist.

  • Near as I can figure out, Dowingba is in a band called Mozeba, and they have a website. I remain pessimistic at all these foreign-sounding names.

  • Alex reprints some prime Paul Krassner, a pessimist and sometime correspondent (yeah, back before e-mail) who's inspired me for at least two decades now.

  • Upyernoz pessimistically sniffs that he didn't discern any noticeable difference at the airport once our terror alert rose to Ernie orange.

  • Edwardpig has a long dissection of the Bush "ownership society" bullshit. Not surprisingly, he engages in pessimism.

  • Rivka engaged in some Monday Sunday baseball blogging last week. Call me a pessimist (you will anyway), but I think I'm going to wait until April and see who's on what team before I start talking baseball again...

  • Andante revisits Afghanistan, one year later. Andante has become one of my favorite Pen-Elayne commenters lately; go visit her blog and help her move up the TTLB food chain.

    Total number of LC'ers quoting John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" last Thursday, either in full or in part: only 2! Well below the threshold of folks on my News+Views blogroll. We need more people saying "War is over if you want it" to counter all this pessimism! Now I'm off to shower. Just you wait and see, the water will still be brown...grumble mutter...
  • Friday, December 26, 2003

    In Perspective

    Our water came back for about three hours this afternoon; had I known it would go out again I'd have showered then (even with the brownish water) and filled the tub and sinks for toilet flushing. I just called the DEP, and they couldn't tell me anything beyond that there were apparently two broken mains and they're still working on it. This was all I found on the news. I feel particularly grungy, and what with our heat being steam-based it looks to be a pretty cold night ahead. But you know, considering everything going on elsewhere, in other countries and domestically, things could be a lot worse.
    Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    A couple upside-down pictures this week:

    A close-up of Amy on the left, enduring the "hardship" of Robin's petting (yes, she actually smiles); and on the right, taken on Christmas Eve, a somewhat far shot of Datsa stretching out on the bedroom carpet. More size juxtaposition, since of course Amy's not even half Datsa's size.

    Also, you must check out this entry from Avedon Carol. I like these seasonal ones from N. Todd Pritsky and Trish Wilson. Speaking of Trish, I blame this laughing cat on her since she led me to the overall site. And lastly, in case you haven't seen it yet, it's the Nohands Gallery!
    Dry Friday

    Well, as Kwanzaa begins and Chanukah ends, we find ourselves commemorating Boxing Day at the Riggs Residence. Probably no bubble and squeak on tap though, because there's no tap. Seems a water main broke up the hill and it's apparently still not repaired (the only place we found any news about it is on a local traffic page), and as a result there's been no water in the kitchen or the bathrooms since around midnight. I'm sure it'll be repaired soon, but in the meantime we can't cook or take showers or even flush the toilets. It's a good reminder, during this time of year, of how we shouldn't take any of life's blessings for granted. So we're trying to, um, restrain ourselves during this trying period, and spend time on the web or watching movies. We found this pretty appropriate viewing for the day, it's veddy veddy English and it's got lots of cool close-up shots of robins.

    Thursday, December 25, 2003

    Quote of the Day

    From Barbara O'Brien:
    Journalists and pollsters and most of the electorate assume that if a person talks a lot about religion, he must be religious; and if he doesn't, he must be not-religious... I argue that people who can speak glibly about their own religion in public usually have only a surface aquaintance with religion and wouldn't know genuine spirituality if it bit their butts.
    Here's the whole bit; it's called Holy Holy.
    Alphabet Soup

    Via my husband, the MTA is changing the subway lines again. This probably means we're not going apartment-hunting in Brooklyn, it'll be just too damn confusing for awhile...
    Maintenance Note

    For no real reason (must be the Firesign fan in me), I've added a Humor/Satire section to the sidebar. I want to concentrate on satirical news-type sites (note, sites rather than blogs), the more comprehensive the better (i.e., Betty Bowers is a member of Landover Baptist, so I've just included their homepage for now), but it's a section in its infancy so suggestions are more than welcome.
    Season's Linkings

    Happy Christmas, to those approximately 96% of you out there (at least in this country, and according to FOX which is apparently pissed at your religious tolerance as well) who celebrate the day. Anyone who's actually reading blogs today might wish to check back here from time to time, as I'll try to update this entry if I find any more cool or interesting Christmas-related links.

  • We start with Google's greeting; be sure to click on the link:

    Click on these links to see the unfolding logos from Google past: the alien, the Independence Day celebration, the Summer Olympics in Sydney, the Winter Olympics in 2000, and past Christmastime ones here and here.

  • I saw another animated version of A Christmas Carol yesterday for the first time. It was a train wreck of a movie. I wish I could sponge away the dialogue from my brain. Why don't these people understand that what makes the story so powerful is Dickens' writing itself? You ignore his words at your peril; without that facility of language, the story becomes a fairly pedestrian tale about a not-that-old guy pining for his lost love who can't understand why people don't like him, because he's a kind but sober fellow who doesn't see the point in being impractical. After all, we know he's kind because he cherishes the mice who are apparently the real stars of the movie. Yes, mice. What was the director smoking? The animation is in similar style to The First Snow of Winter, a movie I'd dearly love to catch on TV again because, hey, where else are you going to get a duck, a vole, and a herd of sheep doing Riverdance?, but whereas that one was clever this cartoon is just tedious, right on through to Kate Winslet's Belle singing about how she should never have left Ebenezer before their touching reunion at the end, bleagh. Would they know the weight and length of the strong coil they've left their audience? It is a ponderous movie. Update: More from Mark Evanier, who talks about Christmas Carols here and here and, damn him, links to an adaptation featuring animated guinea pigs.

  • Oddly, Operation Santa Claus doesn't have its own website, but you can read all about it at Sharon Glassman's Love, Santa site. Here are a couple other reviews of this annual tradition begun by the NY Post Office's main branch about a block or two from where I work. And there's even an Op SC in the OC!

  • Looking for some leisure activity? Why not go Elf Bowling? Don't worry, contrary to rumor there's no virus in the program. And if you like it, you can then go on to Elf Bowl 2: Elves in Paradise (This time it's personal) then Elf Bowling 3 and yes, there's even a fourth version. Who's your daddy, Santa? Trish Wilson has some other games, including that brilliantly sick snow globe that I can't resist shaking (I even got two of the characters into a fight once!).

  • Here are some holiday-themed stats from Maritz Research on Americans' travel and dining plans (we're homebodies ourselves), money spent on travel (including a gender gap), and gift-giving and bonus trends in the workplace.

  • Lastly, here's this year's Christmas message from the head of the Church of England, who speaks of the soldiers in Iraq and offers condolences to the bereaved, as well as emphasizing the importance of teamwork. You can find a sum-up on this page as well. It's been a tough year for Her Maj, as was last year.
  • Wednesday, December 24, 2003

    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via Julia H, and just in time, it's Santarchy! Also check out all of Julia's other Santa links. My personal favorite involves Ringo Starr.
    Faith-Based and Faithless Parks

    I was intrigued by Atrios' link to the article from 365gay.com that reports the following:
    All images of gay gatherings at national sites, including the Millennium March on the Washington Mall have been ordered removed from videotapes that have been shown at the Lincoln Memorial since 1995...Also ordered cut from the tape were scenes of abortion rights demonstrations at the memorial, and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations "because it implies that Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion rights as well as feminism." In their place, the Park Service is inserting scenes of the Christian group Promise Keepers and pro-Gulf War demonstrators though these events did not take place at the Memorial...
    So I searched on what else Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (website currently down or I'd link to 'em) turned up, and found this very frightening press release about Christian fundie influence on the National Park Service: "In a series of recent decisions, the National Park Service has approved the display of religious symbols and Bible verses, as well as the sale of creationist books giving a non-evolutionary explanation for the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders within national parks..." Together with Teresa Nielsen Hayden's must-read The Dinosaurs of Eden, all of this really creeps me out. If The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. thinks they're having trouble getting folks to support the reopening of the Statue to tourism now (and come on, now, (1) if it's closed due to security concerns it's not like giving money's going to help re-open it, and (2) shouldn't the upkeep of infrastructure at national treasures like the Statue be the responsibility of the federal government anyway?) it wouldn't surprise me, after these latest shenanigans have come to light, if thinking folks would be that much less inclined to help out a partner of the obviously-much-compromised NPS (which has also been, in my opinion, justifiably maligned by Julia for their actions against Theresa Chambers).
    Polishing the Halo

    If you try to post to the comments section and it doesn't take, it's not you. According to people posting on Haloscan's Member Support forum, it appears to be system-wide. Someone guessed that Simon and Javeen are on holiday; I hope it's nothing more sinister than that. I'd recommend periodically checking back with the forum or Haloscan's home page for updates.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2003

    Hey, It Took 359 Years for Galileo!

    From the Times (Google link): 37 Years After His Death, Lenny Bruce Receives a Pardon. Via my husband.
    We's All on the Cover of Newsweek

    Well, he's on his way, I don't know where he's going... oh, sorry. Via Maru Soze, this week's Newsweek cover story is an interview with Jon Stewart.
    Silly Site o' the Day

    Via Avedon Carol :

    Click on the image to make your own wording for the sign, and to see other recent suggestions.

    Honorable Mention: Fishermen Dress Lobster As Barbie, found on lots and lots of blogs today.

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    Quake in "Rosebud" Territory

    Breaking news. Concentrated in central CA, 6.5 on the Richter. No injuries reported but the Hearst Castle's been evacuated. Update: Jeanne lives in that area and has more; don't worry, she's okay.
    Eric the Maccabee

    Two items of note that have nothing to do with each other except my forced header. Eric Idle has completed his Greedy Bastard Tour, and you can read the entire weblog of it here. And Jonathan Edelstein takes a fascinating look at the sociopolitical situation in the time of the Hellenistic era vis a vis the Maccabean war (which is commemmorated yearly on Chanukah).
    Silly (and Frightening) Sites o' the Day

    Thanks to MadKane for sending me some fodder for my Silly Site o' the Day project for 2004. I'll be storing the info for future ref when I get home. Meanwhile, via David at Barista, two links featuring weird clothing. The latter is creepy in a silly way, and the former is just regular-old creepy (except, I guess, for progressives wanting to use it ironically).
    An "I So Rule" Moment

    The most famous person who spells her first name like mine is probably comedian Elayne Boosler. But if I do a Google search just on my first name, this blog pops up above her site. Every now and then a little ego-boost is nice...
    Chanukah-Christmas Chumor

    My dad just sent me this bit which has, as you can see, been making the rounds. (Anyone know whence it originated?) I also thought this fake news item was cute. This one's a little too "old school" for me, I fear.

    Oh, and for those who don't go back and read older comments sections, I talked with Mom and Dad yesterday, and told them my latkes were a great success. Mom was actually disappointed that I didn't scrape my knuckles allowing a drop of blood into the mixture, and there was agreement all around that one does not use food processors in any part of the preparations (I tried last year, and it was a disaster). Like some Pen-Elayne commenters, Dad was also astounded that electric graters exist, and Mom said she's too much of a purist to even contemplate using one of those. (I'm not; Robin's buying me one as a NODWISH gift, and I'm getting him one of these.) Mom said not to tell Dad about the scallions, and Dad couldn't believe I "only" made 12 latkes out of the batter.
    Happy Winter Solstice

    Around 5 PM Eastern today, I believe. Here's a Google search for your edification and amusement.

    Sunday, December 21, 2003

    Fanatically Apathetic for Two Years and Counting

    Happy second blogiversary, Adam Felber!
    Letters, He Gets Letters

    Not even halfway through my blogroll and so far four bloggers (and that's just Da Gals!) have linked to Michael Moore's Letters the Troops Have Sent Me (also in a longer form on his website). Maybe it's because Time magazine just named the U.S. Soldier as its Person [sic] of the Year? (That news was via Maru Soze.)
    Laying In

    The latkes were perfect for dinner last night, plus I made an English breakfast this morning, and thus I find myself way too tired and lazy and achy (the grating took the better part of an hour) to stay out of bed for long today. It's been way too long since we've had a good lay-in (especially a quiet one!), and I'll be heading back now to enjoy some more comics reading (I'm reading this one now, in keeping with the season) and movie watching (two Judy Garland musicals in a row so far, and the George C. Scott Christmas Carol yet to come). So I'll leave you for now with a recommendation to go read Lisa English's brilliant essay on Crappy Little Countries (welcome back, Lisa!) and a link to the Silly Site o' the Day, courtesy of Avedon Carol and at least one other person on my blogroll whom I can't recall at the moment: Create Your Own Mr. Picassohead!

    Saturday, December 20, 2003

    LC Saturday

    A few Liberal Coalition members are on a bit of a hiatus this time of year, and frankly these things can get unwieldy, particularly given how behind I am on blogroll-reading, so I'll probably not be mentioning every single member every single Saturday henceforth. (Hey, it's not like I'm mentioned on all of their roundups, after all, although I thank Mustang Bobby, Stradiotto and Rivka for their nice words!

    First off, I echo the Farmer's statement regarding not linking sooner to the LC member entry in this week's New Blog Showcase. Unfortunately, the direct link for Chris "Lefty" Brown's What's so funny about peace, love, and higher taxes is bloggered (Chris, have you tried republishing the site?), so you might have to scroll down a bit.

  • Elsewhere on Corrente, Lambert resurrects and updates some light bulb jokes. I used to collect and create those back in college. Seemed a lot less icky than dead-baby or "Mommy Mommy" jokes. Oh come on, if you're around my age you know you did it too. He also comments on Joe "Latke-Cheeks" Lieberman (yes! i coined that epithet!) by engaging in a bit of MadKane-like song parody, except of course everyone knows that if you understand the lyrics it's not a true Creedence song. And his Minister of Fear post is spot-on. Lambert's totally on a roll lately, I wish I got to Corrente more often. Oh, and evil me, I swiped their pretty LC logo to use on the bottom of my sidebar.

  • LC leader N. Todd Pritsky reports on Rupert Murdoch's latest piggy acquisition. Must have been a condolence gift on the occasion of Les Hollings' passing. After all, "In particular, Les was very committed to labour market deregulation as a means of boosting national productivity and international competitiveness." Gag me.

  • Speaking of gagging, new LC member Steve Gilliard takes a look at US Magazine. His links are bloggered too; scroll down to "The other America." Funny essay, but I gotta confess, Steve, it does read a bit like elitism to me, even if I know that's not what you intended. It's worth remembering that any kind of entertainment that gets on TV or the radio or print media or wherever is there in response to public demand, for the purpose of selling a predictable audience to advertisers. If people stop wanting it, they'll stop printing, airing and showing it. (I may be blogging about this more tomorrow.)

  • Clonecone reports on something extremely Craptastic - that WalMart is now testing an 88¢-per-song online music service. I like his snarky comment at the end of the entry. :)

  • Isn't Scott Baron at the Gamer's Nook just a wee bit late in noticing the resemblance between Joe "Latke-Cheeks" Lieberman (y!itce!) and Emperor Palpatine (actually actor Ian McDiarmid)? That creepiness has bothered me ever since the last Presidential election campaign... Also a good excerpt, with accompanying commentary, of a CNN interview with John Glenn. Oh, and how well do you know Scott anyway?

  • Lilith Devlin talks about our meet-up. :) Hope you're all resettled in Albu-- Albe-- New Mexico, Lilith!

  • Scout has started an Unofficial Bash for Cash fundraiser. Everyone really seems to be getting into this idea of pledging money to the Dean campaign every time another Democratic candidate forgets they're supposed to be on the same side and says something nasty about him.

  • Guy Andrew Hall's pissed about the pingy thingy. I hate to say it, but I kind of agree that updating your blog more than once in a half hour doesn't necessarily deserve a ping every time.

  • Peter notes that Moammar Qaddafi (remember him? one of our past bogeymen) is going to allow weapons inspections and that Libya will eliminate all its WMDs. So what's our excuse for not eliminating ours? Edwardpig has more musings on the subject here and here.

  • Dowingba is into That Movie, and has seen it twice now. Andante's into it as well. I'm figuring on bringing my seat cushion to the theatre (I mean, come on, 3 hours 20?) sometime between Christmas and the New Year, but I've been getting into the Starz specials today...

  • Charles2 brings us some pilot's memories on the 100th anniversary of mechanical flight.

  • Keith Kisser presents The Invisible Manifesto.

  • Time, time, time, see what's become of upyernoz.

  • Amy, alas with no permalinks, has a good story about companies price-gouging on flu shots, which is just the kind of humanitarianism called for during an epidemic.

  • Lastly, she's not up on the LC blogroll yet, but Echidne has begun a great series called Rara Avis - check out part 1 (scroll down, link's bloggered).
  • Brings New Meaning to "This Blows"

    Still no e-mail responses to my Silly Site of the Day challenge, but Robin's found one today that I thought fit the bill. "Yes, you can be sweat-free on your PC with the Air-Flo™ Mouse!" That's right, folks, it has come to that.
    Oh, Them Golden Latkes

    Melanie Mattson has done a brief overview of Chanukah and included her recipe for potato pancakes (aka latkes), a Chanukah staple. She's reminded me, bless her heart, that I promised to share mine (actually my mom's). So, since I went out and bought all the ingredients last night and am primed to cook 'em today, here you go:


    5 potatoes, grated
    1 carrot, grated
    1 onion, grated
    1 egg, beaten
    1/4 cup bread crumbs
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preparation and Cooking

    Grate vegetables, let sit for 10 minutes. Drain. Add egg, bread crumbs (enough to hold), salt and pepper. Fry in oil on top of stove until cooked through (at least two minutes on each side).

    Yep, it's that simple, but also deceptively time-consuming. Until such time as I get one of these, I do my grating the old-fashioned way - tediously by hand. Mom says it's not real latkes unless there's a drop of blood involved from accidentally scraping one's fingers against the grater, but you know, I honestly think I could live without that. Then after it's all grated and I've let it sit, I've needed to drain the stuff at least five times, shifting from one paper-towel-lined bowl to another then back again. And of course by the time I've fit the last pancakes into the frying pan the first ones (at least the ones I haven't scarfed up yet) are getting cold. So it's a tricky balance. But you know something? I'm salivating already. I think this year I'm going to add a few scallions to the mixture, as Robin and I both like scallion pancakes. Bon app├ętit!

    Update: Lesley has posted her latke recipe too, even pointing to someone else who has as well! Must be something in the air (yeah, the smell of latkes!) And she has some very nice Chanukah posts, so do check out the whole blog if you've got the time.

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    More pictures taken of both cats in the recessed shelf by my computer. Amy's pretty much at home there now; Datsa doesn't quite fit, and doesn't really understand why...

    Heh, I'm a sucker for size-comparison kitty photos...
    "A Great Miracle Happened There"

    Tonight begins the minor festival of Chanukah, one which never interested me overmuch for a number of reasons:
  • All the players in the Chanukah story are male. No sense of identification for me.
  • The story climaxes with a battle scene, and fighting usually bores me. (I figure that's when I'm going to take my bathroom break during this.)
  • It's essentially about oil. I mean, really.
  • The way it was presented as I was growing up was as "the Jewish alternative to Christmas" because the commemmoration of both happened to fall during the same time of the year. I always thought that was pretty cheap and trivial.

    Even so, old habits die hard, and being essentially a creature of ritual I kinda like lighting the candles, provided I can find free ones from the Lubavitchers on the streets in the Penn Station area (which I haven't this year, as my boss has been in all week and I've not been able to go out during lunchtime to look for 'em) and I actually get home by sundown (impossible this year as Chanukah falls late in the calendar and I think the sun sets tonight before I even get out of work)...
  • Well, Happy Birthday and OK, Then.

    Many happy returns of the day to South Knox Bubba on the occasion not only of his birthday but of his wedding anniversary. He uses the occasion to list some other memorable things that happened on this date in history, including the first English publication of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in 1843. Update: Lane Dunlop informs us that it's also his beautiful dog Maggie's birthday, and offers up some darling pictures.
    Abstinence Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

    Very interesting piece from Steve Gilliard a couple days back (yes, I'm still behind in my blogroll-catchup) called The Art of the Stupid, about our self-deception regarding teenaged sex, drinking, etc. Says Steve, "Not all of these decisions come from the right. The dogooder left has pushed many of these same ideas and they are just as flawed. There has been a disconnect between the realities of American life and the idealism of teaching politically correct lessons which shields them from these realities." Permalinks on Steve's site seem to be bloggered (when that happens with me I usually hit "republish entire site" and that seems to fix it) so you'll have to scroll down a bit to find the essay.

    Thursday, December 18, 2003

    The "Silly Site o' the Day" Challenge

    Until such time as Leah decides to get her own blog, I hope she won't mind me swiping her Link o' Silliness idea. I've decided I like the thought of it so much - just Something Cool and Weird to Tell Folks About that doesn't have to be world-shaking or anything serious - that I'm going to try to institute it as a daily feature herein as of 2004. And I figure, hey, I have around 200 readers give or take, if every one of those readers had just two Silly Sites they wanted other folks to know about, that'd set me for the year and give them all sorts of good plugs too! So send your Silly Site Suggestions to me via e-mail please (so they're not "spoilered" in the comments section) and I'll try to ready the segment for running by January 1! I think this might be a fun little group project.

    Today's Silly Site o' the Day comes from Trish Wilson's blog - it's Zagat's Unfit to Print, "outtakes" from the restaurant reviews submitted by their surveyors.
    The Certainty of Conviction

    You know the quote from Hamlet "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"? Has that fallen out of favor in the Internet age? Via Anne Zook comes a very interesting essay by Hal Hildebrand entitled Why Smart People Believe Weird Stupid Things. It's all about something called Confirmation Bias, "a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs." I think anyone heavily involved in Internet socializing (no, that's not an oxymoron) has come across this phenomenon, and many of us practice it quite religiously ourselves. I also think it has its good side and its bad side. On the one hand, confirmation bias tends to put more roadblocks in the way of substantive debate and exchange of ideas than agreeing to disagree. (At least with the latter, a form of discourse I use quite often, ideas have been exchanged before the debaters realize they're at an impasse, and they recognize that civility and friendship are more important to them than their differences.) On the other hand, when you fail to see your personal philosophies achieve the level where anyone in the major mass media is even discussing them, seeking out and finding other like-minded souls is a godsend, and it's perfectly understandable to want to spend your limited online hours socializing with those souls. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, most political ones still probably lean to the right, and my time is precious to me. Most days I can't even get through my must-read blogroll, let alone have any desire to confront bloggers who echo the same opinions I can get from the vast majority of American TV stations and newspapers. So I see confirmation bias as neither good nor evil, but just a tool like any other. I don't totally ignore the pervasive media, I don't think most Americans are able to, but I'd still rather get my headlines from Euronews or the Beeb. And I don't devalue opinions that don't agree with mine (heck, you can't be a 46-year-old Jewish woman who reads comics and believe that your tastes are the only ones that should count!) but neither do I seek to go out of my way to confront their unpleasantness. Overall, I like to think of myself as open-minded but also mindful of my blood pressure. :) How about you? P.S. Also via Anne, "That devilish, dastardly Doctor of Spin!"

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    Out of the Inkwell

    I wanted to welcome inker Drew Geraci to the blogosphere. So if his website is considered news, maybe it's time to make up a press release for Soulmate Productions. ;)
    RIP Thomas Brick

    For most of us around my neighborhood, it was just a pain-in-the-ass inconvenience to our subway commute home yesterday. For one brave young firefighter, it was his life. Kinda puts things in perspective.
    Today's Milestones

    It's Marla's 33rd birthday, and to celebrate she reminds us that it's also the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. Click on the Google image below to search on Wright Brothers stuff.

    Happy birthday, Marla - hope you're flying high as well!
    I Didn't Know the "G" in "GWB" Stood for "Gollum"!

    Via Kriselda Jarnsaxa, today's Silly Site o' the Day is the very timely Flash movielet Lord of the Right Wing. Is it just me, or do a couple of those voices sound very Firesignian? I'll have to find out at tomorrow night's chat.
    Wasn't This in a William Gibson Novel?

    Or maybe Phil Dick? Via Jenny at little red cookbook, it's Neuromarketing! "It seeks to find a buy button inside the skull." Ewww... It's been going on in England and Canada too; wonder if Kalle Lasn knows about it?
    Curiouser and Curiouser

    Not that I'm given to conspiracy theories, but these are really good questions. (Via Cyndy Roy.) Reminds me a bit of the questions Michael Moore asked of Bush vis a vis Osama bin Laden.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2003

    Get Well Wishes

    All best wishes going out to comics and sf legend Julius Schwartz, who is currently hospitalized due to pneumonia.
    Blogger Block Exchange

    Maru Soze notes in one of the comment sections below that she has writer's block, but geez, you wouldn't know it to look at her blog. Still, ever since I've been blogging I've always thought it'd be a cool idea if those bloggers who seem to be "in the zone" could send some mojo to those who could use it to get over a bit of a hump. Therefore, I would like to act as Mojo Facilitator today and offer some of Anne Zook's excess blog-energy to Maru. Check out this excerpt, for instance:
    Let me just suggest that any sufficiently strongly held opinion can be indistinguishable from "religious fervor" to those who don't share the same belief system and that those casting that particular stone might want to take a good look at their own glass houses from time to time.
    I mean, honestly, the woman has had four long posts up since I checked out her blog yesterday, and they're all "cherce" stuff! You're making us all look bad, Anne. ;)

    Also of note, Mary Beth Williams and Dwight Meredith are now sharing mojo and energy, as Dwight is now officially MB's co-blogger at Wampum. Blogroll adjusted accordingly!
    To Life, To Life, L'Chaim!

    A few years ago I toyed with an idea that still rattles around the back of my brain, writing a series of comic book stories from the point of view of women mentioned in the Bible (like the story of Purim [i.e., the Book of Esther] from the POV of Vashti's ghost, or a shorter version of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent about Dina). I was active at the time on the Usenet rec.arts.comics newsgroups, and an artist I "met" there by the name of Mike Netzer (formerly Nasser) said he'd be interested in illustrating such stories.

    Well, life getting in the way as it does, I never got around to writing those stories (maybe my next job and living space will afford me the peace of mind and lack of stress to take them up again) and Mike and I lost touch. A few days ago, Charlie Boatner mentioned on the Friends of Lulu mailing list that the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan will be having a couple events next month entitled The People of the Comic Book: Superheroes and Jewish Culture, and their Ma'yan division wanted to contribute by presenting a women and comics panel. If it comes to pass I hope to be a part of it, but what really caught my eye was that the events are co-sponsored by a website called Jewish SuperHero.com, which apparently exists to promote a series of comic "books" on CD, and there was something about the art that caught my eye... they were drawn by Mike! Then I went onto the Jews in Comics Yahoo group and, sure enough, not only is there another plug for the JCC events but it seems that Mike has resurfaced to start a Yahoo group of his own. It's called The New Comic Book of Life, and the description reads as follows:
    The notion that humanity is nearing an end to its long held social, political and economic hierarchies, is no longer a fear-instilled speculation in this troubled and stormy age. It is now becoming increasingly clear to so many that the cries of war have deafened our calls for peace - and that the suffering has taken its toll on the souls of this once noble civilization.

    How do we begin the long journey back to the remembrance that we've all come from One Source? How do we begin our journey back to Peace through Unity?

    Within the myriad of communications and education systems, divided and scattered upon the face of world cultures, one small beleaguered industry remains faithful to the message of hope and Salvation. An industry and an art form that have fermented the greatest creative minds and the strongest and brightest hope for saving a dying world.

    Comic book writers, artists, editors and publishers will soon emerge as the Real Superheroes on the world's socio-political stage.

    To this end, we the comic book creators - and you, the precious citizens of the world - must join hands together on this forum, in order to teach and thus remember what it takes to nourish the rose of hope from beneath the mudslides of futility which humanity has so bitterly sunken into.

    This is Michael Netzer's THE NEW COMIC BOOK OF LIFE, striding toward a glorious reunion of our civilization's peoples and faiths under The One Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Commencing with the unification of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam along with all other spiritual and moral belief systems, culminating in the sojourn of mankind into the outer reaches of space - the planting of the seed of humanity into the New Garden, awaiting us on the not so distant TITAN, the curiously Earthlike satellite of the ringed planet Saturn.

    Let's get the show on the road with a good creative spirit, one and all.
    So, you know, I couldn't help but join up. Particularly when I saw the picture Mike put up of himself, very Alan Moore-ish! A lot of the New Agey-sounding stuff reads similar to Neal Adams' Science project (scroll to the bottom of the page), and I think that's deliberate as one of Mike's first posts to the list is an open apology to Adams regarding their past differences. Mike responded to my first post (where I asked permission to mention the group herein) by saying, "Yes, write about it everywhere you want. The first 5 posts on this forum give some background to the thrust of the discussions. Everything is open for the grabbing. You might want to have a look in the files section. A few comic book stories, a couple of manuscripts. Unpublished stuff." So while I'm not packing my bags for Titan just yet, I might force myself to finally pen that Vashti script now...

    Monday, December 15, 2003

    It Was Easy... Too Easy

    Interesting comment section in response to Billmon's musings on the capture of Saddam Hussein. Says one commenter,
    am I the only one who smells a rat?
    Here was an operation involving 600 soldiers going after a tip on saddam hussein, and NOT A SHOT WAS FIRED???
    That tells me they knew that not a shot would be fired at them.
    Saddam was found disoriented in a hole in the ground with a gun and a couple of local goons, not his own men.
    I think this was a hand-off. Someone has had him on ice for a couple weeks, he got too hot, so they sold him to the US for concessions to be paid at a later date. Some war-lord turned him over to the US.
    And another opines, "I saw this story today and my bullshit detectors went off! I mean they stage manage everything else from the SCOTUS acclamation of Bush to the yellow cake to the flight deck to the turkey...why not this!?" Why not, indeed. Remember, one can be glad of the tyrant's capture whilst at the same time maintaining a healthy skepticism and wondering what's actually going on that we don't know about (like, for instance, the LaHood connection?)...

    Update: Just about through my blogroll, and out of all the Hussein-captured musings I've read so far I think I like Jeff/Emma's the most.

    Sunday, December 14, 2003

    It Was the Best of Tims, It Was the Worst of Tims

    Yep, been catching the various versions of A Christmas Carol again as they come on my local cable system, so it's time to break out my wholly trinity of Christmas-media-culture-related essays from last year:
    You Shall Be Upheld in More Than This

    “So That’s Where He Got the Crown of Thorns!”

    I Hear People Singing, It Must Be Christmastime
    I hope you enjoy them. And remember, the bad part of public domain is that anyone can learn to love muck it up, but the good part is that anyone can access the original.
    Wizbang/Koufax Update

    While the Koufax awards nomination process is underway, it's the last day to vote at the Wizbang awards - polls close at 5 PM Eastern time. I'm actually mentioned in the latter, and would like to thank the 22 other people who voted for me (my total shows 23 at the moment, which pleases Eris). I also want to thank Trish for nominating me for a Koufax. When you're as little-known in the blogosphere as I am, it really is "an honor just to be nominated."
    "The Tyrant is a Prisoner"

    Well, one of them, at any rate.

    Guess this book won't be selling as well now.

    Saturday, December 13, 2003

    Window Shopping

    Interesting local filler program tonight on NYC holiday window displays, presented by the former early-AM anchor I don't miss at all. I could have done without her but the program itself was pretty well put together; it featured a trip through Spaeth Design (which I had no idea did the actual crafting work for almost all the major department store window displays) as well as plugs for this book and this one, interviews with just about every major designer (99% gay men, it seems, but the one who won the DDI judges' Platinum Award is female, Bergdorf Goodman designer Linda Fargo) and a segment following the FIT contest to design the window in Bed Bath & Beyond's Chelsea store. Based on the special I'd like to see the windows at Saks and Bergdorf Goodman, but I'm not overwhelmed by most of the others, even though I have a greater appreciation for the crafting behind them.

    Oh, and speaking of the holiday season: that honeymoon scene in It's A Wonderful Life where Mary confesses that "this is what I wished for?" Robin wants to remind everyone that she whispers that into George's deaf ear. Just so's ya know.
    LC Saturday

    Time for my weekly overview of what's going on at the blogs of my fellow Liberal Coalition members, even though Mustang Bobby already beat me to it with his Pen-Elayne-free Saturday Surfing...

  • Over at Corrente, the Farmer echoes Digby in putting left-wing bloggers' voices in perspective. I'm kind of used to being a small-to-medium fish in a miniscule pond, a subset of a subset to infinite regression, but it's nice to see others being self-aware about this.

  • LC leader N. Todd Pritsky reports on new rules enabling the FBI to continue its increased wiretaps, searches and other privacy invasions subject to oversight by a secret intelligence court rather than publicly-accountable criminal courts. All in the name of fighting "terrorism," which is of course whatever the people in power say it is. Lovely.

  • My neighbor to the west and frequent commenter, Scott from Gamer's Nook, is undoubtedly inspired by the latest Jack Chick parody making the blog rounds, and links to A Very Cthulhu Christmas. That's A Very Cthulhu NODWISH to you, Scott!

  • Everyone wish T. Rex and the proprietor of Invisible Library well on their finals! Dang, I can't believe my college years took place half a life ago... And get well soon to Chris Brown, felled (as have been so many of us) by the Dreaded Lurgy...

  • Mustang Bobby's found that some Austrians are more equal than other Austrians...

  • Lilith Devlin is in the process of moving to Albuquerque, but I'm sure when she returns to blogging she'll have a report on our meeting this past Wednesday. :)

  • Jeff at Speedkill has way more patience with homophobic letter writers than I ever would.

  • Scout at And Then... has another '60s flashback. Tanned, rested and ready!

  • Left is Right takes a look at Imad Khadduri's attic - actually, the Guardian's examination of Khadduri's new book, Iraq's Nuclear Mirage.

  • Clonecone at It's Craptastic! recommends a post from fellow LC member Peter at Kick the Leftist entitled Big Corporate vs. 13 y/o girl (and the RIAA hits keep on coming!) for the upcoming week's New Blog Showcase.

  • Guy Andrew Hall at Rook's Rant bids a fond farewell to Cowboy Kahlil, as Kevin Hayden makes 51 Reasons Why Americans Should Elect Howard Dean his last post before starting up a new weblog sometime in early '04...

  • Jesse at The Gotham City 13 gives us some Weekend Funnies, including the burning question "What Do the Stars Think About Al Gore?"

  • Charles2 at The Fulcrum asks the Wall Street Journal, "Why go Boom?"

  • Tao of Dowingba would like the US to fucking lay off Canada, eh.

  • Alex at Sooner Thought passes along an article about Connecticut legislators calling for Governor John Rowland's resignation after his admission that, yeah, a state contractor and others helped pay for work on his summer home after all (contrary to his earlier denials).

  • Mercury23's permalinks are still bloggered or I'd take you right to his post on Bushco vs. Nature, but at the moment it's right at the top of his blog so it's not hard to find. (Hey Mercury23, republishing the entire site usually works for me in fixing bloggered links...)

  • Upyernoz at Rubber Hose wonders whether he needs to make excuses for when he doesn't blog. Sure you do, everyone knows when you do meta-posts (i.e., blogging about blogging) you always get more response in the comments section!

  • Run away! Edwardpig has found a way cool optical illusion-type design that will totally make your eyes cross!

  • Amy (who doesn't seem to have permalinks) points to this news article entitled Pic Of Naked Canadian Mayor Stolen From Computer that didn't actually come from Mark Morford!

  • Stradiotto's photo scares me.

    Lastly, just wanted to note that two of my favorite blogroll folks, Steve Bates and Maru Soze, are now contributors to the Liberal Coalition blog. Yay!
  • Visually Assaulted

    One can't help but notice quite the little eyesore at the southwest corner of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue. Almost put me off my sushi last night. Apparently people elsewhere in the city are fighting back against this further encroachment upon their residential lives by corporations selling out to other corporations against citizens' will, but it'll probably be an uphill battle. My hope is that some enterprising hackers will take the opportunity to do a bit of electronic culture jamming...

    Via Tristero, apparently a lot of goyim are still on that Kabbalah kick. I considered studying Kabbalah when I was a teenager, but I've never been all that good with numbers.
    Husband the First

    A very happy birthday to Steve Chaput, my ex-husband, fellow blogger, and good friend for over 20 years.
    The Strange Audit on the Corner

    My guest-blogger and tech-support person and friend Laura Gjovaag, who's done a magnificent job on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog covering the Marysville teachers strike, has brought another very important situation to the blogosphere's attention. Her local comic shop owner, Paige Gifford of Corner Comics, is in the midst of an IRS "compliance audit" - Laura picks up the story here:
    The brand-spankin new agent they had put on her case didn't believe she could make a living selling comics. Once she was able to prove that she was in compliance, and not selling something on the side, and that yes, she did make a living selling comic books, the agent went after her inventory. He said that he knew how much baseball cards are worth, and so old comics must be worth a lot of money. He estimated how much her backstock was worth (based on his own bizarre calculation). He then told her that she hadn't paid taxes on her inventory, and that she owed $14,000 in taxes. She's a small business owner. $14,000 is a lot of money.

    So she got some help. At times the thing seemed almost resolved. But the IRS is determined to run her out of business. Within the last week she was told that she cannot have any backstock of comics. She has to destroy her backstock - shred or burn every comic book - by December 31st in order to get out of the debt. And she needs a receipt to prove that she destroyed the comics. Otherwise, she owes the IRS $14,000, and will owe the IRS an inventory tax every year from here on out. Even though her lawyer and accountant are convinced that she's completely in compliance with every pertainable law.

    I don't know about you, but if this audit is applied equally and across the board on all small-business owners, I don't think there will be any bookstores or comic book stores left that are locally owned. You cannot have a decent comic shop without backstock, and according to the IRS, backstock is NOT ALLOWED.
    Read the follow ups here and here in Paige's own words and here and here. Maybe economist types like Max are more up on this type of stuff than me, but this doesn't sound like any audit I've ever known about, it just sounds like plain and simple harassment, and it ought not be legal.
    (Belated) Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum)

    The cats have been keeping me company lately as I type. Datsa seems to like the monitor; Amy enjoys hiding herself in the recessed shelf.

    Friday, December 12, 2003

    "I Don't Know, I've Never Kippled"

    Via Susie Madrak, it's Gunga Dean by Stephen at To the Barricades.
    Long Attention Span Theatre

    Via Maru Soze, there are apparently 12 different "endings" to the third Lord of the Rings movie, and Peter Jackson's shown them all. The sucker clocks in at 3 hours 20, and that's just the theatrical release! Put the inevitable extended-sequence DVD together with the last two extended ones and that's at least a sleepover in the winter of '04...
    How You Know Your Ad Is Effective

    Eric Blumrich found out the hard way, after the Kucinich campaign started using his Mission Accomplished animation on their site (via Laura Poyneer, they're hoping to air it on Iowa TV as well). Apparently he's being majorly harrassed by a bunch of wingnuts. The full story is laid out at BushFlash. Update: Tristero has more.
    Perfect Crimes

    Following up on her strong posts I mentioned last Saturday, Jeanne D'Orleans wrote a fascinating essay yesterday on The Doctrine of American Infallibility, comparing the various "we are perfect, and therefore the blame lies everywhere other than with us" excuses for US forces having killed all those Afghani children this past week with the sorts of excuses the Catholic Church has used over the years to explain away institutionalized anti-Semitism, sexism and the like. Really nice work, Jeanne.

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Made of Typewriter Symbols...

    I really need to revive Leah's "Silly Site of the Day" suggestion. I always get a good one from the Thursday night Firesign Chats. This week's: Star Wars done entirely in ASCII Animation. Last scene added (Han and Luke enter the detention block) was on April 20th so I'm not sure we can expect more any time soon, but I think it's amazing someone got this far to begin with...
    Calling Julia Out

    Okay, here's the choice. This or this (thanks to Linkmeister for the link). I'm leaning towards the latter. Give me a call (I'm in the book) when Her Majesty is all better (get well soon, HM!) and we'll meet and like that. Hey, let's invite Scott too, and any other NYC-area bloggers we know, why not. Preference is the weekend of December 20-21 'cause I want to sleep this coming weekend...
    Pavement Pounding Update

    My interview here went pretty well. Half an hour, which seems to me the optimal amount of time for a preliminary interview. And the sky has cleared up, and I have less than two hours to go at the office, and I'm feeling much more relaxed now so maybe I'll sleep well tonight.
    Never Mind the Wizbangs, Here Come the Koufaxes

    It's that time of year. The opening of nominations for the annual Koufax Awards has just been announced over at Wampum. Says Dwight Meredith: "This is the second year of the awards. In the fast moving world of blogs, that qualifies them as a tradition. The purpose of the awards is to recognize and applaud the best of the left. It is supposed to be fun for us and for you. Please take the awards in the spirit in which they are offered. Mary Beth [Williams] and I will be accepting nominations during the month of December. Nominations may be submitted either by comment to this post or by email to either of us. The email addresses are at the right. Each week for the next few, we will attempt to post links to nominated posts and blogs so that we may have an informed electorate." My lousy short-term memory makes me kinda sucky at awards voting, and as I'm not even on MB's blogroll I have no illusions about being nominated (I see where the nomination process for Wizbang!'s 2003 weblog awards, which doesn't even have me anywhere near their radar, seems to be closed in so many categories already), but there are so many great left-leaning blogs out there that deserve recognition, so if you're so inclined this is your chance to show your appreciation for them.