Friday, December 21, 2007

Quote of the (next) week

cozy winter house
Good News; but if you ask me what it is, I know not;
It is a track of feet in the snow,
It is lantern showing a path,
It is a door set open.
- G.K. Chesterton
(via Rev Debby)

Holiday plans

I've managed to leverage 2.5 remaining vacation days into 10 days of work-free luxury, and I intend to enjoy it thoroughly, especially as such leisure will soon become very scarce. A couple projects in mind, some holiday celebratory activity, and altogether a good time. Of course, I always end up wishing I were a cat so I could just snuggle away the hours instead of all my other ideas . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another reason the film studios may not want to delay

The writers are considering developing alternative outlets online, which could become powerful entertainment forces. I don't love watching media online, but I think that that sentiment is increasingly minority . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Serious leverage

film reelI was wondering how the writers' strike was going, since it seems to have faded a bit from the headlines (and inter-waves) since the holidays overtook us. But apparently there's still a big drama to play out: they may not allow either scripts to be composed or clips to be used at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes! (Both require waivers from the writers.) I can't imagine how the studios (and networks!) will finesse this one...

Moral and strategic foundering

I work for the Democratic Party, although in a tiny (and unpaid) capacity, so I guess I can't really give up on them completely, but otherwise I certainly agree with the spirit of this post by August. The Democratic majority in Congress has meant remarkably little in terms of the issues that the American people really care about, and it's becoming more and more frustrating. Leadership, anyone?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You're not speaking for me

An interesting example here of how the leadership of the evangelical movement is often more radical (or less well adapted to reality) than the bulk of actual followers, how little they seem to realize it (as opposed to, say, the Catholic Church, which began banging its head against the wall years ago), and how foolish they can look as a result.

Inspired summary

Atrios captures the essence of the three leading Democrats' campaigns:
Obama: The system sucks, but I'm so awesome that it'll melt away before me.

Edwards: The system sucks, and we're gonna have to fight like hell to destroy it.

Clinton: The system sucks, and I know how to work within it more than anyone.
donkey face-offToo funny.

(via Medley)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Less funny: How conservatives have lamed government

In a backlash against the perceived excesses of the "liberal elite," the conservatives trumpeted the value of dogma and heart, as though leaders without expertise would somehow create great success through sheer force of will. Well, not so much. Sadly, it will take quite some years to undo the damage that all those idiot appointments (and all their idiot decisions) have done to the functioning of our communal society.

Two funnies on parenthood

  • Apparently there was a period in the 18th century when it was trendy to look pregnant, to the point that women bought fake stomachs to complete their stylish attire. All I can think is this would only seem fun to somebody who hadn't been pregnant...

  • Meanwhile, one full-time stay-at-home dad recounts his need for a makeover, as the increased time at home, combined with a sort of sympathetic response to his kid's super-basic clothing needs, have caused him to regress on all fronts.
    Grooming myself has gotten to be like caring for an old house: as soon as you fix one thing, something else goes to hell.
    Heh heh. The vagaries of parenthood meet the vagaries of aging, perhaps...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quote for the weekend (take it easy edition)

stack of stones

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
– Susan Ertz
(via A Mindful Life)

Two selfless bits for Friday

  1. Dooce goes public again with the story of her mental health battles, largely with the hope that it might help others get past their pride/shame/barriers and get the medical care that they need. A touching story, and the dense comments thread shows how many still need the reminder.

  2. A group of Jews gets beat up for wishing some strangers on the subway a Happy Hannukah, and one of the few standing up for them is a Muslim student who just happened to be nearby. In this era, if any, it's particularly heartening to see caring human responses to fellow humans, of the sort that don't worry about who's wearing what hat.
    (via dailyKos)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Same as the old boss

Pope Benedict pronounces homosexuality a barrier to world peace. (It's all those nuclear gay families with their adopted kids that really wreck the place!) sigh.

(via Bitch, Ph.D.)

Learning by example

I've been among those righteously peeved at the revelation that the CIA destroyed a heap of tapes of its interrogations of suspected terrorists -- not least because such tapes could settle the matter of whether we were torturing detainees and/or whether we got any useful intelligence (doubtful). I'm also waiting for heads to roll on the destruction-of-evidence front. But today I felt my first shimmer of sympathy for the other possible motives behind the disposal of these tapes:
The agency watched Donald Rumsfeld, William Haynes and Ricardo Sanchez walk while Lynndie England and Charles Graner took the fall for Abu Ghraib. No one wants to be the Lynndie England of the Black Sites.
Yes, I think those who used excessive force should be held accountable, but it's true that smacking the rank and file for following orders isn't really the point; it's the higher-ups who said that such methods were OK that should be punished. (Impeachment for Rumsfeld/Cheney, anyone?) Setting agents up as scapegoat targets isn't really a win for the system.

(via Talking POints Memo)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fair weather fans

Yes, indeed -- the first thing to fall by the wayside when things aren't going as well as hoped...

Gizmodelic fun

vibrating braceletWow, I don't even carry a cell phone and yet I think this bracelet gizmo is pretty cool -- never miss a call because it's out of hearing/vibration range in your purse, backpack, or deep pocket...

What could possibly go wrong?

Huge numbers of independent contractors, somehow outside of both Iraqi and American law, working for long stretches in difficult circumstances with little oversight. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by things like this (in addition to more high-profile incidents like the Blackwater shootings), but I'm appalled and disheartened.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Quote of the day

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
- Oscar Wilde,
writer (1854-1900)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Something to show for months of pain

Spouse and I innocently undertook some minor house renovations this fall -- replacing beat up bathroom fixtures and making a couple of closets more useful, as well as painting and recarpeting our second bedroom. I thought the contractors would take about a week, leaving us several weeks for painting and airing out of renovated rooms, but instead the project wore on and on, with workmen skipping some days and doing only a couple things on others, every surface requiring multiple coats of paint, and our time and energy being limited. So now it's 20 degrees outside and not looking good for fresh breezes to remove paint and carpet fumes, and we're ready to have the rest of the house (and our lives) back from all this.

Anyway, at least we're starting to have something to show for it. Here's the cuteness of the renovated bedroom/nursery, which was finally able to accept furniture (previously all over the house) this past weekend...

view from door
A glimpse from the door (including my childhood rocker).
Am pretty pleased with how all the disparate parts go together.

koi crib
Our cute crib vogues for the camera. (yay for Craig's List!)

wall with dressers
Here's the left wall, a little sparse at moment but showing signs of waves
(which will eventually be joined by some artsy fish) and radically repainted
dressers, the left of which will soon sport a changing pad/table on top.

Perhaps I'll spare you the crowing about improved office closets and so forth, but thought the cuteness of all this might have general appeal. Happy Friday, all!

Dangerous cuteness levels

This puppy is a heartbreaker. I want one.
(ok, maybe not anytime soon, but...)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Latest in a proud tradition

That is, once again the Bushies find it in their hearts to reward incompetence, this time lining up performance bonuses for the officials overseeing independent security contractors in Iraq, the ones accused of criminal lack of oversight and misbehavior on the ground... (Can a medal of honor be far behind?)

(via Talking Points Memo)

Wednesday giggle

Potter puppetA little video using Harry Potter hand-puppets. Not much more explanation than that, except the joy of randomness...

(via Alas, a blog)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Two for Tuesday

I seem to be a bit busy elsewhere, but these two stories are worth noting:
  1. The intelligence community seems in pretty good accord in reporting that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003, meaning that the fearmongers are running on fumes. Of course, the neocons and Republican candidates have proven themselves unlikely to shift course in the face of facts...

  2. Ampersand notes that the immigration debates are missing a key point: that there is virtually no legal path for immigration of unskilled workers, despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of jobs that welcome them.