Friday, February 22, 2008

Totally engrossing project

So far, she's enchanting to watch, very good-natured, and totally resetting our sense of the passage of time. Still at hospital, feeling more human, home tomorrow. More at a later date . . .

first Speck picture, napping

Update: more photos accruing here...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reporter out!

Looks like our number has been called, so it's time to go off and have a baby. There will surely be pictures almost immediately, and certainly sent by email to many of our closest friends and family, but no idea what the delay will be in getting them up here. Either way, wish us both luck; we hope to be making introductions in a couple of weeks! Ciao!

The end of an era

The significance of this is not what it would once have been, and yet it will resonate for many: Fidel Castro resigns as President of Cuba. Will be interesting to see whether his brother really takes things in a new direction.

I just need five minutes of your time...

time is moneyApparently the Congressional Research Service reports that the Iraq war/occupation is costing $222,000 per minute these days -- that's over $1 million for every five minute web-surfing break you take today. Can anybody honestly tell me that with the meter running that fast, there aren't better uses for the money? (Can you say that with a straight face to those just losing their contaminated Katrina trailers and no housing in sight?)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Can't we all just get along?

Fantastic parody of foreign war reporting as applied to territorial housecats, via the Onion. I especially like the analysis of the strategic significance of several prime regions . . .

So confused

spine!Wait, Congressional Democrats have done two good things? (That is, pass a motion of contempt against Meiers and Bolton in the US Attorney firing scandal, and actually stand up to Bush on illegal wiretapping and baseless fearmongering.) Whence the sudden infusion of spine after so long?

Interesting path-crossing

Might Uhuru have left Star Trek if not for Martin Luther King? Amazing. (I must be feeling mushy, because this made me teary.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm always just behind the curve

Apparently there are scholarships available for students who blog, about politics or other select topics. A decade or so too late for me, but still cool.

Pink cellphones were the beginning of the end

Want to target a female demographic? No research or understanding needed; just color your product pink! Want to talk to women about things they care about? Don't try to find out what those things are; they're already "given" to be cooking, babies, and, I dunno, nailpolish.

All of these brilliant insights are captured in this Girl Gamer magazine debut (appropriately skewered by ds Fanboy). It makes me want to hurl. I think the models they were looking for are here or here, and maybe an appropriately sexy piece of equipment would be ... this? And I'm not even trying that hard, let alone hoping for profits. What maroons!

(via Xoverboard/Some Guy with a Website)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quote of the day

stacked stones
We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.
- Marcel Proust
(via whiskey river)

Well, when you put it *that* way...

August captures my frustrations over the Congressional FISA fight (should the President's power to wiretap Americans be limited? should the telecoms that handed over your info be held accountable?) with this analogy. Apparently threats from a powerless President still trump the rule of law for many of our representatives. How depressing.

Technically speaking

A technical reviewer test-drives colored pencils. Quite amusing...

(via boing boing)

Get your geek on -- for good!

geek flag!Wow, am both amused and impressed by this array of science-themed tattoos. I thought about a tat while in graduate school, and I have to say I never considered going with something work-related, but I also respect people who are bold in their geeky immersion to that degree. (I especially like the sea urchin embryo series, but some of the molecular diagrams have to win for pure geek content.)

(via kottke)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One man's disarray...

I'm with those confused by the media narrative that somehow an elongated primary decision process is bad, that it means a party in disarray, blah blah. I mean, obviously, a party can be in a civil war even when its candidate is a foregone conclusion (see: Republican infighting over the vote-worthiness of McCain). And one can have a close-fought series of primaries that allow everybody to be excited and involved without thinking that either of the two choices is a disaster in any way (see: current Democratic race). Medley put it well yesterday:
Two strong candidates, an engaged and participating Democratic electorate -- where's the bad, again?
That's about right. I can see that once you have a clear frontrunner, you can turn to collecting funds for the general, and directing your attacks and criticism at the nominee of the other party -- both of those are important. But I think that continuing to be driven to make yourself available to voters in numerous states, talk about your plans and vision, and get people invested in an outcome are all really good for carrying momentum into the bigger battle anyway. Plus, it's that much more visible coverge before the media starts picking the candidates apart again, which helps keep people from getting disillusioned long before the election comes. I dunno, maybe I'm just naive, but it's exciting to think that my late-April primary may still be important in this race, and I suspect I'm not alone.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dog and pony show

A political analyst in Rolling Stone writes that the disappointing performance of Congressional Democrats since they took power isn't just a symptom of the unified Republican opposition, but the result of insincere dedication to the very issue that brought them into the majority:
In and around the halls of Congress, the notion that the Democrats made a sincere effort to end the war meets with, at best, derisive laughter. Though few congressional aides would think of saying so on the record, in private many dismiss their party's lame anti-war effort as an absurd dog-and-pony show, a calculated attempt to score political points without ever being serious about bringing the troops home.
American ChickenIt's certainly felt that way from the outside, but hearing it confirmed by insiders is still very disheartening. Perhaps Markos is right that the only way to make this party pay attention to the demands of their constituents is to hit them with viable primary challenges until they start to follow through on their promises. That's certainly a lot harder for everybody than just doing the right thing because you have the opportunity now . . .

Also disturbing is this charge:
Rather than use the vast power they had to end the war, Democrats devoted their energy to making sure that "anti-war activism" became synonymous with "electing Democrats." Capitalizing on America's desire to end the war, they hijacked the anti-war movement itself, filling the ranks of peace groups with loyal party hacks. Anti-war organizations essentially became a political tool for the Democrats — one operated from inside the Beltway and devoted primarily to targeting Republicans.
I think there are plenty of avenues of anti-war activism that are running full throttle, but if the media gets distracted by some high-profile sham efforts, it definitely makes everything harder there too. Bitey bite bite!!

(via local Drinking Liberally troublemakers)

Neat idea

Some Japanese cities have installed these streetlights that harvest solar and wind power to fuel themselves. They seem like a great idea -- in Philly, they'd save not only the cost of the power at night but also the (nontrivial) cost of digging up the street or sidewalk to run the underground wiring. Plus they look pretty striking. Spiff!

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Friday, February 08, 2008

An amazing photograph

Almost indescribable: a dew-covered insect captured in incredible detail. Wow.

(via kottke)

New toy Friday

I thought I'd be blogging some two-legged pets today, but then yesterday Fed Ex brought me a little surprise to help while away the time until Speck arrives (and, really, to improve my experience of random bits of time after she's here): a new Mac Air.

Click the image above if you want a little slideshow that captures the
step-by-step fun of opening up the boxes and seeing what's inside.

Once I turned it on, I stopped taking pictures and just got to fussin', but I might add some action shots (and other angles) later. I gotta say, the display is really striking, which somehow I hadn't considered. This weekend, I guess I'll figure out which of the many files on my iBook and tablet should really be centralized on the new laptop (especially since I intend to set it up to back up automatically to a wireless TimeCapsule drive).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Today's random bit

A video of the world's fastest clapper (I'm glad I wasn't responsible for counting!). Seems an amusing character as well.

(via kottke)

Le sigh

You know, a year or two ago, we though that getting a Democratic majority in Congress would transform the country, allowing sanity to prevail on any number of fronts. Digby points out how far this is from true. It makes me want to bite someone, at the least, and I can see the way that many lose faith in the political process entirely.


Well, this seems just

Sore LosermanJoe Lieberman no longer a Democratic superdelegate. Endorsing McCain apparently was enough, even if running for reelection as an independent wasn't...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A thoughtful rumination

Larry Lessig takes some time to lay out his reasoning for choosing Obama over Hillary. He points out that their policy differences are small, but marshalls some persuasive evidence that the other differences between them are not. Yes, there are style differences, but we also have clues about the relative consideration that each gives to principle versus expedience, their moral characters as revealed in their campaign techniques, and what they might do as leaders in office. Worth the 20 minute investment for anybody who appreciates a careful argument, as well as for those still making up their minds (or getting over Edwards, heh).


Quote of the day (light jacket edition)

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
-John Ruskin,
author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Sorting out the numbers

Dems butting headsFor anybody trying to tally up delegates, keep track of what states have already had primaries, or just generally see how close Clinton and Obama really are, CNN provides a convenient running summary. (I'm sure they have one for the Republicans too.) Now, how those superdelegates are making up their minds is still a bit of an arcane business . . .

(via local pal Damon)

Update: wow, the delegate business is even more arcane that I realized -- there's no agreement on how many delegates Obama and Clinton have secured!!

You know you wanted it!

This is a very cute puppy! I mean, corgi-riffic!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Apropos of nothing

...but strangely satisfying, 50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years from a Chicago Tribune columnist.
17. Don’t waste your breath proclaiming what’s really important to you. How you spend your time says it all.
A random collection, from the mundane to the profound, almost all of which I agree with (despite my fewer years).

(via Rebecca's Pocket)


No, not today's voting, but this list of horrific insects, of the sort that swarm, poison, and generally threaten the mental and physical well-being of the human population. That first one is almost all you need . . . wow.

(via Follow Me Here)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yet another example of reality trumping irony

It's hard to add much to this:
The Bush administration has failed to nominate any candidates to a newly empowered privacy and civil-liberties commission. This leaves the board without any members, even as Congress prepares to give the Bush administration extraordinary powers to wiretap without warrants inside the United States.
The Bushies have endless gall and absolutely no respect for Constitutional protections for the individual. It's really amazing.

Big Brother's eye

Friday, February 01, 2008

Random Friday bits

  • This Modern World notices a historical note that would rather change a discussion that recently took place in the political arena -- that is, what activists versus politicians can accomplish. See what MLK himself thought? crazy!!

  • If you're stranded at an airport by something other than weather (i.e., mechanical problems, personnel not present, etc.), you have recourse, even though the airlines may not tell you about it. Ask the agent to "240 you" to your destination!
    (via Follow Me Here)

  • Improv Everywhere scores another cool coup by having hundreds of people freeze in place in Grand Central Station. They came, they wandered, they froze for 5 minutes -- and it was plenty to attract the attention of passersby! -- they unfroze simultaneously and went their way (to some applause). Very spiff!
    (via boing boing)

Quote of the day/week

Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you're no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow.
- Robert Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
(via whiskey river)

Not long now...

Speck profile, 33 weeks
(This is a profile from about 4 weeks ago;
if you can't make it out, I made an outline here.)