Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The *what* caucus?

spine!Hey, look, a show of spine by Congressional progressives!! Indeed, if healthcare reform under Obama can't manage to provide a strong public option, then it will have to be judged as a failure. I'm glad that somebody's making that case from the inside.

Tuesday puppy

I dunno -- maybe it's the heat, or maybe my life has felt too stressful lately, but I sure appreciated this adorable corgi pup. (Glad somebody else is paper training him though! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

For a niece (five years old!)

For Genevieve
(Five Years Old)

You clasp the little ball so tightly
One would have to break your hand
to wrest it,
As one breaks off the branch
To get the fruit . . .

And one waits . . .
A time comes
When the fruit just drops,
The time of ripeness.

And a time comes
When the world just falls,
The time of sleep.
- Simeon Dumdum, Jr.
(via whiskey river)

Ah, hindsight

Marburg virusThere's nothing like a national emergency to make one rethink one's earlier (idiotic) high horse...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just like real folks

Just a couple of weeks since Vermont, and already this development hardly makes a ripple. (Signed the bill without comment, no less!) Perhaps the tide has already turned.
(via Talking Points Memo)

Edit: more here.

With opponents like these...

Wow indeed. Hard to disagree, but still, that's a pretty positive assessment from somebody who worked for the Other Guy...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monkey see...

Um, can't completely decide whether to be amused or creeped out by this hell-and-brimstone babble sermon given by a toddler. It seemed to inspire the congregation, anyway...

Extreme biking

clip art bikeI have to say that the degree to which this man and his bike seem like one organism is mindboggling, but one envisions years of accumulated crashes and injuries that went into such smoothness and aplomb... eep.

(via kottke)

Edit: completely unrelated: Harvard Bookstore offers bike delivery to its local customers. An excellent way to steal business back from the Amazons of the world...

(via GirlHacker)

Space station

I've never really paid attention to the International Space Station, its size, assembly, undertakings, except in the most peripheral way. Found this graphical explanation of how it came together fascinating -- like Eliot, I had no idea how big the whole thing is, let alone how many trips have gone into putting it together. Pretty spiff. (Of course, I still don't really know what they're doing up there...)

(via Follow Me Here)

Monday, April 20, 2009

These two things have nothing to do with one another

...but apparently I need to post them together. Um, trying to be productive at work, I guess.
  • Hospitals can greatly reduce the spread of drug-resistant bacteria by empowering low-level staffers to make suggestions and to call higher-ups on lapses. We need to do this and more!
    (via Rebecca's Pocket)

  • Fantastic: the Washington Post apparently sponsored a contest for Peeps dioramas in honor of Easter -- the entries vary from the hilarious to the dead-serious (or, as serious as one can be with Peeps). The winner totally rocks!
    (via Bitch, Ph.D.)
Happy Monday, all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday baby-blogging, spring color edition

A color shot from that same Easter photo shoot, this one from toward the end when Speck got to exchange her formalwear for a swimsuit. She's, um, snuggling with the dog bed here (so proud).

swimsuit giggler

Quote of the day

The wages of sin are death,
but after taxes are taken out,
it's just a tired feeling.
- Paula Poundstone

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I like to think of myself as environmentally conscious -- at the least, we recycle compulsively, try to buy recycled products, and make produce choices that tend toward the local, at the edges at least. Still, contemplating switching to cloth diapers (and all the additional handling) is very sobering, and somehow this graphic (especially the entries for beef!) almost makes me cry. Awareness is good, being willing to deal with some costs and inconveniences is responsible, but there are so many competing inefficiencies in every aspect of life in America that I sometimes feel that one can barely make a convincing difference, even with committed effort (and time is too often an unmeasured resource). Still, one can only try...

(via kottke)

Collective guilt

I know that the human species has driven countless others to extinction, and yet I still find it very difficult to look at these photographs of now-extinct species. I don't know whether it's just the awareness that such creatures were alive in the last century or so, or the specifics of the stories, or just the thought that nobody will ever see any of these striking animals again.

(via Follow Me Here)

Peck, peck, peck

The pure natural force of moral rightness continues to press against the wall of hatred and fear. Polls of young people show that this is the direction that history is leading us, and those who oppose equality will be less and less relevant with each passing year. Am reminded of this quote:
The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
-- Kosh (from Babylon V)
wedding ringsMomentum may come slowly in the early days, but over time . . .

(article via Atrios; quote via Medley)

Monday, April 13, 2009


Monday giggles: Breaking: Obama puppy nominee faces uphill battle in Senate. Very apt.

Poem of the day/week

the believer considers

the glorious day
the glorious vision

sometimes joy floats
on a dark sea
white flecks of foam

hopelessness was easier
the comfort of slow decay
nothing required
a calm gentility
in the gathering dust
the promise - a service
in this world and the next
all I wanted was to sleep
close my eyes a little
there is always something to do

if no one comes to the door
in the middle of the night
seeking attar of roses
will I be relieved?

we could wrap ourselves
in the beauty of it all
and disappear
a mountainside, a forest retreat
breathing prayer words
to the moon and stars

the world refuses to fail
is not past saving
the wind stirs the leaves
at my door
and pulls at my sleeve
- Kim Hodges
(via rec.arts.poems, more than a decade ago, and it's stuck with me every since)

That guy is up to something

Rafe discusses Obama's cleverness in keeping Gates on at Defense in anticipation of the major changes he wanted to institute, and notes that a lot of commenters misjudged the choice and its motivation.
Operating under the assumption that President Obama doesn’t have a plan that serves his own goals rarely leads to solid analysis.
Heh. So far, pretty clearly true.

Still crazy after all these years

Paul Krugman traces the history of craziness of the Republican party in the last few decades, and marvels that the mainstream press keeps covering the ludicrosity. I guess everybody loves a circus, but this one has consistently dragged our whole nation into its madhouse antics. Not funny.

(via Atrios)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tomorrow's past

A neat view of Google street view, and how someday we might look back to see what our neighborhood, street, or even house interiors looked like (through the Magic of Internets).

(via kottke)

Friday baby-blogging

Can't let the front page go without Speck photos! Local mom Kay came over to Grandma's house yesterday to shoot some Easter-theme casuals, and it looks like she got some great stuff, even though Speck maintained a completely serious expression until the last five minutes. Here are a couple of the dozen pics that Kay mailed us to whet our appetite for the whole CD of photos; obviously, the color shots will be worth seeing, given Speck's red hair and the variety of colorful props that were around, but I like the effect of the black-and-white versions for now. (Worth clicking for the full-size view!)

Speck with Easter basket; b/w
Easter baskets are for emptying...

serious b/w Speck
serious look
(love the little back-lighted tuft of hair)

Happy Easter, all!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Bushh/Rove legacy

new elephantsThe GOP apparently operates unhindered by the existence of facts, as they continue to claim that Gates' reprioritization of Defense spending equals cuts, when in fact the Obama Defense budget is larger than last year's. Sigh.

Morning funny

From DK Hunter's Twitter feed:
BREAKING Franken beats Coleman in MN-Sen election for 28th consecutive time. Wins $10 gift card; needs 2 more wins for juicer, Senate seat.
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Did somebody draw the shades?

I swear that I can barely ever remember seeing a pundit of color in the last decade -- there's a crazy right-winger on Fox, and there are a couple who come out on Election Night, but watching this video (which is interesting for other reasons), I just kept thinking, Has the arrival of Obama suddenly made networks realize that there are brown talking heads out there as well as white? Or, um, made them willing to hear what black folks think? Maybe it's just me . . .

Quote of the day

zen circleIt is not upon you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.
- Pirkei Avot
Ethics of the Fathers

Activist legislators

Vermont just became the first state in the nation to institutionalize gay marriage through the legislative process (including a resounding 2/3 vote to override a veto), rather than through court proceedings. I'm happy to say I have a friend who was there to cast one of those votes; congrats to Vermont for electing an intelligent and unintimidated legislature.

Beating a sick horse

Tropicana redesignMan, I knew I hated that new Tropicana oj packaging, but am still shocked to see it produced a 20% drop in sales in a single month. I guess when people find it that hard to find what they're looking for (the brand and the type of juice), they just grab something else.

Still, didn't they recently say they were getting rid of the new look? As of this week, all I've seen is a 5% tweaking, so that the font-size declaring the pulp content, etc., is more legible. They've still left all their brand recognizability (logo, font for brand name, etc.) and half of their user-friendliness on the cutting room floor.

(via kottke)

Monday, April 06, 2009

No more golden goose

Am very interested by this announcement that Gates expects to shift defense spending priorities. Some big long-time pork projects (Star Wars, anybody?) may have to justify their continued existence, rather than relying on institutional momentum to keep them alive. Perhaps we can stop spending a billion per plane on magical high-tech and get some armor on the personnel transport in Iraq and Afghanistan...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Big stick!

Nobody's speaking softly with a threat like this:
The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut the Boston Globe unless the newspaper'sunions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said.
Yipe! Imagine a city the size of Boston without even one major paper! One presumes they'll work something out, but still, eesh.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Really liked this political cartoon from Sunday about the amount to be done and how the GOP would like Obama to be spending his energies...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wednesday baby-blogging

Three views of Speck at around 12-13 months.

Looking At Things in swing (featuring Very Long Lashes)

Pure Cuteness (voguing for camera)

Toothy Grin (now with 4 teeth!)

She's very fun to play with and watch take in the world right now, but she's also more unpredictable -- on schedule, mood, etc. -- than before. And has developed a rather piercing scream, which we hope will *not* be displayed at a dinner with visiting relatives on Friday . . .