Saturday, November 29, 2008

Short On Talent

Meet Mini Kiss. Yes, the band includes only "little people". What else can I say-----only in America?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A post of Thanksgiving -- Rocking Chair.

The Band (obviously named before the creation of Google searching) had five members, three of which could sing like angels--Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel. The fifth member, Robbie Robertson, wrote the songs, and legend has it, sang too, but with his mike turned off. Legend, again, has it that the "The Band" set at Woodstock did not make it to the movie because someone didn't understand the protocol and left Robbie's Mike in the ON position. Personal history (mine) has it that one of the few (or perhaps the only) actor/rock star I ever ever ever had a crush on was Rick Danko, for obvious reasons. The best and the worst reason I ever dated someone was because he was a ringer for Rick Danko. I heard Levon Helm's daughter interviewed a few years ago. When she was a child, she thought it was totally cool that her father was in a band with, yeah Rick Danko, who died in his forties of hard living. Ah, well.

Not the point of this post. My favorite singer of the group was Richard Manuel; unfortunately, there are few videos out there with him singing. I found one; it's a bit grainy, but the audio is lovely. In March 1986 he hanged himself in a Florida hotel room while on tour with the Band (minus Robbie Robertson.) Those boys didn't seem to get much out of their genius and fame. Love, Djinn.

"Rocking Chair." Happy Thanksgiving.

Click here to hear one of Richard Manuel's most beautiful songs, "Whispering Pines."

Surely you've figured out by now I'm a hopeless romantic.

Just found this, I need to fly away for thanksgiving in a couple of hours, perhaps I should go to bed; King Harvest live and even well recorded by one of the best bands ever. Enjoy.

And, if you insist, after many tryouts, here's my favorite Levon Helm vid.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Next Year or 2024. When Gay Marriage will be ruled a constitutional right?

My, sez Djinn, prediction. Next year. Or 2024. It's a long post, I know, but this is as short as I can make it. Want more info? Just ask.

California put on its ballot, this year, a citizen initiative to change the California constitution to declare marriage as allowable between only a man and a woman. The famous Proposition 8.

Subsequently, the California Supreme Court declared gays a protected class, subject to strict scrutiny; which means under the 14th amendment to the Constitution, they have a right to marry.

All discrimination is not created equal. In US law, there are three distinct categories, strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and rational relationship.

Strict scrutiny, as you may be able to ascertain from its name, is the strictest, and only applies when a fundamental right is infringed, or when a "suspect classification" is used. Race is a suspect classification. Under suspect classification, for example, blacks and whites cannot have separate water fountains, "separate but equal" does not win.

The California Supreme court has determined that Sexual Orientation is a "suspect classificaion" with the effect that laws applying to sexual orientation must be justified by a "compelling government interest," must be "narrowly tailored," and must be the "least restrictive means" of achieving the compelling governmental interest.

Gays in California used to have, and currently have the option of entering into "domestic partnerships" which have most, but not all, of the benefits of marriage at the state level. They have no benefits at the federal level.

Under "strict scrutiny," such "separate but equal" rights are clearly disallowed. It's why you or I cannot put up separate water fountains for blacks, or whites.

So.... The people of California have amended their constitution (with only 52% of the vote! But that's for a different rant.) to require marriage (this is a completely civil right, in that the benefits are granted totally by the government) to be between only a man and a woman.

But, under strict scrutiny, there are only two possible ways to handle one group being denied rights granted to another group. 1. Give the rights to the denied group (integrate schools, no separate water fountains) or, 2. Take the rights away from the privileged group. Bang, Zoom, thank you m'am, or sir.

The California constitution, by disallowing marriage between two people of the same sex, has now invalidated reason 1 of the possible solutions. Gays cannot be given marriage rights. However, reason 2 is still open; that is, Marriage can be denied to all. This is, I suspect, what the actual outcome will be. There is 3; another choice, the amendment could be declared a "revision," and thus subject to stricter standards to pass, that is 2/3rds majority in both CA governmental houses and a vote by the people. This would invalidate it, but there is very little case law to determine the probability of this, so let's think of the exciting possibilities.

Assuming the court doesn't choose revision, the only option available is to deny Marriage to all Californians, and give them all civil unions. This has serious consequences, as civil unions are not recognized by the US government, which would deny those couples now able to get married that right.

That is an important point, because state constitutions can add extra rights not guaranteed by the US constitution, but cannot subtract rights guaranteed by the constitution to all.

So, when (or if) California declares all marriages invalid under their constitution, we will be in a unique situation. For the very first time, the issue of Gay Marriage will be "ripe" to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Currently there are four almost 100% probable no votes for gay marriage, one unknown vote (Kennedy, the only vote that counts, because he is the swing) and four at least potentially probable yes votes. So, there's probably even odds, if the Supreme court hears this issue, that they will say "No."

However, Kennedy wrote the opinion in "Lawrence v. Texas," the ruling that gave gay people the constitutional right to have sex (in 2003!) and so is at least a probable "yes" vote.

In Lawrence, Kennedy penned that
"our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education." ... "Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”
Sounds like he sees Gay marriage as a fundamental right. If so, then Americans might soon have a constitutional right to gay marriage, fueled, (ouch. My irony meter just broke...back to the shop.....) by the diligent efforts of the "Yes on 8" people in California.

Scalia, in his angry dissent in Lawrence agreed, stating:
Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned.

Assuming Kennedy votes "no", I ran a statistical analysis on the ages of the conservative justices to determine the average year one would die. (I possess such superpowers; but, to compensate look somewhere between silly and stupid in a bodysuit and cape. Not true, I can rock the cape, but no bodysuits or tights for me.) It's just about 16 years from now. If there is a Democrat in the White House in 2024, and an interceding Republican administration hasn't installed an anti-gay conservative (bit, uh opinionated, Djinn? Hell Yeah!) we, after every single other country in the first world (assuming we're still in that group) will finally decide that gay people have the right to get married. Pretty depressing.

Postscript. There are only five conservative justices, so the error bars on my prediction are pretty wide, but I used what material was at hand for my prediction. So there.

Very Busy Indeed

I haven't been posting much of late. Caught up in the seasonal rush, my days are spent as effectively as this cat's. The messes I make in the kitchen always out distance my cleanup efforts by just that little bit.
And Winter is just starting! Soon I will be shoveling during snowstorms as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Very very close to a Prince Song.

Due to popular demand, I attempted to locate a Prince song to post. Couldn't find "If I was your Girlfriend," couldn't find "Sexy MF," couldn't find "Scarlet Pussy," Couldn't even find "God." You think he (or his crack team of lawyers) would at least leave that one up. So, to fill the void, the best ever Prince song not, strangely enough, sung by Prince.

Beck -- Debra. Sample lyric: "I've got to get with youuuuuu, and your sister, I think her name's Debra." Plus bonus perfect falsetto, and cute little wiggle; not Beck's fault that he's somewhat lacking in the Booty department. Though I'm sad than no fishnets or high heels are directly involved. Lady, step inside my Hyundai.


Too bad they misspelled grammar! Or maybe that was their intent and I'm an idiot. Anyway, goofy T-shirtsare a great fashion investment for the recessionista.
They make great gifts too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not a Prince Song.

Sorry, guys, I was going to put up some inappropriate Prince song, but ran across this Public Image Ltd. song, Careering, off "Metal Box," instead, and could not resist. Metal box is a three album set released in what appeared to be a metal film canister, recorded at 45 RPM. Needless to say, I love it. Check out Jah Wobble's immense base line.

Here's John Lydon and Keith Levene (PIL's guitarists) on a talk show insisting that PIL is not, actually, a band, and they certainly don't play rock and roll. "They play rock and roll at airports." "A bunch of gits on stage."

The Missionary currently known as Prince

Or, tonight we're going to party like it's 1929!

Knocking on a door near you soon! Best news ever! I'd happily talk about the Bible with him, 'specially those good friends David and Jonathan, why God hates Shrimp, and if you really dislike your mother-in-law, how would you go about turning her into a pillar of salt? (What can I say, I spent years, years of my life in church with no reading material but the KJV, which has some rather fun bits.)
We, if I was really lucky, could also trade fashion and gossip tips: High heels and fishnets, wearable year-round or more of a summer fashion? And that Darlin' Nikki, what time should I show up at church to hear you play it?

From his hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

He told the magazine that he attends meetings at a local Kingdom Hall, and
he leaves his gated community in Los Angeles at times to knock on doors and
proselytize. "Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they're really cool
about it," he said.

Oh, and Prince, I promise I'd be cool about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Housekeeping tip # 7 Go with the cheaper wine!

This study from the "American Association of Wine Economists" (as an aside, who knew such people existed, and what are their lunches like?), and its all scientific and everything, explains in excruciating detail, with graphs even that, well, let them speak:

Our main finding is that, on average, individuals who are unaware of the
price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In fact, they
enjoy more expensive wines slightly less.

Two-buck chuck, here I come.

If you actually read the paper (not recommended without a bottle of your favorite plonk nearby) you'll also find out that if you think that wine A is more expensive than wine B, you may, indeed, prefer wine A. Paper bags all around, or that old standby, pour the cheap stuff into some expensive bottles you found lying around. Everyone will enjoy the fun!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bush Administration Sneaks One Last Treat Into Oil and Gas Corporate Goody Bags

The Bureau of Land Management is offering over 350,000 new acres of land in Utah for leasing by oil and gas companies.
This is the fire sale, the Bush administration's last great gift to the oil and gas industry," said Stephen Bloch, a staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

"The tracts of land offered here, next to Arches National Park or above Desolation Canyon, these are the crown jewels of America's lands that the BLM is offering to the highest bidder," he said.

An examination of the parcels, superimposing low-resolution government graphics onto Google Earth maps, shows that in one case drilling parcels bordering Arches National Park are just 1.3 miles from Delicate Arch.

"If you're standing at Delicate Arch, like thousands of people do every year, and you're looking through the arch, you could see drill pads on the hillside behind it. That's how ridiculous this proposed lease sale is," said Franklin Seal, a spokesman for the environmental group Wildland CPR.

This news was a surprise to the National Parks Service, but the head of BLM in Utah said notifying them was not required by law. The sale is scheduled for Dec. 19. Write your representatives now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yet another obsession

I swear, I'm preparing a post on the mid-nineties Japanese economy, the great depression, Weimar Germany, and the current state of the US Economy. But, wonkiness, and esp. short wonkiness (my gold standard) is difficult. So, in lieu of many many many numbers, I give you "Babyshambles," (with my favorite bad boy Pete Doherty) singing I'll *u*k forever, so don't listen if you think the FCC let Janet Jackson off too easy. Eveyone else, HOLY SHIT! (Oooops.) Live version. Without Babyshambles, and with bonus daisy.

Patriotic Gift Ideas

Visit 'America the Giftshop' for gift ideas this year.

Everything from furniture to toys, chocolate and fashion in one rather slow-loading site.

(Actual Merchandise not available. It's political art by Phillip Toledano)

Expat No More

(Warning: only click on Kamasutra if you really think you should!)

Living in exile in Paris while studying the Kamasutra with communists, Mickey now plans a return to his native country. Obama's inauguration should again make this country a haven for sexually depraved, french-speaking, commie-pinkos.... at least that is what Mickey has read in some blogs. Plus, he thinks Euro-Disney blows.

Hat-Eating Party TBA

Wow, Peter Schiff was right in all of his predictions, while Laffer, Stein and others ridiculed him. Note the difference in their communication style; Schiff offers reasoned explanations of his positions while the others basically just say he is laughably wrong, and offer no further insights except maybe for Laffer who injects some specious nonsense. Although Schiff is Republican----in a big Ron Paul kinda way----he does not subscribe to the delusional groupthink so endemic to the current GOP. Check this out:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What can I say? He was the Walrus, but now he's John (Lennon).

John Lennon, according to Rolling Stone, is the fifth best Rock and Roll singer ever. John didn't like his voice, and so, Phil Specter produced a number of his albums, which processed John's voice through various Rube Goldberg devices to make it sound .... uh.....well..... "I don't Believe in Magic," "the dream is over," but I believe in John, and so, dear friends, we'll just have to carry on.

Here's my favorite John Lennon Song, sans Phil Specter. Such raw emotion. He deserves his ranking. Mother. "Mama don't go, daddy come home."

One actual Live John Lennon song is not enough. Instant Karma.
"Why on the earth are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear."

All you people who (theoretically) read my (and kerfuffler's) blog, but don't listen to the music videos, I know you're out there. I understand if you don't like the early 20th century 12 tone stuff, or the punk rock, or the riot grrrrrls, but you should really make an exception and listen to these two beautiful John Lennon songs. No downside. Plus there's bonus Japanese captions. Everybody now--"We all shine on. Like the moon and the stars and the sun. On and on and on and on."

I have to do something to help the world be even slightly better. Why on earth are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear.

One more, "Imagine." And the world will live as one. A guitar version! Usually, John played it on piano. So it's special. Alright?????

Now off to bed with me, to dream of anonymity. I remember, vividly, where I was when I heard that John Lennon had been shot. I was in a humanities class at the University of Utah. On the 2nd floor. Of some building that my brother James free-climbed. The name? Lost to history. I burst into tears; for me, the only possible response. Still. Good thing I have allergies to blame my red eyes on.

As an exercise for the reader, and to keep this post from being any longer, look up "Working class hero."

Bush's greatest hits

In response to John Hinderaker's comment that Obama may have a difficult time following Bush elocution-wise, I post the following rebuttal:

Highlights: "I know that humans and fish can coexist peacefully." "Breast and Brightest." You'll have to listen to the rest.

Alternate Reality Conservatism

Obama recently made a silly jest referring to Nancy Reagan having seances at the White House. Conservatives have made a mountain out of this molehill, and Obama called Nancy to apologize in person. Conservative blogger, Hinderaker, wrote this week:

Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.

To which Bob Cesca, journalist, responded:
Fact: not only is the president-elect one of the finest orators in modern political history, but he far exceeds President Bush in terms of intellectualism and verbal discipline. In other words, a Bush gaffe reveals an inherent lack of intellectual curiosity and a general ineptitude when it comes to, well, talking. An Obama gaffe is an isolated incident, exclusive of his ability to speak, think and reason.

Gigantic Shop Of Horrors

Warning! Seriously hideous images to follow!

I live in a small upstate New York town with limited shopping choices. I found these dreadful offerings at our town's highest end department store, the Bon Ton. I didn't bother with rotating the images because with such ugly clothes, why bother?

My kids taught me a slang term, fugly; it would seem to apply here.

The following three sweaters all intermingle the same unwholesome shade of olive green with brighter colors (robin egg, cantaloupe, and lemon yellow) to gravely ill effect. Seriously, these look way better here than in person. These are all by Evan Picone. I suspect the designer is suffering from cataracts in both eyes.

And then there are these excrescences. The unabashedly grisly colors distract one from the horrible cut. The sleeves are bell shaped, an unfortunate choice for such a chunky textile. In real life, the taupe-grey background color of the second sweater ( the "unifying" color) appears more dominant, and brings to mind bruised flesh.

Here's a closeup of a top so you can see it's "floral" pattern clearly.

These last two are from the ritziest section of the store. Notice the green splotch on the ribbed neckline----it looks just like a guacamole stain. In a desperate bid to be bold, this designer threw together colors that just don't go!

The very existence of these preposterously horrid clothes makes me wonder about the efficacy of a free market society. How can competitive pressures to create superior products lead to such dismal results?

Stevens Currently Down In Alaskan Senate Recount!

The Senate race in Alaska may go to a Democrat after all! According to an Alaskan news source:
Begich, who was losing after election night, now leads Stevens by 814 votes -- 132,196 to 131,382 -- with the state still to count roughly 35,000 more ballots over the next week.

The state Division of Elections tallied some 60,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots on Wednesday. The ballots broke heavily in the Democrat's favor, erasing the 3,000-vote lead Stevens held after election night Nov. 4. ......

The state still needs to count at least 15,000 questioned ballots and an estimated 20,000 absentee ballots that made it to the Division of Elections after election day last Tuesday.

Since Democrats were encouraging their voters to vote early, the remaining ballots are likely to favor Begich.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More From Portland's Japanese Garden

I really can't recommend visiting this garden in the Fall highly enough. I was lucky that the sun was really bright the day I was there. The only challenge was taking shots that didn't have other photographers in them. The camera bugs were out in force.

"A Day In The Life Of A Conservative"

I found this here, but can't find the original source. I picture Joe the Plumber when I read it. (If you feel like skipping over some of this, make sure to read the last paragraph.)

Liberals Suck
(A Day in the Life of a Conservative)

Joe gets up at 6am and fills his coffee pot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. That medication is safe to take because some stupid Commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and efficacy.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- and now Joe gets it, too.

Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat-packing industry.

In his morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much of what it contained.

Joe gets dressed, walks outside, and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and DIED for these working standards. Joe's employer adheres to these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed through no fault of his own, he'll get a worker's compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noon and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is finally home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm in the country. He gets in his car, ready for the long drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't even have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

Joe is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so that Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back into his car for the drive home and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. The host doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day...indeed, throughout his LIFE. Joe agrees. "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of himself, just like I have."


A woman was just killed trying to leave an initiation ceremony for the KKK. (This man has been arrested in connection to this crime.) Read more here.

When will the FBI treat the KKK more like the terrorist organization that it is? With Obama as our President elect, this group will probably be inspired to commit more crimes against our citizenry and government.

The KKK and other extremist militias will need careful monitoring in the years ahead.

More Adventures of the Box Slider

(I came across this at Andrew Sullican's The Daily Dish. It was also included in the "magically appearing" videos that accompanied this cat's 13 second debut on adizzylife. I was afraid people might miss this, so I posted it separately for people to enjoy.)

This cat has a great hobby, huh?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Blue Man Group Rocks

We saw them in Boston a couple of times and had a really great time. You may know them from their Pentium processor ads from a few years back, but they also do shows in many locations around the country that feature funny conceptual skits and loud thumping music.

One More Good Reason To Visit Portland

This pic was snapped in the Japanese Garden in Portland in mid October, 2008. I'd use it for my desktop except the icons don't show up well against it. (The picture has much more clarity from the file on my computer. I'm not sure why this image is so fuzzy here when enlarged.)

Office Space, The Remake

When movie producers get around to a remake of Office Space, they should really consider including this cat. In this screen test he absolutely convinces us of his zeal in combating recalcitrant office equipment. He doesn't even need the baseball bat.

Help for GM And Ford?

As we consider assistance to our ailing auto industry, we might want to consider whether or not they are genuinely looking at designing the alternative energy vehicles of the future. Our industry would have to compete with the innovative technologies being developed where energy efficiency is even more of a priority.

Consider these French models. (Pictures were taken in Paris, 2008, at an outdoor energy and transportation exhibition.)

This first specimen, the Biotop, not only uses alternative fuel------I'm guessing because of the name. Everything was in FRENCH! Merde.-----It also appears to feature a state of the art spin cycle. (And it's soooo cute.)

This next high concept vehicle is quintessentially French with it's existential approach to the very notion of a conveyance. Alas, even with the umbrellas it is unlikely to protect the "occupants" from rain or other inclement weather. (In fact, to me it looks more like he is trying to get struck by lightening than trying to move.) Just maybe, our automotive industry can come up with an alternative that outperforms this sublimely minimalist contender.

13 seconds of your life

A very short story of a cat and a box. And, we can imagine, the sound "Wheeeeee."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeling Thankful

Bush may have overstepped some bounds when he massaged the German Prime Minister, but he never went as far as Berlusconi (the Italian Prime Minister) did, actually humping some woman as a joke. That's right, I have found a humiliation to which Bush has not yet managed to subject us! Poor Italy, saddled with such a boob.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And now for something completely different....


A Poem of Obvious Political Import

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

- - Langston Hughes

Shame on the Mormon Church.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Official Mormon Church is a bunch of Sissies!

The Mormon church has been hiding behind its membership to avoid taking responsibility for the passage of proposition 8. They say in an official statement:

"It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election. "

The Mormons provided Just over 50%(updated numerous times--trying to get it right here) of the funds and most of the actual effort to get Prop. 8 passed (also updated). An amazingly well-run campaign. Non-alcolhoic champagne all arround. You should be proud! Why this whine? You did it. Step up to the plate and admit it.

What a bunch of sissies! Grow a pair, boys, (and they're all boys, so it's at least a theoretical possibility). Why this sudden unwillingness to take credit? The sudden realization that the 18,000 people whose marriages you just destroyed might be just a tad upset?

(Grammar conodrum; "are a bunch of sissies?")

A Senate Seat For Franken?

The recount has not started yet, but already election officials in Minnesota say:
The difference between Coleman and Franken, which stood at 725 votes in Coleman's favor Wednesday morning, has changed several times since then as county officials have checked results, and was 221 by Friday evening.
Norm Coleman, the incumbent, is involved in many scandals:
This one's the creepiest-sounding Coleman scandal, and, if true, the worst.Houston businessman Paul McKim, formerly the CEO of an oil-rig servicing company half-owned by Nasser Kazeminy, introduced a lawsuit accusing Kazeminy of -- get this -- forcing him to funnel $75,000 to Coleman ( the Senator's wife) through the Minnesota insurance firm she works at. Juicy detail: McKim alleges that Kazeminy told the oil-rig servicing company's CFO that "U.S. senators don't make [expletive deleted]" and that was why he was ordering payments to the Minnesota firm.
On the dirty-trick side of the evidentiary ledger: Its too-perfect timing, as well as rumors flying around that the suit has been or will be withdrawn (as of this writing, it still stands). On the this-is-legit side: McKim is apparently a Republican donor, not a Democrat; he's retained serious Houston counsel (unlike, say, Obama tormentor Larry Sinclair, whose disbarred, kilt-wearing lawyer did not cast, er, a respectable sheen on his lawsuit); and Coleman initially reacted fearfully to the suit, briefly cancelling some campaign stops.

A Franken victory would increase the Democratic majority even closer to that 60 seat majority, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Marijuana, cancer, prohibition, and you.

About one out of eight people in prison is there solely for Marijuana offenses, costing the government 9 billion dollars a year. However, marijuana is not addictive--unlike alcohol and cigarettes--is not a gateway drug, and seems to be bizarrely good for you.

What do I mean by that? Compounds in Marijuana protect against lung cancer, and block cancer growth in leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the breast and skin. Why?

This study discovered that pot use "reduces the invasiveness of cancer cells." Here's a study, from Harvard, that finds that it "cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread." In fact, it seems to be the magic bullet that researchers have been looking for--it looks like it kills the malignant cells without harming healthy cells.

But, the US has not allowed any human trials of this most promising cancer drug, because the war on drugs has trumped the war on cancer. Go Drugs.

A main reason for marijuana prohibition is that it is said to be a gateway to harder drugs. The opposite seems to be the case. A recent comparison of drug use in Amsterdam where Marijuana is legal, and San Francisco, where it is not, showed very similar rates and patterns of marijuana use in both populations; however pot smokers had a much higher use of other, harder, drugs in San Francisco.

So, counterfactually, decrimilization of marijuana would appear to not change marijuana use, but would lead to lower rates of all-around drug use. Not only that, duh, people don't commit crimes, (other then the obvious one) when they smoke up. Perhaps we should pass out joints to violent offenders.

Anyway, the point of this post, which seems to have gotten away from me, is that there were 10 marijuana decriminalization initiatives in the US this election cycle, and 9 of them passed!

Maybe in another twenty years or so, we can start with the cancer cures.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A family church for very small values of family.

Or, the wrong side of History.

22 some-odd million dollars, out of a total of roughly 35.8 Million dollars for Proposition 8 (that changed the constitution in California to outlaw gay marriage) was contributed by Mormons (2% of the population), plus a bonus 6.7 Million was contributed by Mormons to ensure that partners with the wrong set of genitals can't marry in Arizona, either. In 2004, Prop. 3 in Utah ensured that same sex couples couldn't have any rights AT ALL.

I'm very sorry, my family, and random mormons, I adore you; I have known so many painfully sweet, kind, decent mormons. Then this. The institutional church itself worked very hard to link a "yes" vote--a vote that will disallow the wrong kind of family--with being a moral person. A family church for very small values of family.

(Updated the amounts of money spent)
(Also updated to state that Mormons believe in a strict hierarchy. Their Prophet, Thomas Monson, told them to vote for Prop 8, and donate to Prop. 8. For many Mormons, this is the equivalent to a commandment from God; thost that voted "Yes" could very well have no animus toward Gays at all. This is why I am so pleased to see that Equality Utah is introducing five bills into the new Utah legislative session that would give some legal protections for gay families--the exact set of civil protections the Mormon Church said they didn't mind. Let's see if they pass.)

Djinn, spinning gently

Punk Rock Friday! The Monks.

(Pay no attention to the fact that it is actually Friday, please.) Imagine Sonic Youth crossed with, uh, the Sex Pistols before they figured out how to play. I sense, perhaps, a problem here.

Anyway, as the story goes, these are four American servicemen in Germany circa 1965 who shaved the top of their heads. (Tonsures? on Monks? Get it?) Also check out the totally groovy keyboard. It looks like something from an especially cheezy Dr. Who episode. I love them. So, perhaps, beware......

The song is Monk Chant, and the only downside is you don't get to see the punk Banjo. I leave it as an exercise for my dear listerner(s). Plus bonus German "dancing."

Finally, my favorite song of 2008

This is Julie Fowlis, a native Gaelic speaker, stunning voice, singing the Beatles "Blackbird," in Gaelic. Just video, but well beyond worth it.

Nobody expects the Mormon Inquisition

On Thursday, the LDS Church called on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to "act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

NOBODY expects the Mormon Inquisition!
Our chief weapon is vilification...intimidation and harassment...intimidation and vilification....
Our two weapons are vilification and intimidation ... and erronous information....
Our three weapons are vilification , intimidation , and erronous information...
and an almost fanatical devotion to the Prophet....
Our four... no...
Amongst our weapons... Amongst our weaponry...
are such elements as vilification, erronous information...
I'll come in again.

(Exit and exeunt)

Innocent, though gay, bystander:
I didn't expect a kind of Mormon Inquisition.

Protesters at the Westwood temple in LA

New Thanksgiving Recipes!

For the ultimate experience of that warm and cozy Thanksgiving repast, consider the possibility of the entirely felt feast! Yes, that's right, the following pictures are all of food made entirely of wool felt. (Not recommended if you or a loved one has frequent trouble with hairballs.)

Notice the perfect lattice work on the pie, and no floury kitchen mess!

The turkey can be completely white or dark meat, you choose the wool!

That's right, all the trimmings from pats of butter, (so much lower in fat!), to cranberry sauce, (no messy stains!), can be crafted from felt. Low carbohydrate mashed potatoes and buns are another benefit. These recipes are so light that no one will leave the table feeling over stuffed. Guaranteed!

Make sure to enlarge the images to see these creations in all their fuzzy glory.

But I would stick to wax candles; felt can really catch on fire!

(All these images were snapped by me, kerfuffler, on a fact-finding mission in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, I lost the name of the knitting store that had this wonderful display. Kudos to them for what looks like a marvelously flaky crust.)

Difficult Questions

Where do Teddy bears come from? We all dread the day when our youngsters demand information, but help is finally here for those who wish to give sensible, scientific yet comforting answers. Let these pictures help guide your discussion.
(Check out more of the artistry of Stephanie Metz!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Shirt Off Her Back

From the Huffington Post
Reporting from Phoenix -- Sarah Palin left the national stage Wednesday, but the controversy over her role on the ticket flared as aides to John McCain disclosed new details about her expensive wardrobe purchases and revealed that a Republican Party lawyer would be dispatched to Alaska to inventory and retrieve the clothes still in her possession...

The repo man better look in Piper's closet for the expensive Louis Vuitton bag. (Can anyone hazard a guess how much one of that size costs?)


Palin fans at Redstate are working now to silence McCain campaign staffers who have juicy tidbits about Palin:
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 10:43PM CST

RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We're tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you'll see us go to war against those candidates.

It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers.

They'll just have to be stuck at CBS with Katie's failed ratings.

Initial list:

1. Nicolle Wallace
2. Steve Schmidt
3. Mark McKinnon

P.S. ...... We are rooting for Sarah Palin. Don't make us add you to our list. Do you really want to be next to Kathleen Parker in the leper colony?

So, the far right conservatives are telling the staffers that they'd better not cut off their noses to spite their faces, because if they do, they'll be treated like lepers.
Palin's people operate in just the petty, vindictive way I always expected they would. I'm so glad she's not VP. And I sure hope this doesn't dry up the stories we are waiting to hear.

Shadow Dancer

A rose by any other name would not be as spectacular as this one! (Shadow Dancer) Check her out. Now I just need to figure out where to put this ravishing beauty. I saw one at the rose garden in Portland , Oregon, and it was even prettier than in this picture. Of course, roses do better there than here, (upstate NY).

But shadow dancing has been around longer than this new-fangled rose.
It is unusual art form well represented here by the antics of that revolutionary dance troupe, Pilobolus.

Sarah Palin vs. Alaska

Sarah Palin is not coming home to adoring supporters in Alaska. According to (a wonderful site for all things Sarah) the democratic support for Witch-free spice is pretty much nonexistent after her loverly rallies inspiring fans to yell the somewhat less than comforting phrases "Kill Him" and "terrorist" about our president-elect, whose safety I (and I suspect Alaskans as well) have been rather obsessively worried about since he began his run. And I'm sure they're thrilled about her spending spree--with the implication that if the Governor is such a hilbilly, what's the rest of the state like? "Alaska-we're not as idiotic and grasping as our Governor. Really." How's that for a state slogan?

Plus, her approval ratings appear to have tanked.

As "Africa is a country Spice" (too long, you think?) reminded us in her interview with Katie Couric, "Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, 'Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.'" I guess there's news up there too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Africa is a great country with great people, and I love big animals you can shoot.

Are there helicopters for rent?

Sarah Palin (new name "Dummdumm Spice") didn't know that Africa was a continent. It's obvious why none of her kids are in school these days. "Education," "Reading," and "watching the commie Fox news station" are quite apparently only activities that the Godless liberal elite dabble in. This clip is from Fox News. That's right, Fox News.

However, a short rant. WHT DIDN'T THIS SO-CALLED REPORTER TELL US THE DEPTHS OF THIS WOMEN'S STUPIDITY PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL VOTE? Ok, that was a trick question; this is one rather dramatice piece of evidence that Fox is obviously just a mouthpiece for the Repubs. But still, don't you think it would worry your average non-brain dead staff member at Fox news to know that the woman who had a distinct possibility of being president didn't know that Africa was a continent? What else doesn't she know?

"How could they end up with a running mate that didn't know that Africa is a continent?" One Heartbeat away from the presidency, almost, people. Plus bonus tissy fits.

For reasoned commentary on this post, see here.

On only a slightly different matter, what if Palin did run against McCain in 2012? What would a debate be like?

Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus -- or I can see Neiman Marcus from My House

Thanks to Newsweek, we now know that Sarah Palin spent much more on clothing than had previously been reported.

Appparently, Palin was told to buy three suits and get a stylist. Instead
the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. ... Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

I recommond reading the whole article. It has lots of fun nuggets, such as Clinton & McCain get along really well, etc.

If you didn't notice, OBAMA WON!

Four years ago when Bush won again, I stayed in bed all day out of grief.

Today, though, I am so happy I feel like bursting out into cliches! Change we can believe in! Morning in America! Tippacanoe and Tyler too! Give 'em Hell, Obama; I like Obama; I still like Obama; I'm just wild about Obama; In your heart, you know he's right; It's the economy, stupid. Keep cool and keep Obama; an Obama in time saves nine; You can count your Obama's now because they've hatched; It's an Obama night stand; as hot as Obama; busy as an Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Vote. Or more punk rock for you. With shaky camera work and bad audio. Oh how I love it......... And definitely more Mountain Goats.

I tried to find The Clash singing "Revolution Rock" live to no avail, so we can just sit still for the appropriate time and listen to a conceptual version of John Cage's 4′33″, three movements, each "played" silently. OK, one, two, three, GO!

Oh, I got to vote by mail, here in Oregon, but managed to forget to stamp my ballot. My kind mailperson knocked on the door (I was home sick, thank goodness) stamp was applied, and I did my civic duty.

I could barely sleep last night, after seeing the election stolen in 2000, and so close in 2004 (you can probably surmise that I am a Democrat. A bad democrat. A democrat who votes a straight ticket unless there is some compelling reason to not.) Thank goodness for all the geeky graphs and polls available for me to pour over. Yeah moving averages!

You may wonder about the random images; I love roses and Andy Warhol pics, they're there totally to calm me down. BTW, the rose is "Charles de Mills," which I had planted a few weeks ago.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Wonderful Video, no kidding

Colby Stead, Tugging the Truth

And even though it looks like Colby might be showing a bit more of him than one may feel appropriate, I can assure you after, uh, really not that many viewings, under, uh, 10? nothing untoward is actually seen.

Update: I should confess that my dear friend Amy Robinson, Colby's girlfriend, almost certainly did the body paint and might have done the photography, but she hasn't answered my emails on the subject. According to Facebook instead she's making stuff! Yay!

Some soothing music to calm your roiled heart

before the election.

"Doctor Atomic" by John Adams. (Try Googling him. Why didn't his parent's name him something like 'Peregrine'? Perhaps it's required of a minimalist to have a name with a minimal footprint.) The song is "Batter my heart," the lyrics are the John Donne poem, and in context it's about nuclear war, death, annihilation, love, loss, peace, the Council of Nicea, perhaps I'm getting carried away here....

Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me."

Thanks to my sweet daughter apricot blossom for the idea.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Important life change for Djinn

I've just learned about Anioa, the Goddess of things that get stuck in drawers. Sorry Ceiling Cat, I'm converting.

Need another reason to vote for Obama?

From the Financial times:

The best-kept secret in Washington is that Barack Obama has the largest and most disciplined presidential transition team anyone can recall. Headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff in Bill Clinton's White House, it started work well before the financial meltdown hit in September but has been swamped by its implications ever since.

Transition insiders, who are under strict orders from the Obama campaign not to talk to the media to avoid giving the impression Mr Obama thinks he has won already, contrast it particularly with Mr Clinton's transition in 1992, which was based in Little Rock, Arkansas, and turned into an extended symposium on every subject under the sun.

No Halloween Candy Or Tips for Obama Supporters

"I was shocked, when she turned away kids, little kids, because their parents were voting for Obama."

Classy. She did it her way.

Here's an even classier trend--stiffing waitstaff on principle if Obama wins. WTF?

Here's some actual class, Sid Vicious, doing it his way.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Musical Interlude

Jolie Holland performs her song "Mexico City" live in her Brooklyn apartment. This is off of her new album, "The living and the dead," which also has a song about her gay mormon friend who committed suicide, "Corrido por Buddy," but I couldn't find a copy. So, enjoy, without worrying about any thematic element.

John McCain -- Friend of Acorn, and Hypocrite

Here's a youtube clip of John McCain as the keynote speaker at an Acorn rally in 2006.

Here's a webpage at the official McCain-Palin website attempting to smear Obama for his Acorn ties. Hmmm. I don't see McCain's own Acorn ties mentioned.

I still have four days to write about Sarah Palin

Palin Punk'd by Radio Station into giving 'interview' with Pres. Sarkozy of France.


Tee Hee. It's been confirmed by the VP's office.

Update: Joe Biden on the prank call: "Apparently whoever didn't vet her, didn't vet her calls either."

Here's a transcript, for your reading pleasure, but you should really listen, at least to hear Palin simper. It is soooo funny in a sad schadenfreude way. And in a happy happy funny way too. The French accents on the pranksters are to laugh.

FNS - Fake Nicholas Sarkozy
SP - Real Sarah Palin


SP Assist: This is Betsy.
MA: Hello, Betsy. This is [??], I’m with President Sarkozy, on the line for Governor Palin.

SP Assist: One second please, can you hold on one second please?
MA: No problem.

SP Assist: Hi, I’m going to hand the phone over to her.
MA: Okay thank you very much I’m going to put the president on the line.
SP Assist: Ok he’s coming to the line.

SP: This is Sarah.
MA: Okay, Governor Palin?

SP: Hellloooo...(long drawn out, like Well, hellooooo)
MA: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.
SP [To someone in the room]: Oh, it’s not him yet, I always do that. I’ll just have people hand it to me right when it’s them.

FNS: Yes, hello, Governor Palin? Yes, hello, Mrs. Governor?
SP: Hello this is Sarah., how are you?

FNS: Fine, and you, this is Nicolas Sarkozy speaking, how are you?
SP: good, it’s so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

FNS: Oh, it’s a pleasure.
SP: Thank you sir, we have such great respect for you, John McCain and I, we love you and thank you for spending a few minutes to talk to me.

FNS: I follow your campaigns closely with my special American Advisor Johnny Hallyday, you know? [Johnny Hallyday is an iconic french singer/actor who lives in Switzerland.]

SP: Yes! Good!

FNS: Excellent! Are you confident?
SP: Very confident and we’re thankful that the polls are showing that the race is tightening and--

FNS: Well I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now my dear?
SP: Ah, I feel so good. I feel like we’re in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon, you get your second wind and you plow to the finish—

FNS: You see, I got elected in France because I’m real and you seem to be someone who’s real as well.
SP: Yes, yeah, Nicolas, we so appreciate this opportunity.

FNS: You know, I see you as a president, one day, you too.
SP: [Muahaaa...weird laugh], maybe in 8 years. Haha

FNS: Well, ah, I hope for you. You know we have a lot in common because personally one of my favorite activities is to hunt too.
SP: [Giggle]o h very good, we should go hunting together.

FNS: Exactly! We could go try hunting by helicopter, like you did, I never did that.
SP: [Giggle]

FNS: Like we see in France [something French]
SP: [Giggle] Well I think we could have a lot of fun together as we’re getting work done, we can kill two birds with one stone that way.

FNS: I just love killing those animals. Mm, mm. Take away a life, that is so fun!
SP: [Hahahaha]

FNS: I’d really love to go as long as we don’t bring your Vice president Cheney, hahaha.
SP: No, I’ll be a careful shot, yes.

FNS: You know we have a lot in common also except that from my house I can see Belgium. That’s kind of less interesting than you.
SP: Well, see, we’re right next door to other countries that we all need to be working with, yes.

FNS: Some people said in the last days, and I thought that was mean, that you weren’t experienced enough in foreign relations, and you know, that’s completely false, that’s the thing I said to my great friend, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stef Carse [Stephen Harper is the PM].
SP: Well, he’s doing fine, too, and yeah when you come into a position underestimated, it gives you the opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder-

FNS: I, I was wondering because you are also next to him, one of my good friends, also, the prime minister of Quebec, Mr [Jean Charest?], have you met him recently? Did he come to one of your rallies?
SP: Uh, haven’t seen him at one of the rallies, but it’s been great working with the Canadian officials in my role as governor; we have a great cooperative effort there as we work on all of our resource development projects. You know I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife, oh my goodness, you’ve added a lot of energy to your country, even, with that beautiful family of yours.

FNS: Thank you very much. You know my wife, Carla, would love to meet you. You know even though she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today. [Hahahaha]
SP: [Hahahha] Well give her a big hug from me.

FNS: You know my wife is a popular singer and a former top model and she’s so hot in bed. She even wrote a song for you.
SP: Oh my goodness! I didn’t know that.

FNS: Yes, in French, it’s called [something in French that translates to "Lipstick on a pig"] or if you prefer in English Joe the Plumber, [sings] It’s his life, Joe the Plumber..."
SP: Maybe she understands some of the unfair criticism but I bet you she is such a hard worker, too, and she realizes you just plow through that criticism like

FNS: I just want to be sure, I don’t’ quite understand the phenomenon "Joe the Plumber," that’s not your husband, right?
SP: Mmhmm, that’s into my husband but he’s a normal American who just works hard and doesn’t want government to take his money.

FNS: Yes, yes, I understand, we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it’s called, "Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit, oui."
SP: Right. That’s what it’s all about, is the middle class, and government needing to work for them. You’re a very good example for us here.

FNS: I seen a bit about NBC even Fox News wasn’t an ally, an ally, sorry, about as much as usual.
SP: Yeah that’s what we’re up against.

FNS: I must say, Governor Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life, you know, Hustler’s "Nailin Palin."
SP: Oh, good, thank you. Yes.

FNS: That was really edgy.
SP: [Laughs] Well good.

FNS: I really love you. And I must say something, so, Governor, you’ve been pranked.
By the Master Avengers. We’re two comedians from Montreal
SP: Oohhh have we been pranked? And what radio station is this? [tries to force herself to sound nice but you can tell she’s pissed]

FNS: This is for CKOI in Montreal.
SP: In Montreal? Tell me the radio station call letters
[SP leaves phone, continuous griping in background, sounds like, "For chrissakes...that was ??? Just a radio station prank...chrissakes..."]

MA: Hello? If one voice can change the world for Obama, one Viagra can change the world for McCain.
[Man’s voice in background: hang up, hang up.]
SP Assist: Hi, I’m sorry, I have to let you go. Um, thank you.

More info on how Sarah Palin got the call in the first place. It was routed through her Governer's office. I'm sure the McCain people are pleased as punch about this.

Someone Kinda Beat Me To It

Wizmark, the talking urinal cake!

I was considering different monuments for the Bush-Cheney years. First I considered a giant spittoon. As I became angrier a urinal seemed more satisfying, but that would make it hard for women to participate, and besides there is already an iconic urinal in Western culture. (Duchamp's urinal artwork has been called the most influential piece of modern art to date.)

And that's when it hit me, it should be a gigantic urinal cake! It just seems so emblematic of the GOP's efforts to mask their corruption and greed (Stinkiness) with phony, over-the-top protestations of Christian faith (cloyingly sweet, overpowering urinal cake stench).

The best part is that it would completely disappear over time, and we wouldn't be left with any monument to them at all!

Only one word stands between us and this perfect monument: NIMBY!

Darting About With Cunning And Vigor

These knights do more that dart about. They take wing!

My title for this post was taken from a line in Woody Allen's The Gossage-Vardebedian Papers. It's a hilarious story in the form of an exchange of letters in a correspondence chess game. Hostility escalates throughout the exchange as discrepancies emerge regarding the positions of the pieces. If you haven't read it, you should!