Monday, January 31, 2005

Vote turnout in Iraq

Vote turnout in Iraq
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Iraqis surprised the world when 70% of eligible voters turned out to vote in Iraq first election in decades. The highest vote turnout in the United States has been 60%, in 2004 and 1968. That means that Iraqis, despite the threat of bombings and violence, had a higher turnout than in the recent American elections.

Even though the turnout was much less in Sunni areas of Iraq, the election went surprisingly well. This was an important precedent for the middle east: Democracy (at least voting).

Hopefully Iraq will be able to stay together as a nation.

Did you hear about the the mutual fund approach to Iraqi federalism? Iraq could had three federal regions (Kurds, Sunni, Shia) but oil production would be in hands of national government. Each Iraqi would "own" a share of the oil production, and each region would receive oil revenue based upon national productivity, and the population of the region (how many shares exist in each region). That way you would have decentralization for government (regional government) but the national oil "mutual fund" would keep national unity. Interesting!

Monday, January 24, 2005

bed bugs

bed bugs
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
A new plush doll sensation in the 'burgh!
Tom Mosser considers himself more qualified than most artists to create a line of colorful dolls that he's betting will become a collectible craze.

After all, the 43-year-old painter and illustrator spent seven years practically living inside a furry, lime-green bird costume from 1987 to 1994 when he was the Pirate Parrot, the city's baseball team mascot.

"I was paid to be a plush toy," said Mosser, who with partner David Noble created the dolls they call Bite-ables. They fit in your palm and feature Velcro mouths so that they will stick to backpacks, bikes, hats, clothing and computers. The first four characters in a series the partners plan to unveil are "Bed Buggs" that will be promoted with the catch phrase, "Let the Bed Buggs bite." Read more about these cute toys!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sports Rock Cafe!

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
"I've never seen anything like it," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said. "I'm not going to say it was a miracle, because that's crippled people getting up and walking, the blind seeing. But that's the closest thing to it I've ever seen." That sums up Saturday's game against the Jets. I drove to the Strip District to watch the game at the Sports Rock Cafe - WOW! Wall to wall people, and the noise was deafening. A DJ switched to music during commercials, usually playing Steeler's rap or that corny polka. There were families camped out on pool tables in the loft. Had to have been over 1,000 people there. The crowd and noise were so great that I spent the second half at the Deja Vu Lounge - not many people there, but we all went absolutely nuts. The head chef came out of the kitchen, he brought the dish washer with him - everyone was watching the game at the bar, everyone screaming at the kicker to miss the field goal (he did, twice), people falling down when Ben was intercepted, and then of course Jeff Reed's field goal and everyone was embracing and jumping up and down ("dahn" - i was in the 'burgh). Check out Sports Rock Cafe!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Deja Vu Lounge

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Best lounge in da 'burgh, the Deja Vu Lounge. Located in the Strip District, this is ultimate location for the "beautiful people." If Pittsburgh was New York, this would be Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw's favorite place. The food is fantastic, including a sushi bar, and the drinks are exceptional. Saturday nights are especially incredible, with everyone dressed in their best, cologne and perfume like flowers, and the dance beat pounding. The best atmosphere in pittsburgh - diverse patrons, everyone welcome. This sets the standard for the city! See for yourself!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Bobby Kennedy Poster

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
I was searching the web looking for some political posters to display in our student/faculty lounge area (Room 112 SWC) and came across this Bobby Kennedy poster. The date and location were heart stopping. Of course, Sen. Kennedy was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, just after his California Democratic primary victory speech in the Embassy Ballroom. This is a poster announcing the location and time of his assassination. I am reading Bill Clinton's biography, "My Life," and Pres. Clinton discusses his last year at Georgetown and how Kennedy's death forever changed American politics. In particular, the divisiveness of the Nixon administration, the gulf between conservatives and liberals, the Republican Southern strategy, and of course the Vietnam War. Bobby Kennedy had a way of bringing people together, for example, students and blue collar workers, minorities and union members, intellectuals and the working poor. He also had the ability to give incredible extemporaneous speeches, for example, the speech he gave in the rain in Indianpolis, on April 4, 1968, announcing to a crowd of Afican Americans that Martin Luther King had been shot. He said what we needed in America was "love." I have never heard a politician say that since.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Slippery Rock's Brew Pub

north country brewing
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
North Country Brewing is about to open for business, and I am waiting in anticipation. Slippery Rock is known for many things: beautiful campus, quiet town, modest people (students and residents) who lack pretensions,college profs who are dedicated to teaching (most of us - talk to me confidentially!). But it is grim here on the weekends (unless you are under 25 and single). So I am waiting for the opening of our first and only brew pub! I plan to hold some of my office hours there, in order to be more accessible to students (?!). This brew pub will do more to establish a distinct culture for SR than any business so far, with the possible exception of Java Cafe, our coffee shop that serves great coffee and sandwiches, and has a great staff. Check out North Country Brewing.

Chappelle's Show

rick james
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Funniest show on TV, the Dave Chappelle Show. I have the first season on DVD, and can't wait for the second season to be available. Funniest sketch is Charlie Murphy telling his story about Rick James. Chappelle's imitation of Rick James is way over the top. Check out some clips.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Independent radio station in the 'burgh

WYEP (91.3) is a great station. I especially enjoy their Saturday night blues show. They sponsor the Pittsburgh Blues Festival each summer. Last summer it was a the Penn Distillery (Iron City Beer) and there were two stages set up on the loading docks. Lot's of fun. The reception on the radio is bad from Slippery Rock, but I listen over the Internet. Reception is only good within 30 miles of the 'burgh. Check out the station on Internet Radio.

Gullifty's Restaurant in the 'burgh

Gullifty's restaurant in Squirrel Hill is my favorite place to dine. The menu is diverse, and includes vegetarian and middle eastern selections, in addition to a wide selection of familiar American entrees. And they have a bar. Cross section of people dine there, all nationalities and ages. Check out their menu.

Un long dimanche de fiancailles

"A Very Long Engagement," a recent French film (Jody Foster in a supportive role) about a young woman searching for the truth about her dead fiance. He was one of five French soldiers in a WWI battle sentenced to be left in no man's land between French and German troops because they shot themselves in the hand to avoid combat. The five come from different walks of life, and each leaves loved ones behind. But are they all really dead? The young woman searchers for the truth. There is government secrecy, corruption, the brutality and futility of war, and lives shattered by the death of these five men. She believes him to be alive - is her faith in vain? If he is alive, why hasn't he contacted her? The cinematography is amazing - scenes from the trenches in WWI, period airplanes, dirigibles, old trains, the costuming is amazing. Prepare to be transported to another time and place. A must see!