Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin as VP

It is obvious to me that McCain's campaign against Obama will not be about Obama's lack of experience. Hillary tried that, and failed. Sarah Palin also lacks experience, so Democrats can't use that against her without opening themselves to a similar attack. I dont think experience will be an issue in the fall campaign.

I think McCain will raise questions about Obama's ideology, not his experience. Obama has ties to kenya, indonesia, he comes from an unusual family and geographic background. But getting beyond his style, his physical posturing, his speech making, what are his positions? What do we really know about him? Will he socialize health care? Is he a radical liberal? Is he a "manchurian candidate?" that is, someone with a hidden agenda that is remarkably unAmerican? I have a hunch that something is missing, and his link to bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist, might be it. Ayers appears on the documentary "The Weather underground" and is unrepentant about his bomb making. he and other Weather Underground terrorists turned themselves in to the authorities, but they did not confess to their crimes, nor were they prosecuted (lack of evidence, without an outright confession).
So how radical is Obama?

Palin's biggest problem is that for republican environmentalists, she is a problem. She supports aerial hunting of wolves, opposed naming Polar bears as endangered, does not think global warming is human generated, and wants to drill in the artic wildlife reserve. But she has a remarkable record fighting against corruption, and Alaska is full of that, with all the natural reserves, there has been constant payoffs from big corporations to alaskan politicians.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grace is Gone: the movie and the song

"Grace is Gone" is a movie produced and starring Pittsburgh's own Johnny Cusack. Music by john's friend Clint Eastwood, lyrics by Jamie Cullen. The film has its SRU debut on Wednesday, September 17th. It's a beautiful film about love, loss and healing. Surprisingly to me, almost no one likes this film for many reasons: its unpatriotic; its unrealistic; it exploits the sacrifice made by our troops; its another antiwar Hollywood movie. the list goes on and on. There is much symbolism in the film: Stanley can't "see," he takes his daughters to "Enchanted Gardens" (what does that symbolize?), and he tells them about their mom on the beach next to the ocean (ocean symbolizes what?), the three of them embracing in a small club house in the Walmart store, his daughters getting earrings, the eldest daughter getting a young woman's dress, all symbols Incredibly well done. Its a beautiful film about love, loss and healing, and thats all.

Grace is Gone

Can't find all the words yet
It's still not the time yet
And my mind can't think of anything
it only sees you

You know I am trying
God knows I am trying
And why does the wind keeps shouting out
it's still not over

I keep on trying
I think I'm learning
To live in hearts you leave behind
is not to die, Grace

Can't find the right place
Is there a right place?
Where I can make it all make sense somehow
and face tomorrow

I keep on trying
I think I'm learning
To live in hearts you leave behind
is not to die, Grace

The world go 'round some
We move along some
To live in hearts of theirs and mine
is not to die

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nied's bar

Great bar on Butler Street in lawrenceville. The building is beautiful, restored, and the front sign is funny. they need to get rid of the phoney stone face front - should be restored to original brick. Problem with many old neighborhoods in the city is that the aluminum sales guys sold all these false fronts, taking away from the brick, stone or wood underneath. I think siding is ugly - always go with the original building material.

bike ride sunday august 24

here are pictures of Lawrenceville neighborhood in pittsburgh. One is a shop that sells tiles, and the outside is covered in bright shining tiles. Another is an american flag mural. Then there is the bar that sells fish sandwiches, serving beers throughout the years, ever since repeal of prohibition. and i saw a triumph spitfire car in nice shape. and don't forget to look for the gargoyle on one of the houses.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dolce in his stroller

here are some pictures of Dolce in his stroller - I am not sure if he likes it yet. It should grow on him. He is cooped up in the apt all day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Joan of Arcadia

One of my favorite movies is "One True thing," which is probably considered a "chic flick." But I really enjoy watching it, and actually shared it with my neighbor. My fear is that this will become widely known and my reputation for watching post modern films with shocking violence and sex will be challenged. So i will come clean: I just ordered seasons 1 and 2 of Joan of Arcadia. It was my favorite TV show 10 years ago, and i actually stayed home on friday nights so I didnt miss it. Its about an average high school girl and her family: dad's the small town police chief, mom's an art teacher at the school, younger brother is a geek at the high school, and older brother is the golden boy of the family who tragically became paralyzed in a drunk driving crash. The whole spin of the show is that God talks to joan at the beginning of each episode and asks her to do something.For example, God asks her to organize a garage sale...Why? doesnt make sense? But the sale reveals art work, portraits, that her mom made many years earlier. Turns out her mom was raped when she was a college student, and the pictures express her outrage and pain. At the same time Dad is investigating a rape case, he is sure he has the guilty party, but there is very little evidence. His favorite police officer therefore changes the original police report in order to have a stronger case, and dad has to fire him for his dishonesty, even though it would have made a stronger case against someone he knows is guilty. Turns out the rapist is never charged, goes free. meanwhile a popular jock at the HS is flirting with Joan, turns out he is dishonest, manipulative - she confronts him and he dumps her, he was never really interested in her, he just wanted to use her. Mom has told Joan to avoid this jock (she doesnt like him - intuition) and finally dad tells mom to talk to joan about the rape, that joan needs to understand what dangers confront young women, and mom needs to open up and share herself with her daughter. that is just a shortened plot synopsis - there were a few subplots I left out. This is a 50 min tv show, so it covers a lot of ground. I like the show because the scripts are incredible, the acting first rate, and there is always a spiritual conclusion that involves hope, love, or faith. Of course a tv show this good was cancelled....I have to say some of the episodes are stunning in their profoundity. seriously.

A guide for Professors for understanding incoming Freshmen

Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.
Here is a list of facts about them compiled by Beloit college.
For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
12. As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote.”
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
30. McDonald’s and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
42. Their parents may have watched The American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Millken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ancient grave - the last action of love

A tiny woman and two children were laid to rest on a bed of flowers 5,000 years ago in what is now the barren Sahara Desert.

The slender arms of the youngsters were still extended to the woman in perpetual embrace when researchers discovered their skeletons in a remarkable cemetery that is providing clues to two civilizations who lived there, a thousand years apart, when the region was moist and green.

Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago and colleagues were searching for the remains of dinosaurs in the African country of Niger when they came across the startling find, detailed at a news conference Thursday at the National Geographic Society.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dolce the cat - has a new home

Here are pictures of Dolce, as in La Dolce Vita, the cat. he immediately checked out the apartment, and now is feeling at home. I am surprised how fast he took to me, I mean like the very next day I was his best friend. He is relaxed on the couch, lying on a towel I placed there for him. He is very friendly and likes to walk around the apartment, sleeping in different spots. Thank you noah and chika for such a sweet pet!

Spain's Olympic Team and The Abilene Paradox

The Spanish basketball team before going to the Olympics - supposedly their sponsor suggested they do this, a client paying them money, but still....each of them thought this was ok? I mean I am sure they individually thought this was stupid, but what didn't any one player object? Group Think is the inability to handle disagreement, but the Abilene Paradox is the inability to handle agreement, as in, "why did we do this even thought we all individually object to it?"

"Sisters" by Brian De Palma 1973

This is a great film, and De Palma admits that he is paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock. The movie opens with scenes from a television show, "Peeping Tom," where a blind woman comes in to a men's locker room and starts to undress. the woman, Danielle, is a plant of the TV show, and Philip the black guy is victim of the set up (kind of like the tv show "candid camera.") the contestants on the show have to predict what the guy will do, announce himself and point out this is a men's locker room, or watch her undress? At the end of the show for their payment, Philip gets tickets for two at the African Room, a restaurant that features an African theme (it has every stereotype of Africa - really funny, and of course the black contestant gets the tickets, what a coincidence). Danielle gets the show's gift of a knife set, I mean a bunch of knives with one really big and ugly dagger. Philip asks Danielle out for dinner. During dinner they are stalked by Danielle's creeepy ex husband (Bill Finley, who is really creepy looking). What Philip doesn't know about Danielle is that she was recently separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique, and that tomorrow is their birthday. A gruesome murder eventually sets the plot in motion, and the focus is turned onto the reporter who sees it happen from the window of her building across the street (ala Hitchcock's Rear Window). The police are no help, so the reporter hires a private detective (Charles Durning) to help find out the truth.

The movie is funny, and De Palma is having a lot of fun with the plot, with various scenes, and the ending is absolutely great. There is a dream sequence that explains the relationship between the sisters and the creepy husband. There is lots of blook and gruesome violence - knives and big hatchets are featured - I love it when the surgeon/doctor/ex husband picks up the hatchet in the surgical sequence - Yeah! A doctor using a hatchet in an operating room! One of the best ending scenes ever in a movie. De Palma is master of horror films, and he isn't afraid to let the audience know where he comes up with this stuff - from Hitchcock!

Injured bird - Sense of Self

Video of Injured bird.I am confused, because I have read that only humans have a sense of self. Our "self" is a "Memeplex" - a complicated set of ideas that give us consciousness. However, Noah told me that Dolphins recognize themselves in a mirror, so they have a sense of self, a knowledge of their personal existence. And last night, I found an injured bird by my front door. His bird friends were circling above, chirping, as though they were keeping him company. The bird looked bad, couldn't fly, perhaps flew into something, and was breathing heavily and shaking. I moved him under a bush and he came to. This morning I was surprised to find him still alive, and his friends had returned once again circling and chirping at him. So I wonder, if his friends know that he is hurt, if they circle to keep him company, don't they have a sense of their own "self?" I mean, Sartre would say they recognize the being for others in their self - that they have to be aware of their "self" in order to be aware that they are a being for others. So if other living creatures have a sense of "self," don't they therefore have what we call a soul? Maybe Shamanists are correct, that each living creature has a unique spirit.

Ford Mansion in NJ

Noah and I visited the Ford Mansion in Morristown NJ, the house where Gen Washington spent the winter months of 1779-1780. It is a beautiful home, all wood. I was amazed at the number of people who stayed there during the winter, at least 30 people. They must have lived on top of one another, sharing rooms, coughing and sneezing on each other. We also visited the encampment where the Continental Army stayed - beautiful park now, with trails and an historic farm house complete with herb garden. The farm house was the Wick family's and it was occupied up until the Jockey Hollow national park was built during the depression (it was a civilian conservation corp project).

Friday, August 08, 2008

I found him!!!!

You know you have looked for him, and here he is!!!