Friday, September 19, 2008

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

[From East Coker, one of the Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot].

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I love cities

This photo is by one of my favorite photographers, Sam Javanrouh in Toronto, whose photoblog is always wonderful. I can't quite express what it was about this photo appealed to me... something ineffable about big cities, random crowds, the blending of the random and the ordered, the way cities maximize the excitement of possibility...

Oprah in Arabia

Oprah is a big hit in Saudi Arabia!

'“I feel that Oprah truly understands me,” said Nayla, who, like many of the women interviewed, would not let her full name be used. “She gives me energy and hope for my life. Sometimes I think that she is the only person in the world who knows how I feel.”'

Doesn't know where Spain is, or who its Prime Minister is...

"Well, whatever you say about John McCain, at least he has foreign policy experience, blah-blah-blah..."

Or does he? Now, it's easy to trip someone up during the hectic atmosphere of a Presidential campaign; you can't expect these guys to remember every name of every world leader, but even so... Surely Senator McCain should know where Spain is?

From Talkingpointsmemo:

'In case, you haven't seen our updates from last night, yesterday John McCain was interviewed on the Florida affiliate of Spanish radio network Union Radio. And in the interview McCain appeared not to know who the Prime Minister of Spain was and assumed he was some anti-American leftist leader from South America.

After the interviewer presses him a couple times on the point and tries to focus him on the fact that Prime Minister Zapatero isn't from Mexico and isn't a drug lord either McCain comes back at her saying, "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region."'

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Suicide, east to west

The first thought that comes to mind: avoid the fucked-up, religious weirdo-filled, devoid -of-purpose Midwest.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nothing left on Wall Street, No hope on River Avenue...

"The Dow fell 504.48 points, its biggest one-day point drop since Sept. 17, 2001, the first trading day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

Filing for bankruptcy today, Lehman Brothers is reported to have $600 billion debt.

"The crisis on Wall Street caused by the bursting of the real-estate bubble has now lasted 13 months and has caused far more damage than analysts initially forecast."

Goodbye, Wall Street. Good night, New York.

Dumb Waitress

[From Salon, on Ohio, the election, racism, and voters:]

'Karen Porter, an economically hard-pressed longtime waitress at Paul's ("I used to be on a beer budget, now I'm on a bus budget"), would be what political scientists call a "low-information voter," if only she were registered. Attracted to Obama ("I think he really cares about people in the middle class"), Porter is tempted to vote for the first time. When asked about his Republican rival, Porter said, "I don't know much about McCain. I hear a lot about his vice president. What's her name? The one from Canada."'

As an aside, I keep wondering why the media universally speaks of the issue of race being a huge factor in the upcoming election; why don't they call it what it really is: racism.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I can't stop thinking about Sarah Palin

So, in her recent interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Sarah Palin did not know what the Bush Doctrine is... and she has sent her son off to fight in Iraq... and she said that she supports the troops there in their fight to "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans." This woman is a sewer of cynicism and discarded morals.

But just watch: the McCain/Palin Republican ticket has a good chance of winning, and winning after eight years of corrupt and irresponsible Republican 'government' and cronyism.

He found an answer

Author and postmodern critic David Foster Wallace is dead — he apparently committed suicide.

In The Atlantic, last November, he asked:

'What if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?'

The answer is probably 'no'. I can't help feeling that his question is itself naive.

[David Foster Wallace photographed at the Strand Book Store, 2006]

I am not now, nor have I ever been, much of a comic book fan

But I found this recently, and it looked, well, odd. And interesting, perhaps.
It's via Mark's blog...

Evil Witch of the North

The New York Times on Sarah Palin:

"Franci Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages..."

"When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects..."

"Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records..."

"In the past three decades, socially conservative Oklahomans and Texans have flocked north to the oil fields of Alaska. They filled evangelical churches around Wasilla and revived the Republican Party. Many of these working-class residents formed the electoral backbone for Ms. Palin, who ran for mayor on a platform of gun rights, opposition to abortion and the ouster of the “complacent” old guard..."

And, most revealing of all:

"She began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.
“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”"

She's your Sunday School teacher on steroids.

It's time to be scared again!

Bob Herbert of the New York Times writes about Sarah Palin:

'How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?
For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”

With most candidates for high public office, the question is whether one agrees with them on the major issues of the day. With Ms. Palin, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. She doesn’t appear to understand some of the most important issues

And he's right. But dammit, people were saying the same thing about George W. Bush in 2000!