Friday, October 17, 2008

Gee, Gmail!

When my friend Mary emails me, she often types her entire message in the subject line. Her emails are often brief, but not always. Anyway, the body of these emails is blank -- if you try to send an email like this in Gmail, you will get an unnecessary prompt:

Now, all you subject-line-only emailers can avoid this, thanks to a handy tip from Gmail:

' can add "EOM" or "(EOM)" at the end of the subject line (short for End Of Message), and Gmail will silently send the message without the unnecessary prompt.'

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Republican group guffaws at Obama/fried chicken/watermelon jape

In Riverside, California, the local Republican Ladies group has paused from sharing ever-more exciting flan recipes to distribute its monthly newsletter, which states that Barack Obama's image should appear on food stamps, along with images of watermelons and, yes, fried chicken - accompanied by the image above.

'The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."'

Gosh, how positively hilarious.

Even more hilarious: a Los Angeles Times columnist writes that: "Paranoid, rage-driven, xenophobic nuts are taking over the Republican Party." Also in the Los Angeles Times: the same columnist wonders will the noisy new horseless carriage which some have called the 'Auto-Mobile' ever replace the sturdy and reliable Mule?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New York City is the world's most courteous and polite

Today: some astonishing news about New York City: ranked the most courteous city in the world by the Readers' Digest. Also, an amusing graphic, and some more polling.
And don't fuckin' forget it!

A New York Times/CBS News poll found that 53 percent of voters would choose Barack Obama and 39 percent would choose John McCain if the election were today.

Another day, another ghastly Palin rally

Christopher Hitchens (above) has endorsed Obama, less out of enthusiasm for him than disgust at the McCain-Painful ticket: "The most insulting thing that a politician can do is to compel you to ask yourself: "What does he take me for?" Precisely this question is provoked by the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin."

At yet another rally today, she stands up to speak, mentions Obama and a supporter roars: "kill him!" There is no condemnation of such viciousness from either her or McCain. She and he are tapping into the darkest forces of hate in America, and I hope they pay a breathtaking price for their folly. I hope current predictions of an Obama landslide prove accurate, and I hope the Republican Party is ruined and destroyed for at least a generation. [I'm still mentally preparing for a McCain win].

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poem for today, Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wild Thing, originally uploaded by lightxposr.

The Importance of Elsewhere

Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch

Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint
Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable,
The herring-hawker's cry, dwindling, went
To prove me separate, not unworkable.

Living in England has no such excuse:
These are my customs and establishments
It would be much more serious to refuse.
Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.

[-- Philip Larkin]

Danny Cassidy, 1945 -- 2008

Danny Cassidy, Irish American scholar and activist, died yesterday in San Francisco after fighting a long battle with cancer. His 2007 book, "How the Irish Invented Slang," won the 2007 American Book Award for non-fiction.

I did not know him, but I can attest to the strength of feeling amongst some of my Irish friends here in New York: he was loved, was respected and now is mourned.

Cassidy argued in his book that many American English slang words were derived from Gaelic, a claim with which some disagreed. But if they thought his argument thin, they must never have experienced his vast passion for the Irish language. Here's how Corey Kilgannon of the New York Times described Cassidy's thesis:

'He began finding one word after another that seemed to derive from the strain of Gaelic spoken in Ireland, known as Irish. The word “gimmick” seemed to come from “camag,” meaning trick or deceit, or a hook or crooked stick.

Could “scam” have derived from the expression “’S cam é,” meaning a trick or a deception? Similarly, “slum” seemed similar to an expression meaning “It is poverty.” “Dork” resembled “dorc,” which Mr. Cassidy’s dictionary called “a small lumpish person.” As for “twerp,” the Irish word for dwarf is “duirb.”

Cassidy was born and raised in New York City and latterly taught Irish studies at the New College of California, in San Francisco. He also wrote the Irish language column for the Irish Echo newspaper in the last year. He helped found Irish Writers and Artists for Obama, which group formed early in the primary season to back Barack Obama (many Irish and Irish Americans lined up to back Hilary Clinton, which gave an unnerving glimpse into the racism that inhabits the community: when Clinton failed to win the nomination, some suggested publically that they would vote for McCain, which to me is the same as saying "I can't bring myself to vote for a black man, even if he's my party's nominee.")

As a bitter coda to Cassidy's cherished memory, but I sense that he would not have held back on the subject himself, I add this: his final battle with cancer was unnecessarily complicated by difficulties with health insurance and its costs, though he was a citizen of the world's richest nation, with the best cancer treatment and care in the world... if you are wealthy enough to pay enough for getting sick: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The latest polls, a photo and a joke

[Photo of Belfast Lough via: BBC Northern Ireland]

TPM Track Composite: Obama 50.8%, McCain 42.5%

A vicar books into a hotel and says to the hotel clerk, "I hope the porn channel in my room is disabled?"

She says: "No sir, it's just regular porn. You sick bastard."