I'll never have catnip again

What the morning after a wild Caturday night looks like:

(Okay, to be fair, this is my cat Sugarplum, and it was August and hot as hell when this was taken.)

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The American President

I think this clip has been run before, but Shaker Bruce said, "I was thinking that considering the crap that has happened on the campaign this week re: Ayers and all that, that maybe you’d want to switch it up just a little, and post the climactic speech from “The American President”, instead. It seems pretty appropriate."

I can't argue with that, so...

Transcript below the fold...
For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago. America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free". I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she's to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.


I've loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now. Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It's White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out. I'm throwing it out writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns. We've got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the President.

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In other arts news...

The Metropolitan Opera is putting on John Adams's Doctor Atomic over the next couple of weeks. Doctor Atomic is the story of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and the first nuclear test over Trinity at Los Alamos. It's gotten good reviews, questions of war and peace are quite topical now, and I've promised myself to get out and see more stuff like this, so I'm interested in going.

Also: one of the perks of living in New York is that an opera or other arts event can spawn all kinds of related events and lectures. This one looks interesting (and quite topical for this blog):

Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project

Ruth Howes, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Marquette University, discusses her book on the science, and the discrimination, the women of the Manhattan Project faced.

Monday, October 20 at 6.30 P.M., The Graduate Center at CUNY
If you're interested in seeing the opera, but aren't able to get to New York, you might be able to catch it in your local movie theater.

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9 to 5: The Musical!

How had I not known that this was in the works, with music and lyrics written by La Parton?

Clearly, I don't pay enough attention to Broadway. Could be those hundred-dollar tickets.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison.

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Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch, #92

Shakers Juliemania and Claire just sent me links to this charming tale:

In an upstate New York county, hundreds of voters have been sent absentee ballots in which they could vote for "Barack Osama."

…The elections office faxed a statement in which the two commissioners, Democrat Edward McDonough and Republican Larry Bugbee, said they regret the error but never acknowledge what the error was.

"It's human error, it's very unfortunate, it's an embarrassment to our office, obviously," McDonough said in a later phone interview. "We wish we could turn back the clock, but we can't."
Sure. Easy mistake to make.


[Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, Thirty-Six, Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Nine, Forty, Forty-One, Forty-Two, Forty-Three, Forty-Four, Forty-Five, Forty-Six, Forty-Seven, Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, Fifty, Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Four, Fifty-Five, Fifty-Six, Fifty-Seven, Fifty-Eight, Fifty-Nine, Sixty, Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, Sixty-Three, Sixty-Four, Sixty-Five, Sixty-Six, Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Nine, Seventy, Seventy-One, Seventy-Two, Seventy-Three, Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five, Seventy-Six, Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Eight, Seventy-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-One, Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, Eighty-Four, Eighty-Five, Eighty-Six, Eighty-Seven, Eighty-Eight, Eighty-Nine, Ninety, Ninety-One.]

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Actually, It Could Only Be 2/3rds of a Slap in the Face

Andrea Tantaros is fired up -- FIRED UP! I tell you! -- because Newsweek has slapped Sarah Palin in the face . . . . . (well, actually, only 66% of her face) . . . .
. . . . . . . by showing her as she actually looks. The horror.

"Any woman who sees this cover would be shocked and horrified."
[You can see an image of the cover here.—MM.]

Tantaros also states the following on her blog (not linking! not linking! not linking! I refuse!):
"Palin's got an election to win, a jam packed campaign schedule, a state to run, and five children. She's not perfect. She's real. That's why "folks" love her. She deserves the same treatment as other candidates: a fair shake and a flattering cover shot." (emp. mine)
I see. A flattering cover shot. Not a real cover shot. (Note: Newsweek has a policy about retouching, and claims that it does not retouch cover-shots without making it clear that they have done so.)

I bring this up not because I give a rat's ass about Palin's "unwanted facial hair", or Tantaros' blood-pressure, but because I think that it illustrates perfectly the amazing, complex, fucked-up maze that women navigate every day in this culture.

Sarah Palin is selling herself as "real" -- but if she looks too real, this is an insult to her, according to Tantaros. However, Tantaros' approach is basically: "Your real face? Ewwwwww. Gross!" (and I find myself wondering: How is that not insulting?)

Sarah Palin is selling herself as "experienced" -- but she's supposed to look like a fresh-faced 20-year-old. No wrinkles, no pores, no "unwanted facial hair" (honestly, every time I hear that phrase, I want to open an orphanage for unwanted facial hair).

What's also interesting to me is the choice of the shot. It's an very unusual framing (go ahead, do a Google image search to see just how unusual it is for Newsweek to use up 90% of the real-estate on their cover with just 2/3rds of someone's face).

Jeff Bercovici (again, not linking), in an article charmingly titled "Did Newsweek Have to Show Palin's 'stache" said:
"To me, the implicit message of the photo . . . . . . seems obvious: Here's your beauty queen, your MILF, your 'hottest governor from the coldest state.' How do you like her now that you've seen her crows' feet, her clumpy mascara, her bloodshot eyes, her faint mustache, her cakey makeup, her gaping pores, etc? (Rachel Sklar says the cover is "fair and flattering"; I disagree. It's horrifying.)
To his credit, he does later wonder if it's sexist of him to be wondering about this in the first place. (Gee, ya think?)

The framing of the shot is weird, though -- what are they trying to convey? That if I'm not careful, I will be sucked into the wink-vortex of Sarah Palin's left eye?

Nothing that I'm about to say takes an iota away from the fact that I think Sarah Palin is epically inequipped to be Vice President, that I think her policies and practices are abhorrent, and that I experience her personal presentation as smarmy and disgusting.

But . . . . . and . . . . .

She's going to take shit if her close-up portrays her as less than the perfected patriarchal ideal of feminity, and she's going to take shit if her close-up is retouched. She's going to take shit if she's not staying home with the kids, and she's going to take shit because she's paying too much attention to her kids and not enough to her work. She's going to be objectified as a sperm repository, probably by men who say they despise her but who would "hit that" anyway.

And it won't be because she's Sarah Palin. It will be because she's a woman.

[H/T to Shaker and Hoyden Lauredhel.]

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Winning and Losing

According to the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll, Obama's at 51% and McCain's at 41%. As always, take every poll with a huge grain of salt. Still, a double-digit lead is a pretty significant result.

Something I've been thinking about today: If Obama loses this thing, he'll go down having fought one hell of a race—a first-term senator and historic candidate who campaigned mostly with honor and decency, inspired a new generation to get involved in politics, and has a sterling career ahead of him. If Obama loses, it will be with dignity; he can have enormous pride in how close he came to winning.

If McCain loses this thing, he'll go down in flames—a party elder whose election it was to lose from Day One, who sold his soul to the devil, left his reputation in absolute tatters, and soiled his legacy by making a colossal mockery of everything he claims to believe in. If McCain loses, it will be with ignominy; he will suffer the abject humiliation of ending his career in a spectacular personal and professional flame-out of mythic proportions.


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Shaker Gourmet: Apple Crisp

Our friend Quentin was in town visiting for the past several days and his very favorite food is apple crisp, so I made some last night for his last evening here. I've made it several times in the past but I think I finally came up with what is now the recipe I'll be using for now on.

Apple Crisp

2 cups apple cinnamon granola*
half cup vanilla almond granola*
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cups butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 - 5 large apples, mix sweet & tart**, peeled/cored/sliced thin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon white sugar
allspice (dash)

--Preheat oven to 350 degrees

--Butter 8x8 baking dish or 9-inch pie plate

--Layer one sort of apple, then another on top. Sprinkle with white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Put two (or three, depending on how many apples) more layers of apples, alternating kinds.

--In big bowl, mix granolas, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together. Mix in melted butter.

--Carefully put granola mix on top of apples. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes. Cool for 15 before serving.
There are all sorts of variations on apple crisp! Feel free to share yours in comments!

If you'd like to participate in Shaker Gourmet, email me (include a blog link!) at: shakergourmet (at) gmail.com

* bought at New Seasons, FWIW
** I use Jonagold and Granny Smith apples

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Friday Cat Blogging

Matilda: Queen of the Jungle

(She was actually yawning.)

* * *

Olivia: Queen of the Box

(For now.)

* * *

Sophie: Queen of Balancing on Narrow Things

(That's my sweater hanging on the back of a chair, which is as wide as the bit
between her paws. She loves to perch on top on chairs; the monitor is nuttin'!)

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By the Way…

In case you were wondering whether Obama was ready with a good response if the coward McCain actually does have the intestinal fortitude to impugn his patriotism to his face, check out this clip from a rally in Chillicothe, Ohio, this morning (via my pal Steve, the last line of whose post made me LOL):

It's easy to rile up a crowd— Nothing's easier than riling up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that's not what we need right now in the United States. The times are too serious. The challenges are too great. The American people aren't looking for someone who can divide this country—they're looking for somebody who will lead this country.

Now, more than ever, it is time to put country ahead of politics. Now, more than ever, it is time to bring change to Washington so that it works for the people of this country that we love. I know my opponent is worried about his campaign, but that's not what I'm worried about. I'm thinking about the Americans who are losing jobs and homes and their life savings.

We cannot afford another four years of the failed economic theories that say we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires, and hope that prosperity trickles down on everybody else. We can't afford four more years of less regulation, where no one in Washington is watching what's happening on Wall Street. We've seen where that leads us, and we are not going back.
He's ready for whatever McCain brings.

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Oh, This Is Getting Good

Munch, munch, munch:

[Screen caps and transcript for those who can't view the video, below.]

That's just a thing of beauty. You can practically hear Sinatra crooning "I've Got You Under My Skin" in the background.

Don't you know you fool, you never can win / Use your mentality, wake up to reality…

Is it cozy there in that corner into which you've painted yourself, McCain?

I positively can't wait to see McCain prove his "passion" and "courage" by tacitly calling Obama a terrorist on national television. Yes, show us your passion and courage—and your abysmal lack of integrity and honor, to boot. Thrill your bloodthirsty base, and show every undecided voter in the nation what an ignoble scoundrel you really are. And always have been.

John McCain: I have every right to insist that [Obama] be candid and truthful with the American people, uh, and he needs to be asked about [his relationship to Bill Ayers] and he needs to be forthcoming.

Charlie Gibson: You didn't raise that, this argument, or line of argument, in the debate the other night, and I asked Senator Obama about that yesterday; he said, "Yeah, I'm surprised that John didn't say that to my face."

McCain: [laughs tersely] Oh, I'll be glad to—[more terse laughter]—that's a— Again, uh—two things I've never been accused of lacking in: One is passion and the other is courage. I mean, I can—I can accept a lot of the other, uh, criticisms—it didn't come up in the flow of the conversation.

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Quote of the Day

"Someday hopefully it won't be necessary to allocate a special evening to celebrate where we are and how far we've come. Someday women writers, producers, and crew members will be so commonplace, and roles and salaries for actresses will outstrip those for men, and pigs will fly."—Actress and professional juggernaut of awesome Sigourney Weaver, at Elle magazine's 15th annual Women in Hollywood tribute.

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Friday Blogaround

lol your blogaround

Recommended Reading:

Tracey: From 65 to 0 in Seconds

Lauredhel: Passive Voice Watch: Invisible Rapist in Sussex

Shayera: This is Horrible

Jess: First Public Statue of a Black Woman in England

Renee: Gibbs Puts Hannity in His Place and Maddow and Olbermann Break It Down

Mannion: This Bad Dad Needs to Kick Back with a Few Duff Beers

Leave your links in comments...

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Connecticut Rules

From the New York Times:

Breaking News 11:39 AM ET: Connecticut State Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
As Drudge says, "Developing...."

I'll follow up as the news becomes available.

UPDATE: Here's the story from the Greenwich Times:
HARTFORD - A divided Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in Connecticut.

The court ruled 4-3 Friday that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Justices overturned a lower court ruling and ordered that court to find in favor of the plaintiffs.

Eight same-sex couples sued in 2004, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses.

"We are ecstatic," said Jeffrey Busch of Wilton, who along with his partner, Stephen Davis sued for marriage rights. Busch and Davis have a civil union for the benefit of their 3-year-old son, Elijah Davis Busch.

Connecticut will join Massachusetts and California as the only state to allow same-sex couples to marry.
And the actual ruling (PDF). (HT to Shaker KarateMonkey in comments.)

This is great news. That makes three: Massachusetts, California, and now Connecticut.

Stand by for the usual howls from the Orcosphere about "activist judges" -- who were just doing their job -- and you can bet that this will be injected into the presidential campaign if it hasn't been already as I type this. And I have a feeling this ruling will be used on both sides of the campaign here in Florida on Amendment 2.

But the march to equality for all citizens goes on, and all the consternation and monkeyhouse from the homophobes only proves that we are on the way.

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Mommy v. Daddy

Via Media Matters, I find this gendered analysis of Tuesday's debate in the LA Times:

The late conservative economist Jude Wanniski once dubbed Republicans the "Daddy Party" and Democrats the "Mommy Party." On Tuesday, Obama seemed to prove his point by laying out the more expansive government role in caring for middle-class Americans. And he mentioned not only his mother, but his wife and grandmother too.
First, let's talk about how this is insulting to men, via its implicit contention that men don't care for other people, and, quite specifically, if one takes this tired metaphor to its logical conclusion, that fathers don't care for their children. Men are there to provide and discipline; women are there to care. This lie is the foundation for every damnable binary about sex and emotion in our culture—men are rational; woman are emotional—and it is on what we've based our pernicious refusal to regard the most destructive versions of emotions like anger, jealousy, possessiveness, vengeance, apathy, and selfishness as not emotions at all, but merely biological evidence of strength, as long as they emanate from men.

Every man and woman reading this post who was raised in a house with a father who did not see "caregiver" as part of his role, who couldn't have a bad day without the whole house having a bad day, who called his sons and daughters emotional or hysterical or weak if they cried, without a trace of irony as he stomped around the house in a fit of pique that no one could ignore, unable to properly process his emotions because he's not supposed to have any, knows intimately the damage done by narratives that tell men they aren't meant to care and that only girls and pussies show emotion.

The "daddies aren't there for caring; that's what mommies are for" meme can't die soon enough or hard enough. It hurts the men who believe in it, it hurts the boys and girls they raise, it ain't a picnic for Mom (or second Dad, or Grandma, or whomever else may be a secondary care provider). It's bad for families, and every member in them, and it's bad for the country when writ large. Men are designed to care, too—and they should, for themselves as much as anyone else.

And now let's talk about how that snip of gendered analysis is insulting to women.

See: All of the above. Every time one sex has assigned to it a particular trait or behavior or emotion, then the other is assigned its opposite, or merely its absence—and a failure to demonstrate its opposite or absence, as prescribed by one's own gender, thus results in a deviation of which our gender-obsessed, binary-obsessed, gender role-enforcing patriarchy will not approve.

Any woman, then, who doesn't want children for whom to care, who doesn't want to fill the mommy role at all, or who becomes a mother but refuses to sacrifice her every need and desire at the altar of self-subjugation, who has the temerity to care about herself, publicly and unapologetically, is, by definition, not a "real" woman.

Unless she's a prominent conservative; for them, we make exceptions.

What I find most troubling for women about Doyle McManus' analysis, however, is this: "And he mentioned not only his mother, but his wife and grandmother too." Merely by speaking about women, Obama "proved" Wanniski's Mommy Party / Daddy Party thesis. It's bad enough, you see, to care about people (like a woman does), but to care about women—well, that just proves you practically are one. And so is your whole party.

Naturally, it goes without saying that, in this calculation, being womanlike is a bad thing.

The implicit recommendation is to stop speaking about women, or caring about them, or behaving like they're supposed to behave according to the stereotype underlying this whole argument, i.e. Mommy. It's only by not caring about, acknowledging, or respecting women at all that Barack Obama and the Democrats can shed the disastrous image of the Mommy Party. (And of course a woman cannot participate as a candidate—not a "real" woman, anyway, who wouldn't selfishly let a career stand in her way of caring about her partner and children.)

Leaving women not cared about, acknowledged, respected, or effectively participating is, one supposes, a small price to pay for a gentleman's victory.

I take a slightly different view. Ahem.

My view, which I daresay will come as a surprise to approximately no one, is that men who have empathy and compassion for other people are always a welcome contribution to American politics, and women who have empathy and compassion for other people are needed in much greater numbers in American politics. (I am decidedly dissatisfied with a Congress that is 16% female—positively shameful, that.) My view is that we should collectively take vocal and uncompromising issue with people who actively discourage women's participation in politics, whether through propagating stupid memes about Mommy and Daddy Parties or by treating them like garbage. My view is that Obama should talk about his mother, his grandmother, his wife, his daughters, his sister, his female friends and colleagues, and women generally at every opportunity he is given, and give women a chance to tell him their own stories along the campaign trail. And my view is that he should be proud to do so, and aware of why it's necessary.

That's my view. My question is: What would a late conservative economist say, do you think, about a Daddy Party with a mommy on its ticket?

I suppose it's okay—as long as she's hostile to women, too. That seems to be the important thing.

And isn't it always.

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Nowhere Man

President Bush will be in Miami today for a fundraiser for local Republicans.

Except that the three local Republican members of the House of Representatives, Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all have "previous commitments" and won't be able to make it.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Porky Pig Show

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McCain's economic-crisis strategy

Thanks to Shaker Earl for finding the clip.

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Read These Now as... I Got Nothin'

Global markets continue to hemorrhage. If big pharma is feeling generous, a rainbow assortment of dolls would be nice about now. I am really needing a Neely moment.

THE FINANCIAL TSUNAMI: Gigantic Swiss Banks Hold Steady -- For Now

Citi concedes Wachovia to Wells Fargo but wants $60 billion in damages. (Deal Book)

I need distraction. Love Condom Ads at Adfreak. (NSFW)

"Gay is a choice? Not that again. Palin's view ignores the fact that, as in religion, the attraction is undeniable. And heeding such calls is the essence of freedom." (LA)

Nearly 300 New Marine Species Found Near Australia. (NG) (Photos)

YAY! How Fatty Foods Curb Hunger.

Obama is buying all your teevee viewing. (HR)

China bans Western religious music. (Telegraph)

Banksy is at it again. (NY)

Okay kittens. Mister Petulant is a weary lad and the Circadian Clock is still out of whack. Perhaps the most holy Pharmacopoeia purveyors will delight my innocent ears with the rings of auto-refill. Another day of CNBC, then sinking to the lowest of the low to watch Hilton's BFF as escapist, is going to drive this poor lad one step closer to a fantabulous leather strait-jacket. Don't click that unless you really want to know. Tuttles.

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L'état, c'est moi

Sarah Palin has failed in her efforts to block the Alaska legislature's ongoing abuse-of-power investigation into her firing of the state's public safety commissioner because he did not respond to her and her family's pressure to fire her ex brother-in-law, a state trooper. Nor has she successfully prevented seven state employees from responding to subpoenas), despite a big assist from a Focus on the Family-affiliated legal foundation, who were most likely called up by the McCain campaign people, who are effectively governing Alaska now. She's also, in a particularly Cheneyesque twist, refusing to turn over a huge number of emails to the independent investigator, whose legitimacy she disputes.

See, she'd rather have the state Personnel Board handle the investigation, secretly. She can fire them all if she wants, but she can't get rid of the legislature or the courts.

So what to do when you've failed to stop the independent investigation, your seven aides have flipped after a judge denied their challenges to their subpoenas, and the investigator's report is due out Friday?

Why, put out your own report (written by the McCain campaign operatives to whom you've abdicated your executive responsibilities) clearing yourself of any wrongdoing, of course!

For some really great, though really long, analysis of the issues behind Troopergate, and why it all matters even if Mike Wooten is the scum of the earth, see Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Or poke around at Mudflats or at the Anchorage Daily News's site.

All of this secrecy and abuse of power and personal-vendetta-driven governance (or reward; let us not forget that she rewarded many of her schoolmates with high-level state jobs for which they were not adequately qualified, including putting one friend in charge of agriculture based on her childhood love of cows) is a good indication of how she might govern if she became president through McCain's death in office.

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I have decided, after much thought, to name my toilet Bartleby.

It sits in the corner, and quite often when I ask it to do its job, it responds, "I would prefer not to."


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Question of the Day

The Hobbit is in production, but Bilbo has not yet been cast (though James McAvoy has been rumored). Who would you cast in the role?

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Scratching my angry black scalp...

Crossposted from AngryBlackBitch.com.

The fantabulous Liss sent this bitch an article by Patricia J. Williams titled The Politics of Michelle Obama’s Hair. The piece is an exploration of Michelle Obama’s presence…her personality, appearance and oh yes, her hair. Williams clearly is inspired by the complete Michelle Obama package, but there’s something about the way she explores the hair thang that gave me pause.

Shall we?

Full disclosure – a bitch rocks a natural Afro and has for several years.

Black women and our hair…where to start? I was raised to believe that wearing natural hairstyles (meaning not straightening my hair) wasn’t the route to regular employment, acceptance or happiness. More importantly, I was taught that black women were charged with the task of putting others at ease through both our appearance and our temperament…and that was the clear route to regular employment, acceptance and happiness. So when I chopped off my chemically straightened hair and began to grow my Afro I was honestly concerned that it would have negative ramifications. Williams describes it as “political hair” but she seems to be searching for empowerment within an acceptably black definition by contrasting the appeal of Michelle Obama to the way Cynthia McKinney was treated by Capitol security allegedly after she began to wear a natural.

The thing is that has more to do with the very society Williams acknowledges is neither post-racial nor post-feminist.

When Williams tells of how sad she felt when wearing a Condi Rice Halloween mask versus how up beat she felt when wearing a Michelle Obama mask…well, she lost me.

If I’ve learned anything it is that true empowerment comes from being comfortable and loving the hell out of your own ass.

The thing that I like about Michelle Obama is that she exudes that empowerment. She’s cool with herself – no mask required (wink).

But Ms. McKinney is also cool with her self…and just because some members of the Capitol police aren’t cool with that shit doesn’t mean she is any less empowering as a result. Let’s be clear…members of the press politicized her hair – her hair was just being hair.


Is Michelle Obama fantabulous?


Would I feel fantabulous rocking her look…her ways…her life?


***logs off to fluff Afro then read Ain’t I A Woman one more time***

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Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch, Part 91

It's kind of ironic that the NRA has endorsed McCain, considering the arrest of the following gun-toting loudmouth whackjob:

Wade Williams, 75, was arrested this morning on a felony terrorizing charge after allegedly calling the Registrar of Voters and warning that he would come to the state office and empty his shotgun unless he got his registration card. Using profanity and racial slurs, Williams told a state official "about needing to vote to 'keep the nigger out of office," according to an Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office affidavit
Mr. Wade Asshat Williams is a confirmed terrorist. Don't believe me? Well, if you look at the arresting officer's affidavit, you'll see the charge listed as "terrorizing." That's what terrorists do. But when "we" do it here at home, that's not terrorism! Wheee!

Well, at least that's one less McCain vote to worry about.

[H/T to RawStory. Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, Thirty-Six, Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Nine, Forty, Forty-One, Forty-Two, Forty-Three, Forty-Four, Forty-Five, Forty-Six, Forty-Seven, Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, Fifty, Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Four, Fifty-Five, Fifty-Six, Fifty-Seven, Fifty-Eight, Fifty-Nine, Sixty, Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, Sixty-Three, Sixty-Four, Sixty-Five, Sixty-Six, Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Nine, Seventy, Seventy-One, Seventy-Two, Seventy-Three, Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five, Seventy-Six, Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Eight, Seventy-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-One, Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, Eighty-Four, Eighty-Five, Eighty-Six, Eighty-Seven, Eighty-Eight to Ninety.]

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McCain Promises to Take It to Obama

And we all know he's a man of his word (ha ha ha ha ha!!!) so I'm sure he'll totally follow through on it:

The next question came from a black McCain supporter, who reminded McCain of the candidate's plea at the convention for his supporters to do everything possible to ensure a victory. … He then implored McCain to go after Barack Obama at the next debate and asked him to raise ACORN and Reverend Wright. "I am begging you, sir," he said, as the crowd stood and applauded.

"Yes, I'll do that," McCain responded.
So McCain says he'll go after Obama at the next debate on the "radical terrorist extremist zomg" meme his surrogates have been pushing for days. Noted.

We already know Obama told him to bring it—now Biden is throwing down the gauntlet, too.
"All of the things they said about Barack Obama in the TV, on the TV, at their rallies, and now on YouTube … John McCain could not bring himself to look Barack Obama in the eye and say the same things to him," Biden said this morning. "In my neighborhood, when you've got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him."
McCain's going to look like a megadouche if he doesn't look Obama in the eye and call him a terrorist to his face at the next debate.

The best part? McCain's going to look like a megadouche if he does look Obama in the eye and call him a terrorist to his face at the next debate.

Pass the popcorn.

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Sarah Palin Sexism Watch, #25

In case the Sarah Palin porno just isn't enough to satisfy your sexual fantasies about the Republican veep nominee, now there is a Sarah Palin sex doll. Oh—pardon me, a "This Is Not Sarah Palin Inflatable Love Doll." (I'm not going to provide a link to the site; I'm sure Google will help you if you really need to find it.)

It's "Not Sarah Palin," even though the first bulletpoint in the product description is "Sarah Palin makes sexism sexy"—and even though a closer inspection of the packaging (probably NSFW; judge by the thumbnail, above) reveals that the head of a woman chosen specifically for her resemblance to Sarah Palin was clearly Photoshopped onto another woman's body. But remember: It's a "This Is Not Sarah Palin" sex doll.

The next time you hear some dude arguing it's not sexism that keeps women out of politics, or waxing perplexed about why there aren't more women in politics, or maybe suggesting that women choose to avoid a public life because they're not biologically or temperamentally disposed toward it, direct him to this post.

And ask him how many bright, young, politically-engaged women he thinks have read about the Palin porno or the Palin sex doll, or read the other twenty-four entries in the Palin Sexism Watch, or the fourteen entries in the Michelle Obama Sexism Watch, or the zomg 111 entries in the Hillary Clinton Sexism Watch, or any of the other thousands of bits of misogynist swill about which we've not written at Shakesville, just this election season, and how many of them have thought, "Well, maybe politics isn't the place for me after all," because we require of our female politicians a skin so thick they're not meant to care when it's reproduced in vinyl for the singular purpose of being cum on by men who quite possibly can't even locate the US on a map.

[H/T to Shaker Jade. Sarah Palin Sexism Watch: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four. We defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we endorse her or her politics, but because that's how feminism works.]

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Quote of the Day

"I am surprised that, you know, we've been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days, that he wasn't willing to say it to my face. But I guess we've got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that—that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate."Barack Obama, responding to Charlie Gibson's inquiry about the McCain campaign's assertion that Obama is an unknown quantity and implication that he is a terrorist.

Shorter Obama: Bring it on, you spineless weasel.

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In Case Any of You Were Waiting...

...to see who the NRA endorsed before you decided for whom to vote, your wait is over. They've endorsed McCain.


[US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to members of the National Rifle Association at their annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky, May 16, 2008.]

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October Totally-Not-A-Surprise

But just because it's not surprising, doesn't mean it's not infuriating:

Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.

Although much attention this year has been focused on the millions of new voters being added to the rolls by the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama, there has been far less notice given to the number of voters being dropped from those same rolls.

States have been trying to follow the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and remove the names of voters who should no longer be listed; but for every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two, a review of the records shows.
The states involved include the six swing states of Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina, as well as Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.

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Monitor Cat

mon·i·tor cat /ˈmɒn ɪ tər kæt/ — lesser feline deity to Ceiling Cat, governing the watching of birds and blogging.

Monitor Cat is watching you blog.

No, seriously. She's watching you.

Monitor Cat is also watching the sparrows play in the vines outside
the window. Monitor Cat demands respect, despite adorably large feet.

Monitor Cat is totally tubular.

Monitor Cat is friends with Window Cat.

Sort of.

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Respect, McCain-Style

"I've pledged to conduct a respectful campaign…We are trying to be a party that respects everyone."John McCain, April 23, 2008

Steve Benen, today:

The Politico's Jonathan Martin noted last night that the McCain campaign planned on "making news" this morning, but wouldn't say what it was. We learned this morning it was a new, detailed economic plan, explaining in depth how McCain believes the U.S. should respond to the ongoing financial crisis over the next 12 months.

No, no, I'm just kidding. The "news" is that the McCain campaign has released a 90-second web ad attacking Obama for knowing Bill Ayers. As Martin noted this morning, "The idea here is to keep Ayers in the mix without spending precious dollars to put real points behind it on TV. Republicans know that cable TV stations will play the spot for free, regardless of it being a web ad."

The web ad comes about 24 hours after top McCain campaign aides seemingly took the Ayers "issue" (I use the word loosely) off the table.
Last night, I sat watching CNN's Senior Political Analyst David Gergen compliment John McCain on not bringing up Ayers during Tuesday night's debate. He must have said it four times. It's positively gobsmacking. Why on earth is McCain getting credit from ostensibly intelligent pundits for what is essentially just not having the spine to do his own goddamnned dirty work? Either he's running his own campaign, and ergo he's approving these smear tactics, or he's totally out of the loop within his own campaign, and ergo he isn't fit to run the local 7/11, no less the country.

Regardless, his is quite possibly the dirtiest presidential campaign ever run in American history. And it looks nothing like the "respectful campaign" he promised to run.

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The McCain-Palin Base

Wow. Just wow.

I've been doing blog video for a while, and presidential rallies a lot longer. And this is the most strange, ignorant, uninformed, angry, up-to-no-good, and gullible group of people I've ever seen at a political rally.

Wow. Just go watch. Wow.

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Michelle Obama

Last night, Iain and I caught a bit of Michelle Obama's interview with Larry King. As you'd expect, she was smart, witty, interesting, personable; Iain, who hadn't previously seen a lot of footage of her, said, "She is such an asset tae Barack. He's looky tae have her."

One of the things I found particularly compelling was when King asked her about Hillary Clinton. He was clearly leading her to say that Clinton wasn't doing enough to support Sen. Obama, which was, of course, a constant media meme until the economy took a nosedive—and there had been some speculation, including in comments threads here, that M. Obama doesn't like Clinton. But watching this segment, that didn't come across to me at all. She seems genuinely impressed by and grateful for Clinton's support and sounds like she is quite fond of her—like they are quite fond of each other.

[Transcript below.]

If there was any actual ill will toward Clinton during the primary when they were opponents, it sure seems to be gone now, and I've always respected people who can be gracious in defeat and in victory—the latter of which can be strangely more troublesome for lots of people. Evidently, not Michelle Obama, though. I like that about her.

I like a lot of stuff about her. Watching her last night, I thought I'd really love to see her as our president.

No offense, Barack.

Obama: This has been an amazing year throughout—and I think my 10-year-old daughter summed it up best: The night that Barack clinched the nomination, and I came home, woke up in the morning, and I sort of explained that Daddy had, you know, actually won the nomination, and I said, "Don't you think this is amazing?" You know, I said, "This is the first time an African-American will have been a nominee." And Malia said, "Well, yeah." You know, "I realize what a big deal it is," she said, "but it would have been a big deal if Hillary Clinton had won, too." She said it without blinking an eye. She said, "Because women didn't have the right to vote, and there was inequality there." It was matter-of-fact; it's like, that's where we've come, where 10-year-olds and 7-year-olds understand that this is big, but they know this is the next step. You know, this is where we've grown as a country, and I think it's beautiful to watch our young people being able to see these changes in action, because they're going to grow up with a different reality than any of us.

King: Speaking of Hillary—

Obama: Mm-hmm.

King: —are you happy with the way she's supporting your husband?

Obama: She has been phenomenal. From the minute after this was done, right, she has always been just cordial and open—I've called her, I've talked to her, she's given me advice about the kids, we've talked at length about this kind of stuff, how you feel, how you react; she has been amazing. She is a real pro and a woman with character and—

King: And will she campaign for you all the way?

Obama: She's been campaigning. She's on the road. I don't know her schedule completely, but she's been raising money for the campaign, she's been working on her donors, she's been in swing states—she and Bill Clinton have been working hard to make sure that Barack is the next president of the United States.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime


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Day of Atonement

Today is the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. It is the most important and solemn day of the Jewish calendar: a time to amend behavior and seek forgiveness.

Every religion has just such a time; for example, Catholics and some other Christian denominations observe Lent and Muslims observe Ramadan, just to name a couple. But making amends is more than just a religious obligation; it is a reflection of something that is basically human, and taking one day, one month, or forty days is merely a symbolic of something we should be doing all the time.

That's not an attempt to inflict everyone with a guilt trip, nor is it an exhortation to never make mistakes, hurt other people, or do something thoughtless. It's going to happen, and if we all tried at the outset to avoid it, we'd never get anything done. Atonement -- at least to me -- is a teachable moment. We find our limitations, our blind spots, our stupidities, and we fix them for ourselves and for those we hurt in the process.

It's no great revelation that a lot of people have trouble with the concept of atonement. To them it's a sign of weakness; if you admit that make you mistakes, people will take advantage of you. Sure, that happens. But it's part of the process, too, that if someone exploits it, they have their own atonement to look after at some point. Or not. Some people are beyond that. But that's not your problem. And if you're secure enough in your own self and you know your limitations, you will have no trouble admitting when you're wrong and you are strong enough to take the responsibility and the consequences of screwing up. By doing that, more than just making amends and putting things right, you actually improve the situation.

In the height of this silly season of election campaigning at all levels and daily accusations of sins of commission, omission, exploitation, "gotcha," not to mention the smug self-assurance and prideful arrogance from just about everyone -- including myself -- that we are right and they are wrong and there is no hope for anyone who doesn't see the world exactly the way we do, it's important to observe the admonitions set forth in the meaning of Yom Kippur regardless of your religious affiliation or lack of it: seek forgiveness, make amends, learn, and resolve to do better with the full knowledge that it is a never-ending process.

You don't have to be Jewish or Catholic or Quaker or Muslim or Hindi or Pastafarian to stop for a while, even if it's only a moment, to realize that you and that which you believe in are not the center of the universe and that getting your way or winning the argument and hurting someone else in the process isn't just something we shouldn't do because God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster says so. We know through our human instinct that making amends for our flaws and hurts is the most human thing we do.

Tsom Kal

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Read These Now as Sufficient Champagne and Less Fear are Necessary

Here I am reading through the drivel. Kittens, it is tedious. If I have to read the first paragraph of a "news" story and scream "WTF?!" I might have one of those aneurysms I fear with a passion. I know aneurysms are not caused by screaming at a computer screen, but those spontaneous killers frighten me. They just happen out of the blue. My mama's friend's ex-gay son (don't ask) died from one at 27 and I think I have a third cousin in a coma because of one. I remember a vague mention, but never heard a follow-up. I barely know my first cousins let alone a third. I am not being callous, just saying I am afraid of them. I also fear a potential fire, but that is a different paranoia. Speaking of, tis the season to replace those batteries in your smoke detectors, unless they are hard-wired. Then you might need a generator. Enough with the babbling.

Since EVERYONE is way too aware of the GLOBAL financial apocaylpse and canned beans and poke gathered from the roadside are going to be the new delicacies, let's see what else is happening in our burgeoning socialist world.

Today's morning readings are brought to you by that "terrorist" music: the soundtrack to 100% Arabica featuring Khaled and Cheb Mami. Kittens, I love me some Raï music.

Okay... one more financial chaos link. Why does this seem like a mugshot? (Forbes) You have to read the nonillion paragraphs before this Forbes writer moves beyond KashKari's fantabulous ROCKET SCIENCE brain. His job is doomed from the beginning.

neel kashkari

Sorry to be a skeptic, let's look at some gnawing kittens to ease our brains.

Just sad. Gay teen jumps to his death with shouts of "Jump" by onlookers. (Pink)

This graphic frightens me on so many levels I might need a Bloody Mary. (Fey Friends) Who am I kidding? Every minute of the day I need a Bloody Mary. Extra Texas Pete please. He has a Fun Time Corral. Yee Haw!

I have defended Cindy McCain in the past for her humanitarian works and I still hold firm with that. When she compares her husband to the always politically easy symbol of Winston Churchill, I beg to differ. Hell, I can compare myself to Churchill because I have "Black Dog Days." Then, she made these remarks: "the day that Sen. Obama cast a vote to not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body let me tell you. I would suggest Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day. I suggest he take a day and go watch our men and women deploying." There is a big difference between your shoes Cindy and your son's. Hopefully, the same chill went through your body when your husband voted against numerous provisions to provide equipment and health care for the military and veterans.

Time for some SCIENCE LINKS!

Biological Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides.

OH MY! Pepperoni pizza can cause pelvic pain in women.

McCain's planetariophobia

I know mine is all out of whack! Circadian Clock May Be Critical For Remembering What You Learn. Kittens, I can barely remember what I did 15 minutes ago, let alone read. Who am I fooling? I still remember Cindy McCain's ill-advised comments and the need for a Bloody Mary. OH! And McCain is a planetariophobian. Or is he a planetariophobiac? Aren't new words exciting? At least for me.

Just a thought. If Suze Orman is going to continue her financial advice on the teevee wearing what may be an Issey Miyake-looking S&M couture, regardless that her advice is practical, it is kinda hard to listen to her when the majority of us are in a downward spiral. QUICK! Long term! Yes, we know! We all need that fabulous jacket to offer advice. How much is ultra teeth whitening these days? My insurance, LUCKY for now, doesn't cover cosmetic.
Suze Orman

And you know what it is fun kittens? Asking a long-term "good" friend a simple question about one's existence and they are unable to answer. It makes one wonder. I digress...

Let's move to the ART and Culture section of the morning readings.

Modern dance in Egypt. Rent A Glass and a Cigarette from Netflix. Those crazy Egyptians had cross-dressers in 1955. I won't comment about previous incarnations without consulting the Antiquities Bureau. HA!

Mentioning that movie means I can post a video clip from DALIDA. HA! At least it isn't Je suis malade which is becoming my anthem.

DHS is gonna come pounding on my door if I keep listening to this foreign music.

I digress some more. Every generation feels they are lost. Every generation has felt the pangs of financial hardship. Fear is the common thread. Loss of what we think we hold dear is usually the component. With ever collapse there is a rebirth. I am just a wee bit pessimistic, but as I say in my profile on the contributor page for Shakesville, "I might actually see some hope in the world if there is sufficient Champagne."

Thus, I leave with Dorothy Parker's Inventory
Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.

I thought I was finished but the WORD OF THE DAY arrived.




noun: 1. A fleshy appendage over the beak of a turkey. 2. A net for holding a woman's hair at the back of her head.

I know I feel a wee bit more edumacated.

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Hummingbird in the rain

We've had out first rain in months here in Southern California, and there is nothing, nothing, half so worth seeing in life as a hummingbird taking a bath.

(This is my first ever video, so I apologize for all the rough edges. Let me know in comments if you know about software -- free or cheap! -- that I could be using. I've started on VirtualDub. There's no sound, and it's about 45 seconds long. Update Oct 11: Thanks to Portly Dyke's suggestions, I've uploaded a somewhat improved and slightly longer version.)

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Project Runway Open Thread


PLEASE tell me Kenley's going home tonight...

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Question of the Day

Following on our earlier discussion about the virtues and flaws of spinach: Of what commonly disliked food are you an unabashed fan?

Aside from spinach, I'm also a big fan of cabbage, a food for which I've heard quite a few people express a distaste.

I tend to be inordinately fond of sea creatures—eels, muscles, sea cucumbers, etc.—the texture or taste of which many of my dining companions have found off-putting.

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