Saturday, July 02, 2005

Rove The Source Of Plume Outing?

I'm trying not to hope too much, lest I jinx this.

Mad Hot Economics... Or Something

Saw Mad Hot Ballroom (beware - link has music - grrr.) – Great!

Finished Freakonomics (and from Amazon, here)– Great (but went by way too fast. I don’t know if it was just written well enough that it read really smoothly, or if is was just fluff.

Hopefully there will be reviews for both of these coming later. Right now there are nachos that need eating.

Friday, July 01, 2005

It's Raining Women

She's hypnotic.

O'Connor Steps Down and All Hell Gets Antsy, Prepares to Break Loose

I am more than a little shaken up by the Supreme Court vacancy, which will probably become two or even possibly three within the next several months (although the fact that Rehnquist has been quiet up until now is interesting, all signs point to him being physically unable to continue much longer).

Needless to say, I don’t have any faith in Bush choosing anyone I would support. I’m particularly spooked about the idea of Gonzales being rewarded again for his tireless work for the administration with a seat.

What almost bothers me more is that everyone is already gleefully gearing up for what looks like a really nasty fight. I imagine that’s what it will be too. It doesn’t have to be. I am hoping that our president will display what he hasn’t shown in the past – a willingness to consider other points of view. Frankly, I see this as coming down to two groups that Bush is beholden to – the religious right and the libertarians. If only the libertarian flavor of Republicans can pull his choice a little more in their direction, then someone like Gonzales and his creative interpretations of the Geneva Conventions can be pushed out. I wouldn’t like who they would want in the seat I’m sure, but it would be a long sight better than who the religious right would want. In the past though, Bush hasn’t seemed to shy away from promoting very divisive folks, and I doubt he’ll change for this, his chance to influence the nation for a very long time.

So it looks like we will be in for that fight. I’ve been heartened by Bush’s falling numbers, but just as in the presidential race, it seems that although people really don’t like what he’s doing or what he is saying that he will do, there are no other attractive options. I have fantasies of the Democrats putting up a unified and thoughtful defense, but frankly, I don’t have much hope for that. The fight, if there is one, will most likely come down to a filibuster, with the Democrats and hopefully a couple of maverick Republicans hanging on while the administration decries the interference of the do-nothing congress. All the while, the issue groups are going to be spending billions to the delight of the TV and radio stations and the advertising industry. It’s going to get ugly.

Lots of folks around the web are saying that this is the death of Roe v. Wade, too. I think that’s a bit premature, but if I were convinced that my god saw abortion as murder, then I’d be building a case to take to the courts as soon as that seat is filled. On the other hand, I do believe that if it were knocked down, it would simply become a matter for the states. It might be harder to fight against abortion laws in the deep red states, but I bet it would be easier to do even in the borderlands of the purplish states. Even if Roe v. Wade goes down, the abortion fight will be nowhere near over.

Good links over at Bitch, PhD.

Another News Near-Miss

So, the new president-elect of Iran looks like one of the hostage takers from the revolution. There’s much hooing and haaing about this, what seems to me, non-issue. While of course it is worth knowing if he was one of the kidnappers, I don’t understand how it relates to the here and now. The US administration has said they are monitoring the situation closely. I hope that’s just blather to placate the people who are demanding that we look into it.

Although it seems that we are coming to understand that it wasn’t him in the photos, and the hostages are mistaking him for someone else, what, pray tell, would the US do if it was him? Assassins? Sanctions? A nasty note? The man is well-known to be a very conservative politician. If he were one of the kidnappers, then that would simply confirm what we already know about him.

I think this is another case of how many Americans have a very hard time understanding the points of view of other nations. From my point of view, the hostage taking was a horrific and needlessly violent act, but I think that in Iran, it would be a political asset to have been one of the students who stormed the embassy. Many, possibly even most Iranians have a fundamentally different judgment of the act. The people of Iran, by and large, would certainly not rise up in righteous anger against him if he were identified as one of the kidnappers. Again, it’s good to know who did what, but it doesn’t seem to be the groundbreaking news event that it was presented as pre-O’Conner news.

At least this is a whole lot closer to my idea of news than the missing white woman syndrome. Another upside is that maybe a couple more folks will find out where Iran is on the map and maybe (dare I say it?) learn a bit about what did happen.

PS: interesting article from the LA Times about how people look at the hostage taking

Link-O-Rama Jr.

First off, Stewgad reminded me that if I am talking historical photography, the Library of Congress site is the place to go - especially the Amercican Memory section. I completely agree. Maps and photos and history, oh my! Beware though, if you have any interest in this sort of thing, you will probably be dumping an entire afternoon combing through that place.

It’s kinda nice to see my tax money going to something that wonderful. Yea government! (I should explain that I make an attempt to think positively about the government whenever the opportunity arises. I do this to balance out the negativity that comes much more naturally and often.)

Next on the list of information you need to know (via Kottke): How to open a wine bottle when you don’t have a corkscrew!
My best wine without corkscrew story was when I was in a youth hostel in Paris. I got a bottle of wine and brought it back to share with some other folks at the hostel. I just assumed someone would have a corkscrew. The guy manning the front desk also didn’t seem to be that willing to help either, not that I’d blame him. I’m sure he hoped that we would give up and do get drunk elsewhere. Eventually, through the crafty use of a Swiss Army knife (not recommended), we pulverized the cork and all the little corklings settled into the wine. After sifting, it wasn’t too bad after all. Now that I have read this site, I feel better prepared to face the world!

Link the next:

I saw these retitled romance novels a long time ago, but was reminded (thanks again, Kottke) of them today. I have a friend who reads these things, and I think my sister used to (didn’t you?). I think the titles are much better now.

Ok, I’m off to prepare my photos for the viewing and critique today. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Where Does The Power Come From, You Might Ask?

Unfortunately, my blurry eyes started to focus again, so I went back to work. I’m going home now, but I wanted you all to know this:

If you haven’t recently, you need to Bang a Gong. You know… Get it on.

I also noticed that there is a parade this weekend. A parade with fireworks at the end. I might need to lug my camera gear to the city for that. Where did I put that tripod?

You Run Me Right Round Baby, Right Round, Like A Record Player...

8.7km 50:00

Not too shabby, actually. I started to run and my tummy was a little rumbly, so I decided to just take it slow and see how things settled. After I ran down to the trailhead and started into the trail proper, I started to feel fine. I was thinking though, I had already started out kind of slow, so there was no sense trying to keep a quick pace. I might as well go for a little more distance. So I ran three laps instead of the two that I have been running. Woohoo! 8.7km! That’s about 5.4 miles or 342535.56480 inches! That’s the longest I’ve run in awhile. At the end of the third lap I felt like my breath was good for another lap, but I’m not sure my legs would have enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be angry with me tomorrow already. Those cliff-hill thingies are killing me.

Also, it’s very important that when Billy Idol is playing that you try to do that Billy Idol lip-snarl thing. Yes. A little more. Good. Just like that. Thank you.

It is a nice day for a white wedding, isn’t it?

A Bonus For the Bright Star

The guy's name is Rafael and the gals swoon over him and his clam digger pants.

Enjoy :)

My Pupils Are As Fat As My Pupils

Ugh. I completely forgot the joys of getting my eyes dilated. I can’t focus on anything closer that arm’s length. There goes working for the rest of today. Nice excuse to have if you can get it though.

Another thing. I like friendly and enthusiastic people, but I think the optometrist I saw used up his daily quota of ‘excellent’s, ‘wonderful’s and ‘that’s great’s within the first 5 or ten minutes of the exam.

Honestly, I am happy that he is happy that my glasses still seem to work ok, but I’m not so sure that the news warrants a ‘wonderful!’ I worry that when something really good happens in this guy’s life that he won’t have any words to describe it. When he sees his children for the first time, can he feel comfortable using the same words as he used when he applauded his patient’s choice of study? Nice enough guy and all, but… yikes…

On the plus side, I got some of those cool wrap-on sunglasses.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Grunting Men and 'Netizens Bite Dog (Owner)'

I watched a little bit of the Wimbledon matched this morning before I got out, and I just have to say that Roddick grunts too, and he’s not a girl as near as I can tell.

Maybe they’ll kick him out.

Again though, we have made progress. Here is a photo or two of the women’s costume at earlier Wimbledons. I'm think, and not (entirely) for hormonal reasons, that the modern uniforms are a bit better for the game.

Also, a link via Fark:

Don’t mess with bloggers with camera phones. Don’t let your dog take a dump in a subway car and refuse to clean it up. It is even more crucial not to do this if there are netizens with camera phones on the subway with you. Said netizens will take pictures, make fun of you and ruin your life.


Here is an interesting picture archive. It's only US history, but it's pretty interesting. We may have a lot of problems, but we have made progress: children at work. There are also some amazing shots of other periods. There's even a page about Lange's photography.

Don Asmussen is funny.

I'm really tempted to try making a paper pinhole camera.

Poke around here. Some really odd and beautiful things are going on there. I think this one came from the brother or the sister. I forget :(

Ok, gotta run to class.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Girl, You Really Got Me Running

6.3 km 34:51


There was also a discarded thong near the running trail. It looked a little worse for wear.

double ick.

Lessons learned:

  1. Good songs to run to
    1. Gotta Get Up From Here (good steady beat)
    2. Bad Moon Rising (a bit slow but steady)
    3. Don't Fear the Reaper (hmm, this was a bit slow too, maybe that explains my time. Also, did they really need that uumlaat over the 'O' in Blue Oyster Cult?)
    4. Tubthumping ('I get knocked down, but I get up again' - good thought for running. I didn't get knocked down though. Almost got pegged by a bird, butI don't think that counts.)
    5. Graceland (good beat for a running pace)
    6. You're The One That I Want & Hand Jive (upbeat, cheerful, plus, did you know that Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into those leather pants at the end of the movie? This was in the land before spandex. That knowledge doesn't help me run faster, but it is a good ponderable. Personally, I thought she was more attractive before the end of the movie, but hey, what do I know?)
  2. Bad songs to run to
    1. Oh L'Amour (Great song. Too slow.)
    2. Razzle Dazzle (See above - oddly enough 'We Both Reached For The Gun,' which the Jayfish claimed he used to be able to sing, works a little better as a run song, but only if you don't try to sing it while you run
I leave you with the lyrical genius of Billy Idol and my personal reaction: "What the Hell?"

Here she comes now sayin' Mony Mony

Shoot 'em down turn around come on Mony

Hey she give me love and I feel all right now

Come on you gotta toss and turn

And feel all right, yeah I feel all right

I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

'Cause you make me feel,So good, so good, so good

So fine, so fine, It's all mine, well I feel all right

I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Well you could shake it Mony Mony

Shot gun dead and I'll come on home yeah

Don't stop cookin' 'cause I feel all right now

Don't stop now come on Mony

Come on yeah, I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

'Cause you make me feel

So good, so good, Well I feel all right

You're so fine, you're so fine, You're, and I feel all right

I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

I love you Mony mo-mo-mony

I love you Mony mo-mo-mony said I do.......

I said Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on, come on!!

Feel all right, I said yeah, yeah, yeah

Wake it, shake it Mony Mony

Up, down, turn around, come on mony

Hey she give me love and I feel all right now

Don't stop now come on Mony

Come on, I said yeah, yeah, yeah,

yeah, yeah

'Cause you make me feel,So good, so good, so good

Feel all right, all right, Well I feel all right

I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Ride your pony, ride your pony

Ride your pony come on, come on

Mony Mony

Feel all right, I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Ich Bin Eine Mikrobe

On TV this morning:

An ad for Listerine -

"You can handle it - Germs can't."

What I heard -

"You can handle it - Germans can't."

Yeesh, I think I'm becoming hyper sensitive here...

We Are The Champions

I’ve always been interested in the way that cultures deal with intrusion. There’s an interesting article in the WaPo by sportswriter Mike Wise that touches a little bit on the way that a group claims ownership of a certain area, and how they react to intrusion. It’s a column on the way that international players are starting to play a larger role in the NBA. Three of the best players on the San Antonio Spurs (our new NBA champs, for those who don’t follow sports) were born outside of the US. Duncan is from the Virgin Islands. Ginobili is Argentinean, and Tony Parker is French. The fact that our NBA champions are a little less than ‘American’ seems to be troublesome to some. Even more interesting is the reaction to many of the foreign players who aren’t black.

The article is fairly light – there are no really cutting analyses, but I’m still really impressed that an American sportswriter wrote this piece. Unless you are writing about the miraculous way that sports breaks down color barriers, which is more debatable than most would like to admit, it’s very rare and difficult to write about race in sports.

A couple of interesting snippets:

At least three players not playing in the Finals spoken to this week on condition their names not be used -- black players whose NBA jobs are being outsourced -- desperately wanted the Pistons to beat the Spurs. For no other reason than, as one of them candidly said, "We gotta put some of these guys back in their place."

Interesting that Wise uses the word ‘outsourced.’ That’s becoming a rallying call against globalization and yet he seems to be arguing in favor of, or at the very least describing without animosity the globalization of basketball. I would also wonder how much of the ‘those guys’ refers to the Spurs in general, or, as Wise seems to imply, foreigners and/or non-blacks.

Another interesting part – a quote from Sean Elliott, the Spurs’ color commentator:

"When you have a Dirk Nowitzki or Larry Bird-type players, big guys who play their positions well, there's not a lot of backlash," Elliott said. "But when you have a 6-6 white guy beating the black player at his own game, then it's a little different. Every series he's been in, guys have been slow to give him respect. It's an amazing phenomenon.

I may be reading too much into it here, but Wise seems to be implying that players and analysts see basketball as a ‘black’ game. I’m not sure I would disagree with that as the gel consensus. At least that seems to be how it is presented to kids today. I worry that basketball and basketball scholarships are the only way that some kids see that they can get out of poverty and go to school. Not only that, but you only go to school so that you can go to the NBA, the education thing is secondary at best. Then you win the lottery. You’re rich, famous and you pull all of your friends up with you.

Tangential side note:

Why do we call our league champions ‘world champions?’ I think tennis players could say that. Soccer teams could, but baseball? Basketball?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Naked In Baghdad

I'm going to try to post some reviews of the non-academic books I read, but as with the movie reviews, don't look for polished or particularly thoughtful accounts. I'm just going to put out some responces from the books.

With a bit of extra time, I took a long lunch and finished Naked In Baghdad by Anne Garrels, the NPR correspondant who stayed in Baghdad throughout the invasion (she was one of only 16 Americans who did). It really is a nice quick read. It’s definitely not an attempt to be an in depth analysis of the war which I appreciate right now. It’s mainly a personal journal of her life in and out of Iraq in the run-up and immediate aftermath of the fighting.

What I do like about the book is just that. It doesn’t get tangled up in the massive complexities that must have faced her as she tried to get things done. Possibly in order to protect her methods and the people that helped her, she does describe the issues she had in getting visas and negotiating (read: bribing) the bureaucracy, but only in a relatively vague way.

She deals with some of the individual stories she covered which is very interesting. It was very frustrating to read how dead-on many of the complaints were of the American forces from the beginning. Her stories show how the lack of post-war planning and policing after the battle of Baghdad was particularly effective in turning the population against the Americans. She interviews Iraqis who initially are very supportive of the Americans. Through a few conversations, she finds that, almost to a man, they transfer all their anger onto the soldiers and Marines who they see as in control but apathetic to their very immediate troubles.

Most vivid in this sense is Amer. He was basically her ‘fixer’ in Iraq. Part driver, part interpreter, part security, and who knows what else. He is intelligent, talented and able, and he makes it clear early on how much he loathes Saddam’s government. He seems like exactly the type of person that the Americans would be ecstatic to get to and work with in the reconstruction, but unfortunately, despite his very close relationship with Anne, an American, he learns to hate the American forces, perhaps even as much as he did Saddam’s. He even stops speaking to a relative who starts working with the American forces.

At the end, I just kept wondering why we didn’t do a better job when all of the clues seem so obvious to me know. I guess that’s how hindsight works.

It’s a good read if you’re looking for a very readable, but possibly a bit light return to the days of ‘what could have been.’

And Then It Was Morning

After sleeping on the idea of dropping the COD, I feel a bit better about it all. Thanks to all who offered their support. It'’s just a matter of hours in the day.

I've already fiddled a bit with some of my thesis data, and I felt a surge of relief and happiness just to open the files knowing that I was able to give them the time they deserve. I think thatÂ’s my body's way of letting me know I'’m doing the right thing.

Now I'’m off to the campus photo lab. I'’m very interested in seeing what kind of shots I got. In the morning, I've been shooting the daily shots that will become my first photo project. I'’m not sure I like what they are now, but we'’ll have to see how they fit together. I'’m trying to decide on a head-on, ¾ or profile shot. I think I may do two profiles, but I'll have to see how the shots come together. Trying to look at an image of myself with an artistic eye is very odd. I'm trying to be concernaestheticthe asthetic, but I always end up thinking about certain parts of my face that I could improve. Baggy eyes, wild hair of all varieties, and any number of other things. I need to be more of an artiste!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I'm a Quitter

I’m going to drop the COD.

It’s killing me to admit it, but the class is moving too fast, and it’s taking up too much of my time. I was really way behind the curve to begin with, and now things are moving on and I’m still struggling with concepts that the new formulations are built upon. It’s a pity on many levels. The instructor is excellent in his knowledge and in his pedagogy (a rare thing indeed). When I do get around to getting back into that field (and I will), I hope that I can get someone like him to help me.

In trying to make myself feel better about all this, I can say that I took the class not because I need to master the material for my research, or because a ‘higher up’ recommended that I ought to, but because I thought it could possibly have some tangential use, and also, I admit sotto voce, because I thought it would look good on the PhD applications that are going out in the fall.

The fact is, however, that I need to get x number of y’s done on my own research this summer and with this class taking up the time that it is, I just don’t see that happening. The needs of The Thesis trump all. Also, Prof Article mentioned that summer burnout is a very bad thing, and that I already looked like I was getting a bit twitchy.

I’m honestly feeling really crappy about admitting that this is something that I can’t do. I’m going to tell myself that this is something that I can do. It’s just something that I can’t do right now.

I am going to keep the photography class, because it doesn’t take up nearly the amount of time, and because sanity-wise, I need it a lot more.