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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Obama supporter

I got this terrific email from my friend Mike (who I have fussed about before), explaining why he has "returned from the dark side:"

I am now adamantly pro-Obama after starting out in January as pro-Obama then going anti-Obama/pro-Hillary, then pro-McCain, and now after seeing Darth McCain with his mask off, I find myself back where I belong, for a number of reasons:

1. Yes, I am still concerned about Reverent Wright and the ex-criminal who is one of Obama's advisors- spiritual leaders and friends help make many of us who we are. That said, if G-d were running for president, the media would find a way to nitpick Him to death. In looking at the present and the future, these issues pale in comparison to what makes Obama a man to admire, not to mention that McCain has similar pimples on his personal and political buttocks that are far worse than what worries me about Obama.

2. As I told Anne and Maddie, everyone has certain fundamental beliefs, developed over time, that define who they are. I believe that women should have the right to choose how they deal with unwanted pregancies. I want abortion safe, legal and rare, and I want it available to all women regardless of their socioeconomic status. I also believe that gay relationships are just as valid as heterosexual relationships and that gays should be allowed to marry. Two men or women getting married does nothing to negatively affect my marriage of 16 years (as of 9/6) and, in fact, seems to me to strengthen society as studies have shown that people live longer when they are in happy marriages. I also believe that gays make just as good parents as do non-gays and that adoption should be open to all adults who can meet the criteria of being able to offer a loving and stable home to families. I have more beliefs that I'm too tired to type, but suffice it to say that other than my feelings on torture, gun rights and the death penalty, I pretty much toe the liberal Democratic line. As much as I admire McCain as a person, if I vote for a President who is anti-choice, anti-gay rights and who believes the war in Iraq is a good thing, I would be going against everything I believe in, and I can't look my female friends and relatives, or any woman for that matter in the eye, if I vote for someone who is anti-choice, nor can I look my gay friends and relatives in the eye if I vote for anyone who sees them as second class citizens.

3. In thinking of the conventions, I would be way more at home in Denver. The diversity of the crowd was incredible and I believe Obama will bring people who have never voted into the political process. I believe five minutes on the floor of the Republican convention would cause me to become violently ill.

4. When I first saw Obama on tv many months ago, I was inspired. Last week's speech from Denver brought tears to my eyes. This is the candidate I've been waiting to vote for all my life. Yes, I loved Bill and liked Hillary, but I sense something in Obama an ability to create hope and deliver what he promises, to know where he is weak and address it (see Biden- gutsy pick) and to fight back against the negative and unwarrented attacks that he is facing (a Democrat with balls- about as rare as a Jew at a NASCAR event). Most importantly, I sense in Obama a man who will build bridges with the world while inspiring his countrymen that they can once again, after 8 years of Bush, feel proud about our President, the person they voted for to run this country.

5. Finally, any pro-McCain feelings I had were flushed down the proverbial toilet when he picked his VP candidate. Yes she's smart, appears to be a great mother and wife, and seems like a decent person. No, I cannot see her one heartbeat way from the presidency. Plus the religious right loves her. If McCain were to die in office, I predict the immediate result country and world wide would be the words "OH SHIT" uttered in every language in every country around the world.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin, V.P.

Wow, bold choice. I think it was very shrewd of McCain to put a woman on the ticket and try to woo disgruntled Hillary supporters. But she seems an odd choice in several ways - she's so young - the visual of the two of them is downright bizarre, and she really doesn't seem a safe bet to backup to the OLDEST man to ever run for the office. And Alaska is as red as they get, with only 3 electoral votes, so it doesn't get him anywhere on the electoral map. She's an evangelical Christian, so the base loves her, but she's extremely conservative on social issues, and her position on abortion (that it should be illegal in every situation, even incest) is not likely to resonate with suburban women, no matter how much she emphasizes her "hockey mom" background. But she's a pistol and she's beloved in Alaska (not by her party, but by citizens). She certainly livens up the conversation. Oh yeah, she's a former beauty queen.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama shatters Nielsen ratings

The best news from an overall excellent Democratic Convention: 38 MILLION people watched Obama's speech on Thursday night (more than the opening ceremony of the Olympics, more than the American Idol finale!) I'm sure plenty of them were planning to vote for him anyway (like me!), but there has to be some curious and undecided folks among that mighty number.

The convention itself was also a ratings hit, especially for CNN:

Through four days, the Democratic convention was seen in an average of 22.5 million households. No other convention — Republican or Democratic — had been seen in as many homes since Nielsen began keeping these records for the Kennedy-Nixon campaign in 1960.
[ . . . ]
The acceptance speech was a particular triumph for CNN, which clearly beat the three big broadcasters head-to-head on a news event for the first time ever. An estimated 8.1 million people watched on CNN Thursday.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fall movie lineup

Great little summary from Rolling Stone's movie reviewer, Peter Travers. Lots of Must See movies are coming!!! I'm especially interested in the following:
  • Miracle of St Anna by Spike Lee about Buffalo Soldiers in WWII
  • Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leo Dicaprio, from a Richard Yates novel
  • I've Loved You So Long with Kristen Scott Thomas (much Oscar buzz for her performance)
  • Doubt with Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman from a Pulitzer Prize winning play about a priest suspected of sex abuse (there's talk that Meryl will get her 15th Oscar nom)
  • Milk (as in Harvey) with Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, directed by Gus Van Sant
  • Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard, with Frank Langella and Michael Sheen
  • The Soloist, true story about a schizophrenic musician, with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr
  • Rachel Getting Married by Jonathan Demme, with Debra Winger and Anne Hathaway (there's Oscar buzz about her performance)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New south, old south

Excellent and thought-provoking Newsweek cover story from a couple of weeks ago, written by Christopher Dickey (son of James Dickey, who wrote Deliverance) about his recent tour of the south (taking the route of Sherman's march!) Holy canolli! Super interesting, but also depressing - people are so misinformed and determined to remain so.

This was my favorite, if you can all it that - granted, this kid is only 12 y.o., but he's saying things that he hears:

But the subtext of old prejudices keeps creeping in even among the very young. Walking down to The Point one morning, a 12-year-old "private" in this particular Confederate unit told me what he'd heard tell in school about the elections. Next to nothing about McCain. But Obama? There are too many chances we would take if he became president, you know what I mean?" I said I wasn't sure I did. "I don't know if it's a myth or it's true," said the boy, "but they say that they caught him trying to sneak Iraqi solders into the United States."

And this about black voters:

Obama's candidacy is, wittingly or not, resurrecting the hope and fear and suspicions of those bloody years. The campaign's Southern strategy depends crucially on registering and getting to the polls hundreds of thousands of black voters. Enthusiasm is not a problem among African-Americans, whether in cosmopolitan Atlanta, the fields of Oglethorpe County or a raucous Baptist church in Savannah. The sense of opportunity, of dreams tantalizingly close to fulfillment, is overwhelming. But so is the skepticism, the knowledge deep within one's bones of the likelihood, if not the inevitability, of disappointment. Obama couldn't win, not in the South—or, if he could, they wouldn't let him. And that's the dark side of the hope: it's reminding people of their doubts about a white power structure that some think has never really atoned for its sins.

And this about Hispanic voters:

Never in the last century and a half has the South been home to so many people who were born and who continue to live outside its history. A Census report estimated that the South's Hispanic population nearly tripled between 2000 and 2006, more than in any other U.S. region; nearly 60 percent of this population was foreign-born. These newcomers have little interest in re-enacting the Civil War, no reason to revive the emotions of the civil-rights movement. They did not move here for iced tea or a more leisurely pace of life. The South to them is future, not past.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

TV fortunes

I was doing a little research to find out if the two TV series that I watched over the summer would be returning. Their situation illustrates the difference between network and cable TV.

The new cable series (on the USA Network) In Plain Sight is considered a hit with about 5 million weekly viewers:

The pilot episode of In Plain Sight attracted 5.3 million viewers, making it USA Network's highest-rated series premiere since Psych in 2006. It also outperformed the previous summer's debut of Burn Notice by 32% and the network premiere of Law & Order: Criminal Intent by 40%.

Meanwhile, the CBS drama, Swingtown, is considered a flop with even more people watching:

Low ratings for the first seven episodes — the seven Thursday night episodes averaged 6.7 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in adults 18-49 — led CBS to move the series from Thursdays to Fridays.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Exaggerator" label stuck to Gore but not McCain

I read these blog posts several days ago, but I find myself thinking about it a lot and it's actualy making me quite anxious. On my favorite blog, Hullabaloo, there have been several posts about John McCain's tendency to exaggerate or change his past (as in altering a story he had told many times about giving the names of the Green Bay Packers as members of his squadron while being interrogated by the Vietnamese, but then recently saying that he used the Pittsburgh Steelers, apparently because he was pandering to Pennsylvania voters). They give several more examples: he says he created the FTC Do-Not-Call registry though he didn't; at Rick Warren's Forum he said that civil rights leader John Lewis would be a close advisor, but they have no relationship; he recently told a story about a POW camp guard drawing a cross in the sand that is suspiciously simiar to a story in Solzhenitsyn's book The Gulag Archipelago (and was mentioned a number of times following Solzhenitsyn's recent death), though the story is not a part of earlier, often detailed, descriptions of his POW experience.

In one post, they explicitly compare the way the press is dealing with McCain now and how the same situation was dealt with when Gore ran in 2000. In the latter case, remarks by Gore were persistently repeated by and commented upon in the media, supporting the narrative that Gore was a liar, but in every case, his supposed remarks were taken out of context or just flatly misrepresented. All the examples (see below) are grossly unfair and inaccurate, as explained in the Washington Post article by Robert Parry (link above).

Here's an excerpt from one of blog posts, dated 8/15/08:

That didn't matter in 2000. Al Gore said he invented the Internet and that he found Love Canal and that he and Tipper were the inspiration for Love Story. That's what happened and there was no shaking anyone in the media off of that, and they were going to use those and other nuggets to build a story about Gore's serial exaggerations, and make that character issue far more important than any policy or point of difference between him and George W. Bush.
[ . . . ]
If there was an even spread from the media of damaging stories or unfavorable narratives on both sides of the political divide that'd be one thing. But the idea of John McCain as a serial exaggerator in the way that they painted Al Gore would be unthinkable, despite the fact that the evidence is the same, and actually even more so in the case of McCain. So we get media types arguing that infidelity like that of John Edwards disqualifies someone for higher political office without applying that to McCain or indeed several of the GOP field this year. We get them defending Republican military veterans from attacks they deem scurrilous and baseless yet not Democrats of the same rank. We get the same paint-by-numbers narratives of Democrats as weak and feminine and Republicans as strong and patriarchal year after year no matter who the candidate, no matter what the policy, no matter what.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Seize the progressive moment

Just a reminder to myself to read all this b/c I'm definitely one of those people who's "getting down" by the focus on the horse race.

Political Moments

by digby

The Campaign For America's Future is doing a series on how progressives can seize the moment if the Democrats win the election. There will be many interesting posts and articles, beginning with Robert Borosage and Katrina vanden Heuvel's article in The Nation, "Progressives in the Obama Moment" excerpted here, at the CAF site.Rick Perlstein has also written a fascinating article on the subject in this months American Prospect called The Liberal Shock Doctrine, which is also excerpted at his blog, The Big Con. And Bill Sher has posted a piece called "The Missed 'Clinton Moment' and the Missed 'Deval Moment'" which ponders some opportunities that were lost. I have just written a post about The Obama Moment at Saddleback Church and what the evangelical outreach portends for the progressive movement, called "Values and Worldviews."I encourage you to check out this series throughout this week and next, particularly if the election horse race is getting you down. This series is about governance and priorities, not campaigning, and has much food for thought about what happens on the day after.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bill Maher's movie, Religulous

I happened to catch Bill Maher on Larry King last night, pushing his movie, Religulous (I think the title is a play on "ridiculous"). Looks good. My friend Janet sent me an article just today about why people need to believe in ghosts and monsters - fitting!

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Monday, August 18, 2008


My favorite blog, Hullabaloo, makes the usual coherent case, this time about the impact of the hideous book (with the terrible pun for a title) by Jerome Corsi:

Rutten [LA Times] says this is all about making money, and I don't disagree that there's probably some money to be made by the wingnut welfare recipients in the food chain. But money isn't the motive of the people who buy those books in bulk. They are making an investment in Republican politics. And the most telling thing about it is that one of the most mainstream Republican figures in the country [Mary Matalin] -- so mainstream that she regularly appears with her Democratic operative husband on Meet the Press with their two daughters at Christmas time --- gave her imprimatur to a book written by a known delusional, right wing racist. On that side of the dial the separation between the mainstream and the violent fringe isn't even one degree.

Dave Neiwert has, as you all undoubtedly know, written reams about how the right mainstreams its extremists. And this is one case where I think it's come fully to fruition, right out in the open. Corsi is not just a right wing ideologue. He's a full fledged nutcase, and yet he was hired by a major publisher, "edited" by a star GOP villager, to write an incendiary book of lies about the Democratic presidential candidate. They aren't even trying to keep their fingerprints off this thing.

In fact, the default position among Democrats, Republicans and the media is that the only kooks in the country with whom it is unacceptable to be professionally or financially involved are on the left. And "the left" is defined so broadly that it includes groups like MoveOn and Vote Vets. The right, in contrast, has fully integrated even their extremist fringe into the mainstream and everyone accepts it.

Sure, people are saying that Corsi's book is full of holes. So what? It's "out there" and it's getting more press every day. And in all of that, nobody's calling out Mrs Carville on the fact that she shepherded these extremist lies into the mainstream. (Or her husband, for that matter.) Yet MoveOn taking out an ad that has the word "Betrayus" in it is worthy of a congressional censure.

As long as the villagers are in agreement that the only people who are truly beyond the pale in American politics are on the left, then this will continue. Mary Matalin will still be considered a perfectly respectable person by both the "right" and the "left" (as if there's any discernible difference among the cognoscenti) and there will be no professional or social repercussions. Meanwhile even staid, old organizations like the ACLU suffer from the myth of being some sort of far left fringe organization and Democratic politicians run for cover when the right wing publicly "tars" them with guilt by association.

This is an ongoing problem that we see being played out once again in a national election. And I don't think the progressive movement has fully come to grips yet with just how powerful this image of scary left wing freaks still is in the national imagination --- or how thoroughly the right's extremist views have been accepted by the political establishment. It's something that needs to be addressed in a much more cohesive way.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Interviews with my dad

My brother, Leo, got this letter asking if interviews with my dad from 1987 and 1988 could be put up on their History of Physics website, and thereby be accessible to the public.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Triple Feature

Saw three movies last night with my friend Suzanne. We had to spend quite awhile figuring out how to see as many movies as possible, but we pulled it off, and managed to get some sushi in between films as well (sort of on the run, but still!)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Woody Allen's latest, which seems like it should be directed by Almodovar. Not bad, but not great. A bit flat in the end, after you get terribly invested in the characters. Reminded me a lot of Melinda Melinda, which was also good but not great, despite an excellent cast.

Brideshead Revisited. We decided we had to see this British period movie, since it's the classiest thing in theaters this weekend. Very good, with excellent performances, but not as moving as Atonement or The English Patient (similar settings and time periods and themes).

Tropic Thunder. Our "what the hell" pick, but ended up being our favorite. Really funny, much more so than we expected. Ben Stiller is totally willing to go out on a limb and it pays off. Perfectly cast, including lots of supporting roles played by A-list actors. They must have had so much fun making this.


Winning fake fiction

This year's winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest - named for the writer who started his novel, Paul Clifford, with the words "It was a dark and stormy night."

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."


"Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"We didn't mean to be racist"

Sheesh. "Those people" are pretty dense.

BEIJING, Aug. 13, 2008
Olympic Team's "Slant Eyes" Ad Draws Ire

(AP) Players on Spain's Olympic basketball team defended a photo in an ad showing the players using their fingers to apparently make their eyes look more Chinese. The photo, which has been running as a newspaper spread in Spain since Friday, shows all 15 players making the gesture on a basketball court adorned with a Chinese dragon. The photo was part of a publicity campaign for team sponsor Seur, a Spanish courier company, and is being used only in Spain.

"It was something like supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way," said Spain center Pau Gasol, who also plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. "I'm sorry if anybody thought or took it the wrong way and thought that it was offensive."

Point guard Jose Manuel Calderon said the team was responding to a request from the photographer. "We felt it was something appropriate, and that it would be interpreted as an affectionate gesture," Calderon, who plays for NBA's Toronto Raptors, wrote on his ElMundo.es blog. "Without a doubt, some ... press didn't see it that way."

International media criticized the photo. London's Daily Telegraph said Spain's "poor reputation for insensitivity toward racial issues has been further harmed" by the photo.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teen returns dog, refuses reward

I saw this story on the news tonight and it made me tear up. What a wonderful role model! And it's nice to read a good news story once in awhile - we don't hear enough about the good things that people do.

PORTAGE COUNTY -- Matt Heater considers himself to be just a normal 13-year-old boy who loves playing baseball and riding his all-terrain vehicle.

But Jayelen Oaks of Portage County has a different view of the 8th-grader, whom she just met. Oaks thinks that Heater is a hero.

"He's just a good kid," Oaks said. "He's going to grow into such a great man."

After losing everything in a house fire three weeks ago, Oaks said Heater gave the family the one thing they could not replace. He found their missing dog, a Sheltie named Maggie.

"I think I cried for like two weeks," Oaks said. "I hated to see night come because I knew that's when she was alone. Once (he) found her, I thought, now I can move forward."

Oaks and her neighbors blanketed their Suffield Township neighborhood with fliers about the missing dog. Oaks caught a glimpse of Maggie in a nearby farm field and spent an hour calling out her name to no avail.

But last week, while Heater was riding his ATV to his grandmother's house, he spotted a dog darting into a cornfield.

Once he realized it could be the missing dog, Heater returned to the cornfield. He searched for more than 30 minutes before he found Maggie.

When Oaks and her husband were reunited with thier dog, they wanted to reward Heater. The couple wrote him a check for $1,000.

"We told him to put it in his college fund," Oaks said. "We kind of just threw it in the car."

But Heater gave the check back. "I knew right away that I wasn't going to take it because of what they've been through," Heater said. "I didn't really need anything. I was just expecting the smiles that we got."

© 2008 WKYC-TV


Here's more good news, closer to home: my friend Mike, in Philadelphia, is interviewed in this article about helping a woman whose grill was stolen off her porch.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"The True American"

My friend Jim, who is a total darling, sent me this annoying email and below is the version I created to send back to him.


It's time to change from REDNECK humor to TRUE AMERICAN humor! Only it isn't seen as HUMOR, but the correct way to LIVE YOUR LIFE!

Pass this on to your True American friends. Y'all know who they are...

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase,'One nation, under God.'

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You still say 'Merry Christmas' instead of 'Happy Holidays.'

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've never burned an American flag.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.

If you got this email from me, it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough TRUE AMERICAN in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about in this email. God Bless the USA !


You're a true American if you've ever read the Bill of Rights. You're a true American if you understand that religious tolerance is one of the founding principles of this nation. You're a true American if you know what the phrase "rule of law" means. You're a true American if you understand that jingoism is a characteristic of fascism, not democracy. You're a true American if you understand that two pillars comprise democracy: majority rule AND protection of minority rights. You're a true American if you agree with Voltaire (yes, a FRENCH guy): "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."


Monday, August 11, 2008

The whirlwind

Had a great conversation with my brother Leo this evening. We were talking about the Russian invasion of Georgia and just how ridiculous GW Bush looks, criticizing this situation after his invasion of Iraq. As my brother said, this is the US "reaping the whirlwind" - I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, every time I tried to express an idea, he would say it much better. Must be that lawyer training (or perhaps he's just naturally brilliant, dammit!)

Lezak brings it home

Everyone is talking about Phelps, but it was Jason Lezak, who, at the ripe old age of 32, is the oldest swimmer at the Olympics, and who reached down deep in his soul and beat the world record holder (Frenchman Alain Bernard) to bring home gold for the American team by swimming the fastest anchor leg of a 400 meter relay in the history of sport and the closest win - .08 seconds, as well.

"I'm not going to lie," Lezak said. "When I flipped at the 50 and I still saw how far ahead he was, and he was the world-record holder 'til about two minutes before that, when Sullivan led off with the world record, I thought, it really crossed my mind for a split second, there's no way.

"Then I changed. I said, you know what, that's ridiculous. This is the Olympics. I'm here for these guys. I'm here for the United States of America. It's more than -- I don't care how bad it hurts, or whatever, I'm just going to go out there and hit it.

"Honestly, in like 5 seconds, I was thinking all these things -- you know, just got like a super charge and took it from there. It was unreal."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Lomong carries U.S. flag at Olympics

This is big new here - this guy lives in one of the towns just outside Syracuse.

Lopez Lomong leads U.S. delegation at Olympic's Opening Ceremonies

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pointless ranting

I'm annoyed and I'm in the mood to rant: Matt just got back from Florida on Tuesday night. He turned in his student loan paperwork right before he left (at the last possible second) and while he was gone, found out that some information was missing. But he didn't do anything about it, figuring he could wait until he got back. But it turns out, his loan won't be processed in time for the payment deadline (he called the school - the deadline is firm), so now Larry has to pay the first installment ($1700). It's not that big a deal, Larry will get most of the money back, but I'm just steamed that Matt spent the summer with his grandma going to the movies and sitting by the pool like a 12 year old, instead of taking care of his future like an adult. I spent the summer before college in Army basic training (the hottest summer on record in Missouri!) Matt's just damn lucky that he can drop the ball like this and we're here to catch it - if he was still living with his mom, she sure wouldn't be taking care of this, and he would just have to face the consequences.

O.K. I feel a little better now.

I switched dentists

It's a long story, but basically, Larry didn't like the dental practice I was using (I didn't like them much either, but we're new to the area and our insurance only covers certain dentists, so it's been hard to find one), so he switched, and then I switched to the one he found.

So anyway, I go in for my semi-annual exam this morning and they tell me I need a root canal in one of my front teeth because there's an infection at the base. The dentist said that it's probably been there awhile (I go to the dentist every 6 months almost religiously, but I had no pain, thankfully, or maybe not, since it got missed). ICK!! I'm so skeeved, and a bit freaked that the other dentist didn't catch it. So now I have to see an endodontist ($$$) and the dentist said the tooth will need a crown ($$$), so that's more appointments. Frustrating and annoying and gross (and a little scary). And nothing like needing a root canal to make you feel OLD (well, needing bifocals is worse - I got those with my last pair of glasses!)

My father said the root canal he had was the worst experience of his life, and he had kidney stones removed! That stuck with me!! But that was 30 some years ago, so hopefully things have improved somewhat. My friend Suzanne says they have, which is reassuring.


My friend Lisa said her daughter (same age as Caleb) has already had a root canal, so clearly I'm wrong about the age thing. I just associate them with getting old. In fact, I was told years ago by a dentist that filled teeth often need root canals later, but of course the tooth I have that needs one was never filled! My current dentist said it's probably from being bumped - the kids hit me in the front teeth with their heads more than once when they were little, so it was probably one of those times.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cancer celebrities

In the last two days, I've heard that Christina Applegate, currently starring in Samantha Who (she's been nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the show), best known as Kelly for 11 seasons on Married . . . with Children, is being treated for breast cancer at the tender age of 36 (she has an extensive family history). She will appear in a fundraiser, Stand Up to Cancer, which will be broadcast on all three networks on September 5.

And longtime political journalist, Robert Novak, who has embraced the moniker "the Prince of Darkness," just retired at age 77, because he has a malignant brain tumor. He is best known for "outing" CIA agent Valerie Plame, without regret, apology, or consequences to himself.
One more note - a recent large scale review of studies revealed that elaborate monthly breast self exam is NOT effective in early detection. UK doctors suggest just being "aware" of how your breasts normally look and feel. It's actually good news for women who have never felt comfortable with detailed breast self examination or who just forget to do it (who could I be referring to) . . .


Monday, August 04, 2008

Mars in the news

Of course I'm always thrilled to hear about Mars in the news. Lately the Phoenix lander discovered additional evidence of water, but then recently found a chemical, perchlorate, that makes the presence of life less likely.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bob Herbert on "the race card"

Eloquent as always, he sounds thoroughly fed up with the McCain campaign's tactics. Here's a sample:

Mr. Obama has to endure these grotesque insults with a smile and heroic levels of equanimity. The reason he has to do this — the sole reason — is that he is black.

Read the whole thing:
Running While Black (NY Times)


Friday, August 01, 2008

Death Race 2008

I love Joan Allen. I mean, I really, really love her. If she had a Fan Club, I'd be the president. She's one of my all time favorite actresses. I've seen her on Broadway. I would see a film just because she was in it - that's how a big a fan I am (for example, The Contender, while not a perfect movie, is required viewing for anyone who likes political movies).

So imagine my surprise when I realized that she's in this. I like Jason Stratham as much as the next adreneline junkie (well, maybe not), but Death Race 2008 is basically a remake (or ripoff, depending on who you ask) of a cult classic 1975 action picture starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. My point being, it's junk.
So tonight I'm sitting watching a movie ad for this crap and I say, "Is that Joan Allen???" (I'm rarely wrong). So I go check, and indeed, it is. Why is this Tony Award winning actress playing the warden in this cinematic masterpiece (though if anyone call pull it off, it's definitely her). Can anyone say "pay check"? Don't spend it all in one place, Joan. My conclusion: this is what actresses of a certain age are reduced to. It f-ing sucks.