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Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue moon

Two full moons in one month happens about once every 30 months - the second full moon is called a "blue moon" - hence the expression, "once in a blue moon." The blue moon happens tonight.  It's not actually blue - this photo was created with filters.  


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Republican convention

It was so hard not to enjoy Hurricane Isaac bearing down on Tampa like the wrath of God for the week preceding the start of  the convention. And they did delay the festivities for a day, while Isaac went by to the west (landing, unfortunately, right on New Orleans).

I always find at least some of the speeches to be quite compelling.  I thought Ann Romney did a great job, though of course her rather lame effort to make the case for women to vote for the Republicans was the least  convincing aspect of her speech.

Christie gave a "barn burner" of a speech, but so much of what he said was almost ridiculous - he starts out by talking about the fine immigrants who built this nation, and the fine salt-of-the-earth people that represent the American dream, like "teachers, fire fighters and factory workers."  He then spent at least 5 minutes demonizing unions, which virtually all teachers, fire fighters and factory workers belong to, and which are responsible for building the middle class in this country. The hypocrisy is so tremendous. The Dems indulge in this also, but the Republicans take it so much further, almost to a preposterous level (for example, "keep the government out of my Medicare").

Ryan is a good speaker, and he really believes in something (unlike his running mate), and I admire that, but some of things that he says, the actual content, is appalling. He trots out the tired lines about Obama taking money from Medicare to fund "Obamacare," though of course his plan proposes the exact same thing. And all the hand wringing over the "crisis" of the deficit is almost laughable, since George Bush is far more responsible for it than is Obama, and Ryan actually voted for all of the legislation that got us here. He also says really crazy stuff like the "central planners" are stealing your freedom - as if America today is just like the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Er, not.

What's really bizarre is listening to the crowds cheer all sorts of statements that are completely inconsistent with conservative principles and with their own platform.  It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to sound good.  Over and over again. Quite the head scratcher.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Integrity, again

Pretty much my watchword:



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Latest movies

Saw a couple of movies over the weekend, but nothing really memorable~

The Odd Life of Timothy Green - Alana really wanted to see this one. It was okay. Pretty much exactly what you would expect from the preview. Almost too sweet, even for me.  And not really for Alana's age group. Sort of wish we'd waited for video.

The Dictator - This was Caleb's On Demand pick. It was also exactly what you'd expect. A few funny moments, and plenty of cringe-worthy ones.  Not bad but not really my cup of hummus.


Saturday, August 25, 2012


I asked a friend with a lot of bunny experience if she would cut our bunny's nails (because I was too chicken to do it myself). Afterwards, I thought she was hinting around about getting paid, though I wasn't sure. I was torn, but I kinda ignored the hints (if that's what they were) because I was feeling sort of grumpy about it. On the one hand, if she hadn't done it, I would have taken the rabbit to the groomer and paid to have it done.  But on the other hand, I've done so many mitzvahs for people, from taking kids to movies and events with us, to giving rides, to helping someone paint their house (for pity's sake!) So I felt like I should get a freebie at least this once. I know that's the wrong attitude, but it does feel like a one way street an awful lot of the time.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Curiosity rules

This is pretty much me:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Latest movies

Saw several movies this past week/weekend~

Sparkle - Not a bad film, but I was a bit disappointed; it's just packed with cliches and the music is not as catchy as I expected (or as catchy as it should be - Dreamgirls' music is much better). I wanted to see Whitney's last performance and she was good, though she's a bit hampered by the character's perpetually bitter mien - the only scene where she really shines is that last one, where Whitney's joyous spirit is allowed to come through. Worth seeing for Derek Luke, who is a very compelling screen presence.

ParaNorman - Took the kids to see this at the drive-in. It's fun and charming; a bit more intense and scary than I expected, though it didn't bother the kids.

21 Jump Street - Cal and I watched this one night when Alana was away; it's pretty funny - I laughed quite a bit, though of course there's more dick jokes than I require in a comedy; the highlight is the many mocking references to the original show that work better than they should, including Ice Cube as the angry program director. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Johnny Depp is fun but a bit disappointing. My favorite parts were two running gags - the female teacher who finds Channing Tatum irresistible, and having Jonah Hill as the big man on campus while Channing Tatum flounders as a loser (strained but funny).


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fred Rogers on heroes


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ayn Rand, again

More talk about Ayn Rand and her philosophy these days, because Paul Ryan, the Republican VP pick, has cited her influence as the reason he entered government service.  I totally understand why Masters of the Universe support her vision of the world, seeing as she justifies their privilege and constantly lauds their superiority. Of course being born with a silver spoon in your mouth doesn't make you any more accomplished than someone who lives in the bottom tier.  Ryan is another son of privilege who finds her emphasis on individual achievement, and her description of the moral basis of the capitalist system, enthralling. But whenever I listen to discussions of her philosophy, I can't help but wonder who would really want to live in a world that followed her design.  It is a brutal and unkind world, and I genuinely don't think that those who embrace her ideas would really relish existing in such a place.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kit Kat humor

I giggled about this for days after I saw it.

oh y god thats not how you eat it


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Cal and I were driving back from his basketball camp and we passed a small group of protesters, holding signs about drone strikes.  He was very dismissive and said that drones protect soldiers from being killed.  I was completely taken aback, both by his rather hardcore attitude and even more by his knowledge of the issue.  When I asked where he heard about drones, he said, quite matter of factly, Call of Duty (the soldier video game that he plays). I tried to gently offer a different perspective, explaining that drones kill innocent civilians, but I don't think I altered his opinion.  Yikes.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Glee Project

The kids and I had a great time watching this show over the summer.  We got very caught up in the contestants, the winners and losers, and the various possibilities they represented for the scripted show.

I noted earlier that the more offbeat contestants seemed to be eliminated early, and so we shouldn't have been surprised that the ultimate winner, Blake Jenner (20, Miami, FL), was truly the most conventional and most vanilla person in the contest.

Even Larry, who only watched a couple episodes with us, and wasn't paying especially close attention, commented without any prompting that Blake was an awfully safe choice.

I started to think about halfway through the show that Ryan Murphy, and the other writers and producers, probably knew from the very beginning who they wanted to win, based on their vision for the scripted show's 4th season. I could be overly cynical, but Blake is such a blatant clone of Finn, who will be mostly absent this season, it now seems like he was virtually preordained to win.

He obviously terrifically talented, and no less deserving than any of the others, but I guess we feel a bit gypped to think that we got invested in a competition that probably wasn't much of a contest after all.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney selects Paul Ryan as VP Candidate

It's a bold choice, bolder than I expected from Romney, and he's benefiting from that perception.  Ryan is young and good looking, and, by all accounts, a very effective campaigner. He has a reputation, deserved or not, of being smart and principled.

On the other hand, he's a real right winger. Not just his draconian budget, which rips the "safety net" to shreds. He co-sponsored a personhood amendment, which would require the law to treat a fetus as a full human being. He also opposes abortion in all cases, even in cases of rape and incest, and believes the health of the mother should not be considered.

He's a devotee of Ayn Rand's hyper-individualism (called objectivism). Like most people who admire her, he was raised in a wealthy family. He was supposed to join the family's wildly successful construction business, but instead he has served in Congress his entire adult life. So he's never had a "real" job outside of government. Which doesn't stop him from bashing government like everyone on the far right.

His hypocrisy is legion and his political philosophy is utterly repulsive. Other than that, he's supposedly a real nice guy.

My fear is that his "likability" will seriously obscure the extremity of his views.

From FB - this pretty much covers it:


Friday, August 10, 2012

Don't hold back!


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Olympic pride

I haven't followed the Olympics closely, but I've heard lots of stories and seen lots of images.  One fun fact: women won more than half of the medals that the US received, including the first ever for a woman in boxing.

ADDENDUM: Women won 56% of the medals and 66% of the GOLD medals!

Photo: Congratulations to Claressa Shields for winning the first U.S. women's boxing GOLD in Olympic history.

Read her interview with Huffington here: http://huff.to/OnUG1V

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The stars

How lovely:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Interesting quote

I saw this on FB a couple weeks ago, and I've been ruminating on it ever since:


Monday, August 06, 2012

Getting to the other side

Love this little parable:

One day a young Buddhist on his journey home, came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he wondered how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey, he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, "Oh wise one , can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?"

The teacher ponders for a moment, looks up and down the river, and yells back "My son, you are on the other side."

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Such a lovely thought.

Photo: Hmmm.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Everyone thinks they live this way, but I really do:

Friday, August 03, 2012


Jared Loughner was declared competent to stand trial this week, after a year of psychiatric care, and he immediately plead guilty to all 17 counts of murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 17 life sentences, to be served concurrently.  It's a terrible, sad story.

I got really upset at a FB discussion about insanity, though I gave myself time to calm down before I actually responded. I was thinking about my mother, who certainly didn't choose her illness, nor did she "choose" her response to her illness, in any real sense of that word.

I'm really uncomfortable with the assertion that "crazy" people "choose" to be "crazy." I'm not even comfortable with the assertion that "crazy" people who don't take their medication are somehow "choosing" their mental illness. Not taking your medication is a symptom of mental illness. It's terribly tragic, and certainly not an excuse to write them off and blame the victim. Saying that "crazy" people have a "right" to be "crazy" is like saying that poor people have a right to be poor. That's probably true in the literal sense of "rights," but it feels like we just want an out, so we can turn our eyes away from their misery.

Schizophrenia is no joke. It destroys people's lives, even the lives of people who do not shoot up shopping centers and movie theaters. And the medications used to treat it are not perfectly successful and they have terrible side effects. Psychosis is not well understood, but I think we can all agree that it's a terrible, tragic thing.

The original poster, my sort-of stepbrother, Michael, summed it up best, I think:

My point was that Jared Loughner obviously needed help long before his rampage. Just look at his Pima College youtubes. The laws regarding mental illness changed in the early eighties. Some parts for the better, but some obviously for the worse.

This guy deteriorated into a murdering freak. Then he went to prison, got meds, treatment, and a way out of his own fucked up head. He became sane enough to plead guilty, demonstrate remorse, and be a model prisoner. If he would have been flagged and treated before he became evil, maybe he could have been something other than a murdering scumbag who can't possibly make up for the evil he unleashed.

I just hate the way people portray someone like him as evil, because he's not - his actions are. He's basically brain damaged. Which does not mean we forgive him, or excuse him. But if you think of it this way, it leads us, as a society, to ask different questions, and respond differently, then if we just write him off as a bad guy.


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Staying silent

Sadly, this totally resonated with me.