Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

talk to me.

This autumn day [21 September 1970] was the inauguration of the “Op-Ed,” the world’s first newspaper page written -- except for two staff columns -- by readers.

By creating the Op-Ed, the Times anticipated the structural media change expressed in the explosive blogosphere of today’s Internet: the shift of content from top-down to consumer-supplied.

What's more, the new concept embraced a newspaper secret: many people turn first to the letters to the editor.

From Jerelle Kraus’ All the Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t): Inside the New York Times Op-Ed Page (p.6).

Picked up Kraus’ title last night at the library (an amazing place I’d almost forgotten about: much like but all the books are free and you can take them home right away). The book is organized much like George Lois: On His Creation of The Big Idea, another picture book for grown ups that I just plowed through (and enjoyed every minute -- even though I paid for it) -- generous spreads with large, lush artwork and the stories behind them.

Kraus’ reference to blogging struck me because just that morning I read about John Updike (may he rest in peace) and how he was “almost blogger-like in his determination to turn every scrap of knowledge and experience into words.”

Related: Recently the New York Times redesigned the way their “Inside the Times” blurbs scan visually (pages 2 & 3 of the daily paper) -- and with the redesign came a new informality of language that is entirely blog like.

I also had a brief conversation with an individual involved in the redesign of the New York Times website and she told me that the reporters have become fierce about demanding blogs of their own -- even though blogging responsibilities add additional workload to their standard column inch deliverable. It’s the immediacy they love, she told me -- being able to speak directly to folks; having them respond.

No earth shattering conclusions to share: Just marveling at how we’re making sense of the world of letters now that the bullhorn is being dispersed by a technology that 1) lets anyone have their say and 2) listens and responds.

It’s the call and response, akin to traditional storytelling, that fascinates me most of all. It’s the startling proximity between author and audience that make this emerging medium [1] so powerful.

[1] By emerging medium I mean the Social Web and those sites that are built around a Social Web architecture.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

this morning light

this morning light
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Fully expected to upload this as soon
as I snapped it this morning but I only
just now found time.

It's been that kind of month.

Posting by cameraphone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

a radical notion

Whadya say we stop beating up on other members of our species, starting with the Albinos of Tanzania »


defiance = new shoots in mid-winter

Monday, January 26, 2009

nolo contendere

There aren't files. No one believes this at first, and it takes a long time to accept it, but really, that's it: no files.

The folks who have been held Gitmo all this time? Turns out the Bush Administration didn't bother maintaining case files on many of them »

These men. These are the men I mean.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

floor coverings

Homewood, IL

at the pleasure of the president

At a 2005 roast for Mr. Emanuel, who is a former ballet dancer, ... Mr. Obama credited him with being “the first to adopt Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ for dance” (a number that included “a lot of kicks below the waist”). When Mr. Emanuel lost part of his middle finger while cutting meat at an Arby’s as a teenager, Mr. Obama joked, the accident “rendered him practically mute.”

Cited in Obama’s Partisan, Profane Confidant Reins It In in this morning's New York Times.

Obama's appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff strikes me as pure Chicago. Smooth talking buttoned up Boss with the knuckle cracking henchman standing behind him. The Enforcer.

Hopefully not a Cheney to Mr. Obama's Bush, but there's no denying a certain political similarity: the President positioning someone else to be the tough guy. Someone else to dispense the blows.

I was charmed by Rahm Emanuel when I saw him in a Charlie Rose clip that @karigee posted a long long time ago. He's smart, he's shrewd, he's cute.

But I grew alarmed when Sara over at Shady Acres pointed out his father's deep Zionist sympathies. It's hard to imagine that Emanuel can be an impartial adviser regarding the conflicts that rock Gaza and Jerusalem.

Time will tell.

Update: Martin located the clip from the roast, which follows below.

Friday, January 23, 2009

the obama effect

Obama is obviously inspirational, but we wondered whether he would contribute to an improvement in something as important as black test-taking. We were skeptical that we would find any effect, but our results surprised us.

Vanderbilt University management professor Ray Friedman, one of three authors in a study currently undergoing peer review that suggests "Obama’s election could increase the sense of competence among African-Americans, and it could reduce the anxiety associated with taking difficult test questions." As reported in Study Sees an Obama Effect as Lifting Black Test-Takers in this morning's New York Times.

In brief:

Researchers have documented what they call an Obama effect, showing that a performance gap between African-Americans and whites on a 20-question test administered before Mr. Obama’s nomination all but disappeared when the exam was administered after his acceptance speech and again after the presidential election.

The research was conducted in the context of earlier studies that showed test performance among Americans of African descent was compromised when the test was introduced with questions that called attention to their racial identity.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

south beach

Between the conference and the flight home I poked around the Art Deco District in Miami's South Beach. The light was weak and wintery and on its way out, but I took a few snapshots »

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

south beach, sunset

south beach, sunset
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone from Miami Beach
around sundown.

when the waitress recommends the roasted turkey...

... you order the roasted turkey.

And you are glad.

(p.s. there's stuffing under there.)

Posting by cameraphone from the
11th Street Diner.
South Beach, Miami

blue light special

blue light special
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
The very large very warm room that I will
be addressing in the dead of the afternoon
just after the blood sugar lift from lunch
has dissipated.

Wish me luck.

Posting by cameraphone from Miami, FL.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the price and the promise of citizenship

Here we go, kids.
We've got work to do.

Posting by cameraphone from the
FountaineBleau in Miami, FL

(what if the mightiest word is love?)

Monday, January 19, 2009

for the people, by the people

The New York Times is publishing readers' images of the events surrounding Obama's Inauguration. Submissions are being received

the true meaning of its creed

[Lincoln's Memorial is] but a hollow mockery, a symbol of hypocrisy, unless we can make real in our national life, in every state and every section, the things for which he died.

One of the passages excised from the remarks of Robert Russa Moton, President of the Tuskegee Institution, by the sponsors of the 1922 Lincoln Memorial dedication event, when he spoke at the dedication ceremony of the monument. As reported by Anthony Lewis in his review of Eric J. Sundquist's book King's Dream in the New York Times Book Review.

Also reported in the New York Times piece: Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech? He ad libbed the dream part. Anthony Lewis writes:

A remarkable fact of which I was unaware is that the last third of the speech — the part about the dream — was extemporized by King. He had a text, completed the night before. But as he was addressing the crowd, protesting the indignities and brutalities suffered by blacks, he put the prepared speech aside, paused for a moment and then introduced an entirely new theme.

“I still have a dream,” he said. “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ ”

With that quotation from the Declaration of Independence, King made clear that his vision of the future for black Americans was for them to be part of the larger society, not embittered opponents of it. He reiterated the point a few minutes later. Faith in his dream, he said, will bring a day “when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, ‘My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.’ ”

Why did King abandon his written text that day at the Memorial? It may be, Sund­quist suggests, that despite shouts of approval he felt he had not really connected with the audience. His wife, Coretta Scott King, thought the words “flowed from some higher place.” In any event, the result was for the ages.

“Speaking suddenly from the heart,” Sundquist writes, “he delivered a speech elegantly structured, commanding in tone, and altogether more profound than anything heard on American soil in nearly a century. In the midst of speaking, King rewrote his speech and created a new national scripture.”

Video: Martin Luther King, Jr, I Have a Dream

Sunday, January 18, 2009

aka anal

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

via @kerri9494


Leica redux.

this land is your land

First African-American president. Better be good.

Ten-year old Malia Obama speaking to her father, President-Elect Barack Obama, about the Inaugural Address that he'll give on Tuesday when he's sworn in as our 44th President.

Hot damn. New day dawning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

as if the sand were stone

A view from the Hudson -- the hotel, not the river, designed by Phillipe Starck and situated near Columbus Circle in Manhattan where I was sequestered in a windowless room three long blocks and a riverbank away from where the US Air plane glided into the Hudson -- the river, not the hotel.

I saw none of it, although my boss broke into the day long forum we were holding for clients to tell us something about it just after it happened. We chatted about it some more during the break, and later heard from one attendee how she was supposed to be on that plane and had decided to push her flight back.

I might have headed to the river after we wrapped, to see what I could see, but I was entrusted with signing for the drinks which meant staying in the bar, nursing a glass of wine, making conversation, and feeling the acceleration of the throbbing in my skull which started earlier that morning when I wrapped up my presentation slide deck at 2.30, just a few hours shy of my early morning wake up call.

I got a sense of how close it was when a fellow walked into the bar and ordered a drink and told anyone who wanted to listen that he saw a plane crash outside his window at work just a few hours before. He wore a stunned shell shocked look and kept repeating: “I didn’t know that could happen.” I nodded. I didn’t tell him I knew that it could. That would have sounded hollow and false.

I didn’t tell him I had worn his same look once for a while; had seen something like what he saw; felt the power of the engines fly by out of the sky; heard the unmerciful speed and roar like a race car as the twin engine Cessna -- much smaller, of course, than a passenger jet -- banked a few brief hundred feet from where I sat in my living room on a Sunday eating the last of my lunch, a door down from where my neighbor stood poised on his balcony, screaming to his wife in the kitchen and getting ready to jump, just before the plane veered sharply to the left.

My neighbor saw it tear into the alley across the street; I only felt the shudder and the shake as the windows of the condo rattled in their panes on the plane’s impact. Felt the heat from the fire, smelled the jet fuel and the saw the spark of the severed power lines dancing like angry snakes as I ran from my house toward the alley and then stopped and doubled back to dial 911.

The phone line was dead of course, but a Cessna can’t crash in the middle of Boulder, Colorado, without someone calling out the ambulances and the fire trucks and they came soon enough. Eventually we made CNN. Eventually the story unfolded -- the suicide note, the plan to take the chartered plane down in the middle of town, to destroy as many people and as much property as possible, the assumed struggle, the heroic pilot who managed to crash it somewhere, somehow else, into the only the unoccupied house on the block (how could he have known? surely he couldn’t have known.); the house that disappeared entirely with the pilot and the suicide.

Eventually I stopped shaking. After about a week I stopped starting and looking upward when I heard a plane fly by. But I never shook what I learned that afternoon: that planes can fall out of the sky. That they do.

Which changes none of the things that have to get done, but changes the way you go about doing them.

For a little while.

In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

W.H. Auden


lincoln monument drive-by
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Something like the Grammy Awards as reimagined by PBS.

Jon Pareles writing the New York Times about the free concert that D.C. is throwing for our new president tomorrow night at the Lincoln Memorial.

Is there any better way to warm up a place than to throw a housewarming party?

Coming to the party are:
Stevie Wonder
Mary J Blige
Bettye LaVette
John Legend
Bruce Springsteen
Sheryl Crow
Jon Bon Jovi
John Mellencamp
Garth Brooks
Jennifer Nettles
James Taylor
Herbie Hancock
Pete Seeger
Renée Fleming
Josh Groban
Denzel Washington
Queen Latifah
Jamie Foxx
Jack Black
Steve Carrell
Rosario Dawson
Tom Hanks
Ashley Judd
Martin Luther King III
George Lopez
Marisa Tomei
Forest Whitaker
Tiger Woods
Mstr.Sgt. Caleb Green (U.S. Army)
And the rest of the neighborhood.

HBO will broadcast the concert to all cable subscribers, regardless of whether or not they're HBO subscribers.

Friday, January 16, 2009

hit me.

hit me.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Heading home.

Posting by cameraphone.

pointed towards brooklyn

pointed towards brooklyn
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone from the D train.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

with apologies to mr. hopper

I expected someone would have done this already -- and maybe they have -- but I didn't find it when I went poking around for the image to make a point in a presentation I'm giving tomorrow. (oh. wait. I mean today.)

So I cobbled it together from some low res jpegs and random images I found online.

See the original Nighthawks by Edward Hopper here »

And embiggen this one here »

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

and then we ate our way into oblivion

Dinner with the incomparable Kari & Sarah, post-Plow. Prix fixe menu at the Modern, which come to find out is a whole lot more than just shows up on the menu.

Almond and fennel gazpacho bolstering lox and roe. Crispy duck tempranillo risotto. Lamb with au jus and heirloom beans. Roasted mango (yes: roasted) with vanilla ice cream and one of those little Indian donuts.

Plus an endless parade of amuse bouche at the outset and sweets at the end -- including complimentary birthday cake for the birthday girl, which she was kind enough to share.

Regret only that I didn't order greens to start and cheese to finish, but I'm sure I'd regret what I missed if I did.

Did I mention the free mini-loaf of stollen as a parting gift?


Posting by cameraphone.

made it.

made it.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Made it somehow, against all reason, even though my plane squatted on the tarmac for 55 minutes more than it should have before dropping me into LaGuardia one brief hour before the Tuesday 7PM curtain time (which has thwarted me before: see Equus).

Made it, somehow, which I'm sure is what William H. Macy was thinking after the first night of his run in Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in a role that Jeremy Piven bailed out of as the result of mercury poisoning from too much sushi. (Or so his doctor says. Mamet was unforgiving and wisecracked that Piven was off to pursue a career as a thermometer).

Macy is Mamet's man and he pulled it off with only a few recovered flubs and one duped line and two big hugs from his co-stars -- Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss -- which he received shyly (does William H. Macy do anything any other way?) in the twilight space where the curtain drops on the other world of the play before it rises again to the hot footlights of the curtain call and whatever the audience has to dish.

K says Macy's no Piven and I believe her, but I loved him all the same.

Posting by cameraphone from Times Square.

p.s. More on Mamet »

Monday, January 12, 2009

trussed for grooming

Busy as a ram at tupping time (and having only a fraction of the fun.) Back soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We finally used the cheapest store brand we could get because it popped more realistically. We didn't want all these big, fluffy kernels.

Art Director Tom Proost in the January 2009 issue of Metropolis referring to the popcorn that he and his team used to create apple blossoms for the stop-motion animated movie Coraline.

The filmmakers used old school stop motion animation techniques to produce Coraline, going against the grain of today's much more economically produced computer generated graphics.

The movie is based on the book which I've never read, but just well may, given all the enthusiastic titter about it on Twitter.

Plus, it's been a while since we had a John Hodgman fangirl moment on this blog, and Hodgman plays Coraline's dad.

I'm in.

geeks bearing gifts

The look back by this forward-thinking man is not without its bitterness. The Web, after all, can be seen as a bastardization of his original notion that hyperlinks should point both forward and backward.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, organized all the world’s content through a one-way mechanism of uniform source locators, or URLs. Lost in the process was Mr. Nelson’s two-way link concept that simultaneously pointed to the content in any two connected documents, protecting, he has argued in vain, the original intellectual lineage of any object.

One-way links can be easily broken, and there is no simple way to preserve authorship and credit, as was possible with a project called Xanadu that Mr. Nelson began in the 1960s. His two-way links might have avoided the Web’s tornado-like destruction of the economic value of the printed word, he has contended, by incorporating a system of micropayments.

John Markoff writing about Ted Nelson and his new book Geeks Bearing Gifts in this morning's New York Times.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

american gothic

american gothic
american gothic
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Storm's ON, baby.

(Apologies if this dupes -- first one went missing.)

Posting by cameraphone from the
Gleacher Center in Chicago.

after the fall

after the fall
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Marveling at the reflective surface snow provides in the grey green muck that is winter in Illinois. The way it lends chromatic balance to a world that has gone dark with winter.

Trying too to swallow the fear that shakes me now when I step out into it. I fell, hard, last Sunday, on a patch of black ice hiding beneath a shallow puddle that I trusted too much. My feet failed me and the asphalt was unsympathetic: It left me nearly unable to walk for a while, and I've been suffering the effects all week. A stiff shoulder. A twinge in my wrist. A bum that doesn't want to know me.

Was fortunate to find an osteopath who ironed me out some yesterday, with a firm brisk manhandling that left me whimpering like a grateful bottom to his top.

But something in my core is shaken and unsettled and I'm reminded of an Asian culture -- Hmong maybe? -- that believes when one falls like that the soul is jarred loose and floats untethered until it's anchored again by the intervention of the shaman. While the soul is in this fearful state illness, disease, and death are certain threats.

It may be nothing more than a state of ambient fear, but it has conjuring power.

It may be nothing more than this.

Posting by cameraphone.
Inbound to Chicago's Loop.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Sam Gosling, Author of Snoop: The Secret Language of Stuff

George Carlin on Stuff

please, sir

Breakfast: A few spoonfuls of grits, part of an egg and a piece of toast at breakfast

Lunch: Two peanut butter sandwiches, with small amounts of peanut butter, chips, and flavored water

Dinner: Bits of undercooked, bloody chicken

The daily ration provided to the inmates of the Morgan County jail in Decateur, Alabama that allowed the sheriff, Greg Bartlett, to legally pocket the change remaining from the $1.75 daily meal allowance per prisoner. In three years Sheriff Bartlett took home $212,000 in change, while his inmates suffered severe weight loss, according to the New York Times.

The good news is: a judge bitch slapped the sheriff with a night in jail into coming up with a better solution, and he has opted to spend the full $1.75 allowance on the prisoners moving forward.

More Up With People news: Turns out the fictional character of Oliver Twist wouldn't have starved in Dickens' England after all »

Thursday, January 08, 2009

779 dead


Thirteen days of fighting between Israel and Hamas have left an estimated 765 Palestinians and 14 Israelis dead.*

keeping it real

Photo: Silicon Valley Insider

I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry. They’re going to pry it out of my hands.

President-elect Barack Obama cited in this morning's New York Times.

Because of the Presidential Records Act, "which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review," [1] Obama is being counseled to go without his Blackberry for the duration of his term for fear that he might -- what? -- trip up? Communicate something through email that he wouldn't communicate through another channel? Be influenced to act in untoward ways by communications through his Blackberry that would put our country in jeopardy? Browse prØn during summit meetings?

Haven't we matured enough as digital communicators to understand that this is another mode through which we connect to the world -- and that digital communication should not be feared as a place where manners and good judgment are thrown out the window?

I want my President to be connected to the world the same way I am. I want him to experience the intimacy of communication that email and text messaging provides; I want him to have that kind of immediate access to the people who matter to him and to the information he needs.

I want him to stay real.

Past presidents have spoken of the isolation that the role brings. The security detail alone ensures that there's no more shopping at the local grocery store, there's no more getting your haircut at the barbershop on the corner. Aaron Sorkin's The American President plays on the President in isolation problem with a great scene in which the title character attempts to order flowers for a woman he's interested in and very nearly fails because he no longer has access to his own credit cards.

The New York Times recently wrote about the contribution the Obamas' circle of friends makes to keeping them real. Email and other modes of immediate digital access are increasingly the channel through which we maintain proximity to the people who keep us close to our real selves and help us maintain our authenticity while we head out into the larger world to get our jobs done.

What do we need to do: Start a petition? Launch a protest? I'm in.

Obama: Keep your Blackberry. It matters.

[1] Lose the BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe in the New York Times

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Things get better when regular folks take action to make change happen from the bottom up. Every major historical moment in our time, it has been made by folks who said, 'Enough,' and they banded together to move this country forward — and now is one of those times.

Michelle Obama, speaking at a rally in South Carolina during the campaign, as cited in a Seattle Times piece on her ancestry.

Mrs. O's great-great-grandfather was enslaved on the Friendfield Plantation in South Carolina. The piece states: "The coastal Carolina city [of Friendfield] often is referred to as the African-American Ellis Island because of the many slave ships that docked along its shores."

Monday, January 05, 2009

brown velvet

the ragley

There was a little grocery co-op near my old place in Seattle called the Rainbow. The grocery was gone when I went back last; a victim, I'll bet, of the same big box forces that brought down its neighbors, the independent book store and the funky hardware shop.

When it was there, and when I lived around the corner,[1] I worked from home and the Rainbow was close enough that I’d run down for a few things to make dinner fresh nearly every night, or at least every other.

Which is what I was doing when I reached for the mushrooms. My hand collided with a fellow who was reaching for them too, and I blushed and apologized and let him go first, to which he let me go first, which I did. I said thank you and moved on to find some bread.

I was wearing brown velvet pants, for which I feel I should apologize, but they were the kind that didn’t wrinkle much and were super easy to pull on in a hurry when I had to change out of my work-at-home sweats into something suitable for going out in public. Which is what I had done, shortly before reaching for the mushrooms.

Coincidentally, but insignificantly, they were the same brown as a Chocolate Labrador, which I learned when I attended a Christmas party wearing the pants at the home of some folks who had two Chocolate Labs, both of whom took an aggressive liking to my pants, and to me, and treated me like one of their own. They liked me so much that I had to leave the party early.

I was married then, to a different someone else, in the final years of a marriage that would soon cave in from loneliness; and that loneliness may have been why I stared unbelievingly at the clipping taped to the cash register at the Rainbow a week or so later.

The clipping was an I Saw U from the Seattle Stranger, where folks post classified ads addressed to people they’ve seen in passing and hope to meet again. It referenced the Rainbow, two hands colliding while reaching for mushrooms, and a pair of brown velvet pants.

It also made an achingly sweet reference to a smile exchanged; the kind of reference that only dead poets can get away with, and it was probably that line that left me stunned and dumb while the cashier repeated my total and waited for me to pay.

If that moment had been a movie I would have torn the clipping from the register and taken it home, crumpled in the corner of my pocket. If that moment had been a movie my cheating husband would have left several scenes before, and by the time I bought the mushrooms my bruised heart would be ready to love again.

None of that happened.

Instead, I paid the cashier, and nodded and smiled when she saw that I was reading the classified and said “isn’t that cool? I hope I'm here when she sees it.”

Then I went home to the soft rot of my marriage, and I made dinner for two.

[1] My apartment at the Ragley, it should be noted, was beautiful and massive with unspeakably cheap rent, and I owed it entirely to Anniemcq and her sweet string-pulling spouse. It is a debt I will try to pay off slowly over the course of my lifetime with small boxes of toffee at Christmas, and with my abiding affection.

ain't got time to take a fast train

It’s a little clearer now. Nice digs.

Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on board the presidential plane that took Obama and his entourage to Washington over the weekend. Gibbs was cited in the New York Times piece Emotional Trip on Plane Bound for the Presidency on "the realization that Mr. Obama had won the presidency."

p.s. entitled

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Z is for Zion

Lolabola kindly posted a series of comic strips that she found who-the-heck-knows-where after I referred to them when commenting on her blog. She wanted to know how could remember them from so long ago.

What I told her was true: Some girls remember first kisses; I remember when I first learned a new word. [1]

Those Bloom County comic strips taught me the word “snipe”.

I learned the word “happenstance” from a televised documentary. I don't remember the content of the show but I do remember spinning around to ask my dad: “is that a real word?” It seemed too wonderful to be true, a circumstance filled with chance and synchronicity.

I learned the word “Zion” when my stepmom laid it down on the Scrabble board and won a hefty triple letter score for the Z. She was cheating of course: Zion is a proper noun, which isn’t allowed in Scrabble play. But I was still in Elementary school and she was still bigger than me, plus she’d just unlocked a wonderful redolent word that meant, she told us, the Promised Land. So we let it lie.

I knew from Passover, a holiday that we celebrated in our curiously hybrid household, that the Promised Land meant Israel, that next year that’s where we’d be and that there was something wonderful about it – a kind of homecoming after much suffering.

I didn’t know that it meant someone else had to leave. I didn’t know it meant someone else had to suffer. I didn’t know it would lead to this »

p.s. Protect the Human »

[1] (Which isn't to say I don't remember the kisses, but they deserve their own post.)

pass it on

We wade in death. ... I have never experienced anything so terrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE!

A text message from Dr. Mads Gilbert in Gaza, via Shady Acres

Update: Dr. Gilbert appears in this morning's NYT piece Gaza Hospital Fills Up, Mainly With Civilians.

you must remember this

Video Trailer: Waltz with Bashir

Animation functions on the border between reality and the subconscious.

Director Ari Folman, cited in Rolling Stone, on why he animated his documentary Waltz with Bashir.

Peter Travers' synopsis of the movie:

Folman, a former Israeli soldier who served during the 1982 Israeli-Lebanese war, has repressed his memories of the invasion of Beirut — more specifically, the massacre of Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Though the killings were committed by the Christian Phalangist militia as payback for the murder of their leader, Bashir, the Israeli army stood by and reportedly sent up flares to aid the slaughter of men, women and children. In the years since, Folman cut off ties to the men he served with. The movie is his attempt to make some kind of sense of what happened by interviewing those involved.

Here's A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times »

Waltz with Bashir is in theaters now. Catch it post-protest.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

mrs. o

I subscribe to eight publications (that I can recall off hand). None of them are fashion magazines.

But Mrs. O, a blog dedicated to what Michelle Obama's wearing, makes my heart sing.

I don't know why it makes me so happy, but I'm not going to fight it.

I'm just going to embrace the fan girl in me who's yearning to be free.

(Update: Ten publications. Still no fashion.)

p.s. J.Crew knew »

Friday, January 02, 2009

she is cruel

The giant girl appeared in the city area of night. Many casualties, such as a soldier and a citizen. The attack of a tank is also ineffective and is destroyed totally. stepping on and eating -- etc. -- a variegated scene -- preparation. man, car, an highway, a hospital, residence, etc. are destroyed.

Synopsis for Giant Girl (2).

Ever take one of those wrong turns on the Internet that takes you somewhere *entirely* unexpected?

I just discovered a site selling Japanese Giantess fetish DVDs.

Which you really have to see to believe »

Video titles include:
Cruel Girl (2)
She is Cruel
Crush Fetish “Final”
The Giantess (3)
Crush Fetish (10)
Food Crush (5),
which is captioned: Food Crush & WAM shoes!

No nudity. Just. Pure. Strangeness.

freedom's eve

image via »

What I think moves people so deeply is not so much that Obama’s election was some kind of civil rights achievement. It was a human rights achievement.

The Rev. Albert Paul Brinson, cited in the New York Times on Watch Night, also known as Freedom's Eve, traditionally celebrated on New Year's Eve in the African American community to commemorate the evening before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863.

speaking of coins

You can't just say, 'I have a model for tremors that works great, I just can't explain earthquakes.'

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, speaking of the crisis of faith that's rumbling through the academic economics community as a result of their general failure to see the financial crisis coming, in Paradigm Lost in the 21 December issue of the Boston Globe.

In the same piece Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania, "describes these intellectually challenging but less policy-relevant questions" that have occupied the academic community since the 1980s, "as a sort of scholarly 'luxury good.' 'During good times we all consume more luxuries,' he says, 'but during a bad economy, it feels to macroeconomists that what we should be doing is stuff to help today.'"

The Globe continues: "Some economists have suggested that this focus may account for why so many failed to see the warning signs of the financial crisis, and to predict the size and scope of its fallout."

Update: Krugman links to a few who had an inkling »

Thursday, January 01, 2009

coin toss

Last night I tossed the coins (shiny pennies, in my case) for a New Year hexagram. This is what came up. There were no changing lines.

  46.  Shêng - Pushing Upward

-- --
-- -- above K'un The Receptive, Earth
-- --
----- below Sun The Gentle, Wind
-- --

Pushing Upward has supreme success.
One must see the great man.
Fear not.
Departure toward the south
Brings good fortune.

Within the earth, wood grows:
The image of Pushing Upward.
Thus the superior man of devoted character
Heaps up small things
In order to achieve something high and great.

It is a time when great progress can be made through effort of will. However, it is essential that all your activity be characterized by humility, conscientiousness, and adaptability. Progress as a tree does, bending around obstacles rather than confronting them, pushing upward steadily but gently.

There is nothing to be feared from others now. Feel free to ask for help from those who are in a position to give it. Be neither subservient nor forceful with those you encounter; simply meet everyone with tolerance and gentle goodwill. Those who look for the good in others find it there.

If fears or doubts intrude, remain quietly focused on the activity at hand. Cultivate inner independence and trust the leadership of the Sage. The time is ripe for progress if you put forth an effort that is innocent, sincere, and balanced.

From The IChing or Book of Changes translated by Brian Browne Walker.

Happy New Year, friends.
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