Archive for November 6, 2010

Sight for Sore Eyes

Break time!

Is this a gorgeous flower — in both color and form — or what?

It’s an epiphyllum or “orchid cactus.”  The plant itself is ugly as hell but the flowers?  Spectacular, as you can see.

I’m nurturing one now — hoping for a bud — two years on:  Does it have enough sun?  Enough water? Too much water?  Is it cold?  Has it been in the shade too long?  Got bugs?  Too dry?  Should I fertilize it?

I want this plant to bloom so bad!

Anyway, I’m still waiting.  I think the lesson I’m supposed to learn is patience, patience, patience.

November 6, 2010 at 9:07 PM Leave a comment

On the “Lunacy” of Suspending Keith Olbermann

I think I agree with every single word Matt Taibbi has ever written.  Here’s his latest, on Keith Olbermann’s suspension:

We had a whole generation of journalists who sat by and did nothing while, for instance, George Bush led us into an idiotic war on a lie, plus thousands more who spent day after day collecting checks by covering Britney’s hair and Tiger’s text messages and other stupidities while the economy blew up and two bloody wars went on mostly unexamined… and it’s Keith Olbermann who should “pay the price” for being unethical? Because, and let me get this straight, he donated money, privately, to politicians?

This is absurd even by GE’s standards. There is no reason, not even a theoretical one, why any journalist should be prevented from having political opinions and participating in election campaigns in his spare time. The policy would be ridiculous even if we were talking about an evening news anchor — because the only “ethical” question here is the issue of NBC wanting to preserve the appearance of impartiality and being unable to do so, because political contributions happen to be public record and impossible to hide from viewers.

Again, that would be true even if we were talking about Brian Williams or Tom Brokaw, someone from whom viewers expect a certain level of impartiality. But what Olbermann does is advocacy journalism and it’s not exactly a secret. NBC punishing Olbermann for donating to Democratic candidates is like Hugh Hefner fining the Playmate of the Year for showing ankle. It’s completely and utterly retarded.

These periodic spaz attacks the people in our business have over obscure and usually completely made-up ethical controversies — often over this whole “objectivity” issue, which provides a seemingly endless source of false piety for some of the more obnoxious journo-ethicists — are really irritating. I’m biased, obviously, because I’m a guest on the show, but this is beyond stupid. And by the way, has anyone checked the donation lists for CNBC anchors? I’m guessing a few of those have shelled out to the Rs. What’s the deal, GE?

(Emphasis added.)

Right!  On!  Especially that first paragraph.

November 6, 2010 at 4:20 PM Leave a comment

Life: Before and After Death

Check out this poignant slide show at the

This sombre series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying – and living. Life Before Death is at the Wellcome Collection from April 9-May 18.

Barbara Gröne, 51
First portrait:
November 11 2003

All her life, Barbara had been plagued by the idea that she has no right to be alive. She had been an unwanted baby: soon after her birth, her mother had put her into a home. But she had a strong survival instinct, and became very focused, she said, very disciplined in the way she lived. After much hard work, it seemed that life was at last delivering her a better hand.

Second portrait:
November 22 2003
But then the cancer struck: an ovarian tumour, which had already spread to her back and pelvis. Nothing could be done. Abruptly her old fears returned: the familiar sense of worthlessness and sadness. At the end of her life, Barbara told me that she was overwhelmed by these feelings. “All my efforts were in vain”, she said. “It is as though I am being rejected by life itself”

Images:  Walter Schels/Wellcome Collection

November 6, 2010 at 3:37 PM Leave a comment

What is Obama Doing in India?

I haven’t had time to sit down and do some reading about exactly what Obama’s doing in India — hope to get to that this afternoon — but some of the headlines are making me nervous.  Sounds like another NAFTA-type thing is happening:

Obama Seeks Expanded India-US Trade

US President calls for easing of barriers to investment in key economic sectors as he announces deals worth $10bn.

Barack Obama, the US president, has urged India to relax trade and investment barriers in order to boost economic relations between the two countries.

Obama, who is on a three-day visit to India, said the growing economic power must make “a steady reduction in barriers to trade and investment” in sectors from retail to telecommunications.

“New jobs and growth flow to countries that lower barriers to trade and investment,” Obama said on Saturday at a business meeting in India’s financial capital, Mumbai.

“As we look to India today, the United States sees an opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. For America this is a jobs strategy”.

The reason I’m suspicious is because yesterday I heard that the CEO of Walmart is on this trip (what?!),  and because words that were used to sell NAFTA are everywhere here — reduce “barriers to trade and investment,” and “new jobs and growth flow to countries that lower barriers to trade and investment.”  Yeah, like new, outsourced jobs from American companies?


November 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM Leave a comment

Tea Partiers: You Got Played

After a year of “Fire Pelosi” rants coming from the Republicans, including hanging a banner over the front door of the RNC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.,

and an election in which Tea Partiers were used by the Republicans to elect their candidates based on a promise to do that  — take a look at what the RNC replaced that “Fire Pelosi” banner with yesterday:

Yep.  They used the Tea Partiers and others to get what they wanted and now they realize it’s to their advantage not to fulfill their promise to “fire Pelosi.”  They can string their constituents along hey, for yet another election cycle and use that meme again in 2012.

You’ve been taken for a ride, Tea Partiers.


November 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM Leave a comment

Set Your Clocks Back 100 Years Tonight

OK folks, given the election results, the GOP wants us to set our clocks back 100 years tonight.

November 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM 2 comments

Good Morning

It’s a good morning because for the first time in a week I got a good night’s sleep.

Al — the dog pictured above — suffers from allergies. He has been swelling here and there around his face and neck for ten days and scratching himself almost continuously ever since we took him to the groomer on October 27.  We think he might have developed an allergy to the shampoo or conditioner she uses.

Poor guy, he has been uncomfortable at night too — pacing and scratching — but after two visits to the vet and some new meds, I think we finally turned the corner.

Fingers crossed.

November 6, 2010 at 8:54 AM Leave a comment

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