Jan 31, 2006

Might as well hand over your uterus now

So the muthafreakin' bastards in the Senate confirmed Alito 58-42. And apparently there are some senators who voted for cloture but voted against Alito's confirmation. Compare the votes here. Slippery political maneuvering, I see. Dave at Seeing the Forest shares this same opinion: How the hell an you vote against the filibuster, then vote against the nomination? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Dubya's State of the Union address is on tonight. I'll probably watch, because I'm nursing a bad back and will have nothing else to do. If I weren't on Vitamin V right now, I'd totally turn it into a drinking game: Every time Dubya mentions "9/11," take a shot/drink of your choice. Catherine at Povertybarn comes up with another one:
Every time Georgie says "freedom" in his sad State he has made of this Union Speech tonight, you must take a shot of something gross because let's face it he leaves a sour taste in all our mouths and hearts.
By the end of the address, you'll feel about as fucked up as this country is going to be. Or already is. Dubya may as well show up on stage with another "Mission Accomplished" banner hanging in the background.

Jan 30, 2006

True colors

Those mutha-freakin' bastards in the Senate voted today to move forward with Scalito's nomination to the Supreme Court. And when I say "mutha-freakin' bastards," I am specifically including:
  • Robert Byrd (D-W.V.)
  • Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)
  • Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
  • Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Along with the 15 other Democrats who pretty much handed over the Supreme Court justice position to Alito today.

I wonder, do these senators really and truly believe that Alito is the best person to fill that spot on the judiciary, or are they just too fucking lazy to get into it with the Republicans? Seriously.

This quote from Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, says it best:
This vote is painful proof that a majority of senators will not stand up for women's rights, civil rights and our right to privacy when it counts the most.
Indeed. But Atrios provides a list of the 25 Democratic senators who did just that. I can now breathe a sigh of relief that Boxer and Feinstein are part of this list.

Did I do that?

This guy gets the Klutz of the Year award:
CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) -- A museum visitor shattered three Qing dynasty Chinese vases when he tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and brought the vases crashing to the floor, officials said Monday.

The three vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had been donated to The Fitzwilliam Museum in the university city of Cambridge in 1948, and were among its best-known artifacts. They had been sitting proudly on the window sill beside the staircase for 40 years.
But in a great show of British gentility and/or a great PR talking point, the museum's director had this to say:
"It was a most unfortunate and regrettable accident, but we are glad that the visitor involved was able to leave the museum unharmed."
Indeed. Let this be a lesson to all of you - leave the lace-ups at home - or double knot.

Props to Rich for the link.

Jan 26, 2006

Sexual healing

I wrote earlier about our friends Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui, two pandas at a zoo in Thailand, whose sexin' was like, all the rage.

Unfortunately, the mating was "not successful" - how one measures "successful Panda sex" I have no clue. Nor do I think I want to know. But here's an explanation given by Zoo Administrator Prasertsak Puttrakul: Because pandas live in captivity, they're not surrounded by other pandas mating, so how would they even know that they need to start geting busy? You know, for procreation purposes. (Or maybe a little panda fun?) The "why," if you will.

Judging by this picture, the "how" is, obviously, innate. I mean, looks like they went straight for the panda style. Chuang Chuang knows how she likes it.

Sorry. Anyway.

So to remedy this problem, Puttrakul came up with this solution:
[He] has prepared a DVD of pandas having sexual intercourse to show the couple, hoping the demonstration -- call it panda porn -- will inspire them to make a love connection.

He may have a point here. Let's just hope the soundtrack will sound a little more modern than, well, nevermind.

(Photo credit: Reuters/handout)

Project Runway After Party

First off, can I just say I am getting sick of Daniel V.'s crab walk in the opening credits?

Okay. Now that I've got that off my chest, let's dive in.

Episode 8: Inspiration
What drives your creativity as a designer? That was the question posed this episode to the contestants.

But wait - we have to boot off a model. And since Zulema won the last challenge, she gets to pick her model. Leave it to her to mix it up - she wants to change her model, and she wants a walk off between Danielle (Andrae's), Tarah (Nick's), and Shannon (Emmett's). She picks Tarah. Feel the drama! And it looks like Tarah AND Nick look like they're going to cry. Like they're Romeo and Juliet about to get separated. And Nick looks at Zulema like he wants to cut her.

Anyway. Seven models left. And all of them go to visit Michael Kors at his studio. How ... last season. Welcome to the "Michael Kors Mentorship" episode. He talks to them about taking an idea and turning it into a whole collection.

All the designers get a digital camera (Olympus, in case you were wondering). They are tasked to take pictures, pick one shot, and design an outfit based on that photo.

Sounds interesting enough. Here's what some of the designers took pictures of:
  • Kara - Street signs
  • Zulema - African woman
  • Chloe - Architecture
  • Santino - Graffiti
  • Daniel V - Orchids in the Michael Kors lobby
  • Andrae - Dirty water in the gutter
Nick's not taking any pictures. He's still pissed Zulema jacked his model. And he says that he gets most of his inspiration from his models. Ooops. Now he's stuck with Zulema's stiff-ass, model with not-such-a-great-walk instead. Damn that Zulema!

Tim comes in and gives everyone the "tough love" talk. Shape up or you're ass out, is basically what he's saying. Santino needs to be less argumentative with the judges. Daniel V. starts out brilliant, but then he loses momentum. Chloe doesn't push the envelope enough. Zulema needs to take more risks. Kara has never won a challenge. Andrae and Nick need to be more ambitious.

Nick is totally pissed and "over the whole show." He thinks he's ambitious enough, thank you very much. Sensing Nick's despair, Daniel V. comes over and gives him such a great pep talk and totally lifted Nick's spirits. Okay. I love me some Daniel V.

Zulema thinks everyone thinks she's sheisty for what she did to Nick. But she insists that she'll continue to change models every time she wins.

"It's nothing personal. It's just business," she says.

Maybe it's that yellow Grace Jones shirt you're wearing that's sheisty. I'm just saying. I still love your earrings though, girl.

Fifteen minutes before the deadline, Zulema still has nothing. And basically has to pull something together real quick.

Tarah and Zulema's ex model, Rachael, pretty much say in their interviews that they love Nick and like Zulema not so much. Rachael is pretty pissed that she got switched, and so she vows to work her shit for Nick, because he's her favorite anyway. Rowr!

Jay McCarroll, last year's Project Runway winner, is this week's guest judge. Yay!

I didn't really like Santino's dress. It looked like a maternity gown. Not to mention it was that same tie-dye-looking fabric Austin used last season.

Kara's dress - a black, stretchy, tube dress with a yellow and black "caution tape" running diagonally down the bodice - looked pretty plain and simple. Disappointing. And Daniel V's tweed skirt and pouffy, silk organza blouse. Oh my god. Loved it! And Chloe's puffy, pleated, and ribboned dress actually made her model - the redhead anorexic one - look beautiful. I didn't really have the urge to give her a sandwich this time.

So the question remains: On the runway, will Rachael nail the walk for Nick?

Yes, chile, she sure does. There were hips, there was sexiness, there was a come-hither pose at the end. Take that, Zulema!

Okay. Jay thought Andrae's dress was the most inspiring? How could Andrae's dress, made out of fine fabrics, match the "you turned something ugly into something beautiful" theme? Burlap? Cotton? Muslin? Maybe. But silk charmeuse? Give me a break.

Jay was not even trying to hear Nick and Kara's stories.

The judges totally rip apart Zulema's dress. Michael Kors says the dress looks like it was a debutante dress gone bad, home sewn by the girl's mother who's not such a great sewer. Nina Garcia says that the dress was poorly executed. Karma's a bitch!

Santino gets props for not putting all that bullshit on his dress this episode, even if it ended up looking like a maternity evening gown. Ironically, Heidi says that if he did put all his usual trims on the garment, it would have actually WORKED this time.

Daniel V. wins the challenge. And he deserved it. And I love his hair.

Zulema's gets The Auf. Which only goes to prove that bullies never win out in the end. SNAP!

Santino is spared again! But for how much longer?

Jan 25, 2006


This bit of Dubya-induced cognitive dissonance from Atrios via the WaPo:
The Bush administration rejected a 2002 Senate proposal that would have made it easier for FBI agents to obtain surveillance warrants in terrorism cases, concluding that the system was working well and that it would likely be unconstitutional to lower the legal standard.

The proposed legislation by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) would have allowed the FBI to obtain surveillance warrants for non-U.S. citizens if they had a "reasonable suspicion" they were connected to terrorism -- a lower standard than the "probable cause" requirement in the statute that governs the warrants.

But now, as Americablog says, the Bush administration's current argument in support of their domestic spying "program" directly contradicts their reasons for opposing the very same legislation back in 2002. That the 2002 legislation went "too far."

Does this administration really have any idea of what "too far" is? Hardly. They're so far gone, they've lost all perspective of what is constitutional. Or what it means to govern.

And to think, in 2002, while the dust was settling and the debris was being carried away from Ground Zero, Dubya and crew had pretty much had the spying program they wanted handed to them on a silver platter, and they rejected it.

Word 'round the campfire is that Blogger Glenn Greenwald from Unclaimed Territory was the one responsible for breaking the story.

The Administration rejected DeWine's 2002 amendment for two reasons:
  1. That FISA didn't really pose any challenge in obtaining the necessary warrants when needed.
  2. That the proposal itself was ... wait for it ... wait for it ... unconstitutional.
Read more of Greenwald's post for the more subtle points.

Of course, this is new development is very provocative. Could it very well lead us down the path of impeachment?

WaPo and the LA Times have picked up the story. Here's yet another opportunity for the SCLM to bust this story wide open. Let's see if that happens.

Shake Your PopoZao


That's how Kevin Federline, aka Mr. Britney Spears, describes what I assume to be his debut single.

Here's a clip of him rocking out to it. Look at the expression on the face, as if this is the hardest, funkiest, most original shit ever written. Ever.

I also think it's funny how he tries to mouth along with the lyrics, but stops, as if he doesn't really know them. Isn't this his cut?

Anyway. It's entertaining, at least.

I know, I should be blogging about more serious things, like how Google is betraying its own mission by censoring itself in China, how Alito is most likely going to be confirmed, how Rick Santorum advocated bumper stickers as a sufficient means to support the troops and then subsequently flipped out today, etc.

But I don't really have anything new to say. So. K-Fed it is.

P.S. Apparently, "Popozao" means "big ass" in Portugese. In case you were wondering.

Jan 24, 2006

WTF is up with Nebraska's Ben Nelson?

In a move that didn't really shock anyone I'm sure, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Alito's confirmation, and now it's all eyes on the Senate to see if they'll do a swift up-or-down vote.

Aside: Why is it called "up-or-down" and not a "yes-or-no" vote?


I'm not optimistic that Alito will be rejected. From Reuters:
So far, just one of the Senate's 44 Democrats -- Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- has announced he will vote for Alito. All but about a handful of others are expected to oppose his appointment to the lifetime post.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he would oppose the nomination. "It is unfortunate the president made such a divisive nomination."

"At a time when the president is abusing his power at every turn, I cannot vote to confirm a judge who won't be an independent check on the executive branch," Reid said.
Why, Ben Nelson? Why? Look at your constituency. Is the possibility of an overturning of Roe v. Wade really what Nebraskans want? (Emphasis mine.)
This state [Nebraska] is more conservative than most, but polls indicate that Nebraskans view abortion rights much as the rest of the country does: A 2000 survey conducted by the Omaha World-Herald found that 72 percent of residents favor keeping abortion legal at least in limited circumstances.

Yet Nebraska has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Women must attend state-directed counseling and wait 24 hours before they can undergo the procedure. At least one parent must be notified before a minor can get an abortion.

Whatever happened to stare decisis?

Jan 23, 2006

What the hell?

Am I the only one having problems with Blogger today?

I make one tiny change to my template and preview it. Everything looks fine. So I go to save the changes. Saving goes fine. Then I go to "republish," and that's where Blogger gets all screwy. First of all, there was an error (don't even ask, as if I could even explain, but it had to do with something like, "unable to find," "thread," and an old post of mine). Then Blogger started to look funny. Now all my stuff looks screwy.

I am hoping this is just a bad dream and everything will be OK tomorrow.

Somebody hold me.

UPDATE, 7:07 p.m.: Okay, so everything is A-OK now. Weird.

Jan 22, 2006

Putting the "bar" in "barbarian"

It's about that time again, when my favorite group of bloggers, the BARBARians, get together this Saturday, Jan. 28, for some beers and wonderful conversation.

Come join us - we have some money left over from the last get together, so the first few pitchers of beers are free (to you, anyway).

That'll last us ... oh, anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour or two, depending on how many of you wonderful and thirsty folks show up.

Click here for the key tidbits of info.

Hope to see you all there!

And Brother Kenya and Seamus, this means you!

Jan 19, 2006

Say my name

Since my last post was about sex and libido, I thought I'd end the day with this touching story out of Thailand.

After two years of being strictly platonic, pandas Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui finally got busy.

In case you were wondering:
The pandas started the mating dance Sunday with a mock wrestling bout, according to officials at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand. From there, the pair began sniffing one another on Tuesday and mated later in the day.

"The pandas are very happy. For the last two days, they have made love together," said Rossukhon Chuicomwong, head of public relations for the Chiang Mai Zoo. "We are so happy because maybe we'll have a baby panda soon."


The Thai press Wednesday was filled with photos of the black and white bears mating. Hundreds of visitors gathered at the zoo to watch the ritual, which officials expect will continue for two or three days.
Here's a picture of Chuang Chuang enjoying the panda version of the post-coital cigarette:

No word yet on whether Chuang Chuang plans to call Lin Hui within the industry-standard two-day waiting period.

(Photo credit: Reuters/handout and AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Coffee perks

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but I could take one for the team and start up again:
Now a cup of coffee could also hold the key to boosting a woman's sex drive, a study suggests.

Scientists say caffeine lifts the female libido by stimulating parts of the brain that govern arousal.
Not that I'm saying I need any help in this arena or anything, but I'm always up for trying the latest afro-dizzyack.

Project Runway After Party

Episode 7: On Thin Ice
In this week's episode, our lovely Project Runway contestants were told that they'll each get a USPS package the next morning, so our designers go back to the Atlas and wait. And wonder what the hell they're going to be asked to do next.

Okay, how come Andrae has a picture of himself on his night stand?

Project Runway Veteran Robert, dressed as a US postal worker, personally delivered some packages, one for each contestant. Leave it to Project Runway to find a reason to bring back the hot beefcake dude from last season.

Heh heh. Each of them got some nasty figure skating uniform to wear. Out. In public.

Poor Emmett. His outfit, a fuschia blouson top and tight black pants looked - as Nick put it - "like International Male gone g-g-g-g-gay." Even with his trademark white hat, he still looked the fool. Foreshadow, much?

The point of all this is that our contestants are now tasked to design an outfit/costume/dress/leotard (what the hell do you call these things?) for an ice skater. So who are they designing for? Sasha Cohen. I don't even know who she is. Some famous ice skater. I dunno. My knowledge of figure skaters pretty much ends with Kristi Yamaguchi (Bay Area, represent!). Anyway, so Sasha takes some time out of her twirling to give our designers a mini ice-skating lesson. This was a pretty good exercise, actually, because it brought everyone back to the same level - they all looked pretty clumsy and dorky on the ice, and they were able to forget about the competition for a minute.

They get two days and $150 to create the ice skating dress. And they can't change their clothing to go to the store to buy their fabric and supplies.

Of course in NYC, this looks perfectly normal.

Uh oh, Zulema admits she's never used sequins or trims before. Yikes! And Santino must have been in trims and notions heaven. Come to think about it, Santino's lingerie from Episode 4 would have been perfect here. Maybe.

The "overlock machine," a sewing machine designed specifically to stitch stretch fabric, breaks. Andrae takes it upon himself to take on the role of technical support and fixes the machine while everyone else works on their garments. This leaves him behind schedule. Man, I hope he doesn't cry on the runway again.

And we have our first bitchy comment from Daniel V! When Tim comes to review Kara's design, Daniel's observation was that it was very basic - and not "Calvin Klein basic, but more like JC Penney basic."


On Day 2, the overlock machine breaks again. This time, the needle breaks in half. Chloe blames it on the machine, while Andrae blames it on the person who touches the machine as being "the only variable."

So everyone has to hand-sew their leotards. And Santino anticipates what Michael Kors is going to say about his outfit, and how it looks like a baboons ass. And yet when it comes to the final fitting, what does he do? Adds more bullshit. Even his model was like, "Um, this is too much now."

And when your human mannequin starts to get an opinion, that's a sign you better slow your roll with the trims. I'm just saying, Santino.

On the runway, I think Nick's design was the best, Chloe's was very nice too, with the turqoise layers of chiffon. Zulema's creation, a swirly concoction at once sexy and provocative yet still demure, was the judges' favorite. She wins the challenge.

Santino's "phoenix from the flame" had some nice aspects from the waist up, but it was described as "Carmen Miranda on acid." The key argument from Michael Kors is that Santino, despite all his designs and creativity, fails to see the woman he's designing for.

Emmett's design was described as being too "vulgar" because it showed too much vag. Plus it was also described as "dowdy," and not any different from the typical ice skating dresses you've already seen on TV.

I am at the point where I like every designer. I'll be sad to see any one leave from here on out. Unfortunately, this time Emmett gets Heidi's auf wiedersehen. She said his design was "stale." Ouch!

Emmett manages to leave on a funny note, asking the judges if it was the fuschia shirt that was his downfall. Oh, Emmett, I'll miss you.

I think next week's episode looks like it's going to be drama filled. I think Zulema's gonna steal Nick's model. Oh SNAP! And it looks like Jay, the winner from last season's Project Runway, is going to be the guest judge. Yay!

Jan 17, 2006


So the White House is calling Al Gore a hypocrite in response to Gore's blistering speech yesterday, in which Gore said that Dubya has broken the law engaging in warrantless domestic spying. He also accused Hillary Clinton - who said that the Bush administration was "one of the worst" in U.S. history - as playing politics.

Scott McClellan, always with that damn shifty-eyed, constipated, I-hate-my-job look he has, said that:
[T]he Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in warrantless physical searches, and he cited an FBI search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a judge. He said Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in physical searches without warrants.

"I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds," McClellan said of Gore.
That's it? That's the White House official retort? "They did it too"?

However, the Aldrich Ames case isn't even the same instance:
[A]t the time that of the Ames search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required warrants for electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under legislation that Clinton supported and signed.
Even if FISA did cover physical searches, "they did it too" is a weak ass argument.

The Dead Guy.

I've seen a bunch of people trying to promote people to vote for their blogs for "Best of" lists.

Now, I've never been one to promote myself or anything, so I'm not going to do that here. But ...

I would like to encourage you to vote for Dead Guy: The Cartoon for "Most Humorous Blog." Do it because it's funny, and because I.M. Dedd has the best caricature of Mr. Go Fuck Yourself I've seen anywhere.

You can vote for the Dead Guy here.

Jan 16, 2006

Al Gore's Speech Today

It's speeches like this that remind me of why I voted for Al Gore in the first place. And it's a thought that is bittersweet. Sure, the guy had the personality of a Honeybaked Ham, but the man knew his shit. Check it out:
The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm.

Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.

Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws.
Kind of interesting to think what our country would be like today had Dubya not stolen the election.

News Hounds has a transcript of Gore's speech here.

I wanna rock and roll all night, and drink coffee every day!

KISS fans rejoice!

The aging rock band is set to open the KISS Coffeehouse this spring in Myrtle Beach.
Don't expect the same old laid-back coffee place.

Envision servers donning the trademark KISS face paint for special occasions and KISS classics blaring as a machine whips up the trademark KISS Frozen Rockuccino or a French KISS Vanilla.

"This concept is a little different," said Brian Galvin, a KISS fan for 31 years who developed the coffeehouse idea. "It's a stimulating environment to drink a stimulating beverage
I wonder if applicants will be screened for tongue length and ability to spit blood. [Right? Gene Simmons used to do that, right?]

Oh geez:
Myrtle Beach offers the perfect stage for a KISS Coffeehouse, Galvin said, because of its appeal to the "Middle America" market, the segment likely to "Rock and Roll All Nite."
Yeah, this'll last.

Props to Ted for the link.

Jan 13, 2006

Joisey's new slogan. You got a problem with that?

New Jersey: Come See For Yourself.

That's the state's new slogan, announced today. Coming soon, to a tourism ad near you.
Officials hope that the catch phrase will boost their tourism by changing the Garden State's image as a home of mobsters, jam-packed highways, ugly oil refineries and ... those chemical smells.

"When it comes to image, New Jersey really cares," Gov. Richard Codey said. "I am proud to be governor of a state that has pride - and shows it."
He better be, because his state paid $260,000 for this.

Out of 80,000 ideas, they narrowed it down to five contenders. Here's the remaining four choices:
  1. "Expect the unexpected"
  2. "Love at first sight"
  3. "The real deal"
  4. "The best kept secret"
Personally, I prefer a slogan I saw on a t-shirt once: "New Jersey: Only the strong survive."

Heh heh.

Props to my homegirl in The Jerz, Amanda, for the link.

Jan 12, 2006

Project Runway After Party

I know I missed last week's episode where the designers had to fabricate a dress for Nicki Hilton. Now that I've seen the 9 p.m. rerun episode, I just have to say: LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Zoolander-inspired designer walk-off. I'm sorry. But Santino was working the Sexy.

It's good to know that Diana's got a little freak in her. I was relieved.

Also, I've noticed that Nina Garcia has been totally rocking the ginormous-pendant-with-tank-top look. Do I smell a trend?

Guadalupe's dress was not very cute, I'll admit. But I'm sorry that she got cut. How can you hate on a girl that can bust a mean centipede? I hate that she's gone!

Now on to this week's episode!

Episode 6: Banana Republic Challenge
In this episode, the designers were tasked to design day-into-evening outfit for a typical Banana Republic customer. Members of the Project Runway Faithful remember that last year, Wendy "The female Richard Hatch without the alleged tax evasion" Pepper won this challenge. Will the most annoying designer clinch the BR Challenge again this season?

The designers were paired in teams of two. And from here, the drama ensues! The winning team of designers gets their outfit produced and sold at select Banana Republic stores. The losing team of two gets eliminated. Two people! Ooooh!

Immediately, you get the sense that people - especially Nick - are getting sick of Santino's braggadocio. It's going to blow up in his face one of these episodes, I just know it. Bring on the catfight!

Two hours before their midnight deadline, Zulema and Kara don't even have a strong design. Yikes. So Zulema takes control, eschewing the popular navy blue silk charmeuse and picking a circular print that no one else touched, while Kara goes hysterical. Zulema's inner bully comes out, but she wins the quote of the day with her "I don't care if you cry and cut, but you gotta cry and cut." Sounds like something I'd say.

But I'm not a bully.

So anyway.

On the day of the runway show with one hour to spare for finishing the garments, fitting the models, and getting them to hair and makeup (honestly, how do they do it?), Zulema and Kara finally finished their dress, and it didn't look half bad.

For the second part of the challenge, each team got a display window at Banana Republic, using their models as live mannequins. Sound the Kim Catrall alarm! They had to create a visual display at the storefront to help sell the outfit. NYC sidewalk gawkers would vote for the display they liked the best. Comeback Kids Zulema and Kara had the best display window by far (although Andrae and Daniel actually got the gawkers' votes), with their Manhattan skyline theme. Phew!

Honestly, all of the final outfits were gorgeous. But Nick and Santino's outfit, while beautiful, I think was a little too edgy for BR. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen BR do an exaggerated kimono sleeve, have you? And I think that after Nick's clumsy answers during the Q&A, this is going to be the end of any future Nick/Santino partnerships.

Diana and Marla's design, according to Heidi, was "dull and cliche." Ouch. They're out.

See you next week!

P.S. Chloe is a midget!

Jan 11, 2006

Lizzie Dole and her survey.

I don't know why, but somehow I got on the mailing list for GOPsenators.com. And I've already posted about the first time Elizabeth Dole sent me something.

This time (the subject line reads "Howard Dean Says We Can't Win"), she wants me to take this "pulse poll" on Iraq. Here's what the "email" says:
Do you agree with Howard Dean and the Cut-and-Run Democrats?

Or do you agree with President Bush who has a sensible plan for a strong, stable and democratic Iraq?

Please vote in our poll now.

I will share your answers with our Republican Senate Leadership. We need to know where you stand.

I also want to know if you think the Democrats are trying to use Iraq for their own partisan political gain.

The Democrats, led by Howard Dean, have increased their calls in recent days for the U.S. to cut-and-run from Iraq.

But their calls ring hollow. On the heels of successful democratic elections in Iraq, it is clear we're making progress.

The Howard Dean Democrats' short-sighted foreign policy prescriptions will not win the war on terror, nor will they help create a free and democratic Iraq. Instead, their cut and run approach would only embolden the terrorists and rogue regimes throughout the world.

I suspect you are just as proud of our men and women in the armed forces who are serving bravely and nobly in Iraq. They deserve our support and our gratitude. And they deserve the chance to finish the job they've been sacrificing to achieve.

Your answers to our poll will help make sure our leadership knows where you stand. They obviously hear the doom-and-gloom in the media everyday. And they're being pummeled by the Democrats seeking partisan advantage.

Our Republican leadership needs to hear from you.

Please complete our poll today.

Thank you and may God bless you.

With heartfelt thanks,
Elizabeth Dole
So of course, I'm taking the poll. And using my real name and address, because well, you know, it's the law.

Get out those message maps!

This just cracked me up.

So for 2006, Bush is trying to again shape the argument and his vision on the Iraq war, so he spoke to some folks in Kentucky today about it.

It's yet another example of how out of touch Dubya is. All scripted-questions aside, this was his answer to a question from a 7-year-old who asked how people can help the war on terrorism:
"One way people can help as we're coming down the pike in the 2006 elections is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm's way and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy."
Do 7-year olds know what "rhetoric" means? Or what it means to be "emboldened"? I mean, maybe it's just me, but I didn't even know how to spell rhetoric until college, when I found out my friend was majoring in it. Sure you have smart kids, you don't need to leave me comments about how your kid's been in MENSA since birth or anything. My point is that his inability to even see his audience, to modify his speech, to basically, humanize things, shows his one-track mindedness when it comes to the way he governs.

This kid was probably like, "huh?"

Jan 10, 2006

Two. Trillion. Dollars.

Still think the war in Iraq is a good thing for democracy and peace? How about the effect it's going to have on our economy?

Marie Antoinette over at Let Them Eat Cake points out that after all is said and done with this War on Terr, the costs to us will be somewhere in the area of two trillion dollars.

This ungodly amount - derived from analysis from professors from Columbia (Joseph Stiglitz) and Harvard (Linda Bilmes) - accounts for certain long-term costs that the Bush Administration, in their creative accounting, decidedly leaves out, such as long-term health care for veterans. From the BBC:

Professor Stiglitz says 20% of injured US personnel have brain injuries, 6% have had amputations and another 20% have other serious injuries.

On the strength of evidence from previous conflicts, he said, still others will have various health and mental problems in the future.

There will be disability pay and health care costs to the US budget that will continue for several decades.

His figures also include the loss to the economy from injured people being unable to contribute as productively as they would otherwise have done.
Of course, the White House hasn't commented.

Jan 9, 2006


How the fuck is this constitutional?
"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
Aside from the use of the most annoying word ever - utilize - this new federal law totally goes above and beyond the whole "yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre" test. How the hell can anonymous comments that annoy be unlawful? Last I remember from a past constitutional law class, simply being "annoying" was still protected speech.


Here again is an example of our civil liberties being taken away from us. But then again, what else is new with this administration? I'm not even surprised at this.

Shall we all clasp hands and sing "Kumbaya" now? Now that I think about it, singing "Kumbaya" is annoying.

Hmm ...

You get what you pay for, I guess.

Jack London Square residents are complaining about the dearth of construction going around in their neighborhood.
All the construction is driving residents crazy — not because they oppose new development but because it is happening all at once, and construction crews do not always adhere to the rules regarding work hours and parking of construction vehicles.

"I think that most of the residents are sort of willing to put up with it because we've been waiting for the area to be developed, but you wonder how much you have to choke down at one time," said Kathy Lemmon, a freelance copywriter who has lived in a low-rise loft development on Fourth Street for eight years.
This reminds me of the complaints many years ago from residents in SF's SoMa district complaining that the nightly crowds from the neighborhood's bars and clubs were disruptive and noisy and just needed to be stopped.

Living smack dab in these kinds of neighborhoods, you've got to know what you're getting into. And yes, it's annoying and loud, but my message to these folks is twofold:
1) You should have known about the construction and expected it to be like it is.
2) Be patient. You'll more than double your investment once the construction is all done, I'm sure.

So cool it.

No way, DeLay

Looks like The Hammer can't catch a break. A Texas court denied DeLay's request to throw out the criminal money laundring charges and also denied him the opportunity to have a "quick" trial, no doubt stemming from Jack Abramoff's recent guilty plea and questions about just how close the DeLay/Abramoff relationship was.

Faced with a possible life in prison sentence if convicted, it's no wonder DeLay is trying to get these charges thrown out of court. Kudos to the Texas court (man, I never thought I'd say that) for holding fast. Perhaps this is the tipping point in terms of exposing the systemic corruption that's going on in our legislature. It's also a moment of truth for the Republican party, according to the Washington Post (emphasis mine):
[T]here is a more fundamental question that the Abramoff mess, and the DeLay departure, ought to prompt House leaders to ask themselves -- or that voters may ask, and answer, for them: What is the purpose of the Republican majority? Is it simply, as some of the leadership's behavior would suggest, to amass, cement and retain power by whatever means necessary? Or, as Republicans claimed when they came to power a decade ago, do they stand for something: a different method of doing business, a belief in limited government, commitment to spending restraint? If there is a role for the Republican machine other than self-perpetuation, it's awfully hard to discern right now. That, as much as anything, ought to be what the upcoming leadership elections are about.

If anything, this just goes to prove that the current lesson learned from what I've seen in today's GOP is of a failure to effectively lead this country. More often than not, it seems to me that the Republican Party exists because of an almost gluttonous appetite for domination: They have everything - control of all three branches of government; unlimited [ill-gotten] wealth; and undue influence in the media, corporate structure, the healthcare and biotech industries, religion. It's almost as if the party is this huge monster, feeding on everything it can get its hands on. Binging to the point of unmitigated excess.

Hopefully, until now. It's time to purge.

(Photo credit: Fun with DeLay's mug shot found here.)

Jan 8, 2006

Robertson's diarrhea of the mouth

Is Pat Robertson's latest bullshit fragmenting the Conservative Christian base?

On Jan. 5, Robertson said that Israeli Prime Minister's stroke was divine retaliation, really, for "dividing God's land."

Okay, seriously? I don't think God gives two shits about land and borders and who owns what and real estate.

It's inflammatory comments like this [Robertson's, not what I just said about God not giving two shits] that are making conservatives speak out against him. From the New York Times:

His old friends and allies in the conservative Christian movement are cringing with embarrassment, giving interviews ruing his remarks. "He speaks for an ever-diminishing number of American evangelicals, and that process accelerates every time he makes a statement like this," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Os Guinness, a prominent Christian writer and social critic, said: " I know hundreds of people who are just terminally frustrated with the idiotic public statements of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and the idea that these people represent us. They don't."

Donald Wildmon, the founder and head of American Family Association and American Family Radio, said: "Pat's comments were most unfortunate. I don't think this served our cause very well."

So now you see why conservative Christians freak me out? It's because of the Pat Robertsons, James Dobsons, Jerry Falwells, and Fred Phelps's of the world. And while there very well may be some conservatives who actually agree with the manure that springs forth from Robertson's mouth, there will be a time when Robertson's influence will no longer carry as much weight. Either conservatives' views will become more tolerant (unlikely), or they'll find another talking head who has a little more tact.

The current distancing from Robertson is pretty funny. Keep doing what you're doing, crazy old man. More and more people will begin to realize what you and your "movement" stands for. Maybe then, folks will see that your views are about as unamerican and unchristian as can be.

Jan 5, 2006

Project Runway After Party

I'm a bad blogger.

I've been so preoccupied with my move that I totally forgot about Project Runway last night. And dammit, this week's challenge was to design a party dress for the better Hilton sister, Nicky.

Here's what Tim, dean of the Parsons School, had to say about last night's episode.


Jan 4, 2006

The next blockbuster hit!

Props to Rich for this gem.

Jan 3, 2006

A great day for the coal miners

UPDATE - 1/04/06, 11:12 A.M.: BARBARian colleague Blogenlust links to an article showing the Sago Mine was cited for 208 alleged safety violations last year. What a tragedy.

UPDATE - 12:39 A.M.: ABC News is now reporting that 11 of the 12 trapped West Virginia miners have died. Phuque. So much for miracles.

Thanks to Earth Sentinel for the heads up. I was going to change the title of this post using that strikethrough thingy, but I don't know how to do it. I guess this title, as it stands, has a touch of bitter irony to it.

My original post appears below.
According to this article, 12 out of the 13 coal miners in Tallmansville, W. Va. have been found alive. Phew.

A few minutes after word came, the throng, several hundred strong, broke into a chorus of the hymn "How Great Thou Art," in a chilly, night air.

"Miracles happen in West Virginia and today we got one," said Charlotte Weaver, wife of Jack Weaver, one of the men who had been trapped in the mine.

"I got scared a lot of times, but I couldn't give up," she said. "We have an 11-year-old son, and I couldn't go home and tell him, 'Daddy wasn't coming home."'

There were hugs and tears among the crowd outside the Sago Baptist Church near the mine, about 100 miles northeast of Charleston.

Helen Winans, whose son Marshall Winans, is one of those trapped said she believes there was divine intervention.

"The Lord takes care of them," she said.

Okay, okay. Stop groaning at the religious stuff. Sometimes when people face dire situations, they turn to religion. Just give them this moment. Divine intervention or not, it's a great thing that most of the miners survived. The family of the 13th miner whose body was found must surely be devastated.

What is more devastating is this: I remember watching the Today show this morning and Matt Lauer (or someone) interviewing one of the coal miner's daughters (no Loretta Lynn jokes, please). She was saying that her dad had pretty much hated his job and had only been working at that particular mine for six months. And the conditions at this mine were pretty poor - at least that's the impression she gave. She said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that there was a lot more water at this mine, and the company had to give each of the miners a new pair of workboots because of it. I guess that makes things bad. What do I know. I'll be curious to see if there was any negligence on the parent company's part.

I don't know why - despite this article stating safety in mining is on the upswing - coal mining still needs to be done by people. Isn't there a way to automate this process? Regardless of the steep decline in fatalities, mining still looks to me like a very dangerous job. With coal mining specifically, you're dealing with carbon monoxide and explosions caused by a buildup of methane gas. There's honor in every kind of job, but why put yourself at risk?

Scalito Blend

Supreme Court Justice Nominee Samuel “Scalito Lite” Alito has a coffee blend named after him at some 125-year-old roastery in The Jerz.
[T.M. Ward Coffee Co.] sells a popular coffee called Alito Bold Justice, made and named for the federal judge, who has been a regular customer at the store near the federal courthouse since 1987.

The brew was concocted for Alito five years ago as a birthday present. But sales of the coffee have taken off since President Bush tapped the New Jersey native in November to fill a seat on the nation's highest court.

Calls and e-mails have come in from all over the country, including Texas (a red state) and California (a blue state). Alito bought 44 pounds of the blend — at $7.95 per pound — before Christmas, [Sales Clerk Vera] Barbosa said.

It’s a blend of Indo-Pacific coffees and some dark roasts. I don't know what the coffee origins of Ward's Italian and espresso roasts, but I would wager to say that they're probably from Latin America. And now that we have documentation that shows Scalito's views that skew conservative, I gotta ask: What does this special blend say about him? Mellow, earthy, and smooth yet ... burnt?
Lawrence Herrmann, a former U.S. attorney in Connecticut and self-described liberal Democrat, said the Alito blend is telling.

"It's a pretty strong roast, but he's a pretty strong guy. He has strong principles," said Herrmann, 70, who stopped by for a cup of Alito last week. "I think having a strong blend of coffee named for him is better than an herbal tea with hibiscus."

Herbal teas aren't really "teas," per se. They're what's called "tisanes," but that's a whole other blog entry. What if Scalito was a tea drinker instead? What would that say about him? Hmm...

Jan 2, 2006

Seriously, what's up with Florida?

A man in Lake County, Fla. threatened to kill a sheriff's deputy and then injured a man in his neighborhood yesterday. This man, Roy Lee Henson, also claims he's Satan.
When deputies arrived, they found Roy Lee Henson walking with his boxer shorts around his ankles and screaming wildly, according to the report.

He faces charges of aggravated assault on a officer, resisting arrest with violence, exposure of sexual organs and disorderly conduct.
Jeb must be so proud.

Jan 1, 2006

A Former Food Critic's Lament

Salon had this interesting piece written by Ann Bauer, self-proclaimed "restaurant slut." In this article, she talks about how the practice of writing restaurant reviews started out fun and glitzy and just unreal in terms of the level of privilege she received while dining out, and then how it turned into such a "job," and how the pleasure started fading away. She likens her experience to a scene in "Klute," in which Jane Fonda, an aspiring actress and prostitute, shifts between the requisite sultriness required of her by her client, to ambivalence and annoyance. How food writing "becomes work," essentially.
But food is linked to religion, history and culture. It defines ethnic groups, brings families together, and plays a role in the rituals around everything from holidays to executions. Jesus had his Last Supper, condemned men have theirs. For a novelist, this was rich stuff.

So I wrote stories about how fresh fish is sourced and shipped to the Midwest. About a slow-food chef who used only organic ingredients found within a 250-mile radius and a southern Minnesota farm that raised ducks humanely. A restaurateur whose caustic ad campaign caused picket lines to form. And a local line cook with bipolar disorder who burned through a dozen fine dining jobs before opening a Gothic-themed breakfast spot downtown.

But my signature was to interview people over dinner. It proved my theory that food is a platform upon which we build relationships and share confidences. Sitting knee-to-knee at a candlelit table, people would tell things they'd never revealed. Not shocking behind-bedroom-doors sorts of things, but facets of their stories no one had ever before heard. A famous conductor told me how his faith in God had shaped his music. A National Book Award winner admitted that she'd been surprised and frightened by her last pregnancy, at age 47.

I wrote traditional reviews, too, but I tended to avoid the places so hot only people who knew someone could get in. Restaurants opened to great fanfare, but I waited. Sometimes up to six months. And when I did visit I went casually, often without a reservation, sussing out the attitude of the wait staff toward unknown customers, pretending all the time it was my own money that was on the line. How would I feel if I'd hired a baby sitter, put on high heels for the first time in a month, and blown $200 on this meal?

Then Wolfgang Puck announced he was opening a restaurant at the newly expanded Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. So I flew out to California to interview him. It was the first week of January; back home, the temperature was below zero. But I was sitting in the courtyard at Spago in Beverly Hills. Over three utterly hedonistic hours, I was served a "taste" of everything Puck and his chefs could dream up: tiny pumpernickel blini with smoked salmon and caviar; French prawns in a fiery red-and-yellow curry; fatted duck breast studded with bacon, black truffle and dates.

Unlike Ms. Bauer, I'm all about the food. The act of dining out. Dissecting flavor. Tasting, and talking about what I taste. I work in the specialty food industry. It's what we do. And I could totally get down with this gig.

But alas, I don't think my attempts at restaurant crits are that great. I need more practice or something. It's harder than it looks. If only my reviews could be as funny as Drew's. But anyway, I digress. In grad school, some friends of mine in the journalism program (I was in the PR program - don't judge) took a class that focused on writing restaurant reviews. I wanted to change programs right then. But knowing that was impractical, I decided to tag along with them, writing my own reviews. I've even tried to write one for this blog.

I've thought about doing some kind of web-based outlet for my reviews - but then again, how could I differentiate myself from all the other online restaurant review sites out there? I have to give this more thought.

And now with the new apartment, my days of fine dining will surely be limited to very special occasions and dates - assuming I will have dates in 2006.

Heh heh.