Aug 30, 2007

Alfred Peet, 1920-2007

Alfred Peet, coffee revolutionary, passed away at his home in Ashland, Oregon yesterday.

When Alfred Peet opened his shop in Berkeley in April, 1966 he started a coffee revolution. Nobody had ever seen top-quality coffee like this roasted in this unique style in America. The corner of Walnut and Vine quickly became a gathering place for UC Berkeley grads, undergrads, and faculty as well as local intellectuals, radicals, writers, musicians, artisans and any number of the colorful people who still make up Berkeley today.

Thank you, Mr. Peet, for helping me understand just how amazing a cup of coffee can be.

Aug 27, 2007

Oh, the irony

Bush said it's "sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person" is impeded "from doing important work."

Oh yes. Let me count the ways ...

(Cross-posted on BIO.)

UPDATE: Oh Carpetbagger, how I so love you and your astute observations.

Aug 26, 2007

For all you U.S. Americans

Miss Teen South Carolina offers up a cautionary tale regarding the reasons behind our nation's crumbling public school system:

(Props to BYO.)

Aug 24, 2007

Happy Friday

Let's get this party started right.

(With mad props to Stachmo, via Chloe.)

Aug 22, 2007

Mr. Groening, I'm ready for my closeup

So, I tried that Simpsonize Me thing, and this is what I got:

Not too bad. Of course, I had to do it again. This is what I got the second time around:
Life as a cartoon? Not too shabby. I don't know how I ended up with blue hair, though.

I beg to differ

But then again, I live in Oakland:
There have been major changes in the rankings this year. The winner: San Francisco, up from fourth place. It ranked first for culture and received high marks for number of singles, nightlife, online dating and cool.
All I'm saying is if you know anyone, hook a sister up.

Aug 15, 2007

GOP Attempts to Shake Up CA Electoral College Votes

I just got a phone call from one of those survey people.

"A political survey?" I asked. "Sure, I have time!"

I have to admit, I haven't really been too familiar with the GOP's recent attempt at getting a measure on the CA ballot that would effectively change how many electoral votes go to candidates in this state.
A group called Californians for Equal Representation has submitted a ballot initiative to state Attorney General Jerry Brown that would change the current statewide winner-take-all system to a formula based on congressional districts.

Republicans say the idea is aimed at attracting presidential candidates to campaign in California, which they rarely do because the statewide vote traditionally leans Democratic. Opponents call the proposal an attempt to grab Democratic votes.

Under the proposal, the winning candidate in each of the state's 53 congressional districts would get one electoral vote, with two votes going to the statewide winner.

Supporters want to put the proposal on the ballot for next June's state primary, which would put the change into effect for the 2008 election.

Now I'm glad I actually answered this call, because it affirmed that my gut feeling about this --- to vote against what it is they're trying to propose --- was in line with how I feel now, after reading a little bit more about it.

Is the GOP so afraid they're going to lose control over the government, such that they're going to try and propose legislation to skew results in their favor? Also, why should California change, when few other states allocate their electoral votes in the same way? It'll take more states than Nebraska and Maine --- who are already divvying up electoral votes in this way --- to change my mind. If all 50 states were required to do this, that would seem a little more fair to me. As it stands, this looks like a desperate attempt to secure votes.

Gerrymandering, anyone?

If we really want to make any sort of election reform, why not just get rid of the electoral college altogether?

(Cross-posted on BIO.)

Aug 14, 2007

Don't Tell My Mom ...

... about Mistral Air - she'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat [emphasis mine, of course]:

A slogan by a new, Vatican-approved charter service leaves little doubt about what its clients are doing at 30,000 feet: "I'm Searching for Your Face, Lord."

Mistral Air plans to shuttle Catholic pilgrims around the globe to holy sites, including the shrine of Fatima in Portugal and the shrine of the Madonna of Guadalupe in Mexico.

"The spirit of this new initiative is to meet the growing demand by pilgrims to visit the most important sites for the faith," Father Cesare Atuire at the Vatican pilgrimage office, the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, told La Repubblica daily.

Repubblica said Mistral Air's slogan will be emblazoned on material throughout the aircraft, which will be operated by Italy's postal service.

The debut charter flight late this month will be to the shrine of Lourdes in France, and will lure pilgrims with one added bonus -- the guide will be Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the former head of the Italian Bishops Conference, Repubblica said.

Props to Bellamomo for the link.

Aug 13, 2007

"Goodbye, Good Riddance."

That was the official statement from John Edwards regarding Karl Rove's resignation.

I think I just found myself a favorite Democratic candidate for '08.


We truly live in interesting times, my friends.

A TV show inspired by a series of commercials?

Apparently the folks at ABC love the Geico "It's so easy a caveman can do it" series of ads that they built a "high-profile sitcom" around it.

Geico says they have no control over the show's content, but I don't see them complaining about what is essentially a 30-minute ad for their insurance. Nor do other insurers like Aflac, State Farm, et al, who aren't exactly rushing to buy ad time.

Aaah, the power of the brand.

My expectation about "Cavemen" is that, like everything else, the network will manage to screw it up somehow and rob the cavemen of all of the existential irony that makes those ads so funny.

Doughboy Resigns

Karl "Doughboy" Rove sent his resignation today. The Today show cited the reason being that he wants to "spend more time with his family," which in my line of work is code for:
  • They asked me to resign
  • I'm quitting before you can fire me
  • I totally screwed things up, so I'm leaving before you can hold me accountable
Of course, Rove says that his resignation is totally legit. Of course he would.

Some will continue to consider Rove as a brilliant political strategist, which I won't disagree with. Unfortunately, he used his powers for evil, not for good. I don't have time to go into it right now, but this article in the Atlantic Monthly (subscription required) did a great analysis on Rove, and how his hubris and arrogance basically screwed up the great opportunity he had to make some real change happen.

As usual, The Carpetbagger Report offers some great commentary.

Aug 8, 2007


Anyone who's watched a zombie movie or two knows this can't be good:
Aug. 7, 2007 — Microorganisms locked in Antarctic ice for 100,000 years and more came to life and resumed growing when given warmth and nutrients in a laboratory.

Researchers led by Kay Bidle of Rutgers University tested five samples of ice ranging in age from 100,000 years to 8 million years.

"We didn't really know what to expect. We knew that microorganisms were really hardy," Bidle, an assistant professor of marine and coastal sciences, said in a telephone interview.

Aug 7, 2007

Badge of Shame

This ranks right up there with the Metallica-as-torture tactic in terms of sheer silliness:
(AP) BANGKOK, Thailand Thai police officers who break rules will be forced to wear hot pink armbands featuring "Hello Kitty," the Japanese icon of cute, as a mark of shame, a senior officer said Monday.

Police officers caught littering, parking in a prohibited area, or arriving late - among other misdemeanors - will be forced to stay in the division office and wear the armband all day, said Police Col. Pongpat Chayaphan. The officers won't wear the armband in public.
I was more of a My Melody fan growing up, so the idea me having to wear this around say, the office, might be enough of a deterrent for me. I dunno, man. Hello Kitty used to be really cool, but some time in the late 90s, she was e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, and continues to be everywhere to this day.

Even on the armbands of litter-happy police officers in Thailand.

Props to Bellamomo for the link.

Aug 6, 2007

Oh, to be a woman.

Cholesterol be damned, I'm craving me some buffalo wings. Like, right now.

Problem: I don't know of any places around me.

So if you live in the Bay Area, are a buffalo wing lover with a discriminating palate (e.g. if your suggestion is to try "Hooters," then don't bother leaving me a comment), and you are familiar with the East Bay, help a sister out.

Aug 4, 2007