Monday, September 29, 2008

Casper and McCain - Separated At Birth?

I think they're about the same age...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SNL On Palin - 2

McCain's Gambling Jones

"Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings."

It's not illegal and it doesn't bother me that John Mc Cain enjoys gambling (as long as it's not with my money), but those pesky Evangelicals don't like it very much.

For me, it's the steady "Drip, Drip" of his lobbying connections that are so troubling. (Plus, I'd be interested in Cindy's take on it.)

Tom and Gisele

This photo of Tom Brady and his girlfriend Gisele Bundchen returning to their condo in Manhattan after shopping last week makes me really, really sad.

No, not for the reasons you might be thinking -- supermodel girlfriend, Amex card with no limit, condo in Manhattan – well maybe the condo in Manhattan a little bit.

I’m sad because even though this is probably what he would have been doing anyway during the Patriots’ bye week, he’s not going to play again this season.

I know that the economic crisis is serious, but this is worse. Much worse.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Crop Circles

This photo of an Ohio cornfield is said to show a likeness of Sarah Palin.

Mel Gibson was unavailable for comment,but Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark characterized the development as "Beeezaaar!!"


We were watching an episode of "Mad Men" last night and Gail, commenting on one of the characters, exclaimed "Updo!"

A few weeks ago, I spotted a sign in the window of a hair salon in Cambridge that read "Updos," and asked Gail what that meant. She explained it to me, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later, when Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, that I really got the concept.

This photo from today's New York Times of her recent "briefing" by Henry Kissinger interweaves the style (and bad memories) of the 1960s with 2008.

And Henry The K looks like he's just had a little bit of a Jill St. John flashback

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fashion Update: Accessorize

"At hospitals, as at Tiffany’s, ruby-colored bracelets are far preferable to amethyst.

New York’s 11 public hospitals are at the forefront of a national movement to standardize color coding of hospital wristbands to designate patient conditions, in which purple — the color of amethyst — means “Do Not Resuscitate.”

Red, or ruby, indicates allergies, while yellow — call it amber — marks someone at risk for falling."

I will be shocked if this movement does not spawn a fashion trend, given the current ubiquity of colored bracelets commemorating everything from surviving cancer to preserving Social Security. I know that yellow is for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but I couldn’t tell you anything about any other color.

I'm going to have to get one of the purple “DNR” ones to wear around the Office.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Robber Barons

As I've followed the latest news about the world economic situation, I have been struggling to understand what impact it will have on my own personal economic situation.

I recently read about Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, whose salary and bonus added up to tens of millions of dollars last year. While I'm sure Mr. Fuld's Board of Directors felt that he was creating value for Lehman Brothers and its customers, it sure didn't trickle down to me. But I'm beginning to feel something starting to trickle down over me.

I've also been reading and thinking about all of the "Trophy Houses" (aka "McMansions") I've spotted over the past few years. Most of what I've read is "not in my back yard" stuff, although some of it has to do with public access and environmental concerns.The size and scope of some of these homes remind me of mansions built around the turn of the twentieth century by men like Andrew Carnegie and J. D. Rockefeller, who had amassed tremendous wealth during the Industrial Revolution, and created tangible evidence of that wealth in the form of houses and “cottages” that are visited and admired more than one hundred years later.

While history still characterizes these nineteenth century industrialist millionaires as “Robber Barons” for their exploitation of the working classes, today we love to visit their homes and estates, and we benefit from the work of the foundations their wealth created.

What about the modern Robber Barons – the brokers, bond traders and others who have benefitted so handsomely from the lack of regulation in the marketplace over the last several years, and in the process have done so much harm to the fabric of American life? What will their long-term legacy be, in addition to having the biggest, baddest houses in the neighborhood?

Monday, September 22, 2008


It was very gratifying to see quality rewarded last night at the Emmys, amid all the dreadful writing that embarrassed many of the Presenters, and all the snarky political commentary with which several of the Presenters embarrassed themselves.

Mad Men (photo above), Pushing Daisies, John Adams and In Treatment deserved even more awards than they received, but I’m pleased they were recognized for the exceptional acting, directing and writing that characterize each of them.

I would love to have seen Weeds – and especially Mary Louise Parker – acknowledged with something more than only a nomination (Parker for Best Actress), but as we sports fans say, there’s always next year.

And the parade of fashion is always fun to watch on the Red Carpet in HiDef.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


"The Republicans have discovered that McCain can’t draw a crowd without Palin, and the dangers of letting her float off by herself are apparent. So the two are manacled together these days like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in that old escape-from-a-chain-gang movie."

Gail Collins in yesterday's NYT

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heckuva-Job-Brownie Government, Far North Version

"People should stop picking on vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin because she hired a high school classmate to oversee the state agriculture division, a woman who said she was qualified for the job because she liked cows when she was a kid."

Timothy Egan in today's New York Times

Monday, September 15, 2008

Burn After Reading

Now that we are in the early stages of seasonal change from Summer to Fall in New England, there is finally hope for some good movies for grownups. It seems like we have to wait longer every year to avoid getting our senses assaulted and our intelligence insulted at the cineplex.

“Burn After Reading” provides a glimmer of hope. I sensed that the movie was going to be good shortly after it began, when my eye was distracted by the bright screen of a mobile phone a few rows down on the other side of the aisle. It was young teen, sitting as far away from her mother as she could get so that the mother couldn’t see her texting a friend. I believe that she had seen enough to conclude that even though Brad Pitt and George Clooney were in the movie, she was actually going to have to engage her mind to understand what was going on. As a result, she was no doubt text-whining about how bored she was – until someone got up and asked her to turn the damn thing off, which she did. She then adjourned to the lobby.

It’s not a great movie, but it’s a wonderfully dark and twisted one in which absolutely no one is likeable, and there is no happy ending. There are a lot of laughs along the way if you appreciate a well-written plot, and if you’re willing to engage with it.

At one point in the movie, a senior CIA guy says to one of his underlings:

“Report back to me when it all makes sense.”

He’s the only character in the movie who’s really got a grip.

(Click on the title for a synopsis. Illustration from "The New Yorker" magazine.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Football Prayer

A close family member, aware of recent events in Boston sports, has sent me a lovely and timely e-card:

SNL on Palin

If you missed it last night, click on the title -- it takes a minute or so to boot up

Friday, September 12, 2008

Paglia on Palin

Camille Paglia on Sarah Palin (click on title for more):

"Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist."

"As a dissident feminist, I have been arguing since my arrival on the scene nearly 20 years ago that young American women aspiring to political power should be studying military history rather than taking women's studies courses, with their rote agenda of never-ending grievances. I have repeatedly said that the politician who came closest in my view to the persona of the first woman president was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose steady nerves in crisis were demonstrated when she came to national attention after the mayor and a gay supervisor were murdered in their City Hall offices in San Francisco."

"Feinstein, with her deep knowledge of military matters, has true gravitas and knows how to shrewdly thrust and parry with pesky TV interviewers. But her style is reserved, discreet, mandarin. The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America's pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War -- long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did -- which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end."

"It is certainly premature to predict how the Palin saga will go. I may not agree a jot with her about basic principles, but I have immensely enjoyed Palin's boffo performances at her debut and at the Republican convention, where she astonishingly dealt with multiple technical malfunctions without missing a beat. A feminism that cannot admire the bravura under high pressure of the first woman governor of a frontier state isn't worth a warm bucket of spit."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't Crush That Dwarf...

For eight years, I’ve been hearing “Where’s the Outrage?” in regard to current events, and recalling all the outrage forty years ago over current events of that time.

Now, finally, we have some outrage. Travelocity has been charged with abuse in the treatment of its iconic garden gnome.

As you may have noticed, Travelocity’s television commercials have repeatedly placed the gnome in harm’s way at various travel destinations around the world. Many viewers, concerned for the gnome’s safety and survival, have become outraged.

In response, an international movement has formed to liberate ALL garden gnomes. Movement tactics thus far have included Campus Outreach and a German embargo. Click on the title to view one of the sites.

It’s heartening to discover what you’ll find if you lean your head out far enough from Desolation Row.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Red Sox Nation

Click on the title for The List

Monday, September 8, 2008

Voldemort Hath No Fury...

... like angry Harry Potter fans: "'Within hours of Warner Bros.'s decision to postpone the release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to next July, hate mail began to pour into the studio. An online petition expressing fans' disgust with the decision garnered more than 45,000 signatures. The studio says it even received death threats. "I hope you choke on your own saliva," snarled one fan in an email'" (Click on the title for more)

Politics of Coffee

Coffee Expert Jen says the Obama Blend is pretty on title for a voting update


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Change Agents

"For the first time since 1952, the party holding the White House has nominated someone other than the sitting president or vice president, someone without a vested interest in running on continuity, and at a moment when the party finds it difficult to defend its record from the last eight years.

But as a matter of history, it is easier to run as the opposition party if you actually are the opposition party."

"She gave a tough vice presidential speech, with maybe a few more jabs than necessary. Still it was stupendous to see a young woman emerge from nowhere to give a smart and assertive speech.

And what was most impressive was her speech’s freshness. Her words flowed directly from her life experience, her poise and mannerisms from her town and its conversations. She left behind most of the standard tropes of Republican rhetoric (compare her text to the others) and skated over abortion and the social issues. There wasn’t even any tired, old Reagan nostalgia.

Instead, her language resonated more of supermarket aisle than the megachurch pulpit. More than the men on the tickets, she embodies the spirit of the moment: impatient, fed up, tough-minded, but ironical. Even in attack, she projected the cheerfulness of someone confident about the future.

In those 40 minutes, the forces of reform Republicanism took control, at least for a time."
(Click on the title for the full texts from yesterday's New York Times)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Teenage Marriage

"'The median marrying age for women in the late 1950s was about 19, according to David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and an emeritus professor of sociology there. But a marriage between 19-year-olds — or even 17- or 18-year-olds — then would not have been described as a “teenage marriage,” he said. It was too routine to be given a special label.

There is no way to know how many of those unions were prompted by a pregnancy — a phenomenon that has decreased sharply in the population in recent decades as the marriage rate itself has declined, sociologists say.

Studies show that today teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than are marriages between people 25 years of age and older. The most comprehensive study on marriage and age that sociologists cite was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001, from 1995 data, and it found that 48 percent of those who marry before 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared with 24 percent of those who marry after age 25.'"

(Click on the title for more from today's New York Times)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Sarah Palin said in her acceptance speech last night that the only difference between a pit bull and Sarah Palin the Hockey Mom is lipstick. (Click on the title to watch the speech)

So that would mean the only difference between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin is…lipstick.

I don’t know how he feels about lipstick on his pit bulls, but I’ll bet Michael Vick will be watching the debate between the candidates for Vice President.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Locks and Bagels

We recently took a ninety minute Boston Harbor cruise on a gorgeous Summer Saturday morning.

Unlike the better-known Boston Harbor Cruise, which departs from (and returns to) Long Wharf in Boston, ours (click on the title) departed from (and returned to) the Charles River, just outside CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge (weekend parking $3.99 in the mall garage). And you can get coffee and bagels at Au Bon Pain before you depart.

After passing by the Museum of Science on the Charles River, we waited under the Zakim Bridge for the Boston Harbor Locks to open so that we could enter Boston Harbor.

If you’ve never passed through any kind of locks before, being in a boat as it gradually drops ten feet is certainly a unique experience!

Gail and I must have been the only Bostonians aboard a boat full of tourists, so the Cruise Guide’s chirpy commentary was a little too general for us – especially his take on The Big Dig, which neglected all the ways in which that project has made it easier for us locals to get through and around town.

It’s always a great pleasure to see the USS Constitution, but for me the best part of the cruise was the opportunity it provided to see facets of the city visible only from the water. I never realized that so many beautiful waterfront greenspaces, parks and walking trails had been created as part of the new condominium projects in Charlestown and Cambridge, because they are not visible when you’re trying to navigate the area from behind the wheel of your car.

And in case you were wondering, the new Institute of Contemporary Art is one seriously ugly building when seen from the water. I much prefer the old building on Boylston Street.