November 30, 2003

When Starbuck Wasn’t Coffee

Of course, no discussion of 1980’s Buck Rogers can go far before it turns inevitably to its far superior cousin, Battlestar Galactica. So here, reminisce some more. Oh, if you’ve longed for a fix, how about the soon-to-be released PS2 game, or even better, the Sci Fi channel series, which begins December 8th. From the site:

So we've set out to bring the old boy back to life and give him a new look and a new outlook on life. And we're going to ask him to tell his stories again, from the beginning. Tell them again, but this time go deeper. See, we were young once and when the old guy spun his tales of Apollo and Starbuck, we were satisfied with clear-cut heroes and nakedly evil villains. But we're older now. We've eaten a lot of popcorn over the years. We're ready for a bigger meal.

Sure, I’ll watch … but will they have a Sarah cameo?

Oh … and did you know Battlestar Galactica reflects Mormon doctrine? No? Read here, or here, or visit GalacticaBlog (really!) and judge for yourself.

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Wife and I were just noticing how the theme song for Bernie Mac sounds just like the music they’d play during dance sequences in Buck Rogers. You know, when Buck and Erin Grey would dance on a very 70’s disco-style light-up dance floor, with that little robot, who’d say tongue-in-cheek things like “Get down, Buck!”

Yeah, that music.

Anyway, that led us to talking about Hawk, and how coincidental it was that he happened to fly a spaceship shaped just like a hawk, and how Erin in her tight body suit and short skirt played a significant role in my growth to manhood, and what a terrible good crazy stupid show the whole thing was.

Just thought you might want to reminisce.

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Show Me The Money!

An extremely informative site well worth repeated visits: Fundrace 2004. The Candidate Rankings page graphically illustrates how the candidates compare along three indices, “GrassRoots,” “Devotion,” and “FatCats.” The MoneyMaps page graphically illustrates contribution patterns and levels on a map of the United States, instantly clarifying areas of contributory strength. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes. (Found via Politics1; cross-posted here.)

Update: And while your there, visit the sister site, … hey, Al Sharpton wins the “Penis” award!

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November 28, 2003

Sign Up Now

Hello from Fairfax, VA, where Wife and I are enjoying Thanksgiving weekend with family … we hope you're enjoying a restful weekend full of thanks as well.

An update to the WinBy9Not2 post:

Take a stand now! Let us unite to KEEP Gary Crowton from getting fired. BYU needs him. The Mountain West Conference needs him. The BCS needs him. And the University of Utah needs him.

Indeed! Visit and sign the petition now …

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November 26, 2003

The Desolate Wilderness & The Fair Land

Each year since 1961 the Wall Street Journal has published the same two editorial pieces the day before Thanksgiving. Titled The Desolate Wilderness and The Fair Land, they describe the great courage of our continent’s Pilgrims, and the great bounty they ultimately created in form of our free society. Reading them each year has been and Thanksgiving tradition for me and countless millions, and I now extend that tradition to you (in the extended entry below), in thanks for your visiting this page.


The Desolate Wilderness

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

And the Fair Land

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.

For the traveler, as travelers have been always, is as much questioned as questioning. And for all the abundance he sees, he finds the questions put to him ask where men may repair for succor from the troubles that beset them.

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

How can they turn from melancholy when at home they see young arrayed against old, black against white, neighbor against neighbor, so that they stand in peril of social discord. Or not despair when they see that the cities and countryside are in need of repair, yet find themselves threatened by scarcities of the resources that sustain their way of life. Or when, in the face of these challenges, they turn for leadership to men in high places — only to find those men as frail as any others.

So sometimes the traveler is asked whence will come their succor. What is to preserve their abundance, or even their civility? How can they pass on to their children a nation as strong and free as the one they inherited from their forefathers? How is their country to endure these cruel storms that beset it from without and from within?

Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue. No man, if he be truthful, can say that the specter of war is banished. Nor can he say that when men or communities are put upon their own resources they are sure of solace; nor be sure that men of diverse kinds and diverse views can live peaceably together in a time of troubles.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere — in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

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November 25, 2003


Of course, I vote “stay!” (courtesy Tony).

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November 24, 2003

Fall Apple

Made a quick trip to NYC today … The City was full of sun, full of fall, full of people. It was all New York can be on a bright November Monday, and more, with 5th Avenue in full pre-holiday regalia. And where else but Manhattan can you look up from you cab to see a truck full of skeleton Santas (the delivery truck for the Jekyll & Hyde Club, it turns out)?

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November 23, 2003

More Proof ...

… that weblogs are an increasingly valid form of distributed journalism: Courtesy Michele comes word of a blogger publishing from Tbilisi, and covering the revolution there in real time. Her name is Mary, and you may read her blog here.

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Thinking Back

I've been thinking about this prior Avocare post for several weeks now … more so as the body count rises, especially today as I watched wife cry when reading this story on CNN, asking aloud about the wives and children, asking how “anyone could believe the sword is so much more mighty than then pen.” I post below the closing paragraphs of what I wrote then, on 13 March 2003:

The old saying is that adversity does not build character, it reveals it. We will learn much about our character in the coming weeks …

… Kofi Annan, who when all is said and done, will oversee a world body that either moves forward in fostering international security, or which sinks further into irrelevance …

… Bush and Blair, who will raise from their beds in several days knowing with certainty that they have condemned loved fathers, sons, daughters, and innocents to death, and that they will soon see the coffins returning home because of their choices …

… Chirac, who will ultimately resolve for himself whether his actions embodied leadership or Napoleonism, and whether the ends he secures were worth the consequences he has wrought …

… each of us, for this war or against: in several weeks we will look in the mirror and know we endorsed a course of action that was the right or wrong decision in the end, and at least half of us will know consequences we did not foresee …

… but not Saddam Hussein. A man without character, without conscience, is incapable of self evaluation … is capable only of monstrosity …

… and most certainly the US, British, and Australian soldiers who will keep their word, and independent of their opinions or their politics, rise up and charge once more into the breach.

I support action in Iraq. Regardless of position, we all pray the ends will justify the means. But those means will soon be very real … on CNN … in our work … in our homes in the form of consequences we all will feel. This is a global conflict. It will have global consequences. It will reveal the character in us and in our leaders. And as the matter runs its course, my hope is that our leaders will rise to the occasion of global leadership, and appreciate the ends they must secure are the ends of the world.

The mirror stands before us …

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November 22, 2003

Utah Wins!!

Utah wins!! First full conference championship since 1957 … parties at Casa Avocare are WELL into many bottles of beer, Bailey's, and champagne … and are now playing quarters in the basement bar. Go Utes! Go beer! Go champagne! Go quarters! You wish you were here!!!

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November 21, 2003


Regular readers of this space know I’m not much for inter-blog linkage … I was once, trolling links into the blog sea hoping for visit-nibbles. But now, I just write my stuff, do my thing, post the occasional snap … and that’s good enough for me. (Oh … and use ellipses … lots … of … ellipses.)

That said, Michele today, thankfully, sent me the way of James Lileks, and I’m glad she did. Go read his post, and know that he’s right, about Nightline, and especially about Salam Pax.

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November 19, 2003

Worth Reading

This morning I am again struck by what a wonderful news and events blog Betsy Newmark publishes. It's a great way to start the morning and grab items of interest that many of the more heavily-trafficked sites often miss. And she's an elementary school teacher as well, which is cool (when at her site visit the page she publishes for her students).

And it's all in the family with the Newmarks: Her husband publishes a blog here, and her 11th-grade daughter, Meredith, publishes a blog here, which is a great read. Indeed, you have to love 11th-graders who write things like this:

I'm just not getting why something that seems so obvious—that taking Saddam out of power makes things better than they were before—to most rational people is so not obvious to, say, the Democrats running for president. Or to Amnesty International. Or to Old Europe. I've said it before and I'll say it again: these people need corrective lenses for their hindsight. As my dad sometimes says, “Your world may look like mine, but it's actually very different.”

And when I was 16 I was … well, I wasn't writing that. (Now, I'm not really a mover-and-shaker in the blogosphere, though I play on on TV. That said, I liked Meredith’s blog so much I may just wield the Great Sword of Linkage … so Michele, link to her blog, will ya?)

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November 18, 2003

Primer On Mitt Romney

Hello from Minneapolis. I'll only say it's not cold here (yet), and get straight to business.

If you don’t recognize the name Mitt Romney, remember you read it here first. The sitting MA Governor, Romney, a devout Mormon Republican, is soon to receive much national media attention as that state over-politicizes the same-sex marriage issue.

Who is he? Father was Governor of Michigan. Harvard B-School. Harvard Law. BYU undergrad (there’s one strike against him). Multimillionaire. Founded Bain Capital in 1984, which in 2002 was worth $13 billion. Nearly defeated Ted Kennedy for Senate in 1994. Personally against abortion, but pro-choice as Governor. Rescued the scandal-clad Salt Lake City Winter Olympics as savior chair of the Organizing Committee. Shortly thereafter won the Massachusetts Governorship.

Learn more about him via these clicks:

  • A long and informative profile in Salt Lake’s Deseret News (note: the DN is owned by the LDS church and tends to skew conservative-favorable … nothing wrong with that, but readers unfamiliar with the DN should know the context)

There’s even a Mitt Romney affiliate blog (titled, surprisingly, “Mitt Romney Rules” … what, a teen-oriented pol-fanzine?) here.

Why should you care? It was a very big deal when JFK, a Catholic, ran for the always-Protestant office of President. If a Mormon Republican is going run with success on the national stage (we’re not counting Orrin Hatch’s never-inflated 2002 Presidential bid), it will be Mitt Romney. And I'll tell you what … if he were to run, he'd be a damn strong horse in the race.

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November 15, 2003

Shaken, Not Stirred

Surely you saw this coming, yes?

Wife read the comments for two posts prior and said from the couch, “You know, a Martini sounds kind of good.” That’s all it took, and if you’re curious, it sounded like this.

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For those who read this space and long for Utah, take note: As the picture below and this article can attest, they are making tracks at Brighton (and Soli, and the Bird, and …)

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Apt Summary

Don't know about you, but this about sums things up for me …


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November 14, 2003

The Long And Winding Road

Between the this post and the post prior I’ve spent three days in Chicago, and while I had intentions of posting fantastic tales of lands afar, reality presented long days, tired nights, and no posting whatsoever.

But now I’m back in Philly, finally, and while I’ve only been home since around 10 PM I thought I’d better get something out there lest anyone think I’ve gone over the edge (if not around the bend). It won’t quite be a Friday Night Dance Party, but it’s a post nonetheless.

Oh … before I forget … Michele’s in fine form. And fans of 90’s music will want to visit, too.

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November 10, 2003

A New Level Of Dislike

Saw this item in my local paper yesterday and thought it brought political discourse to a whole new level:

Gertrude M. Jones didn't want flowers or cards when she died. She wanted to get rid of President Bush.

The 81-year-old woman's obituary asked that memorial donations be given “to any organization that seeks the removal of President Bush from office.”

And people around the country are following her wishes.

Now that's commitment to a cause … any cause, apparently. If she found the money was going to Ralph Nader, would she roll in her grave? Read the story here (and this post is cross-posted here).

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November 09, 2003

More Signs Of The Impending Apocalypse

No, not the moon turning to blood … Slamball, which I'm watching as I type this, and which is more proof that television programming will eventually offer each of us something of minimal interest to all but of spectacular interest to one (or maybe two, on a good day).

Oh … and it's brought to you by SpikeTV.

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November 08, 2003

And The Moon Shall Turn To Blood

It’s odd … I started this site primarily to write about politics, and instead it’s become a naturalist photojournalism site. I’ve posted shots of spiders up close, the tops of mountains, hummingbirds in flight, national parks from above, national parks from below, moose, Caribbean vistas, the Rocky Mountain gloaming, and hurricane Isabel from 35,000 feet.

Tonight, I bring you the moon in eclipse, which we on the East coast enjoyed at 8:15 PM (as usual, click the picture to see a larger version).

It reminds me of this …

Eclipse / Pink Floyd, Dark Side Of The Moon

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All that you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All that you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
everyone you meet
All that you slight
everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

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November 07, 2003

Shake It

The Friday Night Dance Party rolls on, and given current consumption levels, this may be the final musical post. So I figure it's time to bring out the big guns

Shake Your Booty (KC & the Sunshine Band)

Everybody, get on the floor, let's dance!
Don't fight your feelings, give yourself a chance!
Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty.
You can, you can do it very well.
You're the best in the world, I can tell.
Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty.
Shake shake, shake shake!
Shake shake, shake shake!
Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty.

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Bird Song

The Dance Party continues here at Chez Avocare, with even greater enthusiasm now that the Devils lead the hated Maple Leafs 1-0. But the hits keep on rollin' … I just fired this over to Michele, and it's provoked an appropriate response (although if what she says is true, I expect photos posted before midnight). Enjoy the tune …

I Think I Love You
( The Partridge Family )

I'm sleeping
And right in the middle of a good dream
Then all at once I wake up
From something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane
I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed
Screaming out the words I dread ….
“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

This morning, I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with
And so I just decided to myself
I'd hide it to myself
And never talk about it
And did not go and shout it
When you walked into the room …..
“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

I think I love you
So what am I so afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of
A love there is no cure for
I think I love you
Isn't that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say
I've never felt this way

I don't know what I'm up against
I don't know what it's all about
I've go so much to think about
Hey! I think I love you!
So what am I so afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of
A love there is no cure for
I think I love you
Isn't that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say
I've never felt this way

Believe me
You really don't have to worry
I only want to make you happy
And if you say
Hey, go away, I will
But I think better still
I'd better stay around and love you
Do you think I have a case?
Let me ask you to your face
Do you think you love me?

“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

“I think I love you!” (I think I love you)

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It MUST Be Friday Night

Whaddaya know … Michele's in a music mood, too. So here's the first song in the dance mix … resist the urge to get sentimental. Again, lyrics in the extended entry …

American Pie by Don McLean

A long long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

Did you write the Book of Love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so
Do you believe in rock 'n roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow
Well , I know that you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin' …


Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lennon read a book of Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin' …


Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The Byrds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul out on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half -time air was sweet perfume
While the Sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
'Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died
We started singin' …


Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation Lost in Space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble , Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
'Cause fire is the Devil's only friend
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan's spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrifical rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin' …


I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music woudn't play
And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried , and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father , Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singin' …


Posted by Avocare at 08:26 PM | TrackBack

Friday Night Dance Party

It’s Friday night, I’m home with my sweetie with no Saturday obligation for the first time in three weeks, and in our household that means the DirecTV 70’s music channel, a trough of homemade nachos, a bowl of homemade margaritas (served up, of course … no frozen or on-the-rocks in this house … pay attention and one day I may post the special Casa Avocare recipe), putting on the PJs, watching the Devils (for Wife, of course), popping popcorn, taking in a DirecTV movie, more margaritas, and a second DirecTV movie followed by, perhaps, a late night cordial.

It also means, of course, torturing Michele with email-borne audio clips of great songs from the 70’s.

‘Cause it’s a Dance Party here at Avocare … and as we crank em’, I’ll post em’. So stay tuned (all three of you), and I’ll post the lyrics in the extended entries so y’all can sing along at home.

Posted by Avocare at 08:16 PM | TrackBack

November 06, 2003

Another Sign Of The Impending Apocalypse

Back in Philly … and I’m damn glad, given that when I left for the airport in Minneapolis this morning it was 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Early November is too early for that type of cold.

When I made my post-flight email check colleague JD had sent along a story about a town north of San Francisco, Bolinas CA. This Tuesday the citizens of Bolinas voted on “Measure G,” which passed by a vote of 314 to 152. The measure, sponsored by a local woman “known for wearing hats made of tree bark and newspaper,” reads, in its entirety:

Vote for Bolinas to be a socially acknowledged nature-loving town because to like to drink the water out of the lakes to like to eat the blueberries to like the bears is not hatred to hotels and motor boats. Dakar. Temporary and way to save life, skunks and foxes (airplanes to go over the ocean) and to make it beautiful.

Honest to God … read the story here.

It’s like I’ve always said: “A vote for Bolinas is a vote for psychotropic substances.”

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November 04, 2003

Must Be Time To Buy

Seems the economy must be improving … this today from the Wall Street Journal:

Bonuses at brokerage firms are likely to increase 10% to 20% from last year's levels, according to executives and recruiters.

Buy your Merrill / Morgan / Goldman stock now …

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Guns And Butter

Hello from Minneapolis, where winter has arrived (snow on the ground and forecast lows in the teens). While we were sleeping for flying or eating or blogging, Congress approved $87 bil for Iraq and Afghanistan … here's the link to the NY Times story, with this lead:

The Senate today approved an $87.5 billion package for the military and reconstruction campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, one day after an attack on an Army helicopter in Iraq left 16 American soldiers dead.

The voice vote took place late this afternoon, with only a few senators in the chamber. Although the voice vote allowed for passage without any negative votes being officially recorded, the approval took place over the conspicuously shouted “no” of Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, one of the few lawmakers in the chamber.

Note the casualty reference in the first paragraph. I like to illustrate contrasts in media coverage, so here's the lead from the Wall Street Journal):

Congress gave final approval to $87.5 billion for U.S. military operations and aid in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate handed a legislative victory to Bush by approving the bill on a voice vote.

… although the Journal then links to the AP file story, which leads:

Congress voted its final approval Monday for $87.5 billion for U.S. military operations and aid in Iraq and Afghanistan, a day after Americans in Iraq endured their worst casualties since March.

In an anticlimactic moment for which only a handful of senators appeared, the Senate approved the bill by voice and handed a legislative victory to President Bush, who had requested a similar package two months ago. The voice vote — in which Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd was the only one to shout “Nay” — let lawmakers sidestep the roll call that usually accompanies major legislation.

Draw your own conclusions about editorial license. Also on the Journal site is this graphical breakdown of the bill's allocations, which I post here for your greater edification.


(Cross-posted here.)

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November 02, 2003

The View From The Top Of The World

Wife and I killed some time today in downtown Chicago, enjoying, among other things, a lunch date at the original Pizzeria Uno, just as my mother and father often did nearly 45 years ago (Dad: Yes, I had a martini, but no, I didn’t drink a beer with no hands … that trick remains solidly yours).

We also decided to do something purely Tourista and visit the Sears Tower Skydeck. It was a cloudy, rainy day here, and the visibility from floor 103 was anything but perfect. There’s something quite cool about being above the clouds, though, and I thought you’d enjoy some of the snaps I took from 1,500 feet. As always, click the pic for a larger version.

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You Heard It Here First

At last night's event Wife and I saw two singers who absolutely blew us away, and who we're certain will become household names in the coming years. The first was Michael Bublé, whom Wife has been promoting among friends since downloading his latest CD from iTunes several months ago. He sings swing, and last night said his job is “to make people horny.” He does a damn fine job.

Even more impressive, though, was Renee Olstead. Stop and write that name down … R-e-n-e-e O-l-s-t-e-a-d … got it? Good. Now take that piece of paper, and put it in a file titled “Grammys.” Also in that file place a second piece of paper that says “Between 5 and 10” … because that’s at least as many Grammys Renee Olstead will win before her career is complete. She sings Jazz, she’s got the talent of a Fitzgerald or Holiday, and she’s … get this … 14 years old. A truly incredible singer. Blew. Us. Away. Learn more about her here, and if you have the $15 or so it takes to purchase one of her albums, do so.

Like the title says: You heard it here first.

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It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It IS A Plane!!

Hello from Chicago, where Wife and I were in town yesterday for a swanky black tie event, and where today we plan to enjoy the city a bit. I've some tidbits to share in a later post, but for now let me say that staying at the O'Hare Hyatt is wonderful … right up to the point in the morning when flight operations begin. Our morning was 747 as alarm clock, and as I type this, I do so looking up at the Airbus 320 flying directly (and I mean DIRECTLY) overhead. We resist the temptation to duck, but enjoy watching the jets come in.

Blog you later …

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