Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Besides, we're in a committed relationship, and that is all that counts . . .
Now, if I could only get the DigiSpouse to stop looking at women's breasts - but hey, he is simply embracing his Sapphic orientation . . . and that's a beautiful thing.
Tell all your friends, they can go my way
Pay your toll, sell your soul
Pound for pound costs more than gold
Feds Seize Cocaine Jesus Statue on Texas Border
Federal agents have arrested a man on charges of drug trafficking after finding a statue of Jesus made of cocaine at a Texas border crossing.The Houston Chronicle reports that the statue was likely to have been broken apart in water, sifted through a strainer and dried before being bagged and sold. It had a street value of $30,000, the paper said.
Talking with Susan Sarandon is like an exhilarating roller-coaster ride through a variety of topics, all of which elicit candid responses so rare in celebrities who are usually so cautious about causing controversy. We meet in New York on the day the Pope is due to arrive in the US, which inevitably draws strong opinions from the five-times Oscar-nominated actress.
Raised a Catholic, she won an Oscar for portraying Sister Helen Prejean in Robbins's Dead Man Walking, but she has very little time for the Church or its spiritual leader.
"This particular Pope is not one of my favourites," she says.
"I am pretty suspicious of him and my only message to him is that he should become more compassionate and more involved in what the world needs now instead of his archaic kind of outdated, misogynist infrastructure the Church has going now."
Always busy, Sarandon is about to start work on the romantic period drama The Colossus, but with the presidential election campaign being heatedly contested, she also has bigger things to consider.
"If McCain gets in, it's going to be very, very dangerous," she says.
"It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people. If they prove me wrong, I'll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don't know. We're at an abyss."
Gay rights advocates score wins in NY, Calif.
TRUST an environmentalist to talk about love like it’s a natural resource. “It can’t be burned through like a flame,” Andy Mele said. “You need the flame, but there’s also sober, reflective and collaborative times. You can’t live on just fire or just water.”
During one trip to Florida, Mr. Mele had to help his mother remove a ring from her swollen finger. He took her to a jeweler, who had a tool for the job, and while he stood at the counter, he said, “there in the case, right beneath my mother’s hand,” was an engagement ring that matched the ring he had been fruitlessly hunting for for months. It had “subtle interlapping wave forms, unmistakedly a water motif,” he said. And it was made of recycled gold. He bought it and gave it to her that night.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Leaders of the Communist Party of St. Petersburg have accused the actors Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett of being "capitalist puppets" and promoting crude, anti-Soviet propaganda in their new film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."They have urged Russian moviegoers to boycott the film and told Ford, 65, not to visit the country.The letter said Russians are fond of many of Ford's other roles, but not this time. “You have no future in Russia any more. Speaking plainly, it is better for you not to come here. You will be beaten and despised.”
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Among the highlights of the INDIANA JONES SUMMER OF HIDDEN MYSTERIES, created by Disneyland Entertainment in partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd.:
Random Acts of Indy - In the crowded streets of exotic Adventureland, guests never know when Indiana Jones might make an appearance. It could be in their midst, perhaps it will be high overhead, or even right next to them as Indy dashes by. But look fast, because Indy's never in one place for long, especially when he's being pursued by sinister villains!
Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Stone Tiger - In this intimate storytelling adventure presented multiple times each day at The Oasis, young Disneyland Park guests will uncover clues, decipher codes and embark on an archeological journey that culminates in an appearance by Indy himself!
Indiana Jones Adventure Map - Disneyland Park guests will explore just like Indy does when they pick up a collectible map filled with mysterious clues. Artifacts and symbols are hidden throughout Adventureland and once they are revealed guests will find a special code, which they can take home to claim exclusive Indiana Jones digital content courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd. It's all at www.disneyland.com/indy starting May 22.
Indiana Jones Meets the Jungle Cruise - One of the all-time classic Disneyland attractions takes on a distinctly Indiana Jones flavor this summer as guests are invited to find unexpected Indy-themed surprises along some of the most mysterious rivers of the world.
New Indy Photo Location - Guests can boast to their friends back home that they outran a giant rolling boulder just like Indy himself - and then they can prove it with photographic evidence.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
IT came as no surprise to anyone who knew her that Dr. Elena Wechsler would find herself with a man who won her heart with ducks. Her childhood home in Glen Mills, Pa., was often referred to as the zoo by friends. Besides caring for the family’s own menagerie, Dr. Wechsler’s mother, a veterinarian, was known to care for an injured flying squirrel in the bathtub or give dialysis to a dog in the kitchen.
So when John Pierre Simpson, the founder of MacImage of Maine, a software firm, asked Dr. Wechsler, then a Harvard radiology instructor, to meet him at the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in Boston Public Garden for their first date, it seemed a good sign.
Mr. Simpson, 46, and Dr. Wechsler, 38, found each other online, but only after some coaching from Rachel Greenwald, author of “Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School.”
Three years ago a review of that book spurred Dr. Wechsler’s parents, now of Little Compton, R.I., to consult with Ms. Greenwald, who charges $2,000 to $5,000 a day, depending on what is needed.
The author recalled being told by David Wechsler that his daughter “had done everything right professionally, but he was worried that she wasn’t making dating a priority.”
“This was marriage 911,” Ms. Greenwald said. Soon, Dr. Wechsler and her mother, Louise, flew to Denver to see the author. Ms. Greenwald was struck by Dr. Wechsler’s personal warmth but learned that in her dating life part of her personality was often hidden behind the professional demeanor she projected. The author suggested that she not approach dating as if it were a job interview, and guided her in preparing an online dating profile and on makeup, jewelry, clothes and accessories. “She needed a coat that made a statement, a coat that said, ‘I’ve got pizzazz,’ ” Ms. Greenwald said.
It took Dr. Wechsler a year to get started, but when she did, she began going on two to three dates a day. Then she found Mr. Simpson’s online profile, which read, Your birthday and Valentine’s Day are likely to be my favorite holidays. “I loved this,” Dr. Wechsler said, “because Valentine’s Day is my birthday.”
After having seen his social life dwindle to six or seven dates over a couple of years, Mr. Simpson also sought to improve his odds by consulting “Double Your Dating” by David DeAngelo and other advice books. “At my age, and living in Maine, my options were getting limited,” Mr. Simpson said. Because going online allows for getting past “the awkward stuff” early, “when you finally do get together, it becomes obvious within a few seconds if you want the date to end quickly.” he said. “I didn’t want my date with Elena to end.”
Like Dr. Wechsler, he was looking for somebody educated and outdoorsy. On that first date last June, they boarded a Boston Duck, an amphibious tour vehicle, and things started to click. But it was later, as they watched the sunset, when Mr. Simpson won her heart. “He told me a story about when he was canoeing and accidentally disrupted a mother duck and her babies,” she said. “One of the ducklings got separated, and John took it home with him. That night, the duckling cried so much that John took it into bed with him and kept it on his chest all night.”
“Successful women are looking for someone to take care of them, too,” she continued. “I thought if he loved that duckling that much, he could love me too.” That night Dr. Wechsler said to herself, “I’m done.”
Friends took notice of this fast-developing relationship. “I have seen Elena through a lot of boyfriends,” said Laura Benoit, a friend. “But I have never seen her float on a cloud like this.”
It did not take long for Mr. Simpson to decide on her, either. “Elena has a certain warmth and a sharp mind that I found very appealing,” he said. “That’s why, by the third date, I knew I didn’t want to lose her.”
In October, barely half a year after they met, he took Dr. Wechsler on a car ride up Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Mr. Simpson imagined the view would make for a perfect proposal. But then he began noticing the gas gauge sinking, a freezing wind picking up, and signs announcing that the mountain was closing for the season that very day. “Elena thinks of me as very calm, so when she took my hand and it was sweaty, she started to worry,” he said.
Moments after the proposal an image of the engagement ring on Dr. Wechsler’s finger was on its way to her mother’s cellphone. “Knights in shining armor appear differently in 2008,” the bride’s mother said at the wedding, “often through Dells and Macs.”
On the evening of May 10 the bride appeared in her mother’s 42-year-old wedding dress and walked down a rose-petal-strewn aisle behind her parents’ home in Little Compton, just as her mother had always dreamed. Mr. Simpson’s father, the Rev. Earle B. Simpson Jr. of Sumner, Me., a retired Lutheran minister (hi, Dad!), officiated, with Rabbi Howard A. Berman participating.
“John’s books all told him that women fall for confident men,” the bride said. “But Rachel told me to always look for a guy with a dorky walk. They make good husbands.”
And when she saw the man she would marry walking toward her for the first time, she recalled thinking: “This guy walks like a duck.” Which to Dr. Wechsler is a very good thing.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said."That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Britain's prime minister says he backs a new law that would allow the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos . . . However the technology disturbs some who believe it could lead to the genetic engineering of human beings. Gordon Brown wrote in The Observer Sunday that he supported the research.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Con Law 101: the Cliff Notes
Con Law 101: A Bit More for Legal Wonks
The Court has declared the classification of sexual orientation to be what is termed a suspect class in constitutional law:
"Under the strict scrutiny standard, unlike the rational basis standard, in order to demonstrate the constitutional validity of a challenged statutory classification [here, it is the fact that the law calls the state-sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman as marriage, whereas for gays it is a domestic partnership] the state must establish (1) that the state interest intended to be served by the differential treatment not only is a constitutionally legitimate interest, but is a compelling state interest, and (2) that the differential treatment not only is reasonably related to but is necessary to serve that compelling state interest."
unit [and trust me, it is happening more now than ever before], granting a parent the ability to afford his or her children the substantial benefits that flow from a stable two-parent family environment, a ready and public means of establishing to others the legal basis of one’s parental relationship to one’s children [citations ommitted], and the additional security that comes from the knowledge that his or her parental relationship with a child will be afforded protection by the government against the adverse actions or claims of others [isn't that what adoption is for? And does this mean that a child born to a married lesbian couple is automatically the legal child of both? How do you handle the guys, unless a child born ro a surrogate at the contract of one or both will be found to be the legal child of both].
Saturday, May 17, 2008
"I want a world that doesn't exist." Heh.
BTW, Knowledge is Power is an outstanding blog and part of my daily read.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Song: It's Martini Time
Artist: The Reverend Horton Heat
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Narrowly framed issue - "The question we must address is whether, under these circumstances[that there already exists domestic partnership that affords same-sex couples within the state the same basic rights as responsibilities as married couples], the failure to designate the official relationship of same-sex couples as marriage violates the California Constitution."
"[H]istory alone is not invariably an appropriate guide for determining the meaning and scope of this fundamental constituional guarantee [of the right to marry]." BUT - "[O]ur state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and committed long-term relationship with another person and responsibly to care for a raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation." How?
Interesting, intreesting, interesting! The California Supreme Court is applying strict scrutiny to sexual orientation. And they can - while on a federal level it remains intermediate scrutiny, a state can "give more" but not "less" than the federal government.
I haven't the time right now to read the rest, but I will.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
St Anne and the Blessed Virgin??? Dressed like that?!?!? I hope that wasn't really your mother or grandmother. What a shameful way for a woman to dress, at any age let alone an older woman. And to imagine the Mother of God so scantily dressed like that little girl? Where is your head?! Terrible! And if you don't think so, shame ON you. Was that supposed to be a joke? If it was, it isn't appreciated. At all.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This was a photograph I took circa 1978 when I was a freshman at New York University. Everytime I see it, I think of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Friday, May 09, 2008
- They are not breaking any laws.
- They are not living on welfare.
- They are welcoming of each new addition.
- It's their own damn business.
God bless 'em! I only wish they were Catholic . . .
Update: Okay, I got to say this just for the alliteration . . .
Dem dang Duggars doin' dat dirty deed!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Song: Ready, Steady, Go
Artist: L'Arc -en-Ciel
Monday, May 05, 2008
Dartmouth's 'Hostile' Environment
By JOSEPH RAGOMay 5, 2008; Page A13
Often it seems as though American higher education exists only to provide gag material for the outside world. The latest spectacle is an Ivy League professor threatening to sue her students because, she claims, their "anti-intellectualism" violated her civil rights.
The trauma was so intense that in March Ms. Venkatesan quit Dartmouth and decamped for Northwestern. She declined to comment for this piece, pointing instead to the multiple interviews she conducted with the campus press.
Ms. Venkatesan lectured in freshman composition, intended to introduce undergraduates to the rigors of expository argument. "My students were very bully-ish, very aggressive, and very disrespectful," she told Tyler Brace of the Dartmouth Review. "They'd argue with your ideas." This caused "subversiveness," a principle English professors usually favor.
Ms. Venkatesan's scholarly specialty is "science studies," which, as she wrote in a journal article last year, "teaches that scientific knowledge has suspect access to truth." She continues: "Scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct."
The agenda of Ms. Venkatesan's seminar, then, was to "problematize" technology and the life sciences. Students told me that most of the "problems" owed to her impenetrable lectures and various eruptions when students indicated skepticism of literary theory. She counters that such skepticism was "intolerant of ideas" and "questioned my knowledge in very inappropriate ways." Ms. Venkatesan, who is of South Asian descent, also alleges that critics were motivated by racism, though it is unclear why.
After a winter of discontent, the snapping point came while Ms. Venkatesan was lecturing on "ecofeminism," which holds, in part, that scientific advancements benefit the patriarchy but leave women out. One student took issue, and reasonably so – actually, empirically so. But "these weren't thoughtful statements," Ms. Venkatesan protests. "They were irrational." The class thought otherwise. Following what she calls the student's "diatribe," several of his classmates applauded.
Ms. Venkatesan informed her pupils that their behavior was "fascist demagoguery." Then, after consulting a physician about "intellectual distress," she cancelled classes for a week. Thus the pending litigation.
Such conduct is hardly representative of the professoriate at Dartmouth, my alma mater. Faculty members tend to be professional. They also tend to be sane.
That said, even at – or especially at – putatively superior schools, students are spoiled for choice when it comes to professors who share ideologies like Ms. Venkatesan's. The main result is to make coursework pathetically easy. Like filling in a Mad Libs, just patch something together about "interrogating heteronormativity," or whatever, and wait for the returns to start rolling in.
I once wrote a term paper for a lit-crit course where I "deconstructed" the MTV program "Pimp My Ride." A typical passage: "Each episode is a text of inescapable complexity . . . Our received notions of what constitutes a ride are constantly subverted and undermined." It received an A.
Where the standards are always minimum, most kids simply float along with the academic drafts, avoid as much work as possible and accept the inflated grade. Why not? It's effortless, and there are better ways to spend time than thinking deeply about ecofeminism.
The remarkable thing about the Venkatesan affair, to me, is that her students cared enough to argue. Normally they would express their boredom with the material by answering emails on their laptops or falling asleep. But here they staged a rebellion, a French Counter-Revolution against Professor Defarge. Maybe, despite the professor's best efforts, there's life in American colleges yet.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Artist: Originally done by Nine Inch Nails, this is a remarkable cover by Johnny Cash
Thursday, May 01, 2008
To help the Los Angeles archdiocese pay off the “crippling debt” accrued from sexual abuse settlements, St. Bernardine of Siena parish in Woodland Hills will donate most of its savings – about $1.5 million – to the archdiocese, the parish bulletin announced on Sunday.[The pastor, Fr. Robert McNamara's] decision was in response to an archdiocesan recovery strategy to pay its portion of the sexual abuse settlement as well as ease its financial recovery from the settlements. The strategy includes increasing parish assessments by two percent, reducing archdiocesan administrative costs by 10%, and requesting grants, pledges, and loans from parishes. As a last resort, the archdiocese will consider selling additional properties beyond the 51 it has slated for sale.
I think if I were a parishioner at St. Bernardine's, I would leave the parish to find another. I could not tolerate a decision like that, since a portion of that money came from my tithing.