Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekly Blog Round-Up

WAY TO GO PHILLIES!!!!! World Series Champs!

Water rights, and the Atlas of Hidden water, from bldgblog.

How to get through the next few days w/out losing my mind from 23/6.

Whoa. Sarah Palin's nightmare has already arrived under Bush, from Boing Boing.

And Emerging Pensees sums up my feelings about the stock market/mortgage dominance from the past few years:
I also especially liked Zachary Karabell's article about the end of the "ownership society", which reminds us that homeownership alone will not create a healthier society - we also have to make sure we're protecting workers. For instance, he says:

In the United States, the shift away from corporate pensions to 401(k) Individual Retirement Accounts plunged millions more into the equity markets and loosened the traditional connection between companies and workers, which was one element of that 1950s dream that conservatives such as Bush conveniently forgot. The ownership society of the 1950s was anchored by a labor movement that made sure that workers received something resembling their share—remember Truman's Fair Deal? The deal for the past eight years has been fair to merchants of capital, and then some, but to the tens of millions on the receiving rather than originating end of those mortgages, fairness has been in short supply.
"Incursions" into Syria. This isn't good. From the CSM. Is this the October Surprise?

BEAUTIFUL paintings of Native Americans, from Art Blog by Bob.

Sarah Palin's use of language painting a dangerous portrait of Obama that is just plain WRONG, from Boing Boing.

A GREAT New Yorker article about the differing views of pre-marital sex between "red staters and blue staters."

Gotta love David Sedaris on the "Undecideds," again, from the New Yorker.

This chaplain article, from the NYT, along with my recent experience with my grandmother in the nursing home, is increasing my interest in becoming a chaplain. I have more investigating to do.

Sam the Scab's comments on Obama's support of Israel, and SURPRISE, a Fox "News" reporter doing the right thing! from the Huffington Post.

Colin Powell busts a move. How did I miss this??

Thursday, October 30, 2008

YAY Phillies! FINALLY!

Way to go, Phillies! We love you. Josiah is going to the parade!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Video the Vote

Monday, October 27, 2008

Change, that's Wassup!

I canvassed and phone banked this weekend. Plan to do it next weekend too. Can you help me? If you want to join me, leave me a comment!

P.S. Here's the original ad video if you need a refresher.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly Blog Round-Up

Here are some beautiful photos of small African American churches - "cathedrals" in Chicago, by photographer Dave Jordano. Found on Pruned.

A NYT article in the travel section about staying in monasteries in Europe.

"Yes We Carve" Pumpkins for Obama on youtube.

And in the "big picture," a discussion of the visual impact over course of election of Obama posters & design.

"Let them eat cup cake(s)!" - Kirsten Dunst with a cupcake from the fabulous Sofia Coppola film, Marie Antoinette. I loved that she used 80's music to set many of the scenes. Somehow they worked perfectly. Photo from Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Maureen Dowd on Powell's endorsement of Obama, Muslims in America, and I can't believe I agree with her.

Greenspan recants. Great. What a jerk. This is just like McNamara book finally admitting the mistakes made in Vietnam.

Obama votive candle

A new (to me) goddess site.

A hilarious piece from Larry David about how tough to wait out election from HuffPo.

And as a counterpoint to Larry David, I leave you with a note from my guy, Rob Brezsny on how to get through this election:

Dear Readers,

Before the last U.S. presidential election in 2004, What Is Enlightenment? magazine posed the following query to five religious leaders: "Many people argue that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. Do you agree?"

Four of the respondents said, in effect, "Yes, because George Bush is bad for America and the world."

But the fifth religious leader, Zen Buddhist Jan Chozen Roshi, replied, "I don't know. Our existence is so short, it's like a dust mote in the eye of God. To say that the time in which my dust mote existed was the most important is a self-centered view."

Roshi's wisdom reminded me of an anecdote told by Henry Kissinger, an American politician who was Secretary of State in the 1970s. Kissinger once asked Chinese premier Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution, which had happened two centuries earlier. "Too soon to tell," Chou answered.

I always like to keep these ideas in mind, even in times of relative peace and calm. But I'm especially fond of focusing on the very big picture when divine chaos is whirling around -- like now. It helps keep me humble, and discourages me from any temptation I might have to believe I know the Whole Truth about anything, let alone about the mysterious long-term processes at work in the evolution of the human race.

There's another factor that makes me cautious about getting embroiled in partisan politics and the narrow-minded hostility that fuels it. One of my main goals in life is to love everyone with passionate intensity -- no exceptions. Not just the people I find beautiful and helpful and interesting and attractive. But also the people I don't like and the people who don't like me and the people I disagree with and the people who can't or won't do anything for me.

In order to become the gorgeous genius I aspire to be, in order to fulfill the unique destiny I came to Earth to embody, I have to hold EVERYONE in my heart with compassion and empathy. As I contemplate how every single part of creation is interconnected, I've got to be aware that the creatures I'm allergic to and inclined to feel alienated from are also part of the great web of life.

That's my spiritual goal; it's essential to awakening my best self and cultivating a connection to Spirit. It's also my selfish goal; it's critical to my physical and mental health. Hatred always sickens me. Love always invigorates me.

Icon of Christ Sophia, by Robert Lentz, from Trinity Stores

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Facebook & my "French Brother"

So, something happened on Facebook this week that has me re-living and re-thinking my time in Nantes. I found my "French brother" on Facebook - one of the siblings in the family I stayed with in France during my year in Nantes - and "friended" him. [As I told my neighbor, Ed, I only use my web-sleuthing/stalking powers for GOOD!]

Anyways, he accepted me as a friend. Then yesterday, I went to look for him, and my French sister, and another brother, who I really wanted to catch up with, and he had blocked me. And the sister, I think, has blocked me too. It makes me sad. I really liked her, and the brother I haven't been able to connect with, named after my favorite saint, I haven't been able to connect with. I miss him and think about him often. He was my age, still lived at home, gave me tips on how to deal with faculty and exams at the Université de Nantes and generally put up with non-stop harassment from his siblings.

As an American visitor, it was a strange family. They had an aristocratic family name, and lived in a huge apartment in the centre ville. They had a 3 foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary in the hallway, similar to the one above, but with a big "Sacred Heart" and a light shining on it at all times - I'll get back to this point in a moment. They are Monarchists, and know about a distant Bourbon relation of the Louis-Philippe who could come back and sit on the throne in France at a moment's notice. And Monsieur believes that slavery in America was a good thing for African-Americans because that's how they learned to read. "Would any of them move back to Africa now?" he would ask me.

I had talked to myself, in moments of panic before leaving home and starting on this adventure, through my anxieties by asking, "What's the worst that can happen?" I decided the worst thing would be to be placed with a family where there was sexual or physical abuse going on. "What's the second worst thing?" I continued with myself..... "to be stuck with an ultra-conservative family." Well, my worst fear did not come to fruition. My second-worst did.

But, I also learned a LOT from this family. I learned that the French don't handle the American way of emoting. They don't like "working through emotions" with crying and the desire for comforting in the form of hugs. Instead, they try to "build up character and emotional strength" through repeated pronouncements to "snap out of it!" I learned that there are still people who believe that getting a blessing from a priest, or getting demons cast out, can really make a sick person healthy again. [I had a cold that lasted for pretty much 3 months because I refused to stop smoking. Camel Lights, at that! If I had switched to a French brand I could have at least saved some money! Once I quit smoking, the cold went away. Imagine that!] I realized the fluidity of the French language. If you were a frequent visitor to Le Bar Marlowe, you could say, "On va Marlotier." Amazing, right!?

Most importantly, because I was surrounded by it, I came to appreciate Religious Art. I was raised in a "low church" family, and had attended a New England Episcopal church with minimal stained glass or other decoration. Walking past this statue every time I went to the bathroom, or to the kitchen for breakfast, made the presence of the Virgin Mary real in my life. Her image was there every single day. Of course, being in France, and traveling around Europe, also gave me an appreciation for religious art in situ. I mean, you just can't avoid Christian images there. Impossible. I am grateful for that immersion. And to live with people who believed in the power of these saints (they were not idol-worshipers, don't get me wrong) was eye-opening.

When I got back to college, I did my anthropology thesis on an Armenian Catholic church community. I chose it, in part, because of the icon of Mary that is over the altar of the church. It just felt right for me to be there - sort of like home.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekly Blog Round-Up

In case you live under a rock, or NOT in Philadelphia, the Phillies are going to the World Series! Yay Phils! We love you!

Here's an open letter to incoming President on US food policy by Michael Pollan (9 pages!). It's long, but so important!

Just watched Shanghai Noon again last night. I hope Owen Wilson is feeling better. He is such a great comedian. In a related vein, I also hope Heather Locklear feels better too. All in all, depression SUCKS.

More great religious art at Idle Speculations. Thanks, Terry!

Check out this rolling ball of fish - it's a new concept in fish farming and looks pretty cool too

How cool is your congregation?? You could win $5,000!

Sarah Palin's White House. Better with sound ON.

Finally - calling fear-mongering by its name!

Amazing - and creepy photo of McCain that has made the rounds.

A million photos of British Isles. Found on Boing Boing.

A v. moving post about what we are voting for - right on! - from Sirens Chronicles.

Joe.My.God linked to this NYT story, and commented that as a kid he wished he could have gone on the QE2. As a kid, I DID go on the it, and maybe it was because I was 6, and too young to appreciate it, but, the experience was lost on me. There really wasn't anything for kids to do. The funnest part for me and my sister was to press the steward/stewardess buzzers when my parents went out to dinner at night. By the time they got back, all the stews were hanging out in our room. Angie was freaked out by the porthole.

I love Aboriginal Art.

And have I mentioned how much I ALSO love, Rob Brezsny?? My horoscope this week:

In medieval Europe, more resources and human ingenuity were lavished upon cathedrals and churches than on any other buildings. In the last hundred years, the emphasis has been different, having switched to the towering structures that house institutions dedicated to commerce. By that measure, Money is a far more important God than God. During the next few weeks, Pisces, I invite you to buck the modern trend. As an experiment, see if you can devote at least one more percent of your energy and intelligence to matters of the spirit and soul than to the demands of the material realm. I suspect you'll find, ironically, that this will lead to an increase of your mastery over the material realm.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sally's weekly blog round-up

Now, right up front I want to say that I don't think of Obama as the Messiah, or anything. But I do feel that Obama's heart is in the right place. And I think Obama's idea of living Jesus' teachings is much more in line with my own.
I do feel that this image is politicizing Jesus' image, which has been going on since before the Crusades. But, it does make you think for a minute, right? Powerful? maybe. Provocative? I say yes.

Here's another discussion of the political sphere pandering to a non-existent "down-home" crowd, when the majority of Americans live in cities. Some good points made in the same vein as the bldgblog posts, below.

As remarked upon elsewhere, boing boing directed me to the Sad Guys on Trading Floors. Nice.

Flood insurance reform - not a sexy topic, but something that needs to happen in the age of sprawl, from American Rivers blog.

Slam dunk commentary from Tom Friedman - I still don't forgive him for agreeing w/Bush about going into Iraq. But with this piece he is inching back into my good graces. Maybe.

US Debt Clock runs out of digits. What more can I say?

Check out the awesome Goreme Cave Churches (may still be featured to the right on the Sacred Destinations widget)! I would REALLY love to go there one day.

The EPA discards input from the open comment period on it's climate strategy paper and wastes everybody's time, including the American Rivers org. Bastards.

At least Europe votes to ban dirty coal. From Bellona.

Mexican Obama vernacular on TextMex.

The Palins' Un-American activites, sponsored by Iran, in Salon.

The call for Urban candidates from bldgblog. This has been a theme at bldgblog all week. Now this is an idea I can get behind.

Bible as glossy mag: a Swedish advertising executive's project found on boing boing. Too bad I couldn't see more of the actual product to see how they represent the different texts!

Terry at Idle Speculation posted beautiful illuminated images WOW!

My horoscope this week from Rob Brezsny is right on target, as per usual:
In her poem "Pure," Kate Knapp Johnson speaks of "those who made me real to myself." I invite you, Pisces, to take an inventory of the people in your life who've made you real to yourself. That would be excellent homework for you to do during the phase of intensified intimacy you're now in -- a time when your allies are making even you even more real to yourself than you've ever been, as well as a time when you will be returning the favor to them.

This red and white church is another of the Goreme Cave Churches. Amazing, right?

Saturday Night's Flyers' Game

So, what should the Flyers fans do? Answer the poll (on the right) and tell me what you think!

This is making lots of news here in Philly, and pretty much everyone agrees it's a dicey proposition on the part of her campaign. We'll see. I mean, we are the "Home of the Boo-Birds!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Scary Thoughts

Just before I went to bed last night, Josiah said, "Just you watch, 2 weeks before the election Bush is going to attack Iran. And then everybody will flock to McCain. Obama's doing well in the polls, McCain's losing on the economy and they're getting desperate. Israel's already planned it. And Europe already knows, that's why they pulled all their troops out." Thanks, J. Really. I couldn't sleep at all last night worrying about it. Josiah does this a lot, but usually it's about personal finances.

But this time, while I AM also worried about our personal finances, I do worry that Bush will do something to ensure the Republicans stay in power. I don't trust him AT ALL. And then I read on Boing Boing that Congresspeople were told that martial law might have been imposed in the "bailout" wasn't passed. YIKES!

Or that terrorists/Bush are planning an "October Surprise" - JoeMyGod sees the evidence on Lincoln Tunnel. The sky today is the same beautiful blue it was on 9/11, which now always gives me pause.


P.S. Neighbor, Ed, an Islamic Law professor at an Ivy League university, says that my fears are unfounded, scary, and just part of a "politicized electorate's demonization of the other." He says this kind of thinking surfaces every few years (which a brief Google search confirms). He says both sides of this election are firmly committed to democracy. I said I had my doubts, but that it is nice to see idealism in someone who's ideas I generally value, though do not always agree with. It made me feel better to talk to him.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Newsy Weekend

It's La Segunda's birthday today. We had her party yesterday, and only one person showed up - luckily she brought her big sister along. I really, honestly, don't get how grown-ups can say they're coming to a party, with their child, to another child's party, and then not show. That's out of the people who actually RSVP'd. I don't get it. Am I too old-school?

Yesterday was a pretty big day - Josiah was confirmed as an Episcopalian yesterday. It was a great service and I am proud to have sponsored him.

It was also the first day I've been at church since Grandma died, and that was pretty emotional for me as well. It's really hard to believe and accept that she's not around anymore.

For our Spanish-speaking friends

Too great not to share w/our brother and sisters in the Spanish-speaking world.

gracias a K-government

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blog Round-Up

Lots and lots going on this week. Not the least of which is the death of my grandmother. It hasn't really sunk in for me yet, so my original thought of postponing blogging for a while, has been replaced by the effort to "keep busy." So, here I go, plunging right in!

[re: the image? I don't know where to start!]

* Europe expands maternity leave! Those lucky families!
* Some "good" videos which explain various and sundry parts of our US election process. I love the tag-line - "Love it or Fix It!"
* I'm new to this responsibility project. I haven't explored it too far yet, but it seems like it's right up my alley.
* Yikes! Homer tries to vote for Obama. JoeMyGod shares my concern about the likelihood of this happening. OY.
* A Lithuanian Haiku, thanks to Skepchick for the link. I probably feel differently about it than they do, but thanks all the same.
* Mrs. O. wears H&M. Thanks to the Budget Fashionista for the photo, by way of BlogHer.
* Speaking of pregnancy and maternity leave, apparently Angelina Jolie, is getting help for PPD, which is great news. This is a great help to us mere mortals who struggle(d). If you are feeling blue after a baby, my friend Moxie has some great tips. But the most important thing is - GET HELP. YOU and your baby and your family are worth it!
* Another Angie, my sister, may be going to Paris this winter. This planning guide might help, courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier, via the NYT.
* A former neighbor, Nancy Masters', art show is up.
* Barack and Spock - who knew?!
* If only I could knit! - Octopus knitting projects.
* In this season of birthdays, who doesn't love a muppet cake!?
* I couldn't manage watching this debate. (gawker article on Gwen Ifill)
* Hello!
* Salon book review on false autism/vaccine link - found on Bad Astronomy Blog.
* Uh oh, that's not good.
* September Madness in the bank mergers arena.
* Some nice religious art.
* In honor of Halloween coming up, a DIY "Planet of the Apes tunic"! Also, see the "splackolantern", below!
* This is "Banned Books Week." Don't tell Sarah Palin!
* My "Green Porno Role" is the Praying Mantis (the Giver). Who are you??
* You can donate to the "Hole in the Wall Camps" in memory of Paul Newman.
* Has McCain seen the light? I truly doubt it. (opinion piece from the NYT)
* Obama promises to cut emissions! That's my guy! Found on Bellona.
* I never knew there was a creation museum, nor that people actually believe that dinosaurs and humans cohabitated.
* The Great Schlep - what a great idea. I can proudly say that MY grandma knew all about Obama and was a huge supporter without my help. But I say more power to ya, and wouldn't it be great if we could swing Florida our way?!?
* "Riding Out the Credit Crisis" by Douglas Rushkoff - good stuff.
* Snip from a blog post by Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi on the media phenomenon surrounding Republical vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin:
Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power.

Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she's the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV -and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.

(...) The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters.
* This just in: Larry Flynt of Huslter has a spoof adult video of Palin. Here's the deets on the Veep!

Thanks to JoeMYGod for the splackolantern!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Grandmother Died

On Monday, my grandmother, Helen, died at the age of 98. She went peacefully, with no pain. My mom was with her.

We're still trying to figure out funeral arrangements.