Friday, January 30, 2009

Inauguration (Religious?) Art

The New York Times just posted a beautiful set of works by Maira Kalman called "The Pursuit of Happiness". Beautiful images. She shares her thoughts and emotions of the Inauguration in such a moving, thoughtful way. Go check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weekly Blog Round-Up

RELIGIOUS ART (sort of):
But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration's actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I'm not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say, or what's on a television station in the Arab world -- but I think that what you'll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity. I want to make sure that I'm speaking to them, as well.
This snippet found Justin Webb's BBC Blog but full text on Politco


In the interview accompanying these shots of Marky Mark, he uses the word "dope" over and over again. "I think of myself as a very flavorsome rapper. I'm versatile and that's what I think makes my style so dope," he says. "I did a dope rap on voting for MTV. I just started getting hip on voting." Winter 1992.

And finally, Lakshmi turned me on to this blog last week "Career Hope and Advice for Everyone Starting Over", and I love it. This is the kind of stuff I talk about with Ladybird a lot. And Angie and I just had a marathon convo about these same ideas - so maybe we're all on the same wavelength or something. I have recently found some contentment at work, but it's been a struggle. [Perhaps someday I will share the saga of my volunteer post I had to quit this fall out of frustration. People can be tough.]

I will leave you with this (long) quotation from her latest post, "Are Your Friends and Family Inspiring You? Or Retiring You?"
I don't know who said it, but you've probably also heard the truism that "we see things not as they are but as we are." (Somebody please write in and tell me who said it!) And that is consistent with what Deutschman was saying about "frames." We see and believe things according to elements we already believe to be legitimate truths in life.

So. If you think all workplaces are Dickensian workhouses, that's probably all you're going to find, because you don't have the faith, vision, or expectation of finding anything better for yourself. And if you are surrounded by friends who firmly believe the same, you're at a huge disadvantage even if you do aspire for better for yourself. You're going to be constantly surrounded by debilitating messages that your dreams for something better are pointless. So, from their perspective, you might as well take what you get and suck it up. That's reality, sweetie. Deal with it. Really? I beg to differ.

It's not just friends telling you discouraging things about the world. It could be family members telling you discouraging things about yourself. This is especially common in families with neglectful, abusive, substance-abusing parents. Children of these households very commonly take on unconsciously assigned roles like the Scapegoat, the Troublemaker, the Over-Achiever, the Good One. If that's the case with you, and you're trying to thrive in a world of your own making, hoping for a better life in a healthier world, you could be upsetting the rest of the family. You're breaking the rules, getting a little "full of yourself," or "too big for your britches." And someone is going to want to remind you – often forcefully – that it's futile to aspire for anything better. And heaven help you if you actually reach for a way to love yourself.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekly Blog Round-Up

UPDATE: Ladybird & Andy - You gotta check this out: the Heavy Metal Band Names Flow Chart! On Comic vs. Audience, via Boing Boing.

WOW - look at the detail. The tear glistens!!! - Thanks, as ever, Terry from Idle Speculations

"awesome president is awesome" from Buzzfeed

Green roof on Huff Po

Why Former Energy Secretary Should Keep His Mouth Shut! Amen, brother! from TreeHugger.

I truly loathe Bush. I wonder if he will ever get his just desserts. Story from Gawker.

Poe in 50's Hipster Argot. If that's not your thing, just read Poe aloud. Both from Boing Boing.

Holy moly! crochet coral reef!! From Boing Boing.

Gotta love Gawker for their assessment of Obama Staffers' discontent with the White House tech environment. Muddle through like the rest of us, OK?

Too geeky for words - Planet of the Apes font from Boing Boing.

Obama's first act is to halt Bush's last-ditch efforts to wreck stuff. Via TreeHugger.

Roma (Gypsy) History - Here is a pretty detailed (harsh) account from the BBC of Roma suffering during the Holocaust.

If you like birds, there are some beautiful photos over at Peregrinations Ornithologiques!

Cheap food is back. So say we all. There is a spread in the Philadelphia Inquirer in this week's food section about Mac & Cheese - for exactly this reason - it's cheap!

And, finally, my horoscope (Pisces) from Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology:
Once every few years, a panel of Hindu and Buddhist judges in Nepal chooses a new "living goddess," a young girl who serves, until she reaches puberty, as an incarnation of the deity Taleju. One of the tests each candidate must pass in order to be eligible for the role is this: She must show no fear as she spends a night alone in a room filled with the bloody heads of ritually killed buffaloes and goats. I'd like you to consider the possibility of carrying out a more humane equivalent of that ceremony, Pisces. For one night, keep symbols of what you're afraid of in the place where you sleep. To do so would be an excellent way to earn the right to graduate to the next level of your spiritual evolution.

Odd Cookbooks


I just received a package of ephemera from a friend in Kinston, NC. She knows of my love of old/wacky cookbooks, especially of the old-school church lady or county fair variety. Anyway, she photocopied some excerpts from Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, Herter's, Waseca, Minnesota.

Check it out -
Spinach Mother of Christ:

The Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ was very fond of spinach. This is as well a known fact in Nazareth today as it was 19 centuries ago. Her favorite music was that of the crude bagpipess of that times, and this also is a well-known fact.
Her recipe for preparing spinach spread with Christianity throughout Europe. On the eve of Christ's birth in the cave that was called a stable, Her only meal was spinach.
The early European immigrants from Germany, France and Italy nearly all brought this recipe with them.

Other chapter headings among those my friend sent:

"Sioux Method of Cracking Black Walnuts, Butternuts, Hickory Nuts and Hazelnuts"

or my favorite:

"In Case of a Hydrogen Bomb Attack You Must Know the Ways of the Wilderness to Survive"

other recipes include:

"Prairie Dog Bat Materson", "Fried Snapping Turtle or Smaller Turtle Meat, Scandinavian Style", and "Belgian Squirrel"

She says she's on the lookout for another copy for me! Yay! A quick google search tells me that I am not alone in my awe of the "Spinach Mohter of Christ" recipe. I just found 2 other quotations! There's probably more!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Praise Song for the Day" text

Praise Song for the Day
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer consider the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

- Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander was born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C. She is the author of four collections of poetry, American Sublime, Antebellum Dream Book, The Venus Hottentot, and Body of Life, which was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is also the author of two collections of essays, The Black Interior and Power and Possibilities: Essays, Interviews, Reviews, and a collection of poems for young adults, Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Colors (co-authored with Marilyn Nelson). She recently edited The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks. She has read her work across the United States and in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America, and her poetry, short stories, and critical prose have been published in numerous periodicals and anthologies.

- quoted from: Now Public

PLUS: Let's not forget the beautiful music, centered around one of my favorites from American Folk Music - "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple":

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fly! Eagles, Fly!

I work with three women who live in New Jersey. Two have lived there all their lives, one grew up in Philly, and now lives there. Only one of the lifers is a Giants fan, the other two: Eagles Fans. I (appreciatively) call the Giants' fan "hard-boiled." And I still think it's funny that no one in our office has given her an grief over the Giants' loss to the Eagles last weekend. In fact, no one has even mentioned it in more than hushed tones. [Everyone remembers that I work in a silent office, right?]

Anyways, last weekend's game reminded me of a discussion I got into with a Red Sox fan over New Years. See, he grew up in Worcester, and I grew up outside of Hartford, CT. I know he thinks less of me now, because of my former baseball allegiance (Yankees), but, you people need to understand how it is growing up right smack dab in the middle of Major Sports Rivalries. I'm not gonna cry you a river, I'm just saying. So, I will lay my soul bare, and show you who I supported THEN, and who I support NOW, and I will feel better. You all can do with this information what you will.

Baseball: Yankees (Lou Pinella & Reggie Jackson* were my idols - I was an outfielder in softball)
Hockey: Whalers
Basketball: UConn
Football: I didn't watch much back then, but I guess the Pats, though legend has it that my granddad was a Packers fan...

Baseball: Phillies
Hockey: Flyers
Basketball: Sixers
Football: Eagles; The founder of the team named them after FDR's "Blue Eagle" program (National Recovery Act - not that other NRA).

It sorta makes it easier when you live in a huge sports market. And when we get our yet-to-be-named professional Soccer team, I will support it AND continue to ogle all the hot soccer players from around the world, an excellent fringe benefit of watching that particular sport.

Well, now we're moving on in the Playoffs, and I'm just hoping we can get past the Cardinals. I worry about the Eagles a lot. I couldn't actually stay IN the room while the game was on last weekend. Only at half time did I go in and watch the highlights from the first half. And then again, at the 2 minute warning in the second half, I felt it was OK to watch. I guess I'm superstitious like that.
"Fly Eagles Fly" EAGLES Fight Song

Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.
Fight Eagles Fight, Score A Touchdown 1-2-3.

Hit 'Em Low.

Hit 'Em High.
And We'll Watch Our Eagles Fly.

Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.


* TANGENT: Speaking of Reggie Jackson, I know many people remember him for his career in Oakland, playing for the A's. Now, this is another team I have a sentimental attachment to. The A's started out in Philadelphia, as the Athletics, based in Connie Mack stadium, from what I gather. And then they moved to Oakland, via Kansas City. Oakland is also a port town, and I just love ports: cranes, water, logistics, and sailors(!) When Angie lived out there, she really got into the A's and her enthusiasm sort of swept over to me.

And then, there's the Raiders fans. [sigh] I LOVE the Raiders fans or "Raider Nation". They remind me of Eagles fans, but MORE-SO. They are So Over the Top that you just gotta love them. And the whole "Chucky" riff - made me laugh!

Hunter S. Thompson, a Raider fan in the last years of his life, wrote,
"The massive Raider Nation is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and wackos ever assembled."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekly Blog round-Up

An awesome discussion of atheist bus ads on Vegas Cohort, via Friendly Atheist via Emerging Pensées (I know, the trail of bread crumbs confused me too!)

Understanding Science: A sorta wonky site about Science and how it helps our lives. But some good explanations there.

Inauguration Lunch menu! I wish I could taste this food! I love the idea of the cherry chutney, with wine selections listed too! I also can't wait to see the changes to this page!

The Recently Deflowered Girl: The Right Thing To Say On Every Dubious Occasion, by Hyacinthe Phyppe [Edward Gorey, Mel Juffe] found on: Buzzfeed

Slumdog Millionaire won big at the Golden Globes. This Sojourner's article explains why, w/clip at the bottom.

At right, Noli Mi Tangere - Beautiful from Art Blog by Bob

Scientists to Obama: FDA has been corrupted
from AMERICAblog New
s| A great nation deserves the truth by Chris in Paris
Won't it be a positive change to have science matter again during the Obama administration? From the AP:

In an unusually blunt letter, a group of federal scientists is complaining to the Obama transition team of widespread managerial misconduct in a division of the Food and Drug Administration.

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the scientific review process for medical devices at the FDA has been corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk," said the letter, dated Wednesday and written on the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health letterhead.

The center is responsible for medical devices ranging from stents and breast implants to MRIs and other imaging machinery. The concerns of the nine scientists who wrote to the transition team echo some of the complaints from the FDA's drug review division a few years ago during the safety debacle involving the painkiller Vioxx.

The FDA declined to publicly respond to the letter, but said it is working to address the concerns.

In their letter the FDA dissidents alleged that agency managers use intimidation to squelch scientific debate, leading to the approval of medical devices whose effectiveness is questionable and which may not be entirely safe.

"Managers with incompatible, discordant and irrelevant scientific and clinical expertise in devices...have ignored serious safety and effectiveness concerns of FDA experts," the letter said. "Managers have ordered, intimidated and coerced FDA experts to modify scientific evaluations, conclusions and recommendations in violation of the laws, rules and regulations, and to accept clinical and technical data that is not scientifically valid."

Couch surfers welcome, but small-space campers requested! via TreeHugger

Awesome points made by Snuffy, as usual. This time, about Christianity. I have to say, I can't say it any better than she does.

Another beautiful image from Idle Speculations of my fave - John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.

This NYT article is noticeably vague about what this "tough-guy" pastor actually preaches about the role of women, other than that he's mainline Calvin. I don't think I would agree with him, nor be a member of his church, but I share his frustration w/the pansy-@$$ version of Jesus that's out there in full effect.

While I celebrate Obama's inauguration, Russel Means makes the case for the Native American Indian (well, AIM) point of view - Food for thought, to be sure.

I never thought I'd agree w/the CEO of Walmart in my lifetime, but I think he's on to something. Something good for America and Americans. Via AmericaBlog.

Intrepid food fans, check out how easy it is to make sauerkraut! Via Boing Boing.

Water under NYC via bldgblog - and London's lost rivers to be uncovered! from TreeHugger.

Awesome "Jesus for the Working Person" image by Art Young on Art Blog by Bob. I am learning from Bob that I am a big fan of the "Ashcan School."

Via TreeHugger - Google launches the transit map layer to its Google Maps. About time - but this will be helpful fo shizzle. But dag! Philadelphia is not one of the cities included on the first round. Bummer.

Gourmet going down!?! This is terrible news to me. [sniff!] Via Queenie Takes Manhattan.

An awesome riff on what we wish would happen if Bush were actually sent to prison for his crimes from 23/6.

Mr Darcy-Obama at the White House, from Huff Po. I still think it's a stretch - would Obama ever be as RUDE as Darcy? I guess I'll never know. But, at least someone out there is making the comparison.

From Iraq Veterans Against the War - this depresses me no end. When will the soldiers get a break?!

Robert Crumb's book of Genesis via Boing Boing. Huh. Will it be religious-arty enough for me??

And, finally, Jesse's Tree from Idle Speculations.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Weekly Blog Round-Up - Big Week for Religious Art

Sock Monkey Goddess, Vati - religious art in pop culture, via Boing Boing

Luxury brand Chanel to slash jobs this week, from AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth by Chris in Paris:
This was another group that somehow thought the credit crisis would avoid them courtesy of emerging market support. It's true that many of the luxury brands have profited enormously in recent years due to the emerging markets (Russia, especially) but that too is now collapsing. Overpriced luxury was so 2006.

Chanel is to cut 200 jobs as fears grow that the supposedly recession proof luxury market is falling victim to the global credit crisis. Citing a steep decline in this year's sales, the largest French union, the CGT, said the losses at the French fashion label
would concern all staff on fixed term and temporary contracts and come into effect on Wednesday. Sixteen posts would be cut from the brand's boutique on rue Cambon in the heart of Paris's fashion district, it added in a statement at the weekend.

The job losses, described by some commentators as the label's worst crisis since founder Coco Chanel fired all her staff at the outbreak of war in 1939, represent almost 10% of the company's production workforce. The redundancies come after a difficult year for the fashion, perfume, cosmetics and accessories businesses where
growth has almost ground to a halt.

More religious art in the news via Art Blog by Bob - the 3 Religions of the Book on display at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

Fitwilliam Darcy's portrait is on the auction block to benefit Oxfam! Sigh, the face that launched a zillion forum posts!

TreeHugger on the need for improving Amtrak
- I love the comment that says
"Every time Amtrak falls apart -- which typically occurs on days ending in "y" -- it hurts us all. If Obama wants to make concrete change fast, he could do no better than to make rail revitalization a high priority."
Couldn't agree more!

Wow - Nollywood images from the Heading East blog - click thru for Michael Stevenson's photos. Some images probably NSFW. But WOW, impressive.

H.T. to Jay: "Vicar takes down "scary" crucifix" via the Guardian, UK. I have to say, this one isn't even that scary. I personally prefer the truly horrifying crucifixes (crucifixi?) with the blood and bruises all over - they feel much more powerful and disturbing - which I appreciate in religious art.

Lakshmi turned me on to this great PA-grown blog and here are my two favorite posts so far: When Children Worry - and When Adults Get Angry - great "in-the-trenches" advice.

On Matti Kaarts a yummy discussion of the British love affair with chutneys and pickles. PLUS a recipe for one homemade. His description of the ploughman's lunch made me so hungry!

There will be a Berlin monument to Roma (aka "gypsies") killed in WWII. This is good news.

Mona Lisa in US (w/ guards!). Art Blog by Bob reviews a new book about First Lady, Jackie O's intense negotiations to get the Mona Lisa on loan to the US for a brief time. Check out the soldiers guarding her!

Christian radio found to be on continuous loop for past 20 years Wow! via Emerging Pensees.
PONTIAC — Listeners of Christian talk radio were surprised and dismayed to learn that the same slate of programs has been playing on Christian radio stations since 1988, and that the entire façade of Christian radio has been run out of a basement complex in Michigan. "I always found the programs very comforting and familiar," says Kathy Reynolds, a regular listener in Columbia, Mo. "Now I know why."
The 365-day-long loop, which has been running continuously since January 1, 1988, includes programs by ministers such as James Dobson and Chuck Colson who dispense parenting and marital advice, Bible answers and non-specific calls to political action. The loop followed the calendar's rhythms, with programs about creating lasting family traditions at Thanksgiving, back-to-school prayer programs in August
and cloyingly sweet programs about home, hearth and "the reason for the season" at Christmas. A layer of conservative concern over the direction of the country was included throughout the year. Read more...

And I leave you with the probably inappropes "Holy Hotties" calendar, Jezebel. One of these seems to come out each year, and I really believe that these are models. not actual priests. But still.... They are some of God's beautiful creatures, it's true. BIG WEEK for religious art news! WOW Holy Hotties!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Bush Environmental Legacy, in Graphic Detail...

Cool graphic. Not cool topic.

However, my folks over at Blogfish, say that Bush has conserved more of the worlds Oceans than anyone. Well, so there's ONE positive thing that came out of that bunch of crooks.

But more in keeping with my impression of this Administration's Environmental record, is the disgusting Coal Ash Disaster. TreeHugger has more info. I gotta say this spill is just creepy. What is even creepier is that I don't hear any outrage..... Yuck.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Newsy Mid-Week Items

First off, Angie is engaged! Congratulations Angie & Neil. I get to do some of the wedding planning. I'm stoked.

If you want to take a peek at her engagement ring, you can find it under her pseudonym at her jeweler's website: Lorinczi. Look at "Collections," under "Bridal," Angie's is the last dot in the bunch. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL work, Stacey. You Rock! [get it?]

Also, today is my grandmother, Helen's birthday, she would have been 99 years old today. I am thinking of her favorite yellow cake with mocha icing that my mom used to make for her. I miss Grandma.

I didn't get a job I'd applied for with a great organization, which is a bummer. But, onward and upward, as I always say.

And, now, in Philadelphia, there is WEEKLY CURBSIDE RECYCLING! Yee Haw! I am so HAPPY!

Happy Epiphany, All!