Monday, September 6, 2010

Boooooooo, Tim Pawlenty

I used to think that Minnesota's Governor Tim Pawlenty was a reasonably practical conservative, the kind who can go on Rachel Maddow's show and intelligently discuss important issues, but lately he's been proving himself to be a righty nut job. (How frightening is it that it's now considered necessary to be a nut job to be an electable Republican? That can't bode well for the GOP or the USA.) He's been trying to earn the Tea Party's love by turning down federal money for children's health care and sex ed (bonus Religious Right points on that one), and now he's gone on Fox News to say this to Neil Cavuto:

Instead of all just running around saying, “We’ll take the money because it’s free money,” let’s call it what it is: The federal government is basically a drug dealer trying to give out free samples, or give people a taste, get them further addicted. And I think we just say: “No, thanks, we’ve had enough, and get your own house in order, by the way, at the same time.”

That's right - accepting federal money = being a crackhead. Hope you're paying attention, elderly folks on Social Security, soldiers and veterans, companies with government contracts, and pretty much everyone else in America. Also, sorry kids, Tim Pawlenty's personal health care is just health care, but YOURS is rhetorically crack, and he demands that you get sick and die to prove his point.

We pay taxes to get services. But Tim thinks we should pay taxes and not get services. And that's the sort of position for passes for economic know-how in today's Republican Party.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Excellent Causes: Even Super-Tough Marines Love Fuzzy Kitten Snuggles

Behold, US Marine Brian Chambers and his rescued kitten Kiki.

Brian and two of his fellow Marines made it their personal mission to help find homes for stray cats while they were serving in Afghanistan.

The plight of needy animals in Iraq and Afghanistan also inspired a group of Commando Royal Marines to found Nowzad Dogs in 2007. They have been joined by cat-loving contractor Louise Hastie, who is merging her Baghdad Animal Rescue with them to form Nowzad charity. Visit their site to support the rescue and care of dogs, cats, and donkeys -- and the service members who love them.

Pussycat Panty Bandit

Oscar the cat brought home so many pairs of ladies knickers that his Southampton owners called the police on him.

The director at their local Cats Protection charity says that this is "natural behavior that is completely normal," but the conspiracy-minded may well wonder if Oscar is a convenient scape-cat for a non-feline panty-fiend.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I've been seeing a lot of terrariums and miniature gardens lately, but these are fantastic -- and fantastical.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

ART: Signe Grushovenko

These paintings are both bright AND disturbing.

I don't know if these are meant to be disturbing. But the faces are blank, everything is flat and fractured, it's like the image cannot hold and everything is flying apart. And the patterned background bits that show through remind me of those flash-silhouettes left on walls in Hiroshima. Maybe I just haven't had enough caffeine this morning?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

Money Quotes

A Tea Partier Speaks:

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”


Money Quotes

That old boys’ club in the Vatican became as self-absorbed as other old boys’ clubs, like Lehman Brothers, with similar results. And that is the reason the Vatican is floundering today.

Nicholas Kristoff

Ouch - you know you're unpopular when you're compared to Lehman Brothers.

GOP: Better than Ever?

Look how far they've come . . .

Is the Republican party now courting the furry vote? I blame the teabaggers.

Thank you, Wonkette, for this horrible image.

ART: Mike Boyle

Google's artist of the day - such lovely light.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Glenn Beck Outsourcing His Work to Americans

Glenn Beck, in between his alternating bouts of raving and crying, has apparently written a work of fiction. But since he claims the paranoid crap he spouts on air is real, we must assume that this book is actually non-fiction. Anyway, Glenn can't decide which of these covers to stick on his book, so he is outsourcing his tough decision-making work to Americans. Which of these terrible covers do you prefer? Pick one and vote.

Here are your choices:

Global Warming Eats the Flag

Totally Straight Guy from 300 Replaces Statue of Liberty

Shaftacular Monument Menage a Trois

MAC Hatter?

Very nice -- Alice + Olivia does Alice in Wonderland color line for MAC cosmetics. Out July 8. But where is the red mascara for my Mad Hatter get-up?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Money Quotes

I like David Brooks. He is an old-fashioned, intellectual, non-crazy conservative, and I prefer to disagree - and occasionally agree - with people who know what they are talking about. (In other words, not rabid tea-partyers. Have you seen the "Teabonics" tumbler page?) His polite verbal sparring with EJ Dionne on NPR is a work-day pleasure of mine. In today's Times, Brooks has an encouraging op-ed in which he resists the recent conservative impulse to convince people that America is doomed, the better to drive them into the GOP's arms in fright and desperation. No, he writes - America is going to be better than fine.

This column is a great luscious orgy of optimism. Because the fact is, despite all the problems, America’s future is exceedingly bright.

Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan.

As the world gets richer, demand will rise for the sorts of products Americans are great at providing — emotional experiences. Educated Americans grow up in a culture of moral materialism; they have their sensibilities honed by complicated shows like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and “Mad Men,” and they go on to create companies like Apple, with identities coated in moral and psychological meaning, which affluent consumers crave.

As the rising generation leads an economic revival, it will also participate in a communal one. We are living in a global age of social entrepreneurship.

In 1964, there were 15,000 foundations in the U.S. By 2001, there were 61,000. In 2007, total private giving passed $300 billion. Participation in organizations like City Year, Teach for America, and College Summit surges every year. Suburbanization helps. For every 10 percent reduction in population density, the odds that people will join a local club rise by 15 percent. The culture of service is now entrenched and widespread.

In sum, the U.S. is on the verge of a demographic, economic and social revival, built on its historic strengths. The U.S. has always been good at disruptive change. It’s always excelled at decentralized community-building. It’s always had that moral materialism that creates meaning-rich products. Surely a country with this much going for it is not going to wait around passively and let a rotten political culture drag it down.

Hurray, David Brooks - thank you for not attempting to scare me into voting Republican, and also for not sneering at the word "community." The 2008 campaign's focus on Obama's service as a "community organizer" seems to have led an awful lot of Fox talking heads to treat "community" as a distasteful code word for socialism or something. Which bugs me about as much as Glenn Beck's treatment of "social justice" - the man told his viewers to leave their church if that phrase came up. Isn't that anti-Catholic? Maybe that Catholic League nut Donohue needs to put him on his enemies list.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Death to Stereotypes

Stereotypes aren't just harmful -- they also tend to be wrong. Really, really wrong. And yet pervasive. In his New York Times op-ed, Charles Blow points out that the revival of the image of the drug-addicted black mother in popular culture (looking at you, Tyler Perry) corresponds with a remarkable drop in drug use among young black people. Black adults aged 18-25 are much less likely than the average young adult to use illicit drugs, and young black women have the lowest rates of all. This is the sort of interesting (and excellent) social development that stereotypes prevent us from seeing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DIY: Fake Adler Vases

From re-nest.

old vases, cans, etc.
puffy paint
spray paint

Friday, February 19, 2010

Design Blogs: Jackie Bos

Jackie Bos has been getting some press for her mini book, I Heart the Arctic. Check out her blog to see some of her drawings -- her style is whimsical (don't worry, I mean in a witty way, not in a barf-inducing way) and spare.

Also, I didn't realize until I perused her website that she's also done work for my lovely friend Anna's Working Proof Gallery, which sells great art for many great causes. Check it out. Seriously, you must.

Design: Hella Jongerius

These are some of my all-time favorites, but her site is full of great work and interesting ideas.
Her work is always good for some inspiration.

Creative Work Environments

Well-designed environments to foster awesomeness.

Parliament workspace / Eco-friendly man den?

Vodafone head office, Portugal
Barbara Guiamaraes Arquitectos

From trendbible, via craftmba.

Design Blogs: Elsita

WOW. Paper-cutting, fabric art, jewelry. Highly recommended.

Should You Be an Entrepreneur?

Hey, everybody's doing it. But should you? Harvard Business Review has a 2-minute, 20 question test to help you figure it out.

Are you an artist? Here's some business-related thoughts for you, from Whitney of Whitney's Pottery. And yes, the pottery is fabulous.

Design: Excellent Ideas

Here's an excellent idea -- cozy/cuff. It's bracelet! It's a coffee-cup-holder! There are lots of cute finger-protecting coffee-cup-holding things out there, but I like the concept that you wear it, so you don't forget it. A bit like the ubiquitous hair tie-on-wrist, except attractive.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ART: Rebecca Campbell

Power lines are one of those things that are so graphically strong that they appeal to some artistic-minded people, but that appeal isn't necessarily an easy thing to translate into art. Behold, Rebecca Campbell's fabulous power line paintings. The colorful underpainting peeking out from behind her backlit shapes is remarkable.

I also like this piece, Satellite, which is listed under her paintings but is made of copper and nickel wire.

Sporty Details

Love the sporty details for spring. Neon colors, crazy nylon cord, etc.

Here, new Camper shoes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Personal Mantras

Always a good one to remember:

"Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Gay Marriage

I recently joined a Facebook group supporting gay marriage, and read this interesting quote in the reviews. To counter critics who wrote that the Bible is "against" gay marriage, I shared my view that the "traditional" marriage that people claim the Bible describes/supports is 1) polygamy and 2) an entirely different thing than our modern view of marriage as a romantic love-based union between two willing equals. I also had the pleasure of reading this gentleman's quote -- from the West Wing tv show.

President Josiah Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.

Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.

President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Think about those questions, would you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ART: Richard Salcedo

Another nice pick from Google's Artist of the Day -- San Diego painter Richard Salcedo. Drips, typography -- love the graffiti influence.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Continued Irony

A pic from the "Super Sunday with Sarah" event, starring Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Ted Nugent. What, poor spelling and Nugent at the same event? SHOCKING.

And no, I'm not making fun of this kid, because it's obvious from the hand-writing on that sign that he did not make it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ART: Hunter Stabler


Hunter Stabler is Google's artist of the day.
Check out his intricate graphite on paper and cut paper work.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fashion: More Spring10 J Crew Lookbook

J Crew has become a reliable source of styling suggestions. Their Spring 2010 lookbook has some ideas for wearing a number of the season's trends.

The "tough + ladylike" look is still strong -- especially with big, rough jewelry, or sporty touches, to offset sequins and ruffles. I especially like their approach to spring's soft neutrals and pastels (like blush and lavender) - add a little orange or acid yellow, to keep it all from becoming super-meh. Including a decent amount of warm grey also works.