Friday, February 29, 2008

tear jerker

So I finally watched Brokeback Mountain. It made me sad. There were some really lovely moments and lots of beautiful mountains, but overall, to me, the movie just had a lot of sorrow. Impossible love is always sad, but when a whole society is against you it's heartbreaking. And it's not fair.

Happy birthday tomorrow Noel. I miss you a lot.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

edit, people, edit

My favorite author (one of them) put a link to this blog on her blog.

So that was a recommendation I should trust, right?

I am sure it's good. But I clicked on the link, and closed it again. Too many words. Rarely do I read anything online that is just a block of text. Sorry, can't do it.

who is nerdier, me or my friend (who shall remain nameless but let's call her b to make things easier)?

B gives up computer solitaire for Lent every year.
I buy pretty stamps out of the USA Philatelic ('The Official Source For Stamp Enthusiasts') catalog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"I found myself understanding physics"

This American Life on testosterone.

(The quote? It's from someone who started taking testosterone as part of his female-to-male sex change.)

everybody forget we are human

So last week Hillary Clinton somewhat unexpectedly announced that she was "honored" to be sitting next to Barack Obama in a debate. Today she is wagging her finger and telling him "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" like an abusive parent.

To me this sounds like crazy behavior. Are we supposed not to care, just because it's politics?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

we can only hope

So Daniel Day-Lewis just got an Oscar for There Will Be Blood. First time I remember seeing him was in A Room With a View (1985), and My Beautiful Laundrette (same year).

Let's just say that it's a good thing when people get more interesting as they get older.


Ing says she gets homesick for Europe when she meets someone who lives there and she talks to them about their everyday life.

I get homesick for Europe when I see the European people at the Academy Awards. They are like a breath of fresh air compared to the neurotic strive for perfection that often defines American fashion.

That's Tilda Swinton there. She is all about the edge. Love her.

Friday, February 22, 2008

happy black history month


Three days a week I have a 45 minutes commute, each way. Some days it takes me an hour. I get up early, get dressed and fed, and then when I am ready to leave I have to wait five minutes while the car warms up. So I sit there.

This morning I thought to myself that there ought to be a way I could make better use of those five minutes. But how?

I decided to lace up my Doc Martens in the car. That's always a chore.

So I walked down the driveway with my boot laces untied. I felt the cold wind and rain against my legs and ankles. I heard the faint swooshing of the laces. I arched my feet inside the shoes to make them stay on. I heard the dull sound of my soles hitting the pavement.

I was myself, at 15.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"whichever way you turn, you end up with your ass behind you," as the swedes would say

Why is it that in the United States you can't criticize your own country? Michelle Obama has said over the last few days that "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country." Which isn't exactly criticism, but it's being interpreted as such.

And people are mad.

I remember a few years ago my Australian friend said that she again was "ashamed of her country." I don't know what they had done, but it had to do with policy.

Granted, my friend's husband was not running for president, and she was not on TV. She was just on the email with me. But the sentiment, and the difference in attitude, is interesting to me.

In the US, being "unpatriotic" is very bad. It's pretty much the worst thing ever. It's like being disloyal to your family, and criticizing your parents in public instead of keeping it behind closed doors, under the rug, or wherever others won't see it.

I don't think Swedes feel the same way. And apparently not Australians either. To me it's a sign of weakness not being able to take an honest look at yourself.

So an African American woman is proud that finally her country seems to be ready to elect an African American, or a woman, for president? How can that be a shock to anybody? The fact that she can't say it without being criticized is proof enough, I think. It's still not OK with everybody to admit that the world looks different to you depending on where you are standing.


Barbara Ehrenreich has a blog.

can't do it without bla-bla

I think it's funny that when Hillary Clinton is criticizing Barack Obama for being all talk and no action, she is doing so in carefully crafted speeches of her own. Like what she said today:

"It’s time we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions.”

So the other guy is speaking too much? Didn't someone put together "from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions” exactly in order to create a good sound bite?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

right before her el paso, texas speech

Clinton Aide: When you address the Latinos, here are your keywords: family, food, music. Get those in there.
Hillary: Family. Food. Music. Got it. I can do that.

Monday, February 11, 2008

another one of those videos

to be continued, I am sure

The blunt and outspoken Doris Lessing said over the weekend that she thinks that if Barack Obama is elected president, there is a high risk he will be assassinated. I am sure she is not the only one who have had that thought cross her mind.

There is an episode of This American Life where a father talks about teaching his young daughter about Jesus, including the fact that Jesus was killed for his beliefs. When the same young girl later has preschool off for MLK Day she learns about Dr. King. She impresses her father by being able to draw parallels between the two men's ideas. Then she asks him: Was Dr. King killed too?

I watched Bobby the other day, the movie about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy during the California primary in 1968. It's a good movie. The story is told from the perspective of the different people staying and working at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Kennedy was shot. There is ample use of footage from 1960s speeches and rallies. You get to hear and see the real Kennedy, not an actor.

America does have a history of killing strong leaders. But the same thing happens in other countries too. There can't be a politician in the world today who isn't aware of the risks involved in running for, and holding, office.

I think it's dangerous if we mold our images of the present on our ideas about the past. I think that's a sure way of having history repeat itself.

Yesterday Ing and I had a short discussion based in a column by Joel Stein in The LA Times. Stein was making mild fun of the enthusiastic Obama followers. Ing thought it was funny, I thought he was being elitist. (And yeah maybe I just didn't have a sense of humor.)

One point that Stein made is that Obama is mainstream. That's true. Even John Edwards was a more progressive candidate. It seemed that it confused Stein that people are rallying around a mainstream guy.

Obama is no Dr. King. Ethel Kennedy has said that he reminds her of her husband Bobby. Caroline Kennedy says he can become a president 'like her father'. But that's rhetoric, and part of the game. He is not them.

If we look at Obama and try to see a black leader from the 60s we are both wrong, and doing him a disservice. Early on in the debates black leaders questioned if he was 'black enough'. I think the truth is that is not black at all, in the American sense. He is not a descendant of slaves, and he has not grown up in the US. He is biracial, with a multicultural background. But, he knows what it's like to be treated as a black man in the US because he lives here.

Richard Rodriguez has written about what it means to be brown. He says that within a few decades all of California will be brown. Look at it that way, and you see it clearly that Obama is not a leader from the past. I know I'll sound like one of those fanatic Obama followers now, but I really think that if he wants to, Barack Obama can become a leader for the future.

But, I agree with Rodriguez when he says that Obama needs to make himself known as mixed for that to happen. Rodriguez says he needs to do so to be able to reach Latinos. To me it's a broader issue. I am waiting for Obama to come out and talk about race beyond the black and white. So far he been skirting the issue of race entirely. But I hope it will happen. I hope caution and political strategy will not stand in the way for it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

bottomless pit


from the doris lessing mailing list

Sat Feb 9, 12:00 PM
STOCKHOLM (AFP) - If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here Saturday.
Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, "would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Lessing, who won the 2007 Nobel Literature Prize, said it might be better if Obama's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton were to succeed in her bid to become the first woman president of the United States.
"The best thing would be if they (Clinton and Obama) were to run together. Hillary is a very sharp lady. It might be calmer if she were to win, and not Obama," she said.

-Wow, says I.



the sun is out

Saturday, February 09, 2008

more from the columnists

Ing made me read this article from the LA Times.

Joel Stein says that he thinks it's embarrassing to be among the fanatics of a relatively mainstream presidential candidate.

I don't agree.

For one thing, only a candidate who is popular has a chance of actually getting elected. It might be cooler to support someone with a smaller fan base, just as it's cool to the fan of a band no one but you are your friends have heard of. But if you want your guy to have real impact I guess you need to be prepared to share him. And even share him with people less cool than you.

Stein thinks Obama's followers are embarrassing themselves in making 'We are the World' type videos, and overusing the word inspiration. He quotes his mother, a therapist, who says that people are projecting an awful lot onto him.

I am not so sure. Isn't that what we do in politics, in a democracy, pin our hopes on somebody?

And I think the reason people are projecting a lot is that they, sadly, need a lot. They need things they haven't had in American political life for a long while. Cheesy embarrassing things like hope, and inspiration.

PS. I feel a little bad because I am consciously misrepresenting Joel Stein's views to make a point here. So, in the interest of transparency: I am leaving out the fact that Joel Stein is a fan of Obama. He is. I am sorry.

from babs

So here is an interesting take on Obama by Richard Rodriguez in Salon:

Most Hispanics in the United States are mestizos -- a racial mix of European, African and New World Indian. Most Hispanics would understand Barack Obama if he came to us, not as an African-American but, like us, as a person of confused bloodlines.

Rodriguez also reclassifies Hillary Clinton. While Toni Morrison famously dubbed Bill Clinton the 'first black president', in his article Rodriguez talks about Hillary as a possible first Latina in Chief.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I buy The National Enquirer. And I read it. I have no shame.

Every time I get a copy from the rack and put it on the Safeway conveyor belt other people read it too. The check out person. Other customers. The bagger boy.

Today a woman in line at the next check stand over turned around, stretched her neck, and read over the shoulder of my check out woman.

On the front cover? "Best and WORST bikini bodies."

Yep. You guessed it. Fat famous people in their swim wear.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

that's a cross section right there

According to my Facebook news feed three of my former students were members of the group I pledge to vote for Barack Obama in the California primary on Feb. 5.

Two men, one woman. One black, one white, one Latina.

Monday, February 04, 2008

fattening up

Because yeah we need the calories for this super stressful Super Tuesday we are all in for.

two hand tacos

When I am by myself I make unorthodox-ly fat little tacos. Very tasty. They have a mixture of chicken, leftover rice, hot sauce, mushrooms, onion and garlic in them. Sometimes a little cheese. I have been told a taco is supposed to be fairly thin. Mine are plump. Mmm.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Recently Ing wrote about being denied donating blood, due to the fact that she had lived in Europe between 1980 and 1996, and therefore may have been exposed to mad cow disease.

Today San Jose State University is suspending blood drives, "because of a longstanding government policy that bars gay men from donating blood".

The policy has been in place since AIDS first emerged in the United States in the early 1980s. The university finds the policy discriminatory. It is believed SJSU is the first college to ban blood drives as a way of protesting, according to the San Jose Mercury News.