Friday, March 28, 2008

James Bond Themes

The new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, is due to be released in October. The only part of this movie that really interests me is the theme. There are have been amazing Bond themes (Goldfinger! Live and Let Die! Thunderball!) and less-than-amazing (Duran Duran? A-ha? And what was that Madonna song about?)

10 Artists Who Would Do An Unforgettable Theme for the Next Bond Movie:
  1. Gnarls Barkley
  2. U2
  3. Radiohead (who would refuse the offer)
  4. M.I.A.
  5. BT
  6. Devotchka
  7. The Go! Team
  8. Mark Ronson (and Anybody He Wants to Work With)
  9. El-P
  10. Robert Plant (and hell yes, anybody he wants to work with)
Who Will Probably Do the Next Bond Theme:
  1. The Killers
  2. Fall Out Boy
  3. Timbaland
  4. Justin Timberlake
  5. Moby (who's kinda, you know, what am i trying to say, over)
  6. Linkin park (see Moby)
  7. Fergie
  8. Sheryl Crow (hey, she already did one!)
Who's missing (off either list)?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obama's "White Problem"

Just yesterday, I heard another pundit on NPR talking about how Obama has to prove that he can win over white voters. And, like any story that's repeated over and over in the news, I wondered if it was actually true.

His campaign has already addressed it once. Now, one of the Kossacks offers an interesting take on he subject.
Most of the analysis has overlooked one important fact, however: Hillary Clinton has a bigger problem with white voters than Barack Obama.

New data from the Pew Research Center illustrates my point: although Hillary Clinton leads McCain among white women by three points, she trails among white men by twenty-three points. Meanwhile, Obama trails among white women by just one point, and trails among white men by fifteen. Obama's net margin relative to Clinton drops by four points among white women, but increases by eight points among white men.

Overall, that means Barack Obama is doing slightly better with white voters than is Hillary Clinton.
More here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter - get outta my way!!!!

Easter 2008.jpg
Originally uploaded by Sky Bluesky
Here's Oliver posing with the Easter Bunny at our local supermarket. (We were standing in the produce aisle.) Feel free to add your own caption in the comments.


{rant alert}

People at Easter egg hunts should have some goddamn manners, that's all I have to say.

Not the kids. The adults.

We went down to our local grocery store, which was doing a super blowout Easter egg hunt all throughout the store. Over 15,000 eggs! Madness!

It started out fine - they handed out coffee, cookies, and other treats while we stood in line. They announced a rule that I thought was sensible - each kid should limit themselves to 25-30 eggs each.

They did mention that about 100 of the eggs would have a special treat inside them - a numbered slip that the lucky kid could redeem for free stuff: a Wii, an iPod nano, and other cool stuff. Good idea, right?

Except this: the kids didn't care so much about the prizes, they just wanted to get to the chocolate-filled eggs and run around the store.

The parents all went crazy looking for the prizes.

And as far as the limit goes, forget about it. People were walking around with giant-sized baskets and grocery bags filled with a hundred eggs or more. The hoarding was clearly being coordinated by the adults.

Parents - not the kids, mind you, but the parents - were sitting on the ground, eagerly opening the eggs to see if they won anything. Because, y'know, it was their party, not the children's. (The kids could be seen looking uncomfortable or wandering far away from their wild-eyed parental units.) It was a rather disgusting display of greed and selfishness and crappy sportsmanship.

I'll admit - we did shake a few eggs on the shelves to see if they contained paper instead of treats. and we did peek inside all of our eggs to see if we won a prize, but once we found that no prizes were there, we quit and went home. We only took home around 2 dozen eggs. I'd be surprised if the people who won all the big prizes even have children.


Anyway, despite the bad behavior from some of the grownups, we still managed to have a good time.

Happy Easter, everybody.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Best Letter to the Editor Ever

Re “Soft Shoe in Hard Times” (column, March 16):

Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president’s clumsy performances. To suggest that “George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly” represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker — particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing — would have sent him reeling.

Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not on

ly a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.

Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

Patricia Ward Kelly

Los Angeles, March 16, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Things He Says @ 33 Months

Once, we had a sticky note that listed all of the words that we'd heard Oliver say. Once upon a time - when he was around two years old - we wanted to make sure his verbal skills were developing on target. So we started listing the words he'd said, because at that age he was supposed to develop between 50 and 100 words in his vocabulary.

We filled up a sticky note with about thirty words, and quickly went to another. We ended up with seventy words before we ran out of room on the second, and decided that he was developing fine.

And then we just lost the ability to keep up with the flood of new words.

I don't talk much about Oliver's speech development anymore because he's such a moving target. As soon as I sit down to write about the new speech patterns he's developed, he's moved on to new and more exciting speech patterns. (Plus, there's the exhaustion. That's the other reason I don't blog much about his development.)

But here's where he stands, at 2 years, 9 months. Now, none of this may seem like big, groundbreaking stuff to you - the big adult, who knows who to form articulate sentences and read on your own and stuff. But we've watched him develop to this point, from a kid that was speaking in grunts and gasps less than two years ago. He started learning words a year ago, ladies and gentlemen. Just a couple of months ago, in fact, none of these things were coming out of his mouth. These are all very recent, and all surprising, developments.

1) Big Words. He used to have trouble with multi-syllable words. Now, he not only understands them, but he can parrot them back instantly. "Recognize" was one that he got immediately. "Complicated" was another. Tonight, it was "mozzarella." I think he just enjoys the sound of certain words and keeps saying them so he can get used to the feel of them. It's his way of branding the words into his little brain.

2) Opposites. Sounds like a small step, but he will flip around statements using opposite words. If one of us is cold, he proclaims that he's hot. If something is short, he'll point to something else and announce that it's tall. Seems like a big step.

He also understands the concept of intensifiers and uses them to hilarious effect. He was building a long line of blocks on our living room floor, and started telling us that it was going to be "a very very very very very very very lo-o-o-ong line."

3) Catch phrases. No kidding. He falls in love with phrases and uses them at the oddest moments. Sample catch phrases:

"I need that!"

"There's no way!" (As in, "dere's no way the kitty can jump onto da counter. Dere's no way, kitty! Dere's no way!")

"I'm having trouble!" (He was working on a puzzle one day, and hollered out to me, "Daddy, please help me with da puzzle! I'm having trouble!")

4) Sentences. He can assemble a sentence with all the right parts: a subject, a verb, some adjectives sprinkled around in more or less the right places. A couple of months ago, we would ask him to "please" when making a request. Now, we tell him to form a question.

"Mommy, read story, read story, read story!"

"Oliver, ask me the right way."


"No, make it a question. Please, mommy, can you read me a story?"

"Mommy please can read me story."

Like I said, most of the words land in the right place.

The Free Ride

Paul Krugman is only the latest person to suggest that Barack Obama's gotten a free ride from the media.

What we do know is that Mr. Obama has never faced a serious Republican opponent — and that he has not yet faced the hostile media treatment doled out to every Democratic presidential candidate since 1988.

Yes, I know that both the Obama campaign and many reporters deny that he has received more favorable treatment than Hillary Clinton. But they’re kidding, right? Dana Milbank, the Washington Post national political reporter, told the truth back in December: “The press will savage her no matter what ... they really have the knives out for her, there’s no question about it ... Obama gets significantly better coverage.”

The WNYC show "On the Media" spent ten minutes discussing how the press was in love with Obama. It's the new riff on Obama - Hillary's said it, the talking heads are saying it, your uncle Bob in Cincinnati is saying it.

Except it's not true.

I took a few minutes to look at the media watchdog website Media Matters and found over 1200 incidents of media bias involving Obama. Samples:

The Politico called Obama a flip-flopper on the origin of his name, of all things; branded him a "rookie;" suggested he borrowed rhetoric from John Edwards; wrongly claimed that he changed his position on health care mandates and flip-flopped on whether President Bush has made us "safer;" diagnosed him with a "Jewish problem," and allowed a "Republican strategist working on the 2008 presidential race" to attack Obama anonymously.

On Nightline, Terry Moran reported, "The Obamas got the home [their house in Chicago] for $300,000 below the original asking price. To critics and even some friends, it looks like a sweetheart deal." This was his own comment - not a quote from anyone involved in the story.

On Glenn Beck's program, Jonah Goldberg compared Obama and Franklin Roosevelt to Hitler.

CNN had an online poll that asked if Barack Obama was patriotic enough to serve as president.

And how many news stories have been written about how he's all style and no substance, despite the wealth of information that's available about his positions and views?

And let's not even get into the cult slur. Let's not even get into Obama/Osama. Let's not even get into the "halfrican" slurs from the right-wing nutjobs. Let's not even get into using his middle name as often as possible for maximum scary effect. Let's not even get into the madrassa smear.

So STFU already about how Obama has gotten a free goddamn ride from the press.