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petraeus for obama’s v.p.


i feel like starting a rumor. or maybe just helping maureen dowd start one. from her column today regarding obama’s overseas trip:

The image of John McCain in a golf cart with Bush 41 in Kennebunkport — with Poppy charmingly admitting that they were “a little jealous” of all the Obama odyssey coverage — was not a good advertisement for the future, especially contrasted with the shots of Gen. David Petraeus and Obama smiling at each other companionably in a helicopter surveying Iraq. (Asked by a Democratic lawmaker a while back why there weren’t more Democrats in the military, General Petraeus smiled slyly and said “there are more than you think.”)

so could he be obama’s pick for vice-president? there’s probably a million reasons why this wouldn’t work, and won’t happen. but it would be a great checkmate to john mccain in a lot of ways.

vote for obama, who has the best graphics


via ambinder, this is the poster advertising obama’s rally in berlin:

obama poster for berlin rally

is this not an absolute triumph of design? perhaps a little too perfect — it’s a bit scarily close to german and russian propaganda posters, and i’m not sure they want to reinforce the “obama as messiah” message, even if subliminally. i’m sure that will be a theme that the opposition uses when discussing this, and hopefully that meme won’t gain traction.

but purely from a design standpoint, it’s a total thing of beauty.

your tax dollars at work


via time: brent rinehart is running for reelection as a county commissioner in oklahoma county. that’s in oklahoma. oklahoma city, to be exact.

why should you care?

you shouldn’t, except that he’s distributing the funniest, most over-the-top campaign literature you can imagine. it’s a comic book he wrote himself.

but richie rich or archie it ain’t.

from the associated press article on the subject:

Some Oklahoma County voters can expect to receive comic books in the mail soon, but the subject matter will have a serious tone.

The 16-page publication prepared by Commissioner Brent Rinehart’s re-election campaign lampoons gays and criticizes Rinehart’s political opponents. It also features an angel who supports the embattled commissioner and Satan, who supports his critics.

“It’s more or less a story of my experiences of the last four years of being the county commissioner of District 2,” Rinehart told The Oklahoman, which obtained the comic on Wednesday.

Toga-wearing gays, political figures, trench coat-clad henchmen, concerned residents and Rinehart make up the rest of the comic’s characters.

In one sequence,
Satan says: “If I can get the kids to believe homosexuality is normal!”

The angel replies: “Hey Satan, not with Brent around you won’t!”

the comic book must be seen to be believed. it’s a must-read.

perhaps we should introduce mr. rinehart to larry craig or mark foley, two other crusaders on the evils of homosexuality.

the perfect intersection of my obsessive interests


the obama countdown clock iphone application.

very cool new wordpress plugin


well, new to me.

it’s wp fancyzoom. it makes the thumbnails of all the pictures on the site zoom out in a fancy new way, much like the name implies. try it out:

kirk and jamie's first picture
our first

very very cool. most of the pages listed to the right have pictures, and they all work this way now.

thanks, wp fancy zoom fancy dude.

update: and thanks to cabel sasser, who wrote the underlying javascript.

i(phone) shoulda known better


after all of the hype about the new iphone 2.0 software, and the app store, and all the goodies awaiting me, i went to work today having told kirk to update his iphone when itunes showed the update.

usually i’m pretty sensible about these things. if yesterday you had asked me what to do, i probably would have told you to wait to update. make sure everything is working properly. give it a day or two. but i got caught up in the hype. i figured that as important as this was to apple, and as much as they had advertised and flogged this new phone + new software, they would have their act together. i assumed that updating our original iphone to the new software would be seamless.

boy was i wrong. kirk sat all morning fiddling with this. the last email i got from him seemed to indicate that the phone was updated and activated, but still wouldn’t sync because itunes is still down. so i’d guess that he has a working phone, with no contact info etc. on it. which apparently is better than some people.

should i have obeyed my common sense and told kirk to wait? you bet.

should apple have hyped this new phone + new software to the moon and back, like they did? you bet.

should apple have been technically ready for this onslaught, the one they created? you bet.

will this be a non-issue tomorrow? i’d guess so. i certainly hope so.

look. it ain’t a pacemaker that we’re talking about. small children will not lose their lives because the iphones won’t update smoothly. but it irks me that, due to apple’s lack of preparation, kirk wasted the morning of his day off, and probably still hasn’t finished syncing the phone. lots of people are angry about this, and it’s because a) apple markets themselves as the easier technological alternative, which amplifies their missteps, and 2) people love their damn iphones and are pissed when they suddenly don’t work.

hopefully it will be fixed by tomorrow, because he’s leaving for reading, pa for sunday and monday, and it would be nice if he had a working phone to take with him.

update: took my 2:00PM afternoon constitutional, which just happens to take me right past the action. at the at&t store at 54th & 6th, there was a security guard at the door letting people in a few at a time, and ~50 people in line. said security guard was getting yelled at by an extremely old man clutching an iphone who couldn’t connect to itunes. security guard nonplussed. at the flagship apple store on 58th and 5th, a few hundred people in line, stretching around the corner and down 58th by fao schwartz. calm and orderly — i think the store may have been closed to all but iphone shoppers, but i’m not sure about that.

update 2: kirk just called. from his fully functioning iphone. that has all the contacts and info loaded on it. perfectly normal. what’s the big frigging hullabaloo?



more often than not (especially as i get older) my criteria for going to an actual movie theater to see a movie is: “is it something i must see on the big screen?”

trumbo” the movie opened this past weekend. i saw the play several times, starting from workshop performances. kirk’s former boss at the westside is the director. and yet we’ve debated whether to go see it in a theater or wait for it to come out on dvd, because it’s a “netflix” movie.

on the other hand, i went to see “speed racer” in the theater. even paid extra to see it in imax. why? it’s something that you want to see writ large, on an enormous screen. the visuals are an attraction to me, and are often the defining factor.

the problem with that, as i forget each time i see a movie on that basis, is that the buzz only lasts so long; with some the buzz lasts longer than with others, but it always wanes. speed racer was stunning for the first fifteen minutes or so, and then i was completely inured to its visual charms. even the monkey couldn’t save the movie for me.

and i love monkeys. oh do i love monkeys.

which brings me to wall-e, which i saw last night. definitely a movie to see on a big screen.

but, for probably the first time ever, the buzz lasted for the whole movie. wall-e is an all-time classic movie if there ever was one. in retrospect, i think i now know what people felt at the turn of the last century, when they saw their first movie. it’s that arresting, that engaging, that challenging, and that different.

because there’s no dialogue for the first 1/3 of the movie or so, and large stretches of movie after that without dialogue as well, the filmmakers had to rely on the visuals to propel the story forward. wall-e the robot is buster keaton, directed by preston sturges. wall-e is gene kelly, directed by vincente minnelli. wall-e is marlon brando, directed by orson welles.

it’s easily in the top ten of movies i have seen thus far in my life. it’s that good. little did i know when i linked to the movie’s viral website months ago that i’d like it so much.



» versions of “gypsy” i have seen/heard prior to last night:

the rosalind russell movie version
the bette midler tv version
the bernadette peters broadway version
the ethel merman broadway cast recording
the genesius theatre version in kirk’s boyhood home of reading, pa

kirk could add:

the tyne daly broadway version
the betty buckley and debbie gibson version at paper mill playhouse

i don’t think he saw angela lansbury as mama rose, but he can correct me if i’m wrong.

at any rate, to say we had “gypsy” burnout would be an understatement. we really didn’t want to see it this past spring at genesius, but kirk knew people in the cast and we had season tickets, so we went and it was good. even though patti lupone was getting raves in the latest broadway incarnation, we just decided to take a pass.

we were sung out, louise.

but then we saw the tonys, and she performed, and she won a tony, and boyd gaines won the tony as herbie, and laura benanti won the tony as louise, and they were all wonderful and we got chills and so forth, so we looked at each other and said “ok, get the tickets”. so we did, and got a decent deal, and went last night. house was packed — a good audience that we didn’t have to shush. amazingly, i think some of them were unfamiliar with the musical; there were lots of audible gasps when baby june took off at the end of act one.

we really enjoyed ourselves. the staging was good — there was a tattered proscenium onstage which symbolically lifted at the end, making it a “play within a play”. i especially loved the interplay between herbie and louise. the actors gave that relationship an added depth i’d never seen. june was alternately manically perky when “onstage” and bitterly cynical when “offstage” — great job. the most world-weary and ancient electra i’ve ever seen — hysterically funny.

and patti lupone was indeed a marvel. force of nature. complete presence. all the adjectives. two standing ovations — at the end of “rose’s turn” and at the end of the play.

even if you think you never want to see this warhorse (“gypsy”, not patti lupone!) on stage again, it’s worth the money.

» dinner before the show at bocca:

no silly, not the sandwich shop. the italian restaurant in gramercy. very nice experience. we had the prix fixe: for me, pomodori (fresh tomatoes, sliced onions, avocados, olive oil), trota (trout with roasted bell pepper salad and grilled potatoes), and frutta e zabaione (strawberries and bananas served with sabayon); for kirk, polpettine (veal meatballs served with melted truffle, pecorino cheese and veal jus), straccetti (pan seared oregano flavored shredded filet mignon served with roasted cherry tomatoes and wild rocket pesto), and the aforementioned frutta e zabaione. i had a glass of white, he had a glass of red. espresso after dessert (please don’t have your coffee with your dessert, says the food snob. so tacky!) we skipped the bread in deference to kirk, but it looked great from across the room.

everything was incredibly delicious because they did a great job of the one thing i love to see in restaurant food — each dish was just a few extremely high quality ingredients chosen and combined simply and well. not fussy, not cluttered, very clean yet surprisingly complex. good job.

they have a nice drinks menu as well and seem to get an after-work one-drink crowd; kirk started with a really yummy basil-infused gimlet.

total bill with tax and tip was $145 — a splurge for us but worth it.

» weekend update:

we’re going to reading for the second weekend in a row.

last weekend we went, borrowed kirk’s father’s truck and went camping at hickory run state park. we’d planned to hike a lot and be all active, but we lucked into choosing one of only eight campsites that were on the park’s babbling brook (out of 300+ campsites; what were the odds?). so we sat by said babbling brook and read, thursday through saturday. left early saturday afternoon due to impending thunderstorms and saw a production of “the women” in ephrata, pennsylvania. very fun.

this weekend, we’re taking an old steam train with kirk’s parents. it runs from somewhere to jim thorpe, pennsylvania and basically takes the whole day doing it. sounds like a relaxing time — looking forward to it.

next weekend, kirk makes the third consecutive trip to reading for sweeney todd auditions. i think my reading visit streak will end at two.

john mccain and his golf gear


here’s a screengrab of the homepage of john mccain’s campaign website:

john mccain's golf gear

so — one of the most important topics to be discussed with america on john mccain’s campaign homepage is…golf gear?

really you can’t make these things up. this guy is so tone-deaf. or the people running his campaign are. flog some campaign yard signs, or some buttons, or something. anything relevant. but golf gear? jeebus.

combined with the speech he gave on tuesday, it’s clear that the lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

hot water for dehydrated babies


the banality, bad planning, and hilarity of john mccain’s speech on tuesday has been discussed to death.

but i want to focus on one particular line that had kirk and me hooting with laughter.

and of course there’s a long hilarious discussion on digg.

hopefully by november this guy will, at a minimum, learn to read a teleprompter, a skill you think he would have acquired by now.

or, perhaps, i should hope that he won’t learn.

could it really be true?


could tomorrow be the day that hillary clinton withdraws from the race?

i’m watching this closely. as one of her constituents, i’m looking to see how she gets out of the race, and how well and strongly and effectively she supports obama. she really needs to be graceful, and supportive, and needs to do her best to ensure his election. and she needs to do it sooner as in this week and preferably tuesday/wednesday, rather than later as in after this week. if she drags this out, i’ll be very upset.

if she doesn’t withdraw well, as i’ve said before, i’ll be looking to help her opponent in her next new york primary election, for senator or governor or whatever, should she be in a race.

oh, and a little thought butterfly to float over to mr. obama. promise her help with her debts. promise to bring her campaign workers on board with your team. promise to help the elected officials who are getting primary challenges via your supporters as a result of those officials’ support for her. promise to put lots of her supporters in white house positions.

but do not promise anything to hillary herself. the clintons need to be dispatched efficiently. i say this, not because i dislike hillary, but because i’ve come to really dislike bill, and i don’t want him anywhere near washington power again. and i don’t think that she is strong enough to keep him at bay should she be in an obama administration. she chose to keep him on her team, and use him, even after his odious behavior. that’s the price she should pay for making that choice.

and, mr. obama, you will lose more votes than you will gain if, before they actually vote for you, people know she’ll be in your administration.

25-May-08 — great idea for a google maps mashup site. you type in your address, and it gives an overall ranking of your living quarters on a scale from 1 to 100, in terms of walking distance to types of businesses.

here’s my walk score:

love it. i guess my distance from a movie theater drags my score down.

time for hillary clinton to go


more accurately, it’s time for her to be made to go.

these latest remarks, citing robert kennedy’s assassination as a reason to stay in the race, are beyond the pale. you can’t tell me this was just a slip. nothing the clintons do is without purpose.

the superdelegates need to step up and end this thing officially, now. and that means i don’t want her on the ticket as vice-president. i say that partly because i don’t want her around, but mainly because i don’t want bill clinton anywhere near the white house again. my main problem with her isn’t what she does, but that she can’t seem to control what he does. he has undue influence over her. i don’t want the clintons tag-teaming and triangulating obama out of his presidency, or if he wins, out of his governance. which is exactly what they’d do, led by bill clinton. jeebus — to think i worked for his 1992 campaign.

i want them both out in the political wilderness for the duration of the presidential campaign, where they can do no harm. obama can win without her or her support. enough of her vaunted supporters will vote democratic in november anyway, with or without her. and especially without bill clinton around. and at this point, i’m not sure i want her as my senator, either. she’s frigging toxic.

peggy noonan had a great column about hillary clinton yesterday. it may be behind a paywall for you (come on, wall street journal!) so i’ll summarize: golda meir, indira gandhi, and margaret thatcher, three women who knew how to play tough politically, would be outraged at clinton’s week of claiming sexism as a principal reason for her loss. what a sorry endgame clinton has — blame society and the media. never once did you hear that from obama, even when he was far behind in the polls.

here’s my favorite quote from the noonan column:

It is prissy. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are now complaining about the Hillary nutcrackers sold at every airport shop. Boo hoo. If Golda Meir, a woman of not only proclaimed but actual toughness, heard about Golda nutcrackers, she would have bought them by the case and given them away as party favors.

It is sissy. It is blame-gaming, whining, a way of not taking responsibility, of not seeing your flaws and addressing them. You want to say “Girl, butch up, you are playing in the leagues, they get bruised in the leagues, they break each other’s bones, they like to hit you low and hear the crack, it’s like that for the boys and for the girls.”

and this:

Meir and Gandhi and Mrs. Thatcher suffered through the political downside of their sex and made the most of the upside. Fair enough. As for this week’s Clinton complaints, I imagine Mrs. Thatcher would bop her on the head with her purse. Mrs. Gandhi would say “That is no way to play it.” Mrs. Meir? “They said I was the only woman in the cabinet and the only one with — well, you know. I loved it.”

got that right.

goodbye florent


great photo essay in the times about florent, the groundbreaking restaurant in the meatpacking district, narrated by the man himself.

it’s going away, like mchales, cbgb’s, le madeleine, and any other of the long list of victims of gentrification and skyrocketing rents. much of what makes the city “new york” are these individual places, and each time we lose one we’re a step closer to being cleveland. i’ve been to florent a few times, and always enjoyed myself and had a great meal. the man, a true pioneer among restauranteurs, deserves better.

think about that the next time you hit a starbucks. and i’m sure cleveland is a wonderful place.

but it ain’t new york. at least not yet.

ellen and senator john mccain debate gay marriage


this is a must-watch video clip — ellen hands john mccain his head on a plate, logic-wise.

here’s my favorite part:

“Blacks and women did not have the right to vote. I mean, women just got the right to vote in 1920. Blacks didn’t have the right to vote until 1870. And it just feels like there is this old way of thinking that we are not all the same. We are all the same people, all of us. You’re no different than I am. Our love is the same. To me — to me, what it feels like — just, you know, I will speak for myself — it feels — when someone says, ‘You can have a contract, and you’ll still have insurance, and you’ll get all that,’ it sounds to me like saying, ‘Well, you can sit there; you just can’t sit there.’ That’s what it sounds like to me. It feels like — it doesn’t feel inclusive…It feels — it feels isolated. It feels like we are not — you know, we aren’t owed the same things and the same wording.”

and the end of the clip is wonderful as well. go ellen…you rock. i don’t want a frigging contract either.

stupid stupid stimulus check boondoggle


kirk sent me an email that purported to give the schedule that the irs will follow when mailing out the stimulus checks this spring.

did i say spring? i did. more on that later.

so the email said that they would mail on a schedule according to the last two digits in your social security number. which would mean that, according to the provided schedule, that my check would be mailed on july 11th.

july frigging 11th! that’s not spring! that’s half the summer gone! some frigging stimulus. what a crock.

but wait. maybe it’s just an email hoax. so, off to check and you know what? it’s frigging true! i couldn’t believe it.

now, to be sure, i think that the entire stimulus check nonsense is, well, nonsense. i don’t think it will do a bit of good for the economy. but on the off chance it might do some good, perhaps it would make sense to, oh, i don’t know, have it enter the economy in a relative lump sum. at least then it would have a chance of having some effect.

jeebus. this is the best our government can do? if you are going to pander to me, at least halfway deliver on your promise. i can hardly wait for obama to get into the white house, and hopefully bring at least a bit of sanity to washington.

i’m moving to oregon


…so i can vote for steve novick, who opens a beer with his hook hand in his campaign commercial. now there’s a politician i can get excited about.

plus oregon has great weather, lots of organic vegetables, and is a great place as long as you don’t leave portland or eugene.

this and that catchup


it’s been a while, so here are a few short takes:

» kirk was in the hospital overnight on wednesday for some tests. he’s had dizziness, general fatigue, and chest tightness for a few weeks now, and our doctor wanted to rule out the big stuff — heart problems, blood clots, lung problems, etc. thankfully all that big stuff checked out, but the symptoms remain. next stop — the inner ear. at least we have a baseline of good health for him. our doctor is good and persistent, so i’m hopeful that we’ll sort it all out.

» happy mother’s day, to my mom, kirk’s mom, and mothers in general. i sent a neck pillow/comforter thingy to my mom in florida, via red envelope. she loves the red box and the grosgrain ribbon. good thing — i can’t stand the company. she’s the only reason i still patronize them, and the only person i use them for. i think they have terrible customer service. the latest in a long line of gripes — a month ago they sent me an email reminder to buy something for mother’s day, with a 10% discount code. but when i used the code and made a purchase, they wouldn’t delay the shipping. so i could either send my mother’s day present directly to my mother a month in advance, or have it shipped to me and pay twice to have it shipped to arrive in a timely fashion. i chose the latter. what a crock. if you are going to ask me to buy early for mother’s day, then have the back office capabilities to ship the purchase to arrive on mother’s day. idiots.

» obama seems to have wrapped things up, defeating hillary clinton for the nomination. all the talk now is to have her for vice-president, but i think that’s a bad idea and i don’t think it will happen. two “liberal senators” on one ticket? the republicans would have a field day. we need to move on from the clintons. he needs to pick someone with foreign policy experience. sam nunn? too old — he would negate the mccain age argument. gen. wesley clark or gen. jim jones? we don’t need an inexperienced admiral stockdale type. joe biden? great choice but two senators isn’t a good idea. jim webb? perfect choice, but do you want to give up the senate seat in virginia? and he isn’t the best campaigner. bill richardson? sounds good to me. what sounds even better? wait out mccain and make him pick first.

» congratulations to the writers of iron man, one of whom is the husband of a good friend and former co-worker of mine. he struggled for years, has enormous talent, and is deserving of every bit of success he’s getting.

kirk sings “fifty percent” from “ballroom”


the genesius theatre in reading, pa., where kirk first learned stagecraft, had a benefit at the end of february 2008. it was called “he sang…she sang” — men sang songs usually associated with women, and vice-versa. kirk performed in a few numbers, but this was his solo performance.

chills, i tell ya. i get chills.

thank goodness


the media has gotten obama to denounce the last uppity black man in his life. now maybe they’ll be satisfied and move on to things of consequence.

like, say, health care, the economy, the middle east, iraq, and iran.