.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have A Glass Of Bubbly On Me

Happy New Year's Eve, Sundries' readers!

The computer quit on me three times, then I left it running all day -- when I got back, it was still on. Whew. I may be able to compose that Movie Guide tonight, as my family and I will be staying in.

Incidentally, I went to Wal-Mart for the first (and very possibly, the last) time in my life. Yes, I know, I know. Miami's own Paris Hilton blogs before you...at least I knew they didn't sell walls there.

I want to, really really want to say I liked it. I love Country Music. I like diners. I even feel I could like NASCAR, if I started watching. In short, I like loads of blue-collar, just folks things. But Wal-Mart? Yeesh.

It actually made me want to stop shopping, and my darlings, that's not a good thing.

Drive safely, people!

Labels: , , ,

Resolution Revealed

Most of us have one recurring resolution for any New Year -- to shed some of those excess pounds we've picked up the year before.

Me, I was hitting the gym hard back in August, and was almost where I wanted to be, but La Palin's nomination derailed that as I turned Sundries into an one-woman Governor Palin cheering section. My workouts suffered.

Perhaps it's just as well, given the fact that some of us cannot stop at 20-30 lbs; take Donatella Versace here, seen sunning herself in St. Barths yesterday.

(I warn you, once you start looking, you can't stop)

My 2009 New Year's Resolution? When you get to 53 years of age, do not look like Donatella Versace. Ever. Cheeseburgers, good.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

PSU Blues And Greens

So it seems my computer's PSU is conking out on me, as suspected this past year. If I suspected, why didn't I replace it earlier, you might be asking yourselves.

Well, I ask that too, because I did request the computer nerds who "fixed" my desktop earlier this year, to check out the fan inside the PSU -- at least I was in the general vicinity...

The part will take a while to arrive, and until then, I will blog sporadically.

Of course, when the actual part arrives, I will have to go to said geeks again and ask them to install it for me. Having gotten up the courage to peek inside my computer, by yanking off the cover, I took a look at that warren of multi-coloured fibre wotsits inside, and I realised the task may be easy, but I am simply not game enough to run the risk of electrocution.

And speaking of being technologically-challenged, have you seen this new clock called Chromochrome?

No. Seriously. It's a clock.

Here are the instructions on how to read the time.

Ummm, what?

Fat lot of good that Oxford degree has done me, my dear Sundries readers.

And why am I suddenly 8 years-old, struggling to keep up with my cousins playing on our Simon?

I'll be back before you know it.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hoping To God

My computer will not conk out on me again.

Just when I had "solved" the problem, I decided to do a registry cleanup for New Year, and I must've deleted some important configuation. (No, I didn't back it up). It just shuts down on me, even after installing Speedfan. I have let it rest all these hours.

I want to avoid using public computers to compose my quirky posts, since as you can imagine, my forthcoming post on my naked neighbours might have me hauled out to the paddy wagon.

(Yes, you read right. Naked neighbours)

Anyhoo, please forgive the delay in posting this Monday. I'll catch you all tomorrow, God willing.

P.S.: A guy was selling these on the street, so I bought a pair.

I guess my neighbours have stories too.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Would Someone Please Tell Salma Hayek

...to stop shopping with Yoko Ono?

Labels: ,

50th Anniversary Dawns

As Cuba geers up to commemorate "50 glorious years of the Cuban socialist revolution" (in the ever-present jargonic phrase of every Radio Reloj transmission), on January 1, some revellers "celebrate" in Santiago de Cuba, in the eastern part of the island.

Look at them.

They're poor, they're miserable, they're wearing clothes you couldn't even find in the throw-away box at the Salvation Army (in fact, that's probably where their Miami relatives got them, since clothing coupons are the only way you can officially get clothing over there).

The paint is peeling. Their buildings are in ruins (safety code? What safety code?). They look glum, despite the unsinkable Cuban spirit which lives on even in this hell hole.

50 years of this ruinous philosophy holding a people prisoner in their own homeland.

Tell me, was this "glorious revolution" worth it?

Only to the deranged.

I challenge anyone who isn't a VIP like Maradona or Garcia Marquez to live like these people do, in this "workers' paradise". They wouldn't last a minute.

The crime committed by Fidel Castro and his confrères has no name. They took a prosperous, beautiful nation with a vibrant, deeply talented people and turned it into a snakepit.

Yes, by all means, let's celebrate.

Labels: ,

Snuggle The Potty-Mouthed

Continuing the "quirky Sundries" theme today, I thought you might be interested in this banned Snuggle commercial that just didn't quite cut the mustard with the FCC censors. NSFW, muthas.

(Check out the subliminal message at 0:22)

Labels: ,

Bareback Mountain

I was passing along a side street when I chanced on this tourism agency which I think caters to a certain type of clientele. They not only offer the "Gertrude Stein Tour to France", but also the "Brokeback Mountain Experience".

Tent included.

Incidentally, you know the last actor to win the supporting Oscar posthumously? It was Australian Peter Finch for that iconic performance in "Network" -- "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not taking it anymore!".

I think he'll be joined in the ranks of the Oscar-possessors by his fellow Aussie up in heaven, Heath Ledger.

Labels: , ,

It's Exactly What You Think It Is

A Bangkok elephant dressed up as Santa Claus, twirling hula-hoops on his trunk.

(Actually, this photo saddens me. I'm not sure why, since I'm hardly a PETA type. But there is such a thing as being overly-exploitative...no "Craps-n-Giggles" tag for this one)

Labels: ,

Rip My Lungs Out Elmo

Did you forget some special child in your gift-giving spree this Christmas? Well, never fear! I got your back.

This line of toys is guaranteed to make any stick-in-the-mud parents "hip and trendy".

I mean, seriously, how cool is this?

So, which one did you like best? I think my favourite, other than the unicorn since I hate unicorns and all who dote on them, is the tiger.

...'cause you get loads of extras, like bones and sheah. The economy stinks. You might as well get bang for your blood.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We've all been there.

Watching a movie, when suddenly you realise the couple in front of you, or the kids in back of you, or the group of teenies to the side of you...will be talking throughout the whooooole daaamn film. Worst yet, if you tell them to be quiet, you are instantly the bad guy, and you know, you just don't want to be the bad guy.

It's not wrong to want a relatively quiet movie-going experience.

Yet, frankly, I like overhearing comments throughout the film. It's one of the reasons I delight in actually frequenting cinemahouses. If I wanted to be alone, with no one interrupting the flick, I'd stay at home.

But guess what? I've been the bad guy.

If it's an 8 PM movie, in a sold-out adult environment, and there are people talking at the top of their lungs, I will either shush them from my seat, or actually go up to them and politely ask them to hush now. If it's a matinée at a kiddie flick, I take my lumps.

The one thing I wouldn't do, however, is to take my Saturday Night Special and shoot them in the arm for talkin' over Brad Pitt.

Which is precisely what this mook did. Meet James Joseph Cialella Jr, 29, of Philly. He shot a man in the arm in a crowded Christmas Day showing of "Benjamin Button". IN FRONT OF THE MAN'S FAMILY.

I'll let that sink in for a bit.

Whilst I do, let me say that this is one of those American horror stories that makes every headline in all the foreign newspapers as proof-positive that (a) Americans are nuts (b) Americans are nuts with guns (c) America should immediately ban firearms of any kind, and then tulips and candy apples will rain forth from the sky.

We all know this is an one-in-a-million story, but it's as naught to actually tell foreigners that, because to them every similar incident is just another Columbine or Virginia Tech. Nuance, you see, is for cannibals in Papua New Guinea. Americans should be judged and judged HARD.

Now let's get back to the mook. This is the story. On Christmas DAY, mind you.

Police were called to the Riverview Theatre in the 1400 block of Columbus Boulevard about 9:30 p.m. where the gunshot victim, a Philadelphia man who was not identified, told police a man sitting near him told his family to be quiet and threw popcorn at his son.

After exchanging words, Vanore said Cialella allegedly got out of his seat to confront the family when the father got up to protect them. That's when the victim was shot once in the left arm, sending others in the theatre running to safety.

Cialella then sat down to watch the movie. Police arrived a short time later and arrested Cialella and confiscated his weapon, Vanore said.

This blows my mind.

He sat back down and continued watching the movie 'cause it ain't no thing? I guess he thought once he had taken care of bidness, and shot the guy, he would have peace and quiet all around him, instead of mad screams of a rushing crowd desperate to get out?

On the heels of the Wal-Mart guy tragically trampled by Black Friday crowds (another chance for anti-American sentiment in international newspaper headlines, incidentally), you'd think there would've been more than one person hurt, but thankfully, the man survived the gunshot, and no one else was injured in the fracas.

There used to be a cinemahouse in downtown Miami with a similar reputation. It was inside the Omni mall -- an AMC deep inside its bowels. I went years and years ago, completely oblivious to the fact that there had been more than one woman raped there, and that patrons had complained of rats scurrying and even fleas springing from the floorboards. FLEAS.

Oh my God, how did we live before the internet?

Because today, before I so much as head out to a moviehouse I do not know, I check out the online reviews in three places.

At Cinema Treasures, for the history.
At CinemaTour, for the photos.
At InsiderPages, for the comments.

If you think this is too much bother, you're obviously not scared of being raped or getting shot.

Say one day I got it into my head to go to Philadelphia, and by miracle found myself near the Riverview Theatre. Having my laptop handy, I instantly would've known to make a beeline out of there. Reviews do not lie, my friends. Five reviews, not one positive word to say.

horrendous! 1 Star Rating - Unsatisfactory

While the theater itself is a good size the people that frequent this place are pros at ruining what should be a great experience. I've been there four times on four different days of the week at four different times of day for four different types of movies and it never seems to matter. It's not one or two groups that talk to each other and on their phones through the movie, it's 70% of the people in there! Nevermind the slews of baby carriages carrying all different ages of children into R-rated shows. (Infants - todlers - pre-teens) Not once have I ever had a pleasant time there. Far below acceptable!

PROS: Nothing
CONS: every person that walks in there

DON'T DO IT! 1 Star Rating - Unsatisfactory

I live only a few blocks away from this theatre - yet, I will drive all the way to Cherry Hill, NJ to attend a movie. Riverview is GHETTO! It's full of riff-raff. If you feel like hearing people talk throughout the movie or if you feel like having your feet stick to the floors, I highly recommend Riverview! Otherwise, go to Lowe's Theatre in Cherry Hill!

Too Bad! 1 Star Rating - Unsatisfactory

I cannot sit thru a movie without being annoyed every minute that I am there. I read the reviews posted here. I must agree that convenience is not the answer. DO I want to be annoyed? So now I stay home until I can travel to a safe venue.

This place sounds like a horror story. So how come I know that, and Mr. Local Mook did not? What did he expect from a place with this kind of clientele and reputation?

Sometimes people blow their tops, especially when provoked an infinitessimal amount of times. Big cities tend to do that to folks. Remember Michael Douglas in Falling Down?

Now, I don't know this James Joseph Cialella Jr from Adam Sandler, but he doesn't strike me as a meek guy who suddenly tired of the urban rat race.

He looks like a mook. He acted like a mook. He is a mook, same as the rest of that lot.

The moral of the story is, what did you expect? It's a bad area. Go somewhere else for peace and quiet, unless you want to be the REALLY BAD GUY. IN PRISON.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wonder Twin Powers Activate

Only the French could take such an iconic superheroine like Wonder Woman, and make a point that no one is invulnerable, in this anti-AIDS poster.

Yeah, where's your magic bracelet now, honey?

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

About Those Movies

As you can imagine, I am angry I didn't get off the Movie guide on time. I am working on it, in between family time.

However, just to get the ball rolling, here are Box Office Mojo's poll's partial results, on the films its readership would like to see this weekend.

What is your top choice to see Christmas weekend (Dec. 25-28)

37.7% The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
13.4% Valkyrie
10.8% Bedtime Stories
9.2% The Spirit
5.3% Marley and Me
5.1% No interest this weekend.
4.0% Twilight
3.1% Slumdog Millionaire
2.2% Yes Man
2.0% The Day the Earth Stood Still
1.7% Other
1.6% Seven Pounds
1.6% Doubt
0.9% Bolt
0.8% The Tale of Despereaux
0.6% Four Christmases

I voted for Valkyrie, which my father has been in a tizzy to see particularly. Strange really, considering his father was on the other side in WWII, and never let my mother forget it...

As for "Despereaux", I am giving it a good review overall, because I liked the film's self-confidence. However, it is definitely not for kids under 10 as it has quite scary visuals, which robs it of its natural appeal. But I can see why very few people have it high on their viewing list this Christmas season.

Oh and whilst I am at it, "Four Christmasses" should not be viewed by any sentient human being.

Given that South Florida has a plethora of wonderful movie theatres, I like to choose the atmosphere of one cinemahouse over the other, given the kind of film I am watching. That's why I went to the Regal Palace in Westchester for Andy Garcia's "The Lost City", because I knew the old Cubanitos that go there would be the perfect receptive audience.

(To this day, it ranks as one of the most moving collective movie-going experiences I have had. The entire audience started clapping at the end, since they had lived through what Garcia had explored. It was heart-wrenchingly beautiful to be a part of that audience)

So it'll be the Muvico Parisian for "Benjamin Button" as it requires a plush, elegant seat for a nearly three-hour film; the Muvico Paradise for "Marley & Me" for the raucous family atmosphere; and the best cinemahouse in the world, the Muvico Palace in Boca Raton, for "Valkyrie". I already have the tickets (it sold out on Tuesday).

P.S.: I've also already chosen what I'll be wearing to each cinemahouse, but I'll spare you the details. Or maybe start a new blog, "What is Victoria wearing?".

Labels: ,

Have A Very Merry Christmas!

Not only does Pepito wish you a very blessed Christmas day, but so does your humble Sundries blogger. May today bring you peace and happiness, pausing to remember why today is special to so many of us around the world.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Labels: , ,

Kermit Khristmas

The Muppets were an integral part of my childhood. This episode, "Letters To Santa" will make you smile. Sorry international viewers -- the magnificent resource that is Hulu is not available to you, alas.

Labels: ,

A Christmas Past

The iconic House & Garden photograph, December 1948, with caption below.

"Prelude to the Christmas party, reserved for sentimental moments"

(Via WIJW? who has, shall we say, a rather modern updated version)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Most Inappropriate Usage Of A Song In A Video EVER

Still rather fun, though. The Queen arriving at Yeo Valley Yogurt farm in Blagdon (Somerset).

This is a freebie post as I pause from wrapping my Christmas presents.

P.S.: I will kill the first person who mentions something about "British teeth" around minute 0:25.

Labels: ,

Bristol's Baby

You know what I'm thinking? That the little boy Johnson (as it is known he will be) will make an appearance on Christmas Day itself.

This is his Uncle Trig's birth announcement, earlier this year. The announcement is interesting, because you can see that probably the original emphasis on the first name was supposed to be Van Palin (a riff on Van Halen, as even Governor Palin admitted once).

Either way, pretty cool having an uncle to play with, as one grows up.

(Incidentally, this photo reminds me of missing commenter Bekah, who received the most beautiful personalised note from Governor Palin. Hope the much-loved Bekah is out there!)

ADDED: Because there is nothing, and I do mean nothing those who hate the Palins will not believe or make up about her:

My prediction was based on having not one but two family members who were born on Christmas Day. To me, it is a natural bit of kismet, and absolutely normal.

But to The Immoral Majority and its readers, if it happens and Bristol Palin's son is indeed born on Christmas, it's all a Machiavellian plot, rivalling Watergate, Kristallnacht and Litvinenko's plutonium poisoning.

Why is it that this woman transforms normal, rational, intelligent people into the most mean-spirited people on earth?

I wouldn't mind their opinions if there were a spark of originality about them. But no, it's all sordid, literalist, small-minded dreck.


Christmas Tipjar

Every year, I give a little something to Christmas-themed charities. This year I am hurting the same as everyone else. It seems I am credit-rich, but cash-poor. I am tightening my belt as I type.

Yet, I still found a few pennies to send to one of my favourite organisations, Toys for Tots, run by the Marine Reserves to give toys to underprivileged children every Christmas.

Should you be able to spare some dosh, and believe me, I know it's hard, it's not too late. Help to put a smile unto some kid's face on Christmas Day!


Oh, incidentally, did you read this?

This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

It doesn't have to be Toys for Tots, or a Catholic-based charity like I also donate moneys to at Christmas. Choose which ever one you want.

Charity shouldn't be a question of political inclination. It's just a question of doing the right thing. So, pace Spike Lee and Governor Huckabee, do the right thing.

Labels: , , ,

The Question Of Guinea

President Lansana Conté's death was announced on Tuesday in Conakry, Guinea, aged 74. The cause was said to be diabetes.

The last of the so-called "African Big Men" (which included Nkrumah of Ghana, Moi of Kenya, Senghor of Senegal, Kaunda of Zambia), he had held on to power for 24 years, before his death. NGO "Transparency International" had once declared Guinea to be the most corrupt nation on earth, right next to Haiti...

Here is he is, next to then French President Jacques Chirac, in happier times in 1999.

Conté had had Islamic schooling before attending French military boarding schools in Senegal and in the Côte d'Ivoire. Having come to power in a military coup, it comes as no surprise to find out that upon his death, the military have stepped in and declared the government, null and void.

It will be interesting to see how the half-Kenyan US President 'attacks' the continent of Africa. Though unwieldy, and the problem child of the world's continents, I have to say many African countries like Botswana have loads of upside potential. I personally am excited to see how they embrace democracy, and flourish because of it.

You know, President GW Bush, even by Bono's own admission, has been the most generous US President in the history of Africa. His administration sent billions upon billions of dollars of aid to the continent, especially in attempts to curtail the AIDS epidemic -- meeting with some success in such previously hopeless places like Uganda.

Yet I predict here and now that even if Obama does half this, he will reap the rewards in publicity and goodwill far and beyond anything accorded to the departing George Bush.

But then that's not really a prediction, so much as pragmatic reasoning.

Labels: , , ,

Wartime Golfing

That's President-Elect Obama hitting the links in Kailua, Hawaii, where he and his family are spending twelve restful days this holiday season. I do not begrudge him his golf. In fact, I'm glad he plays it, since I don't play basketball and now feel I have at least one sport in common with him.

But you know, the much maligned President Bush admitted he gave up golf because it was unseemly for the US President to be golfing in war-time. Liberals derided him at length for this admission. Nevertheless, I appreciated the gesture.

Do you think President Obama will make that "sacrifice" when his turn really comes? How about any sacrifice, if not golf?

I don't see it happening.

P.S.: The veteran of many a golfing tutorial, I know his downswing looks great in this photo. I wonder what his handicap is. I think my personal best was 12 (from the ladies' tees, though).

Notice anything else? He swings Lefty, like me. I'm naturally right-handed, but whenever I need two hands on sporting equipment, like bats or clubs, I favour my left side -- like Bob Charles and Phil Mickelson.

In his case, he is naturally left-handed, so he doesn't have that mirror effect.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Escalade

Do you have cars dressed in Christmassy themes where you live too? I hover between amusement and calling the guys in the white shirts to haul the owners away.

Labels: , ,

Harassing The Crocs

This post could easily have been entitled, "You Know You're In Florida When..." and filled in with whatever comical crocodile reference you wished. 'Cause just thinking of crocs is funny. Not these crocs below, though I grant you, those are funny as in "ludicrous ridiculous pathetic" funny.

I give you, exhibit A. And exhibit W.

I mean, Jack, yes. He's so gone on coke most of the time, he probably doesn't know who dresses him, let alone what his feet are shod in. But the President of the Freaking United States?!

Oh, right. Moving on.

As you can see, we take our long, scaly lizards very seriously here in the State of Florida.

Gone are the days when Janet Reno's mother used to 'rassle' gators in the Redlands, near Homestead, and then host her biddy friends for afternoon tea (no, really, she did. Reno tells the story during the rubber chicken circuits). If anyone outside of the Miccosukee tribe tried that now, they'd be hauled away, Elian-style.

I suppose it's a comfort to know that officialdom are looking out for the crocs, and are adamant no one should molest them, to use the Spanish term. I'm not sure how anyone could without serious bodily harm coming to them, but there we are.

This was taken way over in Pinecrest, where crocs are seen everywhere -- as Fendi handbags.

Labels: , ,

Two Metrosexuals Show Off The Goods

David Beckham barely making a splash at AC Milan over the weekend.

"I'm Barack Obama and I approve this torso"

IN THE COMMENTS: Anonymous Number 1 questions Obama's physique:

Does he really have a six-pack? Also, I'm a straight male, so I can't properly judge these things, but he doesn't look that good to me: he has man-boobs... I mean, eeeww. And no, I'm not jealous. I work out too.

He's okay.

The thing is the world is rivetted by the fact that he's so slim, which appeals to their aristocratic aesthetic. The American aesthetic is more working-class, burly, rippling biceps and hulking shoulders -- that of fireman, not fop.

My father is taller than O and also incredibly slim. Still, he doesn't look this wiry. I think it's the arms and legs that really let Obama down. As a woman, I am not in the least attracted to him (whilst conceding that he's still a decent-looking 47 year-old).

But that's all right, because some in the Italian media definitely are. You'll get the gist of it, I'm sure.


[Paparazzo immortalises the shirtless Super-Obama in Hawaii!! Faint!!]

(AGI) - Honolulu, 23 dic. - E' un Barack Obama in splendida forma quello immortalato sulla prima pagina del sito web "amico" dell'Huffington Post. Si vede il 47enne presidente eletto che in un momento di relax nella villa di Kailua Beach dove sta passando le vacanze avanza in calzoncini neri stringendo la maglietta nella mano destra e ostentando pettorali e addominali ben tesi, a testimoniare le tante ore di palestra e basket cui Obama non ha mai rinunciato anche durante la campagna. A fare il colpo e' stato un fotografo dell'agenzia Bauer-Griffin ovviamente con l'autorizzazione dei servizi segreti mentre i gli altri paparazzi sono rimasti a bocca asciutta accontentandosi di immagini meno "forti".

Super Obama...oh, brother.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 22, 2008


Visiting my mother's friend on Star Island (where Shaq lived and where Rosie O'Donnell currently lives, as well as where Real World Miami was shot)...

...I caught one of the most earthy, wintery sunsets I've seen, in a city famous for its elegance in saying goodnight to days.

IN THE COMMENTS: Chickenlittle bonds with me.

You captured a quantum of solstice.

Labels: ,

Neon Vice

Right next door is a faux-Art Deco Burger King, which I've shown on Sundries before. Here is its next door neighbour, the neon-lit Maclee Quarters at night.

It is buildings like this in South Beach, that instantly turn on that Miami Vice soundtrack in our minds.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Waiting Game

Governor Sarah Palin is about to become a grandmama any moment now.

As Bristol faces the prospect of a mother-in-law constantly jonesying for some Oxy, she awaits the birth of her first child, a son, any time after the due date of December 20.

(I was thinking about just how incongruous it would've been to have a Vice-President who is a grandmother, whereas the First Lady who is 20 years her senior, is no where close to being one -- and one of whose past times includes "drifting")

Chuck Heath, Palin's gritty father who raised her field dressing moose and training for marathons in -40F degree weather, gave an interview to Grandparents.com about this.

Just listening to him talk about the general topic of Sarah Palin, and the tremendous outpour of affection she engendered throughout the world, makes me smile.

Grandparents.com: How's the family getting ready?

Chuck Heath: For Bristol's baby? Oh, I don't know. [There's] all kinds of gifts laying around the place — all kinds of baby stuff. I’m in a room right now just full of baby stuff — more than she'll ever use.

GP: From all over the country?

CH: All over the world. I'd say a half-dozen foreign countries. In Sarah's mailroom, there's 87 boxes — big boxes of mail that haven't even been opened. I've been answering letters all day, all week. We figure there's over a hundred thousand pieces here. And we'll never get it done. We're just inundated.

GP: This has been a wild ride for your family, hasn't it?

CH: It completely changed everything here. [We're] just a common, ordinary family — I'm a retired teacher, my wife's a retired school secretary, and I hunt and fish. And here all this comes. I'm not complaining; it's just different. ... All of a sudden [we] jumped into the mayhem. We're very supportive of our daughter and her family. Very supportive. Anything she wants to do or undertake, we're backing her.

GP: And it probably hasn't died down yet, has it?

CH: No. She [Sarah] is getting ... oh, hundreds of letters weekly. I was in her office yesterday, and last week she had over 200 requests for interviews. Over 200. And these were small interviews, radio, talk shows, things like Oprah, David Letterman, things like that.

GP: What are they specifically asking?

CH: Well, like David Letterman ... they want her on the show. There are open invitations from several of them — even open invitations from O'Reilly and from Oprah and things like that.

GP: So do we know if (Bristol's having) a boy or a girl?

CH: It's a boy.

GP: Do you have a name yet?

CH: I don't think so. Bristol's here — let me ask her.

(At this point, Mr. Heath can be heard calling into another room: "Do you have a name for your baby yet?" He speaks back into the phone and says: "Oscar, she said. No, I'm just kidding. They don't have a name for it yet.")

GP: What kind of grandmother do you think your daughter will be?

CH: My daughter will be a great grandmother. She's a great mother — great daughter, great mother. I don't know about how much time she can spend, she's so busy. But she'll get her licks in. Don't worry.

GP: That's the hard part of being in the public life, isn't it? Where you have to try to juggle your public life with your family life. Has that been difficult within your family?

CH: Well, she [Sarah] takes her kids with her as much as possible. She just got back from Juneau last night and she had her daughters and Trig with her. Track, her oldest boy, is in Iraq. In fact, she's been criticized for dragging her family around with her. I think it's the greatest thing in the world.

GP: What are some things you all like to do in your spare time as a family?

CH: We don't have any spare time. [Laughs.] Well, in our spare time in the winter, as a family, we do a lot of snow-machining and skiing. I don't know about the skiing this year, but we'll do a lot of snow-machining. Her husband, Todd, is a world champion snow-machine racer. Won that Iron Dog four times. In fact, he's getting prepared for it right now, even though it's two months away.

GP: So you have a very active family life then?

CH: Sarah's kids have all participated in sports all through their high school career. They snow-machine, they hunt, and they fish.

GP: With a new baby coming into your life, what are the things you'd like to teach your new great-grandchild?

CH: I hope he's a normal, happy, healthy kid. My wife, Sally, is just looking forward to taking care of him. She's one of those good grandmother types. The grandkids and the kids come first. [Laughing] I come second.

Oscar, heh. It reminds me of when Princess Diana was to have a child and the word on the street was that it would be called, shock-n-awe, Oliver.

It's something about those "O" names that make them sound so funny. Hmm, "O" names...

Labels: , ,

Wait, Is That Al Sharpton?

From the man who brought you a nude painting of Governor Sarah Palin, comes the next gubernatorial tuchus to make it unto canvas: embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois.

It is described thusly:

The scene imagines Blagojevich handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit pulled down to his knees.

Among the onlookers is a guard, with a look of grim determination, pulling on a rubber glove.

The painting, which is taking Elliott a little over a week to finish, is titled: "The Cavity Search."

(In jailese "with a look of grim determination" = he's looking forward to it)

Bruce Elliot, alleged artist, is doing a series on Naked US Governors.

I guess he's starting with the most notorious ones first -- probably seeking the most publicity possible since, let's be honest, by the time he gets to Haley Barbour, our eyes will begin to glave over (hopefully).

Meanwhile, they will hang in his wife's pub in Chicago, The Raunchy Buttocks. I'm kidding, it's actually called the Old Town Ale House.

For those of you who are interested in how the decor could possibly look inside, here is a photo from the website.

It's an utter dive.

This is precisely how a pub should look like though: dirty, dingy, slightly dangerous. More Islington, than Mayfair -- that's my kind of pub.

Those other expat pubs I absolutely deplore, from their total lack of imagination of being called "The Crown and Thistle" (though let's not forget the plethora of Britannia Arms out there, more accessible than Senate seats for sale) to their undrinkable teas from Twinings, don't get me started!

If you have to place a painting of a nude elected official inside a place, this is the public house in which to do it. Why, I think I'll pay the place a visit, next time I'm in Illinois.

Such happy, pretty, well-dressed people there. I love Americans from the Midwest. They're the most authentic Americans, in my opinion. When they say, "people get the government they deserve", they are surely not talking about Midwesterners.

All I know is, Illinois deserves better than Rod Blagojevich. Don't drop the soap, Helmet Head.

ADDED: I thought long and hard about adding a visual for this post. But this one is too good to pass up, and it's the PG-13 version.

Is it me, or does Blago resemble Elizabeth McGovern from "She's Having a Baby"? Wearing a yarmulke.

I know, let's start a new linking game: Six Degrees to Rod Blagojevich. You have to pay to play, though.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Turkish Murkish

I actually had a cup of authentic Turkish coffee in a Sephardic Kosher deli the other day -- delicious. Look at the sludge formed by the grounds as they rest at the bottom of the snowy white cup.

It's actually a metaphor for life in such environs. On the surface, dazzling and exotic, quick to intrigue, quicker to charm, but at the bottom, it's all sediment and gunk.

It takes a strong person to be able to like such coffee. And I am that person.

UPDATED: Using a paint programme, I inverted the colours and used an artistic rendering to soften the photograph.

It's Crumby!

Labels: ,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Is Good Enough

I have been following the "Caroline Kennedy to the Senate in place of Hillary" saga as long as everyone else, and I confess -- I still do not get it.

Why is Liberal America in such a tizzy of distaste at the prospect?

Of course, not just liberals veer from astonished to annoyed about this matter, but it's understood that conservatives would be in opposition. Being anti-Kennedy is a Republican birthright.

No. It's evident that as the Left blog about Governor Paterson's forthcoming decision, they are each day less and less amused that the choice should fall on the demure shoulders of this 51 year-old woman, one of the earliest to break with the Clintons and back Obama, at that.

It's just really fascinating to watch this unfold with such thinly disguised animosity towards Caroline's candidacy. And here I must say this -- I use her Christian name not as an intimate, obviously, but as recognition that she's been a part of American life since she was 3 years old. If her late brother was "America's Prince", she was his princess foil.

But hers is a life touched by endless tragedy, a story all of us could recite by rote from her father's assassination to her brother's disappearance off of Martha's Vineyard.

Such characters in a novel or in a film are usually hateable (due to the curse of human jealousy), unless their elevated social status is tinged with tragedy, or they redeem themselves by liking the poor. That has been the hook of almost every story dealing with the high and mighty since Aeschylus all the way to wayward Rose's love of the impoverished Jack in that dismal "Titanic". Only Proust could write about aristocrats with such approval, and still make people like them.

Could it be Kennedy herself that causes such a backlash?

I have heard liberal bloggers say she is a bad speaker. Yes, she's stilted. But have you heard Nancy Pelosi in action? Eye-crossingly boring.

I have heard some refer to her "debutante" New York status. Yes, but she's done an impressive amount of charity work, a legacy she took over when her mother died.

I have heard people say she is a dilettante. Then so was Obama when he ran for the Senate. They are both Harvard grads, both lawyers, and both published authors.

Unlike Barack Obama, her first book was a well-received co-authored one about the Bill of Rights, called The Right To Privacy. In fact, had this been an Obama book instead of a Kennedy book, I would've considered him less of an empty suit.

Having mentioned privacy, I think we are getting closer to the reason why 'Caroline Kennedy for the Senate' is off to such a rocky start.

This woman is notoriously, almost morbidly private, or as much as she can be as the fabled daughter of that political dynasty -- the Kennedys.

You can see her doing the entertainment rounds in New York, but rarely for the exclusive benefit of social diarists. It's always a cause, a benefit, or an awards ceremony, not a movie premiere preening in front of paparazzi.

Also, by all accounts, she is an involved and caring wife/mother.

She is certainly taking her mother's famous dictum to heart that it doesn't matter what else you do in life, if you fail as a mother first, the other stuff is almost meaningless.

(That must've been a zinger to the heart of Ethel Kennedy)

I have heard it say that Democrats don't want families becoming political dynasties with a sense of entitlement, which is real funny coming about the lady who would succeed Hillary Clinton. Honestly, do people even think out their objections? Dear God.

I could go on and on about this, including re-emphasising the fact that Caroline backed Obama for President over Hillary Clinton in such a way, as to make his dedicated followers proud of her sound political instincts.

But it's almost as naught.

For them, she intrudes in some strange way into their fantasy that the Democratic Party is for the working-class, or for those who rose up by their talent or grit -- and no one else need apply.

Kids, I got news for you: You guys have more millionaires and celebrities who back you publicly than we Rethuglicans do. It's long been the Party of Moët and private jets, not of Pabst Blue Ribbon and F-150s. Wake up and smell the Prada.

What do we have so far as points against her becoming a Senator?

- She has nil political experience.

Except for the fact that she's actively breathed politics since she was in her cradle.

I'm sorry; it counts. I know Americans don't like to hear this, but one's background really does give you a leg up in certain matters, and politics is definitely one of them. It may not appeal to the democratic nature of American culture, but to discount it totally smacks of a lack of sophistication, and not knowing how life works.

- She has never given a political speech in her life and was "scrambling" in Syracuse yesterday, putting herself forward as Senate candidate.

Really? Did I imagine all those interviews and discourses on politics not just in 2008, including at the DNC, but throughout her adult life?

- She is just a celebrity.

Riiight. Because we all know New Yorkers do not like famous people to horn in unto their political caste...

At the end of the day, she would be a caretaker Senator from New York, who would at worst have to run again in two years.

This isn't a life-time appointment, and if she's not up to snuff, there are other Democrats who I am certain would gladly run against her in 2010. In fact, she may decide the Senate gig isn't for her (it is really an intrusive proposition for a woman disinclined to be a public figure), and decline to run altogether.

You know, 2008 revealed itself to be a year where two women battled for two of the highest positions in the land, and for their bothers, they had to endure incredibly embarrassing levels of abuse, not from Republicans, mind you. But from Democrats.

Today, as I read the oft-insipid Jane Hamsher making her mealy-minded points about Caroline Kennedy on Huffington Post, I am reminded yet again that women do not support women. Worse yet, we make sexist points when referring to them (sometimes even in an otherwise positive piece), which in Hamsher's case was her original post about the topic, which included this lovely line:

Really? She's "making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest?" I guess it was either that or get her nails done.

I have it on good authority Jane was making this moue when she wrote this.

(Was that really necessary? It's so petty, Jane. Since you don't mind petty, I am repaying you in kind with that comment above. You like?)

And how else is she going to inform the political establishment of casting her hat into the ring, but to actually go out and place some calls -- does HuffPo provide its writers with telepathic lessons that we do not know about? Because you know, maybe Caroline could've closed her eyes, and transmitted her thoughts to Paterson like Uri Geller.

(Don't believe it for a minute that if Kennedy-Schlossberg had called a press conference to formally announce this, that the Left would have given her less of a hard time. They would've probably had said she was being a prima donna. Also, I am reminded of people moaning about the cost of rescuing the remains of her late brother from the bottom of the sea, and those moaning the most seemed to be Democrats...)

By now, you are wondering if this makes me her champion. Not really. I respect her though.

I respect her tenacity and respect her political courage to break with a sure thing, as Hillary Clinton looked to be in January.

I think Caroline Kennedy should be given the same consideration, without the snark and reverse class-snobbery, same as any other candidate.

The point is not that there are better choices out there to fill the Senate vacancy left by Hillary Clinton -- but that Caroline Kennedy is not so bad herself.

Labels: , , , ,

How Can You Tell Mika Brzezinski Is A Liberal?

She gets mugged, and she feels guilty about it.

Here is the segment on "Morning Joe" where Joe Scarborough insists on recounting the story to the audience, to her utter discomfiture.

Part of the unease has to do with the fact that they cannot stand each other, and as I watch them some mornings, I feel so uncomfortable, I have to switch channels to something anything, so as not to watch Mika roll her eyes at him in her vacuous way, and Joe not be such a clueless idiot.

Incidentally, I've been mugged too (so was my mother...in D.C.!), and I have only sympathy for Zbigniew's little girl. As it happens to you, you can't believe it. Part of you is brazen, dismissing it as something out of the movies. Then reality sinks in -- anything could've happened.

But in her case, it seems she was aggressively panhandled, rather than mugged.

I come to this conclusion based on the so-far, sketchy details. There is no mention of a gun or the threat of physical aggression. Trust me, muggers don't suggest or bargain about the amount of money they want -- they just say 'give me your money'.

It is suggested that her discomfort also has to do with (the very coincidentally booked) Mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty, appearing later in the show. You just knew Joe was going there again, and he did.

Perhaps too she didn't want to mention the physical description of her assailant, in case it upset people's PC sensibilities.

Obviously, this situation could've ended badly, so I am glad she is okay.

Now that she is, some people around the Blogosphere have this to say:

* she should have busted a cap in his a$$.
oh, I forgot it’s DC.
C C is a no-no.

* Exit question: Did Mika ask the mayor for a $6 reimbursement?

* I’ve been mugged, too.

Mika mugged my heart.

* I think she’s covering something up.

1. A Tylenol Extra deal gone bad.

2. He wanted $20 but she only had $6. I something like this on Cops were a dude tried to stiff a working girl.

3. I forgot three.

4. She came in late and used a mugging as an excuse and now there’s an investigation.

5. It’s a ploy to get that young camera man to escort her. Then she offers him some tea. Then, “It’s kinda hot in here, mind if I unbutton my shirt a little. . .

* Zbig girls don’t cry. Zbig girls don’t cry.
They don’t cry, yie, yie.


* It was Henry Paulson.

Heh. Quite.

And one more.

Mugged ? Cookie selling girls in my neighborhood are more aggressive ! On the Hill they call it lobbying elsewhere panhandling. Welcome to DC.

January 20th, 2009. Not just a day when many Americans will rejoice, but many muggers too. Gird those loins!


Morning F-Bomb

Labels: , ,

Tokyo Ross

Yes, that's a man with man-breast flaps on his wrap-around "kimono". Or at least, I think that's a man. I found this whilst looking at an Althouse post about Jane Hamsher. Good times.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

President Huggy Bear

Words fail.

...you know what? Actually, they don't.

When I first saw this photo of a college-aged Barack Obama, I was struck by the cool hepcattiness of the thing. His gesture of smoking a 'rette, so evocative of Bogie and war-era machomen cupping theirs, seemed almost to eclipse the intent -- that of a still youngish lad pretending he's smoking him a blunt.

The second instantaneous reaction I had was: whoa, but doesn't Obama resemble Bill Clinton! Right?

It's not just the arrogant mofo squint either.

Let's face it, most of us look alike when we narrow our eyes and stare sidelong in a semi-challenging gesture. No-no. The resemblence is in the peasanty potato nose and flat Kalmuk cheeks.

But I had yet another flashback, this one slightly more amusing.

For it was once upon a time that, with a dwindling amount of museums to choose from in Amsterdam, I ended up in the very famous Sex Museum. Now, for all I know, today this museum could have been spruced up beyond recognition, but back then, it was a dump. DUMP!

I know, I know, what do you expect from an historical emporium called 'Sex Museum', but still. I was in my gap year, in fact, not much older than Obama above, and willing to explore anything even remotely whackadoodle.

So then you entered the Sex Museum and were shown a few mouldy rooms of excavated Roman penii and faded vintage porn, including some purporting to be of a gay gangbang circa 1913 of Rudolph Valentino (please, it looked nothing like him). Another room showed off its sinister 'marital aid' collection, including one particularly fascinating device which looked like a combination numbchuck/chastity belt/Hagar the Horrible battleaxe.

Tried as I might, I just couldn't see myself using that, even in 1887.

It was as you left, in a room which would be the death of any asthmatic porn viewer (the dust was an inch thick, I swear), that Obama above comes to mind.

The last room contained glass vignettes of faceless statues showing sex throughout the ages. Just like the old Miami Wax Museum, which breathed its last in the early 1980s and whose last updated wax tableaux was Richard Nixon greeting the three Apollo 11 astronauts in their capsule -- remember? -- , these kinds of museums are rarely du jour, and the last "scene" if you will, was that of a pimp and his pro in the Red Light District around 1971.

The pimp was dressed in a "sky" (as I have been reliably informed was the slang word for hat, back then), a white cape, and flare-bottomed Fat Elvis red trousers, apparently collecting his dough from the hooker.

I didn't notice what she was wearing, except that she was slim and looked like Heidi the milkmaid -- which, if you've ever been to the Red Light district in smelly old Amsterdam, you'll know is a total joke.

Amsterdam hos are about 250 lbs., invariably from Suriname or some godforsaken ex-Dutch outpost, and are the ugliest creatures I've ever seen enlisted into the world's oldest profession. Incidentally, at the Centraal Station, the ladies' loo near the platform had an ink-written suggestion which said, "If you want a really good tongue job, ask for Dewi at Madame Suzi's". I passed.

ANYWAY, whew, I have really digressed here. Where wuz I? Oh yes, Obama.

The point is the waxy pimp had a mien incredibly like that of Obama above. You know, "Where my money at, ho!", and so on.

Also, he looks like Huggy Bear, whose son I once owned in Yahoo's Fantasy NFL. Small world.

In closing, I would just like to mention that we none of us are without our extremely embarrassing snaps taken in off-guard moments.

So what if Obama is seen above mimicking being in an Amsterdam brownstone café, having just purchased some Afghan Red? Why, somewhere out there, there's a photo of your humble blogger seated on 15-foot plaster "penis", conveniently available just as you exit the Sex Museum.

We all have pasts, my friends.

P.S.: Oh My God! They have a website now! NSFW, or anywhere else.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Festive Free Fall

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for a while

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah I'm free, free fallin'

- Tom Petty

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Two photos to tie you guys over, until the mad-rush that is Christmas is over!

You might remember Pope Benedict two years ago, wearing a red bonnet lined with white fur that had him looking uncannily like our "Father Christmas".

(Instead of a cap with a fuzzy tassle, our version wears a pointy hood, although the more Americanised version is taking over)

Well, our beloved Pope continues to amuse, whilst looking amused.

They call this one "Saturno", and don't you think it is well-named? It does look like one of the rings of Saturn plopped down on the infallible noggin.

Incidentally, the Pope has brown eyes, which are quite common in Bavaria, yet this photo makes them look almost caramelly green. I hope he doesn't have cataracts.

Yes, Pope Benedict's face is one of the gentlest faces I have ever seen on any person, male or female. He's so darling.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aussie Ad Breaks Back Of GLBT

The Australian GLBT chapter have found a Telstra television advert to be highly "homophobic". When they sought to file an official complaint in a government website, they found that the site was not equipped for such a complaint. This in turn was judged to be "discriminatory".

I read the article before I saw the video, so I was expecting something really insulting. Perhaps a 'light in your loafers' comment by an actor, or perhaps the gratuitous throwing of fudge (humour me).

But this is the spot they took grave offense to.

You know what really struck me about this ad?

That two grown Australian men would be excited to watch a sport shamefully known as "w*g ball" in Australia (soccer being the chosen sport of non-British emigrés). That's because "real Australians" play Aussie rules football.

Progress isn't always progressive, guys. Sometimes the progress is about something else.

Anyway, have you seen Aussie rules footballers in action?

Labels: , , ,

Mission Accomplished

Flying shoes be damned. This is the send-off for President George W. Bush that you will not see on any hysterical cable news programme.

(Via Insty)

Thank you so very much for keeping us safe these 7 years. All of you.

Labels: , ,

Insane In The Membrane

Amongst the many articles this weekend, there seemed to be a theme developing. It was about the underlying motives of why certain politicians act the way they do, namely, two.

Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden and Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Up to now, the received wisdom about both men was that the first was just "Joe being Joe": a gaffe-o-matic with a history of saying and doing awkward things. Then there is Rod Blagojevich, who everyone knew was dirty (they just didn't know how much).

But now, there are two new conjectures floating out there to explain away their behaviour.

For it seems that some believe that Joe Biden may have had more cerebral damage after his aneurysisms scare over two decades ago, than might have been imagined. The other suggestion, which I found to be rather surprising given that even Democrats are saying this, is that Biden has Alzheimer's.

"An official close to his thinking", as Politico put it rather sketchily, said that Joe Biden has every intention of reducing the role of the Vice-President -- he will not operate a "shadow government", such as Dick Cheney has done according to popular belief.

(In fact, Ruth Anne Adams had expressed a similar opinion to me about the role of the Vice-Presidency having been overemphasised, and this being one of the reasons there was undue attention being paid to Governor Palin)

This also is in line with my earlier post called "Do Not Overshadow Obama, Joe". I had noticed that the "Biden" in the Obama-Biden campaign logo was almost an afterthought. If it had been blurred out altogether, I wonder how many would've noticed.

I wrote:

Though Biden doesn't have a Clintonesque ego, let alone an Obaman one, he is a man with pugnacious touchiness, and he's not above putting some poor schmoe down publicly.

I wonder if he has realised just how much of a second banana he is going to be, especially after Michelle and others are factored in?

Because, if the ticket is elected, this is how it will look like after he's done his bit in November.

Just fair warning, Joe. There's no room for another One in Obama Nation.

Whether this reduction in power is his own doing, in line with his idea that the Vice-President shouldn't be an over-powerful officer in the Administration, or his staff's suggestion, or it has been forced on him in part due to concerns about his mental health, remains to be seen.

I personally think that since the "Joe The Prophet" routine at the two California fundraisers, that Barack Obama and his staff realised the absolute folly of their decision to bring him on to their tightly controlled team, and just put the lid on him ever afterwards. Biden probably figured out (or had told him) that he had no choice but to scale back, anyway.

And speaking of mental health, the reason being touted for Governor Blagojevich having acted as greedily as he did, was that many wonder if he's not just plain nuts.

This is not a recent observation apparently. According to an article about Blago's delusional state these recent months, he has exhibited these signs before.

In 1996, a Democrat who shared a campaign office with Blagojevich, John Fritchey was told that his stepfather had suffered a serious stroke. He walked over to Blagojevich, who was making fund-raising calls, and shared the news.

"He proceeded to tell me that he was sorry, and then, in the next breath, he asked me if I could talk to my family about contributing money to his campaign," recalled Fritchey, now a state representative and a critic of the governor. "To do that, and in such a nonchalant manner, didn't strike me as something a normal person would do."

It's curious to see this being written about a Democratic politician, as I just saw Ron Howard's "Frost-Nixon" (more anon). Howard wanted to bring out what many people of that generation felt was a sickening component to the man -- the money-lust Nixon had.

When will it dawn on people that politicians seek power in part because all else follows; not just influence, but money too.

This isn't a Republican or a Democrat "thing"; it is sadly, a trait common throughout all time with people at the pinnacle of power.

Of the two suppositions, I am much more likely to believe that Biden is a victim of Alzheimer's (and possibly will one day be forced to resign, perhaps ushering in Hillary Clinton as Veep, which makes her strategic move to State that much more sense), than that Blagojevich is batty.

Desperation often feels like insanity, and certainly desperate people can do crazy things. But do not try to make sense of corruption.

It stands alone in the cannon of human failings, an odd filthy combination of weakness and strength.

IN THE COMMENTS: Althouse regular, Ron St. Amant (nice to see you, by the way!), writes about that Nixon characterisation of having "money-lust":


I don't think Nixon had a money lust per se, though in the aftermath of Watergate he was quite assertive about being paid at every turn- but that's an easy one considering his legal fees by then.

Nixon did lust for power for the control he felt it would give him over others. He always wanted to belong. He had an obsessive need to be liked, which only made him seem less likeable.

This is why he floundered so much in personal relations and seemed to flourish in times of great crisis when aloofness allowed him to focus his mind and energy of something other than winning people over.

I haven't seen the film yet, so I can't speak to its portrayal, however I have long owned the book Frost wrote about the interviews titled "I Gave Them a Sword" and Frost himself focuses on the paradox of Nixon demanding payment and his constant refrain (from Checkers on down) of his being disinterested in financial enrichment.

I think Nixon was truly the first modern President, Ron. You will remember that President Truman was so broke, and actually very close to bankruptcy, that a special Act had to be drawn up for Presidential pensions, after they leave office. It was never explicit, but it was assumed Presidents came from means, whether by inheritance, or from having made it in business, before their Presidencies.

It is known that Pat Nixon was mortified when Richard Nixon gave the 'Checkers' speech, saying, "Now everyone will know exactly how much we have" (implying, not very much) and I think this lack of means haunted both of them, for separate reasons.

It's not that he was trying to cash in, exactly, but he realised that money was a buffer towards the hardships of social oblivion and a power-substitute.

In reality, only Bush Sr. and Clinton so far have truly attempted to "cash in" on their Presidency. Their speaking fees (Bush Sr.'s famous Japan tour, and Clinton's exorbitant appearance fees) discomfit me.

On the other hand, they ARE US Presidents, and the lifestyle expected of US Presidents is such that their pensions simply do not compensate their outlays.

In my opinion, Nixon's attitude was not out-of-the-ordinary for a man of his generation, or his psyche (that of the perpetual outsider).

It's just that, well, the things that go unremarked or diminished with some guys, suddenly seem sinister with someone one hates -- Nixon wasn't wrong about this. People genuinely disliked him, and had it out for him (deservedly or not).

Labels: , , ,

The UnCola

New York's Governor David Paterson wishes to institute a budget booster in taxing non-diet soft-drinks to the tune of 15%. There are so many ramifications to this proposal, that the mind reels.

First, we all know that taxes are a slippery slope. Yesterday, the illegalisation of trans-fat; today, regular Coke gets taxed; tomorrow, sugar may require a special license?

Second, taxing goods because they are bad for you is one of those nightmare scenarios hated by most conservatives and Libertarians -- it is State intrusiveness run amok.

Third, do you know who will be hit hardest by any tax on regular soft-drinks? The poor, especially blacks, Hispanics, and newly-arrived immigrants. It certainly won't be the Park Avenue matron who subsists on lettuce and Evian, or the pilates-obsessed suburbanite who hasn't drunk a Mountain Dew since 1979.

But, of course, the underlying message of this tax is that citizens have shown themselves disgraceful enough to be fat, and to continue their intake of unhealthy foods despite all reason telling them otherwise.

No economic crisis is without its inherent peril, but the most awful peril that it brings is the opportunity it gives those to benefit by it.

In California, with an overtaxed economy desperately trying to inject moneys into the system, it was the car tax. In New York, will it be the Coke tax?

Labels: ,

His Corpse Is Still Warm

Did you see or read this about the already-mentioned ABC "This Week" interview, with John McCain? Because I didn't.

Sen. John McCain said Sunday he would not necessarily support his former running mate if she chose to run for president.

Speaking to ABC's "This Week," McCain was asked whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could count on his support.

"I can't say something like that. We've got some great other young governors. I think you're going to see the governors assume a greater leadership role in our Republican Party," he said.

He then mentioned governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah.

McCain said he has "the greatest appreciation for Gov. Palin and her family, and it was a great joy to know them."

"She invigorated our campaign" against Barack Obama for the presidency, he said.

McCain was pressed on why he can't promise support for the woman who, just months ago, he named as the second best person to lead the nation.

"Have no doubt of my admiration and respect for her and my view of her viability, but at this stage, again ... my corpse is still warm, you know?" he replied.

His corpse is still warm? What on earth?

I have a small, very small amount of sympathy left for John McCain, and honestly, I think he just blew it with me, forever.

Now I know why a man like McCain would feel so at home with a treacherous Democrat like Joe Lieberman -- because they are both backstabbers to their own Parties.

This is probably what other people sense, such as Kathryn Jean Lopez who wrote:

(It would also be insane for anyone to endorse anyone for president four years out.) That and maybe he wants to leave the door open to endorse Obama in four?

If a then-President Obama is remotely doing well with the economy, I predict here and now that even if Sarah Palin runs in 2012 (no, wait, ESPECIALLY if Sarah Palin runs in 2012), that Senator John McCain will endorse, campaign for, and probably give the keynote speech at the DNC for Obama.

I still honour his service, his sacrifice, and his sense of duty, but as a politician, he's just like the rest -- an opportunist.

Ugh, I want my donations back...

ADDED: Remember? This was part of the 'McBush' smear by the Democrats this past election. But maybe, they were seeing it the wrong way.

If I were a person getting hugged by John McCain, I'd look out for my back.

Labels: ,


Advertise on blogs
British Expat Blog Directory.