Thursday, January 31, 2008

meet george jetson

...more commonly known as Will Whitehorn, one of the wranglers at Virgin Galactic, a posse of nutjobs planning on making space tourism a reality.

I do love that the windows up front are shaped like hearts (and check out the fins—eat your heart out, Dodge Dart!).

Let's go. I think I have enough just pennies in my piggy bank.

Friday, January 25, 2008

jonny justice superstar

I'm just back from the press conference re: the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's property. Five of the Vick dogs and their handlers did cool and calm meet-and-greets, while BAD RAP reps Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer, Oakland Raider Jarrod Cooper, and Oakland Animal Services Director Adam Parascandola described the dogs' progress and the animal-welfare state of the nation to a room packed to the walls with reporters.

Round about June in The East Bay Monthly, I'll publish a story tracking these dogs in their foster homes. And we'll get to see how everyone's doing and maybe get an invitation to the full-adoption party for these long-haul survivors.

San Jose Mercury News
The Californian
Inside Bay Area
AP in Washington Post
AP story also picked up by Guardian UK

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

got a second?

The PEN Campaign for Core Freedoms has been working with several other organizations to restore privacy protections that were stripped in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

This week, PEN, ACLU, and a large coalition of other organizations plan to press Congress to require the government to obtain warrants from a judge before engaging in telephone and internet surveillance of Americans and to remove a proposed amnesty for telecommunications companies from pending legislation.

You can sign the petition at:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

i took the midnight train going anywhere

**Update to this post: Steven Kurutz at NYTimes obviously read this blog post and was inspired to write a follow-up story. Good job, Steve-O.**

Just finished my eighteen-mile run. If you're needing music for your cardio routine or if you have a pressurized deadline that needs some adrenalizing musical wallpaper, here's what I listened to out there. Songs in bold are pretty varied—some silly, some strong and sexy—but all recommended for any of your fortifying solo expeditions.

The Blower's Daughter, Damien Rice
Random, Lady Sovereign
Snap Yo Fingers, Pina Colada, Jimmy Buffett v. T. Pain
It's On, Hollerback Girl, Beastie Boys v. Gwen Stefani
Don't Stop, Brazilian Girls
My Other Car Is a Beatle, L'Trimm v. Gary Neuman v. Beatles
Don't Stop Believin', Journey
Mr. Brightside, The Killers, Lu Cont's Thin White Duke remix
You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC
There's More To Life Than This, Björk
Fly with the Bongo, Safri Duo v. Gigi D'Agostino
Wishful Thinking, Ditty Bops
Electro Funk 21, Propellerheads v. Jakatta
Rockin Rum & Coca Cola, Andrews Sisters vs MI 7
Yeah, Country, John Denver v. Usher
There's Gonna Be a Riot, Dub Pistols
Loose Caboose, The Electroliners
Clumsy, Fergie
Superhero, Garrison Starr
Not In Our Name, Lorin Bassnectar
Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Lust For My Adidas, Iggy Popp v. Run DMC
Lovin, Joss Stone
What Goes Around...Comes Around, Justin Timberlake
SexyBack (Dirty), Justin Timberlake
Drive, Melissa Ferrick
Scared, Slacker
Little Chief, Xavier Rudd
Heavy Metal Drummer, Wilco

Saturday, January 19, 2008

fischer, king's down

Okay, enough emails about Bobby Fischer. Yes, I taught chess for a while. Truth is I was raised in a chess playing household and I knew just enough to get by, reallynever was particularly mathematical. But true, Fischer has long been one of those anomalous figures that captivated me, yes. So I heard it from all angles when he died. I guess I've had lots of death in my life the last few years; I wonder if I'm finally inured.

Because aside from the spark it ignited in a particular scene for my novel, I haven't got much to say about it. A dear friend of mine from Reykjavik tells me he died of kidney failure because he refused medical care. Well then best to let him go without much fuss, isn't it? When a person makes it clear the game's over, I think we're obliged to take the word for it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

gender essentialism for smarties

Pinker, Susan. The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women, and the Real Gender Gap. March 2008. Scribner. 336p. b&w charts and illustrations throughout. ISBN: 978-0-7432-8470-7. $25.00.

for Library Journal

Psychologist and Globe and Mail columnist Susan Pinker’s first book The Sexual Paradox makes a well-constructed case for interpreting workplace trends through a vintage lens of gender-based sex differences. Equally conversant in clinical psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, and social science, Pinker engineers a dichotomy between “apparent opposites—fragile men [and] gifted women,” proposing that gendered biological wiring—and not discrimination—is at the root of workplace inequities. Pinker offers evidence showing young males to be more vulnerable to everything from premature birth to behavioral problems, ADHD to chronic illness. Considering then why women aren't running more board meetings, Pinker likens men and women to two “software programs that run at different speeds,” arguing that subsequent hormonal changes females experience at puberty lead women along separate professional trajectories. Generalizations throughout the book weaken the credibility of this rigorous research, as when Pinker concludes a section on women opting out of high-powered business roles for more people-oriented jobs by asserting that women demonstrate “a capacity to be attuned to others,” a tendency “that makes women feel pretty good.” Recommended to reignite debate in all libraries. Elizabeth Kennedy, Oakland, CA

make your own stamps

Oh, Björk. You are one crazy lady. I would so love to put on my Red Cross uniform, my white Reeboks, and my WWII helmet and be a part of the stomping crowd in your latest total-weirdo production.

Monday, January 14, 2008

well, mtv

Okay. So soon I am going to stop posting my own thoughts altogether and just start reposting everything the good folks at post because it is so much funnier and better than anything I could say. I mean, look at this:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

file under omg

Honk, honk! Hop on board, kids. One quick stop to get us a hooker and we'll be on our way to the schoolyard in no time! Amazing any children make it through to adulthood. Really.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


... am in love. True, I've only seen her online, but watch Stella wiggle and you'll understand.

let each man exercise the art he knows

I was in yoga class yesterday and reflecting upon the fact that my muscles are as limber as plate glass when it occurred to me that there may not be any coffee table books on ordinary people beginning extraordinary practices—sweaty folks in shaky Ashtanga pretzels, tense kids screeching bow against fiddle string with pained moms in the background, or even smoking, indulgent "writers" sitting glazed before their monitors.

We are, as our president often evinces, in the era of the subpar. Why not create a folio of beginners who may or may not ever amount to anything? It will be like Arbus, only without the fascination factor ... or Dorothea Lange free of historical substance. Yes! I'll get on that. I'll call it Be Minus: Inept but Alive in Late-Stage America.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

against rainy-day refugees

I love rain as much as any moody Irishwoman worth her stout. But with the rain come the ants. I'm sure some among you (bless the vegans and Buddhists, every one) might argue pity for the bugs, what with their homes being flooded out and their anty up-from-microbootstraps ability to (as it were) rise to the occasion. It's some athletic ambition, after all, to find higher ground in a second-floor place when you're a mite bigger than a dust particle. But to be real, I never once indicated I would foster any such rubber tree aspirations.

These monsoon ants, in my opinion, made two mistakes. One is they tried to eat my KitKat. But no big whatever. I can always go get another KitKat and just eat the whole thing without ever once putting it down before their god-blasted feelers. No, that was not really the problem.

The real offense was their orderly proletarian efforts to settle all their gross little displaced antennae, heads, torsos, and abdomens into my orchids. No! Out, out damn infiltrators! My orchids need their space and are not the kind of flora to brook colonists. So, dear vegans, cover your eyes. They're all gone. The ants are dead. But they really should have stayed out of the orchids. And well, if they wanted a piece of my KitKat, the least they could have done was ask.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

"those winter sundays"

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

—Robert Hayden