Saturday, February 28, 2009

the dirty dozen

So remember when I wrote, only half-apologetically, a few posts back that I was becoming one of those intolerable grannies with the fold-out pictures of my family, prattling on about my dog Stella and cat Maude?

Well that was due in part to the enormous energy I was pouring into getting my dog Canine Good Citizen-certified.

The test was today. Seventeen dogs, pit bulls every one, gathered in a parking lot before the fog lifted off the Bay and waited our turn with an AKC official, who ran us all through a gamut of ten tests, what I can best equate to a set of back-to-back merit badge assessments. Here's the lowdown.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

green crusaders v. the whippersnappers

For better or worse, I'm a suggestible reed--Obama's talk of subsidy cuts to big agribusiness buoys the spirits, pretty lil pictures of babies cheer me, even just witness to folks on Facebook rallying around an old comrade who's lost her dog warms the deepest parts of my heart--all sorts of thing restore my faith in human beings, and I'm glad for that.

But sometimes people are stinkers. And when these stinkers threaten to get in the way of the good my tribe is trying to do, I get this crazy aggression, like goodwill infected with zealotry. It's ugly.

Let me tell you about Green Earth Guide: Traveling Naturally in France. The author Dorian Yates, the delightful, kind, industrious sort you'd find calming your anxieties over a chilled bottle of Beaujolais at the corner café, has developed a series of travel guides intended not only to direct readers around town, but do it in a way that kicks up as little pollution as possible.

It's all in the book: finding local and organic foods, supporting ecological businesses, the ins and outs of public transport, green places of interest, the whole conscientious shebang. Yates writes about strides various cities have taken to green themselves, among them Paris and Montpellier for their public bicycle systems.

Shortly before I sent this handy reference to press, I read about all the rat-youth vandalizing the bikes, taking them on joyrides and documenting it on YouTube (here's a mild one). Admittedly, in my dumb youth, such stunts would have been hilarious. No more! Yes, even my use of the word "stunts" reflects a certain stodgy intolerance. I see that. But mindful that these weak vaunts at thuggery may bring the system to its knees, I find myself categorically humorless about it. How I wish I were sipping my trifásico with Dorian in a Barcelona plaça where she's researching the next in the series.

I'm sure she'd have something wise to say about our planet and those damn kids today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

frickin adorable

Try to ignore all those people in the background (the ones who can't really dance) and just listen to this gal's great voice. Love this grassroots YouTube-and-a-ukelele-type stuff. Happy work week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

up crossroads:
who knew it could
go that way?

by Joyce Sutphen

The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water
over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old
birthday, counting the years as usual,
but I will count myself new from this
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers shifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

go gays!

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009, in the Proposition 8 legal challenge.

On November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenges to Proposition 8 and set an expedited schedule. Briefing in the case was completed on January 21, 2009.

The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument. On January 15, 2009, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Court to invalidate Prop 8 were filed, arguing that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote. The supporters represent the full gamut of California’s and the nation’s civil rights organizations and legal scholars, as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians. Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare majority of 52 percent on November 4.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU filed this challenge on November 5, representing Equality California, whose members include many same-sex couples who married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, and six same-sex couples who want to marry in California. The California Supreme Court has also agreed to hear two other challenges filed on the same day: one filed by the City and County of San Francisco (joined by Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles, and subsequently by Los Angeles County and other local governments); and another filed by a private attorney.

Serving as co-counsel on the case with NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU are the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047). This press release stolen wholesale from Equality California.

Monday, February 02, 2009

international poetry fix

Amazing to think that it is the thirtieth anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. I encourage anyone interested in history, in poetry, in art, in performance to come to these events put on by the Translation Project in partnership with the SF International Poetry Festival, the Friends of the SF Public Library, and the Asia Society, to celebrate Iranian diaspora poetry of the past three decades.

It doesn't hurt to note that you will walk away with a fierce crush on moderator Niloufar Talebi, an erudite, hypnotizing, and imposing raconteur. Events are FREE and OPEN to the public. Registration is nonetheless recommended.

Thursday February 5th, 2009
“30 Years of BeLonging,” a roundtable discussion about the future of diaspora literature, with poets featured in BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World: Ziba Karbassi, Granaz Moussavi, Majid Naficy, Partow Nooriala, Abbas Saffari, as well as with SF Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, professor of Asian American Studies at SFSU.

Fort Mason Book Bay, San Francisco
Building C, Room 165
Phone 415-771-1076
6:30 PM

Friday February 6th, 2009
Honoring Ziba Karbassi, Granaz Moussavi, Majid Naficy, Partow Nooriala, Abbas Saffari, poets featured in BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World, gathered from all over the world! Reception, reading, and film screening.

Friends of the SF Public Library
391 Grove Street, San Francisco
Phone 415-626-7500
6:30 PM

poor, poor groundhog

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a human. (See: rituals that should have expired by now.)