Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scenes from Bannerland

A baby picture? On this site?

Bryce's new favorite activity: pulling himself to standing and bobbling around until he falls backwards.

Our friend May designs a cat-o'-lantern at our 2nd annual pumpkin carving party.

We stopped by Johnson Field to see our friend Barack Obama on Saturday.

Oh look! There he is! Just us, him and 45,000 of his New Mexican supporters. Very intimate. Makes me miss my 3rd Party days- At a Nader rally you can pretty much sit on Ralph's lap.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Voted

The worst part about absentee ballot voting is that you don't get an "I Voted!" sticker.

Not my dog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I have a happy son

I don't know whether all babies are this happy and outgoing, but I sure do feel lucky that Bryce is. Things he really loves this month: taking baths in the real bath tub (rather than the plastic infant tub), going for walks to the grocery store in the Moby wrap, smiling at any and all people (he particularly loves flirting with surly teenage boys), and touching the dogs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain Campaign Resorts to Despicable Theft

In what is perhaps the most depraved and desperate act of attempted political sabotage to date, the Albuquerque chapter of the John McCain Presidential Campaign engaged in outright theft on or about the evening of October 14th. Yes, the rumors are true, and I have found myself at the epicenter of an election season scandal sure to have rippling effects throughout this important battleground state, and thus the country as a whole.

They stole my motherfucking Obama sign.

I'm not sure who did it exactly, but I'm fairly certain that it was either John McCain himself, or his evil harpy henchwoman, Sarah Palin. They had the motive, they had the opportunity. As far as I know, neither one has an alibi. I mean, sure if I did some kind of "research" or "googled it" or whatever I could probably find some sure-to-be-made=up story about a speech one of them gave somewhere or a fundraiser or debate preparation or blah-blah-blah, but come on! Who can't see through those flimsy excuses?

Besides, just look at the guy-

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Abort it's no good!

So, I guess Tina Fey has a competitor. I present to you, La Pequena Sarah Palin!

Um... Fair warning: This is the stuff of nightmares. But the good nightmares where you wake up screaming and then wind up laughing. And then you just sort of feel worried all day. And vaguely nauseous.

October 15

The man who is traveling and does not yet know the city awaiting him along his route wonders what the palace will be like, the barracks, the mill, the theater, the bazaar. In every city of the empire every building is different and set in a different order: but as soon as the stranger arrives at the unknown city and his eye penetrates the pine cone of pagodas and garrets and haymows, following the scrawl of canals, gardens, rubbish heaps, he immediately distinguishes which are the princes' palaces, the high priests' temples, the tavern, the prison, the slum. This- some say- confirms the hypothesis that each man bears in his mind a city made only of differences, a city without figures and without form, and the individual cities fill it up.

Italo Calvino was born 85 years ago today. He died in 1985 at 62.

In vain, great-hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past: the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper's swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen's nuptial procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of a guttering and a cat's progress along it as he slips into the same window; the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering; the rips in the fish net and the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredeth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen's illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock.

As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the bannisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.

From Invisible Cities

Friday, October 10, 2008

October Country

When I was very young, perhaps pre-Kindergarten age, I checked out a record album of scary stories from the local library. The stories on that album were- and I'm not engaging in hyperbole here- absolutely the most frightening tales I have ever heard, before or since. I couldn't stand to listen to the whole thing. I was terrified that the album was in the same room with me as I tried to sleep that night.

I don't remember any of the stories that were on it, except one-

It began, "There once was a hill that ate people."

The name of the hill was Garglemouth.

The hero of the story was a rabbit.

Dogs don't understand algebra

And I don't understand the economy.

As the Dow takes another plunge, I once again encounter a frustrating fact: I have no idea what's going on. I mean, I know all the pat answers about subprimes and housing markets and derivatives etc, but I don't really understand any of it in anything but the most simplistic terms.

I take comfort... er, no... I am horrified to find that I am not alone in this.

George Soros, the prominent financier, avoids using the financial contracts known as derivatives “because we don’t really understand how they work.”

We're all doomed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Phonecalls from Seabrook

So, Mom's back in Seabrook, has been for about two weeks now... It's pretty horrific, apparently. Ike hit Seabrook particularly hard, with the storm surge some 17-20 feet high. High enough that it flooded Mom's house, at 12 ft above sea level, with several feet of water.

Salt water is pretty corrosive, nasty stuff. The floor boards are warped beyond repair, and she had to spend the past weekend hurriedly moving all of her belongings out of the house so that contractors could begin ripping out the floor this week. Of course, FEMA has been typically lax with providing her any kind of shelter. Maybe they'll set her up in an apartment next week, maybe not. In the meantime they're stuck in the Seabrook house with a non functioning air conditioner (a big deal on the Coast, even in early October,) no stove, no furniture except for the bed, intermittently working telephone lines etc.

She fared better than many in Seabrook. As I mentioned before, the house is on something of a hill, a grand 12 feet above sea level, the coast equivalent of a lofty mountaintop, and only a few feet of water got in. Others, closer to the coast weren't so lucky.

This house, for instance, is representative of the fate of many on Toddville Road, just a few hundred feet from my mother's.

Here's another from Toddville, in case you doubt the destructive power of a 20 foot wall of water.

These photos were taken by a friend of the family, a guy named Chris Kuhlman. There are other, similar photos on his site, so go check it out. Don't have any pictures of Mom's house yet, when I get some I'll post them.

Of course, what happened to Seabrook is small potatoes compared to Galveston. Our friend Stephanie, who sometimes comments here as Zan, evacuated from her house on the Island and is now having to deal with the aftermath of an apocalypse. She's blogging about the recovery process at 26 Days Later. It's a time of uncertainty and chaos for so many people out there. My heart is with them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


All I read about is how dull the debate last night was. Am I the only one who found the lack of the usual theatrics somewhat refreshing?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Joe Six Pack Comix!

It would probably be unworkable, because "Joe Six Pack" would either come off as overly romanticized "small-town everyday salt-of-the-earther", or a toothless, white tank-top wearing hick. Too bad, because, all things considered, it's a pretty good comic character name.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Soon to crawl...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin Debate Flow Chart

After getting all political yesterday, I figured I had to say something on the morning after, as it were. Something about how, even though she managed to put together coherent sentences and not saying anything outrageously stupid, Palin still stuck to her "don't answer the question, don't answer the question, don't answer the question," strategy, even going so far as to actually state that that was her intent! Anyway, instead of some long winded half-baked "analysis", here's a funny picture that sums it all up rather nicely-

From here

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Maybe the media really *does* hate McCain-

Surely this headline is entirely made up?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

All of Them?

So far, Palin's various interviews with Katie Couric have provided plenty of cringeworthy, what-the-fuck moments, but this one is different. Previously, when Palin rambled incoherently about the bailout/healthcare/alaska/russia whatever, I got it. I mean, I *got* it. She hasn't spent much considering these questions, her governorship in Alaska was occupied with local issues rather than nationwide economic questions, or foreign policy issues what have you, and her weeks of cramming information haven't really helped her gain any perspective on them. I understand that.

But this? She can't, apparently, name a newspaper or a magazine that she reads?

What does this *mean*?

Look, whether she reads them or not, she obviously could name a newspaper or two or three and satisfy the requirements of the question. Although inexperienced and arguably out of her depth (see! I'm charitable!), she's definitely not stupid (despite what the previous Couric interviews might lead you to believe), and she probably doesn't have some sort of bizarre amnesia, so why doesn't she name even one news source?

The only possible conclusion is that she chose not to.

Which presents two further questions: Why did she choose to not answer the question? And, was it a good choice?

My current pet theory- The McCain/Palin Campaign has recently voiced some harsh criticisms of the press. It's likely that Palin wanted to avoid saying she read any of the newspapers that her campaign director had said were "in the tank" for Obama. When you're sort of generally blaming bias in "the media" for your party's lapses in the polls, it could potentially be seen as hypocritical to turn around and state that you rely on that same "media". Could that be what went through her head after Couric asked the question? Was she like, "Oh, crap, which newspapers are 'in the tank' again? I better not screw this one up." So she chose to try and dodge the question rather than give an 'endorsement' to one of the media outlets her campaign is currently denigrating?

That seems most likely to me, anyway. Second question: was it a good choice? Well, is it better to come off as a hypocrite or a dumbass? A hypocritical politician is a dime a dozen, but one that can't name a single newspaper is a true rarity, a paragon of dumbassitude. Besides, she could have named a paper and then made some offhand comment that addressed the "bias" ("Oh, you know, the New York Times, at least *before* this election, hahaha,") and saved herself. Instead she looks like... well... a moron who can't name a newspaper off the top of her head. So, yeah, probably not the best choice on her part.

What else does this tell us? Well, this is a politician who's so afraid of being judged, of giving the 'wrong answer' that she dodges the simplest questions with gibberish and inanities rather than give some insight into who she really is and what she really believes in. Plenty of politicians do this, of course, but Palin does it really, really badly. So, far from being a "maverick" who "tells it like it is", she's just another mainstream politician who desperately tries to tell everyone what they want to hear and, well, fails every time. Not a good sign, really.

Okay, so there's at least one other possibility. She may actually read "all of them", in which case I stand corrected.