Sunday, November 23, 2008

happy thanksgiving

as a vegetarian, i did appreciate the above pic (thanks to my friend peggy who has just discovered the internet in her seventies). everyone has at least one thing for which they may give thanks - i hope you find yours.

the new pink panther

this is franck ribery, the bayern munich and french international football player, in the latest ad from nike. i have always loved the theme tune from the tv show, and this is certainly an original idea for a commercial. however, i have to confess that i have this judgmental streak within me, and upon watching the clip it caused me to think that, well, considering the squillions of euros ribery earns, why won't he do something about his teeth? ok, i said it. flame me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

view from across the pond

this is a perspective from peter brookes, as published in the times newspaper today. he is pretty brutal in his assessment of both obama and h.r.clinton. i'm not sure which way to go with this yet ... i think the state of new york will miss this junior senator ... but i certainly prefer her to condi rice. people say the darndest things when campaigning for political office - now it is no longer a competition, i see no reason why the two of them cannot work together for the good of this country. puddings, proofs and eating come to mind ...

what a load of rubbish!

after losing miserably at watford this afternoon, qpr are slipping speedily down the league table. the grauniad nicknames us "rich man's plaything", and the farce that is management, i.e., ol' flabbio sitting in the directors' box and sending down team changes via notes to the dugout, has led to some poor portugese being appointed the new coach. maybe he will be the new 'special one', but so far briatore has not got much form re good choices. factor in bernie ecclestone's upcoming divorce, and the plaything of these rich men - the team that we love - may be cast aside in favour of more pressing financial obligations. o tempora, o mores, o queens park rangers :-(

where have you gone, joe dimaggio?

as the new york yankees franchise moves across the street to the utterly unnecessary new stadium, monument park is dismantled (if i had a photo of the mick's monument, that would be a most wonderful pun).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

e(vangelical)-harmony

this just in:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) – Online dating service eHarmony has agreed to create a new website for gays and lesbians as part of a settlement with a gay man in New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General said on Wednesday. The website will provide a dating service with "male seeking a male" or "female seeking a female" options, the Attorney General's office said in a statement. eHarmony said it will launch the new same-sex dating site, named "Compatible Partners," by March 31. The settlement was the result of a discrimination complaint filed by Eric McKinley against eHarmony in 2005, which will be dismissed under the settlement agreement.

eHarmony was founded in 2000 by evangelical Christian Dr. Neil Clark Warren and had ties with the influential religious conservative group Focus on the Family. The New Jersey complaint is not the only legal action to be brought against eHarmony for failing to provide a same-sex option. In March, lawyers in California brought a lawsuit against the company on behalf of San Francisco resident Linda Carlson, who was denied access to eHarmony because she is gay. "We believe that this case is now essentially moot, and we're confident that we will prove that in court," eHarmony vice president Antone Johnson said in a statement about the California case."

meanwhile, j-date still keeps e-mailing me with the announcement that they have found someone new for me to contact. however, for the past year it has been the same six people in rotation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ariel soap-powder

have pity on the folk named 'ariel'. you may think it is not so bad to share a name with a fictional mermaid or the house magazine for the british broadcasting corporation. on the other hand, when your name is the same as one of the most popular laundry detergents in the world outside north america, you think that brooklyn beckham and moon unit zappa had it easy.

nb hugo sanchez was a megastar for real madrid in his day. more info if you wish may be found on his wiki page

nigella out and about

here is a pic of nigella lawson on her way to the vivienne westwood charity fashion show. there is absolutely no reason to post it in that i have nothing to say and am also speechless and maybe a bit distracted just now :-) for other pics do look here, although the text alongside them infuriates me, but then what does one expect from the daily mail?

world toilet day

today is world toilet day. why do we need to know that? because of the sad fact that 2.6 billion people around the world don't have access to toilets or latrines. according to the united nations, more than five million children die every year of sanitation-related diseases. if you want to know more, check out the world toilet organisation website, including info about the world toilet college here. get over that taboo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

wanda sykes post prop 8

big gay news is that the comedian/actress wanda sykes has officially come out. this is a halloween interview (hence the costumes) in which she discusses the apparent support of many black churches for the banning of gay marriage by pointing out that we suffer also. gosh, there are so many situations where you think that people who have suffered discrimination should know better than to do it themselves, and yet, like so many who have been abused, we repeat the behaviour. have a look here on pandagon with regard to the issue flaring up at some prop 8 protests. damn it, we should know better!

Monday, November 17, 2008

a matter of loaf and death

three cheers for the bbc: hurrah hurrah hurrah! we have just heard the news that a new wallace and gromit adventure will be unveiled as a highlight of the xmas programming next month. for spoilers, well not too many but a few, look here.

were-rabbit clips set to bohemian rhapsody here.
creature comforts ads - early work of aardman here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

young rachel maddow

don't know the magazine, or the reporter, or the photographer. what i do know is that when rachel maddow was just entering the great wide grownup world, she was quite adorable. found this article on a fan-site. if you click on it, you may be able to read the blurb that goes with the pic.

ten things you may not know about barack obama


• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball
• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
• He has read every Harry Potter book
• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream
• He can speak Spanish
• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
• He uses an Apple Mac laptop (hurrah!)

this is the first time the president of the usa has been someone of my age, rather than that of a parent or grandparent, so it is cool and weird at the same time to see habits and interests of my own generation.

for forty more, see this telegraph article

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

isaac rosenberg's bee

as a belated marking of veterans day here in the usa, a verse from a rosenberg poem i heard sir antony sher reading on radio four this past weekend:

"None saw their spirits' shadow shake the grass,
Or stood aside for the half used life to pass
Out of those doomed nostrils and the doomed mouth,
When the swift iron burning bee
Drained the wild honey of their youth."

the poem is 'dead man's dump', and may be found here

resistance on rosenstrasse

a story from the shoah that i had not heard before - a group of jews (mostly men) who were married to non-jews had been arrested in anticipation of being sent to auschwitz. they were detained in a building on rosenstrasse. when the news broke, the spouses rushed to the site. it is reported:

"A protest broke out. The women who had gathered by the hundreds at the gate of the improvised detention center began to call out together in a chorus, "Give us our husbands back." They held their protest day and night for a week, as the crowd grew larger day by day.

On different occasions the armed guards between the women and the building imprisoning their loved ones barked a command: "Clear the street or we'll shoot!" This sent the women scrambling pell-mell into the alleys and courtyards in the area. But within minutes they began streaming out again, inexorably drawn to their loved ones. Again and again they were scattered, and again and again they advanced, massed together, and called for their husbands, who heard them and took hope.

The square, according to one witness, "was crammed with people, and the demanding, accusing cries of the women rose above the noise of the traffic like passionate avowals of a love strengthened by the bitterness of life." One woman described her feeling as a protester on the street as one of incredible solidarity with those sharing her fate. Normally people were afraid to show dissent, fearing denunciation, but on the street they knew they were among friends, because they were risking death together. A Gestapo man who no doubt would have heartlessly done his part to deport the Jews imprisoned in the Rosenstra├če was so impressed by the people on the streets that, holding up his hands in a victory clasp of solidarity with a Jew about to be released, he pronounced proudly: "You will be released, your relatives protested for you. That is German loyalty.""

the rest of the report is here
i discovered the story in a blog on jewcy, which you can find here.
ny times movie review

my first reaction is wow, look what these women did, and if they could do this, howcome other groups of non-jews did not fight back in similar ways?

guess who


any idea who this young lady might be? a really small clue might be that the pic is black and white because it was taken a long time ago. like i said, really small clue.

losing with honour

here is a lovely picture of dear old dexter blackstock (for the uninitiated, the team i love play mainly in blue and white hoops) in action last night at old trafford holding off the former england player gary neville. qpr lost, but were not humiliated. hurrah. not to mention burnley knocking out the scum at the bridge on penalties. hurrah again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

together at last

two of the great loves of my life - a panda (ok it is po from kung fu panda, but here he is representing the pandas of the world) and angelina jolie. *sigh*

miriam makeba r.i.p.


miriam makeba, who most of us probably heard of via paul simon and his graceland album/tour, has died of a heart attack after collapsing onstage during a concert in italy. she was a major symbol in the struggle against apartheid in south africa, having been forced into exile after starring in an anti-apartheid documentary. she was known as 'mama africa'. may she rest in peace.

bbc online
the telegraph
statement from nelson mandela
the guardian obit.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

avodah aravit

just saw the first three eps of this television show at the boston jewish film festival. it is a sort of sitcom about an arab-israeli family, and it is extremely funny as well as being sad. try and find it if you can.

more clips in this al jazeera report

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

president-elect ..... barack hussein obama!

celebrating at grant park in chicago last night - the future first family. hurrah, we won! what we have won, we now shall have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

why a llama?

why not?

some choices are arbitrary, and ultimately irrelevant. others may determine the future. there is an air of excitement today around this election that i have not felt before in my voting life. ok, i first became aware of us politics when nixon resigned in the face of impeachment for his dirty tricks. that destroyed my innocence with regard to political leaders. i then lived through the thatcher years in london. my first vote was cast by absentee ballot for mondale/ferraro, and they lost 49 out of the 50 states (with mondale barely holding his home state of minnesota). there were the reagan years, and the blip of bill clinton between the bushes. not the most optimistic of times. but today, well something could happen today. if you live on the west coast and haven't voted yet, you have just over half an hour to get to the polls! i am thrilled to be part of this ... and hope i shall feel the same when i awake in the morning.

the power of music

the ravaj lives in one of those old family houses that the landlord has converted into 5 apartments that usually each have at least a couple of people within them. thus our population is dense. most of the time we live together in peace. however, a recent addition to our community has become somewhat of a problem. the poor man is guardian to a surly teenage boy and a bouncing four-year-old girl. for respite, he likes to sit on the porch with his buddies, have a smoke, and be very very loud! this would not be so bad except that he places his chair about 6 inches from the bed of the ravaj on the other side of the window. the neighbourly relationship is a little tense, since she recently had the temerity to ask if he might move his chair to the other side of the porch and he let loose a tirade of angry curses and insults. today is supposed to be a day of change, and it may take place on our porch at least. the ravaj decided since words did not help (and frankly she is scared excrementless to try again), perhaps music might be the solution. thus it was that this evening, when the gang gathered around 9 pm for a noisy political discussion outside, the sound of beethoven's 9th was introduced on the inside. loudly. by the end of the first movement, the porch was empty. next time, we are hoping to stage a live performance of the 1812 overture in our living room.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

you gotta read this!

ok, maybe not the book, but certainly the extracts on the bbc today page here. each chapter uses only a single vowel for all the words in that section. some examples are given, e.g.:

"Kingbirds flit in gliding flight, skimming limpid springs, dipping wingtips in rills which brim with living things: krill, shrimp, brill - fish with gilt fins, which swim in flitting zigs. Might Virgil find bliss implicit in this primitivism? Might I mimic him in print if I find his writings inspiring?"

please pay particular attention to the comments, e.g.:

"An arrant grab-bag; a bland, flat mass. Appals as far as charms. Alas, Art! That many days a man can scratch hard, and halt at that tat. That man wants a slap."

victoria wood, c.b.e.

victoria wood has always been one of my favourite comedians. she does not translate at all well to the usa, however. i think that her early tv comedy was quite parochial, focussing on english classes and customs. and they'd never let her onscreen here with her lancashire accent. but i love her. here is one of her more famous early sketches (the waitress is her comedy partner julie walters).

one of my best family stories took place at the aldwych theatre in london during a performance by ms wood. it was my birthday treat, and i was there with my whole family, i.e., 2 sisters, mother and father of ravaj. the first half of the show had as a theme trailing through her monologue a tampon. at the interval, the youngest sister turned to our father (etc) and said, "poor daddy, i bet you didn't understand a word of that!" he gazed at her firmly and said, "darling, when i am in the bathroom, i read everything!"

nu - congratulations to ms wood on being honoured by the queen. long may she reign!

the final furlong

these last few days before the election are becoming terribly tense. does it really look like a victory for obama? can the republicans make a dramatic comeback in such a short time? what if mccain's heart stops beating? what if some aryan nut assassinates obama? for the first time, people i know well are going to be out there stumping for their candidate this weekend. meanwhile, i present another gem from the london times' cartoonist peter brooke. whether one agrees or not, i still think it is a fine cartoon.

ps re 'all mouth and no trousers', see here. o i do love that phrase :-)