December 23rd, 2005

The Boyfriend Off-Leash Park

This is one of the funniest short videos I’ve ever seen… anyone who has been to a dog park will cackle. Best line: “What’s he?” “Oh, he’s part lawyer, part trust fund brat!” Hilarious. Seattle filmmaker Matt Krzycki of GoodSide Studio produced, directed and edited. Enjoy!


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December 22nd, 2005

A few words from the publisher

First off: Hello! I’m really, really not dead! Though I can imagine that my long haitus from the site has left people wondering.

I’m sitting at my desk in the office downtown I’ve been happily inhabiting since late October. Today is literally the first day where I’ve had more than 20 minutes of downtime, the first day with leisure to think and write and turn lunch hour into more than a feeding frenzy.

My new job is probably the most exciting I’ve ever had–I’m managing a hugely talented group of people who are also really fun, and everyone else on the management team is smart and sassy and inspiring–but it has been busy and exhausting and for a few moments almost overwhelming. In other words, it is exactly the change I needed.

It has been good for everything except my blogging–and perhaps my record as an exemplary husband who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. I just haven’t had the time during the day–or the responsibility as a critical part of my job–to soar through the blogosphere and post my musings here. And frankly, when at home, I’ve preferred to play with the dogs, sip vodka-and-diet-Cokes and snuggle with Smithlet. I ask you: who would do differently had you the choice? Smithlet is pretty snuggly.

In this little blog vacay I have, however, tremendously enjoyed reading what all of you have to say. I’ve come to think of myself as the publisher, instead of the editor-in-chief and most nonfamous columnist, of our little online media empire. (If I ever took on a drag name, it would be Katherine Graham Cracker.) It has been a lot of fun, this vicarious blogging, rather like observing your guests at a fabulous party you spent months planning. You’re all fabulous and best of all you’re having a great time!

All that said, I’m coming back. It’s not a New Year’s resolution, exactly, but more of an old habit dying hard.

Also: I think the Republic needs me. It needs us all to redouble our engagement after an exhausting year, to get our Tom Paine on and start kicking the despots where the sun hasn’t shined for far too long. I’m not sure what the New Year brings but it’s going to get strange fast now that we know “W” stands for “Wiretap.” As Bette said, “Fasten your seat belts– we’re in for a bumpy ride!” I’m in it for the bumps, the humps and the lovely lady lumps. I hope you’ll all have me back.

Finally, to close my first post of the rest of my blog, I’ve got a shout out to the homies: Seth’s brother Jess (that’s Marti’s brother in law for those of you who don’t have the nonfamous nonstranger family tree reference chart at hand) has a great column on Slate about his delimma as a Bhuddist at Christmas. It’s great–and after you read it you should buy his book!

While we all have our own delimmas this time of year, there’s one thing I am unconflicted about: I love all of you who make this blog something I am proud to have started, something I’m proud to be a part of. I love all of you who read what we have to say. Thanks to each of you, Happy Holidays, and God (or Whatever) Bless.


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December 22nd, 2005

Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts!

I guess I missed this, but was made aware of it when Adam Smith was on KUOW’s Weekday this morning, but dear leader apparently told Brit Hume the other day that we were going to war with Iraq regardless of whether there was any reason to.

Does it matter that they lied about there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Not really. Much like not going to Congress about getting revisions to FISA, that would have been a distraction and possibly precluded the legislature giving him the greenlight to invade. WMDs, however compelling an argument they might have seemed, and however confident Bush and Cheney claimed to be that they knew for a fact that they were there, were moot, because we would have invaded anyway.

How is this asshole getting away with this?

HUME: Can you say today that if you had known then what you know now about the weapons, that you would have made the same decision.

BUSH: I said it today, and I said it at the last speech I gave.

And I’ve said it throughout the campaign to the American people. I said I made the right decision. Knowing what I know today, I would have still made that decision.

HUME: Now if you had this — if the weapons had been out of the equation, because the intelligence did not conclude that he had them, it was still the right call?

BUSH: Absolutely.

In other words: “Eh. Evidence. Yeah, we gave you evidence so you would vote to let us do what we wanted. It’s not like it mattered. We were gonna invade anyway because I wanted to.”

Could he at least claim that of course we wouldn’t have gone to war if we thought we had no cause to? I mean, I wouldn’t have believed it, and neither would anyone capable of thinking, but to admit that we were going to invade a country that had no attacked us, regardless of whether the only justification we could come up with was true–how much of an arrogant prick do you have to be?

You should also read Dahlia Lithwick’s article in Slate about the administrations disdain for actually have to obey laws or anything so boring as that.


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December 22nd, 2005

Pearly Whites, Meet South of the Border

Just yesterday, I saw the dentist here in the snowglobe. As a freelancer, I don’t carry dental insurance – it’s just not worth the expense. Your standard x-rays, exam, and cleaning is 60 dollars here, not super cheap, but cheaper than the 90 dollars, cleaning only, no exam, I’d be getting from my US dentist. Our Austrian dentist is a nice guy, runs a modern small local practice; his wife is the hygenist. They have to go for training every year in updated technologies and treatments. The clinic here is easily equal in quality to the one I went to in the US – and, unlike my US clinic, never tries to sell me services of any kind. (I can go on and on about how many times I’ve asked “Is that neccessary” and recieved “No” as a response. What if I had just believed the dentist? Sheesh.)

On the heels of my visit to a dentist in a far away land, I found Dentimundo this morning, a site documenting the link between American patients and dentists south of the border.

Dentist clinics are as prominent as three for a dollar tacos, margarita specials and Mexican panchos.

There’s quite a bit of interesting stuff up there including a snappy little “corrida” song about the whole south of the border dental business. Check out the interviews with the dentists, too.

When we landed in the San Jose, Costa Rica, airport two years back, we were amazed at the number of billboards for dentistry services. And a few nights ago on the news I saw an interesting little blurb about how Swedish clinics were importing dentists for short term contracts – under six months – to circumnavigate the cost full time employees and save their patients money. (No dental benefits for the dentists, eh?) Even here in Austria, folks are taking junkets across the border to Hungary to get care for their choppers.

I take advantage of the lower cost care in far away places, but there’s no denying that I’m the economic elite with access and opportunity. That said, I would rather get my services locally. I would rather establish a long term relationship with a health care provider that I can communicate with in an effective way. This discredits my Austrian dentist, who does speak good English, but I think you get my point.

I have an axe to grind with the insurance companies who don’t seem to think that teeth and eyes are something standard on humans and require that they have supplemental coverage. But maybe that’s another post entirely.

Via We Make Money Not Art.


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December 21st, 2005

A little good news, at least

The Senate didn’t pass the defense spending bill with the ANWR drilling ammendment in it. So that makes me feel a little better.

But I do want to respond to Lisa Murkowski, a republican senator from Alaska who said that drilling there was a matter of national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. IF you actually care at all about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, then I very much look forward to the legislation you’ll no doubt be putting forward setting high standards and funds for more wind farms, solar energy, and much stricter fuel efficiency standards for automakers.


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December 20th, 2005

shame, and the shameful shamers who cry shame

Our dear leader, in defending his decision to BREAK THE LAW and spy on American citizens with no court oversight of his decision, called the New York Times shameful for making public that he has been BREAKING THE LAW for the past few years, ignoring the laws of the country, and deciding by himself what constitutes grounds for this kind of infraction of civil liberties. His justification? That the congress gave him the authority to do whatever he wants when they authorized the use of force in Afghanistan.

Uhm, what?

Every citizen of this country should, right now, be calling for his impeachment. He has overstepped his bounds, broken the law, violated the oath he took to uphold the constitution, and done more than anyone else to help the terrorists win by determining that we have to destroy what this country stands for in order to fight them. Any member of Congress not actively pursuing his impeachment right now should be ashamed of themselves.

And what’s more, in light of the fact that our president cares so little for what this country stands for that he would violate our constitution so flagrantly and then stand there unapologetically defending his actions, his APPROVAL RATINGS IMPROVED?!?

To all of those who approve of this action, and to all of those whose impression of him and his handling of the “war on terror” has been improved by this whole affair, you have a lot of nerve calling anyone else un-American. Because supporting him now is rejecting what this country stands for. The only patriotic action is to call for his impeachment at this point. Anything else is saying that our Constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And if you honestly believe that he’s only using this self-proclaimed power for fighting terrorism, think again, and then think of Nixon’s enemies list, and remember why we have laws against this in the first place.

A year ago, when enough people in this country showed that they were either bigoted, stupid, or selfish enough to have voted for this man, I was in absolute dispair. That’s nothing compared to the dispair I feel that he can actually improve his approval ratings by shitting on the constitution and our laws. Are the American people really, truly, that stupid? Or do they really want to live under a despot?

Before I end this rant, I’d like to point that Bush is a fucking lying bastard, by the way. The little shit had the nerve to go on TV just last year, and claim that it is illegal to conduct surveillance on Americans without court orders. It’s amazing how easily they and the American people can just ignore that fact, much as they so easily ignored Bush saying anyone involved in leaking Valerie Plame’s identity would be fired, until it became public who was responsible for it. Hypocrites and liars.

Unfortunately, the question is, who do you have to get a blow job from in order to get impeached in Washington today?


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December 19th, 2005

Oh, and puppies!

One more thing, mostly compliments of Ron, who designed and developed my dad’s web site www.highview-farm.com.

Go for the puppy photos if nothing else, thought he chickens and sheep are pretty photogenic in their own right.


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December 19th, 2005

Rudolph the Gangland Reindeer

Compliments of Ron. A Christmas classic. Capice?


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December 17th, 2005

Adam Gopnik on C. S. Lewis

For any of you contemplating going to see the Narnia movie:

I was just reading Adam Gopnik’s bit on C. S. Lewis in a recent New Yorker and wanted to share. He had just discussed the fact that C. S. Lewis converted to being a fervent Anglican mid-life when he writes:

It seemed like an odd conversion to other peple then, and it still does. It is perfectly possible, after all, to have a rich romantic and imaginative view of existence–to believe that the world is not exhausted by our physical descriptions of it, that the stories we make up about the world are an important part of the life of that world– without becoming an Anglican. In fact, it seems much easier to believe in the power of the Romantic numinous if you do not take a controversial incident in Jewish religious history as the pivot point of all existence, and a still more controversial one in British royal history as the pivot point of your daily practice… Lewis insists that the Anglican creed isn’t one spiritual path among others but the single cosmic truth that extends from the farthest reach of the universe to the house next door. He is never troubled by the funny coincidence that this one staggering cosmic truth also happens to be the established religion of his own tribe, supported by every institution of the state, and reinforced by the university he works in, the “God-fearing and God-sustaining University of Oxford,” as Gladstone called it.


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December 8th, 2005

A Festivus… for the rest of us!

Let me be the first to wish all of you a Happy Festivus. You are all welcome to come celebrate with me on the 23rd.
This year in lieu of an aluminum pole, I’ll be using a 5′ pressure treated 2×4 with rusty nails. For dinner we will drink vodka, eat chips and salsa and sample gourmet salts. This should ensure an honest and proper Airing of Grievances which will begin promptly at 9. The Feats of Strength will be done in the traditional way to ensure the Festivus runs for a good length of time (you’d have to see me to understand). And no I will not accept bad breath as a proper test.


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