Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
This is 42nd Street the morning after. 42nd less than 2 block from Times Square - and nothing!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
So this was our view of Wasps Rugby. It was great fun. And, surprise surprise, we knew a player. Of course he was from the other team. And we only know of him because he's a bit of a hunk that nudes up for calendars (to raise money for charity - so it is ogling for a good cause).
Just like my friend Gavin, right.
So this is outside Jane's new house. It is in the same little village, but on Manygate - a street a few blocks over. But she can still walk to the Thames and the pub (or downtown to get groceries - but the former is more important for some of her friends).
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Well, it turns out the hubbie is more addicted to the internet than I.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
"The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn't get a vote," Thune said.
"I think this is an outrage," railed Cornyn.
But Thune and Cornyn have tens of millions of dollars for their own earmarks in the bill, including Thune's request for $8 million for B-1 bomber fleet maintenance and Cornyn's request for $1.6 million for the Texas Army National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force.
"How do you have any credibility on this?," asked ABC's Jon Karl.
"Because we're going to vote against the bill," said Cornyn. "This is the wrong way to do business."
"Senator, were you wrong when you put these earmarks in before," Karl asked.
"Karl, this is not just about earmarks," said Cornyn. "Earmarks are a symptom of wasteful Washington spending that the American people have said they want reformed. We agree with them, and that's why we will vote against this bill. But you're missing the story if you think it's just about earmarks. This is about a flawed process of sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors, and a big bill, a spending bill, dropped on the American people and on us on December the 14th, without adequate time to amend it and debate it and to reveal to the American people what is in it so they can cast their judgment."
"So I think -- I think that's to me the context. And we've said very clearly -- we voted for an earmark moratorium. We will abide by that, and we will reject any earmarks requested by us or anyone else, (emphasis mine: SM) because that's what the American people told us they want."
How bad was their hypocrisy? Fox News called them on it.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Furious gay rights groups condemn FIFA chief Sepp Blatter
Big Ten reveals division names, hilarity ensues
In one of the most insufferable, pretentious television program you would ever want to see, the Big Ten announced Monday afternoon on their own network, among other things, the names of their six-team divisions that will be in play beginning next football season.
And, quite frankly, they blew it in absolutely spectacular, hilarious fashion.
In what’s been a highly anticipated decision, commissioner Jim Delany announced that the names of the divisions will be… wait for it… here it comes… “Legends” and “Leaders”.
In a statement, Delany explains the
insanity rationale behind the names.
“‘Legends’ is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends – student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty. ‘Leaders’ looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and in their chosen professions,” said Delany. “We’re proud of our many legends and even prouder of our member institutions that develop future leaders every day.”
Here’s how the divisional alignment will now look:
The Legends Division
The Leaders Division
As if the divisional names weren’t bad enough, the new logos were also introduced. If there was one word to describe the revamped look, it would have to be “nouveau dull”
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
The upshot of all this is we have quite a large contingent of rotating and semi-permanent citizens of ol’ Blighty here. And, much as in train spotting of yore or plane spotting of Frankfurt, one here may do a fair amount of Brit Spotting.
Of course, there are common species:
The flirtatious Twiggy does well here, albeit a bit supplanted by the more current “Twiggy with Enhancements”. Nearly always blond, they come in both the toothy and non-toothy varieties.
There is the Pub Lads. Nearly always boys they look like the bought suits from Marks and Spencers and the cufflinks from Next.
One step up are the Successful Pub Boys, who purchased the suit from Next and the cufflinks from Links.
Then there are the faux Transatlantics – both men and women. You can tell because their British style is aggressively hip and they are always discussing what the latest hip thing to do and see is in London and New York. And they are almost always obvious and 5 minutes unhip.
Then there are quite a few Real Transatlantics – both men and women. Their accents have naturally evolved into a nice meld, they are too sloppy to every really fit in back home. They are totally comfortable in both New York and London. A surprisingly large number of these are mixed parentage with ¼ to ½ Asian (which means Indian or Pakistani to a Brit), and of those about 90% are very very good looking.
Then today I spotted that rare bird, so common on the distant shore, but rarely seen this far away from Paddington Station – the frumpled, old flustered man who seems to shuffle, but moves remarkably fast without watching where he is going. When he says, what must assume is excuse me, it comes out, “ARMphry, tut-tut, old bah, mah coffee.”
And he continues his wanderings down the hallway
And yes, I know Ed Wynn is really American but Cor Blim'y Mar'E Pop'inz you get the idea.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
In the olden days of yore, your Survivor TV Show didn't suck...
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Okay, Michelle Bachman is a ditz, but I was under the same impression she was when it came to unemployment insurance.
*** Did the White House get its -- take your pop culture pick -- Sorkin-like “West Wing” moment/“Sister Souljah” moment/”Dave” moment from President Obama’s news conference yesterday? “This notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care,” Obama said regarding complaints over the tax-cut compromise he cut with Republicans. “This is the public-option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans... But because there was a provision in there that they didn't get that would have affected maybe a couple of million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people and the potential for lower premiums for 100 million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.” He continued, “Now, if that's the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let's face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people.”
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
This is him this year at a Berlin Meet.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Understatement of the year.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Time for Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign
The Wikileaks debacle is the latest proof that Eric Holder has no understanding of the dangerous times we live in. His ineptness, as head of the Department of Justice, is putting our nation in a vulnerable position.
Earlier this week, the Wikileaks website jeopardized our nation’s security and diplomacy by releasing hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department documents. The same site put our troops at risk when it released thousands of classified U.S. military documents in July. As far back as March, the Pentagon declared Wikileaks to be a threat to national security. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, has been busy cracking down on dozens of websites that sold things like counterfeit purses. Eric Holder simply has the wrong priorities. This assumes that the US Attorney General can shut down a foreign web site. Sorry - that is illegal and the US Attorney General can't do it. His office is also charged with US Websites that are illegal - counterfeit goods or not. Now if you want to take your crazy pants censorship to China or Russia where they illegally attack websites like Google - you can.
During his tenure as Attorney General, Holder short-circuited the interrogation of the underwear bomber by ordering that the terror suspect be given Miranda rights within the first hour of questioning.As per the law. Also, we found out where he was trained, where he flew from, who paid for his terror plot and responded by predator drone against them. Giving him his legally required Miranda rights hurt nothing. Holder’s use of civilian trials for terror suspects proved to be a failure last month when a civilian jury acquitted a man on 284 of 285 counts. Yet on the 1 count that he was found guilty on - he was sentenced to a longer sentence than ANY of the military tribunals have done - 20 years. Furthermore, the Attorney General said even he was found innocent, we would continue to hold him indefinitely. I think this is wrong, but it should have pleased her. This was after a judge refused to allow the testimony of a key prosecution witness, even though our military had captured the suspect after a gunfight in Pakistan and linked him to deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The judge used military rules in the refusing the testimony.
Eric Holder has also had a slew of lesser problems, like his outspoken criticism of Arizona’s immigration law before he had even read the law -same as every other Attorney General Democrat or Republican - the Feds believe that immigration law is a federal duty - as stated in the Constitution - which Ms. Bachman quotes regularly. , his dropping of charges in the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case -due to a complete lack of evidence beyond two fat white blowhards and yelling "fire" over and over again, and his failure to investigate fraud allegations and the misuse of taxpayer dollars in the recent Pigford claims settlement.
The time has come for Eric Holder to step down as Attorney General of the United States. As a member of Congress and a mother of five children, I am concerned about the very real threats facing our country. We need a chief law enforcement officer who understands those dangers and knows how to respond. So far legally and effectively - not sure what you want.
In fact, the successes that most reasonable people would agree on, such as ongoing Predator drone strikes on al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Pakistani tribal areas, are basically just continuations of the policies of the George W. Bush administration. I don't think you can speak for reasonable people. But, if by "reasonable people" you are mean war mongering liars, then you can add illegal strikes on Taliban in Yemen. New TSA procedures. Foiled terrorists attacks in Detroit, New York and Portland Oregon. A surge in Afganistan.
In listing flagging policies, it's hard to know where to begin. Oh go on... try!
For example, there has been no progress on halting Iran's runaway nuclear or ballistic missile programs. As it stands today, the ayatollahs will be atomic before you know it; an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach us is not far off either.Re: Iran - same as Bush. Around Iran... Just this week - Obama, our NATO allies AND Russia agreed to a joint missile defense against possible Iranian missiles. Re: the "ICBM" - turns out that they don't have a missile or the technology. The missile they have from Russian now is not capable of carrying a warhead.
North Korea detonated a nuke, launched a long-range missile, proliferated nuclear know-how to the likes of Burma and sank a naval corvette of our South Korean ally with the loss of some 40 lives. Under Bush! All but the Corvette was under Bush not Obama.
Despite repeated mashing of the "reset button" with Russia, Moscow continues to steamroll Washington, building a nuclear reactor for Iran, selling arms and weapons technology to Syria and Iran, signing a nuclear agreement with Venezuela and publicly honoring members of a recently nabbed U.S.-based spy-ring. Actually they are acting just like an independent nation. Duh. They have also agreed to a new missile defense shield with NATO (something GW couldn't get), given us details on Iran's Nuclear Program (something that needs - I don't know - a working relationship with Iran to get).
China has been equally unwieldy for the administration, continuing its unprecedented military build-up while disadvantaging U.S. firms with trade barriers such as inhibiting market access and maintaining an undervalued currency. Sucks yes. But sucked with Bush as well, and every President before him.
Venezuela is a growing problem. Under President Hugo Chavez, it is starting a "civilian" nuclear program with Russia's help A "Civilian" nuclear program! Oh my, as allowed by international law since it signed the Non Proliferation Treaty? The same type of "civilan" nuclear program that Brazil and Argentina have (with France and Britan)? Oh my! and becoming the Latin American operating base for Hezbollah and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Qods Forces. Really? What has Hezbolla and the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guard Corps done in Latin America?
And so on.
Despite all of Obama's promises, stemming from the 2008 presidential campaign that he would deliver a better foreign policy than his Republican opponent, he hasn't restored, much less advanced, America's position in the world.
Indeed, we may be in retreat. ..
Friday, December 03, 2010
This tale of feathered ambition starring Natalie Portman andMila Kunis as dueling ballerinas is not just any kind of trash, it's high-art trash, a kind of "When Tutu Goes Psycho" that so prizes hysteria over sanity that it's worth your life to tell when its characters are hallucinating and when they're not.
In fact, the only problem with calling "Black Swan" sensationalistic and over the top is that it makes this shameless shotgun marriage of "The Red Shoes" and Roger Corman sound like more fun than it is.
The director here is the earnest Darren Aronofsky, and his trademark sledgehammer style makes any kind of enjoyment difficult. As he showed in "The Wrestler" and earlier, this is someone who believes in bludgeoning audiences into submission. When you experience ballet the Aronofsky way, you count yourself lucky that the dancers don't have easy access to staple guns.
This is Jeff. He is the son of Tony and Teresa (Ed's cousins). He and his sister stayed at our house while Mom and Dad stayed with work at the Waldorf.
Well, as it turns out, Mitchell Johnson (from the Reuters warm up picture below) is a Cricket hottie.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
10. UCLA JOKE: What does a UCLA fan do when his team has won the BCS championship? He turns off the PlayStation.
10. USC JOKE: One morning, the seven dwarfs go to work in the mine. When Snow White delivers their lunches, she finds there has been a cave-in, and there's no sign of the dwarfs. Tearfully, Snow White shouts down the mine shaft, "Hello! Is anyone there? Can you hear me Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, Happy and Bashful?" A voice floats up from the bowels of the mine: "Lane Kiffin is a great football coach."
"Thank goodness," says Snow White, "at least Dopey's still alive!"
9. UCLA JOKE: The Rolling Stones are playing at the Rose Bowl next week. They're 10-point favorites.
9. USC JOKE: A USC and a UCLA fan, fighting side-by-side, were captured during World War II and sentenced to die by firing squad. The enemy commander asked the USC fan if he had any last requests. The Trojan said, "I want to hear 'Conquest' one last time." The UCLA fan was then asked if he had a last request. "Yes," he said, "shoot me first."
8. UCLA JOKE: What's the difference between a former UCLA football player and a large pizza? A large pizza can feed a family of four.
8. USC JOKE: What's the difference between a litter of puppies and USC fans? Eventually puppies grow up and stop whining.
7. UCLA JOKE: What's the difference between a UCLA football player and a dollar? You can get four quarters out of a dollar.
7. USC JOKE: A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and asks, "Wanna hear a USC joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Look, fella, I'm 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and I'm a USC grad. The guy next to me is 6-2, 225, and he's a USC grad. The big dude next to him is 6-5, weighs 250, and he's a USC grad. You still wanna tell that joke?" The first guy replies: "Not if I'm gonna have to explain it three times."
6. UCLA JOKE: What do medical marijuana and UCLA football have in common? They both get smoked in bowls.
6. USC JOKE: How many USC football players does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but he gets four academic credits for it.
5. UCLA JOKE: What do you call a Bruin in a BCS bowl game? A referee.
5. USC JOKE: Did you hear about the fire in the USC football dorm that destroyed 20 books? The real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet.
4. UCLA JOKE: USC is playing UCLA at the Rose Bowl, and the Bruins have a first down with 3 minutes left in the half. A UCLA fan sets off a firecracker, and USC, thinking it's the end of the half, runs off the field. Three plays later, UCLA punts.
4. USC JOKE: What happens when Lane Kiffin takes Viagra? He gets taller.
3. UCLA JOKE: A security guard at the Rose Bowl notices two UCLA fans climbing a fence. The guard grabs them by the collars and says "Now just get back in there and watch the game until it finishes."
3. USC JOKE: If you see a USC fan on a bicycle, why should you swerve to avoid hitting him? It might be your bicycle.
2. UCLA JOKE: What do you get when you cross Rick Neuheisel with a groundhog? Six more weeks of bad football.
2. USC JOKE: What does the average USC football player get on his SAT? Drool.
1. UCLA JOKE: Did you hear that UCLA's football team doesn't have a website? They can't string three "Ws" together.
1. USC JOKE: Four alumni were climbing a mountain one day. Each was from a different Pac-10 school and proclaimed to be the most loyal fan. They argued all the way up the mountain, and finally as they reached the top, the Cardinal hurled himself off the mountain and shouted "This is for Stanford!" Not wanting to be outdone, the Oregon alum threw himself off the mountain yelling, "This is for the Ducks!" Seeing this, the Bruin shouted "This is for everyone" - and pushed the Trojan fan off the mountain.
New Mexico's Crypto-Jews
A small Hispano group of Sephardic Jews in northern New Mexico may be one of the oldest groups of practicing Jews in North America, dating back to the early Spanish settlers of Jewish descent that were exiled from Spain as a result of the Edict of Expulsion and/or forcibly converted to Catholicism as Conversos or New Christians. Since reverting to Judaism or even Judaic customs and practices was punishable by torture and, usually, death, many fled to the northwestern frontier of the Spanish Empire in the "New World," now the American Southwest, for fear of being brought before the Spanish Inquisition. Only outwardly Catholic, these forced converts maintained Jewish practices and customs in secret, hence the name, "Crypto-Jews." The subject of recent academic study, some of New Mexico's Crypto-Jews have begun to return to normative Judaism in recent years, through conversion.
A recent genetic study has shown that many Hispanos of the American Southwest are indeed descended from Anusim (Sephardic Jews who were forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism). Michael Hammer, a research professor at the University of Arizona and an expert on Jewish genetics, said that fewer than 1% of non-Semites, but more than four times the entire Jewish population of the world, possessed the male-specific "Cohanim marker" or Cohen Modal Haplotype (which in itself is not necessarily carried by all Jews, but is prevalent among Jews claiming descent from hereditary priests), and 30 of 78 Latinos tested in New Mexico (38.5%) were found to be carriers. DNA testing of Hispanic populations also revealed between 10% and 15% of men living in New Mexico, south Texas and northern Mexico have a Y chromosome that traces back to the Middle East. In 2008, moreover, a gene linked to a virulent form of breast cancer that is typically found only in Jewish women was discovered in a cluster of Hispanic Catholic women in Southern Colorado, many of whom trace their family's roots to northern New Mexico  Curiously, a Spanish dialect, so-called "Mountain Spanish", that is spoken by many of the old families of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado - and chiefly only among themselves - appears to be Ladino, or Judezmo, a hybrid language of Old Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew with sprinklings of Arabic, Greekand other languages, depending on the geographic region of the speakers or their ancestors.
Intermarriage with local Pueblo, Navajo and Apache Indigenous Peoples has undoubtedly occurred since the 16th century, so it would not be inaccurate to describe these Jews as racially or ethnically mixed "Native American Jews," or "Hispano-Indian Jews," though it is doubtful any, as yet, self-identify as such. Furthermore, there is not yet any scholarly work and therefore no consensus about the extent to which, if any, these individuals' physical resemblance trends more toward either the Indigenous Peoples of the region or classic or modern Sephardim, or if it generally lies somewhere in between. Amongst themselves, they still use (and presumably prefer) the term, "Sefarditas."