Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the dark side of the Moon

It's December. I've got tons of gifts to buy and no money to buy them with. I've got a giant project due for the SQL class I'm taking and several giant projects due at work. So what am I doing with my free time? Researching The Who--Keith Moon in particular. I always figured that he fell apart partially because he joined the who at the age of 17 (I mean, if you'd joined a successful rock at 17 how good with your relation to reality and reasonable behavior be?) But sadly no, according to Wikipedia, he was already a borderline personality and so the cute, clowning guy on TV was not the same one that his girlfriends and family members dealt with. I am saddened by this, but then again I lready knew about Pete Townshend's problem's with child pornogrophy and that hasn't made me like him much less.

It's a question of where to draw the line really. I wouldn't have wanted to be flat mates with John Lennn either, but I still think he was a phenomenal musiscian. And David Bowie was supposedly riding around giving Nazi salutes at one point in time. And then there is Michael Jackson... At what point do you decide that the artist really is too much of an asshole for you to enjoy his/her songs?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

ho hum November Saturday

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm making soup and listening to Bishop Allen. I really aught to post more often-I mean I started this stupid thing so that I would write more often. A paper journal just seemed so 20th century (and besides my handwriting is terrible.)

So Today. There is a big maple tree behind my apartment. It's taller than all the triple and quadruple-deckers in the neighborhood and it's always the last tree to lose its leaves. This morning I noticed that it had started to turn yellow from the top down. I'm sure that this has been going on for a few days, but this is the first time I noticed because I haven't seen it in daylight for a week. It's very pretty against the gray sky.

On a completely different note, I'm completely creeped out about the way they've started marketing Christmas so early. I actually saw them putting up Christmas trees in Lord and Taylor the day before Halloween. There's a guy wringing a bell for the Salvation Army in front of my office already and it's not even half past November. I realize that it's going to be a thin Christmas for everyone with the economy in the tank and none of us getting raises and all, and I know that Thanksgiving is late this year (thus shortening the traditional holiday shopping period) but this is ridiculous. Where are those War on Christmas guys when you need them? We could really use some of them complaining that the sanctity of the holiday is being debased by such displays of commercial greed.

Don't get me wrong-I love Christmas. I love the cookies and the music and the parties. I love looking for just the right gift for each member of my family and wrapping presents and decorating my parents' tree. I love the special feeling of watching and waiting for a miracle that comes when least expected. But I love all of these things in December. Christmas-related activities and decorations are special because I only do them for one twelfth of the year. If the period to which I am exposed to Christmas decorations and expected to shop for presents increases, these things become less special and by the end of December I'm sick of them.

I don't start Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving so arguably these retailers are going to get less of my money by desensitizing me to all things Christmas.


Well now my soup is done cooking and I'm going to enjoy some on my porch while looking at my nice maple tree.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Daze

It's funny how easy it is to divide your life into 4 year clumps. 4 years ago, the Red Sox had just won the World Series. I arrived to work on Boylston Street as Boston city workers were just putting up the fences they had taken down (literally) 2 days ago after the Red Sox parade.

There was a huge rally at Copley Place. I was taking a class at Bunker Hill Community College that night (I learned nothing that evening) after which I met up with a few friends who worked at Hilton's Tent City. If things had gone well, we would have gone to the rally at Copley. When it was apparent that things were Not Going Well we headed back to our Cambridge appartment to watch the votes come in and feel bad.

In 2000, I was working for a web company (now out of business) and I remember talking to intelligent, relatively liberal people who were genuninely considering voting for the "compassionate conservative." I remember talking with one of the smartest people I knew at the time and hearing him say he wasn't sure if he could vote for Gore "because here's the thing--he'll spend every penny of that surpus we have."

When the votes came in I was working an evening shift at Brookline Booksmith and sneaking into the back room to hear the radio whenever possible. I distinctly remember the first time they called Florida. *sigh*

And 12 years ago, in 1996 (the first presidential election I was eligable to participate in) I voted in Minnesota. I biked over to the polling station and my walkman fell out of my jeans jacket coat on the way. I was pleased (silly little dork that I was) to finally get to vote in a presidential election.

When the votes came in, I was working a shift for Carleton Security when they announced the winner. I was working the evening shift and I stopped by my friends' suite to watch the votes come in. That is also when I got my first glimpse of W ("He's going to be trouble," I thought to myself. I had no idea...)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the Downfall

I picked up The Downfall because I'd read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (which I highly recommend) and I had heard that the movie was pretty historically accurate. As William Shirer tells us, part of the reason that we know so much of what went on during Hitler's regime is because the fall of Berlin was so sudden that they didn't have a chance to destroy all of the records. The creepy thing about this film is that it manages to make you feel bad for Hitler (if you can forget about all of those people massacred in concentration camps). It reminds me of what people have said about the recently released film about the Current Occupant (against whom I voted twice). People left the film saying "I almost feel bad for him."

Although this was not my intention when renting the film, I look at the current state of my own country. And I think, for the hundredth time in the past 8 years "Thank God we have our Constitution!"

I am a scholar of Stalin and Hitler and I can say that although the current regime may envy what these deceased dictators accomplished, they have been hindered in arriving there themselves by our Constitution. They (the regime in power) have chipped and shaved away at it as much as they could and I am *not* excusing them ( I really can't believe I live in a country that has concentration camps) but the damage is not irreperable and the next regime will (hopefully) roll back much if not all of it.

After WWII the nations of Europe got together and looked at what conditions lead to the rise of Hitler(economic problems + dissed because of last war + charismatic speaker = boom). They then did their best to make sure such conditions would not arrise again in Europe. I'm sorry to say that there is no such excuse for America. We were a prosperous nation with respect of our felow UN members (in spite of the impeachment michigas Clinton was still brokering peace in Northern Ireland) when we elected this cretin and his gang.


Like I said, thank God for our Constitution. And this is why my home's in Cambridge-I'm goin' there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a truth-thumper

I have in the past several years felt alienated from my family (good liberals all) when I try to explain What is Actually Happening. They follow politics, but they have children and grand children to watch and beer to brew and plays to attend. So perhaps they don't have time to read all the blogs and books that I read. (not that I don't have a social life, but I don't have small children around me-which tends to decrease one's attention span)

I feel like when I explain what I see I sound like some nut who hangs out in Harvard Square or some person who has recently taken to some cult-like sect of Christianity. When I try to explain what I have learned about the way things work to my parents there is an odd silence after I speak. I can almost hear the "isn't that nice dear?" in my head.

I have just finished Gore Vidal's Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and although I agree with much of what it says, I don't think the average American would understand most of it (sadly) and as a result he'd sound like a crank. So I can't even ask my well educated parents to read it and discuss it.

This is why My Home's in Cambridge I'm goin' there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Books on Sharks and Scanners

As mentioned previously I'm on a Georgette Heyer kick. I'm not sure why they're so fun to read but I do have a few ideas. One theory I have is that it's so hard to find good, fun female-centric literature. This I believe, is partly what made me like Tanya Huff, Robin McKinley, Sherri Tepper and Alison Bechdel so much when I first encountered them in college. Even though Iwas pursuing a degree in French Literature (and so half the classes were cross listed as women's studies) it was really hard to find something *fun* to read with strong female characters.

Then there's the fact that all of the characters are ladies (and gentlemen) of leisure. They don't deal with the drudgery of work, and since all novels are set a couple of hundred years ago, none of them ever has to apply windows patches, reinsall a printer driver or attend a staff meeting.

As I devour Georgette Heyer novels my boyfriend reads Philip K Dick novels (and looks down his nose at me*.) He recommends them to me, and I read every 4th one or so. The last one I read was A Scanner Darkly and I enjoyed it immensely. Perhaps it's just that I enjoy absurdism, perhaps it's that I've been hanging around too many guys, but reading about poor Bob Arctor, forced to take his housemates out on a roadtrip so that the poliece could install expensive, sophisticated equipment to allow him to spy on himself made me laugh out loud on the T.

Then I picked up Devil's Teeth, which is a nice non-fiction book about great white sharks. It's okay, although it could have had a better editor.

hmmm And I have another Georgette Heyer book on order at the Harvard Bookstore.
*I may read old historical fiction all the time, but I don't read old, dated science fiction, if you please

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hello World

I've been watching the DNC for the past several days. I've enjoyed hearing Bill and Hillary Clinton speak and I look forward to hearing Barak Obama speak tonight. But as I went to bed last night I felt, sadly that although Democrats tend to better at rhetoric, (and I am a Demorcrat) their follow through is not so great. This is not entirely their fault.

There are too many powerful corporations who are ready to spend money on lobbyists, advertising campaigns and pet scientists to make sure that they get what they want (from the petroleum industry, the industry, the pharmaceutical industy, the financial services industry etc).

Unlike the Democratic Party, the Republican Party has the enthusiastic support of all of the above mentioned--as well as the media.

This dismal idea is, I'm sure, obvious to the savvy politcal blog reader. Unfortunately there are an awful lot of americans (not all of them dumb) who haven't yet grasped this fact. I work with a bunch of well educated people and none of them get this.

WhatI don't understand (and perhaps I'm missing something) is how our country has come to such a pass that what is good for business and what is good for individuals is/are mutually exclusive.

feh. time to go watch another speech.