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Archive for February, 2014

God I love this cat. Must perfect this look.

God I love this cat. Must perfect this look.

I did something extraordinarily stupid and ill-advised yesterday: I looked back. And I suffered for it. It’s hard when you maintain connections — particularly professionally — with some of your past lives that would be better left in the past. Sometimes you walk away and it’s healthy to revisit and relive the memories, catch up with what the people are doing, support them in their successes and pick them up out of their struggles.

Sometimes you walk away and when you’re out of eyesight you break out into a run for your life. And you never, never look back. Because if you do, if you’re me, you have dream about it where you’re standing in the hall of the office and someone (who, because your subconscious likes to mess with you, is actually a character in that movie “Serenity” and never actually worked with you in real life) whispers to you “I believe you” and you start to cry like you’ve just been liberated from Stalin’s death camp and you say aloud, “My God, people are so f*cking weird” and then the dream ends and you wake up feeling like you’ve learned nothing but remembering that in real life the mean little people appear to be doing just fine, complaining their way through life and making things just a little bit darker every time they connive and concoct their schemes, while you have to remember to keep that positive attitude because no one would ever want a negative you around. You don’t have the luxury of being a whiner or complainer and, for the life of you, you can’t make that square in your head.

But the comfort is that you are, in fact, liberated. And that appearances are very often contrived to be a lot of flash and very little substance. It’s hard to know all that until hindsight really kicks in, and sometimes that takes a long time. But in your years of training not to whine and complain (which you’ve gotten better at for anyone giggling at that statement because they know me), you also learned patience. And that universal truth about reaping what you sow. And you know the arrogant laugh at that concept — I knew someone once who vehemently denied the existence of God I’m pretty sure to avoid that particular natural law — but I think it’s a natural law regardless of how it came to be. And so, just wait Sarah. And be positive. And don’t look back.

Other things, as per usual, because I need to get a run in and get back out to Virginia. Looking forward to a Mardi Gras birthday party out in Arlington this weekend. Hoping that gives me better dreams…

I don’t know man. The FCC has always played a role in the regulation of communication — it is its chartered role — so I’m not totally sure what all the scare mongering is about here (well, I mean I get the arguments but they seem premature to me). It almost seems to me to be an effort to stir up opposition to the commission having broad powers so they can once again begin to talk legislation that, surprise, will look a lot like net neutrality. The tangled web we weave.

Good piece breaking down the particulars of the NSA stuff — just what they can access and how much a violation of privacy that actually is — but what I particularly like about this piece, and it’s something I’d like to see more people writing about, is the mention of how this kind of invasion of privacy is an absolute real threat to 1st amendment speech rights. You’re not free to speak when you’re worried someone may be listening.

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

According to the above NYT piece on the matter, an individual within the protest didn’t send the message, nor did the cellular service provider. A higher ‘entity’, perhaps a government one, more than likely did.

Just like the rhetoric from the NSA and White House, the sender did not need to know that those gathered were texting. They did not need to listen to the communications of leadership in regards to planning such an action. All they had to do was determine the area where the protest was happening, then seize the numbers of those in the area and send over a nice ‘hello’.

As a minimum, such action undoubtedly intimidates those involved and will most likely dissuade some participants from going to the next ‘democratic’ rally. The long term ramifications undermine one of the fundamental principles of democracy – that is the right to protest peacefully and make your voice heard as a society.

And speaking of not being able to speak freely. Daniel Hannan gives us a pretty good break down of the lack of honor among language thieves. What is the appeal of being ruled by overlords? I know it appeals to some — it must — but what is it? Does it absolve you of the responsibility of making your own decisions and thereby you have something to blame if you fail? Fine, but you can’t ever claim success as your own either, you know that, right?:

In fact, authoritarianism was the common feature of socialists of both National and Leninist varieties, who rushed to stick each other in prison camps or before firing squads. Each faction loathed the other as heretical, but both scorned free-market individualists as beyond redemption. Their battle was all the fiercer, as Hayek pointed out in 1944, because it was a battle between brothers.

Love your conservative atheist brother! We can all just get along…

The Russian idea of control is stepping back, watching what others do and then moving at the right time,” she said. “We don’t do that.”

Regarding the above, it may make me unpopular, but maybe we should.

Heh. Hahahahahaha! Cracks me up. Not because I don’t believe we have some affect on our environment — of course we do — but because we are so arrogant we believe the Earth suffers us when, in fact, we are always at its mercy.

Okay, had a nice little debate with some libertarians about this chick. All I’m saying people is that she’s not saying anything all that ground breaking or thought provoking and, if she were a bus driver instead of a porn star, we would agree with her ideas but we wouldn’t so amazed that she had them, and we certainly wouldn’t consider her some sort of political savant. Let’s keep it in perspective. Also, when she talks about wanting to be treated with dignity and respect, I get images in my head of what women do in porn and I laugh to myself. Sorry.

Registered to go to this, then had some work pop up that needed attending to so I missed it. But I love the “huh?” moment from Vanity Fair. It’s hard being myopic.

Happy weekend loves. Be good and safe and all that.

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No raisins allowed

Aw man, this is so sad. Harold Ramis was both adorably funny, but also incredibly sweet and I, for one, will miss that. Everything is so damn dark these days. It seems like that’s all anyone takes seriously anymore. If it’s dark it’s already considered art. Well Harold Ramis did sweet. And isn’t art something that lasts and changes us culturally? Who hasn’t seen Groundhog Day? Or Stripes? Or Ghostbusters? The world will miss you Egon Spengler. Thank you so very very much for pushing laughter. Here’s a run down of some of the best. Things are just brighter for your work. Spores, molds, fungi and all.

Speaking of art, I may have danced a little bit around my living room this morning when I saw that this piece was at the National Gallery of Art. I knew I was going to have to get down there this weekend to see this exhibit before it closed but the Dying Gaul — I just, aaahhhh. I first became aware of it when I read this book forever and a day ago — great book by the way, if you like Ireland, or are Catholic, or like history, or are fascinated by how the Dark Ages almost decimated for good Western society. But I never thought I’d get to see it…when I went to Florence, I stood at the base of the statue David and cried. I couldn’t help it. It was beautiful. I don’t know if that will happen again but I’m taking tissues. It’s okay, you can laugh.

Okay other things because I’m whittling away at my to-do list and I need to get back to it.

The reason it’s a blow to net neutrality is because the two businesses struck a business deal that benefits them both without the need for any government intervention telling them how to write the deal, what the data packets needed to look like, what government agencies needed to be informed etcetera and et al. I think it’s marvelous. This is a decent primer on a few of the arguments, with Wired’s lean a little toward the left of course. Number 1 is, for example, complete BS. But the concept of dumb pipes — regulated, of course, by the all-loving eyes of our regulatory agency overlords — is pretty spot on. In short, net neutrality means the end of innovation and cheap internet and free streaming services and everything else that’s awesome. Bank on it.

And if you want to know what the opposite looks like, look here. Since when does free speech mean you must cover all topics deemed necessary for social justice or whatever? That’s a ridiculous concept. For one thing, asking an outlet that covers technology to make their coverage apply to all sectors of society is forcing bad reporting. Instead of asking that news outlets cover the news in a certain way, why not hire people with divergent enough interests that those things naturally get covered? But then, that would mean loosening up on some of the inherent bias that many outlets carry.

Starting to become clearer why Facebook spent the money.

I’m pretty much on board with this. I didn’t used to be. And this is not to suggest I mind working hard or am lazy or something like that. Just that, like this writer, I’ve spent most of my life working my behind off only to have to restart every few years for whatever reason — too often related to jerks with power — and I think perhaps I’m just going to kick my feet back a little more, do really excellent work, and not worry so much about getting ahead, getting ahead, getting ahead. I don’t hate Sheryl Sandberg, but I bet she’s stressed out more than I’d like to be.

Ha, “This is bullshit” pretty much covers it. (H/t Nicki)

Are people actually suggesting that it would be really crazy to think that Apple may have somehow been complicit — even if they didn’t know it — in allowing the NSA to access their data? Why is this so hard to believe? Because Apple loves you? Get a grip people.

Man I loved the first season of this show while they were revealing everything to the viewer and, in some cases, to the characters themselves. And then it just stopped being good. It would be nice if this was a pleasant surprise.

Oh yeah, these will be made, sans raisins. I just have a thing against raisins. Not sure what that’s about…

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And behold I saw

I feel like this turtle is doing jazz hands I just can't see.

I feel like this turtle is doing jazz hands I just can’t see.

Hey yo. I have no time to talk because am again heading to Old Town and want to get a little run in before I do that. Which means I need moving in the next 15 minutes or so. But I do have a few things on my mind I’d like to put here…

DC is such a place for relativism. People here call themselves good for not being at the extreme end of evil. Only kind of crummy, only sort of a liar, only a little bit of a user and they consider themselves the golden children bound for heaven. Heh. Also the tendency to equate accomplishment with “good” is pretty interesting and is something I think can only happen when you inhabit a culture that respects stuff and things over hearts and minds. I guess what I’m saying is, the good people here would be considered barely tolerable elsewhere. And the most fascinating part of that is THEY HAVE NO IDEA. And if they do, they say it’s just jealousy or bullying or whatever other pity-inducing justification they can find to continue being marginally humane.

Now, before you get all — “But Sarah, if that’s how you feel, why do you live there?” — there are a great many people I’ve met here that are really, really fine people. And I meet more of them every day now that I’ve decided to actively try to do that. So I’m not jaded or cynical about this place, really. I just love the grand delusion. Sometimes I feel mean for pointing it out because — well it’s mean to burst people’s comfort bubbles, and I know that. But some people just deserve it man because they’re kind of nasty and spiteful behind that winning smile (but they consider themselves good. They’re truly fascinating.). And those people do real damage. And, having come out the other side after being on the receiving end of that kind of damage (not an atypical story of course), I have every intention of making fun of it and laughing my ass off at it every single chance I get. Fair warning.

Okay quickly…people really don’t like dictators. Not over here, not over there. I know that we, as is typical of us, are staying above the fray (which, honestly, at this point, is probably the right thing to do) but I sort of feel like if we’re going to do that we should say as a little as possible. Maybe something as simple as “We’re watching the situation develop and are as concerned as everyone else.” Period. But not this. Because that “consequences” talk is the kind of language that has these people protesting to begin with.

And then there’s this. Why in the name of all things holy and good would an official White House spokesperson tell a Hollywood actress that reporters sleep with sources? To plant a seed of doubt in the minds of the sheep that the press cannot be trusted? What a shameful tactic.

Interesting read. “…the U.S. should start quieting down and stepping up, rather than stepping back while sounding off…”

I might be going to hell for this — sorry Mom — but I love the Latin prayer candles and so these are simply great.

A pho baguette. I don’t even know what to say except Lordy let me at it…

In honor of the Cash prayer candle, here’s why I don’t think it’s quite sacrilege in his case:

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Expectation

“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” -Archilochus (Greek Soldier, Poet).

Hey. Happy President’s Day. Hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend. Back to it tomorrow, eh? But just because it’s technically a day off doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the news of the day, right? Thanks.

So, I thought the interview of Bode Miller was exceptionally clunky and disrespectful and had a little chat about it on Facebook this morning. Allahpundit thinks it was all a lot of drama for no good reason and, really, he’s probably right. But I think the reason it struck a chord with me — and I seriously think someone should be warned if not outright fired over it — is because it seems representative of something pretty ugly that happens on the news. That sort of “story at any cost” thing is pathetic and unnecessary and, frankly, not all that smart nor interesting, and I’m tired of the dumbing down. Also, can’t we begin to move more in the direction of civility? We’ve been heading in the opposite direction for so long that just once I’d like to see a little bit of shame or recognition that human emotion — particularly grief — should be at least marginally off-limits. Can’t some things be the purview of the person, even if they bring it up? Civility would dictate you protect the man from letting his grief overwhelm him rather than prod him to hang over a fence in tears. But perhaps that’s the Southerner in me: protecting true feelings is respected down that way. But then perhaps it is elsewhere as well because NBC struggles as a network. Miller, for his part, is a decent enough guy to protect the “lady’s” honor but I think what she did sucks, even if, as is typical of men, they shrug stuff like that off and act like it’s no biggie. Expect more from these ladies, guys. Perhaps they’ll rise to the expectation.

Here recently there have been several stories about the left’s romance with Communism as an ideology — nothing new I realize, but that stupid Salon piece seems to have sparked more interest in the issue. I think I like Jonah Goldberg’s take on it because he compares the Olympic blather — that almost sounded complimentary — to that great quote about the Nazis and the banality of evil. And if you want to see a great depiction of that, you should really see the movie “Conspiracy.” I had to watch it in grad school — because we were studying the bureaucracy — and if there’s one thing that evil little pestilence of a regime did well, it was bureaucracy. Check out the clip below:

A friend of mine who was born in Russia and emigrated — or defected — as a child, posted this piece today. Everyone should read it.

Shut up, you mean Israel once again tends to be really good at something, better than every other country in that region? The hell you say…

And just in keeping with the theme, incompetence in some areas of government is of more concern than other areas. Jesus.

This is happening in March. Some of us are talking about going. I’m into it.

One last thing — how do you let someone know that even though they acted like a boor and were thoughtless and disrespectful, it’s okay and you forgive them if they’re too ashamed to acknowledge all of the above, preferring to hide out and pretend nothing ever happened? If you’re not Bode Miller and can’t (or wouldn’t because some stuff’s just private man) go on air and forgive that kind of thoughtlessness publicly that is…

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Snow glows white

Got some snow last night. The horror.

Got some snow last night. The horror.

Well everyone, above you will notice the devil snow that has been plaguing everyone’s every thoughts for the last several days. Here’s the reality now that the “New Hampshire cocaine” (thank you SNL) has dropped — most people are still in bed and won’t need to be up for several hours yet and can pretty much, if they choose, tuck in for the remainder of the day and drink alcohol and watch movies or play with their kids or build snowmen or make love or play awesome board games or surf the internet or watch the Olympics or do whatever they want. I was talking to my Mom last night about when snow days took on such a bad connotation. We were both confused. I still love them. And I have to work today! I have to trudge to the metro that’s probably running slow and haul myself out to Virginia and write and organize and “tie up loose ends.” And I’m absolutely looking forward to getting out in this weather and marveling at it. So bitch and moan if it makes you feel better. I’m gonna enjoy the pretty.

I went to a panel this week on vanity in politics and it was fairly interesting. It tried to tackle the usefulness of a politician’s looks in getting him/her elected — among other things — and if too much is made of the attractiveness of a candidate. My single question was who started that ball rolling and if the media declined to focus on a candidate’s physical appearance, would the voters lighten their interest in such a thing? SE Cupp gave a good answer, acknowledging that the “cat was out of the bag” during that famous (infamous?) Kennedy/Nixon debate and there’s really no going back. Another panelist mentioned that even if writers like her (she was from the Daily Beast I think) stopped talking about tie color and kitten heels, there are a million blogs that would continue. I accept these answers and don’t disagree. However, I maintain that if the press backed off the glamour shots, the public would follow suit. That’s how I approach my own writing on politics. There’s a place for fashion discussion but I’m not sure the political stump is where it belongs. I keep seeing Elizabeth Banks in the Hunger Games…

This is simply fascinating and I really have no idea how it will end. I know the mainstream press will downplay it after the cursory first mention, and some may rabidly spit their contempt (looking at you MSNBC), but I wonder if the country will really hear about this. And they should.

See, not all that honorable a dude. This is like one of those Machiavellian morality plays — the movie’s gonna be awesome.

Bah, this crazy lady again. What an absolute hooker for her moment in the spotlight. I mean have SOME pride, lady. Some adherence to principle. I get that you think you can fit into any group if you’re willing to negotiate everything you believe based on who’s listening (Man does that remind me of someone I’ve thankfully decided to never deal with again. What a drag…), but most people are sharp enough to pick up on that kind of subterfuge and will find you useful but never trustworthy. And really, that takes you only so far. But I suppose you could get rich doing it, just never be really respected. So, I guess it’s all about what you really consider important. And I think we know what things you consider important…

Um, I guess this sounds good from the perspective of national security but it really seems paranoid more than anything else. And apparently is preventing Congress from getting involved as either a partner in strategy or as a provider of oversight. That can’t really be good from a balance of power perspective. Weird…

Just read it:

“Our goal here is not to punish folks,” Obama said, unwittingly admitting that compliance with his own law amounts to economic and administrative sanction. “Our goal is to make sure that we’ve got people who can count on the financial security that health insurance provides.”

Of course, those employees who work for companies that just happen to have 50 to 99 employees and were hoping, possibly expecting, to receive health coverage next year— well, they cannot count on Obamacare. Or Obama, who helpfully explained why:

“Where we’ve got companies that want to do the right thing and are trying to work with us, we want to make sure that we’re working with them as well.” Translation: If you want to provide coverage but not right now and in compliance with the law as written, and you complain loud enough and weaken the political footing of Senate Democrats, you don’t have to eat your Obamacare spinach— or cover your employees.

In the same breath, Obama made clear that this process of photo-shopping, rewriting, and reimagining will continue apace, depending on the hassle that is Obamacare compliance and the political terrain.

“That’s going to be our attitude about the law generally: How do we make it work for the American people and for their employers in an optimal sort of way?”

Optimal.

Costas as a Greek Tragedy? I can see that. (Ha, pun intended)

So glad Thomas wrote about this because I must say, some of the nastiest, albeit quietest, racism I’ve seen has been right here in DC. And it has nothing to do with using antiquated pejorative language (that would never happen here) or blatantly mistreating anyone. It’s the subversive “you’re different and probably not as good” that seeps out in analysis of events or blindness to the entire world that exists outside of your particular bubble. How you can wander around DC or Baltimore or New York or Philadelphia and not SEE is beyond me. But I guess you couldn’t justify a great deal of your own good fortune if you did…that’s sad because the antidote is kindness and generosity. Also, Savannah represent! And, just for easier digestion…

Fascinating revisionist history stuff…

Creationism has been in the news a lot lately after Bill Nye debated that “young earth” advocate. Now, I get that there are people who take every word from Genesis literally, but I just can’t. I mean, I don’t even think Phil Collins is that good of a drummer, and Peter Gabriel’s solo stuff is way better. ~ Charles

I’ve always wanted a 70s romper, but a chic one. Could probably never pull it off but it’s very cute.

Probably my new motto.

Probably my new motto.

For my Mom, who is a snob about her British mysteries but I’m trying to convince her to give it a try:

Finally, in honor of the day. Really love this song…

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Ahhh Monday. We meet again. I appreciate your skills as a complete buzzkill. You wear that garment well. But my guess is you won’t disrupt my contentedness because I’m actively avoiding all complainers, all those shortsighted enough to let your general lack of ability to bring joy get to them and, subsequently through exposure, get to me. I’ll say this though: you really bring out the charming side of people. In a way that’s good, though. You get to know who you’re dealing with when the Monday morning mask slips and their pissy little insides are on full display. So, hey thanks Monday! Clarity is a good thing. Also, and I’m sorry for pointing it out because I love you guys, but can everyone stop complaining about the weather please? We get it — you don’t like the cold. You’re pretty much not alone there. Because, for real:

batmanslap

Last night I had a dream about writing something today and it was so awesome when I woke up, I had it all hashed out it my head as I lay there thinking about getting up (it was around 5 am) and cranking something brilliant out. An hour and a half later, when I actually woke up and got out of bed, it was gone. I think it had to do with politics and how they really are kind of amazing but get such a bad rap because they are so easily — and often — corrupted. And I really want to contribute to the positive. I let myself slip often into the easy trap of bitching and moaning, and there’s really very little that’s useful or attractive about that. I do make allowances for the people who are less cynical and more hilarious about their complaining. Because, to my mind anyway, involuntary laughter is the most positive thing in the world. Like this was fantastic:

Okay, all that said — because I’m apparently getting picked up shortly so I have to wrap it up — here are just a few things to read.

Read this with this quote in mind: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.” ~ Obama, 2008

Why? Because they think we’re weak. Pretty simple really.

Good on ya Bono. “When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my shit and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was he just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”

Lest ye forget.

Hey, y’all all need to watch the BBC version of Sherlock. It’s killer. My mom was always a big fan of the Masterpiece Theater mysteries — Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie — so I may be trained to lean in this direction. But I don’t think that diminishes its awesome. Just a PSA…

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Hi kids! Just catching up before finishing up some afternoon business — including a little run because the shin splint has been roundly defeated. Little jerk thought it could put me out of commission. Nice try you mean old muscle, but my will is pretty strong. I may be getting older (as the mean girls continue to remind me. Which, btw, I have nothing to say to that except please, please, get bent. You annoy me with your shallow lack of acceptance that you, too, will face aging. And I have no use for that kind of stupid. It makes me feel crazy.), but I think I have some time before you get to call the shots…

Okay, so let’s just dive right in shall we? Bob Costas seriously needs to think before he speaks. Was that some script handed to him that he dutifully read out of what I’m sure he’d call respect? Because good God man. You really are known by the company you keep — trust me on that one as I have to make adjustments all the time in that arena. Does this make me a bad person? Maybe…But I own it. — and his little cadre of friends aren’t really the most exceptional when it comes to, oh, ya know, basic humanity.

It will be one of the most exclusive events of the Winter Olympics here, but Mr. Putin’s guest list has some big gaps. Few of the Western world’s most prominent leaders will be there, declining entreaties to attend, according to diplomats and government officials.

Instead, Russia’s president will be surrounded by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. North Korea is sending its second-highest official, even though the country has no athletes competing at the Sochi Games.

I mean the man comes from a culture that really doesn’t pride itself on sober thinking and balance of power. I wrote something on it and, while I’m usually not the biggest seller of my own stuff (I used to think I should be but lately, after witnessing the extreme end of that spectrum, I think I’d rather struggle a little than be that blatantly narcissistic), I like this one a bit because I think it’s good to be reminded. And if that doesn’t do it, check out this picture:

I’m sorry, that’s just freaky. And Costas, are you so soft of heart or head that you can’t just do your job without drooling and making excuses for? Man I’m tired of the excusers. They tend to be more interested in what their smoothing over gets for them rather than for any real concern about the image of the person they’re offering excuses for. Bleh. The boring behavior of a social climber. So uninteresting.

Okay I have nothing else. As I said, need to get back to some things before this evening. But I do want to offer this piece for consideration. Because a) it’s largely true. And ladies, if that bothers you then b) don’t let women like Sandra Fluke speak for you. Because she warrants this kind of empathy from men. As she should. Ungrateful, selfish, entitled. Man I’m just on a rant about this stuff lately! And I try to be kind in my heart. I really do. But most of the time my head is mumbling silently, “Oh my God just shut up you over privileged, whiny, not really all that smart, never really suffered in your life, crybaby.” I mean seriously just be happy about how awesome your life is. And don’t pretend to speak for me you crazy drama queen. We wouldn’t even be friends in real life.

Someone reminded me of this song yesterday. It always reminds me of Bad Andy. I know I was right not to marry him but sometimes…

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