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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the first 100 days

Here is an interesting chart of what presidents from FDR to W have done during their first 100 days in office, from Good:
Good Sheet: the First 100 Days

Now, I don’t know how accurate this is, or if the events mentioned per prez were the ONLY things they did, or what qualifies them as significant, or even the politics of the person(s) compiling this chart. But it is interesting as a starting point.

I took a look at some of the other articles and blog entries on Good. My impression is that the stories are mostly earnest, unbalanced, and naive. They stake out a position and don’t let facts get in the way, or they drink the Kool Aid of the latest entrepreneur who strikes their fancy and claims to be green without bothering with a real analysis (such as “New Crop”), or they parrot what other greenie sites are saying and have to rely on people who comment to provide the balance, critique, or fact checking (such as the blog entry “Greenwashing”). Whomever edits this magazine, or whatever it is, if there even is an editor, mistakes cleverness for wisdom. I’m not saying other publications and bloggers are not guilty of this—not by a long shot. It would just be so nice to be able to read about these topics in a publication that is edited by grownups, or at least people able to see that there is more than one side to every story and that there are many, many shades of gray.

The funniest bit is an article about blocking ads with a Firefox plugin that replaces ads with pictures of works of art (allegedly)—first it’s funny because Good is supported by ads. Second, it’s funny because it’s clear the author has no concept whatsoever of the economics of publishing (or of anything else, it seems). Just the same dreary theme of kiddies (teens, young adults) demanding something for nothing as an entitlement. I wonder how the author pays his rent, or maybe someone else pays his rent and utility bills.

Life is short—I’m not going to bother to bookmark Good.

posted by lee on 11/18/08 at 09:41 AM

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pies so good you want to weep

Last summer, I read about Michele’s Pies somewhere, how good they are and all that. So we decided to stop by and pick up a pie or two to take home to Michigan on our annual trek. But, alas, Michele’s Pies had gone on vacation. We had to wait.

We had to “settle” for pies and oatmeal raisin cookies from Judy’s Famous Pies in Linwood, Michigan. The oatmeal cookies are the best I’ve ever had in my whole life—even better than home made. The pies are wonderful, too, especially the strawberry rhubarb and the apple crumb pies.

But I digress. As luck would have it, we ended up at the Westport Farmer’s Market one Sunday afternoon. We usually don’t go there because the vendors jack up the prices because it’s Westport and instead try to go to the farmer’s market at Fodor Farm in Norwalk, but Fodor’s was closed, so we ended up in Westport. Michele’s Pies had a booth there, and Stanley and I bought some pecan pie. Oh damn it was so good.

So, on Sunday, we were out with Helene (happy birthday Helene!) looking for SoNo Bakery so she could get some of their olive bread, which she loves. Only, she didn’t remember where it was. We wandered around South Norwalk and found it on Water Street, but she said it didn’t look like the place she remembered going with her son-in-law (she said she talked to him and didn’t pay attention to where they were) so didn’t want to go in (it is SoNo Bakery, but maybe it was another bakery—it happens). So we decided to give all of Main Street another look and as we were approaching Wilton, I suggested we try Michele’s Pies and see if they were open.

We did. They were! We picked out some of the little pies rather than the big ones so we could taste a variety. The chocolate walnut pie is amazing. The key lime pie is wonderful, though it needs to be eaten the same day you buy it as the leftover pie doesn’t hold up very well. The apple cranberry crumb pie, ohmygod. But that chocolate walnut pie ... I never ate anything so slowly! I really like the crusts, too—I’ve never in my life have been able to make a decent pie crust, it’s magic, I think, and they know the trick to making terrific pie crust.

Also, I spotted some pumpkin-looking things. Pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. I absolutely love pumpkin anything (except eating pumpkin like squash), so I got some. They are so good.

At any rate, Michele’s Pies (Michele Albano is the genius’s name) is one of the four finalists in Good Morning America’s “GMA Weekend Best Slice Challenge Recipe”—for their Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie. You can find the recipe and vote for Michele’s pie on the GMA website. Maybe I’ll try the recipe, sans bourbon—or maybe we should just go back there and get more pie ... writing this makes me hungry for the chocolate walnut pie, I have one quarter left and I’m saving for tonight ... for tonight, I swear!

Fortunately, the puppies are demanding a trip outside.

posted by lee on 11/18/08 at 06:24 AM

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Friday, November 14, 2008

followed a link

Read Paul Krugman’s blog entry this morning and followed a link to this: Labor Arts.

I’m not sure what the ultimate objective is, but it is a virtual museum of the art and artifacts of the labor movement. It’s an interesting starting collection, but there is so little there!

I was a union organizer during the early 1980s and really wish I would’ve kept the flyers and newsletters I created back then (we organized the clerical staff at Columbia University—I started out as a clerical worker who joined the union movement and was later tapped as a union staff organizer)—a lot of them drew upon the literature and images of the New York City labor movement from the 1950s through the early 80s. I was pretty good at it.

Of course, it wasn’t hard to appeal to the clerical workers at Columbia because, like the clerical staff at most universities, we were paid shameful wages, crap benefits, and even those benefits that might have helped the most, such as reduced tuition, we could rarely take advantage of. The clerical staff kept Columbia running, yet we were treated like peons if we were even noticed at all. And Columbia is a particularly exploitative university—not just of its staff and graduate students (I was a grad student before I worked as a clerical worker), but the surrounding community as well. I don’t thinks it’s changed much.

I wonder if there is a broader collection of labor movement artifacts somewhere else, such as in the Smithsonian collections? I’ll have to do a little research later.

Meanwhile, I’m beginning to believe that things might start to change in this country. I’m not naive enough to think that Obama can get much done in the first couple of years—he has to fix the economy first—but I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe, governing will once again be about the American people and not about business deals and the super rich. And a glimmer of hope that Obama might actually get us out of Iraq and stop wasting our soldiers and treasury on that mess.

What I’m getting mighty sick of is the punditocracy nattering that the United States is a centrist country so Obama needs to be careful. Bullshit. Now’s the time to go bold and really fix what needs fixing. We’ve said we want change—and centrist crap is not change, it’s status quo half-ass measures that will prolong our agony. The Dems got a very clear set of marching orders: fix the economy, get everyone affordable health care, get us the hell out of Iraq, get us energy independent. Not in any specific order, but all of it, beginning January 20. It’ll be interesting to see the Cabinet he pulls together—I hope he doesn’t loot the Senate of the people we need to have in place to make this all work.

posted by lee on 11/14/08 at 10:52 AM

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

we voted. i’m nervous.

We went to vote at Nathan Hale MS around noon today. There were a lot of people there, but no line at that time. It was pretty efficient—we got there, checked in, got our ballots, filled in the dots, submitted them, stopped at the bake sale (Stanley got some Joe Biden Oatmeal Cookies). We met a beautiful rottweiler on our way to the school (a whole half a block away), what a sweetheart dog! I voted “no” on the constitutional convention proposition (if the Catholic Church wants it, I don’t ... there’s only one reason they’d want it and that’s to change our state constitution to ban gay marriage) and “yes” to let kids who are going to be 18 by election day vote in the primaries. And straight Democratic—including telling Chris Shays (R) it’s time for him to go.

I’m going to be nervous about the outcome unless it’s very clear that O won, no challenges. Ideally, it’ll be a landslide. In the Senate, too.

The puppies reviewed Dog-Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden. They peed on it.

The housebreaking is going slow. About 90% where they’re supposed to go—so it’s improving a lot. They’re piddling outside a lot more now, but about 50% of the time, they wait until they get inside to go poop. Maddening!

It’s hard to get any work done today. Very hard to concentrate. I’m impatient for results to start coming in.

posted by lee on 11/04/08 at 12:46 PM

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

make your own outcome

posted by lee on 11/01/08 at 03:44 PM

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