Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sedaris on "Undecided Voters"

Self-Portrait Shit by Andres Serrano ©2008


"To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?"

The whole thing is here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hang In There Obama!

Here's today's mandala, courtesy of

I know that Obama has his grandmother to tend to this week. I can't imagine the pressures of public life. Today is Shemini Atzeret, and though I am not religious, I will be saying the Prayer for Rain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Art Spiegelman Fills Out Questionnaire

Stuff he's been saying in one form or another for 30+ years in public. I was lucky enough to get turned on to the original Breakdowns via a review in The Comics Journal when I was in high school. Still the real deal, check it out here.
via The Comics Journal

Update: Bookworm podcast interview here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Martin Seligman on Happiness (TED talk video)

David Levine

Berry Gordy by David Levine
"Erica Jong, Woody Allen, Christopher Isherwood, and Sontag were all unhappy with Levine. So was Philip Roth, whom Levine encountered one day outside Bergdorf Goodman shortly after one of his nine caricatures of the author had appeared. “What did you do to my sweet little goyish shtik [Christian and small] nose?” Roth complained. Truman Capote also feigned indignation. “You’re the man who did my dewlaps like this!” he remonstrated, tugging at the excess skin around his neck. Levine says he may have saved Norman Mailer’s life, spotting and then restraining him when, engrossed in a conversation, he had been about to walk into traffic near his home in Brooklyn Heights. Afterward, though, Mailer apparently could think only about all the unflattering portraits Levine had done of him. “Oh. It’s you” was the only thanks Mailer could muster. Others, though, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr., actually appreciated what Levine had made of them. “He was a particularly homely man,” Levine recalls. “He must have expected something much worse.”"

David Levine is losing his eyesight. Vanity Fair has a really good article and interview with him here.
Amazing Levine gallery here.

Via The Comics Reporter

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ferran Adria in NYC

Just a note, saw Ferran Adria speak at the NYPL on Fri night. After a season of listening to politicians talking shit, listening to this chef (even through a translator) talk about his method and his goal was inspiring as hell. He was talking about something REAL and authentic from personal experience.

Harold McGee was also on the stage and he made a great point about what is called molecular gastronomy--controlled dependable production of ice cream is a relatively recent event. Why shouldn't freezing coconut or alcohol using nitrogen be part of cooking?

There is more to say about this and a lot more pondering about this... If and when the audiocast is posted I will link to it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bruce on Obama

The sun is setting, it's almost Yom Kippur. Here's Bruce on Obama. Text here.
Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

John McCain's health records must be released

Here is a video on McCain's medical records and chances of recurrence of cancer while in office.

I Rock, I Ran: Robert Baer's POV

I don't know what is really going on in this world or any other. But if nothing else, Robert Baer's take on Iran in this interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross is worth checking out for its level headedness. His position is that, messianic rhetoric aside, the Iranians are rational enough to engage in some form of detente.

Are they? Are we? (If "we" includes aerial wolf-hunting beauty contest psychobitches, "we" are soooo fucked ...)

The backers of the Buenos Aires bombing and the Sderot missiles are not nice guys, but neither were the Soviets or Mao and we found ways to engage and confront them simultaneously.

Baer has a different worldview from Robert Kaplan, who seems to drift further and further rightward nowadays. But Kaplan's Soldiers of God, especially the passages regarding Pakistan's ISI are still relevant today.

Kaplan's The Arabists is a good read with a critique of westerners who go native in the middle east.

If Baer and Kaplan debate somewhere, let me know.

UPDATE: Here's a link to General Petraeus at a news conference: "I Do Think You Have To Talk To Enemies"

ONE MORE UPDATE: Kaplan has weighed in on what a war in the Persian Gulf would look like here.
"Some of the promoters of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities have sold the strike as a high-tech, airborne surgical attack. But a look at the naval environment indicates that like the Iraq invasion, what starts surgically could end very messily indeed."