Friday, December 28, 2007

Natural Deodorant Leaves Betty Naturally Stinky

Now here's a blog topic for you.

In most circumstances, Betty is happy to pay a buck or two more to get the "natural" product. You would think our household was the set for an ad for Seventh Generation! But Seventh Generation doesn't make deodorant. And maybe there is a good reason for this!

At press time, Betty has tried out and dried out THREE different brands of natural deoderant (Tom's of Maine, JASON, and some hippie stick). All three have allowed her to "naturally" smell through her shirts like a big pile of garbage inside of an armpit. Please help!

A Very New York City Christmas (Click to Enlarge)






Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whoa Nellie

Good tidings, everybody!

This little charmer is Nellie, who is not a sheep!



Betty is petsitting for Nellie, a rescued dog (her breed? "she's every woman") this week. Isn't she so beautiful? Nellie loves it when Betty comes to the door almost as much as she love wolfing down (pun intended!) her kibbles in the morning and going for little walks on the rain-touched grass.

Just don't tell Cocoa about this, ok?

In other Koko-related news, Koko the Clown sent Betty and Bimbo the most wonderful holiday gift! It took us a little while to figure out what it was, but finally a light flickered (dimly, we're slow)! It's a flower vase you can write on with chalk! And then watch your ideas bloom and grow and change with the seasons. Thank you, Koko!

Holiday love also goes out to loyal readers Jackie, Sarah, and Hugo, who sent our little family the sweetest little card. We hope you are all cuddled up somewhere warm this week.

Happy 2008 from Betty and Bimbo!
We want to know what you're doing these days to round out the year. Year-end top ten lists are also encouraged.

Is Marriage a Luxury?

According to the last U.S. Census, only 25% of U.S. households include a married couple. This stat indicates a 50% drop since the days of Ozzie and Harriet (50 years ago), when the married couple household rate was still just 50% of the total! Who knew?

Also, across the ethnic spectrum, lower-educated and lower-income households are much less likely to contain married couples than highly educated and high-income households. The correlation between education and income is clear, but what does this all have to do with marriage? Should we be troubled that families that might presumably need the stability that marriage brings the most aren't getting it? Why is marriage becoming a luxury? What's going on here?

Also, the divorce to marriage rate is still 2:1, and there are now more unmarried females over age 15 than married ones.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Am Legend = I am Lacking

"By describing, we bring into being"
- George Herbert Mead


Dear Film Fans:

"I Am Legend" was today's entertainment.

We got there nearly an hour early and the theater was packed, which seemed ironic for a movie about extreme solitude (after the show, back on the street, all we could think was "Where are all these PEOPLE coming from?!", which is a testament to the film's visual impact).

Betty is so unused to seeing movies of this action/adventure/apocalypse type, especially from the third row! So every punch and careful sound effect and hairpin turn made her carom off the side of her seat.

Will Smith was appealing and Odyssean as a man always preparing to defend and clash, but also doing everything to show us the nearly unlimited potential of his situation. And he's been working out! It must have been a year of exercise for the twenty second shirtless scene.

Bimbo thinks this movie may actually have worked better as an HBO mini-series. It makes daily life seem quite rich, and many of the details were funny and thoughtful. And Betty liked the importance of social life that the film emphasized and toyed with.

Ultimately though, this movie is sacchrine and silly. It changes tone even technique drastically in the last 10 minutes (Betty thinks there should be an industry ban on last-minute voiceovers!) and winds down as a collection of cool images, not much more.

What did other people think? We are loathe to spoil the fun (and the tears! Betty's tears at halftime!), but please weigh in. We are interested in the earlier film versions of this story, too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Coexista, No more Guns, and One Tainted Davis Cup Title

U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of Superman's favorite songs of all time. He listens to it to psyche himself up before runs, particularly the version from the concert in Argentina. This is the best version because Bono starts to sign random lyrics and Superman is not really sure if it is pure artistic genius or because Bono is not any position to operate heavy machinery. Probably a little bit of both. In fact, "coexista" sounds alot like a word that Superman would make up on his Spanish vocab test in the hopes of half credit, but its Bono so Superman goes with it.

During the holiday season, this U2 song always make Superman reflect on an issue that divided his great realtives. It would often sadly keep them apart at every Christmas and family function. (Unless of course the grape juice had truly been flowing for a long enough period). The song also always makes Superman reflect on the senseless and tragic event - 14 dead, more wounded. This year, however, more innocent Americans have been shot and killed in excess of those killed in Ireland, in just a short three week period. These shooting rampages have happend at malls, churches, and school busses. Places where one might assume, we are safest. This is depressing, devastating and totally unacceptable. Sadly, these events have become commonplace and they shouldnt each need their own U2 song for people to care. Perhaps, it is time we ask people to give up their guns. Perhaps, we should, instead, give the guns to the peacekeeprs in Africa and then we might actually save lives. Regardless, it would be nice if Americans during the holiday season stopped killling each other, for once, and set an example for the rest of the world.

The same month the United States brought home the Davis cup for the first time in decades. Nothing could make Superman prouder, than the U.S. defeating the Kremlin and proving again to the Europeans, that they can't even dominate in cycling or tennis. (Jackass Landis, not withstanding) Tennis is a non contact sport better known for short white shorts, granted, but at least it is still the one pure thing left in this small world. But we cant even have that. This time the cup was title was tainted when the Russian captain auspiciously left off top choice Daveydenko from the lineup. The captain cited strategic reasons but everyone knows Daveydenko has more recently been "losing his serve" and tanking matches, even in the midst of a betting probe. Nobody in the history of the game, has ever tanked matches in such an obvious fashion as Daveydenko. Rather than inconspicuoulsy miss shots by inches, he chooses to hit his serve out like an eight year old beginner and then doesn't even bother to feign some crippiling injury. He is clearly not trying to hide the fixing and desperately crying out for help from whatever goons are pressuring his family. This has sadly tainted America's improbable run to the title. Superman hopes that honor will be restored to the sport soon and that eveyone will try a little harder at this whole coexista thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Blog

Dear Bloggers,

At approximately 12:30am last night, in the depths of the Vassar College library, a new blog was born.

A friend and I have started a blog just down the road, located at http://www.soulofsports.blogspot.com/ The blog will try to be a "socially responsible" sports blog.

Betty (and Bimbo too I believe) will be posting there from time to time. I welcome any of you to write your thoughts there as well.

The blog should be up and running in a few days (after exams are over.)

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, Obama is making his move. See you in the general election, Mike Huckabee.

Fondly,
Obamarama

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dream Baby Dream and Request for Information

When Betty attended the greatest concert of her life in 2004 -- Bruce Springsteen solo live at the Boson Fleet Center -- she saw the Boss perform this song as a final encore. She had never heard the song before and wondered where it came from. She also wondered what the hell instrument Bruce is playing? What do you call that? A pump organ with recall?



Betty loves the quintessential Bruciness of this performance. How does he manage to connect with every single person in the audience like that? It's a rare thing. She wishes she could find clips of the songs he performed just stamping his feet with a percussion box and harmonica, etc.

Anyway, today Betty learned that the original "Dream Baby Dream" is not from the 50s, or from Bruce's own bottomless back catalog, as it might sound. Rather, the song was originally recorded by a short-lived androgynous electronic duo from the 80s called Suicide. Shockingly (especially for something obscure, electronic, and from the 80s), the band has no Wikipedia entry! Any more information our readers can provide on this curious matter would be most welcome!

Post here or send to bettyandbimbo@gmail.com.
Thankyaverymuch!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Introducing...the Kaoss Pad!

It's not everyday that you learn about the existence of a new musical device. Betty would like to share the one she learned about today with you!

It's called the Kaoss Pad and in this performance you can see Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (in the yellow shirt) using it to great effect all through, but especially towards the end. It's basically a musical joystick. It is also a little bit like an iPod that is a musical instrument. You can Greenwood storing Thom Yorke's vocals in the device throughout the song, and then playing them back as if they were guitar loops towards the end. He even gets Yorke to harmonize with himself, all thanks to the Kaoss Pad. How fun would it be to just walk around a city all day collecting sounds with one of these!?

Also note that this is just a great performance of the song! Percussion, bass, vocals, and keys are locked and perfectly placed and layered over each other, and like all of the songs on Kid A, the timing of the lines is both unpredictable, strange, and totally patterened.

a very dry martini

V has recently learned that D-county not only is plagued by incompetent DAs and shady lax players, but also is on the verge of drying up.



V was originally pleased with all this talk of La Niña-- V thought that it was all about female empowerment. Of course not, quite the contrary. Why does La Niña have to be about passively waiting for things to dry up?? Why does the destructive transitive verb have to be reserved for the boys?

Anyways, V is in water-saving mode now.
It really can't be that difficult! After all, what do we need water for, when we have other transparent and liquid stuff, such as vodka and gin and vermouth?

We can always wash up in champagne!

And who needs to shower anyways when they're intoxicated?

Venus infers the idea will not be too popular, especially with the AA population. And it is true that it is mildly uncouth not to have water on the dining table. How do we switch from whites to reds if so?

And anyways, in this day and age, Venus infers a drought is not at all what the media purports it to be.
There's a pretty obvious solution, and Venus has already talked with the Mayor about this.

Drinking water shall be imported from Fijian aquifers.

And the plants irrigated with our divine pee.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let Us Now Praise Famous Sidemen

Betty's friend Jim just told her about a fabulous jazz concert he saw in NYC a couple of weeks ago. The players were all famous old dudes who had made their names playing with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc.

This description got Betty to thinking: what would an equivalent rock ensemble look like? The only condition is that the people be still alive.

Her first stab at an answer: Charlie Watts (drums), John Paul Jones (bass), Ron Wood (guitar), Roger Daltry (vocals, and because amazingly he was a sideman in the band he fronted!), and Clarence Clemons (tenor saxophone). The band could be called "The Rock Solids", and they'd probably pack the house.

Your picks?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Let your heart be light and make the Yuletide gay?

Christmas season is upon us, and with it, Christmas fatigue. As if Thanksgiving weren't heavy enough, here comes the onslaught of tinsle, muzak, guilt, paper, and pine.

Oh -- and in case you didn't know it -- there's a war on.

Great Video on why the Writers are Striking

To understand what is at stake for striking writers from the Writers Guild of America, you need look no further than this 90-second video.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shooting

Last week, a 15-year-old shot and killed an 18-year-old inside the lobby of a movie theater I frequently go to. The shooting was the result of an argument over the 18-year-old standing on, rather than walking down, the escalator.

I am so mad over this, and I haven't been able to cool off. My mind keeps going back to two tragic elements, and I can't decide which is worse:

1. Why was this 15-year-old so lacking in judgment? He committed his crime in a crowded place, downtown in a major city. He ran out onto the street, into Bloomingdales, and was caught by police minutes--MINUTES--after the shooting. There is no way he could have gotten away this, and in one flash he ended both his life and his victim's. He got nothing out of the crime. He didn't know the victim, so there was no revenge or grudge story. He didn't take any material goods. He wasn't in the midst of carrying out some other criminal activity which would have made him jumpy. He simply shot and ran.

2. Why did this kid have a gun in the first place? Why do 15-year-olds have guns, and why are they carrying them to movie theaters? There's no doubt in my mind that if the kid hadn't had a gun, the argument would have ended with both of them alive. It was a snap thing--the killer wasn't engaged enough to have pursued the victim with murderous intentions. It simply would have ended there. This exactly why guns are so toxic. They elevate relatively harmless confrontations into murderous ones. If it had been difficult for this 15-year-old to get a gun, he wouldn't have had one. He had a criminal record, but not a hardened one. He wasn't a determined criminal mastermind, simply a kid who wanted to feel powerful. This is exactly why the Supreme Court needs to uphold DC's handgun ban.


I am also somewhat angry at the movie theater about this, though I'm not sure if that's rational. They didn't issue a statement after the murder. They market themselves as an entertainment center (movie theater, arcade, restaurants) and encourage people to come from all over the city, but provide amateur security. There are many fewer security guards in this crowded complex on the weekends than there would be police officers on comparable city streets. After the shooting, I went to the movies at a different theater in a mall very close by. They were underhanded, and had the security guard taking tickets. Needless to say, this didn't instill a lot of confidence in his professionalism and preparedness for emergencies. When I lived in DC, a fight broke out once when I was leaving a movie, and the security guard said he didn't step in to stop it because he didn't get paid enough. These places hire security on the cheap, paying them $7 an hour to wear a uniform. Then they do nothing to control the violence that inevitably erupts in their crowded arcades and theaters. Right now, I'm not sure if I ever want to return to that theater again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

When a Mayer is a Stallion

If you walk around Soho (NYC) on a Saturday afternoon, no matter what the temperature, you will see celebrities. Usually they are shopping. But sometimes they want a cup of coffee on a chilly afternoon, just like you!

Betty and Bimbo were hardly fazed when John Mayer pulled open the smudgey doors to their Starbucks at Broome & Lafayette today at 3pm. B&B had just come in for some warm drinks and a penguin cookie, and they're not fans or followers of Mayer or his music. What did faze them were the following answers attached to his entrance:


Was he with a beautiful girl?

No, he was alone.

Did he look rich and/or famous?

No, and he was carrying a dark green backpack on both shoulders. What's he got in there, his Trapper Keeper?

Was he hot?
Actually, yes! He has really beautiful deep (dare we say "bee-stung"?) eyes and fabulous wavy-greasy nearly black hair.

Couldn't he just send somebody out to get him coffee?
Of course he could have. This is why Betty thinks he's cool - he wants to mingle among the gente. And why shouldn't he?
And this is why Bimbo thinks he's desperate for attention, and stupid.

Interesting Fact: Bimbo has been stopped not once, but twice, and asked if he is Mr. Mayer.

As always, we'd love to read about your celebrity sightings. Post them here or electronically mail them to bettyandbimbo@gmail.com

An Ethical Quagmire

A decision rife with ethical potholes came into Betty's orbit yesterday.

Then she checked her calendar and realized the decision couldn't apply to her. But she'd like to return to the situation here and solicit some of your responses.

Betty's friend Dan is gay. His immediate family knows, and is ok with it in an awkward kind of way (the whole family are practicing Catholics). But the extended family is congregating in New Jersey for his cousin's wedding (to a Taiwanese woman) next weekend and they've asked him to "Come, and bring a date."

Dan does not want to go alone because of the questions it will provoke, including inevitable questions about when he will be getting married and having children. He obviously does not want to go with a male date because that would be super awkward at best and upsetting at worst. What he wants is to bring a girl friend and pretend she's his girlfriend. So he asked Betty.

If she could have gone, Betty would have been perplexed. She would like to support Dan and make the day easier for him. She respects that he is the best person to make the decision about what to do and whom to bring in this situation. But does she want to participate in basically sucking up to a family that can't bear that one of its members is gay?

Ellen, Betty and Dan's friend who may very well end up going to New Jersey in the role of Dan's girlfriend, thinks the whole experience has the potential to be subversive, or at least promises to serve up good anthropological material. True as all this may be, these "fun" aspects feel solidly secondary; Betty would still feel queasy about going.

What do our gentle readers think?

Friday, November 16, 2007

No Surrender

Today B&B blogger extraordinaire Koko the Clown pointed out that Betty should probably stop scrawling "No Retreat, Baby, No Surrender" on everything in her path (the shopping list, the facebook, the chihuahua) when she's trying to pump herself up to write boring term papers.

"Huh?," Betty asked.

Because it might be misinterpreted, Koko warned her.

"Huh?," Betty asked.

Then Koko told Betty that Tom DeLay is behind the biggest perversion of Bruce since George Bush I and his tin-eared take on "Born in the U.S.A."

Some might argue that the absurd and constant misappropriation of Springsteen by right-wing chauvenists has something to do with Bruce's "image," but I don't think so. Bruce has never really appeared hardscrabble. If anything, he's stood for the energy and promise of youth and the cautious optimism of maturity, and carried on the simple but profound "Man in Black" tradition of Johnny Cash. Go back and listen to Cash's song of the same name if you need a refresher. Bruce has quietly assumed Cash's torch in the last decade of his career. So my only explanation for such riotously stupid hijacking of Bruce by opportunistic politicians pushing causes he disdains is that these people are not listening to the words of the songs at all.

"No Surrender" is one of my favorite songs (by anybody) for a couple of reasons. First of all I think the lyrics are both beautiful and functional -- they don't call attention to themselves and they get the job done. But the words also convey a feeling that blends romantic dreaming with visceral heart-pounding life, no easy feat.

I also really enjoy the recording of the song (from the "Born in the U.S.A." album) because it is so tense and so joyous at once. I am increasingly coming to believe that tension is a necessary condition for and a part of joy, and that tension itself can produce joy and ecstasy. The recorded performance of "No Surrender" is also just so rocking and dancey and infectious that I go crazy. This is the same reason it works so well live, and Bimbo and I were jumping around like monkeys when Bruce and the band played it (second song in!) when we saw them perform in Oakland on October 26. This was the first time Betty had seen Bruce play this song live in six attempts!

Here's a different take on the song. It's one of the most beautiful things I've come across in a season pulsing with small, hidden joys.

Hot for Teacher

Betty has been absent from the blogosphere and in school (!) for the past two months. She is enjoying her studies very much, meeting great people, and working hard. She hopes to blog more in the weeks to come. For now, please enjoy this wonderful little clip of Betty's most scintillating instructor.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Save Darfur Now!

Superman saw Save Darfur now and naturally it made him very sad. The movie definitely brought the conflict home. Superman was very inspired by the individual stories of the people trying to help, but wonders if they have actually improved the situation and if they should focus in another direction.

First, Superman is skeptical of the effectiveness of divestment. It requires many people in a long chain to jump on the rational logic train and be driven by economic forces. People probably would not be getting raped and murdered if everyone was truly riding this express.

Second, the ICC guy who jacked the Sudanese interior minister is certainly a hero, probably even a super one. This act, however, has not brought justice but rather probably pushed the Sudanese government to act more hostile towards humanitarian aid workers. If the U.N. can't back claims up with legitimate military force then there is no law. What is the point of having a UN, if you cannot stand up to a dictator in Sudan.

The problem in Sudan is very simple. The people are farmers. They live in one of the harshest deserts in the world. Farming the desert is as futile as an Oakland Raiders fourth quarter comeback, it will never be a path to economic freedom. While the people are in total poverty, there will always be violence, killing, corruption, and instability. The people need macro not microfinance help, the World banks needs to stop giving them super new seeds to buy on micro loans and instead build them roads, utilities, and factories. The people also need to be trained in how to make things etc.

Superman hopes that the people in Darfur will get U.N. protection. That means, paramilitary force sufficient to protect refugee camps, food shipments, and any attacks on civilians. The U.N. (if it actually had a legitiamte force) could take offensives against military leaders using child soldiers. A child soldier is useless, if it brings U.N. tanks going the other way. Superman also would have liked the documentary to contrast the conflict in Darfur with the violence in the Congo.

Last, Superman was impressed and appreciative of Clooney and Cheadle's efforts to use their influence to make a difference. Clooney definitely does not get elevated to superhero status, though, because of Superman's jealousy for his success and all the attention he gets from women.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Stein and Toklas on and off the page

This piece originally appeared on the blog "Ladies and Gentleman we are Listening to This Recording" (ThisRecording.com.) I owe credit to ThisRecording editor Alex Carnevale for the links and the images. I wrote the text. -Koko the Clown

APPLE

Apple plum, carpet steak, seed clam, colored wine, calm seen, cold cream, best shake, potato, potato and no no gold work with pet, a green seen is called a bake and change sweet is bready, a little piece a little piece please.

A little piece please. Cane again to the supposed and ready eucalyptus tree, count out sherry and ripe plates and little corners of a kind of ham. This is use.

After reading Janet Malcolm’s Two Lives, about the lives and works of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, I don’t have any better of an understanding of what the fuck Stein is talking about in the above passage, from her 1914 piece Tender Buttons.

If anything, Two Lives only made me aware of a broader scope of things I do not understand about Stein and Toklas, from their life in Vichy France as two elderly Jewish lesbians to Stein’s far-right politics. The book is a reader’s treasure, like Malcolm’s Reading Chekhov and The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

As in those earlier projects, Malcolm does not stress or strain to combine study of the lives of her subjects and their work. Indeed, nothing would seem more natural than such a study of Stein and Toklas. Stein’s own The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was a sort of autobiography of Toklas, Stein, and Stein’s ego; she also did slightly more traditional memoir in Everybody’s Autobiography and Wars I Have Seen. Toklas also tried her hand at memoir mixed with cookery in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.

For all the words that they pair wrote about themselves, about each other, and about themselves as each other, they also left plenty out. Sexuality is little discussed, and the pair’s Judaism is also left almost entirely unearthed in their own work. (Toklas eventually did convert to Catholicism.) But for Stein, who was used to being praised and catered to without end, it is possible that dwelling on the more challenging pieces of life just did not seem appropriate for the part she was to play.

In Everybody’s Autobiography, she writes: “About an unhappy childhood well I never had much of an unhappy anything. What is the use of having an unhappy anything.” This seems as absurd as some of Stein’s less comprehensible writing elsewhere when one considers that her mother died of cancer at the age of 14.

Alice B. Toklas

I have not read much Stein, and reading her work is not necessary preparation for Malcolm’s guided tour. Reading some of her work, it turns out, is simply not done. Edmund Wilson said of The Making of Americans, the 925-page tome which Stein finished in 1925, that he had not read it all through, and that he “[did] not know if it is possible to do so.”

“In recent years,” Malcolm writes, “as interest in Stein has grown in the academy, the shirking of the reading of The Making of Americans has gone out of favor. Critics who write about the book are expect to read it.”

What is most fascinating about Gertrude Stein is that for so many years she was able to convince many people of her genius who did not read her books. Perhaps it is precisely because they could not read them that they believed in her genius.

Janet Malcolm

Then again, one wonders how someone as singularly brilliant as Stein was said to be could find the time to write a 925-page book in the first place. As she wrote in Everybody’s Autobiography, “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.”

Luckily for Stein, Alice B. Toklas was in the habit of gathering up her scribblings and transcribing them with a typewriter while her lover stared into space.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What is Up with this Joe Torre Business

On the eve of the Sex Pistols' final concert Johnny Rotton famously sneered "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" and then stared off into space before closing out the set with disgust.

This is how we feel upon hearing that Joe Torre is "leaving us" and "choosing to walk away" after taking the Yankees to 12 straight postseasons, including four championships. And just to rub it in, in our hour of need, Jeter has gone AWOL. The sky is falling!

This is about the most obvious case of media manipulation we have ever seen. Clearly, there has been a week's worth of behind the scenes negotiating to determine how the public would receive the long-ago-decided news that Torre was "leaving" when in face he was being unceremoniously "let go" (don't you love how euphemisms eventually come to mean what they were created to gloss over?).

When she needs answers on all thing Yankees, Betty turns to her friend G.R., who knows the team, its personalities and its politics inside out. Here's what he had to say about Torre's resignation/firing:

Hey hon...I think we have totally been manipulated by the Yankee brass, this guy Randy Levine particularly. It's become clear that he really wanted Torre out, and he got his way. I feel terrible for whoever has to replace him.

This contract offer that Joe "turned down" was without question a scheme to try and make it look to the fans like Torre turned away from them, but it's just not true. Can you even imagine offering such a venerable, certain hall of fame manager a one year, back-loaded contract that gives management the opportunity to make Torre feel like he is playing every game to save his job? Without offering 2 years or a reasonable amount of money, all it means is they can fire him during the year whenever they want with virtually no repercussions. I am quite upset.

That being said, I had felt for a while that the time was near for some fresh blood, and that he had made some questionable managerial decisions, but at this point, the only person I can think of who can represent the organization with class, keep a roster full of superstars on an even keel through the season, deal with the media better than anybody in Washington, and take us to the postseason every year is the man they just fired.


Torre didn't deserve to take the fall for the Yankees' failings this year. The postseason was loopy and random in the utmost, with our pitching falling apart and A-Rod and Jeter doing nothing at the plate. What makes Betty even more upset is how the whole organization roped Joe into pulling the wool over his fans' eyes. Hopefully one day Joe will decide to set the record straight. In the meantime, anybody looking for a job in the New York metro area? It doesn't guarantee security or gratitude for a job well done, but at least they will make up enormous lies when you inevitabley get axed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dos Gallantes / Cowbells

I strongly recommend this band called Dos Gallantes from Frisco. I saw them play last night and they were pretty incredible, although my friends had been hyping them all week. Apparently, they have a pretty big following. My friends spent $30 for tickets and someone just handed Superman a ticket for free, who he didnt know. Which meant it was the best night ever or the show was going to be really bad. It really was the best night ever because Superman got pulled over and used jedhi mindtricks to get out of a ticket, which as one friend pointed out, is almost better than not getting pulled over.

Dos Gallantes are just two people, hence the "dos," like White Stripes and their sound is pretty similar. The guy on the drums was amazing and started playing them with a tamborine during one song, which totally blew Superman's mind.

They were so much better than earlier act, which had like fifteen guys in the band but were horrible. It was like if they had enough guys out there it would make up for the absence of musical talent. In fact, Superman had a strong urge to rush the stage and start playing a cow bell like Will Ferrel in SNL, but that probably wouldn't have gone over well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Fall - Break Out Those Autumn Sweaters!

We've noticed it's darkening earlier and a distinct chill and clearness have settled through the sky. We love sweaters and hope you do, too. Please, share your changing-of-the-seasons photography with Betty and Bimbo.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

i am a Pod


To mark the end of the baseball season as they understood it, Betty and Bimbo gripped each other's hands and took a big plunge last week. After hours of heavy-handed soul-searching, the duo breathed deeply in unison, and then ran out and both got ipods! Betty's is a little red corvette and Bimbo's is a green tea leaf.

So far, the world remains intact.

Betty has noticed that she listens to songs somewhat more intently when she plays them on her ipod, rather than on her old white-and-orange CD player, which was getting to be a little clunky and embarassing. Betty was always dropping it while she tried to hold, say, a leash and a milkshake at the same time as she rocked out to Oasis. Also, one time a child on the subway stopped her to ask what it was. Also, it weighed more than her dog.

Anyway, by selecting the song rather than listening to an album idley, Betty feels auditorially committed as never before. Also, with the little ipod that could tucked reliably (yet discreetly!) in her pocket, she finds all of life can become a backdrop for entertainment. But this was kind of true before the pod.

Betty also finds it interesting that the spinning wheel, so long a symbol of chance and Nature's arbitrary whim, is here employed in the service of making that one perfect choice out of 1,000 songs about dancing, death, drugs, and girls!

Bimbo would like to add that all of those people who bought the iphone early - just so they could be the coolest kid on the block - and then felt somehow cheated when Apple slashed the price are silly idiots and should just shut up. [Betty doesn't know what this has to do with ipods, but this is turning into quite the bloggy little post...maybe we'll be tagged on the Huffington Post!]

So now that we're peas in pods, here are iBetty's top five most played songs after our first week:

1. Radio Nowhere
2. I'm Goin' Down
3. You'll be Comin' Down
4. Livin' in the Future
5. Two Faces
All son's by Bruce Sprin'steen

Now behold iBimbo's big clicks:

1. Y Control - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2. Going Going Gone - Bob Dylan
3. I'm Goin' Down - Bruce Springsteen
4. Not a Second Time - The Beatles
5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations - The Arcade Fire

Pod People: Care to share?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Grey


Today's post is not going to be about the Yankees. Let's just say there's a hole in Betty's heart where a baseball used to be. Bimbo couldn't even watch the failure, and tucked himself into bed with his head under all the covers.

SO! Today's post will instead be a photo spread of Betty's recent trip to Mexico City! She was stuck in (nonetheless interesting) meetings most days, but she snuck out one day to walk all the way down the Paseo de La Reforma to the Bosque Chapultepec - which really is a forest in the middle of the city, albeit one where you can buy a blue, pink, or purple ice cream or any number of Spongebob or Mexican wrestling masks.

At first, the DF does not seem to be a pedestrian-friendly city, because the car drivers simply do not care and they will run you over if you set foot on the street when it's not your light. BUT! It turns out that the easy-to-draw anti-walker impression is mistaken, because there are many green spots, benches, and publicly commissioned artworks everywhere you go, and people take advantage, sitting and observing along the ever-shifting green-and-street-scape. Here is an alligator with some other alligators riding on its back that Betty liked a lot:


And here is the weirdest, science-fictionist statue of Winston Churchill I've ever seen! He's blobbily emerging from the concrete near the Auditorio Metro Stop:

The Metro was awesome! Very fast and clean and with lots of art down there, too!

Here's the Plaza de la Independencia. Note the size of the humans compared to the size of the structures:


And finally, here's a chihuahua who seemed to live next to a taco cart on the street.
S/he was so sweet and Betty really wanted to take him/her back and it was sad that she couldn't. Betty again refers you to the main theme of this post. Send hugs, send chocolate, send love to these downhearted bloggers!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Summer Joys


In my conversion to full-on Northern California foodie, I went to a very unique party yesterday that nicely capped off the summer.

Since the spring we've been getting a weekly farm box from a CSA, but our farm has recently run into hard times! The highly destructive mediterranean fruit fly was spotted in the area (not on the farm), and everything within a four mile radius, including our farm, has been quarantined. Nothing that the wily fly likes to live in can be transported off of the farm, including the luscious late season tomatoes and pluots. The poor farm is left with thousands of pounds of healthy and juicy tomatoes of all breeds and colors that will rot on the vine.

In an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, the farm invited its members to a sauce party, where they picked over 2,000 pounds of tomatoes and invited us to turn them into marinara to take home for free! (Once the tomatoes have been heated to a boiling point for 30 minutes, they're okay to take out of the quarantine zone.) The scene was not to believed: hundreds of people stood outside in the shade of the poplars among barrels of green, orange, yellow and red tomatoes of all sizes and shapes, chopping away, trading recipes, and throwing the fruit into enormous pots, along with the farm's basil, rosemary, thyme, onions, eggplants, bell peppers, hot peppers, and lavendar salt. Taking care to avoid stepping on the wandering chickens, we then carried our overflowing pots to just-assembled camp stoves to let them stew. The setups ranged from the primitive (ours, with a rickety one-burner camp stove), to people who had brought tomato grinders and full ranges! The fun was rounded out with a bloody mary bar and all the tomatoes you could eat.

Needless to say, we had pasta for dinner.

Friday, October 05, 2007

first family in jail...

So, from the fairly (sub) (under) (less) developed part of the Americas, comes some good news.

The First (and foremost) Family is behind bars.

Without the patriarch, of course (RIP).

We only talking $20 M here. Nothing big. Just some traditional
get-yourself-rich-while-dictatorshiping-the-country.

Nothing new.

However, and since Miss Justice was not exactly on time for old Augusto, some 450 pages of serious and tedious investigation, made by mainly under-payed Chilean policemen, give the World some insight of the glamorous domestic shuffle of federal money.

We have several "take $100 K in this envelope to the Bank and deposit it (at old Riggs and now PNC, mind you)". Some "I'm sending you to Switzerland to see if the bank account is really closed, and if you can, try to get all the money out". Others, of a more distinguished kind, open up accounts under MADE-UP names. The horror!

'John Long' is one. Sounds pornish to me, but hey, let us not judge. Not all criminals are creative.

23 peeps (only 7 from the Pinochet klan) are now under arrest.

I got kind of surprised but must say that the major thing is that an old coup-master such as Ballerino IS STILL ALIVE!

WOW.

Did I mention that all this unveiled as the Pentagon's own Gates was seducing the Prez? In Santiago?

Funny.

The old spook must have some good stories when he comes back from his official trip to the Americas -south of the border- in contrast to his old, old, old Contras-old whereabouts...in Nicaragua.

And No. No way this is possible in the USA. Don't get any subversive thoughts...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Deborah Solomon, Creative Collage Artist

Betty and Bimbo (and other bloggers on this site) usually enjoy Deborah Solomon's "Questions For" feature in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, especially because the subjects and the questions tend to be very pithy and provocative ---- but wait a minute, are these interviews a little over-edited???

Some might even say chopped.

The seemingly feisty Deborah Soloman has been busted by Tim Russert, Ira Glass, Amy Dickinson, and others who claim she Ctrl-X'ed and Ctrl-V'd their words completely out of context, invented questions and statements she never posed, and ommitted pertinent answers to the real questions. Since all of the evidence is on tape, we imagine this should all be pretty easy to sort out.

Us, we had a feeling these exchanges were a might too tight to hang true. I mean, who talks like this?!?

[From last week's issue.]

SOLOMON: A few years ago, you left your job as a guidance counselor in Portland, Ore., to start the Education Conservancy and take on the college-admissions process. What’s wrong with it, exactly?

SUBJECT:College admissions has come under the control of commercial interests, at the expense of studenthood.

SOLOMON:What kind of word is studenthood? I doubt any English professor would approve.

The stylization, the immaculate diction, puts one in mind of imaginary family members invented by Wes Anderson.

Now, Betty is accustomed to the fairly flexible protocols and process of editing long, taped interviews, but sometimes it seems that Deborah Solomon's final product makes the interviews more about her (and her saucy, rapier-like wit) than about the subject. And if she didn't say those witty rejoinders on the spot, well, that's just lame. It's like thinking of a great comeback to a come-on two weeks later!

And while we're on the subject of the Sunday Times failing our standards, has anyone else noticed how kind of unsatisfying it can be, generally? It's like a three hour movie with only a little content that sticks. And more (and more elaborate) ads than you've ever seen before.

p.s. Betty is in Mexico City this week and Bimbo is finishing a big report, so kind and frequent readers: The blog needs you! Please post liberally!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Never Have I Ever...

seen a chihuahua swim laps in a pool...until now!




Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Exit the Mets

As a Yankees fan, I have never reciprocated the hatred I feel from Red Sox fans, and certainly not from Mets fans. With the Red Sox, of course, I do look forward to beating them in the ALCS. But there is no reason, in my mind, for a Yankees fan to have any animosity towards the Metropolitans.
As such, I did not relish the collapse of the Mets last week, finding it more tragic than anything else. And readers who note the end of the regular season will surely appreciate Verlyn Klinkenborg's elegy on the Mets on today's Times editorial page. In fact, his subject is not just this particular fall from grace, but "sporting grief" more generally, a sensation that many of us who write on this blog have experienced.
Sweet it may not be, but there’s a lot to be said for sporting grief, especially the long-season variety. The suffering is collective, no matter how personal the sadness may feel. This year’s collapse of the Mets is equaled — to the extent that baseball ever equals golf — by Greg Norman’s self-destruction at the 1996 Masters. But Norman fell to pieces in a couple of hours, not a couple of weeks, and the loss was utterly personal. It was shattering to watch, but it was less likely to make you weep than to make you brood about hubris and mortality.
Personally, I think back to the ALCS in 2004. Klinkenborg concludes the piece beautifully:

So the world is a complicated place, and in our own lives — if you allow yourself to love or hope at all — we are going to have real chances to grieve for things that will make this loss feel like nothing.

But right now it feels like something. Life’s true griefs will eventually make you tougher, more understanding, more tolerant, more compassionate. If you let them, they’ll teach the proportions of human happiness. Perhaps that’s the real beauty of sporting grief, even after a season like the Mets just had. It doesn’t ask you to grow as a human being.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Pay What You Will for New Radiohead Album

Radiohead's seventh album, "In Rainbows," comes out next Tuesday, October 10th, and you can pay the band whatever you want for it on iTunes. Betty thinks that this policy indicates there is no record company involved and all proceeds will go straight to the band, who are already rich, but c'mon. You must pay something for someone else's art. Much as we'd all like to be living in a free-for-all orgy of new ideas, wine, and song, we're not.

Betty likes this band-and-listener-based concept very much, but hopes there is some kind of clause that says you have to take the whole album, and not just the songs with words and guitars, or what have you.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

October 1st: Enter Football Weather

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too...
- Keats, "To Autumn"


Here in the Northeast, yesterday marked the beginning of (American) Football Weather atmospherically, and today marks the beginning of it symbolically.

October is one of Betty and Bimbo's most favorite months ever. Betty likes that the entire month has a clear trajectory, carrying us straight through to Halloween, with nothing boring to slow the fire-burnished trek. Like February and May, Betty and Bimbo consider October to be an "express month," connecting us to a new psychic place in the year, but still fun in its own right.

Betty also likes the pumpkin colors that the leaves and the early night sky announce like a preview of "Bimbo O'Lanterns" and the sugary candy that takes your senses temporarily away from the cold. Reese's peanut butter cups fulfill both of these duties simultaneously.

Bimbo likes the chill and the dark, the bustle, and the "sweet memory of autumn depression" that comes later.

Please submit your thoughts on the season. And break out those oversized sweaters. Ah, sweaters - like the aforementioned sugary candy - so comforting, so pleasurable, and yet sometimes just a little painful against the nerves!

Secret Languanges

Betty has been reading lots of Enlightenment thinkers who, anticipating Chomsky somewhat, dreamed of a universal language that would make manifest the equality of all men. Is it a sign, or a similie, for our sinfulness that we all speak different languages? Is esperanto the way to undo the folly of Babel?

Quite independent of this Betty's off-beat musing on the subject, this blog's Washington correspondant, Moo, weighed in:

As you well know, I like nothing better than to be surrounded by writers and people who read and care about books and recently I got to meet and talk with one of my favorite contemporary essayists, Richard Rodriguez. His first book, Hunger of Memory deals with the issue of private vs. public language. He is the son of Mexican immigrants, and writes that while his private life language was Spanish, the language of his public life in school, playground, and the streets was English. In a similar vein, Jorge Luis Borges also wrote that he thought that his family and his English nanny just spoke to him in different "ways" before he became aware that they were speaking different languages.

Since Betty and I speak different languages, and my other daughter, Little Hun, speaks even more, I am interested in this question both from a linguistic and private point of view. What is our private language? Our lingua-franca is English, but with some Spanish and Spanglish thrown in for good measure.

I am an interpreter, and interpreting for the Chinese Supreme Court Justice this morning was incredibly difficult into Spanish, but for some reason when I had to go into English it became much easier. Odd, isn't it?


This blog has many bilingual and multilingual contributors, and we encourage everyone to weigh in with their thoughts.

P.S. Just to set the record straight, No, Betty and Bimbo are NOT getting married! They do not WANT to get married. So let's just quash that rumor right here. They still live happily together and with their chi, with whom they share a sinful lifestyle and a private language.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

dealing with rude people

(From the annals of miss manners.)

Dear Miss Manners,

Lately, I have come under great stress at work. I extended an invitation to a speaker that most of my colleagues profoundly dislike. He has in the past shown a very authoritarian streak. He relishes in insulting our bosses. He is avowedly a thug, not that different from the people who run this country. The national media hates him, but isn't it precisely the greatest type of publicity a liberal institution like mine wants?
I've started getting all sorts of nasty emails and some of my bosses and friends got upset and started calling me up to find out why I did this. Now the whole world knows about this affair and I can't dis-invite him without making a fool of myself.
Ms Manners, what would you do in my position?

University President in Distress


Gentle Reader,

Just go ahead with the talk and introduce him as a petty dictator.

Manners

Friday, September 21, 2007

lost in translation

Remember--
Walking through Shinjuku with some random date, talking about the weather and making plans.
Being far, far away, not here, not there.

And hearing over a sendensha's loudspeaker, in broken Japanese, someone screaming hello.

"My name is Alberto Fujimori. Thank you for your hospitality."

Feeling weak to the knees, not knowing what to do or say, feeling flustered.

Wanting to scream to the world: This man is a murderer, do not believe what he says. He does not deserve your hospitality nor understanding.

Feeling powerless, embarrassed by this sheer abuse, sensing my racing pulse and a stream of tears coming up.

Turning around, clearing my throat and saying "I'm sorry, I think I need a drink."

The Happiest Place on Earth

Today Betty had to go to City Hall to take care of some business. Expecting a blah and beaureaucratic affair, she lacked any idea what would actually reveal itself inside.

The South Side of City Hall, where the Clerk's office resides, is the Happiest Place on Earth, or at least in Manhattan. Inside, everyone is smiling and many of them are dressed up and hair-sculpted and clutching hands. Families gather around, friends hugs, kiss, squeal and slap backs, and over in a corner couples in jeans and t-shirts fill out applications for marriage licenses or domestic partnership certification. It's all so giddy, but also so simple, so civic, so communal and so public. It's basically a distillation of everything we love about strangers, spontenaeity, and New York City.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Facebook is Fun

Francois Truffaut once said that the Cinema was like a powerful train running through the night. It is always there and always chugging on, dynamic and yet reliable, in motion and yet always accessible when you need it.

Betty thinks that Facebook is also a great train! Checking it for - and finding! - friend updates is like receiving e-mail you didn't know you had. And your friends and frenemies are always there and ready to entertain you - even if they are sleeping a million miles away when you click on their links and wrinkle your nose at their choice of inspirational quotes.*

Facebook is just like the school yearbook, but it comes out everyday. And you don't have to zone out through many, or any, classes to get it. Does life really get any better? If only Facebook came shrink-wrapped in factory-smelling plastic that you had to peel away before entering. You ARE encouraged to sign your friends' pages, which adds another nice, start-of-summer touch.

Does it work for dating? Is it better than MySpace? Can you use it as a resume? Can Facebook groups make a real impact on anything? These questions I can't answer. It certainly LOOKS better than MySpace and has a less annoyingly Lockeian name.

*Lay off the Emerson, guys!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Now Blogging on all things PVD: The Daily Dose


A few friends of Koko's have started a new Providence, RI - centric blog, inspired by such local yokel blogs as the Gothamist in NYC, called the Providence Daily Dose. Because the contributors to the Dose are largely an unemployed and hip bunch, the site has a lot of good content on goings on in the art and political worlds.

A current sample of the offerings: Speculation on a movie deal between Robert Deniro and former mayor (and federal inmate) Buddy Cianci, commentary on the "Boobtube battle" between President Bush and Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed; and, in less local news, a notice on the upcoming Sex Pistols reunion.

Please read the Daily Dose and make my friends feel important.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In Praise of Bad Weather

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

- Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"


A longtime bookworm, plopper, and purveyor of social awkwardness, Betty really loves bad weather. But with whom to celebrate the rain, the muck, the snow, the falling ice? It's a stigmatized inclination people think you need to be coached out of.

But Betty waits for the dark skywater and prepares for it like it were and old friend coming to visit. When it's foul outside, neglected inner terrain (the whole house, the bookshelf, the mind) deepens and expands with possibilities not imagined while you were out under the sun.

And Betty is not writing this only because the Yankees are losing in the sixth inning now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hugo is Boss


This is Hugo, the toothless 13-year old Life Muse of Betty and Bimbo's friends, Jackie and Sarah. Hugo is the Platonic ideal of Beauty made Manifest on Earth. He also used to be Cocoa's brother!

Despite their current status as "exes", Hugo and Cocoa still enjoy a good mutual sniff and trade looks of knowing regard when they get together. So what if someone might cross an invisible boundary and earn a swift headbutt to the snout? The two cuties are still soul twins, the yin and the yang of canine "person"ality.

Cocoa may be the prettiest little brown flower in town, but Hugo can take all manner of crazytime from his sister-from-another-mother and maintain that silly yet angelic composition whole hog. Above all, it is Hugo's inner peace that makes him Cocoa's perfect foil, a thing of beauty, a joy forever.

[Above: Hugo responds to Albert Einstein.]

Monday, September 10, 2007

Special Art Dispatch from Philadelphia, PA

by B&B Roving Correspondent, Moo

Betty's Moo drove to Philadelphia on a beautiful summertime Sunday with the very hansdome and charming Chilean Cultural Attache, Christian Campos.

The purpose of the pilgrimmage was to see Bimbo's Moo's play, "The Emperor Jones", starring Bimbo's Godmoo, the extraordinarily amazing Kate Valk.

Moo was stunned and awed, the production reminded Moo of the purified renderings plays directed by Peter Brooks. It was gorgeous in a very distilled way. Godmoo Valk was astonishing in her incarnation of a black man as imagined by a white man, and in more ways than one, the White Man's creation. The sheer evil that racism creates was scarily alive in Godmoo Valk's brilliant performance as directed/conceived by Bimbo's own Moo.


The character of Brutus Jones and the two person nature of the mise-en-scene reminded Betty's Moo of the Idi Amin movie.

Betty's Moo sat with Bimbo's Moo and they highmindedly discussed THE AMERICAN THEATER. No, they really didn't. They talked about the kiddies and the grandpup. :)

Then we all excitedly marched downstairs to hug and kiss and congratulate the astonishing and beautiful Godmoo Valk. Dad Valk was there and he recognized Betty's Moo as such when Godmoo introduced her as Bimbo's girlfriend's Moo and as "part of the family". That made Betty's Moo feel all warm and fuzzy, then she and Christian drove home chatting all the way about "life's rich pageant" until Moo got home to Po who always makes her feel warm and fuzzy and a good day was had by all.

Bravo, New York Times Interactive Feature!

If anyone here is NOT confused about what is going on in Iraq, I applaud you. But for most of us, it is hard to understand what daily life can be like in this tumultuous country, never mind the ever-shifting political, cultural, religious, and geographic alliances. In a wonderful example of multimedia reporting, the NYT has compiled a portrait of life in Baghdad, neighborhood by neighborhood, complete with maps, neighborhood profiles, ethnic makeups, videos, and photos. Check it out, and let us know your impressions, if you like.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Having a Wild Weekend

Cocoa and Betty had a grand day out today! From 9 to 5 they were on the go, navigating, searching, heads turning and bobbing with wonder and relaxation. Now they wish that filling the days with faces and walks and sights and parks was their job. They are good at it!

In the morning the duo explored Brooklyn's Prospect Park, which was full of babies and sunbathers and barbeques. They lay on Cocoa's red blanket and Betty read books while Cocoa pretended to be the New York Public Library lion, or perhaps the Sphinx with a full snout. We bumped into Holly on her bike, which was a happy surprise! Then Jackie and Sarah, Cocoa's wonderful first parents, came by with delcious mini-plumbs and Hugo, their beautiful 13-year-old chihuahua, and Cocoa's stepbrother. Hugo is a truly special dog, with Hollywood good looks and the body of a sleek yet furry seal. Cocoa and Hugo reunited cordially with sniffs and trots, but then the jealous and sensitive Cocoa tried to head-butt Hugo (who is a gentleman) and they went their separate ways...for now...

Then Meg and Betty and Co went for huge burritos in Park Slope, which is such a strange neighborhood, feeling as far away from Manhattan as Cleveland or suburban California or Portland, Maine, is. The feeling we get there is pleasant but stifling.

Then Betty and Cocoa came home to plop down and watch the Yankees in Kansas City, which also kind of looks like Park Slope from here! Perhaps there are fewer people wearing glasses and summer dresses in Kansas City. But as weirded out as we can be by the Slope, there's no denying that today was pretty much the definition of a happy and fulfilling Saturday in September.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Yankee Squirrel, the Year of the White Guy Pitcher, etc.

Hey Sports Fans!

The Yankee squirrel was back last night, and boy did he bring an attitude, although he could be a she. How do you tell with squirrels?

One can only assume that the little brown and grey cutie who scurried up and down Yankee Stadium's bright yellow right field foul pole like Spiderman last night was the same creature who chilled atop the pole last week - for an entire game - and in so doing spurred the Yankees on to victory over the detested Red Sox.

As Larry David and Brad Pitt and the Magic Squirrel looked on, and Maddox played distractedly with Spike Lee's little one, the Yankees played unstoppabley against wild card rival Seattle last night. A-Rod hit one into the upper deck that took all of four seconds to clear the air, Posada hit two that were a little less spectacular, and Cano went 4 for 4. Wang, as usual, was workmanlike and excellent. He has the most wins in the league, and usually doesn't get this kind of run support.

Bimbo has christened this season "The Year of the White Guy Pitcher" because of outstanding showings by Brad Penney, Josh Beckett, et al. Betty begs to differ, and thinks that Wang and that Latino guy on the Angels both have a real shot at the AL Cy Young. Even if the Red Sox do end up dousing themselves in champagne this October.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This Kind of Hypocrisy: Not Just Cause for Resignation


Apparently, there is no worse crime a US Senator can commit than solicit sex in an airport bathroom -- and the reason is because airport bathrooms are not unisex. Soliciting sex in an airport bathroom means that you actually want to have sex with someone who has the same sexual organs (gasp) as yourself. And that is unforgivable.

The resignation of Senator Larry Craig today is not just comeuppance for a man with anti-gay politics -- it is a sad commentary on the anti-gay politics of our country and of Sen. Craig's Republican Party.

It is sad that so many people continue to repress or hide their sexuality, and that someone like Craig would have to do so for political reasons. It is sad that his party threw him to the wolves for no more than tapping feet with an undercover police officer in an airport stall. And it is sad that Sen. Craig will likely go to his grave vehemently denying to the world what is plain for everyone to see - that he is interested in sex with men.

Those who are gleeful at this turn of events may only miss the larger picture --that using homosexual behavior as a cause for torpedoing a political career will inevitably do more harm than good to gay rights in America.

So now, Idaho's conservative Republican Governor will appoint another most likely anti-gay politician to replace Sen. Craig. And if that one is straight rather than closeted, will he be less of a "hypocrite" and less deserving of our scorn? I say no.

The whole point of what we want is for people NOT to be judged for their personal sexual behavior, right? Larry Craig may not have gotten that - he did, after all, once call Bill Clinton a "naughty boy" -- but whether or not he understood it doesn't matter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Special Dispatch from Little Diamond Island, Maine



Frequent Betty & Bimbo commentator and all-around wonder woman Moo filed the following report this morning:

Gabriela and I set the alarm for 5:30am but at 5am
Pocho started racing all around the house...so he and
I went out to daddy's point and the whole bay was
dark. I called the Z's and, Zerner pretended I had
woken him up, Libby said she had a view form Cityview
avenue, so Pocho and I got Yittle Hun up and then got
Lib and went to the dock. We were the only ones
there.....

It was beautiful and amazing, the sun behind us was
like a Turner painting and the lunar eclipse over
Portland was eerie and mysterious, then we had a "rosy
fingered dawn" and walked home very pleased
w.ourselves.

ah nature.....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life Lists

There is an interesting story about the phenomenon of the life list in this Sunday's New York Times Styles section. Betty is often disappointed by the lack of rigor she observes in this section, but here the writer has really hit a nerve. It's a trend piece for the ages.

Betty has never made a life list, nor can she think what she might put on one. Have you ever made a life list? Should we all give it a try, and share the results?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Co-love and Betty recommmmmend: Hairspray


Betty and Co-love just finished watching the 1988 version of Hairspray after having seen the 2007 version on the big screen. We enjoyed the more outrageous antics and hair of the original, as well as the vintage music. However, we still appreciate the wonderful and more profesional performances of the new one, including John Travolta, Zac Efron, and Michelle Pfeiffer who updated 3 roles that were originally played by non-actors. Both versions are worth seeing to compare. If you like wacky and silly, we recommend the first. But, if you like slick and Disney-ful, the second one is better.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bimbo's Favorite Video in the World



Bimbo found this video (and more!) of Charlie the Karate Chimp on YouTube and can't stop watching it in awe and inspiration. By the way, he found it by looking for "Pac Man", which gave him a video of "chimp playing pac man" (also inspirational) which led to the wonder you now behold. How can anybody watch this and still say we aren't related to monkeys? Somebody needs to get YouTube into the Kansas State House, on the double.

By the way, Betty and Bimbo highly recommend the seed that started all this YouTubing, a wonderful and intense documentary called "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". Check it out for some extremely raw psychological portraiture and totally rad vintage arcade games.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Trip to Build a Dream On

Betty, Bimbo, and Cocoa have touched down in New York, glowing from their week in Maine, which is still the Way Life Should Be.

They got to hang with lots of Bloggers while they were there: Betty savored nachos, music, summer ocean views, all kinds of ice cream, and campaign work with Koko the Clown and Obamarama, and theatrical parlor games galore with Little Hun, Speed McQueen, and Nancy D., Girl Detective.

With Obamarama, Betty visited Red's Dairy Freeze in South Portland three times. Sadly, no doubt remains: the quality of our favorite "ice cream" has definitely gone downhill, and requires increasing volumes of candy and whipped topping to neutralize its metallic chemical charge. But some things associated with Red's never change: Scary Jesus is still Scary Jesus.


Here are Cocoa and her Papi on the high seas!


We love Maine very much. And we'll be back soon. Michael Brennan's exciting campaign for progressive change in Betty's home state is heating up -- just like those peerless nachos at the Great Lost Bear down the block.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Syllabi

On the eve of her first real vacation in two years [Ed. Note: What is wrong with Ed.???], Betty is remembering great summer reading experiences. She reads so much less fiction these days, and connects this loss to the loss of her long, boring, beautiful summers. Maybe she needs to make every season into a summer in her mind. Starting this fall!

Surprisingly, though, Betty experienced many of her most memorable summer reads vicariously: Nancy D. devoting an hour a day to Gone with the Wind, Papi shifting into "summer fiction mode" on themes like British or Irish or Latin American or Arab world literature, Gaby getting into The Grapes of Wrath, Mami requesting White Teeth, and finishing it overnight (so it seemed).

Betty's own summer reads tended to be a little less classic, but no less fun. She remembers well the visceral snake-like prose of Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, Barry Williams' oft-thumbed autobiography, Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, and Julio Cortazar's pocket-sized novella about Charlie Parker, El Perseguidor (The Pursuer), a treasured gift from one Venus Infers.

What are your favorite summer reading memories? What are you reading this summer?

The Cutest Trotters




[Ed. Note: Photos are only visible using Firefox. And they're worth it!]

There are so many sweet animals ready to devote their soulful stare, attentive ears, furry bellies and generous hearts to a human friend who will be worthy of such loyalty and steadfast love. Betty had the great luck to spend time with two of them today.

Out of the really painful howls and terrified eyes of the pound, Munchie and Sessin emerged. Both were found as strays in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. When no one claimed them after three days, Waggytail Rescue came in to take them to a more agreeable foster home, and clear up cages in the pound.

Despite having just met each other, they got along beautifully, snuggling up on the long subway ride (including transfers) from East Harlem to the Lower East Side, and trotting together like little reindeer when we got back on the pavement. Dogs are quick to seize the good in life, and go for it. These flexible, laid-back little muffins even spent the afternoon in a neighborhood bar! They are so sweet, giving, and good-tempered, Betty sees no way that they won't be adopted soon.

In other news, the new ad campaign from New York City Animal Care and Control is very powerful. It drives home the point that animals in city shelters are effectively in prison (and when overcrowding happens, on death row) by no fault of their own. Please consider giving of your time or your money to local animal shelter. Overcrowding has been a major problem in the New York City shelters this summer, to the point where even dogs like Munchie and Sessin are euthanized everyday.

Back in action...

Due to an internship on a political campaign that I was lucky enough to be involved with this summer, I experienced a rather lengthy absence from the blog (this was due in large part to the rules of the campaign.) Anyway, now that I'm back, I'd like to comment on what has become known as the "Michael Vick Scandal."

Now I don't condone dog fighting, in fact, the idea of pinning two dogs in a ring and making them attack each other strikes me as rather bizarre. Yet I wonder if the whole to-do around the Vick case isn't a little bit of an over reaction (or at least a misappropriation of our time as concerned citizens and sports fans.)

I am pleasantly surprised when I come across an article that points out the hypocrisy in condemning Vick when so many athletes commit far worse crimes against their own family members and simply get a "slap on the wrist" as their punishment. As my good friend Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel noted, "If only Michael Vick had been arrested for abusing women instead of dogs. He'd still be on the football field today. He'd still have the love and adoration of his fans. And, yes, he'd still have his Nike deal." Bianchi backs up his point rather well, pointing out that on the Tampa Bay Bucs alone, there are two players who have been arrested on domestic violence charges (one player, Michael Pittman, has been arrested four times on such charges, and his wife insisted many of his abusive streaks went unrecognized by the law.) So what was Pittman's punishment? Surely if Vick is told to stay away from training camp (and rumors now say that he will be suspended for the year) for allegedly dog fighting, Pittman must be banned for life, right? Wrong. Pittman served a three game suspension from the league for his latest arrest. Well, okay, so he couldn't have done something as bad as Vick, right? Wrong again. Pittman intentionally slammed his Hummer into a car carrying his wife and toddler. Good guy.

The astounding part about the whole incident with Vick is this: he hasn't been convicted of anything! Now he will probably agree to a plea deal today, and yes, he is probably guilty. But for the NFL to get on its moral high horse about Vick when they have for so long looked the other way when their players commit far worse crimes is ridiculous.

Of course the NFL has to look out for its best interests, so when a player commits a crime that hurts its shiny image, I don't blame them for covering their behinds. I only wish that spousal abuse by a "role model" was something that hurt the league's image.

Let's review, dog fighting=bad, spousal abuse=worse.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Point/Counterpoint: The Bourne Ultimatum

Bimbo: It's a perfect action film. It really is all about the action. It's all action, and it's never boring. It has a lot of emotional textures to it, within the action - it plays with fear, suspense, loyalty and identity. It's also an allegory about America. It's about trying to be a good American, struggling to get out of a culture that is inevitably violent. And you feel the action. You feel the impact of the movie's messages and textures through the action itself. The sequence in Tangiers - the best part of the movie - reminded me of "The Battle of Algiers". The moment of silence before Matt Damon crashes through the window; perfection!

Betty: I can't even evaluate this movie because I didn't understand this movie at all. Action is not a language. Guns are not a substitute for dialogue. Rather, they are a shortcut when you have nothing to say. This movie had barely any women in it, which is why it was so boring. Oh, and no humor. No one even smiled. And the flashback scenes were so cheesy - I think they were ripping off the Harry Potter movie.

Bimbo: Cut the snark, Betty. This isn't Gawker. I do not care to address any of your points. Why argue with someone not well versed in the idiom of action? This was the best action film since "Miami Vice".

Betty: "The idiom of action"?! Here we go again. You can't just call something an idiom to lend it legitimacy when in fact it fails to convey, confuses and butchers, all meaning.

Bimbo: OK, fine. I won't use fake film scholar language. But can I at least say the movie "sutures itself into your soul"? Where my film scholahs at?

Betty and Bimbo welcome your comments, and would like to offer a prize to anyone who can explain why this film is titled "The Bourne Ultimatum." There is no ultimatum in this film.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Giuliani Time Again?

Betty just finished watching Giuliani Time, which is not a particularly great movie. But given that Rudy is the Republican presidential front runner, perhaps you should see it!
The film raised a few issues that Betty wasn't aware of before. Here she will summarize them for you:

* New York's famous crime drop under Giuliani actually began during the final three years of the Dinkins mayoralty.
* The drop also coincided with drops in crime in cities all over the United States during the same period.
*Ditto for the city's economic boom under Giuliani.
* Giuliani is politically smart to take credit for both the crime drop and the economic boom, of course.
* The "broken windows theory" - which claims that aesthetic order is causally related to civic order - was explicitly the driving ideology behind both Guiliani terms.
* This theory was handed to Giuliani by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank funded by trustees of Philip Morris USA and Fortune Magazine, among others.
* Giuliani did away with the city's approximately 75 "squeegee guys", by making it a crime to wash peoples' car windows and solicit small tips for the service.
* Both times he was elected mayor, Giuliani garnered under 30% of the vote. [And he's leading the GOP Presidential pack with 29% now.]
* When he was elected for a second term, it was with under 20% of the African-American vote, the lowest percentage that a modern mayor has ever earned in New York City's history.
* By the end of his second term, the city's homelessness rate had increased to its highest numbers since 1989. They just weren't in midtown anymore.
* Thousands of pieces of art were lost in Giuliani's police crackdown on street artists in the city, a practice that was later found by the Supreme Court to be illegal and in violation of the artists' First Amendment rights.
* The "cleaning up" of Times Square was easily achieved by offering property with massive tax breaks attached to huge corporations like Disney.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Meg Himmelstein, 1994-2007





My dear dog Meg died on Thursday, at the ripe age of 13. Though she slowed down in her later years, Meg is best remembered as a vivacious, if not hyperactive, pet. She often overwhelmed visitors with her energetic greetings that at times knocked them off their feet. She loved to eat and had the unfortunately ability to digest almost anything; she had a special fondness for paper products, but also gulped down sticks of butter, apple cores, blocks of cheese still in their wrappings, paychecks, and really anything she could get her jaws on. She was so fond of apples that she would sit and watch my mother with an unblinking stare when she made apple pie, a puddle of drool collecting at her feet. She had a special relationship with our backyard pool; all day long, she would patrol its border, and when its filter turned on every afternoon, she would run around it, frantically barking, her tail wagging like mad. Yet this dog never swam a stroke in her life. (One day, her bottom half fell in the pool but she pulled herself out with a surge of adrenaline).

Meg was above all a loyal pet. She was an excellent guard dog, and her home was her castle. She was never more happy than when someone she loved walked through the door. She had a unique way of showing affection I have never observed in any other dog: she would run up to you and rub the top of her head hard against your legs. Of course, she appreciated if this was accompanied by a nice ear scratch. She was friendly and loving and always enthusiastic. Meg, we will miss you.