Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Governator v. Bush

I have a love-hate relationship with California...and its system of "governance" often makes me want to scream. But things like this make me pretty fond of our current leadership. Arnold and Jerry Brown, unite!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Glow of Summer

It has been years since Betty and Bimbo have had a proper summer vacation, but they still get a little extra pogo-power in their soles upon the dawning of June.

Summer in New York is a mysterious and mystique-filled alternaverse, in which people disappear, the subway is a spa, stores lock their doors, and wearing clothes outside may be optional. Also, as if we lived inside a summer camp away from the churning turmoil of the world, baseball is often on the front page of the newspaper.

Betty and Cocoa celebrated the beginning of the season last night by walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. How are you kicking off this time of sand and fireworks?

Superman Never Needed Juice

First things first, is anyone else as pumped as I am about the new Pirates of the Carribean film? Hmm.....should Superman even admit to getting pumped about a Disney film, more importantly?

Whats the deal with all these athletes taking juice. But more importantly, why do all of them say they took the juice, and then say they didn't take the juice, and then say maybe they took the juice, but you can't prove anything.

I really appreciate this Floyd Landis. His explanation is simple, the testing tubes were foul. Wait, check that, his body actually produced the hormones. Wait, that was what his attorney wanted him to say, it turns out this is not humanly possible in this case. Don't judge him, just because he was in the room when his manager was threatening a former teammate over being abused sexually as a child. Smart money is on Floyd invoking the "if the tight stretchy pants don't fit, then you must acquit" defense at some point in the near future. I mean if he had just waited a few days, he could have hired Jason Giambi to do his PR. Everyone in the cycling community should apologize and we can all move forward. This is exactly why Superman sticks to the treadmill at the gym, and does not hit the bike.

Speaking of the treadmill. What is the treadmill etiquette, if you are listening to your ipod and an attractive member of the opposite sex occupies the treadmill next to you. Are you suppose to say hi, or give them a head nod, or just keep looking straight ahead and pretend that you don't see them. I mean what do you do, when they look over for a period and so then you have to look over at them, but by that time they are looking straight ahead again, and then you feel just weird for the rest of the run. Worse, you are now obligated to run longer than the person, just to avoid any future awkwardness and Superman's office body is not conducive to accomplishing such feats.

Sorry, here is my next sport point. The French Open starts next week and Chilean Gonzo is going for his first major title. A feat not accomplished by his Chilean predecessor Marcelo Rios. Marcelo in the spirit of Giambi/Landis PR is most famous for calling a celebrated female tennis player a "fat cow" in the lunch line. I think he defended himself on the fact that there were language differences and that the lunch line was moving very slowly. Gonzo, on the other hand, is a great person and hopefully he will break through at Roland Garros. Unfortunately, teenage wonder, Rafael Nadal primarily stands in the way of Gonzo taking the title. Nadal just had his 8o odd match win streak on clay snapped. Nadal is a Spanish teenager that resembles Mr. T. He is roughly fifty times fitter than everyone twice his age and has guns that would make the Hulk blush. I am not conjecting that Nadal is on steroids. I am just not sold yet, on the notion that bionic people walk among us. Here is a completely useless point. The french never describe people as being good at tennis. They always say the person plays very fast. I have never understood this, it is "mind bottling", they are curious people.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Obama town-hall

I volunteered at an Obama town-hall today in Rye, NH with my mother and step-father. It was a real treat to hear him speak in person. I start my internship on June 4th and will be working in Portsmouth through the summer.

Let me know if you want to get involved.


Hot in the glaciers...

May we please put our lovely eyes on the "happy campers" down in Argentina?

Background facts: Barrick Gold Corporation (the world's largest gold mine company) have decided to leave...
"In the Argentine province of La Rioja, an astonishing series of events have lead to the ouster of a corrupt pro-mining provincial governor and the apparent withdrawal of gold mining giant Barrick Gold from operations on the Famatina range. Who was responsible for these events? A small group of dedicated neighbors who are fighting tooth and nail to save their mountain range from open-pit mining exploitation."

"Up to now, Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining firm, has been accustomed to operating with total impunity in Argentina. Barrick Gold has been a major player for years in the Andean province of San Juan where their Veladero project was approved and constructed without any form of public input, and is now in production. The huge Pascua Lama project was railroaded through environmental approval processes against a great deal of protest in both Chile and Argentina and construction is now eminent."
First, we stopped Barrick's endorsement of Al Gore's speech in Santiago.

Now, they leave (in part) Famatina.

What's next?

(For photos of some protests against the actual disaster in Chile, see here.)

A.M. portraiture

Portraits of the muse, taken this morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

a lesson in class

they say the hardest part of being a great actress is knowing when to leave gracefully.

thank you wolfie, you've given a great lesson to all of us.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sweet Social Justice Job Up for Grabs

Please excuse the functional nature of this post, as well as the dearth of posts originating in Betty's office in recent weeks. The last month has been a stressful time in Betty's professional life, as she's navigated the unpredictable waters of telling a boss with high stardards that she is leaving.

Doing the deed provoked a wide range of intense emotions in Betty, from self-loathing to general loathing to relief to pride to fear to freefall. But now it's done! And you should take her job!

The downside: it's in a boring office on the Upper West Side, and the pay is pretty low.

The upside: you get to live in New York City, travel the whole country, stay in posh union hotels, eat lots of free delicious food, work in the social justice movement on behalf of immigrants, working people and the environment (but NOT doing boring door-knocking or phone banking), learn about how money and power and social change work, and meet some of the most inspiring people you will ever know. All of this is guaranteed!

The requirements:
You must speak Spanish and know a little bit about social justice organizing and politics.

Betty's got more information if you want it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

initiatic journeys

v had the pleasure of sharing with sarita some saturday-morning coffee in an almost rebuilt but otherwise empty downtown (the emptiness made it look almost like a chirico painting), then lunch at the usual spot while waiting for a rogue black cloud to release its contents upon an inadvertent crowd of almost-done seniors and their proud parents. the weather is a mild foretaste of southern ickiness-to-come interspersed with the roaring cool of the after-storm.

i must say it was a pleasure to see sarah before she continues her journey through southern country; i am happy that our paths crossed. sarah is a social worker and her initiatic journey has taken her down south tracing back the steps of her mexican clients, and witnessing the devastating landscape of agricultural labor in post-industrial society, and the courageous lives of people working for immigrant justice within a profoundly antilabor environment. (she keeps a blog where she shares some impressions and field-notes, )

initiatic journeys show us landscape as the visible manifestation of our inner geography, they teach us more than the outside, they are voyages of both the body and the soul. i know such is the case for sarita, and i sincerely hope that her notes will become a source of strength for all in our current struggle.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vegetarianism a Lie?

I have been a vegetarian for ten years, though I started eating fish about 4 years ago, so I'm not as strict as I once was. Yet it's taken me ten years to become aware of a logical gap in vegetarianism, which I would like to share with you now and get your reactions to. If you eat dairy, as I do and as do most vegetarians I know, you are depending on food from female animals, usually cows and chickens for milk and eggs. Yet for every female cow and chicken born, a male is born too, and let me tell you that the breeders are not just releasing these guys into the wild. These male animals are sold for meat, along with male and female animals that were bred specifically for the meat industry. A PETA film makes this point very cleanly by showing footage of the horrible conditions that veal cows are raised in, with a voiceover (by Alec Baldwin) telling us that these baby cows are the offspring of dairy cows, and if you drink milk, you are supporting the veal industry. Furthermore, laying hens are typically sold for poultry when they stop producing eggs.

This makes me wonder that if I'm not ready to convert to veganism (which I'm not), it might actually be a better bet to support humanely raised meat than to boycott meat altogether. If my dairy consumption directly causes the slaughter of animals, perhaps it's better to create a market for humane and environmentally friendly meat than to pretend the problem doesn't exist.

I'm not about to make any changes at the moment, but I do think this is an interesting question, though you may think it's a load of bull, so let me know. I also had the happy chance to eat a meal at Chez Panisse yesterday and get a tour of the premises, which is a really interesting lesson in thinking about ingredients as the backbone of every meal we eat and understanding the interconnectedness of those ingredients.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Possibly the most amazing photograph ever taken

Since we're blogging about the South, I figured now was a good time to post the image that is my pride and joy as a photographer (which I'm not). Texas' state animal is the Nine-Banded Armadillo, but I've lived in Texas for two years and only have seen them smooshed on the highway. But when I went to New Orleans we saw this one late at night shuffling around in a parking lot. They don't move fast, but he/she was pretty clever at sneaking around under the cars to avoid my camera flashes. I got about six pictures of pavement before I captured it.

On another note, it was fabulous to see Betty after all these years, and to meet Bimbo at last. And I'm glad they enjoyed the many facets of Austin.

Austin Translation

Betty and Bimbo just had a packed but appropriately laid back weekend in Austin, Texas. Along the way we saw beautiful blogger Nodine, as well as an imposing and majestic state capitol building that is actually, factually bigger than the U.S. capitol! Everything in Texas really is bigger, as Betty was reminded every time she tried to order a little bite to eat (thankfully, gallant Bimbo was there to help her clear her plate).

Other highlights included Atrz Rib House and the house band there (just about every place in Austin seems to have a house band!), Barton Creek (which Bimbo jumped in), and listening to the chirps of the largest urban bat population in America on Town Lake. Guero's had good nachos and margaritas, and the Hideout was our favorite Elliot-Smith playing coffee shop.

Other fun facts about Austin: the city hall is build of 90% recycled materials and covered in solar panels, in addition to being shaped like an armadillo. The tallest building in the city looks like a big shiny owl. Drinking starts earlier than in the North, and largely takes place outdoors. OTHER popular Austinite pastimes include biking, kayaking on the many accessible waterways, hearing live music, and hardcore hangin' out. Outside of Austin you'll find towns like Bastrop, Texas, which seems to still be hanging out in the 1950s, and that's cool with us. Case in point: a pharmacy with an old fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain. Unfortunately for these hungry wanderers, the jerk was nowhere to be found.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mike Brennan & The Prodigal Son: Why I am Moving Back to Maine

Former Maine State Senate Majority Leader and founder of Legislators for Ending the War Michael Brennan speaks to an anti-war gathering in Maine in March.

It is with great pride that I share the news here of my impending return to the state of Maine, after nearly seven years in Rhode Island, to work on Michael Brennan's campaign for United State Congress.

This week, Congressman Tom Allen of Maine's first congressional district is expected to announce that he is running for US Senate in 2008 against Susan Collins. This will make Rep. Allen's seat open for the first time in over a decade - and Mike Brennan is already running, and running hard, to win the seat.

Mike has spent 30 years
working as an activist, an advocate, a researcher, a teacher, a social worker, a legislative leader, a husband, a father and a friend to improve the community around him. He was in the Maine House of Representatives from 1992-2000, and in the Maine State Senate from 2002-2006, where he served as Majority Leader for two years. During his time in the legislature, he was one of the lead legislators in developing Maine's innovate Dirigo Health Plan, which made Maine a national leader in moving towards universal health care.

He has also been a leader on expanding educational access and opportunity, sponsoring the bill that allowed foster youth in Maine to attend state colleges for free, which helped to double the number of foster youth in college in Maine in a single year.

In 2006, Mike also founded a group called Legislators for Ending the War to highlight the costs of the War in Iraq on the state of Maine and its people, and to have legislators lead the charge on Maine's congressional delegation to make change.

But more than any of his achievements, the reason I am working for Mike is that I know him to be a truly committed person. I know that his progressive politics stem from a deep and abiding compassion for - and a belief in the the dignity of - all people.

I ask all readers of Betty and Bimbo who want to send a great person to Washington to support Mike Brennan's candidacy with a donation. Running for Congress is not cheap, and though Mike has a lot of friends and supporters in Maine and around the country, almost none of them are very rich - which means we need a lot of donations, of any size, to raise the money we need to get our message out to Maine's voters.

If you want to know more about this campaign, you should check out the Brennan for Congress website or send me an email at

Congrats to Nancy D. on the impending nuptual

Word on the street is that Nancy D. and her very own Hardy Boy (aka Speed McQueen) are tying the knot. From all of us at B&B, mazel tov! Speedy is a swell guy, in our estimation, and he's definitely got prospects.

I sat down with these folks at a bar in SF about four months ago, and they definitely had a certain glow together- so it all makes sense.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rocket Man!!!

In case you weren't watching the drama during the Yanks game today.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Those of us who are disgusted by the seemingly unending greed of big pharma are excited about Mike Moore's new film, Sicko, which is coming out summer 2007. To read more about it, go here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bull market: I win, who loses?

A few weeks ago--just after CVS's merger with Caremark--my friend asked me if I wanted to buy a few shares of CVS's stock. He already owned some, and assured me it was a good bet, so I dug into my savings account and bought a few shares. Needless to say, he was right. Of course, everything is doing well in this market, but CVS has been especially hot, up 6% since I bought it, and 26% since my friend did, about a year ago. Yey! Free money!

But wait...Am I the only one here freaked out by the bullishness of the market? Why does it seem like the Dow goes up every day? When it comes to understanding the market, I am a real dilettante; I tend to stick to Thomas Frank's credo: when the market goes up a lot, someone on the flip side is getting screwed. That seems like reasonable logic to me. After all, prices rise when productivity increases, and we all know what productivity means: cutting wages, shipping jobs to China, pushing health care costs onto tax payers, etc. Or is this an absurd way to think about the market?

Sorry, Bimbo

Betty has a new crush, and his name is Phil Hughes. So what if he's only 20? He knows how to pitch a baseball! He went 7 no-hit innings last night and then left the game injured. I wonder if he needs help nursing that pulled hamstring back to health...

Or someone to buy him a drink? Maybe an SAT tutor? Phil, I am ALWAYS here for you honey.