Friday, October 31, 2008

Early Voting

B&B's Washington D.C. Correspondent Moo filed this report today.

Today was a beautiful fall day, 60 degrees, sunny and the trees turning orange. I went to vote in the DC municipal building downtown. The line went out to the street, but it was very well organized and there was such excitement it was almost palpable. There were lots of young people, a rainbow of colors, ethnicities, people with their children (se acuerdan de cuando votaban con Papi?). Everyone was so pleased and everything ran so very smoothly.

I asked for a paper ballot, taking no chances there, and checked and double-checked that my first arrow was connected, “For President and Vice-President Barack Obama and Joe Biden”.

My heart was racing and my hand was shaking as I handed it to the clerk.

I cannot remember any time in my 20 years or so of voting in the US were I have been so excited and proud.

Everyone here at B&B is looking forward to Tuesday and its attendant celebrations.

p.s. It has been confirmed that Wilco could play at the inauguration of President Obama. He introduced them at Farm Aid in 2005!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Billy Joel

As one tactic to distract herself from the stress of next week's presidential election, Betty has been exploring the ouevre of Billy Joel.

Recent purchases from the Used CD store (soon going the way of the CD itself) include "The Stranger" (1977) and "The Nylon Curtain" (1982). The first one contains the hits "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), "Just the Way You Are", "Only the Good Die Young," and "She's Always a Woman". The latter is a concept album about baby boomers and opens with the amazingly audacious and awesome trio of "Allentown", "Laura", and "Pressure".

Betty thinks that Billy Joel is stunning in so many contradictory ways. He is a searching, careful, and even beautiful melodist, he always sings in tune, and he plays the piano like a dynamo. He even has vision: some of his songs have more "chapters" than a novel, more "eras" than the twentieth century. Have you ever heard "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"?

But there is also something about Billy Joel's songs that makes Betty start laughing and snort-laugh-repressing uncontrollably when she is by herself on the subway. Is it the theatrical flourishes and unplacable, perhaps completely made-up, accent with which Joel garnishes his singing? Is it the words which go from perfectly cutting ("then these careless fingers, they get caught in her vice") to absurd and hilarious ("and then start bleeding on my coffee table") in a matter of seconds? Is it the idea of the songs and albums having so many chapters that seems so over-the-top? How can someone so gifted also be so cringe-inducing? How can someone so awesomely talented and massively beloved get so little respect?

This topic will be explored in greater depth in the days and weeks to come.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

This is an incredibly powerful statement by Colin Powell, especially the second half, where he eloquently addresses the question that has been raised on this blog about allegations of Obama being a Muslim: "What if he were?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Patsy the Chihuahua Needs Our Help

FRIDAY, OCT 10th - The pound called Waggytail Rescue Friday morning - someone had brought this sweet girl in as a "stray" - which is most likely a lie and the truth is no one wanted to invest the time or money to help this sweet baby.

Patsy is so incredibly sweet, but sick and couldn't stop vomiting nonstop, wasn't responding to anything. The only option for Patsy is for a rescue to take her and transfer to vet hospital immediately or they were going to euthanize her. So since Friday she has been at NYC Veterinary Specialists on 55th st.

Of course Waggytail Rescue had no choice -look at that face! She was transferred to a specialist hospital. X rays and a sonogram revealed nothing. She was put on I.V.s and treated with medication, Still incredibly sweet and holding desperately onto anyone who would pick her up. More tests were done and all inconclusive.

MONDAY, OCT 13th - Monday they did more x-rays and another sonogram and thought they saw something - an exploratory surgery was done but found nothing. They did find she was impacted and removed the fecal matter from her colon.

TUESDAY, OCT 14th - Patsy will be transferred to Cooper Square Veterinary Hospital when she is stable. We are all waiting to hear results...

She hasn't vomited in a few hours! We are so excited because it wasn't looking good this morning.

WE NEED YOUR HELP - She is the sweetest tiny 6 lb thing ever & need your help! So far her bill is estimated to be $3700 and growing. We know times are tight for everyone but if we all come together and give just a small donation it will help save the life of this little sweetheart.

Donation by check: Waggytail Rescue – FOR PATSY 170 Norfolk St. #10 NY NY 10002

Or through PAYPAL: (link to Paypal is on Waggytail site)

Thank you for your generosity and love for this sweet little creature! We will keep you updated on her progress in the coming days!

***UPDATE: After a real rollercoaster of hope and fear and tears, Patsy has been cleared to go to a foster home tomorrow afternoon! We are all pulling for this little sweetheart. Things are looking brighter.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Local Politics

Last night I took in a spirited political debate. McCain/Obama? No. I went to see the candidates for my city supervisor seat duke it out at a historic theater in the neighborhood. There were hisses, boos, applause, and plenty of opinions from the audience members. Years-old grudges were aired, making me, a relative newcomer to the city, feel frankly ignorant about San Francisco politics. But it was fun, and invigorating too. One candidate said there was no other place like San Francisco's District 9 anywhere in the country, and another candidate talked about how grateful he was for San Francisco values, certainly not something you'd hear at a political forum anywhere else. And after two years being bombarded with an endless and oftentimes uninspiring presidential campaign, it's great to be able to make a choice in a race where I get to meet all the candidates, and where "reaching across the aisle" is what a Green party member pledges he will do if elected.

I know that several contributors to this blog are very active in local politics. I am thinking of Bimbo and Koko specifically, but I'm sure there are others. So I'm hoping you can help me answer a question that drives me nuts: why is it that so many well-educated people who closely follow national politics have little interest or involvement at the local level? I invited about a dozen friends to go to the debate last night and only one showed up, and he didn't even live in the district. Many of them probably wanted to watch the presidential debate, but all of them are certainly voting for Obama and won't be swayed at this point, whereas many of them don't even know who the candidates are in the local race. This used to bother me a lot when I lived in DC, where many people I knew didn't even read the Washington Post, in my opinion the country's best newspaper and one that provides top-notch local coverage of a very troubled city. Yet they define themselves as politically engaged and are often active on the national level.

I include myself in this criticism: I'm far less informed about local politics than I should be, but the longer I live in a place the more attached I get. Is it because our generation is so transient that we haven't put down the roots that would give us an investment in local issues? Or have national affairs become a sort of entertainment that we follow for fun, without considering the ramifications all the way down chain?

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Betty & Bimbo Challenge

As you've doubtless heard or intuited, hardworking nonprofits are bracing for tough times ahead. Despite the meanness and the leanness of these days, let's show the nonprofits and causes we're passionate about that their work is as needed and valued today as it was before all the money started flying down the sewers -- if not MORE needed and valued.

So - the Betty & Bimbo challenge is: make a donation this week. Spite the times.

Thursday, October 02, 2008