Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Stolen Obama Sign in Portland, Oregon, Starts a Community of Hope!

Wow--just spotted on Jezebel.com:

16-year-old Preston Folsback and his mom, who live in NE Portland, had their Obama sign STOLEN right out of their front yard. So they set up a live web cam with a chat area to try to capture the thief! It's captured the attention of the Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of people are checking out the web cam EACH DAY. Very cool.

No thief yet, but some kids did try to steal the gnome...

Go, Merkley (who is running against Oregon's long-time Republican senator, Gordon Smith)!

Say No to Sarah!

What would a day be without a gratuitous blog post about what has become my #1 most-blogged about topic?

I just discovered this GREAT song via Momocrats.com (lyrics below)--really makes me want to go back to songwriting!!!

And while we're at it, check out this great article on Salon.com about the "Palin Pity Party."

Say No To Sarah
By Linda Chorney

You can see Russia from your yard like I can see Australia from my toilet
That must be quite a prescription
You put your jet on ebay and through in your integrity
For incentive so nobody bought it
Thanks but no thanks building your lies to nowhere

Real ladies burn their bras not their books
I may wear lipstick and a little mascara, but I'm saying no to Sarah

You scare the crap out of me with your warped philosophies
And ideals what century do you think that you're in
Yeah God's plan was to send the troops to Iraq
Like Peter Pan's was to put you on the ticket

And if its all God's plan then dammit
God must have wanted gays on the planet
And condoms, oxycontin , and cancer you seem to have all the answers
SO why do you suppose God would have also had on his agenda
Flying 2 planes into the World Trade Center

Thanks but no thanks building your nonsense to nowhere
Ladies protect your sons and daughters
While they still have a choice to wear lipstick and mascara
Say no to Sarah

I eat arugula three times a week
I've been to 46 countries not including refueling
I can barely see New York from Jersey
Who do you think you're fooling?

Is half of America dumb enough to believe this excuse for a leader
Don't let her rape you of your freedom
And get stuck with this unwanted child to be released in the wild
Teaching creation instead of evolution causing more pollution
4 more years isnt the solution

The thrill of the the drill the rush of the kill
Polar bears hide away until election day
Time to get up and say
Thanks but no thanks to your delusional bridge to never never land
I've got no faith in your construction

Please oh please be cautious the gal makes me really nauseous
She's a weapon of mass destruction
The thought of her as VP is insane
She wears a burka on her brain
You don't belong on Capitol Hill try Mockingbird Lane

This is no witch hunt
You're just a country's nightmare
I'm no politician, I'm just a musician
Hoping and a wishing
That fellow women's intuition
Make the logical decision
And say no to Sarah
Mr McCain I've seen you on Jon Stewart and you don't seem that bad
But you're the same age as my Dad

The Underscore Orkestra at the Portland Farmer's Market

One of the things I LOVE about the Portland Farmer's Market is the great musical acts featured on Saturdays. This past Saturday it was three members of a band called the ___________ Orkestra. This is how the band describes itself:

The Underscore Orkestra is a Portland-based band, playing a blend of Balkan, Klezmer, Gypsy Jazz, and Swing, with a repertoire consisting of both original and traditional material from fast bulgars and melodious waltzes to odd meters and swinging rhythms. Our instrumentation includes violin, accordion, guitar, banjo, clarinet, horns, flute, harmonica, bass, vocals, and percussion. Each of the members comes from various backgrounds and musical disiplines from as far away as Russia and as close as our own Northwest. The Underscore Orkestra has been performing for the past 3 + years, touring all around the western U.S., Mexico, and Guatemala and has been seen from intimate coffee shop settings all the way to huge outdoor festivals.

And look what I found on the band's web site--a video of the band playing at the Farmer's Market last Saturday!!!

Here's another one, also at the Farmer's Market:

Nicholas, Kieran, and I were sitting in the front row! Can you single out our applause at the end? :)

Palin for Planned Parenthood a Giant Success!!!

Remember this post (about a campaign to solicit donations for Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's honor)?

Here's an exciting update:

As of Friday, Planned Parenthood had taken in $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people! More than two-thirds of the individuals are first-time donors, and money came in from all 50 states.

It certainly demonstrates the power of the internet and e-mail! Too bad John McCain doesn't use e-mail...

Thank you cards will be going out in the mail next week. I plan to frame ours!

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Bob Builder Coming"

Even though the new Bob the Builder exhibit has officially arrived at the Portland Children's Museum, this is Nicholas' constant refrain: "Bob Builder Coming!"

Mike magnanimously took Kieran and Nicholas to the exhibit on the very first day, last Friday, thinking that he would beat the crowds expected on the "grand opening" day on Saturday. I like to tease Mike that he never expects crowds at any public places...his usual refrain upon driving into a packed parking lot: "Why are there so many people here???"

Kieran crawled through the crowds to get in the front when they were getting ready to open the exhibit...and was spotted by the Children's Museum Board Chair, who asked him to cut the ribbon! Since then, we've had a number of ribbon-cutting reenactments! Yet another member of the family who seems to love the spotlight.

Nicholas especially enjoyed the exhibit, and he and Kieran enjoyed exploring the Children's Museum with our British friend Stephanie and her daughter Natalie.

Waiting in line

Bob the Builder meets Nicholas the Builder

After an encounter with some face paint...with Dizzy

Natalie, Nicholas, and Dizzy

Posing with Wendy

Kieran under all that face paint!

Behind the wheel

Natalie and Nicholas: cute as a picture!

Thoughts on the Scandalous, Enormous Bailout

I am not an economist, and I am afraid that I don't really have any original thoughts about the astonishingly HUGE bailout package. I don't know what will happen if Congress doesn't pass some sort of a package. But I do know that it makes me absolutely heartsick to think of how this money could be spent to HELP PEOPLE!!! Schools, job training programs, drug rehabilitation, college loans, small business assistance, health care...the list goes on and on.

I was interested to note that two Oregon representatives, Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer, voted against it. I have great respect for both of them, and just last month Rep. Blumenauer spoke at my company about the need for investments in the country's infrastructure. He is a wonkish sort of politician, but he is clearly extremely bright and wants to do the right thing for the citizens of Oregon and the whole country. I went to his web site to see what he had to say about the package, and he has a video of his comments on his site. Here is a rough transcript of his speech before Congress:

I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy, as I credit his mastery for bringing this bill before us today. Thanks to his leadership, the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, the cooperation of the Republicans, it is a far better bill. But unfortunately this is not likely to be the end of the bubbles. We must be extraordinarily careful if we are not to compromise the next rescue. Remember long-term capital management, the hedge funds? What happens if the hedge funds are next? Any real rescue must include bankruptcy equity for homeowners. This is not just a moral issue; it's the key to stabilizing home values currently in free fall.

We cannot continue to bail out with borrowed money. No bill should be enacted without a payback from the financial services sector. Not a hint of a promise to pay back in five years. And at the core, we are ignoring the fundamental question about the size and scale of the financial services industry that is in trouble not just because of a lack of regulation, but because we had too many people pursuing unsustainable business practices.

We have seen an irresponsible bill change into a responsible bill. It's not as good as it should be and sadly may be beside the point. I will vote no reluctantly hoping I am wrong but fearing that I am right.

The unprecedented outpouring of emotion and advice from Oregonians about our financial crisis has been the silver lining on a dark cloud. If anything, the responses are more intense and widespread than those to the war in Iraq, or to any of the myriad calamities and momentous developments in the dozen-plus years I have been in Congress. The American people understand the significance of this financial meltdown, and they are asking all the right questions.

Here’s what I’m hearing: People are demanding accountability, and no golden parachutes. Instead of using tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to reward the Wall Street executives who drove us into this ditch, we should insist on ‘clawback provisions’ to ensure that the people who created this mess bear some of the financial burden as well. Congressional leaders are right to be skeptical of a $700 billion bailout, and should not rush to conclusions. People are insisting that Congress understand the depth of this problem and what might be on the horizon. Could the heavily leveraged, murky world of hedge funds become the next crisis?

People are clear that if there is going to be some relief it ought to protect Main Street, not just Wall Street, and make a difference to people across America who are caught in this financial firestorm and are at risk of losing their homes and businesses.

People want to make sure that they receive fair value for the investments of their tax dollars. Whether it is a loan guarantee or a capital infusion, Americans want to know that they have a chance to get their money back. If there is a profit to be made, it ought to come back to the taxpayers and the US Treasury. Americans are asking hard questions about whether taxpayer assistance means more borrowed money. Many people feel that we should tax or surcharge the people who profited from this rollercoaster, instead of adding to the debt burden for future generations, which only puts us further at the mercy of foreign investors.

People are, without exception, outraged at getting a three-page proposal from the Bush administration in the dead of night that would concentrate all power, with no checks and balances, in the hands of the Secretary of the Treasury--the same Secretary who refused to bail out Lehman Brothers and thought that the economy was fundamentally on track. Finally, and most importantly, people think that we ought to know what’s involved, and we ought to understand the details before we put taxpayers’ money at risk. If it takes an extra day, an extra week, an extra month to get this right — that’s just fine.

At a particularly stressful time, amid stock market tumult and a 24-hour news cycle, I am encouraged that Oregonians have the presence of mind to counsel deliberate, thoughtful action. I hear you loud and clear, and will do everything within my power to craft solutions that address your concerns.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Muslim Children Gassed In Ohio Mosque after "Obsession" DVD Is Distributed

Today in the Oregonian we received an an anti-muslim propaganda DVD called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War with the West." It was the first I'd heard about it...but now I see it's all over the internet. the newspaper defended itself by claiming that it doesn't discriminate amongst advertisers.

Apparently Mayor Tom Potter and a collection of community members appealed to the Oregonian not to distribute it, but the newspaper ignored their pleas.

An organization called The Clarion Group, a right-wing, pro-McCain private nonprofit, is responsible for distributing the DVD to newspapers in SWING STATES.

Last Friday, after the DVD was distributed throughout Ohio, gas was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The gas was sprayed into a nursery for babies and children (their mothers were in the service). Coincidence? I think not. Now I'm terrified of Muslim fundamentalists as much as the next American, and I believe that we must protect ourselves from the terrorist threat. However, how are 300 babies and children terrorists threats? I suspect that this incident might have attracted greater attention had it been in a synagogue.

This brings to mind the argument between Obama and McCain about engaging in talks with Iran. I fail to see why being hateful and antagonistic toward a country like Iran is going to help us OR Israel at all. McCain acts as if Obama is an imbecile when he suggests that diplomacy should not be disregarded entirely. Where has our hawkish arrogance gotten us in the past, with North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, and Iran?

This video is another example of that hatred and arrogance. I'm not suggesting that we sit down and negotiate with terrorists over "tea"...but the first step toward brokering peace is to discuss our differences. Not being willing to do this exposes the U.S. to greater vulnerability and hatred by the rest of the world.

In Praise of Sweet Potato Fries

My poor kids are deprived, because the only burger-and-fries fast food joint I willingly set foot in is locally owned and operated Burgerville USA. I remember going to the Burgerville in downtown Beaverton as a special treat when I was a kid, but only when they had their special strawberry shortcake or other seasonal sundaes on sale. (We didn't go out to eat much when I was young.)

Since those days, Burgerville has evolved to be the best place to get a healthy, sustainably grown, fast food burger in Oregon and southwest Washington (39 locations). In 2003, Gourmet magazine named it the best place in the country to get the freshest fast food. Burgerville prides itself on using local, natural ingredients, such as Oregon Country Beef, Diestel Farms turkey, local and seasonal fruits and veggies, and salad with smoked salmon and hazelnuts. It is the largest chain in the U.S. to use 100% wind power; it uses only transfat-free canola oil; and it recycles its oil to turn it into biodiesel. In 2007, the company also began composting its waste, which is expected to result in an 85 percent reduction in waste and $100,000 in savings. I also love the fact that they have fun, useful, and nonjunky toys in their kids' meals--such as seed packets, gardening tools, plates and bowls, or coloring books.

So now you know why I philosophically support Burgerville. From a gastronomic perspective, I have five words for you: turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. The turkey burgers are there year round, but the sweet potato fries are seasonal. There is simply no comparison to the humble russet potato fry.

Tonight Mike had his writers' group, so I hustled the kids off to Burgerville for dinner. Portland is experiencing a "St. Luke's Little Summer" (which according to the Farmer's Almanac is a warm spell that occurs around St. Luke's Day [October 18], but I think of it as a great term for Indian summer...that we picked up from an English friend)...so we were able to eat dinner outside.

The sweet potato fries have just arrived, and they are magnificent.

For some reason, our children are carnivores even though Mike and I don't eat much red meat. Kieran always orders a cheeseburger with extra pickles, and Chris either has a hamburger or a rispy chicken sandwich. Burgerville also has a free jukebox and balloons for the kids...Nicholas calls them "baboons..."

The kids love Burgerville, too, but C and K are always finagling ways to get to BK or McD's! Poor, deprived children.

Sarah Palin Would Like to Use One of Her Lifelines

For some reason, each time I try to embed a video from NBC.com, it shows down Internet Explorer...not sure why...

But check out this video of Tina Fey's parody of Sarah Palin, with Amy Poehler channelling Katie Couric. Sad, but so lifelike!!!

While you're at it, look at SNL's parody of the first presidential debate too!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Running from His Shadow...

Someone is a VERY fast worker...catchy tune!

Such a Maverick...

No words necessary...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Make Your Own McCain/Palin Yard Sign!

Like what you see? Check out more signs, or make your own here.

A Nostalgic Look Back at My First Vote for President

I just discovered this amazing site, run by the Museum of the Moving Image, which tracks presidential campaign commercials back to 1952! How far we have fallen.

Back to fall 1984. I was a junior at Pacific Lutheran University and my friend Kristin and I were already ardent Democrats. We waited in line for hours at the Tacoma Dome to hear Geraldine Ferraro speak. The crowds were so massive (apparently she drew a crowd of 12,000, according to an article in the Seattle PI), and I so short, that I didn't actually get to SEE her...only hear her. I was thrilled to be able to cast my first vote for a presidential ticket with a woman for VP. How tragic that it didn't happen again until 2008, and even though I've questioned much of Ferraro's behavior in the past year, Ms. Palin, you are no Geraldine Ferraro.

Two hard-core, nerdy Young Republicans on the first floor of our small dorm began to target us for our political beliefs and declared all-out war on us. We had "KGB-approved" stickers slapped on our room doors (I'm sure my conservatish roommate was horrified!), regularly received taunts, and one day they even rigged an album cover full of flour to explode when I opened my room door in the morning. We had to get the ineffectual hall director to intervene, who called a not-very-successful mediation. I can't even remember the boys' names, but I will never forget what they look like. No doubt they work for the Eagle Forum or FOX News now.

Mike cast his first vote in the presidential primary this May, and will get to vote in his first general election in November. Who did you first vote for? Here's a nostalgic look back on the first vote I cast...and the innocence of those days of 1984:

On the Fence Between the Feminist Generations

In a recent article in my very favorite More magazine (written for smart women over 40!), two leading feminists discuss whether younger women are trying to trash feminism. The older generation is represented by 64-year-old Linda Hirshman, who wrote Get to Work...and Get a Life Before It's Too Late, and the younger generation is represented by Rebecca Traister, 33, who covers gender politics and media for Salon.com. Here are some salient points and my comments:

Traister recalls being at a pro-choice rally and teen girls asking what the coat hangers on the buttons mean. I agree with her that young women need to learn their history and not take our progress for granted.

Hirschman is horrified that the movie "Juno" was such a hit...and she says that "the idea that a 16-year-old should bear a child that she then has to give away is just atrocious." Traicher points out that this is a huge gap between the feminist generations...young women like the movie because it says that smart, witty teens can talk about sex, have sex, and be embraced by their family for their choices. I see the gray area here, as an avidly pro-choice mom who chose not to have an abortion when I had my own unplanned pregnancy at the age of nearly 42 (a surprisingly high proportion of women over 40 have abortions). I thought that "Juno" did a great job of pointing out the anguish that women endure when they do have abortions...and also not damning women who do have them. So I side with Traicher on this one.

Apparently the generation divide has been coined "The Great Pantyhose Divide" by career consultant Mary Crane. Wow--I didn't know I'd become a dinosaur by wearing pantyhose!! What do young women wear with skirts in the winter to keep their legs warm? Or maybe they don't wear skirts in the winter?? Traister says she has NEVER WORN PANTYHOSE. Well, she's also a writer for Salon.com and probably works in her pajamas...but still...I'm no fan of pantyhose but I haven't discovered a good alternative yet in cool weather.

On wearing revealing clothing: Hirshman believes that women are better off behind a barrier of concealment. "If men are completely dressed, women shouldn't walk around with their boobs showing." Traister believes that you should be able to expose a certain amount of flesh without being a sex object. I'm with Hirshman on this one. How can you expect to be treated as an equal, when you expose your flesh and men's eyes are drawn to your exposed parts rather than to your mind?

On Hillary vs. Obama: Hirshman is angered by women who claimed they were voting for Obama as a feminist choice. I have to agree with her on that point; however, I also respect the women who were pro-Obama all the way, especially given the fact that Hillary supported the war. (This conversation was published before McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate; I'm sure that would have led to a great deal of agreement between the two women.)

The two women also discuss the choices modern-day women are making to step out of the workforce and raise their children. Traister believes that the ability to make that choice was one of the things feminism was supposed to fight for. However, that choice should be made "in concert with men making different choices as well." Hirshman says that the daughters of feminists have recreated the 1950s sitcom, with men as breadwinners and daddy figures and women who stay at home.

Most of the men I know are way more involved fathers than their fathers were, and they participate much more heavily in cooking, cleaning, and other activities. In many of our friendship circles, the moms often work part-time or full-time, or plan to go back into the working world eventually. I am aware that there is still a pretty big gap in the amount of time women spend on domestic chores vs. men. We have made a great deal of progress in raising children who do not think that only women cook, for example.

But I do agree we'll be a lot closer to true equality when more men make the choice to be stay-at-home dads, do more of the cooking, and breastfeed their children (oops...wait...).

Upon reading more about Hirshman, I have discovered that she is a highly polarizing figure in feminism, discounting women who "stay at home kissing boo-boos." She was actually quite well behaved in the More discussion. In this controversial article, she reminds us that the glass ceiling still exists in the home--I do agree with her there. Half of the wealthiest, most privileged and educated women in the U.S. stay at home to take care of their children. My guess is that it's a combination of the following reasons:

  • Most work environments continue to be less-than-friendly to women with small children...especially in the most demanding of careers.
  • Many women fall in love with their babies and cannot bear to be away from them all day. I so get that.
  • Women still bear the brunt of most of the household chores, and it is mighty stressful to have to manage a household and a career at the same time.
  • If they can afford it, women would rather have one parent be the primary caregiver, because it's easier to ensure that their children will get nurturing, loving, and one-on-one attention. And women have traditionally played this role instead of men...and are probably better prepared for this role (and definitely more accepted by society!).
In my case, I am lucky to work in a place that offers me flexibility to be there at my kids' performances, school meetings, and other events. I am actively involved in their lives although I work full-time. I'm also lucky to have a loving, nurturing stay-at-home dad for my kids. But I know that I am privileged to have that choice, and many women do not have the option. Sometimes I do envy my husband that he gets to hang out with the kids all day...but I also know that my personality is better suited to working outside of the home. I wish I could have the best of both worlds, though!

I like it when women can have respectful, intelligent discussions about choices they are making. But I don't like it when they hurl slurs at each other. It goes both ways--I have been looked down upon and asked how I could possibly go back to work after I had my kids. I think that some women look the other way in my case because my husband stays at home with them. But what if he didn't? Who are you to tell me what is best for my family?

However, those women who do make the choice to stay home, or like me whose husbands do, need to recognize that many women do not share the ability to make that choice. I'm not talking about couples who insist they both have to work so they can afford their three SUVs, private schools for their kids, and 5,000-square-foot houses. I'm talking about the single or married low-income moms without access to good child care who probably wish they could stay home and take care of their kids. But they can't afford to.

Pantyhose, anyone?

Those Who Do Not Study the Past Get an Exciting Opportunity to Repeat It

Great new video from Jon Stewart about Bush's exciting speech about the economic crisis, "The Dive of Death":

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On Bob the Builder, Fresh Tomatoes, and Unsuspecting Democrats

It's that time of the year again...time to exchange the spring/summer clothes for the fall/winter clothes...sigh! This is quite a chore in a house of three boys...because of course I have boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs to wade through (plus some from my sister for Nicholas). Then there's my own clothing to transfer out. Mike doesn't do his seasonal swap until he's freezing cold in the winter, or boiling hot in the summer. He prides himself on putting it off as long as he can!

I found Kieran's hand-me-down Bob the Builder overalls, which excited Nicholas to no end. Of course, being who he is, Kieran insisted that they would fit him and he wanted to keep them! I humored him and let him try them on...amazingly, he was able to put the shirt on. The pants ended up being shorts, and he wasn't able to fasten the overalls...and he admitted they weren't very comfortable...so he guessed I could give them to Nicholas...

Here is Kieran wearing the same overalls on his 2nd birthday, his "Bob the Builder" party, with his Grandpa Bob, the Builder:

Mike is taking K and N to the grand opening of the new Bob the Builder exhibit at the Oregon Children's Museum tomorrow, so Nicholas is all ready with his B the B duds! I find B the B similar to Thomas the Tank Engine...not terribly exciting to me...but at least Bob has a female sidekick (Wendy).

Doesn't he look ready for school, complete with Bob the Builder backpack!!?? He LOVES to have his photo taken.

This is a not-very-good photo of the beautiful tomato, basil, cheese, and kalamata olive salad my lovely husband made last night...my parents are traveling in England and Ireland this month, so we've been gobbling up their yummy garden-fresh tomatoes! Delicious!!

When I returned home from work last night, Kieran informed me that he was going back into the bathroom to "make myself beautiful." This was the result--isn't he a beauty? :)

Sometime after dinner, all of his clothes came off. He's a bit of a nudist, our Kieran. Neither Mike nor I grew up in a family where people ran around without their clothes on--maybe it had to do with the mixed-gender children, or perhaps the generation. I suppose I'm still quite modest myself. But my children aren't!
As Mr. 5-year-old was running around without a stitch on, an unsuspecting Democratic National Committee fundraiser came to our door, perhaps encouraged by the Obama-Biden yard sign out front. As Mike came into the house to consult with me on the amount of money we should give, Kieran entertained our poor young college student...who gently suggested that maybe he should go put some clothes on. Poor kid! (I mean the college student!) We finally convinced Kieran to go put some clothes on, and he returned in this getup:

Yes, boxer briefs and necktie. I've never seen anything quite like it.

I'm not sure what the guy thought after that. Well, at least he got his money!
As he saw me taking Kieran's photo, Nicholas had to get into the act as well, with wand:
Not to be outdone, he had to flash a little skin as well!
I think it's time to train Mr. K. not to traipse around naked, don't you?

(The Other) Palin for President

For all you Monty Python fans out there...thanks to Stephanie for sending this along! He's certainly more qualified than the other Palin!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boys and Their Forts and Sticks!

Things I didn't know until I became a mom of three boys:

A stick can be a useful implement for just about anything, especially sword fighting.
It's fun to aim for the toilet and miss a little.
What's a brother for if not to tackle?
Laundry baskets are for airplane rides.
It's impossible to have too many books.
It's funny to have screaming contests.
The goal of a bath: end up with more water outside of the bathtub than inside it.
What good is the beach if you do not end up covered in sand (and in the water!!)?
Monsters live upstairs.
One cannot have enough little pieces in a toy (to lose).
Mess? What mess?
Scooby Doo gives 5-year-olds nightmares, but the Wizard of Oz does not.
Sometimes big brothers will read you a story.
Sometimes they will even let you play on their drum set.
If my brother has it, I want it (even if I haven't been interested in it for years).
Whoever gets to Mom first when she comes home at the end of the day wins.
If you are 2 years old and your brother gets to her first, the only alternative is to cry.
Daddies are funny.
Mommies are cuddly and beautiful (or so they tell me) and do not have gray hairs.

Here are some photos of our time on the beach...building forts and covering ourselves in sand. Even though I was not a boy, I loved playing in forts when I was a kid too...so not only boys love that. Although I was not so much into sword fighting with sticks...

Look how tall my little baby is--will pass me up soon!
Gosh, they actually look like they sorta like each other! ;)

Our First Oktoberfest--Sort of a Bust!

So I'm part German, studied German in high school and college, and even was CONCEIVED in Germany! Yet after Mike told me that he'd never been to an Oktoberfest, I realized that I hadn't either. I thought I'd found the perfect activity for our Saturday at the coast.

We had a great weekend getaway, all too quick of course, but we will never stop being grateful for the fact that my parents have a wonderful beach house about 1-1/2 hour away from Portland. Very lucky we are!!

At any rate, I got this bright idea in my head that we should drive to Pacific City for their first-ever Oktoberfest. We'd never been to Pacific City, so we thought it would be an adventure. Well first of all, it was about an hour-drive from Rockaway.

Then we got there and had a heckuva time finding the huge Oktoberfest!! We finally stopped to ask, and discovered that it was spread all over town. You paid for your "scrip" in the center of town and bought plastic beer steins. Free face painting for the kids (tip encouraged).

Then many of the businesses in town had little glass fishing balls you could win if you had the matching ticket number...which meant that we went into all these little shops and offices in the hope of winning a tiny glass ball? What else was there to do? :)

They did have a great selection of beer and root beer, and the bratwursts were excellent. But they billed it as a "root beer kindergarten," and my impression was that they'd have all sorts of activities for the kids, etc. About the only entertainment they had was a lone accordion player who took lots of breaks.

I believe Nicholas enjoyed the outing most of all, because the "beer garden" (ha!) was right next to a small runway where antique biplanes were going up and landing--giving people rides. He LOVES airplanes, so he was thrilled. He sings this little song, "Honolulu airplane" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" because he remembers flying to Hawaii.

After eating/drinking, we walked down several blocks to the "root beer tasting," where I correctly identified Jones Soda and Thomas Kemper root beer and won two bags of root beer candy. But as we were there, they were packing up the root beer tasting to move it down near the beer and brats.

All in all, it was a fun-enough outing, but not really worth driving a 2-hour round trip! Next time we are hitting the Oktoberfest at Oaks Park or Mt. Angel!!! My guess is that for the same price, we'd get a lot more entertainment included.

My little tigers!
Watching the airplanes fly by... "Nother Airplane!"
Runway right behind us...

Posing by the airplane...

No Wonder She's Stayed Away from Interviews!

I've never seen a candidate for a presidential campaign falter so much and appear so "in over her head." But of course, for saying that, I'm a sexist.

Katie Couric was actually quite diplomatic and polite, I thought. Imagine how Palin would do up against Rachel Maddow--one of my new favorites. I LOVE her!!! I love the fact that her new show on CNBC is whipping everything else around, and that she was the first openly gay Fulright scholar. She is amazingly bright and engaging. Check out her coverage of Palin's "noncoverage":

If You Can't Control Them, At Least You Can Laugh at Them (Jon Stewart on the $700B Bailout)

He is amazing! It is so, so depressing, once you start thinking about it...so you might as well laugh. This shows the complete insanity of giving these people more money!!!

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show are almost good-enough reasons for me to get cable!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

75 Books Every Woman Should Read

The folks over at one of my favorite blogs, Jezebel, have created a list of the 75 books every woman should read, with help from their readers. Avid and obsessive reader that I am (and former English major), I was taken aback by how many on the list I have yet to read!

Most of them are by or about women, because nearly all of the classic "to read" lists are full olf old, white men!

Here they are--and the ones highlighted in bold are the ones I have read. How many have you read?

The Lottery (and Other Stories), Shirley Jackson (high school reading)
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
White Teeth, Zadie Smith (wasn't such a fan)
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende (loved it!)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (I had a Sylvia Plath obsession in college...)
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri (movie was good too)
Beloved, Toni Morrison (amazing and disturbing!)
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
Like Life, Lorrie Moore
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (classic favorite)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
The Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (I know, full of cliques, but I liked the story of the sisters)
A Good Man Is Hard To Find (and Other Stories), Flannery O'Connor
The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx (excellent; I should read some of her others)
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (one of my faves)
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (I need to reread)
Fear of Flying, Erica Jong (fun romp)
Earthly Paradise, Colette
Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (also liked The Invisible Wall, a similar type of book)
Property, Valerie Martin
Middlemarch, George Eliot (I did my English senior thesis on George Eliot)
Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
Runaway, Alice Munro
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers (high school)
The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (need to reread)
You Must Remember This, Joyce Carol Oates
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (need to reread0
Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill
The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (didn't really "get it")
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (I love her!)
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith
And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
The Secret History, Donna Tartt (excellent writer, but disturbing book)
The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley
The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
The Group, Mary McCarthy (classic!)
Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (I need to see the movie...)
The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (I read tons of Doris Lessing in college)
The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank (I want to read the unexpurgated version)
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag
In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (just read this and enjoyed it--graphic novel)
Three Junes, Julia Glass
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
Sophie's Choice, William Styron (disturbing but beautiful)
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (I think I read this...)
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin (one of the few sci-fi books I've read)
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant (loved it)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (can't remember much of it)
The Face of War, Martha Gellhorn
My Antonia, Willa Cather (read for my book group--wasn't very memorable though)
Love In The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (loved it)
The Harsh Voice, Rebecca West
Spending, Mary Gordon
The Lover, Marguerite Duras
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (loved it)
Tell Me a Riddle, Tillie Olsen
Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
Three Lives, Gertrude Stein
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons (great movie too)
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (recently saw the movie of this, and I'd like to read the book)
Possession, A.S. Byatt

I need to add all these to my goodreads list!!

Biggest-ever Political Rally in Alaska (Not all Alaskans Love Sarah Palin!)

Several people have forwarded this e-mail to me with the photos below, and I finally got around to posting them. I love the creative sign-making! You go, Blue Voters in Red States!!! I tip my hat to them. Attending this rally took guts...given that the last time I was in Alaska, the hot news of the moment was about two "shock jocks" who made vile, racist, and misogynist comments about an Alaskan native woman. Not exactly a climate ripe for Democrats...

I've included the e-mail virtually verbatim--not sure who originally wrote it. At the bottom of the post, I've included some links to other blogs that cover this rally.


Very Interesting.

Enjoy & pass it on!

[The] Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Homemade signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally "a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots," and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages. (Note from me: apparently, he was suspended for broadcasting their phone numbers...justifiably!)

I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing "socialist baby-killing maggot" haters.

It's a good thing I wasn't tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody's trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1,400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn't happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn't be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you've been doing the math. Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.

Given the news I read today about polar bears resorting to cannibalism as the polar ice cap melts, the thought of Palin in the White House is terrifying indeed.

More here:
Mudflats (a blog about Alaskan politics)
Daily Kos (with video, and more REALLY great signs--like "Bristol got to choose; why don't we?" and "Real Leaders Don't Have to Cram for the Interviews," "Blink before going to war," "Hockey Mom for Obama")
Pass the word on!