Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Freakonomics blog at the New York Times posted an interesting bit today, about The Economist's debate on the commodification of water.

At The Economist debate site, pro is supplied by Steve Hoffmann, Managing Director, WaterTech Capital & co-founder, Palisades Water Index Associates. Con is provided by Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Natural Resource Policy.

Hmmm, excuse me for being skeptical of the shameless frat boys that make up the free market at a time like this, but judging merely by the titles, I do have an instant gut feeling of who I should trust!

While I agree that water supplies would probably, in theory, be better "managed" were market rates applied (definition of managed being fluid depending on which "market" you were talking to), Hoffman's attempt to play the social justice card -- by offering first thing that the beneficiaries of said (safer, more consistent, more abundant) water supplies would be folks who are underserved in the first place -- make me not only suspicious, but a bit queasy.

To wit, let's ask something that makes this perfectly clear: what have corporate interests done for YOU lately? Especially one that is a "merchant and investment banking firm that specializes in serving the myriad of companies that...comprise the water industry?" When has big business cared about whether the needs of not only the underserved but our ecosystems are being met, especially if they don't have a voice to the tune of millions of dollars?

From Vandana Shiva's abstract:

When water's social and ecological values are ignored and markets determine how water flows, it starts to move against the law of gravity. It moves upwards – to money – from the poor to the rich, from agriculture to industry, from the countryside to the city. In water markets, water moves from having a high ecological and social value, but a low market value, to having a low ecological and social value, but a high market value.

Water markets take water from where it is needed by nature’s economy, people’s economy and the countryside, to where there is purchasing power for water as a commodity—the urban areas, industry and industrial agriculture. Managing a scarce and precious resource like water requires conservation, equity and the recognition that as the basis of life, water is priceless.

Water, a neccesity for all of Earth's life, should not be corralled to serve the greed of the free market.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love my honey-pie, but I'm considering not only polygamy with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but also having their gay babies after reading their latest in EW.

Apparently if the Democrats win the White House in November, I'm set, because it'll be anything goes! ;P

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh wow. Just when I get in a musical funk and can't find anything new that I am really digging, something like Chad VanGaalen's visual masterpiece, 'Molten Light' from his new album, Soft Airplane, comes along and kicks me in the proverbial jimmy.

Hat tip to Trevor for the heads-up.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

You know how you psych yourself up for something and then it is impossible for it to live up to your expectations? Not so last night with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds...

...at the newly refurbished Warfield.

Red Sparowes opened, and I enjoyed their opener show as much as when I saw them headline at Bottom of the Hill. They did a fantastic job of bringing the atmospheric guitar assault, but because of the hypnotic visuals, rumbly soundscape, and being seated, both Trevor and I got kind of sleepy during their performance.

But on to Mr. Cave: I have been waiting for years to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and I was completely blown away. They were phenomenal! Nick Cave is turning 51 tomorrow, and he rocked harder than boys half his age.

I was seated in the balcony, and the only way it would have been better was if I had been right in front of the stage. We got a great setlist, with old favorites like 'Tupelo,' 'The Weeping Song,' 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry,' and 'Hard-On for Love,' as well as a few from the newest record, Dig!!!, Lazarus, Dig!!!. But the final song of the night was truly a finale: their intense and graphic version of 'Stagger Lee' from the Murder Ballads album.

The reserved countenance of the band was a perfect foundational backdrop for the wild antics of Cave and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis. And aside from the confessional, Jesus-laden, fire and brimstone quality of most of the Bad Seeds' catalog, Nick Cave himself is a showman, so the atmosphere was like a religious revival onstage and in the audience.

You have your slick preacher with dodgy facial hair...

and your guru:

Do you love it?!?

I have to hand it to Warren Ellis and his violin. Whether he was leaving my mouth agape at his unorthodox use of violin as frenzied guitar or feedback instrument, or bringing tears to my eyes with a few mournful draws of his bow, that man infused his violin with his raw essence. Intense.

I also really dug his haphazard suitcase of tricks (maracas, flute, looping machines, strange homemade-looking instruments) strewn about the stage. Oi, and how his tiny guitars made me smile.

There are musicians whose music is actually hindered by live shows, and then there are musicians whose catalogs take on a deeper flavor when you experience it live. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds demonstrate clearly why seeing a live show is still a must. What a wonderful night!

(pics of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds by seancodysf)

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nate Sensel and Troy Farmer play chess in a temporary park created out a public parking space across from New York's Museum of Modern Art. The game was part of the Trust for Public Lands 2008 National Park(ing) Day, an international event in which people reclaim parking spots for a single day

Such a cool idea. I'm often surprised to discover tiny parks in Japan that are about the size of an American parking space or two. I used to wonder, "why bother?' But they make a difference in the modern human landscape that for many is mostly blacktop and neon. They do for me.

I'm curious though -- it's just one parking space, so why for just one day?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Existing hand in hand with my love of cooking is an obsession with vintage kitchenware that is only slightly kept in check by our small kitchen. I particularly love Fiestaware, Le Creuset's enamelware and ceramics, old 6, 8, and 10 ounce beer glasses, and especially little vintage dishes of all sorts -- mostly ramekins, cheese plates, egg cups, and tiny casserole dishes.

But one of my biggest kitchenware obsessions is vintage Pyrex. Cheap and plentiful in many thrift stores, and both beautiful and functional, I often walk into a thrift shop and for just a few dollars come away with a nice piece for my use and display. I picked up 5 pieces just the other day; thus this post to show off my finds.

What spills from the kitchen cabinets thus far:

Nesting mixing bowls:

Primary color mixing bowls

Acid green baking dishes and itty-bitty bowl:

"Crazy Daisy" butter dish:

My favorites -- White on charcoal "black snowflake" divided serving dish and baking dish

Orange casserole:

Refrigerator dishes, AKA my tofu dishes:

"Terra" random odd little cup:

For further info, here are some excellent sites for Pyrex lovers: Pyrex Love and The Pyrex Files.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Russian Goths Arrested on Suspicion of Murdering and Eating Teenagers in Satanic Ritual

Equally disturbing to me, however:

In June, the State Duma held a hearing on proposed legal amendments that would regulate emo websites and prevent goth-inclined teenagers from entering schools and government buildings.

What? On what grounds?

As a former goth kid -- "rehabilitated" as it were into a color-wearing, sensible shoe wearing, generally makeup-less citizen -- I thank my stars this was my path into young adulthood. Sure, there's an obsession with doom and gloom, but plenty of well-adjusted kids embrace goth culture. I loved it because the nature of "goth" means an interest in the macabre, the other, and questioning the status quo. So hand in hand with that doom and gloom came awareness and discussion of literature (gothic and otherwise), environmentalism, politics, religion, you name it -- the likes of which some people don't get exposed to until college, if ever.

So in light of recent conversations I've been having with folks about the Salem Witch Trials, I just have to ask: don't we ever learn a damn thing?

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Two things so very close to my heart, together at last.

This was a sweet little one-shot that I enjoyed whilst at a book release party at Isotope Saturday. First time at this comic book store/lounge -- nice. Props to the Dr. Strange handmade costume on display, free cocktails, and renderings of superheroes on the walls done by a neighborhood kid.

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I love you, Tina Fey.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

San Francisco Start-Up Produces Jet Fuel From Algae

I don't know much about this, but it presents well. Seems to be a much better alternative to corn. Okay, I'm paying attention.

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Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving.

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Following up Gloria Steinem's excellent op-ed piece on Sarah Palin for the LA Times, I highly recommend that everyone -- especially any woman, socially conservative or not, who may be considering Palin as a viable Vice-President -- take a look at this website:

Women Against Sarah Palin

Nevermind what I see as a directionless campaign based solely on blind patriotism and fear on the part of John McCain -- the last straw is that in an era of articulate Republican female leadership that is not only well-versed in US-foreign diplomacy (our repair of which should, IMHO, be one of the main foci for the next administration) but also the rich tapestry of what it is to be a woman in the US and abroad, here instead my Republican friends are being assaulted with someone with little experience and even less diplomacy, who holds so many distasteful, anti-woman views. Someone being held up as a gutsy, groundbreaking woman who in reality is best known for her anti-feminist ideals and who revels in the old boy network.

I shudder at the thought of Palin not only being a "heartbeat away from the presidency" but also meeting with foreign heads of state, or, god forbid, being a role model for young women.

And I am especially proud to say in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage [that she is] a devoted, a devoted wife and mother of five.

—John McCain introducing Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's selection by the Republican party as a vice-presidential candidate is a mockery of women in politics, a mockery of the working class, and a slap in the face to American women. I have never felt the need to formally work against a political campaign until now. Please consider the following, and get the word out.

Obama-Biden in 2008!

Friends and compatriots,

We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce-on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate-that has a real possibility of becoming fact.

Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she wanted to ban books and attempted to fire the librarian who stood against her), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-most-powerful person on the planet.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.

Therefore, we invite you to reply here with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation.

Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence.

We will post your responses on a blog called "Women Against Sarah Palin," which we intend to publicize as widely as possible. Please send us your reply at your earliest convenience-the greater the volume of responses we receive, the stronger our message will be.

Thank you for your time and action.



Quinn L. and Lyra K.
New York, NY

**PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY! If you send this to 20 women in the next hour, you could be blessed with a country that takes your concerns seriously. Stranger things have happened.

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Monday, September 08, 2008