Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lorelei Gilmore at the DNC?

If I can't have Lorelei's fast-talking play-by-play packed with witty cultural references, the next best thing is Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of "Gilmore Girls" and the voice behind one of my favorite female characters. has Sherman-Palladino guest blogging from the DNC.

From "Thinking Chicks and Michelle Obama"

Women have to put up with "chick lit," which is code for crappy books. (I'm sorry, why is there a separate section for "chick lit"? We can't read something from the grown-up shelves? They think, just 'cause it's summer, women all across the world suddenly lose a chromosome? They lose focus and can't put big words together unless there's a picture of a pink shopping bag on the cover?) Women are constantly underestimated. They are ignored, brushed aside. Presidential candidates tell heinous misogynistic jokes about them to reporters on the campaign bus. Women have to prove every day that they are good enough, smart enough, tough enough, etc. So, with all these weighty thoughts rolling around in my head, I waited with anticipation to hear Michelle Obama's speech.

Read more ...

Teaching Wild Animals to Swim

I don't know -- the cat still looks plenty pissed off.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Donald Miller prays at the DNC

Thanks to my friend Cameron who sent me these links, and who summed it up so well:

"Whether you are a democrat or not, it's great to hear the gospel
addressed in such a public forum and in such a beautiful way."

Addendum: After posting this and then reading some of the comments on the interview in Christianity Today, I started to think about my firm support of the separation of church and state. As much as I appreciate Miller's honest and real prayer, I wonder if the DNC had asked for prayers from any other representatives of the many different faiths free to practice and vote in America?

Here's the YouTube video, and an interview with Miller in Christianity Today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Michael Phelps Returns To His Tank At Sea World

"Phelps, the 6'4", 200-pound aquatic mammal, and the first ever SeaWorld swimmer to be raised in captivity by foster swimmers (Mark Spitz and Dara Torres), was recaptured by trainer Bob Bowman in a hoop net baited with an entire Dutch apple pie following Phelps' final Olympic event last Sunday."

Read the whole article (and see the photo!) at The Onion

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Life in the present -- with soundtrack

I took an unexpected lunch hour today, feeling anxious and overwhelmed. My sister talked me down from her house in Portland. I held the cell phone to my ear, anxious to be in the moment, to take in all that was real, now. The construction workers, their rumbling trucks competing with the sound of car horns and the accordion music ... what? Where did she come from?

As we mused on Jesus' and Buddha's teachings about the freedom of living in the moment, a girl sat down a few feet from me, opened a square black case, pulled out a black, shiny, pearly accordion and promptly began to play. My laughter made her pause, was I suddenly in a film scene, replete with soundtrack? but a dollar dropped in her case and the music started again. One of the construction workers stopped by and dropped in a dollar. A man in a suit opened his wallet, pulled out a 20, eyed the girl, then asked his friends if they could break the 20.

Apparently, they could not.

Fully in the moment, I felt a lot lighter and ready to head back to work. My thanks to God, the universe, whatever you call the mix of wonder that led to that moment.

Frederick Buechner's advice to find God? "Pay attention. ... Keep your life open."

Should Michael Phelps be forced to race non-humans?

I wondered if anyone else was burned out by Michael Phelps coverage. Further proof that I am not alone:

Michael Phelps Wins Olympics, Still Can't Beat Dolphins

"There are still hurdles to be cleared, Mr. Phelps (though we're pretty sure he won the gold in the 100m hurdles as well)."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Peace of Wild Things

I may have posted this before - but I felt the need to read again, and thought others might as well:

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ 'The Peace of Wild Things'
by Wendell Berry

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Republican slogan (A wonderful new drug hits the market)

Granted, this does not support my hope to find common ground, and all that Obama keeps reiterating to break down party lines -- but it's funny. And really more about the Bush administration than anything.

It's time for you to live your life. It's time for the Republican party.

"Please consult a physician before using Republican."

See more Adam "Ghost Panther" McKay videos at Funny or Die

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Candle4Tibet vs. Gilmore Girls

I don't know much about Tibet's history and the current oppression from China. In an ever-expanding world view and news and information flow, I feel overwhelmed trying to keep informed about individual countries, uprisings, droughts, celebrations.

I'm interested how, through the Olympic games, the world focus narrows in on China's human rights record. I received an email from Candle4Tibet this week, alerting me to a light protest -- a candle vigil around the world, on the eve of the Olympics, to raise awareness to what many call the cultural genocide of Tibet.

In recent months I've felt more and more strongly that there is an activist inside me, waiting for me to be brave enough to let her out. I think she wants to march ... somewhere, on something. But the rest of me has long been concerned about what people think, how they view me. If all the world's a stage, I envision myself as sole actor. The psych term for this, the invisible audience, typically describes 14-year olds. I'm so tired of being stunted, of worrying what others will think of my actions. And a candle vigil seemed a good first step in my march.

I forwarded the email and found a friend eager to join me. Jonathan had traveled through Tibet, camped in freezing mountain cold, met monks, passed through Chinese check points. He told me stories of the people there, their strength, how the buildings have been destroyed, the culture being swallowed by the prevailing Chinese culture, the Tibetan uncommon beauty and coveted cheekbones. We agreed to pack candles with us on Thursday, so that in case we didn't make it in time to the pier, we could light our candles wherever we were.

One day later, my enthusiasm waned. After 9 hours at my desk, I felt waxy and overweight, and just wanted to get a work-out in before zoning off in front of my favorite re-run of "The Gilmore Girls." I was secretly hoping Jonathan would be caught in traffic, and who was I to go by myself to a vigil full of strangers for a cause I had never intensely researched? I'd light my candle at 9, have a moment of silence and recognition.

Jonathan left a message that he was on time and on his way to the vigil. I sat for five full minutes, feeling the flab on my hips, telling myself that one more day without exercise and I'd be a candidate for Jenny Craig, and I can't afford Jenny Craig, therefore it would be completely irresponsible for me not to exercise, immediately.

Then a small voice said "That's right. There are people who aren't allowed free press, to learn in their language, who are dying for the freedoms you have. Go ahead. Turn on that salsa tape and dance your hips off." Not really a kind voice, but I didn't need kindness towards my selfish self right then. If I wanted to be that woman who doesn't care, who's ready to march for what matters, I needed to be her right then. I packed a couple candles in my bag, grabbed my camera and joined the thousands of tourists on the pier, to find the 80 or so protesters down on the sand.

As I stood with my friend, surrounded by a mixed group of men and women, the elderly to little girls doing splits in the sand, I wondered what it means for people in Tibet for us to stand on a beach, halfway around the world, holding a candle. The organizer said what I can only assume were meaningful, inspiring words. The sound of the waves crashing mixed with dance beats from the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant and bar and the laughter from the pier drowned him out. I wasn't putting my life on the line. I barely interrupted my regular schedule. I wasn't sharing a cup of tea and hearing the stories of a vanishing culture.

But I was stepping outside myself and my concerns. I was in the presence of others, of a community, not the false community of Stars Hollow on my TV. The world is overwhelmingly big, but we act where we are, in the moment we find ourselves. It may not change China's policies. It may not be witnessed by one person in Tibet. But I am changed, and I'll view things a little differently. And that has to count for something.

"No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one's partiality." - Wendell Berry

Christiane Amanpour provides a brief overview of Tibetan history with China, interviewing the Dalai Lama in Buddha's Warriors Part1

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

GOOD Magazine: 'Wish You Were Here?'

Dispatches from places you didn't think had tourists.

"Like the soldiers packed into the room with me, I was filthy and awoke tired, but at least we were all still alive. Sadr City, a Shiite slum in eastern Baghdad, is currently the most vicious battleground in the Iraq War—one that is underreported, and therefore almost unseen. It is the fight for the future of Iraq, where the United States and Iran are fighting a war neither side wants to admit is already well under way. It is a life-and-death fight for the several million people living here, for the Iraqi soldiers sent in to take this ground from Iranian-backed militias, and for U.S. soldiers who have not seen anything like this anywhere else in Iraq.


I came here to live with the soldiers, to hear their stories. And to talk to the people trapped in their homes, surviving without electricity, water, and food, caught in a fight they did not seek and from which there is no escape. I came to Sadr City in the hope that someone, somewhere, is paying attention."

excerpt from Lara Logan - GOOD Magazine

Friday, August 01, 2008

puppy whisperer

Dog lullaby -- cute tumbly puppies

from the Kim Komando Show

Wal-Mart Warns Workers Of Democratic Win

I've never been a fan of Wal-Mart's policies, but this tops it.

Huffington Post has a statement from Wal-Mart.

The original report from The Wall Street Journal:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise ...

The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don't specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union,'" said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. "I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote," she said.