November 2008 Archives
Marshmallow Peeps have now invaded Christmas in the misshapen forms of a snowman and a Christmas tree. I think Peeps are like Candy Corn. They need to be in the right season for me to eat them. While I might tolerate a Chick Peep or two at Easter, they do nothing for me during the holiday season.
Oh, and if you click the Peeps link, turn down the volume of your computer to avoid the peppy Peep music on their website.
This is the tree that I ended up buying. I'll post a picture once I have it up and decorated.
From the Findlay Market website:
StopAIDS Holiday Tree Sale at the Market
StopAIDS, the greater Cincinnati's only AIDS service organization providing 26 years of service to the community, will once again sell top quality, freshly cut Ohio Christmas trees and undecorated wreaths at Findlay Market every Saturday and Sunday. The event supports an important local cause and offers shoppers beautiful, long-lasting Christmas trees at a great price. Several varieties of trees and many sizes will be offered. The Christmas tree lot is at the Elm Street entrance to Findlay Market. StopAIDS volunteers will sell trees every weekend until December 21, 2008. 100 percent of the proceeds from the tree sale stay in Cincinnati to provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS and to provide prevention education and testing throughout the area.
The trees for sale include:
Trees range in size from 3.5 feet to 10 feet tall.
A Wal-Mart employee in suburban New York died after he was trampled by a crush of shoppers who tore down the front doors and thronged into the store early Friday morning, turning the annual rite of post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting into a Hobbesian frenzy.This is sad. The $99 Blu-ray player is not worth trampling someone to death. What is wrong with people?
Candy lovers rejoice! The Giant Gummy Bear on a Stick represents the most delicious candy confection that man has ever produced. Hand made (with gloves on) in the US, the Giant Gummy Bear is 88 times larger than a standard gummy bear. Each Giant Gummy Bear weighs half a pound and comes on a stick for easy, mess-free snacking.I'm kind of tempted to get one as a Secret Santa present. I'm sure gag gifts represent a huge percentage of their sales.
In college a few friends and I decorated the dorm room door of one of the girls on our floor with small gummy bears. If you bite off the back of the bear, the soft innards have kind of a glue-like consistency that allows the bear to stick. I can imagine what it might look like if we had these super-sized gummy bears.
Buy it now at Vat19.com
A look into GM and its problems.Â Definitely worth a read.
This is an impossible quiz. It's a little sad that people change their names because their real names aren't "star" quality.
The most hated player in hockey is a women's fashion buff. Pretty interesting profile of the NHL's Sean Avery.
UPDATE 12/3/08: Avery suspended indefinitely for comments related to ex-girlfriends
Avery was punished indefinitely by commissioner Gary Bettman for using a crude term about his former girlfriends now dating other hockey players. Bettman acted within hours, in time to keep Avery out of the Dallas Stars' game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.UPDATE: 12/4/08: Suspended Avery apologizes for crude ex-girlfriend remarks
"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada," the Ontario native said. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." He then walked out of the locker room.
While we had generally considered the iPhone and iPod Touch to be one cohesive platform, as games have started to push the boundaries of these devices, it has become apparent that there are differences in performance between the different models.Apple has not talked at all about processor speeds for the different generations of iPhones and iPod Touch. Most companies don't tout the microprocessor speeds of their phones. But, the iPhones and iPod Touch are basically mini-computers
In an earlier post we commented on positive aspects of the relationship between Michelle and Barack Obama. Fresh from having watched their recent 60 Minutes interview, we'd like to bring to your attention one remarkable bit of body language we can all learn from. Specifically, if you watch their body language carefully, you'll see that Michelle and Barack communicate with each other in a way that is rare among presidential couples: when Michelle Obama is speaking, Barack makes eye contact with her and listens with interest to what she's saying.
If you want to see just how rare that is, look at old footage of interviews with Laura and George Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton and the elder Bushes. Go back a little further and look at footage of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Pat and Richard Nixon and any others you can find. Here's what you usually WON'T see: the President looking at his wife when she's speaking. You'll see lots of footage of presidential wives listening, usually with an adoring smile locked firmly in place, to their husbands, but it's rare to see it the other way around. When Michelle Obama is speaking, though, Barack looks at her and listens. When he's speaking, she looks and listens. It's a refreshing exception, and a key to the respect that flows between them.
Victoria's Secret angel Karolina Kurkova surprised onlookers with her almost invisible bellybutton at last week's show in Miami, but there is an explanation.All I know is if I'm looking at Karolina Kurkova, I'm not looking for her belly button.
"She had an operation when she was an infant," her rep told the Daily News. "It's a fact and just thank God she's healthy."
So what belly button condition could baby Kurkova have had?
Doctors say it was likely an umbilical hernia.
Buy the "Legobama" on eBay. Made of $500 worth of Legos. The artist also does custom portraits.
The poster is currently sold out on the site.
Mine came in the same type of gigantic indestructible shipping tube that were used for my previous prints.
From NYTimes.com: The "O" in Obama
Q: I have to ask, since many agencies that do political campaigns are simply "doing a job," did you have strong feelings one way or the other for the Obama candidacy?The Obama logo is a brilliant piece of artwork and an extremely important part in the branding of Barack Obama as "cool", especially to younger voters.
A: We were excited to work on the logo and energized by the prospect of Mr. Obama's campaign. However, we didn't pursue or develop the work because we were motivated exclusively by ideology. It was an opportunity to do breakthrough work at the right time in what's become a predictable graphic landscape.
Most political designs before this were generally generic patriotic symbols incorporated with a name. The "O" logo does so much more, capturing the essence of Barack Obama's campaign, HOPE.
Having a logo also allowed for more flexibility in creating more attractive signs and logo related products.
Just in time for Christmas! Frighten your African-American neighbors with this 5.5 foot tall "burning cross". The 210 LED bulbs simulate fire without the danger of burning the house down. Panic not included.
Buy the cross at the American Family Association.
I have this nightmare image in my mind of Thanksgiving dinner with a a can of Spam dumped on a plate next to a quivering can shaped cranberry sauce.Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table. Now, in a sign of the times, it is happening again, and Hormel is cranking out as much Spam as its workers can produce.
Invented during the Great Depression by Jay Hormel, the son of the company's founder, Spam is a combination of ham, pork, sugar, salt, water, potato starch and a "hint" of sodium nitrite "to help Spam keep its gorgeous pink color," according to Hormel's Web site for the product.
UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. Now we can't afford socks!
The Star Trek website has been updated with the first non-teaser trailer.
I am a little apprehensive about the movie when I watch the trailer. I realize that it's only a trailer, but the movie seems very un-Star Trek like to me. Star Trek was always about the interaction between the characters rather than phasers and explosions in space. That was more the realm of Star Wars.
I'm more interested in seeing the classic characters redrawn and to see the actors and how they inhabit the roles, especially Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk than the actual story.
Barack and Michelle Obama are such a warm, personable couple in the interview. It brings to mind what writer Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez called "the Huxtable Effect" in describing how the "The Cosby Show" may have been a factor in the election of Barack Obama.
As Rodriguez describes it:
So it is, I believe, that Barack Obama's successful candidacy and likely presidency were heralded with the arrival of "The Cosby Show" in 1984. On the air for eight seasons, "The Cosby Show" featured Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable, an all-American father, doctor and husband, in the lead role. The impact of Cosby's weekly presence in America's family rooms, as the fair-minded, fun, quirky Dr. Huxtable, cannot be underestimated in its affect upon the consciousness of Americans who were children and young adults at the time.When watching Barack and Michelle Obama, I am totally reminded of the Huxtables. Smart, funny, warm, and engaging.
A "lost" Beatles track recorded in 1967 and performed just once in public could finally be released, according to Paul McCartney.This has "hit" written all over it. To be able to hear John Lennon gargle again. I may soon have a new favorite song!
"Carnival of Light" -- a 14-minute experimental track recorded at the height of the Beatles' musical experimentations with psychedelia and inspired by avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen -- has long been considered too adventurous for mainstream audiences.
The improvised work features distorted electric guitars, discordant sound effects, a church organ and gargling interspersed with McCartney and John Lennon shouting random phrases like "Barcelona" and "Are you all right?".
Buy them for your chariot or car at Bumpernuts.com
A fascinating look into the technological hurdles facing the development of GM's electrical vehicle, the Volt.
Then, in late 2005, Lutz got wind that a Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, was moving toward production of a high-performance electric roadster. (It's available this year, if you have $100,000.) At that point, Lutz "just lost it," as he puts it. He refused to accept that a small start-up company could build and sell an electric car but mighty GM couldn't. In early 2006, he summoned Jon Lauckner and told him to dream up an electric concept car for the 2007 Detroit auto show, a year away. The car had to be more than just interesting, he said. It had to be remarkable: a game-changer.Reading this just kind of pisses me off about large companies. Large companies like GM should have been pushing technology forward. It's not until GM sees a start-up working on an electric car that GM starts their own.
Shepard Fairey is the artist who created the iconic and ubiquituous Obama Hope poster.
Shepard Fairey's site Obey Giant
Shepard Fairey talks about his art and Obama from Current.
It turns out that there's a Flickr group- iPhone Cubism devoted to iPhone created mosaic art.
Mr. Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Mr. Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said.This is one thing that I hate about politics. If you feel like aiding the automakers is the right thing, then do it. If you don't, then don't do it. A decision like this deserves to be decided on its own merit, not as part of deal for something else.
I am torn about the idea of aiding automakers. I understand that jobs are at stake, but the automakers are primarily at fault for their own problems. When has GM produced a car that you would actually want to drive? They have a fundamental problem that lending 25 billion dollars won't solve. People don't want to drive the cars they sell.
If you lend them the money, will this buy them the time to be able to fix the company and produce fuel-efficient and technologically innovative cars? The irony of this is that GM has spent years lobbying the government against increased fuel efficiency standards. If they had just gone along with this and improved their efficiency, their problems wouldn't be as dire as they are now.
32 Amazing photos of Antarctica. Thanks to Doug for sending me the link.
"Warning could create PINOT ENVY!"
I've written about the Hillary Nutcracker before, but now they've added "Corkscrew Bill"!
From Mediaweek.com: CNN.com Cashes In on Obama T-Shirts
The election of Barack Obama has sent Americans scrambling for keepsakes of the historic moment, creating lines outside printing plants for yesterday's newspaper editions. It has also led to a small flurry of a new kind of keepsake: CNN has registered thousands of orders for T-shirts carrying the headline from the site reporting Obama's election victory.Of all the keepsakes available for Barack Obama's historic victory, this has to be one of the lamest. What are you going to do with a shirt like this? It isn't worth anything as a keepsake, and if you wear it in public you look like a total dork. A headline form CNN? Woooooo. A newspaper or an actual Obama campaign shirt will be a nicer piece of memorabilia.
In the 24 hours since CNN.com published its story calling the election for Obama, the site sold nearly 5,000 T-shirts emblazoned with "Obama inspires historic victory." Under the headline is "I just saw it on CNN.com" and the time and date 11:04 p.m., 11-4-08.
CNN in April rolled out the application, built by The Barbarian Group, to offer readers the chance to buy T-shirts carrying the site's headlines. The promotion is meant to build awareness of the CNN.com brand and traffic to the site. The T-shirts cost $15.
The customized T-shirts are a new digital twist on the marking of historic occasions. Newspapers have seen huge spikes in demand for copies of the paper declaring Obama's victory. CNN sites enjoyed a big influx of traffic on Election Day, drawing 12.8 million visitors on Tuesday, compared with 8.4 million the same day last week.
The interest translated into nearly $75,000 in T-shirt sales. The 5,000 T-shirts sold doubled the total purchased during the first five months of the promotion.
Or even the Obama commemorative plate. Well, I take it back on the plate, that's pretty cheesy too. Who actually buys these?
I'm not sure selling 5000 T-shirts is exactly cashing in for CNN. Selling 5000 shirts to a total of 12.8 million visitors represents less than .04% of visitors actually buying a shirt.
Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes' warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds -- known as static stretching -- primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg's muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.When I was studying karate several years ago we did mostly static stretching, but one of the higher level students who was leading warm-up exercises introduced us to a couple of "active" stretching exercises. We'd hold our hand in straight out in front and kick up to it. The way he explained it to us is that if we ever had to fight on the street that our opponents wouldn't give us a chance to static stretch first. But, I guess we wouldn't have a chance to active stretch either, but that's besides the point.
The article illustrates a couple of interesting exercises that I would describe as more whole body stretching exercises.
OK, I made it through two days without blogging about Sarah Palin, but I had to do this, I was getting withdrawal shakes! Darn the liberal media for taking shots at Sarah Palin! Darn Fox News!
UPDATE: Here's another story
From The Huffington Post: Palin Once Greeted McCain Staff Wearing Only A Towel
At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys' club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said.
One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
An excerpt from President-elect Barack Obama's speech at Grant Park:
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.
Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
his is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Full Transcript of Barack Obama's speech
For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.
It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.
Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.
And so, tomorrow, as we take the campaign south and west, as we learn that the struggles of the textile workers in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, that the hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L.A., we will remember that there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.
These words have inspired me since the day Barack Obama uttered these words after his primary loss in New Hampshire. In the face of the defeat in the nascent primary campaign, Barack Obama chose this opportunity to rise above the occasion and to inspire millions of people and rally them to his cause.
And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can.
Since September 11, 2001, our country has been ruled by fear. Fear of our neighbor, fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of everything.
Barack Obama represents hope instead of fear. A hope that we can be a people that can transcend race and religion. That through hard work that more Americans can live the American Dream.
It's this American Dream that drew my parents to these shores nearly 40 years ago. America was the beacon of light, a land of opportunity and a place of freedom for political expression.
This is an America for all Americans. Today we can take one small step forward to a better tomorrow. Yes we can.
That's what kept some of our parents and grandparents going when times were tough. What led them to say, "Maybe I can't go to college, but if I save a little bit each week, my child can. Maybe I can't have my own business but if I work really hard my child can open up one of her own. It's what led those who could not vote to say "if I march and organize, maybe my child or grandchild can run for President someday."I went to the Barack Obama rally Sunday night at Nippert Stadium, University of Cincinnati. It was a pretty rocking crowd. So, rocking in fact, that every time that Obama whipped the crowd into a frenzy, my photos ended up being blurry due to the vibration.
That's what hope is--that thing inside that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that there are better days ahead. If we're willing to work for it. If we're willing to shed our fears. If we're willing to reach deep inside ourselves when we're tired, and come back fighting harder.
We were pretty far away from the stage this time, even with the volunteer passes. But, at least we got to sit during the 3+ hours of waiting.
It was estimated that 27,000 people had attended the rally.
Story about the rally in today's Cincinnati Enquirer with transcript of the speech:
Obama: Change 'two days' away
UPDATE: More pictures from 5chw4r7z.
UPDATE: 11/10/2008 Amazing closeup photos from Midwest Latino. I have no idea what you have to do to get this close.
Amazing Graffiti not done with paint, but with cleaners!
We drove a half hour out to Milford to the local Obama Canvassing station and was given two packets of houses to canvas. Each packet was only 24 houses so they said that it shouldn't take so long.
Unfortunately as we started to canvas we realized quickly that this wasn't going to be a traditional "canvas". All the houses were pretty isolated and far apart. We ended up driving to every single house. The process of finding the house, parking in the driveway and then backing out when done was extremely time consuming.
Milford is primarily a white area, but it's an area with a huge disparity in income. We hit beautiful log homes, gigantic McMansions and a couple of trailers with dogs tied out in front. At no time, did I feel as comfortable as I did yesterday in safe Obama territory.
At least the weather was nice- Milford does have some very nice fall foliage going on right now.
Our reward for our work, two Volunteer tickets for tonight's Barack Obama rally. That makes our hard work feel that much better.
UPDATE: In response to a comment. I am in no way uncomfortable around white people. To clarify, I was uncomfortable in Milford in my Obama t-shirt and buttons, canvassing for Barack Obama. I bike on the Loveland trail through Milford relatively often and the people I have met are perfectly friendly in a non-election setting.
At a boisterous Sarah Palin rally in Polk City, Florida on Saturday afternoon, one name was surprisingly absent from the campaign dÃ©cor -- John McCain's.
But on closer inspection, the GOP nominee's name was literally nowhere to be found on any of the official campaign signage distributed to supporters at the event.
with Barack Obama
University of Cincinnati
2700 Bearcats Way
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Sunday, November 2nd
Doors Open: 6:00 p.m.
Program Begins: 9:00 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged.
For security reasons do not bring bags or umbrellas. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners allowed.
UPDATE: My blog entry about the Rally (with pictures).
Canvassing is a pretty simple thing, lots of legwork and knocking on doors, but something that's really useful in these last days before the election.
My morning started with a trip over to the Barack Obama campaign office in East Walnut Hills. At 9am, the office was already buzzing with activity. There was a table near the door where I was greeted by a coordinator who asked me where I would like to canvas. I told her I was from Mt. Auburn but I could canvas anywhere they needed help. She said that they needed people nearby so she gave me an address and told me to go there for training and to pick up my packet and materials.
The address was to a beautiful house of a Barack Obama supporter. A sign on the front door directed volunteers around the house to the back where there was an entrance to a basement Obama office. As I entered the house, I saw that there was a woman training a group of people and six others waiting to be trained. I took a seat on the couch and waited for my session to begin.
The Obama campaign has the art of canvassing down to a science. Our assignment was to cover an area nearby that had already been canvassed recently. Ours was a "second pass" through to talk to people who weren't home or were still undecided. We were supposed to make sure that they knew that they could vote early and where their voting location was on Tuesday should they choose to wait until then to vote. We had a checklist for each address to fill out to indicate whether the person was at home, who they were going to vote for, etc. Because this was a second pass, we didn't have to go to every house, just the ones that were highlighted for us.
I had come alone to the office, so I was paired up with a partner and we were each given packets for one side of a street. The packets were divided into even and odd house numbers so we didn't have to go zig-zagging up the street. The Obama campaign is good about sending people into areas they can handle and we were told to do what we feel is comfortable
The area that we covered was a poorer, primarily African-American community, and the support for Barack Obama very high. Obama signs dotted the lawns, so I knew I was in pretty friendly territory. I was wearing a t-shirt with the Obama "O" logo on it and everyone was very friendly. I lost my pen early on, but I was able to trade an Obama "Yes We Can" button with a young girl for another pen. She asked me, "Are you really voting for Obama"? I said "yes" and she smiled and ran off. She and her friends followed me up the street on their bikes for a little while.
Most of the people on the list weren't at home so we left literature, but I ended up spending time talking to people who were not on my list but just outside enjoying the beautiful fall day. People were very excited about Obama and appreciative that we were out campaigning for him.
Most of the elderly people that I encountered had voted already. It was the younger ones that hadn't done so yet. I encouraged them not to wait, but if they did to make sure that you go early on Tuesday if they could. Everyone I met was an Obama supporter, well, except for this one. He was a younger guy who said that he voted for John McCain. I asked "seriously?" and he said "yes", so I checked him off on my list, said "thank you", and moved on. I think he was messing with me since I noticed he was wearing an Obama button, but I can only go with what he said to me.
Canvassing the area took about three hours and I think it was time well spent. I knew that this was something important to do, but I didn't realize how rewarding it would feel. Hearing people yell "yes we can" across the street and waving at you is a nice feeling. It makes you feel like you've done something good.
I'm going out again tomorrow morning. Hopefully, it'll be as nice of a day as it was today.