Diane Vadino Can Kiss My Rump

Diane Vadino wrote a terrible review of 8 cities one shouldn't live, but should visit.

San Francisco: Do not try this for home
San Francisco seduces, to be sure. Walk certain streets — up crowded, curving Lombard, along Union to Coit Tower, from Cole Valley to Twin Peaks — and every intersection reveals a picture-postcard view: of two iconic bridges, pinpoints of light flickering across the bay, of golden sunshine filtering through stands of eucalyptus trees.

Other neighborhoods, though, reveal images more police-blotter than tourism-brochure: a staggering homeless population, rampant open-air drug use, public parks and buses made intimidating and unsafe by unruly combinations of both. To live in San Francisco is to daily confront these issues — and probably from under a dense bank of fog. (The climate's as much London as it is L.A.)

By all means: Come. Dress warmly. Climb Twin Peaks. Visit SF MOMA, the new DeYoung, and the Legion of Honor, three world-class art museums. Shop Hayes Valley and Valencia Street; get brunch at Tartine, lunch at the Dolores Park Café, snacks at Bi-Rite, and dinner at Delfina. (This can be accomplished without leaving one short stretch of 18th Street, quite possibly the world's most densely packed row of organic and locally produced deliciousness.)

Rent a car on a nice day and drive across the Golden Gate to Point Reyes National Seashore for scenery that suggests an impossibly sunny Scotland. And then, go home, safe in the knowledge that San Francisco puts on its best face for its guests. Leave the hard work of citizenship to the locals.
- Diane Vadino

She thinks one shouldn't live in SF, partly because of rampant open air drug use. Are they still calling pot smoking open air drug use? Someone shoudl let her in on a little secret: the neighborhoods she refers to as "other neighborhoods" are not places locals go to unless they WANT to, and the "unruly combinations" of people making bus lines unsafe are on the bus lines that go to those other neighborhoods that locals only use if they WANT to.

Screw you, Ms. Vadino. Go live happily in your hole in the middle of Nebraska and leave us all the heck alone.

How I Love My Muni 49

From Best of Craigslist:

....in case you were wondering, yes, we all saw. And were horrified!

You might remember the incident, huh? About 9:45pm last night, heading north. Why would I know the time, well I had to look at my cell phone to keep my eyes from looking over as you pulled his cock through his jeans and into your mouth.

How could we all not notice you? You were so ugly and those boobs were so little it was just obvious. Then the guy you were with looked like Billy Bob Thorton in "Slingblade". Except even weirder looking. Quite a pair.

So thanks for hopping on that very crowded bus, sitting 2 feet from me and making out with the goofy looking guy. That was odd, but no big deal. But when I looked over and your head was in his lap I was like -- "Are you fucking kidding me, you are now going to blow him?".

I thought it was hilarious that all those Mexican guys sitting right next to you said and did nada. I almost moved away but could not stop looking over. I kept thinking that this is going to make a good Craigslist "missed connection" and maybe a "best of".

The weird part is that the guy was staring at me with this serial killer look the whole time you were servicing him which was a little creepy. Like the whole fucking thing wasn't totally creepy.

So much like a human in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" I kept scanning around looking to see if anyone else was registering this. I kept locking eyes with the young punk rock girl across from me. Her boyfriend was being oblivious but she kept looking at me, rolling her eyes and giggling. As they reached that climactic moment she was uncontrollably laughing out loud and it really helped me keep my sanity. To pass the time I texted my sister in real time the blow by blows (no pun intended) and listened to my iPod.

Well, thankfully you two freaks got off somewhere near the Tenderloin after he came in your mouth.

When it was over I had to say something and just made eye contact with everyone and said "Did we all see what I think we just saw?" and everyone laughed out loud.

Learned something new last night. The 49 is a bit more rocking than the 47.

Craigslist Cynicism

Reading "Best of Craigslist" today, I ran across this post:

I know you are a web site, so you do not feel as normal humans feel. But you should still be thanked for the magic that you were able to connect between two troubled souls.

Not long ago, a random "let's talk" post cross your pages, and garnered a response from another soul in the same situation: just looking for someone to talk to.

The two moved from your domain into their own and spoke constantly. They met, and had a wonderful time together. They felt things neither of them believed they deserved, and felt things they'd forgotten over the years.

You put them together. All they did was click. And by clicking, they "clicked."

I just wanted you, Craigslist, to know that last night, the two of them were awaiting their dinner when he suddenly took a knee and said to her, "(Name blurred), you asked for my heart, but you saw into my soul. I have nothing left that I can give you other than my life. Will you marry me?" And she responded, "Just kiss me already."

A month ago, they were complete strangers. 24 hours ago, they agreed to embark on life's greatest journey together. And none of that could have been possible -- with these two people -- without your help.

So, from both of us, we say Thank You, Craig.

And to all of the souls who continue to seek their true love, it really is possible.

I'm wondering what it says about me that, rather than thinking this was voted through because it was romantic, I immediately chuckled, thinking it was voted through for its humor.

"A month ago, they were complete strangers. 24 hours ago, they agreed to embark on life's greatest journey together. And none of that could have been possible -- with these two people -- without your help. " Seems like grounds for a liability lawsuit to me.


Talk About Crazy Weather

Apparently there was also a double rainbow!

The Coldest Winter

I never thought I'd see this site in San Francisco:

A part of me only actually believes this happened because I got hit in the head with tiny pellets of hail yesterday afternoon. I still want to go see these little piles, though. It's a tourist attraction for locals!


A response

This will be slightly out of context to some, but I want to put it all in one place. In response to a constant ongoing debate about Prop 8 through various facebook comments and posts, I had a little hissy fit tonight (albeit an extremely justified one). Here's my piece:

I try to remain very civilized here. I try to express my opinion while respecting others. But now I'm done. That last comment was the straw on this camel's back, Mark, and here's a little dose of reality.

The people advocating for gay rights want nothing more than to draw upon common ground. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that these are the people who are outlining differences. The people who do outline the differences are those who interpret a couple of lines of the OLD TESTAMENT in an extremely restrictive way that has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. You know Jesus Christ never once mentions homosexuality? Not ONCE. Most gays only want the same rights and respect, and to be seen exactly the same, as straight people. Most gays just want the love they feel for one another to be equal to the love that every man and woman who are married feel for each other.

Given the freedom and lack of expectation to be married of gays, those couples who do want to get married have fought extremely hard for each other and are very devoted to a lifelong commitment. Many couples I know are far more committed, loving, and realistic than the straight couples I know.

And don't give me that bullshit civil union talk. That's ridiculous. You know what that is? It's called "separate but equal". We tried that in this country once. We had different water fountains for "coloreds". They had a great water fountain. It was just like our water fountain. Hell, it was even called the same thing. They didn't make some fancy word for it to make it different. But it was still a different water fountain. Separate, but equal. That's what civil unions are.

And sure, you can argue that it was still a man and a woman, and that's not an "abomination of God" like sodomy is. (And let's not even get into how anything other than your routine missionary sex could be considered an abomination of God, too. Guess God must have been playing some cruel mean trick when he made the human body so damn pleasurable. That's the God I know. Yep - mean and cruel and just trying to get us to slip up. Riiiiight.)

You know what marriage was in the Old Testament? Marriage was commitment, with sex. It had nothing to do with a ceremony. It had nothing to do with a title of being married. It had nothing to do with any kind of government recognition or rights. It simply meant that two people said, hey, let's be together, and they were.

I'm getting a bit tired of hearing fundamentalists preach some gospel that's more republican than Christian. This gospel of less government - "don't let those socialists take over, don't let them take our money to take care of anybody, blah blah blah", but then when it comes to basic human rights (remember "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?) they want more government than anyone else. You guys don't want the government to have the budget to take care of the elderly, the sick, or the poor, but you want the budget to go kill some of those Arabs and to poke your nose in on my relationship, my bedroom, and my body. Quite a contradiction. Then again, fundamentalists are frequently masters of hypocrisy. Yep, that was a bitchy comment. You know what? I earned it.

I've earned the right to say this piece in whatever way I see fit. I devoted my life to the church. I devoted everything I had. I scrimped and saved and gave every penny I could to help build a monstrous building off a highway between Ozark and Springfield because as a child I was guilted into thinking I would live a poor life and I would send my parents to the poor house if I didn't. I spent 7 days a week at church, but when I spoke up and thought I should have a shot at being a pastor someday, I was told I was too outspoken for a woman. I taught pre-school kids, I served in the nursery, and I worked with the junior high kids, but when I wanted to aspire to be a pastor, I wasn't good enough. I wasn't submissive enough.

I didn't even so much as kiss my high school boyfriend, but later, when another male friend betrayed me, my pastor told me it was my fault, and my church abandoned me.

So you know what? I get to say this. I get to call you out on your hypocrisy. You say you live God's love, but you don't respect your fellow humans. That is shameful. That is a human rights issue. A basic human rights issue. And it's not a Christian vs. Non-Christian argument. It's a self-righteous intolerant Christian vs. humble loving Christian argument.

If you think civil unions should be good enough for gays, then they should be good enough for everyone else. NOBODY should be allowed to get married in the eyes of the government. The word itself should be abolished from any legislative documents. Marriage should be within a church, within a family, within a home. That piece of paper you sign? guess what? that's bullshit in terms of what "marriage" is really supposed to be. That's your civil union.

If gays can't get married, why can people who don't love each other? why can people who are just getting married to cover up the pregnancy they got into because their parents refused to talk to them about real life? why can muslims, or buddhists, or hindus? And to that end, honestly, why can you? What makes you so friggin pure that your love is better than anyone else's? You think God thinks you're better? Show me where it says that in the Bible.

I'm sure I've alienated some people. I can deal with that. if I have hurt anyone personally, I sincerely apologize. Please know that I am speaking from truth, and also from sincere hurt that anyone could be filled with so much hatred, and yes, bigotry. I've been depressed since 8 passed. And honestly, I don't actually have a stake in this at all. I wouldn't campaign one way or another. But I'm just devastated by the fact that so many people are so filled with hate that they won't let others recognize their love and devotion to one another.

I have been so careful up to this point. But I just can't be anymore. It's not about not hurting anyone's feelings or not pissing anyone off. This is about LOVE. LOVE. know that word? LOVE OTHERS. LOVE LOVE LOVE. The movement against homosexuality is not based in love. It is NOT based in the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is based on one often misinterpreted line in the old testament (alongside all the other ones that so many people choose to ignore), and it is ridiculous. What Would Jesus Do? Jesus would not let politics affect his beliefs. He wouldn't force others into practicing under his beliefs. If we know anything from the Bible, we know that.

So yes, I'm sorry to go off like this, but it had to be done.

Honestly, this is bull, and I'm tired of hearing the ignorant overly religious remarks on my facebook page. I am extremely proud of where I come from. I am a Missouri girl in so many ways, and I love it. I am proud to have experienced what I did with the fundamentalist churches back home. That said, there's a reason I left. And after 23 years of hearing this shit over and over, I will not tolerate it in my space. I hope only that everyone can look into their hearts, look to their God, and look at their fellow humans, and forgive me my brashness and maybe hear some tiny piece of what I'm saying.


Thoughts on Palin's Wardrobe Malfunction

SF Gate reports on Sarah Palin's acceptance of campaign money for clothing:
Receiving more than $150,000 in clothing and accessories from the Republican National Committee last month doesn't just run counter to Gov. Sarah Palin's image as a "Wal-Mart Mom from Wasilla," it also might have violated the spirit if not the letter of a campaign finance law co-authored by her running mate, Sen. John McCain.
Here's the thing - I don't even mind that they used public money to buy her clothes if they are going to donate it all afterward (particularly if they are smart and auction it off for cash for charities rather than give it to good will or something). $150k is a bit excessive, but whatever - I can even deal with that.

What I can't deal with is where she shopped.

First of all, shopping at Neiman is not a responsible use of public money. Things cost more at Neiman because it's Neiman. Deign yourself to go Macys. I'm sure you can find some amazing and very expensive designer duds there.

Second, she preaches small town love and then shops at Neiman and Saks. My family, all small townish, wouldn't even feel comfortable walking into a Neiman or a Saks. I remember the first time I walked into a Nordstrom. I felt terribly underdressed in my jeans and definitely didn't think I belonged. And that was just Nordstrom! Neiman and Saks are symbols of the elite. They are symbols of wealth. They are NOT symbols of "Real America".

I'll admit, Palin looks amazing. But she's definitely not a symbol of small-town America.

I wonder how the other hockey moms Wasila dress?

Someone's PR rep should not be getting rehired.


A Must for Every Woman

I received another letter from a website today informing me that my order could not be processed. The account number thief's choice this time? Luma Tweeze.

Yes, you can own your very own magnified and lighted set of tweezers for just $23.75 total. I almost feel guilty that my account thief is missing out on this amazing prodct.


Blonde Ambitions

Oh this is a good one:

BRIDGEPORT -- A Stratford woman is seeing red after learning that blondes don't always have more fun.

Charlotte Feeney filed suit against the cosmetics firm L'Oreal Inc. after apparently grabbing the wrong tube of hair color and dyeing her "naturally blond" hair a dark brown.

But Superior Court Judge Richard Gilardi on Monday brushed off Feeney's lawsuit.

Gilardi ruled that Feeney had presented no evidence supporting her claim of negligence against the hair care company. "The plaintiff submitted no facts, no opinions and no standards to substantiate either of the allegations," he stated.

Feeney's lawyer, David Laudano, said he hadn't seen the judge's decision and couldn't comment. Feeney could not be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Feeney on Aug. 27, 2003, purchased a tube of L'Oreal permanent hair color from a local supermarket to touch up her naturally blond hair.

A friend was applying the hair color when Feeney realized that her tresses had been transformed to a dark brown, the lawsuit states. She tried to return her hair to its natural color but it remains brown, according to the suit.

"I was mentally and physically in shock," Feeney states in court documents. "I was sick to my stomach, I had headaches, I don't like myself, I stay home more than ever in my life, I wear hats most of the time," she states.

Feeney said she ended up going to the doctor for anxiety and was put on medications for depression.

"I can never go back to my natural blonde hair," she complains. "I feel fake about that. Also blondes do get more attention than brunettes, of course, emotionally, I miss that."

Feeney charged in her lawsuit that a brown hair coloring was somehow put in a box for blonde hair and that the hair coloring industry has a legal obligation to put a warning on every box of hair dye that the color inside the tube may not be the same color as the label.

L'Oreal, in court papers filed in the case, disputed Feeney's claim that the wrong color was in the box of hair dye she had purchased. The firm also contended if she did pick out brown dye instead of blonde she should have realized her mistake if she had followed the directions on the package to first do a strand test.

found at myway.com


Bonus Points

woot.com had a tv up for sale tonight

bonus points to whoever can tell me what movie is playing in the picture of the television

hint: it's set in my favorite city!


The Moment I KNEW

When you date someone for a long time, you have a lot of moments when you think you know that person is the one, and a lot of moments of uncertainty. This moment that has just passed will forever go down in history as THE moment when I KNEW without a doubt that Pete is THE guy:

I wrote a comment on facebook, and after responding, Pete emailed me privately:

from: Pete
to: Monika
date: Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 11:42 AM
you censored "dumbass"?


God I love this man.


Some Are Useful

I hate campaign season. Everything is fake. It's terrible. Really truly horribly icky. Blah.

My economics professor has a saying that he repeatedly uses:
"All models are flawed; some are useful."

I'd like to extrapolate a bit and apply it to our current situation:

All politicians are flawed (replace with: assholes, morons, or whatever fits your need); some are useful.


Reconciling My Liberal and Conservative Sides

A friend posted a wonderful article about the real meaning of conservativism that really highlights the fact that conservative and liberal are not just interchangeable terms for republican and democrat.

The author has many great points, and I strongly urge you to read the article yourself, but my favorite paragraph is his description of Obama:
Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who went from supporting McCain to rooting against him.


Things Crazy People Buy

My debit card number was stolen recently. I believe it was from google checkout, because a close friend had hers stolen just before me, and we both had signed up on google checkout just prior to this happening. I noticed because a charge showed up for remind-help.com, which turned out to be a front for several adult websites. I of course called my bank and dealt with it, but now I'm receiving the letters from merchandisers telling me my card was declined.

Apparently this is not uncommon. I'm not sure if people purchase items and ship them to other recipient addresses or what, but my information is what's on the purchase, down to my cell number. That's incredibly scary, for one, but it also just makes it stupid to purchase things that ship only to the billing address.

For example, AL came home a couple of weeks ago to find a beautiful new coffee maker on her doorstep. She called the company, who informed her of her purchase of one coffee maker, two bags of coffee, an extra scooper, and filters. The accessories never arrived, but AL now has a coffee maker. The company thought it would be too expensive to ship it back, so they told her to keep it.

Yesterday I received a letter stating that my card had been declined on a purchase from a company called Plymouth Direct. The item description? 1 Urine Gone Kit.


What I don't understand is why these people didn't just go to best buy or something and purchase a whole bunch of stuff they could sell? I mean, if you're going to be a thief, make it worth your while, right?

Too bad I didn't come home to find this waiting for me. I could have had some fun with the black light stain detector. :)

Because It's Nice When the World Smiles At You


Sleepy Time

I have long had a habit of sleeping in strange positions. Pete frequently makes fun of me (or yells at me for stealing the covers) when I sit up in bed, cross my legs indian style, and then fold back over onto my knees and doze off.

I also have been known to be called "giraffe" once in a while.

So of course, when I came across this article on animal sleeping habits, I felt a connection.

I feel you, Mr. Giraffe.

Here's wishing I could join you.


California Hunger Crisis

I've been working on a proposal to address the California Hunger Crisis, and I thought I'd share some of the background info here.

Hunger in California
Before the recent economic downward turn, 4.2 million Californians (12% of the population)
were considered “food insecure”, which means they had to make choices between food and other
living expenses. A much larger percentage was considered to be living in “marginal food
security”, which means they were sometimes threatened with these choices while frequently
facing the lack of a healthy balanced diet. This population is constantly vulnerable to becoming
food insecure when circumstances change.

Families with children are much more likely to be food insecure.

The Current Food Crisis
Nationally, food banks are reporting a 15-20% increase on average in the number of people
turning to them for help now compared to one year ago.

Decreased Support
Food banks receive the bulk of their food from the food industry, including producers,
distributors, and grocery stores. Usually this food is donated because of surplus inventory or
slightly damaged product. Increased efficiency in the food industry, and thus decreased surplus,
along with the proliferation of bargain grocery stores that will purchase dented cans for resale
has led to a major decrease in food donations from this previously steady source.

Since 2002, USDA commodities distributed nationwide has decreased more than 60% - the
equivalent of 45 million lost meals in California. The low dollar has increased food exports,
which has further decreased USDA donations over the past year.

Rising Food Costs
The United States is experiencing the worst food inflation prices since the 1970s.
The federal consumer price index (CPI) for the cost of food rose 4.7% from March 2007 to
March 2008. The CPI for the Thrifty Food Plan, the basis for Food Stamp allotment, increased
even more at 5.6%. The Thrifty Food Plan includes items that will feed a family at the lowest
possible cost while providing basic, although not adequate or healthy, dietary needs. In 2007, the Thrifty Food Plan cost $320 per month for a family of two. Changes in the price of items in the Thrifty Food Plan present a more accurate description of the stresses felt by low-income

In the first quarter of 2008 crop prices were up 20%, and livestock prices were up 10%.
The CPI for cereal and bakery products increased by 4.4% in 2007 and is projected to rise 8% in
2008. Price of milk is up 30% and bread is up 16%

Rising Fuel Costs
The cost of gas has led many families to make choices between going to work and purchasing

The increase in cost also has great impact on Food Banks. The cost of distributing food is greatly
increasing the overhead required of these programs, particularly in outlying communities and
areas where food banks have had to close.

Economic Crisis
The recent economic crisis, including home foreclosures and job losses, has disproportionately
affected citizens living in marginal food security. This has led to those families that previously
were able to subsist without assistance to turn to food banks in recent months.

In early 2007, California’s Central Valley experienced a devastating freeze that destroyed crops
and caused widespread economic hardship. Many families have yet to recover.

Several California food banks have reported that past donors and volunteers are now turning to
them for help. The number of first time aid recipients is up an estimated 26-50%.

Insufficient Utilization of Federal Aid
Of the Americans eligible for food stamp benefits, only 65% are enrolled nationally. In
California this number is even lower at 50%. In the subgroup of working families, nationally
57% eligible households are enrolled, while in California it was 34%. California ranked 50th in
the nation on this measure (including D.C., we only performed better than Colorado). Even if
California aims only to participate at the national average, the state is currently forgoing $1
billion in federal funds for its citizens each year.

Food Stamp benefits are entirely federally funded and provide economic stimulation to
communities in California. Every $5 in new food stamp benefits generates $9.30 in community
economic activity. Every additional dollar in food stamps generates up to $0.47 of new spending
on food.

Food Bank Response
The recently passed Farm Bill will deliver some relief in October, but the new level of funding
will still not return food supply to the 2002 level and will certainly not address the excessive
increase in demand.

Food Banks across the country are responding by decreasing programs while dipping into
reserves. Several food banks have closed in the past few months. Most food banks, however, are
avoiding closure by limiting programs. Food pantries and soup kitchens across California have
decreased from five to seven open days per week to one to five days open every two weeks.
Distribution programs are reporting that they have been forced to decrease handouts from seven
days of food to two days of food.

Most commonly, though, food banks are simply depleting their reserves in order to supply the
needed resources to communities. This will have a devastating effect in the coming months and

The federal budget does not currently allow for a comprehensive plan for addressing hunger in
America, and the California budget deadlock further incapacitates state and local agencies in
efforts to help. Food banks are completely dependent upon private donations to weather this
crisis and work toward a more sustainable future.

Please consider donating what you can. Volunteer time, non-perishable food, and of course, cash, are always valued and greatly needed.



Food Crisis Effect on Food Banks

“Food Agencies Go Hungry in San Francisco” San Francisco Business Times

“Potato Chips Beckon as Food Prices Rise” San Francisco Chronicle

News Articles Regarding Current Crisis - LA Food Bank


San Francisco

Alameda County

Contra Costa/Solano Counties

Peninsula and South Bay

Marin County

Sonoma County

Napa County


America's Got Talent?

Okay, so I'm blogging about reality TV. Not sure if this brings me down a notch. :)

I've been watching the last few episodes of America's Got Talent (the first season I've seen at all). My general impression is that the quality of the singers and dancers is pretty low on the show, but it offers an opportunity for other kinds of acts. This makes sense given that singers will do Idol, or country singers will do Nashville Star, and dancers have their options and whatnot. Tonight, though, I saw a performance that made me stop in my tracks and rewind it and watch it again. Check it out here:

Sarah Lenore - Bleeding Love

The judges, however, blasted her for this song choice. Really? I thought she was amazing. Am I totally off here? Usually I'm in full agreement with the realistic judges (mainly Piers on AGT and Simon on Idol), but tonight I thought all three of them were idiots. This girl has got some MAJOR talent.

So I went back to watch her other performances to find out why they thought this was so bad. She has been AMAZING at country music, and that's what she wants to do, but I still thought this song really showcased her talent, appealed to a wider audience, and showed her versatility. She could have turned it into a country song, which would have just maybe been the most downloaded song on itunes if it got put up, but wrong song? I certainly don't think so. I definitely think this is an up-and-comer to look out for and hope she starts getting some radio play because of this show. She's already recording and performing in Nashville, so this boost could be all she needs. Check out some of her other performances:

Sarah Lenore - Before He Cheats Video

Sarah Lenore - Not Ready to Make Nice Video

Sarah Lenore - Lemonade Video

Sarah Lenore MySpace Page with Music

Sarah Lenore CD on Amazon with Previews

Seriously, if I still lived in Missouri, I'd be planning a trip to Nashville to see this chick. My fingers are crossed for you, Sarah!


Lipstick on a Pig

This is exactly why I can't deal with politics pre-election. I'm interested in policies, not campaigns, and this is just idiotic:

From the SF Chronicle:

On Tuesday, Obama criticized McCain's economic policies as similar to those of President Bush, saying: "You can put lipstick on a pig ... it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

The McCain campaign contended that the comments were directed at Palin, the GOP's first woman on a presidential ticket. In her acceptance speech last week, she had referred to herself in a joke about lipstick being the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull.

Accusing Obama of "smearing" Palin in "offensive and disgraceful" comments, the McCain campaign demanded an apology — though McCain himself used the folksy metaphor a few times last year, including once to describe Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan.

The McCain campaign on Wednesday issued an Internet ad that said Obama was talking about Palin and said of Obama: "Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes."


"What their campaign has done this morning is the same game that has made people sick and tired of politics in this country. They seize on an innocent remark, try to take it out of context, throw up an outrageous ad because they know that it's catnip for the news media," Obama said.

Obama's campaign has accused the GOP camp of engaging in a "pathetic attempt to play the gender card." In an e-mail to reporters Wednesday, the campaign noted two other instances of McCain using the phrase "lipstick on a pig" and its use by other Republicans such as House Minority Leader John Boehner and Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl.



Feels Like Home

A True Redneck Story:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Charleston man faces drunken driving charges after police spotted him riding a farm tractor on a highway without lights or proper warning signs. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies arrested 22-year-old Joshua David Postalwait early Friday morning.

A complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court said deputies were responding to a report of an intoxicated man on a tractor when they saw the tractor on Casdorph Road.

Postalwait was charged with driving under the influence and carrying a concealed weapon.

He was being held Friday afternoon at South Central Regional Jail. Magistrate court officials did not know whether he has a lawyer.


Reiser is a Jacka**

So Hans Reiser FINALLY admitted to killing his wife. A WHILE ago. Turns out his kids (7 and 8 years old) had to move to Russia to be cared for by their maternal grandma, and they aren't doing so well financially. An attorney in SF has taken on the case pro-bono and recently filed suit against Reiser to provide some kind of financial security for the children he left without a mother. The important thing to remember here is that HE ADMITS HE KILLED THEIR MOTHER. Yet, this is his attorney's response to the suit:
Richard Tamor, an attorney for Reiser, said Tuesday, "Liability is fairly clear given the guilty plea, but, nevertheless, as you saw from the trial, (the children's attorney) is going to rue the day they decided to engage Hans in litigation - they'll prevail eventually, but it will be a long, painful journey getting there."

Really? You know the kids will prevail, you admit the liability is there, and yet you want to make their journey MORE painful? Reiser, dude, this is where you finally grow a pair and just give over EVERY PENNY to those poor kids. It's not like you'll need it where you're going.


Eye On Alums

A college friend is making major headlines. Anyone catch the story about the ABC reporter pushed into the street and then arrested by Denver police at the Democratic Convention? Yes, that would be the one and only Asa Eslocker, of Wash U fame. Can't wait to see this written up in the Washington University Magazine.

watch the Video

free Asa on Facebook

read the story at ABC, TMZ, ET, Variety, Gawker, or your very own favorite news source

read the satirical account

Rock on, Asa!



Another Reason to be Scared of Clowns

I'm not sure I feel justified in my fear anymore, given that I had nothing like this when I was a youngin'.

From a playground in Russia:

See more strange playground pieces at Mental Floss.


An Unfortunate Wine Boycott

For the first time ever, I am boycotting a specific set of wine brands.

Many will think I am doing this out of disagreement on a single issue, but in truth, I am boycotting Don Sebastiani's businesses because I think he is using his vast wealth to manipulate the democratic system in a way that I cannot support by contributing to that wealth.

Many, after hearing about Don Sebastiani's contributions, will want to boycott him simply for his choice in what he supports. More power to those people! I, however, am not one to be inspired to boycott anything (especially wine), over a difference in viewpoint. Abuse of power is another story.

The current issue arises because of the proposed amendment to the California constitution regarding parental notification of teens seeking an abortion. There are a number of reasons that I do not support this law, but that is not the point of my boycott. If you'd like to learn more you should check out this article about the pros and cons of parental notification laws, which I think offers a fairly unbiased view of both sides. Also see the additional resources at the end of this post. Please note these extra links are completely biased in favor of my views.

Regardless of what the current issue is, Don Sebastiani, Sonoma wine bigwig and former California State Assemblyman, is abusing the system.

In 2005, Jim Holman of San Diego newspaper fame and Don Sebastiani financially backed Proposition 73 "Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Waiting Period and Parental Notification". The measure was defeated 52.7% to 47.3%.

In 2006, Holman and Sebastiani backed another proposition, this time it was numbered as Proposition 85. It was defeated 54% to 46%.

Holman decided he'd had enough. Until, that is, Sebastiani donated $500,000 to back the measure that is now on the ballot for 2008's November election. Now Proposition 4 "Abortion Waiting Period and Parental Notification Initiative", is up for vote again even though the public has voted against it twice. Non-profit advocacy groups and and health clinics are being forced to use funds to work against this once again, simply because some rich old fart up in Sonoma decided he wasn't happy with controlling only wine interests (I swear I'm not a bitter person).

Now it's being called (by supporters only), the Child and Teen Safety and Stop Predators Act: Sarah's Law. I love the personification with the girl's name and all. We haven't seen that in ridiculous laws in California before. *cough* Jessica's law, anyone? The rest of the language refers to the idea that old men prey on young girls and then force them to have abortions, and that parental notification of abortions would stop these predators. Funny, I thought statutory rape was already illegal. It also seems to me that the kind of family in which a child would feel comfortable approaching their parents about abortion might also be the kind of family that would already have an idea that their teen was spending time in bad company, which really makes the protective factor of this law a moot point.

Back on track: my whole point here is that a rich person should not be able to get something back on the ballot that the public has already voted against twice in the last 3 years. How long will this continue? Perhaps there should be a window between elections that include a similar measure? I guess what bothers me most about this is that it really is driven by one man and his massive amounts of money.

On a totally different note, Don Sebastiani is a self-stated Napa wine hater. Granted, I don't love the elitist attitude of Napa in general, but Sebastiani has stated again and again that he doesn't drink California wines, and finds them inferior to the French wines he regularly consumes. It's all well and good to have an opinion on this topic - but he's a California winemaker!!! I definitely have a bone to pick with someone who makes their money selling something they can't back. He doesn't have to like it, or even pretend to like it - but he should try to refrain from down-talking it. He's like a slimy used-car salesman that tells himself if someone will buy that lemon all is well. Blech. So even if you don't give a hoot about his political tinkering, know that Don Sebastiani is a man who doesn't enjoy the wine he makes, but is happy for your money to go into his pocket, which apparently allows him to control the California constitution.

Given all of this information, I've decided to boycott all Don Sebastiani wine brands. I simply can't support such a slimy person. I've included a list of all of his wine brands with links to pictures of the labels so that you can join my efforts if you so choose (and so I can keep track of the many many brands he controls).

B Side
Hey Mambo
Kono Baru
Mia's Playground
Pepperwood Grove
Screw Kappa Napa
Smoking Loon
Used Automobile Parts
The White Knight

And no, for now I won't be boycotting Sebastiani Vineyards. It seems Don gave control to his sister back in 2001, and the worst thing they've done with their political contributions is donated to Rudy's campaign. :)

Additional Information
or, why laws mandating parental notification don't make sense

Center for Reproductive Rights: Mandatory Parental Consent
Center for Reproductive Rights: Current Restrictions by State
Center for Reproductive Rights: Forced Parental Involvement
The New York Times: Scant Drop in Abortion Rate if Parents are Told
MedScape: Overview


Sustainability in Wine Consumption

Sustainable wine has been a hot topic in the Bay Area for several years. The California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance unites those producers who wish to think responsibly about their impact on the environment, and wine bars like Yield are popping up to offer green wines to the conscious consumer. Terms like organic, biodynamic, green, and sustainable are being tossed around in the wine industry as much as everywhere else, and oenophiles are adding these considerations to the already long list of qualities that are desirable in a good wine.

A recent paper from the American Association of Wine Economists, however, demonstrates the minimal impact of these efforts in comparison with simply applying a rule of local consumption. The paper proposes a green wine line that separates the United States into two regions based on whether the lighter carbon footprint comes from drinking wines from Napa or Bordeaux.

The paper is a bit more academic than most like wish to read, but Mental Floss has an excellent summary on their blog.


Crap Dogs

Well, I've always called them rat dogs, or little icky dogs, but I can go along with the folks over at crap-dogs.blogspot.com who share my sentiments about small yippy "dogs".
Wikipedia reveals that an alternative name for the Pekinese dog is the foo dog. This dog is definitely a foo.
Foo foo on you, foo dogs. And the opposite of foo foo to the creators of the blog.


And my goal is still top 10%

I must be nuts.

Haas School of Business was ranked #1 in the US in Corporate Social Responsibility by the Financial Times. #2 by the Wall Street Journal.

But then again, it seems maybe I picked the right field:

Berkeley CA - The Haas School was ranked #1 in corporate social responsibility in the Financial Times Global MBA 2008 Rankings of full-time MBA programs published on January 28. This is the first time in the seven years of the annual survey the top ten programs by academic discipline were identified. Inclusion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the FT's top academic discipline list signifies its rapidly growing visibility and importance in the business world.

“We have been fortunate to receive some great recognition for our Center. This FT rating catapults us out into the global CSR-leadership stage and makes us more proud than ever of the Center's faculty, staff, and, most importantly, our Haas MBA students – who have continued to drive us forward with their intense desire to use the power of business to make a better world," said Kellie McElhaney, executive director and professor at the Haas School's Center for Responsible Business.

Coupled with the recent #2 ranking in CSR by The Wall Street Journal for the second consecutive year, the Haas School is leading business education in CSR teaching, research, and experiential learning opportunities for students, which is offered through the Center for Responsible Business. The Center works closely with a host of companies - including Gap Inc., Hewlett-Packard, McDonald's, Intel, eBay, and Levi Strauss - on strategic consulting engagements, research projects, case competitions, and fellowship opportunities.

Adds McElhaney, “We are honored that a reputable global publication such as the Financial Times now counts corporate social responsibility among its substantive fields of recognition within MBA rankings, solidifying its place among good business strategy.”

The trend article, "Making an impact", which focused on career opportunities in CSR and sustainability, also acccompanied the rankings. The article highlighted the increasing number of MBA graduates who are looking for jobs that exhibit at least an element of corporate social responsibility. The trend – a 37 per cent increase per year in the number of postings for CSR jobs since 2004 – is reflected in recent research by Net Impact and Ellen Weinreb CSR Recruiting, both based in the US.


Time to VOTE!

Make sure to vote for your favorite Bay Area finds at San Francisco Bay Guardian's Best of the Bay Reader's Poll. Personally, I know I will be voting for long stretches of sun and warmth as my favorite new weather phenomenon.

Now get to it!


No-Kill Shelters

Supporting the Milo Foundation, and other organizations just like it, is even more important with the controversial change in policy at the SFSPCA that seems to be allowing more and more euthanasia for weaker reasons.

Milo Foundation Closing Without Your Help

An email I received from the founder of Milo Foundation:

Summer, 2008

Dear Milo Friends, Adopters, and Fellow Animal Lovers:

It is with a heavy heart that I have to let everyone know that Milo must severely cut our rescue operations and we will not be able to continue our work here in the Bay Area. Sadly, to have a no-kill organization and a sanctuary in California is proving to be too costly.

While the red tape in Marin County and San Rafael has been nothing like our experience on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, it has been, nevertheless, a time consuming, costly and draining experience. We finally received our permit to function and be open to the public with animals for adoption, and with the hanging of a new exit sign, we would meet with the fire marshal’s last requirement and finally concentrate on our mission of rescuing and finding good homes for animals in need. However, we are out of funds.

Sadly, as we hang a new lighted exit sign, it is ironic that the EXIT sign illuminates our departure from Milo Marin – before we could even have a sign out front saying THE MILO FOUNDATION. Milo simply can't afford to maintain an indoor adoption center and rescue facility here in the Bay Area.

We had a successful Montclair Pet Fair yesterday placing 16 animals, and we look forward to the Bay Area Pet Fair at the Marin Civic Center in September – a terrific event and possibly one of Milo’s last . . .

At its June meeting, the Milo board voted 2 to 3 that we must close down Bay Area operations to insure that the heart of Milo, our Sanctuary in Mendocino County, can continue to thrive. At this time, we don’t have the resources to have two locations.

Tragically, this means the end of rescuing and placing more than a thousand animals every year. Not having an indoor permanent space to show animals really means the end of rescuing adult cats and many dogs. We have installed our show cages in the front room in Marin, and we have many momma cats in foster care with their litters of kittens . . . how we will find them homes is just one of the current concerns. Think about it - to be in one of the country’s most affluent and animal friendly counties made so much sense and to now have to close down is more than heartbreaking!

Although we operate Milo on a bare bones budget, the escalating costs of insurance, vet bills, workers comp, coupled with the past years decline in adoption fees and donations while we waited for permits in Marin and concentrated critical staff time on developing protocols and systems, this very painful decision was made – before we could even get our doors open!

In hearing this news, a few friends of Milo who have been waiting eagerly for us to OPEN in Marin have offered to help. One generous donor wants to pay the rent for two months, another is donating a restored, classic vehicle for Milo which will fetch a handsome price . . . Our landlord renegotiated and lowered the rent in an effort to help. A couple of Milo volunteers have offered to help maintain activities there and care for the animals, help with adoptions, and answer phones . . . we could maintain it on a fairly low budget for awhile, but in order to even contemplate keeping our facility in Marin, Milo needs further monthly support in the form of $25, $50, $75 and $100 monthly sponsorships, or annual memberships.



MILO HAS RESCUED MORE THAN 16,000 ANIMALS IN OUR 14 YEAR HISTORY. We have impacted more than 100,000 individuals and families with our services. If you have adopted, or have been helped with an animal, please consider a significant donation today and/or a membership, so that we might continue to help other four-legged furry friends in need! http://www.milofoundation.org/donate.cfm.
You can designate your donation for a specific use -- to directly help save lives in danger at California’s high-kill shelters, to fund emergency medical care, or to help maintain the lives of the animals at our sanctuary.

I will continue to lead Milo’s rescue and adoption services, but the future for Milo’s rescue and adoptions is unknown at this point - we will only be able to rescue a trickle of animals from Lake and Mendocino Counties at the Milo Sanctuary. We will continue to utilize our volunteers and have animals in foster care in the Bay Area, but honestly, depending solely on mobile adoptions for placement is nearly impossible to maintain year round. I welcome the chance to discuss this situation by phone, email and/or in person.

On a positive note, I am pleased to announce that Davide Ulivieri, who has worked at our Sanctuary for the last 5 years, will step into a CEO role for the Milo Sanctuary. Under Davide's leadership the Sanctuary is in good hands.

Since founding Milo in 1994 so much has changed in the rescue community – there have been some positive changes. This year promised to be one of HOPE, however it is now very uncertain. I am extremely proud of the remarkable success of Milo and I know now that for this to continue it needs many more people who can step up to the plate and make a significant contribution. The critical need for these critters has not gone away. There is nothing else I want to be doing, but as with any business, we’ve got to mind the bottom line. Milo and the thousands of animals who we can rescue need your help today!

Please, dig deep, and give what you can, and also forward this email to those you know who may be in a position to help. As always, thanks so much for caring.



Lynne Tingle

The Milo Foundation
PO Box 6625
Albany CA 94706


Craft Projects for the Kiddos

or, at least the kiddo that's still within.

I love Mental Floss. So much so that I try to avoid posting everything wonderful I find there. This, however, is a new step into imaginative uses of one's time.

My dad is a deer hunter. I grew up with deer heads and antlers on the walls, and various pieces of animals being used for all kinds of things (moose poo key chain, anyone?). Still, deer butt creations are new to me.

Check out Don Burleson's article on how to make your very own deer butt alien.

I feel so unaccomplished.



Not to beat a dead horse, but the dead horses are in the news AGAIN. Doesn't this tell us something?

After this weekend's race, and all the controversy around Big Brown running with a quarter crack, the issue of endangering race horses is everywhere!

I admit, embarrassingly, that I watch Animal Cops: Houston. Anybody who has every seen that show knows that a horse with anything resembling this kind of hoof would be taken into custody and the team would talk about how cruel and terrible the owner was before taking him to court. But in racing, it's okay?

The press is reporting more and more now on the implications of breeding these horses to be the best, and the drugs used to help them along.

For a timeline depicting major horse catastrophes, check out NPR's slideshow.

I hate to go all PETA-y, but I just can't let this one go.


Horse Racing Injuries Making the News

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an article today about renewed interest in the lack of safety in horse racing. What was most interesting to me about this article is that nobody seems to be saying "don't race" as an absolute must, they just seem to be proposing stipulations. (Actually, rather smartly, I think, PETA is saying don't race, but is recognizing that's not going to happen and proposing reasonable reforms instead.) I guess making it safer to race might make me feel better about it, but it would really have to change the death and injury count quite a bit. These are PETA's proposed changes:

Newkirk, in a letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA), urged regulations that were described as a "bare minimum for horse safety."

•Thoroughbreds under the age of 3 should not be permitted to race.

•Synthetic surfaces or turf — which result in fewer injuries — should be mandated at all race courses.

•Whipping should be banned.

I guess even the PETA understands that most people like to indulge in $1 beers, $1 hot dogs, and cheezy cover bands once in awhile.


Kentucky Derby Day

Pete and I walked down Polk tonight and found ourselves in the midst of a giant Kentucky Derby party with lots of women in dresses and big hats. I felt a little sad knowing that my newly discovered feelings about racing wouldn't let me participate. Then they wouldn't move out of the way and I had to barrel through their drunk asses.

But then we got home and Pete opened the Drudge Report. I don't feel bad about missing those parties anymore. Another horse down. RIP Eight Belles.


Echo Cat

Last night we went to Bay Meadows for what may be one of the final Fridays Alive if the racetrack is demolished for future developments.

We enjoyed it, as always, but we decided to leave before the races were finished so we could get back to the city and home by midnight or so.

The last race we watched, I bet on Echo Cat, and was disheartened when the horse didn't even cross the finish line. Then we noticed, however, that she had gone down around the last curve. My heart broke a little because I was afraid she may have broken a leg, but then we tensely joked about her being shot thinking that there's no way it was that serious. We talked about horse euthanasia, and that transitioned into a conversation about Animal Cops, which kept everything light-hearted.

Thinking I wouldn't find anything, I googled Echo Cat today. I'm devastated to report that she was, in fact, euthanized last night. All because she was performing for our pleasure. Poor Echo Cat.

I'm really torn about whether it's okay to watch horse races now. It seems that horses are injured and thus euthanized every race. There are many organizations devoted to documenting the deaths in the UK, but the industry itself seems to hide this information. In the US, the only information I can find is from a blogger devoted to checking up on all the horses that went down on the track. She keeps a historical list at http://scrollsequus.blogspot.com/.

how friggin' depressing.


Equal Pay Day

Yes, yes, I know I've been lax on posting. I swear there are a million posts in my head...they just haven't made it onto the page.

ANYWAY, this is worthwhile and NEEDS to be posted.

Today is Equal Pay Day.

What that means is that if you started recording paychecks for men and women on January 1, 2007, today is the day on which the women would have caught up to what the men made by December 31, 2007. So for 2007 salaries, to make what men made in one year, women had to work 1 year, 4 months, and 22 days.


The Business and Professional Women's Foundation adds:

Equal Pay Day is held annually in April to signify the point into a year that a woman must work to earn what a man made the previous year. According to the 2006 Census Bureau, women on average earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. For women of color, the wage gap worsens: African American women make 66 cents, Latinas make 55 cents and Asian American women make 80 cents.

Also check out the National Women's Law Center for policy change updates.

Some GREAT Facebook Videos:

Equal Pay Day 2008

Equal Pay Day


Made Up Words

Pete was talking to an airline representative on the phone today. In giving his confirmation number, he started doing the a for apple thing. All of a sudden, I heard this:

"D as in Dog, F as in Frank, Z as in Zed"

I'm sure the representative wondered why their was a crazy person laughing in the background.


I googled "zed" and found that, according to Wikipedia at least, it is a real word that is actually the name of the letter zee, as it is called in non US English speaking countries.



Thank you so much to everyone who donated to the Help Minna campaign. We raised almost $4,000 in cash donations and free samples, and Minna was able to borrow to cover the rest of the costs. Minna is by no means on dry land, but thanks to you, she stayed afloat and can see the shore from where she sits. Medicare kicks in soon, and with a $25/month supplementary plan, she'll be able to get all of her medicines for $15. This brings her costs down from approximately $900 per month to less than $200.

The bigger issue here is that Minna is just one example of millions of people dealing with this issue. As the current candidates talk about what they plan to do with health care in the future, please make sure that you know what you want in a health care system. There are many ways to address the issue, and each one is successful in its own way, with its own drawbacks. The Jan-Feb 2008 issue of Mental Floss has a FABULOUS and IMPARTIAL article on the different systems in play worldwide. Wikipedia details some of these differences in a slightly more complex way. The fact is, that while we might not all be able to agree on what we need, we do need something. It is tragic that someone might not have an equal opportunity to life because of a financial situation.

So please, read up on health care. Figure out what YOU want. And please make sure this issue plays at least a small role in your vote next year.

To get you started:

American Cancer Society: Access To Care

American Medical Student Association: Universal Health Care Initiative

Health Care Reform Now!


When Your Job Makes You Smile

Because we all need reminders as to why we do what we do, I thought I'd post this article by a Bay Area Chef. She went down to South Central LA to work in the public schools teaching kids about healthy choices. Just so happens that the funding for the whole program is one of my grants. Makes me think maybe it's worthwhile. :)

Read about Megan Hanson's experience: 2 Days Cooking in South Central