Saturday, May 31, 2008

Politics in America

The Clinton supporters protesting outside the DNC meeting today, a few of whom apparently believe Obama is a murderer because some nut says it is so, a strange scene indeed, but not that rare in American politics ...
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a universe in which one of the big lawn rally's speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of "promoting equality and fairness for all"; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, "Howard Dean is a leftist freak!"; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball. 
t's easy to sink into despair here. Standing and watching all these Democrats chat up Sinclair-
"Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?"

Inside the Marriott's gift shop, the sales clerk tells me that Democratic bumper stickers have been selling like crazy today. "Mostly Hillary?" I ask.

"Actually, mostly Obama," she giggles.

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Gerard Jones of Ashland

(Not to be confused with other writers of the same name.)

Jones is something of a phenomenon. His huge website, EVERYONE WHO'S ANYONE IN ADULT TRADE PUBLISHING, NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, BROADCASTING AND TINSELTOWN, TOO: A Writer's Guide to The All-Pervasive Propaganda Network (get it here), is a unique and astounding overview of the publishing and film industries, full of valuable information, startling correspondence, wry wit, and Jones' philosophy of writerly existence. He tracks the history of his novel Ginny Good here and now offers a free audio version of the book, filled with production atmosphere. It's a terrific listen (some of which will be in the new edition of the review). Check it out.

Michelle who? or, Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Not so long ago, Wie was taking bad days and explaining them off as good days, suggesting she needed a reality check very badly. Now at least she's admitting when she does poorly. This is the first step to doing something about it. Poor woman suffered from no much hype too early, which she couldn't live up to.
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Wie falls 7 strokes back at Ladies German Open

For the third consecutive day, Wie said she was disappointed by her showing as a sponsor's invitee to the Golfpark Gut Haeusern course, northwest of Munich.

"It was very frustrating, I just couldn't get anything going. I hit a couple irons a little harder than I thought. I left a lot out there. I'm not playing up to my potential. And I just really have to shoot well tomorrow," she said.

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Well, now it's all up to HC. Is she ready to face reality or does she want to raise hell all the way to the convention? Some of her DNC supporters have entered the real world but others are more defiant, and many of her supporters in the audience definitely are defiant.

If aliens are watching us, surely they've concluded that our species is totally bonkers.
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Officials say Fla., Mich. delegates will get half-votes

Alice Huffman, a Clinton supporter on the committee, explained that the compromise was the next best thing to full seating.

"We will leave here more united than we came," she said.

Some audience members heckled her in response. "Lipstick on a pig!" one shouted.

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These Clinton folks at the DNC meeting today, arguing to count the Michigan and Florida broken-rule primaries as fully legitimate, remind me of the young man who murdered his parents, then threw himself at the mercy of the court for being an orphan. Forget the context, goes the argument, just look at this part here.

These states were warned and re-warned, Do this and your vote doesn't count. They did it anyway. Now they come forward acting morally superior, as if they did nothing wrong but everybody else is out to get them.

Donna Brazile, an uncommitted superdelegate on the committee, got it right. She said her momma taught her to play by the rules. And if you change the rules in the middle or at the end of the game, it's called cheating.


Intellectual hoax

Both hilarious and depressing.
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Fight for the Life Of the Mind

Books  |  Review of: Beyond the Hoax

May 21, 2008
In 1996, the New York University physicist and mathematician Alan Sokal put an end to this intellectual masturbation by performing one of the greatest hoaxes in academic history. Mr. Sokal penned a nonsensical article entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," chockablock full of postmodern phrases and deconstructionist tropes interspersed with scientific jargon, and submitted it to the journal Social Text, one of two leading publications frequented by fashionably obtuse academics.
Mr. Sokal's article was accepted for publication (as "real," whatever that means in postmodernism) and, upon release, Mr. Sokal announced it was all a hoax — and did so, deliciously, in the chief competitor of Social Text, the journal Dissent. Mr. Sokal called it a nonsense parody
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Top dog, bottom dog

My piano class has turned 180 degrees from what it was in the beginning almost two years ago. Then it was our instructor's first all male class, six old men who had never played piano before. The senior piano students are predominantly female, so this was a rare gathering. And we all loved it. Soon enough it became apparent that I was the quickest learner in the group. The class, however, moved forward to accommodate its slower learners, which was fine with me. I was having fun and learning something and was in no hurry.

Then things began to change. As we reached more complicated material, requiring more homework, a few guys lagged behind more than usual. Eventually some quit and some decided to move back a class. Their spots were filled by women: moreover, by women who had played piano before and we "brushing up" old skills. This evolution continued so that today I am the only original man left in the class. Now we have four, three students with prior piano experience and me -- and the former "top dog" is now the slowest learner in the class. In fact, I struggle to keep up.

However, I struggle because I put so few hours into practice. This term especially has seen many other demands on my time, especially getting the new review out and the Finale class. Taking three classes was too much, really. I won't do that again unless it's a class I absolutely need. I hope this summer to put more hours into piano and not feel like I'm such a drag on the class. What was fun has become work. Moreover, my desire is not to become a piano player in any public sense. I am learning piano in order to compose, not to play, though of course they are related. But the composer-player can be slower than the performing-player. In the end, the computer can play it "right" ha ha.

I've thought of dropping the class and may yet. I have signed up for summer, so we'll see how it goes. I have no desire to struggle through a class that isn't fun. I'm also taking another strategy to learn some things on my own with DVD material, so we'll see how that goes, too. I definitely will keep taking my theory class. But the piano playing, we'll have to see.

Another issue is that in class we learn mostly songs I have no desire to play in the first place. I'd be more motivated if we were learning boogie woogie or blues. In fact, last week we had one jazzy song, in swing time, and I excelled. All these former piano players had a hard time getting the swing feel down, and I got it right away (having heard it for so long, I suppose). So with the right material, I was "top dog" again. I don't need to be top dog. I just need to have more fun, like I did in the beginning.

All this may resolve itself once I'm not so busy. We'll see.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Infinity and more

The article on infinity is quite good. I remember my first encounter with set theory and Cantor's work and aleph classes of infinity -- you don't forget when your mind gets blown away. This was in a book called ONE TWO THREE...INFINITY by George Gamow, the first edition of which I read in high school. It's still in print. I've never understood why so few of my colleagues in the arts don't take a liking to mathematics, physics and other disciplines containing the same elegance and beauty as poetry.
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Easily read and absorbed in an hour or so, Platonic Realms MiniTexts present foundational and popular mathematics topics at an introductory level.


You Can't Get There From Here


What Is "How Many?"


Writing For A Math Class


The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher

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The marriage controversy

Even though it was written over 100 years ago, Bertrand Russell's
Marriage and Morals
still makes more sense to me than other arguments about the nature of this institution.

In brief, Russell argues that marriage as an institution exists for the rearing of children, not for the sexual convenience of adults. Therefore, to get married, the bride would have to prove she is pregnant. Shotgun weddings would be the only ones allowed!

One could expand this to include adoptions. The book got him barred from entering the U.S. for a lecture tour. And we'd create another institutional, legal arrangement for "consenting adults" who are not raising children, which would have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Talk about being ahead of your time!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My dance with the banjo

I learned the 5-string banjo in high school in the 50s, using the first edition of Pete Seeger's instruction booklet. I mastered his basic strum, double-thumbing, and some elementary three-finger picking, then hit frailing and hit a brick wall. Couldn't get it down. I said hell with it, and played what I knew, the banjo becoming my main instrument through the Army (so a recent reconnection had an old army buddy asking, Do you still play banjo?). Now and again after the Army, when the guitar became my main instrument, and then quickly the 12-string, I'd go back to banjo and try frailing again. Recently I did the same -- and for some reason, this final time I got it down. I can frail the banjo!

But guess what? I like the softer "up stroke" basic strum sound better. So I think I'm going back to the way I played it in high school and let it go at that. For one, it doesn't destroy my fingernail, which is kept short in this style. I can learn songs with the same tablature. I like the sound better. My way or the highway, even though I seldom run into banjo players who play this ancient (?) way. I did find one old-timey book that had a chapter on "up stroke" banjo, so there were old-timers who did it. It's just the first style I learned and I like its softer sound better. There's no accounting for taste.

This decided, I want to learn a whole mess of new banjo songs this summer, using all this wonderful frailing material I gathered this time around. As if I had nothing else to do.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

John Hammond

Mike Seeger

Doc Watson

Big Bill Broonzy

Hyperdrama and hyperlink films

Robert Peate brought an article to my attention:

Hyperlink cinema is a term coined by author Alissa Quart, who used the term in her review of the film Happy Endings (2005) for the film journal Film Comment in 2005.[1] Noted film critic Roger Ebert popularized the term when reviewing the film Syriana.[2] These films are not hypermedia and do not have actual hyperlinks, but are multilinear in a more metaphorical sense.

In describing Happy Endings, Quart considers captions acting as footnotes and split screen as elements of hyperlink cinema and notes the influence of the World Wide Web and multitasking.[1] Playing with time and character's personal history, plot twists, interwoven storylines between multiple characters, jumping between the beginning and end (flashback and flashforward) are also elements.[1] Roger Ebert further describes hyperlink cinema as films where the characters or action reside in separate stories, but a connection or influence between those disparate stories is slowly revealed to the audience; illustrated in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's films Amores Perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), and Babel (2006).[2][3]

Quart suggests that director Robert Altman created the structure for the genre and demonstrated its usefulness for combining interlocking stories in his films Nashville (1975) and Short Cuts (1993).[4] She also considers the television series 24 and Alan Rudolph’s film Welcome to L.A. (1976) as early prototypes.[1] Crash (2004) is an example of the genre, as are Altman's The Player (1992), Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (2000), City of God (2002), Syriana (2005), and Nine Lives (2005).[4] Reference

This, is seems to me, is hyperdrama with a passive audience. Lost here, completely lost, is a basic tenet of hyperdrama: the choices of the individual audience member define the dramatic experience. This is hyperdrama filtered through the traditional control of the artist. It's a fascinating genre in its own right, surely, but here one sees the easier application of hyperdrama's dramaturgy to computer games: in a game, the audience member is interactive by definition. When watching stories, audiences apparently still prefer to be passive, spoon fed while sitting in the dark, and artists prefer to be the ones doing the spooning.

Hyperlink film has more in common with traditional dramaturgy than with hyperdrama.

But I admit hyperdrama on film/video is a bit cumbersome. See for yourself by navigating through a short hyperdrama story with your own choices of what to see. This is hyperdrama.

Two short films by Mariana Arevalo

For which I wrote the screenplay.


Yesterday I asked the question, Who still reads William Saroyan? Well, I do. Here Comes, There Goes, You Know Who remains a favorite literary biography. Time to re-read it, in fact. I like Saroyan's ego and arrogance, his style, his flamboyant literary recklessness. He is never boring. He is an example of "the performing self," as good a literary showman as Mailer.

Summer projects

With summer just around the corner, I've been brooding about how to organize my various summer projects. They fall into three areas: music, writing, video. Music will be front burner. This includes continuing musical studies, plus a musical project. I've assembled some learning materials to use in a scheduled way.

The video project is the silent comedy. I have a draft of the script. I'll rewrite it as soon as my grades are in.

The writing project is the Cold War novel. I hope to finish a draft. But writing is back burner for the first time. It's always been front burner. But this summer, music and video moves forward ahead of writing.

I think I can get considerable work done in all three areas. I'm best when multi-tasking and busy. Yard work and adventures with the dog will get me out of the office for necessary breaks. It's shaping up to be a great summer.

As long as the tornado season doesn't move to Oregon, or the gods decide to have their way with me, etc. etc. etc. One can't be sure about anything these days.

But I go on the assumption it will be a great summer. If it isn't, it isn't.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amazing class

Another Finale class packed with information and software revelations. Only one to go, and this has been about as powerful and informative a class as I could've hoped for. Far beyond my expectations, in fact. Love the teacher (Jon Newton), love the material. I'll be using much of what I've learned, of course. A good foundation in the software to become a real "power user."

And now the news ...

A screenwriter's prediction

OK, if I were writing this movie, here's how it would go: HC doesn't quit, takes the primary all the way to the convention, where total chaos reigns, no nominee after two dozen ballots, when out of nowhere a compromise candidate emerges, played by whatever Jimmy Stewart clone we can cast, some minor unknown politician somewhere, who says "common sense" a lot and is photogenic with a cute smile but few words, tall, lean, a cowboy in a wrinkled suit, and ... well, you get the picture.

a politician is an arse
upon which everyone has sat
except a man

--e. e. cummings

"I don't want to encourage them." (A 90+ year old woman explaining to me why she stopped voting in her 70s.)

Why do we still read Steinbeck but not Saroyan?

In 'Cannery Row,' a Preserved Simplicity


Why do people still read Steinbeck today while his contemporary William Saroyan ("The Human Comedy," "My Name Is Aram," Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Time of Your Life") is almost completely forgotten? The two writers were remarkably similar in their affection for ordinary people, their belief in the United States and their persistent sentimentality, and in their day both were hugely popular, yet now probably no more than one reader in 25 would be likely to recognize Saroyan's name. The only reason I can come up with for the high esteem in which Steinbeck is still held is his transparent sincerity. It has long been my pet theory that in the popular marketplace, readers instinctively distinguish between writers whose work draws on genuine feeling and those who rely on art or artifice, and that they reward the former while repudiating the latter.
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Scripts, scripts ...

Reading scripts all morning with more to go ... occasional breaks here ... and back to reading.

Oregon Dem chair commits today

Many months ago I thought this highly of HC. No more. Ever since her sniper fire fabrication (especially the dramatic theatricality of its delivery, the blatant and manipulative lie of it), she has less and less of my admiration and respect. I now think of her as a female Nixon. If she's the VP, I don't know if I could vote for the ticket.
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Why I've chosen to back Barack Obama

F or the first time in 40 years, the Oregon Democratic
primary has played a pivotal role in deciding who may be our
president. In casting our votes, we Oregonians understood
the seriousness of our decision.

I have decided to support Sen. Barack Obama.

Has this been difficult for me? You bet it has. As a
65-year-old woman, I have a visceral understanding of the
fight for gender equality. My deep respect for Sen. Hillary
Clinton and what she means to that fight continues and will
continue in the years to come. As a senator, an advocate and
as a candidate for president, she demonstrates the absolute
importance and ability of women to lead. Her strength as a
candidate has forever expanded the possibilities for other
women. While we have come a long way in securing both gender
and racial equality, we still have lots of work to do.

Meredith Wood Smith of Portland is chairwoman of the
Democratic Party of Oregon and one of 12 Oregon

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Here we go again

In fact, at RealClearPolitics, the AVERAGE of the polls showing each candidate v. McClain shows Obama doing better than Clinton, +2.6 to +1.2, both within the margin of error (i.e. very close race for both). In favorable ratings, average of the polls, O leads C +12.3 to +4.7.

I posted about lying with statistics earlier. I don't think any primary polls are an accurate reflection of what may or may not happen in the general election for either candidate.

As HC gets more desperate, it gets more surreal. I think this is going to end up being uglier than I imagined earlier. Her exaggerations get greater every day, and her husband is no better. They appear to be on a crusade. Delusions of grandeur, victims of conspiracies, ala Nixon. I never thought we'd see another politician like Nixon but boy was I wrong.

Saturday's DNC meeting may become a zoo. The Republicans must be loving all this.
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Clinton Casts Wide Net of Exaggeration, Claims to Lead in “Every Poll”

From CBS News’ Fernando Suarez:
BILLINGS, MONT. -- During an evening rally in Montana’s largest city Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton explained to the crowd why she should be the Democratic Party’s nominee, but what ensued was a list of overstatements and exaggerations as she made her case. “You have to ask yourself, who is the stronger candidate? And based on every analysis, of every bit of research and every poll that has been taken and every state that a Democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall,” she said.

The problem is, there are a number of polls that show Clinton in a close race with John McCain, many within the margin of error, not including a few that show Barack Obama beating McCain by a larger margin than Clinton.
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Kate Mann: Cowboys Are My Weakness

Full interview in the new review, out July 1.

Trouble brewing?

Will HC and her supporters challenge this all the way to the convention floor? Paglia, as noted earlier, thinks so, it's a natural extension of the Clintons' combative personalities. Most commentators believe this would be a disaster for the Democrats in the election -- and, of course, the superdelegates can get off their butts and put O over the top at any time -- unless the definition of delegate majority also can be challenged by HC. Everyone has seen this huge mess coming for weeks if not months -- the question is, will it be avoided and, if so, how?

HBO has its new movie on the Florida ballot count in the last Prez election.

There's obviously a movie brewing here as well. I'm more interested in a more serious dramatic look at HC's character, however, the way Stone looked at Nixon. The more I observe her, the more HC reminds me of a Nixon. Nixon was a master of the innuendo. So is HC.

Consider the phrase "not as far as I know." If someone asked me, did HC murder a competing classmate in law school and then successfully cover it up to look like an accidental drowning? There's a spectrum of answers available to me: That's preposterous! Or, No. Or, Not as far as I know.

Nixon used the latter all the time because it's double-edged and admits the possibility of truth. It says, well, I could see that happening but I have no evidence that it did.

Hence HC, when asked if Obama was a Muslim, said "Not as far as I know," feeding all the racist doubts that he is (indeed, in WVa, exit polls revealed that a shocking number of voters believed he is). (Of course, that this should even matter at all is another issue and example of prejudice.) HC, like Nixon, uses innuendo to political gain with great skill.
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Dem lawyers: Fla., Mich. can't be fully restored

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A Democratic Party rules committee has the authority to seat some delegates from Michigan and Florida but not fully restore the two states as Hillary Rodham Clinton wants, according to party lawyers.

Democratic National Committee rules require that the two states lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, the party's legal experts wrote in a 38-page memo.

Saturday's meeting is expected to draw a large crowd, with Clinton supporters among those encouraging a protest outside demanding that all the states' delegates be seated. Proponents of full reseating have mailed committee members Florida oranges and pairs of shoes to get their attention.

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Untapped fury

China's future may not be as secure as it thinks.
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Parents’ Grief Turns to Rage at Chinese Officials
DUJIANGYAN, China — Bereaved parents whose children were crushed to death in their classrooms during the earthquake in Sichuan Province have turned mourning ceremonies into protests in recent days, forcing officials to address growing political repercussions over shoddy construction of public schools.

Later, as the crowd surged into the hundreds, some parents clashed with the police, leaving several bleeding and trembling with emotion.

The protests threaten to undermine the government’s attempts to promote its response to the quake as effective and to highlight heroic rescue efforts by the People’s Liberation Army, which has dispatched 150,000 soldiers to the region. Censors have blocked detailed reporting of the schools controversy by the state-run media, but a photo of Mr. Jiang kneeling before protesters has become a sensation on some Web forums, bringing national attention to the incident.

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Campaign styles

A good opinion piece on high roads and low roads in politics. Biden might be Sec of State in an Obama administration.
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Roads, High and Low
On Friday morning, Joe Biden gave us an example of a leading national politician exhibiting decency and class. Later in the day, Hillary Clinton gave us an example of something else.
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Sneak preview

From what I've edited thus far, the summer review will be strong in creative non-fiction, video arts, and poetry. Two good features in the latter section: video readings from the Skagit River Poetry Festival; and a tribute to Vi Gale.

I'm a tad concerned about our music section. Our editor has been busy doing other things, with the result that the last several issues have seen a drop in the usual quality of the section. I may have to replace the editor. We'll see what comes in this time, and I'll decide.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Upcoming issue

Primus came by during office hours and dropped off disks of video he's been shooting. Readings in Seattle and elsewhere. Tomorrow he's getting a jazz pianist on video. He's having far too much fun with his Flip ha ha. More power to him.

Otherwise a quiet time, prior to the avalanche of term projects coming my way in an hour.

I look forward to seeing JUNO again. Only seen it once, though I've read the script a couple times. Their take-home final is an essay on its dramatic structure.

Found a great site for studying complex extended chords.

The Obama connection

Roger Cohen's thought-provoking opinion in the NYTimes on Obama as the first 21st century politician.
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More than any other factor, it has been Barack Obama’s grasp of the central place of Internet-driven social networking that has propelled his campaign for the Democratic nomination into a seemingly unassailable lead over Hillary Clinton. Her campaign has been so 20th-century. His has been of the century we’re in.
This cultural failure has been devastating for Clinton.

I’ve searched in vain for a sense of this pivotal historical moment in Clinton. Her threat to “totally obliterate” Iran, her stomach-turning reference to the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as a reason to stay in the race, her Bosnian fabrications, all reflect a view of history as something that’s there for political ends rather than as a source of inspiration or reflection.

Obama has promised to appoint a chief technology officer, to open up government via the Web

It’s the networks, stupid, and the generations that go with them.

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The failure of governments

There've been too many examples in recent years of governments failing to serve the desperate needs of its citizens in crisis. China, Burma presently, for example ... but we didn't do much better during Katrina, a shocking failure of government right here in the USA. And the consequences of the failure may be with us for years to come.

What does it take to make a government actually work for the benefit of its citizens?
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Children in Katrina trailers may face lifelong ailments
BAY ST. LOUIS, MISS. (AP) -- The anguish of Hurricane Katrina should have ended for Gina Bouffanie and her daughter when they left their FEMA trailer. But with each hospital visit and each labored breath her child takes, the young mother fears it has just begun.
"It's just the sickness. I can't get rid of it. It just keeps coming back," said Bouffanie, 27, who was pregnant with her now 15-month-old daughter, Lexi, while living in the trailer. "I'm just like, `Oh God, I wish like this would stop.' If I had known it would get her sick, I wouldn't have stayed in the trailer for so long."
octors cannot conclusively link her asthma to the trailer. But they fear she is among tens of thousands of youngsters who may face lifelong health problems because the temporary housing supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency contained formaldehyde fumes up to five times the safe level.
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Hope he does it

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Big Brown returns to the track

NEW YORK - Big Brown was back on the track a day earlier than expected, and trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said he looks as good as ever — maybe even better.

"There's no way in the world that four, five, six, seven days of him missing on the track is going to affect his outcome and his racing ability when he runs the Belmont," Dutrow said. "There is no way this can affect him. He's not going to get tired because he missed a few days."

A quarter crack is common and not serious. Healing can range from a few days to a few months, depending on the severity of the crack. McKinlay says there is no infection, and Big Brown is in no pain, and the crack apparently did not bother the colt on Tuesday.

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Wild flower excursion

A photo from yesterday's trip out the gorge.

Only 2 weeks left in the term. Tomorrow is my big day, final feedback on their script projects collected today. In class today I show JUNO. Thursday, my marketing lecture. Next week, more videos to show. So it's downhill except for the full day of reading tomorrow.

2 weeks left in my Finale and piano classes, too. Actually a makeup in piano for the class missed last week. But in 3 weeks, grades will be in, and the summer will begin in earnest in all ways except, of course, weather, which probably still will suck. Oregon O Oregon!

Yesterday I finished my Kate Mann video interview edit, looks decent. I'm going to put her "Cowboys Are My Weakness" song on YouTube (have permission), do it today I suppose.

I'm looking forward to a busy, productive summer.

Monday, May 26, 2008


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Sydney Pollack dies of cancer at age 73

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay who achieved commercial success and critical acclaim with the gender-bending comedy "Tootsie" and the period drama "Out of Africa, has died. He was 73.

Pollack died of cancer Monday afternoon at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, said his publicist, Leslee Dart. He had been diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago, Dart said.

Pollack, who occasionally appeared on the screen himself, worked with and gained the respect of Hollywood's best actors in a long career that reached prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act," actor George Clooney said in a statement issued by his publicist.

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Triple Crown contender Big Brown battles hoof injury
Triple Crown contender Big Brown has missed two days of training with a left hoof injury, trainer Rick Dutrow jnr said Sunday.

The colt, trying to become the first in 30 years to sweep US flat racing's Triple Crown races, has a quarter crack - a vertical crack in the hoof wall - on the inside of his left front hoof.

Dutrow admitted he was somewhat concerned by the injury.

But the trainer also said it would not prevent Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, from running in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

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But when does it come to Pdx?

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French film, 'The Class,' wins at Cannes

CANNES, France: At the closing ceremony Sunday of the 61st Cannes film festival, the red carpet was overrun by teenagers, the young stars of the Palme d'Or winner, "The Class" ("Entre les Murs").

Directed by Laurent Cantet, the film follows a year in the life of a French schoolteacher working in a tough multi-cultural section of Paris. Based on a best-selling autobiographical novel by François Begaudeau, who plays the main character, "The Class" is brought alive by the performances of the non-professional actors playing the students.

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OLR progress

Made tremendous progress on the upcoming summer Oregon Literary Review, so I can see making the deadline for the first time. Still a lot of video editing to do, however, so we'll see. But I put in some hours and feel better about where I am with it.

Took an afternoon break yesterday to drive out the gorge via back roads to check out the wildflowers around Rowena Crest, between Hood River and The Dalles, one of our favorite spots. Had lunch in Hood River and it seemed to have twice as many restaurants as last year at this time.

Maybe today I'll start the vid editing for OLR. And maybe not ha ha. First things first. Breakfast!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Camille Paglia

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Hillary Clinton's candidacy has done feminism no favours

By Camille Paglia

When the dust settles over the 2008 election, will Hillary Clinton have helped or hindered women's advance toward the US presidency?

Right now, Hillary is in Godzilla mode, refusing to accept Barack Obama's looming nomination and threatening to tie the Democratic party in legal knots until the August convention and beyond.
Those who think she will withdraw gracefully in a few weeks are living in cloud cuckoo land. The Clintons are ruthless scrappers who will lock their bulldog teeth in any bloody towel.

Charges of sexism have become Hillary's rote strategy for evading scrutiny. But by entangling the noble movement of modern feminism with her own knotty psychodrama, Hillary is reinforcing hoary stereotypes about women. Will every losing woman candidate now turn on the waterworks and claim to be maimed by male pride and prejudice?

Sexism has nothing to do with it.
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