Towse: views from the hill

February 22, 2008

For want of an accent mark …

Filed under: culture,life,politics — Towse @ 11:49 pm

A headzup to everyone writing in the blogosphere, in newspapers and in magazines: what César and Dolores and the UFW were all about was “¡Sí, se puede!” not “Si se puede.”

Sure, the two phrases sound the same, but the first means, “Yes, we can!” (or more accurately, ‘Yes, it’s possible’ or ‘Yes, it can be done.’) and the second, “If we can …”

Big difference.

(I kept, and never used, a freebie notepad the UFW sent me — along with a solicitation for a donation, natch — because they used “Si” instead of “Sí” in the tagline on the notepad. And don’t try to tell me that the accent mark has become superfluous in the twenty-first century. I ain’t buying it. …)

Thus ends the Spanish I lesson for the afternoon.

February 21, 2008

Just words …

Filed under: politics — Towse @ 2:59 am


The Agitator by Ryan Lizza: Barack Obama’s unlikely political education.
Post Date Monday, March 19, 2007.

sez Obama: Sometimes the tendency in community organizing of the sort done by Alinsky was to downplay the power of words and of ideas when in fact ideas and words are pretty powerful. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal.’ Those are just words. ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. But they help move things.

Obama to Patrick to Obama and a hissy fit from those folks who don’t think words and oratory count for anything without Substance [PDF]

(that’s Substance with a capital S)

The March 2007 TNR article is interesting above and beyond the fact that Obama’s “just words” echoes Patrick and predates Obama’s alleged “plagiarism” of Patrick’s speech.

Read the TNR article in full. It gives a =very= interesting insight into Obama’s background.

You know what’s really weird? I don’t know Alinsky from Adam, but I first saw his name this morning in re Hillary’s senior thesis at Wellesley which was allzabout Alinsky. Turns out Obama was allzabout Alinsky in his work on the southside of Chicago.

Oh, where is Kevin Bacon when you need him?

Lunar eclipse tonight

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , , , , — Towse @ 2:22 am

The show has started …

Posted by Picasa

February 20, 2008

What customer service should be like …

Filed under: life,periodicals — Towse @ 8:17 pm

Returning from BOS after a mind-stretching AAAS annual meeting, I sorted through a week’s worth of mail.

My March 2008 copy of REAL SIMPLE had arrived in the most ghodaufful shape of any destroyed magazine I’d ever received. Nice bright red note on the cover “RECEIVED IN DAMAGED CONDITION”

Aye, but who damaged it?

The cover had a third ripped off down to page ~ 30 (I can’t tell because that corner of the page is missing. The next 50% of the magazine has the same corner ripped off (in an almost topographical way) but only about 16% of the page missing.

The rips continue. The magazine’s unreadable. The first page that is not badly torn is page 274 and even that page and the pages up to page 292 are scrunched a bit and slightly torn.

I hied off to

Log in, they said. So, I put the name on the subscription and my address and the e-addr I use for their notices. “Hi!” they said. “You last paid us $$$ on xxx-xx-xxxx. Do you want to renew now?”

Um. No. My subscription runs through July 2010. Heck, the scamp will be back from his Peace Corps gig before my subscription runs out.

I clicked the “report missing or damaged issues” box. RealSimple asked “missing or damaged”? Do you want us to replace the issue or extend your subscription? Is the issue in question the February 2008 or the March 2008 issue. I clicked and clicked and said I wanted a replacement for the March 2008 issue.

Next page … “We are sorry that you did not receive your March, 2008 issue. We have requested that a replacement issue be mailed to you at …”

Easy peasy, eh?

THIS is what customer service should be like. …

February 12, 2008

Morning fog …

Filed under: life,photographs,San Francisco,SFOBayBridge — Towse @ 3:50 pm

YouTube – IT’S OVER Roy Orbison

Filed under: music,people,video — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:21 am

Amazing what’s available on YouTube.

I’m a huge fan of Orbison. I will probably bounce from YouTube to YouTube to YouTube to … until (not long from now) I decide I’m about ready to crash.

Claudette. Pretty Woman. Running Scared.

Blue Bayou

from Orbison to Patsy Cline

to Hank Williams

to … well … oddly enough there’s nothing much on YouTube from Cisco Houston.

Joan Baez, however. …

I bought a photograph of Mimi and Debbie Green, taken while Mimi lived on Alta. The two are goofing off at the corner of Union and Montgomery, with the piers and Bay as backdrop.

Thank you, John Cooke.

Cooke sold me a piece of his life. Man, I love the Web and the John Cookes of the world.

February 11, 2008

"Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?" — Peggy Noonan

Filed under: blog,politics — Towse @ 7:18 pm

If Hillary Clinton loses, does she know how to lose? What will that be, if she loses? Will she just say, “I concede” and go on vacation at a friend’s house on an island, and then go back to the Senate and wait?

Is it possible she could be so normal? Politicians lose battles, it’s part of what they do, win and lose. But she does not know how to lose. Can she lose with grace? But she does grace the way George W. Bush does nuance.

[continue …“Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?” — Peggy Noonan]

February 10, 2008

The FAIL Blog

Filed under: blog,culture,yikes — Towse @ 9:40 pm

The FAIL Blog

Must be seen to be believed. (Lots of ouchies here!)

via his nibs.

February 8, 2008

Michelle Obama – Be Not Afraid

Filed under: people,politics,video — Towse @ 12:34 am

[Note: Previous link went 404. New link added.]

Need a little cheering up?

Filed under: life,video — Towse @ 12:06 am

Need a little cheering up?
Watch this:

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