Hi!  Remember me?  I used to post things for you to read/ignore/steal/think about/waste conf call time on, but now all I do is dream about being able to do those things.  I know I was all, “Damn The Man!” when I worked corporate and now I work for myself but still need The Man to pay me so I’m all, “Damn my lack of sick days and regulated salary!”  First world problems, ftw.  Anyway, I gotta get back to work because my hand made imported hipster panties made from the inner ear linings of albino unicorn foals won’t pay for themselves, so enjoy some history.



This video is of the first 35mm film ever shot, taken from the front of a San Francisco cable car in 1906.  It is remarkable in many ways, not least of which is the surprising amount of automobiles present.  If you watch, you’ll see a cyclist in front of the car who functions as sort of a casual tour guide throughout the film.  It’s an amazing bit of history, accompanied by, yes, Air’s “La Femme D’Argent” in this instance.  Feel free to watch it on silent.

The film was “originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!) .. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing.”

(Quoted explanation unattributed for now.  Feel free to post the original source in the comments).

I guess I’m going to get used to looking at this man’s forehead because David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party here in the UK, has just left Buckingham Palace as new Prime Minister following Gordon Brown’s resignation.  The Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition with the Tories to take the Labour Party out of power for the first time since Tony Blair’s historic election in 1994.

I’d love to offer some devastating and insightful analysis of this development, but even after attempting to follow the debates and news programs for the last two weeks, I’m still scratching my head.  Since I can’t vote here, I spend much more time and energy keeping up with US politics, but here’s the wee bit that I’ve gleaned: (more…)

I hate commercials with a passion.  I especially hate prescription drug commercials and if I don’t mute the TV e-fucking-mediately, the droning voiceover rambling on about the long list of side effects is enough to make me set my own face on fire.  My favorite would have to be when they tell you that antidepressants can increase your risk for suicide.  Because, really, that makes all the sense in the world, doesn’t it!? “You hate your life, take this pill!!  But watch out, it might make you feel like someone else is walking in your skin and you’ll want to eat a bullet!!  Your co-pay will be $30, thx.

Everyone is depressed.  Obese children are depressed (from being overfed like suckling pigs), teenagers are depressed and hormonal, women are depressed and psychotic, men are depressed and homicidal.  I can’t get through one fucking day without hearing about someone’s issues, and were I a weaker minded person this would, guess what?  DEPRESS ME.  So when I read this article in Scientific American Mind about depression and good old elbow grease, I was reminded that there IS light at the end of the tunnel and the world is not entirely stuffed with lazy people in shitty moods. The article is long and interesting but I’ve captured the main points for you.  Don’t be a lazy shit and skip it, your mental health is on the line, Slacker.

FAST FACTS:  The Mental Perils of Ease

1.  Rates of depression have risen in recent decades, at the same time that people are enjoying time-saving conveniences such as microwave ovens, e-mail, prepared meals, and machines for washing clothes and mowing lawns.

2.  People of earlier generations, whose lives were characterized by greater efforts just to survive, paradoxically, were mentally healthier. Human ancestors also evolved in conditions where hard physical work was necessary to thrive.

3.   By denying our brains the rewards that come from anticipating and executing complex tasks with our hands, the author argues, we undercut our mental well-being.


This morning a column was sent to me, reminding me that long time journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Ellen Goodman was hanging it up.  As we all turn our sights to the new year and the prospects it might bring, it’s worth the time to think about what and who has come before us.

Via GazetteXtra.com

“BOSTON — It is one of those moments when I feel like a time traveler. I look out the airplane window and watch a young woman on the tarmac directing our jet to its gate. As she waves the signals, I fall into a silent, familiar reverie: “I remember when.”

What I remember, of course, is a time when no woman would have been hired for this “man’s job.” What I remember is when my generation opened the door for hers. If I talked to her about the old days, I wonder, would she listen as politely as if I were talking about walking four miles in the snow to school?

I am time traveling these days because on Jan. 1 I’ll be ending my tenure as a syndicated columnist. While my colleagues are busily sizing up the decade with lists—Twitter in; Tiger out—I’m quietly sizing up the last four decades.

Cleaning up the office, I found a clipping from 1969 when, as a young reporter, I was sent to cover this brand new phenomenon called the women’s movement. The next Sunday, I picked up the paper and was stunned to find a one-word banner headline over my byline: WOMEN.

The editor’s note explained: “Today’s Sunday Globe attempts to fathom this phenomenon of the female revolution.”

My own story said that “a female revolution is sweeping the land, in some cases subtle and unspoken, in others dramatic and defiant.” This brazen decision—on the day after the Manson killings no less—to lead The Boston Globe with WOMEN jeopardized the editor’s career but redirected my own. Ever since then, from my perch as an observer, I’ve tracked this story—WOMEN—more consistently than anything else.

How to sum up the time and distance we’ve traveled? Advance and backlash? Forward march and stall-out?

Today, half the law students and medical students are female. But only 15 of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. We had the first serious woman candidate run for president—and lose. We had a mother of five, a governor and a Title IX baby run for vice president—as a conservative.

The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated because people were scared into believing that women could end up in combat. Now nearly a quarter-million women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 120 have died, 650 have been wounded. But still no ERA. (more…)

Yesterday, my hometown of Houston, Texas became the largest US city to elect an openly gay mayor.  Former Houston city councilwoman and city controller, Annise Parker defeated former city attorney, Gene Locke with 53% of the vote.

Parker ran on her ability to lead the city out of the recession, and not on a gay rights platform, something which in a way makes the win alternately significant and meaningless (do we want her to do the job or make a statement?).  But Houston has always had a very vibrant and (in my opinion) a fairly well supported gay community, especially considering the conservativeness of Texas as a whole.  Nevertheless, to win such a high profile position in a city clogged with Big Business (read: Ol Boy Network) is quite a feat.  Congratulations to Mayor Parker and to the voters of Harris County!

(Now we just have to see whether or not former mayor Bill White gets the governors spot.)

via Houston Chronicle

A welcome and rather touching addition to the photo blog ranks is My Parents Were Awesome, profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered last week.  Eliot Glazer has compiled over 3,000 user-submitted images of parents and grandparents in their heyday, and the result is a lovely little tribute to eras past.  Definitely worth a browse.

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