: views from the Hill

Friday, October 31, 2008

Love Story–Gold Winner: Los Muertos

Best Travel Writing - Love Story–Gold Winner: Los Muertos

Lovely story and timely with its Día de los Muertos theme.

[via a link from James O'Reilly's twitterfeed]

Esquire Endorses Barack Obama for President

For the first time in seventy-five years ESQUIRE makes a presidential endorsement: Esquire Endorses Barack Obama for President

Writing about the Esquire endorsement and the very lucid (and chilling) view ESQUIRE has of a McCain presidency, Andrew Sullivan writes in the Atlantic, Yes, something profound is at stake on Tuesday..

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

YouTube - Charles Meets Barack

YouTube - Charles Meets Barack

"Everybody my age, they're dying off. ... these young people ... they are really a united people [the volunteers] and that's what this country needs right now."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Etsy :: Oven Mitts

Etsy :: Oven Mitts

The perfect gift for your literary friends ... with a warped sense of humor.

Chris Buckley on Rush Limbaugh at The Daily Beast

Chris Buckley on Rush Limbaugh at the Daily Beast.

Hoo boy.


As these words were going out over the Excellence in Broadcasting network, my father's corpse was still warm. It was a day of passions, I know, and things get said in the heat of passion. But reading these words, in the cooler air of October—not that this October has been devoid of passion—well, as me old mater might say, I found them a bit…de trop.

That's French for "a bit much," and I'm putting it that way by way of stipulating that I am a card-carrying member of the Eastern seaboard, proletarian-despising media elite. My idea of roughage is arugula. I have not to date tasted moose meat and hope never to, unless it is served to me at La Grenouille, by Charles Masson, personally and under glass. As for politics, we elites have always inclined toward the black candidate who grew up with a single mother on food stamps, as opposed to the third-generation Annapolis cadet.

I am having these pensées (more French, learned at an elite New England boarding school) about el Rushbo because a few days ago, following my J'accuse! (okay, okay, I'll cut it out)—following my "I'm voting for Barack" teachable moment in this space, I received, amidst other howls of outrage and a pink slip from NR, formal notification that I had arrived, career-wise. It took the form of a headline:



Well, you can mock Christopher Buckley, but reap your whirlwind, sir.

Excerpts of Seven Year-Old Obama Interview Cause Stir

City Room™ - Politics - Excerpts of Seven Year-Old Obama Interview Cause Stir

In 2001, Chicago Public Radio interviewed then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama about civil rights. Over the weekend, someone posted excerpts of the interview, edited to misrepresent Obama's statements. The item is now catching national attention.

Click here for Obama's full interviews.

The clips are taken from an interview that aired in January of 2001. Then State Senator Obama is one of three legal scholars interviewed for a show about civil rights. Over the weekend, someone pulled excerpts of the show and posted them to You Tube—and today, the posting caught fire on political blogs, the Drudge Report, and Fox News.

The 4 minute spliced collection of clips portrays Obama as advocate a redistribution of wealth through the power of the Supreme Court. That folds in with some allegations by the McCain Palin campaign.

The twist here is that, when heard in the context of the whole show, Obama’s position is distinctly misrepresented by the You Tube posting. Taken in context, Obama is evaluating the historical successes and failures of the Civil Rights movement—and, ironically, he says the Supreme Court was a failure in cases that it took on a role of redistributing resources.

Singing skull

Singing skull [MAKE magazine blog post on the project]

And a vid of the actual skull singing!

Some people have waaaaay too much time on their hands.

[via a tweet from Make Magazine]

Linkbait: what it is, tips & tricks

Linkbait: what it is, tips & tricks

A round-up article. Blog? Care about SEO? Much? Huiskes' article on Linkbait is a good overview w/ tips & tricks.

People in the Middle for Obama

Seven videos from People in the Middle for Obama

Monday, October 27, 2008



MTVmusic.com, a very clean, very simple, good looking site full of music videos and only music videos. Lots of older, classic stuff, too, like one of our favorites, Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing."

The site looks good and, in our limited testing, works great. And like Hulu, MTV also (smartly) lets you embed their videos on your blog, MySpace or Facebook profile, Tumblr, etc. (see below). It also has the requisite "social" functions like comments, rating up/down, etc.

[via Huffington Post]

RIP Tony Hillerman

Tony Hillerman has died at age 83.

My favorite memory of him was his appearance as guest at the first fundraiser dinner for (what now is known as) the Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries back in the early nineties. The Foundation had originally asked Robert Campbell to be guest speaker but Campbell answered (hashhish remembering here) something to the effect that Campbell really wasn't so hot with the public speaking thing. If he had been good at it, Campbell said, he probably would've chosen a vocation other than writing. But he knew this guy. ...

Hillerman signed one of my hardback first editions before the dinner and kept the audience laughing during dinner with his dry wit and self deprecating stories of bloopers he'd made and his life as a writer. Hillerman all-in-all proved to be a generous, charming, raconteur sort of a guy.

Hillerman did a lot for the mystery-writing community and writers in general, a lot for libraries and readers. He earned the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Talking mysteries : a conversation with Tony Hillerman and Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir are excellent introductions to Hillerman the writer and his writing.

Hillerman's writing evoked the Southwest. His mysteries were appreciated by the Navajo nation because of his depictions of and respect for the native culture. The Navajo Tribal Council honored him with its Special Friend of the Dineh award in 1987.

He was one of a kind.


FYI. "The Comcast Newsgroups service has been discontinued."


"The Comcast Newsgroups service has been discontinued. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have already signed up for Comcast Newsgroups, please be aware that this service will be discontinued on 10/25/2008."

A list of links to Public news servers

And (for a price!) by-golly! Giganews (which had been providing Usenet services for Comcast) will provide service for you too!

Saturday, October 25, 2008



Our Zeppelin has arrived!

More news
Posted by Picasa

Itzhak Perlman: Vote NO on Proposition 8

"The Constitution of California currently sees all of our children and grandchildren as equal ... Why would you change that?"

2048 - There was a country

2048 - There was a country

Wow. Just wow.

And from there go to other 2048- titles on YouTube:
There was a country!
There was an environment!
There was a unity!
There was a freedom!
There was a dream!

There is still a future!

This is an election like no other and YouTube is having an influence that no one would have imagined four years ago. Some stunning creative work online.

The background music and shooting technique put me in mind of V FOR VENDETTA. I don't know why.

YouTube - A Poem For The Youth Voter

YouTube - A Poem For The Youth Voter

Yes. We. Did.

The Web is a wonder. Here's a GOTV video addressed to the youngsters who might get complacent and stay home "on the sofa, watchin' Oprah" instead of voting.


Go vote, if there's early voting in your precinct. Last thing you want is for something to come up on election day -- broken down car, boss wanting you to work late, food poisoning -- and miss voting.

Vote now.

infochimps.org: Map of Newspaper Endorsements for 2008 US Election

Map of Newspaper Endorsements for 2008 US Election

Blue/Red, depending on whether the Democrat or Republican candidate earned the endorsement.

Size of circle indicates circulation size. If the circle's perimeter is a darker shade, it means the newspaper endorsed the "other" party's candidate in 2004.

Interesting visual.

The blog post that accompanies the map.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Howard's Call To Action

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Opie, Andy, and the Fonz want you to vote for Obama.

Ten Tips on a Good Blog Entry

NCTE Inbox Blog: Tips on a Good Blog Entry

# Choose an attention-getting and accurate title.
Like a newspaper headline, a good blog title draws readers in. It’s your chance to convince a reader to take a look at what you’ve written. But no bait-and-switch! Make sure that your title reflects the content of the entry.

# State your opinion clearly.
Take a stand and make it clear. Your blog isn’t the place for meandering. If your opinion isn’t appropriate for the general public, choose a different subject. If you wouldn't stand up in front of your colleagues and share your opinion, don’t post it on your blog.

# Back things up with specific stories and examples.
Once you state your opinion, explain it. Share stories or examples that show why you hold your opinion. The advice we give students applies: Show. Don’t Tell!

and seven more.

NCTE: National Council of Teachers of English

via a Lester Smith tweet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Imperial History of the Middle East

Imperial History of the Middle East [SWF] ... all that world history you've forgotten but probably would be better off remembering right now.

The Web is a wonder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've voted. Have you?

"And it seems that the worse McCain is doing in the polls, the more his team is relying on the same gutter tactics. So over the next 15 days, look for the McCain campaign to become even uglier. That's what happens when following Rovian politics is your only strategy -- and Rovian politics isn't working."

Happy to be out of it. Glad my vote is winging its way to City Hall.

We had
(1) the Presidential election to vote on
(2) The US House of Reps (Cindy Sheehan or Nancy Pelosi? Hm.)
(3) Our local state assembly critter
(4) Our school board.
(5) Our college board.
(6) Our District 3 Supervisor to replace Aaron Peskin. (Nine candidates running. Ranked voting returns.)
(7) Superior Court judge
(8) Twelve state propositions, including Proposition 8.
(9) City-wide measures A-V (that would be um. a-b-c-d-...twenty-two city-wide measures) including Measure R ("Renaming the Oceanside Water Treatment Plant to the George W Bush Sewage Plant" Sophomoric? You betcha!) and Measure V. ("Policy Against Terminating Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) Programs in Public High Schools" ... Shall it be City policy to encourage the School Board to reverse its decision to terminate JROTC and to continue to offer JROTC in San Francisco public high schools?) and Measure E ("Changing the Number of Signatures Required to Recall City Officials") and Measure K ("Shall the City: stop enforcing laws against prostitution; stop funding or supporting the First Offender Prostitution Program or any similar anti-prostitution program; enforce existing criminal laws that prohibit crimes such as battery, extortion and rape, regardless of the victim's status as a sex worker; and fully disclose the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against sex workers?")

Have I mentioned I think twelve state-wide propositions and twenty-two City measures seem to be public policy run amok? More thoughts on this in a later post.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

SPUR VOTER GUIDE November 2008

SPUR VOTER GUIDE November 2008

I may not always agree with SPUR's election picks, but they are thoughtful picks and the reasoning behind them is laid out for all to see.

Haven't voted in the California and San Francisco elections yet? Check out the SPUR guide.

... and vote NO on Prop 8.

[SPUR doesn't give you an opinion on Prop 8. If the folks working on the Voter Guide decisions can't all wholeheartedly support one position, they don't cover that proposition.]

Vote for Hope

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

This is the first presidential election with YouTube videos prepared by passionate supporters on both sides, the first presidential election with political blogs and political Web sites setup and maintained by supporters, the first presidential election that will be influenced, at times greatly, by the Web.

Sit back. Watch.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Laughing Squid has something for you.

Powazek has a t-shirt you might be interested in.

Off I go again.

This time to Baltimore and Bouchercon.

Have to be at the airport by 5A, which means up by 4A in order to get some espresso in my system.

Walked down the hill tonight for a gathering to talk about our neighborhood community center, Tel-Hi. Our friend Donna is the development director. She spends her days raising money for the center. Another friend, Gail, is on the board and spoke tonight and sent e-mails to people she knew on the invite list, saying you must come, will I see you there.

Met some nice people. Bumped into some old friends. The hosts had a Dali on their wall, a portrait of the wife at age maybe eight twelve with her mother. A definite Dali, but no melting watches or weirdnesses. Wonderful place filled with interesting stuff.

Wonderful place. Genuine people. Good cause.

We -- well, I -- missed the debate. We walked down the hill and over to the gathering and I could hear Obama's voice coming out of open windows as neighbors watched the debate we'd jettisoned in order to support a good cause. I'm sure I'll be able to pick up on what happened at the debate some time between now and when the next debate happens.

See you 'round some time after I get back. I get back late Monday. Give me at least Tuesday to veg out on the couch and restore my social equilibrium.

His nibs will be home for Fleet Week and the Blue Angels, but I'll miss all that. C'est la vie.

Baltimore here I come.

Today’s Electoral College Map

Today’s Electoral College Map

Another interesting map. This one shows the red/blue states with the state size distorted to reflect the state's number of electoral votes.

Princeton Election Consortium, from whence this map comes, is another Election2008 Web site filled with tasty nuggets of data.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A toast to the late crime writer Jim Crumley

A toast to the late crime writer Jim Crumley - Eddie Muller in today's Chron

Late again, naturally.

Just realized when checking the program schedule for Bouchercon that although I (rightly) booked Oct 8 - 13 for the hotel -- and booked early enough this year to actually get in the convention hotel -- my frequent-flyer tickets are for the 9th and I'm arriving late afternoon, so I'll miss the first day. Don't know how that mixup happened.


Double drat because I'd already begun ratcheting up my "maybe I don't want to go after all" "who really will I know" misgivings and this almost completely derailed me.

I've recovered. I'll call the hotel and tell them I won't be there until the 9th.

But drat anyway.

Update: His nibs, being the sweet feller he is, called Delta and asked how much it would cost to change my tickets from Thursday 7A to Wednesday and they said, $100. So, his nibs, being the sweet feller he is, changed the tickets. Bless his heart. Plane leaves at 6A Wednesday and xfers through Atlanta, then on to Baltimore.

Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library

Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library

Everything from an original Sputnik 1 satellite to a Kelmscott Chaucer.

Oh. My.

And feather canyons everywhere*


Posted by Picasa

Tom Perkins is out in Maltese Falcon, cruising around.

That's a BIG yacht.

* "Both Sides Now" - Joni Mitchell

[Sour Grapes posted a beautiful cloud picture over at his place.]

Saturday, October 04, 2008

And ice cream castles in the air*


Posted by Picasa

Lovely clouds. With luck we'll have more rain. With luck the weather cleared up and stayed sunny in bucolic Kern County, CA, for first-cousin-once-removed Davy's wedding this afternoon.

[view of the N bay from Pacific Heights]

* "Both Sides Now" - Joni Mitchell

Our visitor yesterday


Left this morning.

This is the time of year when the cruise ships move south for the winter, from Alaska routes to Mexican routes. Our ville is a stop off point and has been having heavy cruise ship activity (sometimes three berths in use) for the last month or so.
Posted by Picasa

Now =that= is a fish!

Homer, Alaska - 348.2-pound halibut reels in derby jackpot

Jeff Pardi of San Rafael, CA, caught the fish in July and was declared the winner of the $45K prize when the derby closed on the last day of September, Tuesday.

Picture of fish in the article.

That's a big fish. I didn't know halibut got that big!

Three things every voter should know about John McCain and ...

John McCain's Record

Brilliant Web site.

Click on one of ten choices and you'll get "three things" you should know about John McCain and, f'rex, "Rural Issues" with votes and references.

Followed by "John McCain: Out of Touch with Rural Issues. Fortunately there's hope. See how Barack Obama and Joe Biden stand on these issues."

Click that last sentence and you wing off to Barack Obama's site and his positions on rural issues.


Friday, October 03, 2008

www.declareyourself.com [a USA-centric post]

Excellent vid -- chock full o' celebrities -- for www.declareyourself.com and a plea to us'ns and thems to REGISTER TO VOTE.

Some voter registration deadlines are tomorrow! October 4th! and if you aren't registered to vote by then, you can't vote in the upcoming elections!

Some um. language makes this an only-on-the-Web phenom.

Well done.

Are you registered to vote? If not, and you are eligible and if you even just maybe kinda think that come next month you may be wanting to vote, register now! Watch the vid (or not), and hie over to www.declareyourself.com.

If you aren't sure if you are already registered, check here. If you didn't vote in the last presidential election or any election since, you are almost most certainly no longer registered to vote. That's the way it works. Don't vote in a presidential? Off the rolls. Haven't re-registered and voted since? You're still off the rolls. Have you moved since you registered? You need to re-register.

Register. Now.

(And all that bilge that the only resource used to call people for jury duty is the voter rolls so if you don't want to be called for jury duty, you shouldn't vote? Not so. California uses the drivers license registry and other resources. The bilge that you can't register to vote where you are if you're a student from somewhere else? That's bilge as well. Register. Vote.)



"MapTube is a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online. Created by UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, users can select any number of maps to overlay and view."

Love maps. This site's brill.

Map of the Week this week is Big Mac Index, which graphs (in 2007 prices) the price of a Big Mac in various countries across the globe.

UK tilt because of the UCL connection.

Site reference came via links sent on to me from Dan Goodman's delicious bookmarks. Thanks, Dan, for all of 'em.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

British Battles - analysing and documenting British Battles from the previous centuries

British Battles - analysing and documenting British Battles from the previous centuries

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Interesting site: from Hastings through the Boer Wars.