Friday, February 29, 2008

The Corporation

Here is what the D.K. household will be watching tonight, Friday, Feb 29th:

LINK TV is showing THE CORPORATION in two parts. LINK TV is Channel 9410 on Dishnet Satellite. Click here for the channel it might be in your area.

Pacific Standard Time:
5Pm = The Corporation, Part I (2 hrs)
8PM = The Corporation, Part II (2 hrs)

Ever wonder how our world came to be ruled by corporations? What exactly are corporations, anyway? Beginning with a history of corporations and how their power grew substantially after World War II, this documentary examines the concept of the corporation, charting its development, its character, and the effects that profit-driven corporations have on the world we live in.

Are they destroying our world? Unchecked corporations have the power to poison and despoil the environment. If they are large enough, they are almost immune from prosecution.

Here's some promotional information for THE CORPORATION:
WINNER OF 26 INTERNATIONAL AWARDS including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time ... THE CORPORATION takes its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion. The film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?"

THE CORPORATION includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change. THE CORPORATION is Canada's most successful documentary... EVER! The film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.


Hey, as a bonus, LINK TV is showing "Blackwater: Army for Hire" immediately after Part II. And immediately after that, they are showing "The Politics of War" which examines the documentary No End in Sight about our Iraq dilemma. Looks like a good night for recording!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Girl Can't Help It

Sorry, I'm just in a wierd mood today ... or maybe just silly (to wit, Mozart laughing & Vivaldi opera on the post below).

I don't like to pick on a woman who has admitted she lacks Fashion-DNA. The fact that I spend half my life in sweat shorts and t-shirts should probably prohibit me from even speaking about fashion. I don't expect the woman running for the highest office in the land (maybe even in the world?) to be wasting precious brain-time on her clothing. What I do expect is that she has a staff of people who are experts in this field and who are well aware that how she dresses in public will be scruntinized ... by the likes of me and many others who are wondering ... WHAT IS UP WITH HILLARY's CLOTHES?

After being treated day after day to a series of terrible color choices and figure unfriendly pantsuits and unfortunate jewelry, I can only conclude that Hillary Clinton's personal staff hates her. In fact, I'm begining to suspect that her own staff is purposefully sabotaging her public appearances. How else to interpret the old-lady pearls (when she already has a problem connecting with young people) and the solid unflattering colors (mustard yellow, fire engine red, pumpkin orange, naval academy blue, shit-brown)?

Now her solid black pants, in and of themselves, are not a bad fashion choice. It is the designer short jackets that are killing her. Let's face it, the woman needs a longer more boxy tunic-style jacket. Something that drapes far below the hip-line. And either the jacket or the blouse could be patterned with something interesting, not always a solid color.

And so it was that I found myself last night waiting to see what Hillary would wear to this important debate. What would properly reflect her foundering campaign ship, expose her vaunted tested/ready experience, and reveal her exasperation with this young upstart, this "how-dare-he-derail-my-annointed-position" Obama?

I'm sorry to report that she chose a shit-brown short lumpy chunky tweed jacket. Apparently her staff failed to tell her that this color looks awful with her skin & hair, that the cut is all wrong for her body type, and that those little pearls should be trashed or used to decorate her dining chandelier, not her neck. I realize how picky this sounds ... well as I said, I'm an amateur in a wierd mood today. But I do believe the choice of shit-brown set the tone for the rest of her debate performance. If you saw it, or any of the endless snippets shown on cable TV today, you know what I mean.

At this rate, I half-way expect her to show up in something like this for her next public rally:

A model wears a creation by Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela for his Fall-Winter 2008-2009 ready-to-wear collection presented in Paris, 2-25-08.

Is that a cat bed around her neck? Hey, at least with this kind of outfit, Hillary could ditch the pearls! ps, if you want to see pix of the kinds of winter outfits I think would've done well for Hillary, click here. Not the skimpy dresses (my gawd, the thought of that), the long draping below-the-hip stuff. See the creamy mustard number starting at :42 that blows away Hillary's bright mustard yellow pantsuit. She needs Calvin Klein! For that matter, so do I ...

That Laugh

Most people hear Wicked Witch of the West, but after watching the democratic debates tonight, I finally figured out what Hillary's laugh reminds me of (30-seconds):

Gaaaah! I may never be able to watch Amadeus again...

While I love Mozart, I don't really have much opera experience. Some years ago I attended a wonderful performance of the young Cecilia Bartoli, who is best known for her interpretations of Mozart and Rossini. Born in Rome 1966, she was just 30 when I saw her. She is a considered a coloratura mezzo-soprano with an unusual timbred voice. I was taken with the fullness of her voice, and also how much fun she had with the songs, how much life she put into her performance. The audience really responded to her lively, vivacious stage persona.

Here then is Chay-CHEEL-ya performing Agitata da due Venti, from Vivaldi's Griselda. It's a song about waves raging in a strong sea. See how the music and the notes flow through her like an electric current as she captures those big waves crashing (6-minutes):

Okay, that's better -- now I can get that horrible debate laugh out of my brain. ps, I would DIE to have Cecilia's hair!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two Americas

John Edwards was partially right about the "Two Americas". America definitely has "haves" and "have nots". Edwards' mistake was in thinking these two groups could ever be combined into one jolly community. If we add the "have mores" into the mix, there is no hope whatsoever. So, let's leave those Bush Pioneers out of the equation, and contemplate the mere "haves"...

For I have seen the other America and have survived to tell the tale. Yes! I spent last week immersing myself in the total greed-fest known as the Annual Home Show here in SW Utah. The original intent of this spectacle was to allow local builders to strut their stuff. About 25 builders participate, each one taking a year to construct a visionary home, with every detail considered and every option exploited, decorated and landscaped to the hilt.

Since I want to custom build our next home, I have attended these events in years past to obtain ideas I might like to incorporate. Things like custom stove hood vents, dream kitchens and bathrooms, and unusual window or ceiling treatments have all been added to my future home wish list. I felt fortunate to be able to "kick the tires" of various home options without having to learn the hard way what can & cannot be done within a budget. Oh, how low my sights were set!

I am sorry to report that this year's experience was nothing short of SOUL-KILLING. It seems the participating builders decided that, given the awful real estate market we are all experiencing, they would concentrate on mansions ... because ... believe it or not, the people who can afford such huge luxury homes are not in the least affected by mundane things like subprime mortgages or whole neighborhoods becoming blighted with foreclosed houses. They are not concerned about having to sell their current mansion into a rapidly declining glutted market. They don't have an ounce of insecurity about their economic situation, current or future. They would've been right at home eating cake with Marie Antoinette ... never mind that creaking guillotine slowly edging its way into their world ... as long as they can gate it out of sight, they will continue to party on the backs of the poor and middle class. They are the other America John Edwards warned us about.

The way our Home Show here works is, you purchase a pass that allows you to walk through every home once ... kind of like a private showing ... if you consider being jostled and hustled in a moving sea of oooh-ers and aaaah-ers to be private. The homes are totally tricked out. Nothing is spared in an effort to wow the viewer. The homes this year were mostly 8,000 - 10,000 sq ft in size and $4mil - $5million in price. The largest home was 21,000 sq ft (that's almost half an acre of home)! Its towering 3-stories of somber dark wood resembled an old european cathedral. Who buys these homes? Obviously none of my dining mates at the local Red Lobster or fellow Costco shoppers.

Here are some of the BIGGER things I saw at this year's Home Show: 10-bdrms/15-baths in one home; stadium home theatre rooms that vibrate the very house foundations (some homes had more than one of these rooms); a home with 28 total TV's; sports bars/grills with enough seating for a whole neighborhood of sports fans; huge floating window walls; an underground massage cave complete with dripping wet mossy rocks; 100-yr old olive trees transplanted from a Napa Valley grove; a secret catacomb archeofaux "roman ruin" with 12-person steaming spa amid crumbling coliseum columns and Phantom of the Opera piped-in music; a neon-lit basement full-size 2-lane bowling alley; a children's theatre stage with enough equipment to dazzle broadway; circular kiddy tube slides traversing floor-to-floor to land on an indoor trampoline in a rock climbing room; gas fireplaces in every possible nook & cranny; ferraris and hummers in the garages ... well you get the idea.

I'm not even going to talk about the furnishings and decorations, the imported carrera marble countertops 3-story tall indoor waterfall, or lalique glass lighting fixtures guaranteed to inspire lust & envy.

Here are some things I did NOT see: more than lip service paid to the concept of environmentally concerned building techniques. Only a couple of homes had solar power panels or geothermal heating and cooling. Water reclaimation or recycling? Don't make me snort! This is a desert and yet these people don't give a fig about overt wastefulness. I can't even imagine what the monthly home utility bills for these homes will be. But then you know the old saying: if you have to ask, you probably would need electro-shock to recover from the answer (or a dip in this steaming lava tube pool):


OK, just to prove it wasn't a total bust, here are the architectural plans of my favorite home this year, if I had a spare $5million & could manage to live in a mere 6,000 sq-ft with a forever view:

click up "burning bush" pic--->

Even though I loved this home, I could not shake the sad feeling that while freezing homeless people are sleeping on heating grates every winter, the people who buy this house will be comforting themselves in a steamy 10-head shower while enjoying a view of an outdoor burning bush consuming our precious natural gas in order to compliment their pampered lifestyle, especially in cold foggy rain like we encountered on our tour day.

I will now try to forget my week of being reminded that there are Two Americas and Never the Twain shall Meet. Please click on any pic to enjoy the full experience while I resume my quiet peaceful life. And yes, I do realize those home prices are a bargain compared to places like San Francisco, New York or Honolulu.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Manimal McCain

Is it just me, or does John McCain bear a striking resemblance to a Naked Mole Rat?

Actually, the naked mole rat is not nearly as repulsive.

The naked mole rat is a very industrious little rodent who lives its entire life in underground colonies. Almost hairless except for touch-sensitive body whiskers, its skin is loose and wrinkly, its limbs short, its eyes so small as to be useless. The mole rat adapted to an underground tunnel existence by atrophying its hair & eyes, so that it now resembles a small overcooked sausage with teeth. What's John McCain's excuse?

With McCain's tacit approval of torture, his one remaining principle of honor has been revealed as an atrophied anachronism. Maybe he's been mouthing support for the troops so long, he failed to notice that saying something, no mater how often, does not equal actually doing something. His very public and honorable stance against torture in the past, in complete defiance of his party's lust & zeal for torture, has been shattered. What remains is the vestige of a man who will say or do anything to become president, including f*cking the troops. I wonder if the McCain of 40-yrs ago, as he was being beaten and hammered in the Hanoi Hilton, would have ever believed that one day his principles would become so atrophied as to allow him to stand aside and endorse torture. After all, it is an evolutionary principle that if you don't use it, you lose it.

As if in further proof of the relationship of Naked Mole Rats to John McCain and Torture, Fox news recently ran this story about torturing naked mole rats with acid and chili peppers.

Oh and by the way, while naked mole rats, Fox News and John McCain all eat their own droppings, only Fox News and John McCain seem to enjoy a healthy heaping of top republican droppings as well. yum ...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Forget the Candy and Flowers

I don't know why people spend so much time thinking about valentine gifts. The traditional gift of flowers say "let's contemplate beauty, then watch it fade & rot", candy says "go ahead, add a few more pounds to your chunky butt, no one will notice", while jewelry fairly screams "I've been a baaad boy".

If you ever deviate from the traditional gifts and think of something completely unique, you will then be in a position of having to top yourself every subsequent year. It will be expected. The only way you will be able to get out from under that onus is to end the relationship.

I guess you can tell I'm not into token mass-produced gifts. To me, on valentine's day, the nicest thing to give or receive is a personal note expressing your feelings about someone. While that may seem like a cheap date, it's not as easy as it sounds. Real true feelings are difficult to express in a meaningful way, especially when it comes to something as complicated as love.

It was The Beatles who burst into my pre-teen world igniting feelings of love beyond the usual family & friends variety. I was lucky to have my world first rocked by them because they proved to be so prolific & trend-setting that to this day, almost every Beatle song brings back specific memories of places and times in my life. I believe this type of early & continuing influence lays solid groundwork for other long-lasting relationships. Their songs form an on-going mosaic of life.

I saw an interview of Paul and George some years ago, well after everyone had gone their separate ways, maturing into their own life pursuits. The interviewer asked them if, with all the problems in the world today, they could still believe that all you need is love. Paul immediately jumped in & got caught up in trying to apply a realistic view of the many aspects of life that were just as important as love. When he faltered in his re-definition of love, George, who had been quiet up til then, softly said, "That's what I said then, I believed it then, and I'm sticking to it now. Love really is all you need." You can probably tell George was my favorite Beatle.

So, with that in mind, here's my all-time favorite valentine .....
"All You Need is Love", the Yellow Submarine version:

And here's a heart-favorite of D.K. & E.K., partners in this thing called life for 32-years and counting,"Here, There and Everywhere":


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Thank you, Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia for exercising your sacred right to vote today!

Barack Obama's total delegate count (including committed Super Delegates) has now exceeded Hillary Clinton's.

CNN is reporting the cummulative total delegate count (including super delegates) as of tonight: Obama = 1215; Clinton = 1190. *****UPDATE 2/13/08: Obama = 1253; Clinton = 1211, which includes the current committed super delegate revised count of Obama = 157; Clinton = 234. We need to watch this super delegate number. *****
I don't know if those counts include New Mexico, which is apparently in a state of suspended animation.

We are all hearing how the Super Delegates may be deciding our choice of presidential nominee if neither Obama nor Clinton has reached the magic number of 2,025 by the August convention date .

I've been trying to find a list of Super Delegates with contact information because I thought it might be nice if some of these delegates got direct feedback from the public in addition to the wineing and dineing they are currently receiving from the campaigns.

Here is a list of Super Delegates who have endorsed a candidate. It's in alphabetical order by state under the candidate they have endorsed.

Here is a list of Super Delegates who have NOT officially endorsed a candidate. The delegates are put into various catagories (like congressional representative or senator or governor). Within those catagories, the names are alphabetized by state. DNC members are also Super Delegates, mostly listed by state. Just to confuse you, DNC members-at-large, city mayors, state treasurers and others are listed alphabetically by their own name, with state affiliation noted. It's a mess, so look for your own state wherever it appears. There's even a catagory called "Democrats Abroad" with no state affiliation noted. Who are these people and why are their votes more valuable than mine?

I'm not jazzed about either of these lists because not many delegates are linked with contact information. Assuming you recognize unlinked names listed for your own state, you could probably find online contact information & let them know how you feel. The delegates who are publically elected officials should not mind contact from the public. The delegates who are unelected DNC members are another kettle of fish who may need to be fried if they attempt to subvert the will of the people.

I'll keep looking for a Super Delegate list with better contact info.

{click on the post title if you're in the mood for doo-wop: The Dells "Oh, What a Night"}

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ms. Leatherback's message ... yes, we can!

OK, this is a nice sunny beach in Venezuela.

Today's temperature in coastal Caracas is a balmy 77-degrees.

I put it up front here because my previous winter photos may have caused frostbite.

I will get back to Venezuela in a minute, I promise.

But first ... Let's talk Turtles! Specifically ... Leatherback Turtles!

In the news today, we learn that scientists have tracked a Leatherback Turtle that swam from Indonesia to Oregon and back to Hawaii. It was an epic journey of 13,000-miles that took 647 days. During this time, the leatherback had to avoid many perils, including commercial fishing operations and ingesting human-generated debris like plastic. This particular tracked leatherback was a female whose satellite transmitter's battery ran out as she swam around Hawaii. So, she's probably still out there, a swimming master of the ocean!

Reading about Ms. Leatherback & thinking of all she endured in her epic journey (which still continues!) gives me hope that we, too, will survive the remaining 345-days of this current administration. CPAC-cheerleading speeches, phoney concern for recent tornado victims, gutting of social programs & talk of permanent states of war are all familiar tactics by now. We can get through this! Yes, we can...

Here is a photo of the intrepid turtle trackers outfitting Mr. Cheney with a satellite tracking device before he disappears to another of his undisclosed locations. As he launched himself into the ocean, Mr. Cheney was heard squealing about privacy violations. The trackers were amused & very glad that the custom system they attached to Cheney's shell would begin simulating a waterboarding experience after he cleared the first few waves. Plastic shark buoys had been strategically placed to enhance his experience. Click the pic to spot Lynne holding the flashlight.

Now, what does all this have to do with Venezuelan beaches or the price of oil, you ask? Well, in other news today, we find that Exxon-Mobil has won court orders freezing $12Billion (with a "B") in Venezuelan global assets. Somehow spotted on the lowly newscroll running constantly beneath the 24/7 yak-fest that serves as political analysis by our cable news, it is a reminder of our unstated but oft-enforced rule that nationalization of oil reserves will NEVER be tolerated. Just ask Iran, Iraq, or Russia. Venezuela is learning this valuable lesson now. Are you listening, Bolivia and Ecuador?

Nationalizing some of the obscene oil profits being handed to Big Oil by sky-high oil prices could fund social programs like universal healthcare, public college education, low-income housing, etc. This is what Venezuela is being "accused" of doing with their oil profits and is exactly what the Big Oil Men and Chevron Ships of State who are running our country go to war to prevent.

For more info ... Here is a Reuters overview article. Here is Bloomberg one that gets into the economic fallout. And here is a written hint of how Venzuelans feel about a giant US corporation freezing their assets.

***** UPDATE 2/13/08: Venezuela stops selling crude to Exxon Mobil! And Hugo Chavez has shaken oil markets this week with broader threats to cut off oil supplies to the United States in response to Exxon Mobil's drive to seize Venezuelan assets through U.S. and European courts in a dispute over Venezuela nationalizing its oil. Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez calls the suspended relations with Exxon-Mobil "an act of reciprocity for their judicial-economic harrassment." Nice job, Mr. Danger. *****

Or, just for old-times' sake, you can enjoy Hugo addressing GWB:

Ms. Leatherback would be well advised to stay away from Exxon-Mobil. I don't think they are running a turtle-friendly operation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Special Thanks

Thanks to the help of some very special bloggers, I believe my comment problem is fixed and this blog is now ready to fly.

Special thanks to Enigma of Watergate Summer, who kept offering ideas to try and fix the problem, neverending encouragement and hope that it could be done, and alternative solutions in case the problem could not be solved. Even in your winter wonderland, the sun is always peeking through, Enigma!

Another special thanks to Tomcat of Politics Plus, who zeroed in on the fact that my own ISP thought my blog was spam. For a disconcerting moment, I wondered if there might not be some cosmic message in that assumption. This big smile is for you, Tomcat, you tireless seeker of statistical data!

Special thanks also for those bloggers with the patience to hang in there during times of frustration, like Cartledge, Dada, Fran, Nona, Larry, AZ, Gryphen, Newsguy, Pursey, and Anonymous-Paranoid. If I've forgotten anyone, it was unintentional. You all have a special place in my heart.

And for yesterday's primary returns, more special thanks are due to the Bloomin' Barry Boyz and OM-Bama girlz (you know who you are) who Baracked the Vote here in Utah and Idaho. These states are an uphill battle for democrats in the general election, but they proved they can sure come through in the primary.

Speaking of OM ... and in rememberance of the Maharishi:

Note: you can click on the posted photos to view full screen. The snowy scenes are very pretty. The Obama Rally panorama is a must-see. Double-click on the wide-shot & follow it all around. These are Idaho folks of all ages, who helped Obama achieve a stunning 80% Obama primary victory in their state.

Finally, here are some BIG raspberries for BlogSpot, whose online help is so poor. They have constructed a maze that effectively eliminates any possibility of actual personal contact. I do understand you get what you pay for, but I bet there are people who would be willing to pay for technical assistance on a per-use basis if they offered it. so, ptttbbbbhhhhhhtt, blogspot!!! ..... {spellcheck?}

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Nineteen minutes to vote

While in Costco the other day, I saw a book called "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. I didn't buy it, nor have I read it, but the title got me thinking. Here is my slightly altered version of the book's intro:

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, or watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist. You can fold laundry, dust the bookshelves, or wash the dishes ... It's the length of a half-hour sitcom minus the commercials ...

In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can select a button from the button-drawer and sew it on that coat with the vital missing button which has been letting in all the cold winter air.

In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can VOTE!

Yes! In most places, that's all it takes -- nineteen minutes to vote!

Super Tuesday is February 5th. Twenty-two States will be voting: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and UTAH.

Even with so many democratic delegates at stake on this one day, the likely democratic nominee will still be unknown until later in February or March. The republicans, on the other hand, will most likely emerge from Super Tuesday knowing their nominee, and can therefore proceed to line up behind him beginning their presidential campaign in earnest.

Click here to see the 2008 primary calendar. This site also has other interesting information on campaign fundraising, expenditures, donors and demographic statistics.

A Chinese Proverb is quoted at the beginning of "Nineteen Minutes":

"If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going."

Take a look at this map. Notice anything odd? (click on the image to get the full-size effect). That's the kind of change I'm talking about! A world turned topsy-turvy, an inverse universe, a bizarro world. We need to change direction NOW. We can't just stand by, watching the end, complaining that we have no power, but doing nothing.

Really, what else can you do in nineteen minutes that will make as much difference as voting? Even if it takes a little longer than nineteen minutes in your area, JUST DO IT! This is your country! Don't make lame excuses afterwards. If we turn out to vote IN FORCE, nothing can stop us! Overwhelming numbers of voters can overcome electronic bias and even overturn entrenched power.

Feel free to leave me a list of other things that can be done in nineteen minutes. Go ahead, be risque! But remember how quickly nineteen minutes passes when you're having fun.

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