29 Feb

Ribbons for everything

We all know that a red ribbon stands for AIDS awareness, and a pink one represents breast cancer awareness. But did you know that an orchid ribbon represents awareness of testicular cancer; a teal ribbon represents ovarian cancer and substance abuse; and a green ribbon represents bone marrow donation, childhood depression, environment, Lyme’s disease, organ donation, tissue donation, and/or worker safety?

All these and more are listed at Personalized Cause. (They sell pins, too.) And it turns out that, besides AIDS and HIV, a red ribbon also represents D.A.R.E., MADD, Epidermolysis Bullosa, and lymphoma. Who knew?

27 Feb

Skate Crazy

Skate Crazy: Amazing Graphics from the Golden Age of Roller Skating appears to be a really wonderful book, full of images from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Stickers, ads, photographs of the old rinks and skaters—they’re all here. It’s all a bit before my time, though I did live through what might be called the “Silver Age” of skating in the late 70s-early 80s. Actually, a sequel to Skate Crazy that focuses on that Silver Age would be interesting, though not nearly as visually retro-cool.

I wish there were still rinks all over the place. It’s sad what’s happened to roller skating in the US. There are entire states without a single rink (Hawaii, for example).

25 Feb

Essential Vermeer

The Essential Vermeer site is an vast collection of information about the Dutch master Jan Vermeer and his work. The site is published by Jonathan Janson, a painter who has studied Vermeer’s techniques extensively to produce his own Vermeer-inspired art. Interested in painting your own “Vermeer”? Janson provides instructions on how to do so. A lovely site with hours and hours of interesting material.

25 Feb

“A nasty name for a nasty thing”

Matthew Hunt has written a lengthy article on “perhaps the single most offensive and censored swearword in the English language”, describing (among other things) its origins, euphemisms, and reappropriation by feminists. An interesting read, but if you are reading this at work, be warned that there are graphics at the top of the page that spell out said word, which, though only text, might still be an issue in some workplaces.

19 Feb

Justly Married

Derek Powazek was at San Francisco’s City Hall on Sunday to show support for the same-sex marriages being performed there. While there, he took some pictures. The joy and exhilaration in many of these images is truly something to behold. It brings tears to my eyes. (Via A View from the Classroom.)

The San Francisco Chronicle also has a photo album of, as they call it, the “San Francisco Valentine Weekend Revolution.”

It’s amazing, the feeling of walls suddenly being demolished. It’s much like when the Berlin Wall came down and you knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again. Even if the courts smack this down, I don’t think people will just sit back and allow it to happen.

Those who complain that this devalues marriage might do well to realize how much value these newlyweds put on the act and state of marriage. People came from all over the country and the world to do this, even knowing it might be made invalid later. Standing up in front of the world, giving that formal commitment to the one you love—that is a grave and powerful act. The people marrying in San Francisco now understand how much value marriage really has. And I bet they put a lot more thought into it than many heterosexuals do.

19 Feb

“Satan wins again”

…or, George Steinbrenner, at least.

Looks like the folks in Texas are going to welcome A-Rod back to The Ballpark the same way Seattle fans welcomed him back to the Safe. It’s just possible they may be even more bitter about Alex than we are.

“The losing ‘ate away’ at Rodriguez, the TV reports said Tuesday, as a somber dirge played in the background.” Did he really think he could single-handedly get them to the Series, with his giant salary (and possibly even more giant ego) dragging them down?

I really hate the way stuff like this poisons the game for me. I would love to remember Alex as a Mariners hero, but right now I just can’t. Edgar Martinez—now that’s a hero. (At least, in the baseball sense. I don’t think he’s rescued any children from burning buildings lately, but please allow me my sports fan hyperbole.) A-Rod is richer but he is no Edgar.

19 Feb

Boycott businesses that support predatory towing

I frequently visit the Olive Way Starbucks, right across the street from not one but two of the apartment buildings I lived in during my misspent youth (back then, the Starbucks building contained a Red Robin). When I am at Starbucks, usually studying, I’m always there until closing time—but I usually manage to get out the door right before midnight, because I hate to keep the employees there late. Apparently this tendency has saved me from the predatory practices of TBT Towing, who service the Starbucks parking lot.

Apparently, TBT line up tow trucks there right before closing. At midnight, since the store is no longer open, no one is technically a “customer” any longer, and so TBT starts towing. To the tune of $280 for each car. Of course, Starbucks in general are pretty slack about kicking people out right at closing time (in my experience, anyway), so people have come out of the store a few minutes after 12 to find their cars missing, and TBT laughing all the way to the bank.

Starbucks claims they don’t approve, and I tend to believe them, because there is no way that authorizing this is in their interest. Bad PR for sure, and after closing, there is no need to rush to clear that parking lot. (The real problem there is that during the hours the store is open, the lot is often full, and on-street parking in that neighborhood is a rara avis indeed.)

The real infuriating thing about this article, though, is the “nyah nyah nyah” attitude of the towing representatives quoted, from TBT and from West Coast Towing. Predatory “patrol towing” is against Washington state law, but the companies claim that they can do it anyway and they are going to keep doing it.

From now on I am going to look at the signs in parking lots to see which tow companies the lots’ owners have contracted with. If I see TBT or West Coast, I will avoid giving the merchants my business, and I will tell them why. I hope you will do the same.

(I had this article saved all day yesterday to blog about and never got around to it. Better late than never, I say.)

14 Feb

“It’s — it’s murder in there”

While searching for something else I stumbled on this transcript of a 1968 Letter from America by Alistair Cooke. He was there when Robert F. Kennedy was shot, and his first person account, written awfully close to the shock of the moment, is intense:

“There was a head on the floor, streaming blood and somebody put a Kennedy boater under it and the blood trickled down like chocolate sauce on an ice cake. There were flash lights by now and the button eyes of Ethel Kennedy turned to cinders. She was slapping a young man and he was saying ‘Listen lady, I’m hurt too’ — and down on the greasy floor was a huddle of clothes and staring out of it the face of Bobby Kennedy, like the stone face of a child, lying on a cathedral tomb.”

13 Feb

Ken and more Ken

In that last post I linked to a website about Ken dolls. The site itself, Keeping Ken , deserves its own link — it’s a huge site with just about everything you could ever want to know about Ken and other male fashion dolls. I find the changes in Ken’s clothing, face, and build over the years to be kind of fascinating.

When I was a kid, I hated hated hated Ken dolls because I thought they were ugly, with that plastic hair. He has gotten a little better-looking recently, though.

12 Feb

Obsessive Carbophobia

The Atkins folks adapt one of Chuck Taggart’s recipes without asking first and Chuck has a few things to say about it in his Looka! blog:

Any fierce anti-carbohydrate regimen that even calls for the elimination of one teaspoon of flour from a gumbo, there simply to make the roux, doesn’t border on the obsessive, it crosses that border and seems to me to be an invader. Eat a balanced diet with a reasonably sized serving portion! Get outside or to the gym and move that big arse of yours!

He makes the point that the motive for much of the Atkins recommendations is more likely to be money than health. The product Atkins wants you to use instead of the tiny amount of flour in the roux is 24 times more expensive than flour, and the profits go right to the Atkins company.

(When you follow the link to Looka!, you will have to scroll down. It links to all of today’s posts, not just this specific one.)

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