Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I-Tues v. 15
What Made Milwaukee Famous? Beer, probably. And a really cool museum.

And, tangentially, this band. Even though they're from Austin. Texas.

What Made Milwaukee Famous. Strange, bulky, midwestern name. But awesome music.

I can't get enough of Sultan and Self Destruct.
Grab a PBR and take a listen.

Also, I made another mix tape. Check it out!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008
A Little Sunday Reading v. 15
My leisure reading has slowed considerably as the dissertation work has picked up, so no book reviews. But here are some fun bookish links from around the web.

Photographer André Kertész's On Reading has been re-released. The collection features individual readers in every imaginable location. The New York Times takes a peek at some of the images. Totally dreamy.

The First Book organization asks "What Book Got You Hooked?" Their website has lots of charming answers from all kinds of people. Great organization, great question. For me, Charlotte's Web turned me into a reader and The Babysitter's Club inspired me to write. I wrote my first story in 4th grade. It was loosely based on my favorite BSC character--Claudia. Since then I've been inspired by countless authors and books. And, I'm pretty sure, my writing style has evolved accordingly!

The great blog Critical Mass asked reviewers what books they reviewed over the summer. They also talk about books they're still looking forward to reading. Lots of great suggestions. What was the best book you read over the summer? I've read some great ones....my favorite reads this summer were Scott Spencer's Endless Love and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Be my goodreads friend. Do it!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Friday, August 08, 2008
Some words about disappointment...and John Edwards
The news about Edwards breaks and you all coming looking here, huh?

The issue came up briefly yesterday (in the comments section) and I thought I'd elaborate more in a full post. I haven't been reading much of the coverage so I may overlap with other opinions but the thoughts I have in this, the immediate aftermath, are my own. I suspect they'll continue to grow as I think and read and, hopefully, participate in some discussions but for now this is what I think.

I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed because I respect Elizabeth Edwards and my heart hearts for what she must be going through and what she went through in 2006. I respect John Edwards as well. So it is hard to have to confront these stories after giving money, support and a whole lotta public props to him.

I'm disappointed because this affair suggests that Edwards is both arrogant and a bad decision maker. Arrogant because he knew what he had done, knew that stories were circulating yet still decided to run for president. What if I had gotten my wish and he was our nominee right now? What kind of mess would the party be in now? A big one. To say the least. He knew it was a risk the story would come out and he chose to ignore that risk. Or he was arrogant enough to think it wouldn't happen. He was above the rules. Above the fall from grace. He risked the party--and his wife's humiliation--to run anyway. That's arrogance. I don't think I need to elaborate on the bad decision making. Seems a bit obvious.

I'm disappointed because the affair suggests that Edwards isn't as "pro woman" as he claimed. This is the man that said he was a better advocate for woman than Hillary Clinton. Of course, his wife actually made that claim but that is a blog post in and of itself. To be frank, he isn't even "pro" his own wife. How would he look out for my interests? He couldn't sacrifice his own sexual desires and needs for the good of his vision and a country full of women who were depending on him.

However....there's always a however....I hate judging people on monogamy or other moral grounds. As I've said in reference to Bill Clinton--do I want him as my husband, father, partner, etc...NO. But can he still be a good president? Yes... and no. I know that some would say no. Some would say that the lack of control and his lack of ability to weigh consequences discounts him from a successful presidential tenure. But John Edwards, extramarital affair or not, had (what I believed to be) the best vision for our country. Obviously that vision will not be actualized. He has lost all chance of gaining a spot in this cabinet or having his own administration in the future. But is that his fault or the fault of the American people who are unable to put aside our judgments and follow a leader because he betrayed his wife? People do things we disagree with. They make mistakes. They "sin." Does that mean they are unforgivable? I'd like to think not. I'd like to think that we are able to support someone politically even though we disagree with some of their personal choices. If not, where does the slippery slope end? Can we not elect someone who is a recovering alcoholic and has fallen off the wagon? Can we not elect someone who had an abortion? Don't we need more tolerance and less judgment in all areas of life? Hell, if we weren't so concerned with what goes on in people's bedrooms maybe someday we'll have a President who identifies as gay or lesbian. Imagine!

So, what I can't decide, is it fair to throw stones and forsake his ideas because he turns out to be a pompous ass with no self control?

[EDIT] Edwards' statement:
In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

[EDIT 2] Feminist's respond

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Thursday, August 07, 2008
Change *We* Can Believe In
If you are so inclined, add your name to this open letter to Barack Obama. I don't need to remind you of the FISA stuff or the crazy abortion rhetoric statements or his recent comments about energy. Well, I guess I just did. But the letter says it all....

We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised.

If you're so inclined, you're joining good company. The least of which is mine.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I-Tues v. 14
I am obsessed with this album. It is the perfect blend of indie and folk. Great lyrics. Awesome accompaniment. And I love a good female vocalist. The album has it all. Really. Zooey Deschanel couldn't be any cooler if she tried.

Give She & Him a little listen.

**Hat tip to Matt and Cagney for giving me the recommendation**

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Monday, August 04, 2008
A little bit of nerdiness
In case you need proof of my nerdiness.....

Drew and I decided to bet a date night on the Veepstakes race. We each came up with a top five list for McCain and Obama. 5 points if our first place is chosen, four for the second, so on and so on. Whoever has the most points gets to pick the date night. If neither of us gets any points, we don't deserve a date night. Our picks are below. I encourage you to do this with your loved ones. Nothing says family bonding like picking Vice Presidential candidates.

1.Tim Pawlenty
2.Mitt Romney
3. Charlie Crist
4.Bobby Jindall
5. Sarah Palin
1. Wesley Clark
2. Kathleen Sebelius
3. Jim Webb
4. Evan Bayh
5. Brian Schweitzer

1. Mitt Romney
2. Rob Portman
3. Charlie Crist
4. Tim Pawlenty
5. Sarah Palin
1. Sherrod Brown
2. Brian Schweitzer
3. Evan Bayh
4. Joe Biden
5. John Edwards

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Quaker Dave tagged me on this meme. Since the blogging inspiration has been thin lately, this is the perfect thing to get my mind going.

1. List these rules on your blog. (check)

2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog. (check)

3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Fact #1: I hate being in cold water. I love to swim but hate that chill you feel when you first enter the water. And I'm too impatient to wait through the adjustment moments when your body gets used to the temperature. This past week, I was on vacation with my family. It was 90+ degrees out and I sat in the hot tub. I loved every minute of it.

Fact #2: The first time I got in "trouble" for talking in school was in the first grade. I was asked to sit in the hall and told that my teacher liked "quiet little girls." The talking has continued. As has my inability to get along with people who like "quiet girls."

Fact #3: I play the clarinet. Technically I played the clarinet. I haven't picked one up in about 10 years but I played for a really long time and was actually pretty good. What's funny is that now I hate the sound of clarinet(s) in music. Luckily not many artists whip out their clarinet to accompany their singing.

Fact #4: There are quite a few major movie series that I've never seen. Where to begin.....Star Wars, Rocky, Terminator, Die Hard, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Lethal Weapon, Harry Potter, Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, Nightmare on Elm. And I'm okay with each and every one. Some of them I started to watch and ended up stopping. Others I never even tried.

Fact #5: I had a long-term pen pal for most of my childhood. We met through the Disney magazine and exchanged letters for more than 10 years. We even met in person one time. I still love to write letters although I don't send them nearly enough.

Fact #6: I feel like I'm the only one in America who doesn't browse Youtube regularly, think McSweeney's is funny, enjoy Seinfeld, consider Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance a good book, and desire an Iphone. Also? I don't like funnel cakes, apple pie, yogurt with fruit in it, chocolate ice cream, pudding or nacho cheese Doritos. And for the sake of full disclosure, I haven't read a single Jody Picoult book and I think John Grisham is overrated. No offense to these lovely individuals.

Fact #7: I drink champagne even when it isn't a special occasion and I like bloody mary's even when it isn't morning.

Ok. I'm not going to tag 7 people but I will tag Maeve and Kourt. I'd love for others to do it as well but I know that they won't. So I won't even tag them. I hate rejection. But let me know in the comments if you participate!

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Sunday, August 03, 2008
A Little Sunday Reading v. 14
I'm not sure how I feel about this but two of my recent reads involved torrent love and....arson. Strange. I don't know that I've ever read a single book that involved arson and then BAM! two in one week.

Both were fantastic...albeit a little dark. But fantastic.

The first was The Outcast by Sadie Jones. This book was so desperate and so sad. Yet it was so well-written that when I wanted to put it down and step away from the depression and darkness I couldn't! I was completely immersed in the story. Completely. All the details (including the pain and loss) were so vivid, I felt like it was a memoir.

Lewis, a troubled teen, returns home from incarceration and tries to deal with the consequences of his decisions. The tale weaves the story of many characters all suffering from particular demons and regrets. The characters are all so similar that you love and hate them all (almost) equally. My heart broke on each page for one reason or another.

There was one turn in the plot that annoyed me so it isn't perfect. And I felt the book was a little bit *too* dark at times. Jones could have given us a bit more hope. But the writing was outstanding. One of the best books of 2008 to be sure.

The second arson themed book was Endless Love by Scott Spencer. Never heard of it? Me neither but it was recommended to me t
hrough the site "What should I read next?" when I typed in Charles Baxter. It is touted as the best story about young love. I love Baxter. I love how he portrays love, loss, jealously....everything, really. Baxter is awesome. I was skeptical of this recommendation. I had never heard of it and I thought the title was totally cliche. But with a publication date of 1979 (the year I was born), I decided it was fate! So I picked it up.

Once I started reading, I could not put it down. The story and characters were truly riveting. The thing I still can't get over was how intimate the writing was. So intimate. I felt I was privy to the most secret of all secrets. And I was constantly blushing. I felt uncomfortable for and by the characters. I love books that make me feel uncomfortable.

While I adored this book, I am hesitant to recommend it to others because of one aspect--the sex. This book was over sexed and the reason it doesn't get 5 stars. I'm no prude. But this book was too much. At some points it was necessary to make the reader feel the desperation and yearning of the characters. But most times, I felt the sex was a gimmick.

The writing, even during the sex scenes, was breathtaking. I pretty much covet Spencer's writing style. Loved the details he shared and the ones he let me infer.

These books were perfect companions. They were so similar in so many ways that I felt I was reading a continuation of stories. Young people in love, arson....what more could you ask for?

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