August 21, 2006

The Twins Have Visitors

The twins and my brother spent Saturday and Sunday at Aunt Julia's house, with their grandmother also in attendance. Our friend Danny and his fiancee, Sally, visited on Sunday afternoon. Sally held Sam, and Danny held Jack:
Then Danny had the singular pleasure and responsibility of holding them both at once. Jack is on the left, and Sam is on the right:

August 11, 2006

Friday Twinblogging

While blogger Kevin Drum is known for Friday catblogging, posting photos and text about his two cats, I realized that I have been posting photos of my twin nephews on Fridays. I figured that Jack and Sam are every bit as cute as Inkblot and Jasmine, so I figured I'd continue the tradition and share some more pics of the boys. Twinblogging!

Finally, a picture of proud mom Alice with Sam:
Sam with his mom, Alice
Here's Jack sleeping all snug in his baby burrito:
Jack sleeping in his baby burrito

August 10, 2006

Jesus Was the Original Liberal

I came across this site while surfing, and today's post had a quote from a contributor named The Reckoning, as follows:
If we do have to surrender to the Muslims, it will be the hippie liberals who get slaughtered first. All the rest of us hate-mongering, gun totin' conservatives will be too busy defending our families while the hippies are being picked off one by one while they're riding their bikes and picking daisies in the pasture.
I felt compelled to respond, especially to another comment from this Reckoning person, which claimed that:
When you get right down to it, the liberal mindset isn't one that is based on reality. The liberal mindset is based on hopes and dreams. Some liberals become so immersed in their own dreams that they loose sight of reality and the world around them. Those types of liberals are often referred to as being "Progessive."
I tried to submit part of my response as a comment, but it didn't take, so I'm posting my entire response here.

I find it astonishing that Rec said, “the liberal mindset isn’t one that is based on reality,” when President Bush has made a point of calling news orgs like New York Times “the reality-based media,” meaning that he and his administration have admitted following the oh-so-sensible path of eschewing reality completely. Like thinking they could successfully overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a new government without an adequate battle plan, and without taking the advice of seasoned military experts who said that sectarian violence would fill the power vacuum. Like Michael Chertoff insisting that there were no thirsty, starving refugees in the NOLA Superdome.

I don’t think that Ogre’s paragraph on the “liberal mindset” was remotely accurate, much less profound. Have any of you ever had a serious, in-depth conversation with someone whose views differ, or are you just going by what Bill O’Reilly says? I’m a liberal, and I don’t take a simplistic view of world politics. I certainly don’t believe that terrorists are basically “nice people” at all, and I don’t think that all people are good, and that all they need is an ice-cream cone and a hand out, and then everything will be hunky-dory. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Islamists who are so full of hate that they’re beyond rehabilitation, and all we can do is be vigilant, and lock them up if they conspire against us. I think some of the religious hatred on their part is taught as a way to give purpose to empty, hopeless lives, but hatred and intolerance are not condoned in the Koran, and true Muslims aren’t hateful any more than true Christians. But if you were a Muslim who grew up desperately poor, but seeing American affluence on TV, or seeing the lush gardens of the Israeli settlers across the valley while you’re having to beg for water, you’d hate everyone who had what you didn’t--and their culture, too. They can’t have bikini-clad girlfriends or an iPod, so they take it out on those who do.

I do take personal responsibility for conserving, reusing, and recyling as much as possible. I live in a central neighborhood where I can walk instead of drive, but I’m aware that much of my disposable-drink-cup American lifestyle is inherently wasteful. Americans use an enormously disproportionate percentage of energy and resources, and even though our gas prices seem high, they are nothing compared to what people in most other countries pay. I was just in Costa Rica, a developing country where most people are poor, and gas there is over $4 a gallon.

Notwithstanding the fact that the environmental and health costs of fossil fuels aren’t factored into the price, we’re paying for cheap gas with blood of our fellow Americans—2,913 dead, and 20,000+ wounded so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are evil, but is it all worth it just so we can drive our SUVs to Starbucks? And all the bloodshed in Iraq and now Lebanon is just serving to create another generation of Muslims who have a good reason to hate Americans and Israelis. If a bunch of Arabs stormed into your house, raped your sister, and killed her and your family, wouldn’t you tend to be mad as hell, and vow revenge, Christian or not? And now the Pakistanis, who are supposed to be our allies, are trying to kill us. Judging by the current state of affairs, I would say that the current “blast-‘em-all-to-hell” method isn’t working very well. Do you really think Jesus would suggest killing all Muslims as a way of ridding the world of terrorists? You posted a cartoon of an Arab boot crushing a church steeple, so I assume you remember His words in Matthew 5:43-45? Or in Luke 6:27-36: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Now I don’t advocate basing American foreign policy on any one religion, and I’m not saying we should give up our country to the terrorists, but it’s incredible that you are really mocking people who follow Jesus’ teachings as a bunch of daisy-picking hippies. Tell me, who would Jesus bomb?

August 3, 2006

Personal Style

An essay for a male friend on that elusive goal, achieving a personal style:

You must look deep within yourself to find your style. Who am I as a person? Am I formal or casual? Am I serious or whimsical? Am I outgoing or mysterious? Stray dog or sophisticate? Mod or Rocker? If that doesn’t yield results, try picking up a copy of Esquire or Men’s Vogue, or borrow my copy of the Queer Eye book and read Carson’s section on style dos and don’ts. He also has his own book called “Off the Cuff.”

Actually, having a kind of style “role model” is a useful way to identify your personal style. Like, “I really dig those white hemp suits that Woody Harrelson wears.” Or, when I saw Tom Cruise jump on Oprah’s couch last summer, strangely enough, all I could think about was “who makes his pants?” Or not. Anyhow, if you find someone whose style you’d like to emulate (or avoid), the next time you’re clothes shopping, you can ask yourself, “Would George Clooney (or Ted Koppel) wear that?” If the answer is “no,” or in Ted's case, “yes,” then you move on to the next item.

I think the movies of the forties and fifties, my mother’s clothes from when she was first married, and my chic childhood French teacher have most influenced my personal style. I love clothes that are well made, have classic shapes and clean lines, and aren’t merely the trend du jour. If I could hire any of the current Project Runway designers to make clothes for me, I'd hire Laura to make my suits, and Michael to make my evening gowns.

August 2, 2006

Truth is Waaay Funnier than Fiction

I was perusing the top 100 blogs on Technorati, and although I had heard of the “Overheard in New York” site, I hadn't checked it out yet. The “Overheard at the Beach” page has some priceless exchanges, but I don't like their titles, so I made my own.

And you thought your mom was bad!

Mother, loudly: Oh my God, get over here! Turn around!
Teen daughter: What! What's on me?!
Mother: A stretch mark! That's what! Right there on your hip! You have got to lay off the chips! We are on vacation here. You shouldn't be stress eating!
Teen daughter: Mom! Shut up! People can hear you.
Mother: No, no one is listening, and besides, they can all see it, too.
Kayaking instructor: Does everyone have their life vests on? Good! Now I'd like you all to pair up, and for this first run we are going to pair up with someone you don't know.
Daughter: Thank God!
Mother: What?

--Bayville, New Jersey, Jul 29, 2006

Family Values

Mom: Stop staring at that woman's chest.
Tween boy: Dad said it's okay to look as long as I don't touch.
Mom: That's why we aren't married anymore.

--Jax Beach, Florida, Jul 25, 2006

via Overheard at the Beach

August 1, 2006

Hey Nineteen! What's Your 20?

1970s pop-rock band Steely Dan recently sent a letter to actor Luke Wilson, in which they accuse Luke's brother Owen of plagiarizing their song “Cousin Dupree” for the plot of new movie “You, Me, and Dupree.” They actually want Owen to come onstage at their show in Irvine to apologize for stealing their idea. This, even though the song is more about a guy who's trying to hit on one of his relatives.

I love Owen’s riposte:

“I have never heard the song ‘Cousin Dupree’ and I don't even know who this gentleman, Mr. Steely Dan, is. I hope this helps to clear things up and I can get back to work on my new movie, Hey 19.”

Good one, Owen.

Funny you should mention it, because Steely Dan's song "Hey Nineteen" is about an older man who can't talk to a woman because she's so young that she's clueless about all the pop culture things that matter to him. Sounds like she's not the only one.