Friday, November 30, 2007

Avoid the Interstates

Apparently, our nation's interstate system is now an arena for waging an evangelical christian war against all that's unholy in America. Thankfully, we have Pat Robertson to show us the way:

It's beginning. . .

to look a LOT like Christmas. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Union Square Xmas Tree

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Take That! or "The Gayest Thing Since Robbie Williams"

Ummm, I am at a loss for words.

You are NOTHING without a Rolodex

The WSJ had a cute story today about clinging to the past in the face of modern technology and its inability to digitally represent the volume of your influence. Thus, the Rolodex is the thing to keep on your desk if you need everyone to know how many other people you know. Multiple business cards + unusable desk space + a penchant for being a Luddite = priceless business acumen and POWER!!

My favorite quote:
For Rolodex loyalists, though, part of the card system's appeal has always been that it displays the size of one's business network for the world to see. Someone's Rolodex is "a reminder to themselves and an announcement to others about who they are and what they have achieved," says Joel Podolny, dean of the Yale School of Management and the author of the 2005 book "Status Signals."


Two computer monitors, two telephones and a BlackBerry sit in the office of Jose W. Fernandez, a 52-year-old partner of law firm Latham & Watkins. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal sprawling views of Manhattan, and the walls are adorned with Latin American art. But when clients and colleagues stop by his office, Mr. Fernandez says, "The only thing people notice is that I still have a Rolodex."

Read the full article here.

Listening to: Astrud Gilberto - The Girl from Ipanema

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Free Kasparov!

Gary Kasparov has been jailed for leading an "illegal" protest against President Putin's government in Russia. This would be similar to having President Bush jail the leading Democratic contenders in the upcoming election. Watch out, Hillary.

And, in case you have missed Kasparov, here's a clip of him on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time." I doubt you will find an American politician who is as cogent and clear as this man.

Listening to: Missy Higgins - Where I Stood

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Learn Words and Save the World

Now here's something that even Kevin will like. Vocabulary + advertisement = free food for the third world. What can beat that?

So far, 48 is my best score. Break out the dictionary!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tryptophan Hangover?

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I managed to snap a few pics to share. My thanks to Clark for letting us all take over his home for the holiday! Now, back to the leftovers. . .

Listening to: The Cure - / Pictures Of You

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Plastic Age Has Passed. . . in San Francisco

If you don't live here (or if you do and haven't been to the grocery store this week), you may have missed the fact that plastic bags are now banned, outlawed, verboten at the larger grocery stores in San Francisco. I, of course, have used my hand-woven, hand-dyed, organic, fair trade, shade grown, pesticide-free, vintage shopping bag for years now. I won it in a game of hacky sack in college. Me vs. the hippies. I still thank them (and Mother Earth) when I go to Whole Foods.

I guess it's a good thing. Less plastic, less trash, fewer of these. I am, though, a little bummed that I bought a Simple Human trash can that was specifically designed to re-use those pesky plastic bags. Now what will I use? I guess I'll have to horde Walgreen's bags until another solution presents itself.

Farewell, American Beauty! We'll miss your translucent smothering love.

Listening to: Frank Sinatra - All Or Nothing At All

Crime Doesn't Pay

As you can see from this AP news item, justice is alive and well. Break the law and you WILL be punished:

Saudis Defend Punishment for Rape Victim

The Saudi judiciary on Tuesday defended a court verdict that sentenced a 19-year-old victim of a gang rape to six months in jail and 200 lashes because she was with an unrelated male when they were attacked.

The Shiite Muslim woman had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicted of violating Saudi Arabia's rigid Islamic law requiring segregation of the sexes.

But in considering her appeal of the verdict, the Saudi General Court increased the punishment. It also roughly doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the woman, Saudi news media said last week.

The reports triggered an international outcry over the Saudis punishing the victim of a terrible crime.

But the Ministry of Justice stood by the verdict Tuesday, saying that "charges were proven" against the woman for having been in a car with a man who was not her relative.

The ministry implied the victim's sentence was increased because she spoke out to the press. "For whoever has an objection on verdicts issued, the system allows an appeal without resorting to the media," said the statement, which was carried on the official Saudi Press Agency.

The attack occurred in 2006. The victim says she was in a car with a male student she used to know trying to retrieve a picture of her. She says two men got into the car and drove them to a secluded area where she was raped by seven men. Her friend also was assaulted.

Justice in Saudi Arabia is administered by a system of religious courts according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Judges have wide discretion in punishing criminals, rules of evidence are vague and sometimes no defense lawyer is present. The result, critics say, are sentences left to the whim of judges. A rapist, for instance, could receive anywhere from a light sentence to death.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack avoided directly criticizing the Saudi judiciary over the case, but said the verdict "causes a fair degree of surprise and astonishment."

"It is within the power of the Saudi government to take a look at the verdict and change it," McCormack said.

Canada's minister for women's issues, Jose Verger, has called the sentence "barbaric."

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said the verdict "not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators."

Listening to: KCRW Music

Chronicle Books' Friends and Family Sale

CB friends and family

Use promo code FRIENDS at checkout.

Listening to: KCRW Music

Monday is over! Thank the Buddha!

It wasn't a good day. Drizzly and cool. Slow train. A ridiculous project at work that I had been putting off for weeks. Renee's out of town--along with 40% of the office--so it's quiet. I thought it would be a good day to tackle it. Little did I know it would literally take all day until 7 PM and that my allergies would decide to throw a party in my sinuses today. Ah, life!

It does explain, however, why I wanted to shout "Stupid, stupid, stupid!!" to the man who walked through the "Do Not Enter" turnstile at the Van Ness MUNI Station.

What? Me judge? No doubt about it. And it's getting less and less silent.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving if only for the long weekend that accompanies it.

Bon soir!

Listening to: KCRW Music

Friday, November 16, 2007

I have strep throat

I just found out about 2 minutes ago via email. Gotta love the Computer Age.

Now, Doc, give me the antibiotics I asked for yesterday!!!

Meanwhile, no kissing. Yes, that means you. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And so I said. . .

Picture me on the train this morning. As you know, I'm nursing a sore throat, minding my own business, surreptitiously eyeing any potentially empty seat. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone I used to know. So, being the ever-gregarious Todd, I tapped him on the arm and said. . . wait for it. . . . "I haven't seen you in a month of Sundays."

My god! Did I turn 80 last night? A month of Sundays?! Yes, it's true that I grew up hearing this phrase, but I haven't personally used it in many many years. Actually, I can't remember using it in the past decade. Why today? What Proust-inspired remembrance of past things dredged this up from the seabed of my unconscious?

Alas. It's not like it really matters. I hadn't seen him in ages, was never really close, and probably won't see him any time soon. I fear, however, for my internal lexicon of catchphrases. What's next?

"I feel as old as Methuselah?"

"If the Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise. . . "

"So I told him I said. . . "

Oh, the possibilities are endlessly varied and all amusing. Pity me.

How am I feeling?

Here's how:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bill O'Reilly is a f***ing idiot

There. I said it.

And his number is six hundred threescore and six

Surely, this is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

"The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck has given birth to a baby boy.

The 30-year-old celebrated the birth of her son, Taylor "Damien" Thomas, with her football player husband Tim on Friday morning at 7:06 AM in an Arizona hospital.

NFL quarterback Tim says, "We're thrilled it arrived safely. Both mom and 'son' are happy and healthy."

The couple -- who already have a 2-year-old daughter, Grace -- moved to Arizona in October, after Tim, 29, signed a contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Elisabeth plans to return to the ABC morning talk show after performing the proper ritual which may or may not (sources are ambiguous) involve Rosie O'Donnell's heart.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Women, Keep Your Men Happy or Else!

You have one chance in this life to keep your man happy. If you want to tilt the odds in your favor, then you should try Lysol. It's old advice, sure, but it's still good advice.

lysol lovequiz

Norman Mailer died today

This is a serious moment in literary history. A giant has passed. Perhaps not the greatest writer, but a giant in the world of letters nonetheless.

From the NYTimes: Story

Can you imagine Americans sitting down and watching this on television today? It's Marshall McLuhan and Norman Mailer debating.


Why do my Hot Tamales have magnesium hydroxide in them?

Why can't I find Flying Blind on DVD?

Why can't I watch and then return my Netflix movies?

Why do birds suddenly appear?

Why do I experience an existential conundrum while waiting at the crosswalk, with a "Don't Walk" signal, no oncoming traffic except for the cars wanting to turn right on red? Am I the only one!?

Why isn't there a Peet's near my office?

Why is ER still on television?

Why do we have to get and feel old?

Why can't I own a Canadian?

Is this a case of bestiality?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Space Mormons to the rescue!

Now, can someone explain to me how this is different from Scientology? Aliens, gods, revolts, wackos. Seems very similar to little old me.


Halloween is an EVENT at Chronicle Books. All the departments pick books and create an entire show on that theme. Last year, the Production department won by creating a karaoke bar in our office complete with sing-along video starring none other than the Production staff. Too cute.

This year, the nod went to Marketing and Publicity. They staged a mini Top Chef episode (in recognition of the Top Chef cookbook that we're publishing). The acting was inspired and the show came complete with commercial breaks. Kudos to all!!

Production did a great job too (of course) and devised a WWF-style smackdown between the Ugly Dolls and the Softies. Members of the department dressed up in life-sized costumes. You had to be there to full appreciate it, but I've got pictures.

So, enjoy and start planning next year's theme!!

Since Kevin only wants light and carefree. . .

I give you Brenda Dickson.