you did it

hey, judy, wherever you are – the president signed the FDA tobacco bill. i think you’d be pleased with most of it.

miss you.

monday morning musings

last week i was kvetching about monday’s late-winter snowstorm and subsequent single-digit temps. today it’s nearly 65 degrees at 9 a.m. yay, march.

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atheists are responsible for the dwindling percentage of christians in the united states. (maybe they’re eating them?) and i should move to vermont. except for that cold thing.

nifty charts here.

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almost everything i read online this weekend was about death and dying. one friend’s father passed away in late february. another friend’s mother, over the weekend. my great-uncle, on thursday. g’s grandmother was hospitalized with chest pains. then a friend’s dog had to be put down. isn’t spring supposed to be a time of rebirth?

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as i tweeted on saturday, the best time to watch watchmen is the 9:00 showing. with the coming distractions and a run time of 163 minutes, it means you’ll be out of the theater at five to 12:00. freaky. even freakier: billy crudup’s blue CGI dingle, which doesn’t dangle much.

great flick, btw. and fantastic use of leonard cohen on the soundtrack (and muzak tears for fears), but other people differ. (contains some spoilers.) although i have to ask: how do you put together a 3-hour movie set in 1985 without a single duran duran song? they’d released duran duran

, rio

, and 7 and the ragged tiger

by that point!

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i’m not much of a batman fan, but the first issue of neil gaiman’s two-part “death of” is storytelling at its finest. and what a story it is.

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and finally, in news of the sane, today obama will “issue a presidential memorandum aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence.” the circular argument about that itself being political influence that will affect scientific decisions aside, it’s good to see obama continuing to dismantle the politicoreligious machine of the bush administration.

from his prepared remarks:

“This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear:1 promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

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1 am i the only one who would be happy if obama excised “but let’s be clear” from his vocabulary? i’m getting tired of being lectured at.

no longer with us

so long, eartha. you were delicious.

which is the greater loss?

yves saint laurent or bo diddley? my clothes fetish notwithstanding, bo diddley, hands down. (c’mon, he once said this of accountants – or perhaps lawyers – “a dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun.”)

in thematically-related news, surgeons are reporting that ted kennedy’s surgery was “successful and accomplished [their] goals.” no discussion on what those goals were.

can't take me anywhere

…without me running off to find the nearest old cemetery. i’ve done it at harper’s ferry, on macau, in barcelona, and now, of course, on block island.

one of my fascinations with cemeteries are as a source for vital stats. in the block island cemetery, for example, there is a single tripartite headstone for three sisters – triplets – born in may 1845 and all died during august of the same year. triplets. in 1845. wow.

another interesting thing in the cemetery here are the number of men with two wives. generally, the first died in her 20s (my guess is maternal mortality; g’s thinks ‘accident’ might account for some of them) and the second lived to a ripe old age. however, i don’t recall a single woman with two husbands. indeed, the men seem all rather long-lived… provided they reached their tenth birthday.

i also like looking at the names. the block island cemetery features two bathshebas as well as two variants on the name; a number of mercys and charitys, and a whole slew of elizabeths. among the men there’s an author, a deacon (hard to tell if it’s a proper name or a title), and the occasional uriah.

there’s neat stuff to be found in cemeteries. and you don’t even have to be buffy.
baby17th century headstonechild, neonatal, and infant mortality

dovefather & motherbaby

what was this woman thinking?

yesterday a woman sat on her stoop in NE dc, watching her six-year-old daughter cross the street. the girl was not in a crosswalk.

the girl was killed by a hit and run driver. the mother told the washington post:

“My baby is gone,” said Crysta’s mother, Christina Spencer. It happened, she said, “because somebody had to do a hit and run.”

Spencer said she was watching from the stoop of the family home on Sixth Street as her daughter tried to cross.

at 35, i still have difficulty jaywalking, even if there isn’t a car in sight. why? because when i was a preschooler and snuck down to the end of the block to cross the street without an adult, i caught holy hell from my mother. and it wasn’t just about never, ever, ever

crossing without an adult, but also never, ever, ever crossing outside a crosswalk. mom was harsh. the lesson stuck.

ms. spencer, i’m sorry for your loss. but while the driver was the proximate cause of your daughter’s death, it’s possible she’d still be alive if you’d taught her what my mother taught me. what kind of parent sits on the stoop and allows her six year old to cross the street alone, in the middle of the street?

update: i’m not alone in this opinion, it seems.

i'm ready for my closeup, mr. CNN.

cnn screenshot

yes, what happened to the hokies was awful. now if the media would just stop treating it like a damn photo op (could you get more gorgeous than the saturated colors and silhouettes featured by cnn?) and lovefest (“beautiful, clever, talented victims honored” gushes one cnn video clip… [insert snide "what about the ugly, slow, talentless victims?" comment here]) and get back to coverage of the ongoing destruction of our country by the bush administration, i might be less grumpy.

yes, it was tragic. but to be perfectly honest, the coverage is making me – once again – sympathetic to the harrises and klebolds of the world. it’s certainly one way to achieve immortality.

update: according to the beeb, at least 157 people have been killed in a string of attacks in baghdad. and what’s the lead story on cnn? “gunman: ‘suicidal’”