Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beware The Hounds Of Hell

Comment O' Teh Day

From the MeFI thread about the Indian billionaire who built a $2b high-rise for his little family of five.
My colleague worked in Mumbai doing land use work, and they had to divide the slums into multiple levels of quality; they used people per toilet, and I think the dividing line was somewhere around 20 people per toilet.

My Favorite Comedian

is Samantha Bee.
Favorite Vacation: My house in the Catskills. It’s the best. You can’t do a lick of exercise, and you can’t walk anywhere, because people are always shooting things.
My favorite vacation day was spent alone in Florence, hearing a choir from some other European country spontaneously begin singing something wonderful in a foreign language — it was probably Verdi — while sitting inside the little Baptistry opposite the Duomo, then getting the finger from Roma women while photographing them being chased off by the polizi.
I learned the Italian word for police while being threatened by a non-English speaking toll booth operator frustrated that I had just confessed to making a U-turn on the tollway after I found out I was mistakenly headed to Rome.
He said it while making the standard crossed-wrist gesture to indicate handcuffs.

ADDENDUM: And Google is so good that it pops an ad for Tuscany villas onto the page when I close it. Kewl.
I grinned and said American Embassy, and we settled for a 20,000 lira fine. Or was it  50,000 lira?
But that was another day and not Florence. It was also quite a good day. On the way home after dark, we became lost in Scandizzi on the wrong side of the river on backstreets whose sidewalks were filled with surly looking men, probably just out there to escape the stifling heat of their cheap apartments.
We managed to find the entrance to the last bridge on the map, my daughter riding shotgun with binoculars to read the inhumanly small print on Italian street signs and a flashlight to read the map.
My cousin rode in the back seat, her hands over her eyes most of the way. Her daughter was doing a desperate Garfield-at-
the-window routine and we all laughed harder than four perfectly sober women lost in a foreign country have any right to laugh.
If I had died right then, I would have died gratified that it was a life well lived.
Some day I will write about the night all dozen or so of us women ate by candle light inside the villa during a thunder storm and I made a grand entrance as a ghost. I think it was successful. In my mind at least, they all gasped at the apparition in the tricorner hat and the vacant-eyed, full-faced white mask. I still have the mask. The hat fell apart. I don't remember what I used for the cape.
Every day was a good day for three straight weeks. Every day. All 21 of them.
It is like a movie that I replay daily and it all happened 15 years ago.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comment O' Teh Day

And I can hardly show my kids these pictures to teach them anything valuable and lasting about inequality, because they won't know whether to cry because other little girls have to go to work at rock quarries or because other little girls have Strawberry Lolita dresses and they don't.
A MetaFilter commenter about a book of photographs of children's rooms around the world. What's interesting is that the MeFiers remember, as I do and Contrarienne linked, another photographic essay about the food in the pantries of people from different countries, and also, a telling essay about how NGOs portray people in Africa contrasted with how the people themselves would choose to portray themselves.

I like conversations like this, which are only possible because of the Internet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Woman In The House

is worth $49 million a year to her constitutents.

If You Want To Know The Future

You could do worse than pay attention to this guy.
Remember travel agents? Remember how they just kind of vanished one day? 
He's got  film, too, and I do have a quibble with that. There have, indeed, been times when things were very bad for a very, very long time.

On the other hand, I have long believed it entirely possible that geographically connected parts of the country with similar economic interests might create a regional governing authority, possibly with the federal government's blessing.

So, he's writing to entertain, but he is onto something.
Hate States. Good one, hadn't heard it before.
North America can easily fragment quickly as did the Eastern Bloc in 1989
Quebec will decide to quietly and quite pleasantly leave Canada. California contemplates splitting into two states, fiscal and non-fiscal. Cuba becomes a Club Med with weapons. The Hate States will form a coalition.