Bon Voyage, Team USA!

28 05 2010

The US World Cup team visited the White House today for a meeting with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton who is Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid for the 2018 or 2022 World cup. (I posted about it here.) They posed for pictures under the North Portico. Truthfully, I have very little faith in our team’s chances – their first match is against England on June 12th – but I wish them all the best of luck even though I will be cheering, quite loudly as a matter of fact, for Italy. Joe Biden is planning to be at their first game and President Obama says he’ll be watching on TV. So, what stunning world of wisdom did Mr. Clinton have to impart on this occasion? He said he liked the team’s tan dress shoes. *Sigh*

Here is an article about the event and I’ve found a video of the send-off.

And, since I love pictures, I’ve found some of the event… and the shoes.

And, as promised, the shoes that all the boys in DC are talking about.





After the Glow Wears Off – Why Fandom Doesn’t Work With Politicians

26 05 2010

In the aftermath of the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon – that oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico – and the subsequent ecological catastrophe which is, as of right now, still intensifying something is happening in the minds of many Americans. They are realizing that Barack Obama, the President of the United States, is not a super hero. He cannot take out his Super-Duper Galactic Fix-It Ray and make the problem and all the foibles that come with trying to fix it just go away and neither can Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, or anyone else. Winning an election gets you a very big job, a place in the history books, and that’s it. The pants you put on in the morning may be bullet-proof – yes, they do exist – but you still put them on the same way anyone else does.

In the 2008 presidential election, particularly on the democratic side, much was made of the candidates’ personalities and whether or not they were “likable” enough. If it hadn’t been for that, I believe I’d be sitting here kvetching about the latest mistake President Clinton made – President Hillary Clinton, that is. She had everything – money, connections, experience – everything but a triple dose of charisma and that was her downfall. She couldn’t change who she was, so she lost. It’s not fair, but it’s the nature of the game. You have to be “likable” and you either are or you aren’t. For many people Barack Obama was The Man – the man to elect, the man to back, the man you’d want to have a beer with, just the man. In the world of Political High School, he was the captain of the football team and valedictorian all rolled into one while then-Senator Clinton was the jealous, geeky, overachiever on the debate team, and John McCain was the guy who played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. Neither of them had a chance in hindsight.
The problem with popularity in politics is, just like in high school, it’s fleeting. To be known simply as “popular” is to be unknown and invisible in a week’s time. Politics is a business fraught with unpopular positions. With some perpetually contentious issues like abortion, to take a firm stand one way or the other is to alienate a large section of the voting population. The only thing worse than taking a strong stand on a divisive issue is to take no stand at all. That just makes you look weak. If you manage to get elected, a whole new world of “un-likablity” opens up and is furthered by omnipresent mass media. Make one mistake, say one thing out of line, forget to smile at someone and it’s news and news always offends someone. Make a offhand comment about women in the workforce and someone will say you’re against stay-at-home moms and therefore single-handedly out to destroy the traditional American family. Question military expenses and you’re an evil, marxist, terrorist, hippy, America-hater. Innocently point out the good qualities of a colleague of the opposite sex, or of the same-sex if you are known by the public to be openly gay or lesbian, and you may very well end up being dragged by your sinificant other to couple’s counseling and have to explain yourself. Choose not to go to church and you become evil and completely anti-American even though there are plenty of Americans who don’t attend church and are also not enemies of the state.
These things all pale in comparison to what happens when a big problem comes along – unusually polarizing legislation, Supreme Court appointments, some sort of unforeseen tragedy. That’s when that cult of personality really begins to crack under the weight of the task at hand. It becomes blindingly clear that you can’t walk on water or fly or shoot lasers from your eyeballs. You’re still disappointingly human with only twenty-four hour days just like the rest of us. The pedestal you’ve been placed on by your supports erodes away from beneath your feet and you come tumbling down to earth to rejoin the rest of us mortals. People start to ask “What if? What if I’d pulled the other lever or checked the other box?” This is the predicament that our current president finds himself in. It’s not fair, but it’s the nature of the game. Presidents seem like they have more power than the rest of us and to some extent they do, but we forget they’re also astoundingly human. I could go into specific presidential examples of human frailty – the same problems we see every day in our own lives – but why bother. It’s all old news.
One would think that, in light of these recent events, we as a nation would be less inclined to idealize our political figures but it seems more prevalent today than it was two and a half years ago. For example, Sarah Palin could make a statement saying something needs to be acted upon and thousands of people would go out and make it happen regardless of what “it” actually is. The task is completely immaterial simply because Sarah Palin said “it” should be and they think Sarah Palin is the best human being that ever lived and is right all of the time. Ron Paul, the Congressman from Texas, has a similarly devoted and vocal following. Hillary Clinton, the current Secretary of State, still has quite a fan base even after her election lose and employment with the Obama administration, and some of them are fiercely loyal. Just search Clinton 2012 to see the kind of rumors bubbling up as campaign season approaches with all of these diehard fans lying in wait, though, historically, a primary challenger to the incumbent president has never won the nomination and only serves to split the party and make an election victory that much harder to achieve. Even so, hope springs eternal for some of her supporters who view her as the best hope for democrats in 2012. I say that’s a long ways off and a highly unlikely turn of events. Her high approval rating will plummet if she turns on the administration who employed her for three years or so. Nobody likes a turncoat not to mention that putting your sense of loyalty into question is never the best political move.
And what about Mr. Obama and his charisma? Well, while he may recover some popularity for one reason or another – these things go days by day – it’ll never be quite the same now that everyone knows he isn’t a super hero or a jedi knight or some other spectacular being. It’s like having a really attractive roommate. Everyone sees them as this Adonis-like figure, but you’ve seen them at their worst – hung-over, unhappy, angry, first thing in the morning – and you know that they have their moments just like anyone else. You can’t idealize someone after that because you know that they are no more or less than human.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – Hillary Meets Haibao

25 05 2010

Usually I have to find awkward pictures for these posts. This week the photo gods smiled at me.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has a very important job which takes her all over the world to meet with world leaders… and, apparently, chubby, blue mascots. While visiting The World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Secretary Clinton met the mascots, called Haiboa, and posed for some pictures.


The fellow with her is Shanghai mayor Han Zheng.

While collecting photos, I found this one and had to share it as well because I love it. It’s like Where’s Waldo – Foreign Policy Edition.

The lighter side of international diplomacy.





News Flash – Tights Are NOT Pants!

24 05 2010

I have never been what anyone would call trendy or stylish. I have always had far too imperfect a figure to try to emulate the “perfect” specimens in Vogue – specimens that magazine editors still feel the need to Photoshop nearly to the point of being unrecognizable. My mission when buying clothes is to simply find something that fits right and that’s hard enough. I’m sure there are some of you who know how I feel. It is my chronic lack of personal style that keeps me mute on the topic of fashion… usually. I have, however, reached the point at which even I feel the need to speak out for I have seen one too many nylon-encased buttocks being openly displayed. Women of the world take note –

TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS!!!!!


They are similar to pants. Almost pants. The ghost of pants, if you will, but they are not to the bum-covering or bum-supporting caliber of pants. Yes, I said bum-supporting and, unless you are as fit as is humanly possible, and cellulite-free, and are under thirty, and have never even thought of birthing children, your butt benefits from the shape-assisting support of proper pants. The never-ending quest for the perfect pair of jeans stems from the fact that a good-looking butt is generally a well-supported butt.

The issue of bum coverage is two-fold. The first has to do with opacity. You cannot see through pants. This is not always true with tights. We all have those people who we are or have been close enough to that they know what kind of underwear we prefer – friends we shop with, obviously significant others past and present have a clue, roommates, ect… – but everyone in the mall/grocery store/city doesn’t know you like that, so it’s just awkward.
The second issue is one public vs. private interest. Almost no one wants to know every topographical detail of your ass, especially if they don’t know your name. Your doctor doesn’t want to know that much about your ass. Please, keep the dimples and jiggle to yourself. If you’re wearing underwear, I don’t want to see it. If you’re not wearing underwear, I don’t want to know and I really don’t want to see it. Believe it or not, I’m not alone in feeling this way. There are plenty of people who have no desire to have advanced knowledge of the muscle tone you have (or have not) achieved in your gluteal region and those that are interested aren’t going to want to have that information shared with the rest of the world. They want to feel special.
Tights are great when worn properly – i.e. not as pants. They’re great under dresses, skirts, and oversized shirts as long as they cover your butt as opposed to making it a billboard for Victoria’s Secret… or your local gym… or a strip club… or McDonald’s.

One final note for those of you who think I’m totally off-base here. Remember, it’s not just svelte twenty-somethings and college sorority girls who have adopted this pants-less look. I saw a woman who had to be pushing sixty walking around like this as well as gaggle of girls who were maybe – maybe – fourteen. It’s gross.

:Rant Complete:





Because the World Cup is About to Start – Great Soccer Pics – Politicians

20 05 2010

It almost World Cup time and I cannot wait. I love it. I have created my first of at least two soccer picture montages. Here is what passes for soccer in the political sphere. Some do better than others.

Nelson Mandela

Pictured here in Switzerland in 2004 after the announcement of South Africa winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Gordon Brown

For someone who always looks like he’s about to fall asleep, he does alright.

Barack Obama

OK, so he’s no Pele. At least he gives it a try.

Michelle Obama

Looks to have more soccer skills than her husband.

Dmitri Medvedev

Not too bad.

David Cameron

He seems to be settling in nicely.

Nicolas Sarkozy

He always looks a little awkward.

Evo Morales

The President of Bolivia actually plays on a local team.

Angela Merkel

Apparently quite the fan, Angela Merkel was quoted in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup as saying that she “had arranged her schedule so that she could watch any match Germany plays, including the final.” Hmmmm… yeah… about that… VIVA AZZURRI!

Tony Blair

Looks good by politician standards… until he tries to kick a ball.

The G5

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Chinese State Counsellor Dai Bingguo pose with autographed Brazilian national team jerseys.

Joe Biden

He looks lost – like someone handed him that ball and said “Here, hold this and smile.” Still, he gets credit from this soccer fan for even being there. I don’t see Rahm Emanuel, Janet Napolitano, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else in the administration out there, do you? Incidentally, I will be very disappointed if someone doesn’t pick up a soccer ball – or better yet, kick it – for a photo-op between now and the end of the World Cup.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Because idiots play, too.

Silvio Berlusconi

He can give soccer part of the credit for being in office today. He’s President of AC Milan – a well-known team even here in the US – and used the name recognition it gave him to launch a political career which has now made him President of Italy.

Bill Clinton

Pictured here in 1997 getting a lesson from Brazilian soccer legend Pelé. He looks very silly, but he gets credit for trying and also for trying to bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to the US. Here is a post I wrote about that very thing.

Dubya

Dubya knows next to nothing about soccer and, for a refreshing change from the actions of politicians in general, he’s totally honest. He was quoted as saying “[A] lot of us grew up not knowing anything about soccer, like me. I never saw soccer as a young boy. We didn’t play it where I was from. It just didn’t exist.” Thanks for being upfront about it, Dubya!


Uhhhh… that’s the wrong sport! Hey, has Dick Cheney been giving you golf lessons again?





I Never Though I’d Say This, But I Could Hug Bill Clinton

19 05 2010

I could hug Bill Clinton right now.


Allow me to explain.

Bill Clinton has been named the Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. Here is an article from the New York Observer with the particulars. He announced his chairmanship (honorary though it is) at the FC Harlem soccer facility in Harlem, NY after a soccer clinic for local children was given by Juan Pablo Angel of the New York Red Bulls. In answer to the obvious question, yes, Bill Clinton, the aging, white-haired former president did in fact kick a few soccer balls and, according to the reporter for the Observer, looked at one point “like an excited but debonair flamingo.” I would’ve paid to see that. Here are a few pictures from the event.

Some slight “flamingo-ness” there or maybe just a Monty Python imitation.

For lending his name to the cause of bringing the World Cup here to the US, I would give Bill Clinton a hug. Of course, I’d also have to hug Henry Kissinger, Drew Carey, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg among others, but it’s for a good cause, so hugs all around! Here is the website where you can sign the petition to try and bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to the US. Also, there are 22 days left until the 2010 World Cup begins in South Africa. (Viva Italia!)

I actually don’t think the former president would be put off by the offer of a hug…

but…

I wouldn’t want to cross her. Would you? I think not.

Nope, Bill Clinton gets no hugs.





One of Those Things That Just Begs to be Shared

17 05 2010

We all have our vices – some more than others – and one of mine is ihasahotdog.com. This is one of my favorites.
cute pictures of puppies with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures
Yes, for those with sharp eyes, that is a Shiba Inu, the same breed as Tosca.





Life Is a Series of Decisions (Bla, Bla, Bla-Di-Bla…)

17 05 2010

Ok, first a recap.


-I turned twenty-five on the fifth – in other words, youth, as it pertains to yours truly, is the stuff of history and perhaps a legend or two. I hope to hit myth status by thirty.


-I’ve been drafted as a mosaic artist to work alongside my grumpy, republican father. To be fair he’s a lot less grumpy when we aren’t discussing politics. I’d say it would make great sitcom fodder but it’s already been done… a lot.


-I’m still looking for work and it still sucks. Happily, my father’s irritation at having a grown, unemployed lump of humanity inhabiting an entire floor of his home whose only achievement of late is not killing off the tomatoes and strawberries she and her mother planted has cooled a little though things can gets heated when the FOX News folks start talking about unemployment as it relates to the economy. I think he’d like to see the able-bodied unemployed put into giant hamster wheel and made to run, powering a generator able to generate half the nation’s electricity until we learn the art of “making things happen.” Well, that or strip us of our citizenship and send us on a one-way trip to Europe. Actually, I’ve always dreamed of living in Italy. Warm Mediterranean sunshine, good food, soccer – no – football, one of the most melodious languages in the world, and let’s not forget the men.


Daria – the best TV show ever – has been released on DVD. It’s only been off the air for eight years. Glad they were so prompt about it. Let’s hear it for the show that helped get people like me feeling OK with being themselves… to the chagrin of the rest of the world. In addition to the “Glass Ceiling” Project and some impromptu tiling, I have a new quest – obtain the DVD set and revel in the snark. (UPDATE – I bought this boxset. It’s great!)


-The World Cup starts June 11th and, unless there’s a change in my employment status, I will be a complete soccer nut for the entire month-long event. ITALIA!

Now to the substantive issue of the day – how badly do I want to see my Congresswoman re-elected? Badly enough to actively participate in the political process? I’m actually not sure. I like Rosa DeLauro. I’ve met her several times – some before I was able to vote – and she didn’t dismiss me because I wasn’t either a baby or a possible supporter. She heard out my child self and, as much as I hate to admit that I fell for the oldest trick in the political book, I have to say, it stuck with me. From a practical standpoint, I share her point of view on many issues. I think hers is a good voice to have in Congress. Also, I’m seeing more – and by “more” I mean more than one – of those Teaparty flags around the neighborhood and, while I don’t see Connecticut’s third district as a hotbed of hardcore conservatism, it might be time for me to enter the fray as a sort of counterbalance.
I also just happen to enjoy politics. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes it’s amusement coupled with a healthy dose of schadenfreude, and sometimes, rarely, something really meaningful that betters people’s lives is accomplished. Sounds like a done deals right? Not If you’re me. As much as the political process fascinates me, there is also an element I find unpalatable. I sometimes wonder if we as a nation have outgrown integrity and ethics in general. Usually I laugh at it as I did here but I don’t know how close I want to get to the system itself even though I like the product. I like sopressata, but I wouldn’t want to make it, especially without compensation. Then again, it’s only posters and phone calls, right. It’s not like I’m trying to be the next Hillary Clinton.

I’ll add pics and such later, but I’m finally tired. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately and I’m now like a zombie. I have no idea whether this post makes sense or not at this point. I’ll fix whatever’s most certainly wrong with it when I regain consciousness in several hours. (Obviously, I got around to updating.)

UPDATE – I sent in my info to volunteer. Yes, I do care enough to try to get involved. I find myself caring more and more. Now it’s time to wait and see. It would be a new personal low to be rejected as a volunteer.





“Great” Moments In Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Bad Behavior Edition

13 05 2010

I’ve given the politicians a break these last few weeks, but I’m now back once again for a chuckle at their expense. These time we’re looking at those moments when they forgot cameras exist.

Hand Gestures
Because sometimes we all just feel like flipping somebody off.

Dubya

Karl Rove

Rahm Emanuel

Pickin’ Fights
You try to behave but then somebody starts trouble…


“Say what?”

and it gets to you. You start to get angry.


“Grrrrr!”

They keep talking. They’re ruining your image with the ladies…


*whisper, whisper…*

and you’re getting even angrier.


“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

They get in your way…

and you’re ready to fight.


“Put ’em up!”

All hell breaks loose.

And then…

you’re butt gets kicked.

Who thought giving her a bat was a good idea anyway?!

Lovin’ the Ladies
These guys have no shame!

And while we’re on this subject, what is the deal with Hillary Clinton and all these men recently? Am I the only one who remembers when the very mention of her name supposedly sent men the world over running for the hills protectively clutching their “gentleman berries”? How times do change.


This is actually a bigger deal than it looks since the Secretaries of State and Defense traditionally can’t stand being in the same room with each other.


To be fair, she does tend to make a face that resembles one that would usually accompany a pinch to the derriere, but this one with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell just seems a little to suspect to me.


Where’s the Secret Service or is there some sort of diplomatic immunity for patting the US Secretary of State on the behind? Haven’t wars been started over less? I have to be honest, I think this picture is quite funny as illustrated here and here.


😯 Wh, wh, what?! 😯

I don’t get it. Ever since I was small, this woman has been called everything but attractive. She hits her sixties, runs for president, loses, and now this?! I don’t know whether to feel nauseous or optimistic.


This is more like the coverage of her that I’ve become used to.

Well, that does it for shots that are merely bad.

Next, stop the magical land of WTFs. (By the way, that’s Dubya and Vladimir Putin in the little car.)