ESPN.com's 84 Reasons Why 1984 Was Totally Awesome -- I find #83 the most amazing. As for the rest, allow me to quote one of my favorite 80's flicks: "Iona, if you're not careful you're going to O.D. on nostalgia."
"I'm drowning in the law!" -- I've got a lot of Salon links today, but this one is too good to pass up for my fellow law-talkin' types. The advice columnist addresses a common complaint among big-law-firm lawyers, you know, the constant anxiety, lack of enjoyment in their work, the soul-deadening onslaught of working 7 days a week for years on end, la la la. Answer: escape! I'll also throw in a link to Biens Moebles, a lawyerblog that addresses some of these defects in the profession. As they say, "Res ipsa loquitur."

Autumn leaves... Posted by Hello It's that time of the year again...ever wonder why they change color? Geeky theories and sentimental musings abound...and there's a soundtrack to accompany it all. Enjoy!
"Bush lied, my son died." -- Salon has a short piece today about RealVoices.org, a PAC that's put out four gut-wrenching TV spots featuring parents of American soldiers killed senselessly in Iraq. Think one of these ads will run during tonight's debate?

And speaking of Salon, watch the ad to see today's Tom the Dancing Bug comic, it's a brilliant spoof on "The Apprentice." Catchphrase: "You're not fired!"
Bush's Top Ten First Term Flip-Flops -- interestingly, this was compiled by CBS News. I guess the GOP hasn't strong-armed every single reporter over there after all.
"This will be Arkansas...if you don't vote." -- Have you heard about the Republican National Committee's targeted mailing that claims a vote for Kerry is a vote to ban the Bible? Well, see it for yourself. Other "horrors" to be visited upon heathen blue states: abortion rights, same-sex marriage, separation of church and state, "activist" judges, enlightened foreign policy, you name it!


"Give Kerry a helping hand." -- Ah, so this is how low Republican guys will stoop to get some action. Desperate vote-trading, via Wonkette. She's also got a Presidential Debate Drinking Game for tomorrow night, featuring directives like "Do a shot if Bush accuses Kerry of being 'French on terrorism.'" Should be a long night...

Zzzzz...aiieee, disembodied hand! Posted by Hello Today's ? du Jour comes from Japan, via the BBC, so you know it's going to be wacky. Say hello to the Boyfriend's Arm Pillow. Yikes.
Down with the Kakistocracy! -- In this week's column, twisted genius/sex columnist Dan Savage revives this fine term, meaning "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens." Sound familiar, folks?
Election Protection 2004 -- The People For the American Way Foundation have set up this site to get out the vote and get out volunteers to monitor it this year, when it's expected that millions of voters will be blocked, legally or not, from voting. PFAW and the NAACP released this report on voter intimidation, whether by dirty tricks or "ballot security initiatives," that would make Thomas Jefferson spin in his grave. Also takin' it to the (online) streets is blogger prince Jason Kottke, who put together this Voter Information Guide that's short, sweet, and highly distributable. Vote, people, vote vote vote!
"A culture, stretching across about half the globe, that chews up women and spits them out." -- Absolutely hair-raising NYTimes op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, dateline Pakistan. This story of tribal "justice," rape, and women's oppression should make you thankful that in this country voting out the Chucklehead-in-Chief is the big political obstacle, not dealing with rogue traditional tribes and street vengeance. Well...on second thought...


Viva Iconoclast! -- The Crawford, TX newspaper is endorsing John Kerry tomorrow. Please proceed to relish this news.

Let's go, Red Sox! Posted by Hello With last night's win over the woeful Devil Rays, the Sox are headed to the playoffs fer sure...and could get closer to the Yankees, a mere 3 games ahead. Here we see the jubilant players soaking Manny Ramirez in Pert Plus and champagne...perhaps they were listening to the Dropkick Murphys' unofficial Red Sox fight song?
Top Ten Worst Rock Stars Ever -- Bono? Mmmm, OK. Morrissey? What!?? Heh heh. See also The Ten Most Hated Men in Rock (Besides Sting)...oddly, there's no overlap between the lists. (Thanks, Bifurcated Rivets!)
"The ancient Greeks had a word for a person who is indifferent to public affairs in this way: idiotes, or idiot." -- Irksome NYTimes piece on the existential meaninglessness of voting...which isn't to say you shouldn't do it, even if once vote doesn't make much difference...especially under the Electoral College. Or something. All I know is, trying to get rid of this, no matter how symbolically, is worth the effort in my book.
"DiMasi supports same-sex marriage, and Finneran does not." -- Looks like all those liberal lobbyists on Beacon Hill are very pleased they won't have Tom Finneran to kick around anymore.


More vintage poster fun. Posted by Hello The Library of Congress has a selection of WPA poster art from the 1930's and 40's online; click "Collection Highlights" to see more like this gem. I think if I tried to read one book by each of those authors in a month, I'd have to forgo sleep and nourishment...but it's a noble idea. I am a little ways into Anna Karenina (or, as Nat insists, Banana Karenina, hee hee), and it's great...though I admit I've been pulled away by this recent purchase.
Smittens -- cloyingly cute or just...nope, that's it.
"What color are their hands now?" -- If only this diamond heist had happened in London, not Paris, I'd think it was carried out by a gang of fabulous models and Charles Grodin, as in my favorite Muppet movie! Take a look at one of the other rocks on display...better lock that one up.
Tomorrow's Weather Forecast in Hell: High of 35 with passing snow showers -- believe it locals, the (Self-Crowned) King of Beacon Hill is dead. Long live the king!
I think I'll just start calling this the Post-Friday Five, since I never seem to get it done on time...oh well. Miss Kim's theme this time around: the Jewish New Year (5765, I believe):

Do you know who Kimpossible is? Yes I do!
How many people with the last name Cole do you know? Besides Kim and her brother...um...does having a pair of Kenneth Cole shoes count?
What religion do you consider yourself? When you're raised Catholic, it's hard to shake -- no matter how hard the Church tries to convince you! I still enjoy the community ritual of a worship service, whether a Catholic Mass or not, and I miss the activities and strong social justice commitment of the parish I grew up in. I haven't yet found a replacement...though this bunch seems promising...
What is the newest thing you have? Nat and I indulged in a little "back to school" shopping at the Wrentham Outlets this weekend, with stops in Eddie Bauer, a couple shoe places, and of course the Williams-Sonoma wonderland. Here's my coup du jour from there ($9.99!)...which I made an apple crisp in yesterday, after visiting the orchards with Kim.
What is your favorite year of your life? Each one has been good in a way, some more memorably than others...I'm happier now in some ways than I've ever been, and of course would go back to the past in others if I could. I remember feeling totally carefree and all-powerful at 5; I had the most fun when I was 15, then at 19, and again at 23. Least-favorite? Definitely 16 to 17, brutal. Now I'm 30 and I feel nearly 100% grown up; that's a nice thing.


Vote or Die, indeed. Posted by Hello Absolutely brilliant posters from the Propaganda Remix Project, updating WWII-era mind control for today's electorate! You can buy lots of cool stuff with these images at CafePress. Victory!


"Millions Blocked From Voting in the U.S." -- this is not a headline we like to see. The U.S. Commission on Human Rights, and People For the American Way, have a long list of suspicious, sneaky, and plain old bureaucratic ways people are being disenfranchised. And by "people" I mean "black people," who as a group vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

"Precious Venus..." Posted by Hello Today's ? du Jour comes from Athens, where a special art exhibit for the visually impaired allows visitors to break the big museum rule, "Please Do Not Touch." This is a replica of the Venus de Milo, made out of gypsum, not gummi. The exhibit hopes visitors to the Paralympic Games will make a stop -- oh yeah, the Paralympics, the worldwide athletic event featuring stirring personal triumphs NOT televised at all on NBC. Right.
"Our men look like inmates only recently released from federal penitentiaries, forced to wear clothing thirty years out of style." -- Witty piece on the sartorially-challenged college professor, among whom I hope I should not count myself (I'll go with the "painfully pedantic grammarians," thanks). I remember some classics from my higher education: male prof in clogs and silk scarf, those tweed jackets with the elbow patches, Tevas with black socks year-round, and yes, a beret or two. Come to think of it, it's always the men...maybe this author is on to something: "Male professors can wear the same sports jacket or sweater every Tuesday for thirteen weeks and it will pass without comment, whereas if a female professor wears the same suit two times in a row, she will be considered slatternly." Aha!
Election Road Trip -- The BBC sent two ex-pat journalists back to the USA to travel around and talk to Americans about what's really important to them in this election year. Hint: it ain't Vietnam service records. They've got a blog, a bumper sticker gallery, and a series of good articles on veterans, Latino voters, the role of fear (!), the state of the economy, and even (this one's for you, Karen!) the pro and anti-Bush factions back home in Texas. Read up -- somehow the "foreign" news always seems to do a better job than our homegrown networks...uh, except for Rupert Murdoch, he's Australian and his media empire is from Mars.
STOP BUSH, send a postcard -- nice set of political graffiti postcards from NYC, to send to your "undecided voter" friends.
"Father of 3 Fatally Shot While Tending to Children." -- I am so angry about this story I don't know what to do. Is this the kind of place I live in? 52 murders, almost all with guns, and utterly senseless. Where is the outrage? You can bet that if this guy had been picking up pizza in Newton Centre and been shot in the head by two uncaptured assailants, there would be angry townsfolk marching on police headquarters this morning. Come on, Boston, wake up!


Ouch. Posted by Hello It was a rough weekend for Red Sox fans in the NY metro area, what with the Evil Empire crushing the Sox' AL-east rebellion...at least for now. I spent Saturday fending off the trash talk of my Yankees-loving family, while we attended an outdoor wedding reception in a howling gale, courtesy of Hurricane Ivan. On the upside, we had excellent catered pigs-in-a-blanket, so that's something.


On the way to Cape May... Posted by Hello I'm off to a wedding in Cape May, NJ, one of my favorite places on earth...though it's supposed to rain the whole time, thanks Hurricane Ivan. Enjoy the weekend...
What classic movie are you? -- Take this weird personality test, and find out. I got "Schindler's List" because I "put the needs of others first." Uh, OK. Choosing answers at random, I got "The Godfather": "Your life is about power and control, living by the Mafia code." Yeah!
"These delicious bars f*cking rule." -- I agree! Over at the McSweeney's New Food Reviews section, someone took the time to praise Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Bars (scroll a bit down the page). I love granola bars, but the old-skool Nature Valley bars are way too crunchy and crumbly, though they distinguish themselves by coming in a package of two. The chewy ones, however, are incredibly tasty and much neater. And since I got a box of 36 for my birthday (long story there), I'll be enjoying them for a long while -- in fact, I'm eating one right now. Mmmmmm.
"He showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases." -- Does that sound like a President you know? One of GWB's professors from Harvard Business School, Yoshi Tsurumi, reveals to Salon what a total slacker he was back in the 70's. The most evil bit: the draft-dodging rich boy sitting in the back row of class, wearing a bomber jacket from the Texas Air National Guard, spitting chaw juice into a cup, and practically failing out of school, while supporting the war in Vietnam. GRRRRRRRR.


"One is satisfying and delicious. The other is a crime against nature." -- William Grimes, one of my favorite food writers, takes stock of the "30 minute meal" trend, from the demonically cheerful Rachel Ray all the way up to Jacques Pepin, who knew? Recipes included, mmm mmmm.

Mmmmm, (sort of) healthy. Posted by Hello Today's ? du Jour, courtesy of Clark Humphrey over at MiscMedia. Enjoy!
FYI, fellow locals -- Oh no! The Someday Cafe, beloved curmudgeonly grandpa of the Davis Square cafe scene, was robbed a few days ago! This Friday they're throwing themselves a fundraiser...uh, though apparently it's to re-do the floor in there, not in response to the robbery. Huh. Entertaining "Davis-er than thou" LJ squabbling in that link, though...(via Sushiesque) No matter the reason, what a rotten turn of events for the Someday, which could use a little charm schooling but hey, that's why we like it. My all-time fave moment: they printed a "coupon" in a Tufts publication entitling the bearer to pay "25% more" for the beverage of their choice, hee hee. Maybe they should resurrect that ploy...
"A CD does not cost $1 to make." -- NYC music blogger Coolfer offers some interesting tips on buying music, whether through iTunes, at your local WalMart, or in your local used CD bin. Caveat emptor.
From Muttonknock to Butterbridge -- have some fun with the Pseudo-Elizabethan Place Name Generator!
"President Bush thwarted our attempts at every turn." -- Salon has a short piece today on the group of 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls, the ones who convinced Congress to set up the independent 9/11 commission. Yesterday they endorsed Kerry for President, though half of them voted for Bush last time around.


Tribute In Light Posted by Hello The most beautiful memorials to the WTC, in my view, are these temporary light installations, making their third appearance in Manhattan this week. Another great photo here, and more about the creators here. Looking at them is strange because their shape is familiar, but they're so much taller than the Towers were it reminds you that something's not quite right...better than seeing the gaping hole in the ground, I think.
"Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over." -- Oh Onion, how right you were! Back when Prez W. was inaugurated in 2001, they ran a mock speech spelling out all his "policy initiatives," like widening the gap between rich and poor, driving up the national debt, drilling in the Arctic, blah blah blah. One blogger, Dan Chak, decided to annotate the fake speech with real links. Scary.
"The Art and Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace" -- a publishing sensation in France, coming soon to a cubicle farm near you. I think the American response to this notion will be interesting to watch -- we work more hours than any other nation, yet we feel the most unproductive, we're always struggling for more leisure and family time yet we don't make it a priority, and we're locked in a hypercapitalist trance of consumption. We identify with "Office Space," but we don't do anything to change corporate culture. I say, let the slacking begin!
Adventures in Crypto-Zoology -- Paging Agent Mulder: British duo hunts for a "jungle Yeti," the mysterious Orange Pendek of Sumatra. And the Mongolian Death Worm...not to mention Mokele Mbembe, the Congolese dinosaur!
Once again I'm a little slow on Miss Kim's Friday Five, but better late than never...and today is definitely shaping up to be a "Semi-Happy, Semi-Cranky" kind of day:

* What five things are you most cranky about? Lack of sleep, funds, and leisure time; Bush & Co.; and the perpetual rise of Mt. Washmore in my closet.
* What five things are you happiest about? My friends and family; my sweetie; the banana chocolate chip bread I made last night; the pile of books I bought from the Watertown library over the weekend; the lovely early fall day outside.
* What five words would describe you right now? Fatigued, witty, busy, hungry, distracted.
* What five words do you WISH described you right now? Energized, witty, busy, relaxed, focused.
* What five words would describe your past week? Social, special, sunny, tasty, new.
Click -- check out 100 Photographs That Changed The World...at least, according to LIFE magazine, which owns the images. I loved looking through "The Year In Pictures" every year as a kid, I have to admit...(via Kottke.org)


Food Nerd Alert: oh my goodness, oh my goodness, coming soon! I owe my most Martha moments not to Martha, actually, but to Ina -- everything served at our excellent open house yesterday (except for the ribs) is straight from the Barefoot Contessa. Yay!


Look, up on the roof, it's Superdawg! Posted by Hello Behold, the guardians of the true "Chicago hot dog," Maurie and Flaurie. This establishment (conveniently located on the way to O'Hare Airport, if you're ever in the neighborhood) serves just a few classics -- the Superdawg comes in a little box, cushioned on a bed of fries, in a poppyseed bun, with a salad of condiments on top, including pickle spear and pickled green tomato wedge. Woah! I quote Ferris Bueller, another famed Chicagoan: "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

UPDATE: Hey fellow New England shutterbugs, enter the Boston.com summer photo contest!
It's Friday, I'm in blog -- with apologies to The Cure, and a sigh of relief that Blogger has finally stopped messing with The Index. For the last 2 days, it refused to republish, gaaaah. More updates to come...


"Because of your being a 'Democrat'" -- Take that, Zell "on Earth" Miller! The loony RNC keynote speaker got an earful from fellow Georgia Dem Jimmy Carter in this letter, which questions his loyalty to the party who elected him, not to mention his sanity. Nice!

Mmmmmm, presents. Posted by Hello Well, I'm 30 now, yeehah! Big thanks to Miss Kim for not only hosting a great party, but capturing this gift-o-rama moment -- I think I'm looking at the bird feeder I got from the new Mr.&Mrs. Zukerman. Feliz cumpleanos indeed!


Happy Upcoming Birthday To Me -- as of midnight, I'll be 30, and no longer trustworthy, right? :P Thanks to Miss Kim for coming up with this Birthday Friday Five, as well as hosting a party for me!

Where were you 30 years ago? Still in utero -- according to my mom, 9-4-74 was the hottest day of the year, and she was watching TV when she went into labor. My dad drove her to the hospital, and was filling out the paperwork while I was born! This speedy trend would continue -- my little brother was nearly born in the car en route to the hospital (during a snowstorm and a flat tire, of course) in 1977.
Where would you like to be in 30 years? Wow, 60 -- isn't that "the new 40"? Hopefully I'll be at the top of my game doing work I really enjoy, whether that's legal or otherwise (writing? teaching?). I'll be living in a community with friends and hopefully family around, and enjoying the fruits of 2 decades of parenting as the kids go off to college -- I'm not interested in the "Motherhood at 50" scenario. Let's see -- also rich, in shape, in a solid, still-sizzling marriage and celebrating 7 straight Democratic Presidential administrations, that should do it!
What 3 wishful things would you like for your birthday this year? World peace, a digital camera, and dinner at Blue Ginger.
What was the best birthday present you ever got? Well, on my 7th birthday, I got a baby cousin, Meghan. The smallest things really stand out -- I turned 18 on the 3rd day of college, still didn't know too many people, and my R.A. had everyone on my floor sign a big card and she taped it to my door, with a lollipop! And I turned 26 a few weeks after the bar exam, totally depressed about my lack of job prospects, and the now Reverend Hilary presented me with one donut hole with a candle stuck in the top -- it hit the spot.
What is your overall opinion of birthdays? Mine is always during Labor Day Weekend, so I associate it with the end of summer and the start of the school year, very bittersweet and yet exciting at the same time. Looking forward to tomorrow!


Totally self-explanatory. Posted by Hello From Boston.com's gallery of RNC signs and slogans, both pro and anti-W. There's also a convention blog from former WBUR host of "The Connection" (he established not only the show's annoying theme song and uber-intellectual tone, but also the Shatner-esque pauses in...the host's...commentary) Christopher Lydon. Today's installment: the "whiff of Caesarism" in NYC and the concept of an "American Empire." Scarier than an orange beehive wig.

Today's ? du Jour. Posted by Hello Yep, it's a platinum, diamond-studded Hello Kitty figurine, asking price $91,000. It goes with my emerging photo theme this week: odd shiny objects. Enjoy!
Yale Cheerleaders For Truth -- in the spirit of the Not Too Swift Boat Veterans, I suppose. And for all your goofy political satire/merchandising needs, head to CafePress' political store. I'm feeling too repulsed by the aggressively evil tone the RNC is setting this week to do any serious analysis...though you could read up on Maureen Dowd for that. Sigh.
"To return to the previous menu or to a state of infantile bliss, press 7." -- Hee hee.
"This is a stick-up! I'll take 25 copies on Canary Yellow cardstock!" -- This is the most Coen Brothers-esque crime tidbit I've ever seen...a very confused bank robber (photo) went into a copy shop near B.U., thinking it was the Fleet Bank next door, and had a comical conversation with the copy dudes inside, then left to follow their fake directions! Later in the day, he managed to rob a few actual banks in the area, including one that slipped an exploding dye pack in with the money. After that went off, his pickup got a flat tire! The police nabbed him at the gas station where he pulled over. Unreal! The best part is, this guy was just released from a jail sentence...for bank robbery. {Insert your own withering Lenny Briscoe one-liner here.}
"Kobe is innocent and now he is free." -- What a mess. After a bungled prosecution effort, massive incompetence by the Colorado judicial system, and vicious smear tactics by an unrepentant defense team, the charges against Kobe have been dropped. Read his apology -- hmmm, something about that last paragraph makes me think one of his lawyers drew this up, don't you agree? Or do apologetic date rapists usually say things like "part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident"? Right. This case was the embodiment of "hard cases make bad law," and it showed how difficult it is for our legal system to deal with this kind of sexual assault case. Everybody loses.


Sweet Home Chicago Posted by Hello -- Nat and I are back from the Midwest, land of SPAM, baseball in cornfields, and the amazing new sculpture pictured above, "Cloud Gate", universally referred to as "The Bean" by Chicagoans. It was a great trip, and 8 rolls of film went off to the lab this morning...but it did involve about, oh, 1200 miles of driving (!) so next time we've decided to just sit in one place for our vacation.

There's plenty afoot these days, the tail end of summer -- the RNC is tearing up NYC, for one thing, and with only 8 weeks left before election day it's time for us all to get the lead out and really start pushing for some change. I'm not totally back up to full blogging speed, though, so in the meantime, enjoy a few web oddities: There's still time to buy some Olympic socks! Read the Incredible Hulk's blog! Puzzle over these somewhat faux-feminist premium tampons! Behold, Matt Damon's uncle swims the English Channel! Until tomorrow...