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Archive for September, 2008

I’m likin’ this song right now. It’s from the Kings of Leon and the band’s new CD Only By Night. The syncopated drum beat really drives this tune.

“Use Somebody”

i’ve been roaming around
i was looking down at all i see
painted faces fill the places i can’t reach

you know that i could use somebody
you know that i could use somebody
someone like you

and all you know
and how you speak
countless lovers undercover of the street

you know that i could use somebody
you know that i could use somebody
someone like you

off in the night,
while you live it up, i’m off to sleep,
waging war
to shape the poet
and the beat

i hope it’s going to make you notice
i hope it’s going to make you notice
someone like me
someone like me
someone like me

somebody

(i’m waiting)

someone like you
somebody
someone like you
somebody
someone like you
somebody

i’ve been roaming around
i was looking down at all i see

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Comfort Found

Comfort.

From the time we enter the world as crying, shivering babes to the time we draw a last breath – our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children seek that which brings them comfort in life.

It’s measured in many different ways depending on who we are and where we’re at in life. A pre-school student finds it in a teacher she can trust. An awkward 13-year-old finds it in a group of friends who share a common thread. A college student finds it in a piece of literature or when he grasps a complicated scientific formula. Suddenly everything in life just clicks – maybe for an hour, maybe the click lasts a lifetime.

In relationships, there’s the kind we float through briefly, which may lend passive comfort. We return like an addict, because he or she satiates a basic requirement at least momentarily.

But real and lasting comfort comes through the relationships we enter into purposefully.  They are the ones who provide our lives with meaning. They don’t serve up a short-term fix, but rather become a part of our lives…who we are. They represent how we imagine ourselves on our best day. We choose to invest the time and evolve our behavior because these good souls embody the very best of what brings us comfort.

It seems so simple then, when someone passes by who warms a room, breathes in new life and understanding, asks questions, challenges responses, and raises the bar of understanding — that we elect to grasp them and hold on for all we’re worth.

Hold on. That’s what we’ll do.

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“F**king F**k.”

In pure Coen brother movie tradition, “Burn After Reading,” starring George Clooney, Francis McDormand, John Malkovich, and Brad Pitt, among others, lives up to all expectations.

The dark comedy centers around a twisted love quadrangle in which even the viewing audience can get lost in quickly if they don’t pay close attention.

When the fitness center’s locker room attendant finds a mysterious CD with data on it, Brad Pitt’s character Chad, an over-enthusiastic personal trainer, convinces his co-worker Linda (McDormand) that it’s CIA shit and can be leveraged for profit. Meanwhile, the newly fired and foul-mouthed CIA agent Osborne Cox (Malkovich) is oblivious to the fact that his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) is sleeping with Harry (Clooney) behind his back as he writes his memoirs. And Clooney, a U.S. treasury officer, is sleeping with everyone, clueless that his own wife is preparing to file for divorce.

It’s an “idiots reign supreme” plot in which, in the end, Mcdormand gets her one and only wish granted by none other than the CIA agency itself.

I’ve heard many people say they didn’t laugh out loud while watching the movie, but I did and so did the majority of the theater goers…especially during a particular scene in Harry’s basement, where he’s built a very special chair and unveils it to everyone’s amusement.

I recommend “Burn After Reading.” The Coen’s have, again, written and directed a movie designed to amuse and confuse.

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I-35W Memorial Bridge

Oh yes, it’s done.

To much fanfare and tribute, officials conducted a pre-dawn crossing of the bridge (both in the north bound and south bound lanes) for the first time today, Sept. 18, 2008.  That’s just 13 months and 17 days after the old bridge collapsed. An amazing feat.

I, personally, don’t use the 35W bridge frequently. Once, maybe twice a year. It’s still good to know that people can come together and get something done – quickly – for the good of everyone involved and in tribute to those who lost their lives in a purely avoidable tragedy.

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Alaska Rally

This photo of a large anti-Palin rally recently held in Alaska required posting.

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The Sarah Palin Experience

Just for those of you curious about Ms. Palin’s education and experience:

  • In 1982, Palin enrolled at Hawaii Pacific College. She left after one semester and transferred in 1983 to North Idaho College.
  • Palin transferred from NIC to the University of Idaho.
  • She also attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska for one term. It was during this time that Palin won the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant and finished as second runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant where she won a college scholarship and the “Miss Congeniality” award.
  • She returned to the University of Idaho where she completed her bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism in 1987

After graduation, in 1988, she worked as a sports reporter for KTUU-TV in Anchorage. She also served as a sports reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.

At age 28 (1992) she won a seat as a council woman on the Wasilla city council and served until 1996.

In 1996, she was elected as Mayor of Wasilla (a city of 6,300 at the conclusion of her second term as mayor). Upon taking office, Palin eliminated the position of museum director and asked for updated resumes and resignation letters from top officials, including the police chief, public works director, finance director and librarian. She also hired a paid city administrator and reduced her own salary from $68,000 to $64,000.

During her second term as mayor, she was successful in increasing taxes to fund a city sports complex, spent $5.5 million for street projects, and $3 million for water improvement projects — and grew the city’s long-term debt from an approximate $1 million to about $25 million. Term limits prevented Palin from running for a third term as mayor in 2002.

In 2002 she ran for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Alaska and lost. She was appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission where she served as chair beginning in 2003. Palin resigned in January 2004, protesting what she called the “lack of ethics” of fellow Republican members on the Commission.

In 2006, Palin ran against and defeated incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Her running mate was State Senator Sean Parnell. She won the Governor’s seat in November, defeating former governor Tony Knowles 48.3% to 40.9%. Palin became Alaska’s first female governor at age 42 — the youngest governor in Alaskan history.

As Governor, Palin:

  • Pushed for and signed into law a bipartisan ethics reform bill, calling it a “first step” in cleaning up Alaska politics
  • Promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska
  • Put forward an Alaska Gasline Inducement Act to encourage building a natural gas pipeline from the state’s North Slope
  • Signed a bill awarding TransCanada Pipelines $500 million in seed money and a license to build and operate a $26 billion pipeline to transport gas from the North Slope to the Lower 48 states
  • Traveled, for the first time outside of North America, to Kuwait where she visited the Khabari Alawazem Crossing at the Kuwait-Iraq border and met with members of the Alaska National Guard
  • Pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and blurred the line between government and personal grievance
  • Signed a $6.6 billion operating budget into law while at the same time, reduced the construction budget by $237 million (representing 300 local projects)
  • Followed through on a campaign promise to sell a jet purchased by the previous administration for $2.7 million in 2005 against the wishes of the legislature. In August 2007, the jet was listed on eBay, but the sale fell through, and the plane was later sold for $2.1 million through a private brokerage firm.
  • Dismissed the Public Safety Commissioner citing performance-related issues, such as not being “a team player on budgeting issues. The PSC said he had resisted pressure from the Governor, her husband, and her staff to fire Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten, who was involved in a bitter child custody battle with Palin’s sister that included an alleged death threat against Palin’s father.
  • First supported and then criticized a proposed bridge connecting Ketchikan to Ketchikan International Airport and Gravina Island (population 50); and Knik Arm Bridge, a proposed bridge crossing Knik Arm to allow development of Anchorage. In 2006, she ran for governor on a “build-the-bridge” platform, attacking “spinmeisters” for insulting local residents by calling them “nowhere” and urging speed “while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.” Eight months after becoming Governor and a month after the bridge received sharp criticism from John McCain, Palin directed Alaskan officials to look for fiscally responsible alternatives rather than expending state resources to build the bridge or using the transportation funds Congress gave Alaska in place of the original bridge earmark. Alaska will not return any of the $442 million to the federal government and is spending a portion of the funding, $25 million, on a Gravina Island road to the place where the bridge would have gone, expressly so that none of the money will have to be returned.

And that is the extent of Ms. Palin’s career to date.

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Burn After Reading

Spoiler Alert:  This post has nothing to do with the Coen movie starring George Clooney and an all-star ensemble cast (although I plan to see that very movie sometime this weekend and will post a review following said viewing).

This post is about Mission Impossible, the TV series not the Tom Cruise movie series. Can you recall the theme song?

As a kid in the early ’70s, Peter Graves was the epitome of cool thanks to his stunts and acting prowess on Mission Impossible.  The series ran from 1966 – 1973 and captured that young male demographic with a frenzy, including me. There were many days when I would walk to elementary school humming that theme song. And who didn’t want to be Jim at recess.

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will no doubt put you in perilous danger. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” And that tiny little reel-to-reel recorder always smoked and disintegrated in to molten plastic. What great special effects!

In short, Mission Impossible gave the phrase “burn after reading” its meaning. And since I’m a bit of a pyro nut, burning/self-destruction of any inanimate object seems like a good idea. It definitely sends warm fuzzies through my bones.

Now excuse me while I lull myself to sleep humming that theme song.

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Known best for her a song titled, “Amnesia,” MoZella’s tunes continue to grab my interest.  This one called, “Can’t Stop,” has been on autoreplay in my car for the past week. It’s not the greatest video, but you’ll get the idea.

“Can’t Stop” Lyrics

Speak to me, read my mind
Fill your mouth, with flesh and wine

And I’ll be yours, just give me time
Give me time…

Cause you have everything I could ever want
You have everything I could ever want
You speak to my soul like you’ve known it before
And I just can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself
I can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself, now…

I’m losing sleep, over you
And I don’t know what, I’ve gotten myself into
You just have something that I need
I can’t put my finger on it
You can’t put yours on me

You have everything I could ever want
You have everything I could ever want
You speak to my soul like you’ve known it before
And I just can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself
I can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself, now…

That you know, I can’t get enough
I gotta have all your love

You have everything I could ever want
You have everything I could ever want
You speak to my soul like you’ve known it before
And I just can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself
I can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself
I won’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself
I can’t stop
Lord I can’t stop, myself, now…

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Just had to post this excerpt from an article published in today’s Anchorage Daily News on Republican veep candidate Sarah Palin and her philosophies as one-time mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. You can read the whole story here.

Speaking to a teleconference audience of reporters around the nation, former (Alaska) Gov. Tony Knowles and current Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein — both Democrats — accused Palin of misleading the public in her new role as the vice presidential running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While some of their complaints have already been aired, Knowles broke new ground while answering a reporter’s question on whether Wasilla forced rape victims to pay for their own forensic tests when Palin was mayor.

True, Knowles said.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill — signed into law by Knowles — that banned the practice statewide.

“There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla,” Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla’s newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

“(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests,” the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

“In the past we’ve charged the cost of exams to the victims’ insurance company when possible,” Fannon told the newspaper. “I just don’t want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer.”

An effort to reach Fannon by phone Wednesday was not successful.

Knowles and Weinstein also went after the Republican ticket on several statements now airing in campaign ads around the nation, including Palin’s claim that she opposed federal money for the “bridge to nowhere.”

The governor has refused to acknowledge her explicit support for the $230 million Gravina Island Access Project in her effort to sound more like an anti-earmark reformer to a national audience, Weinstein said.

And she still supports spending $400 million to $600 million on “the other Bridge to Nowhere,” the Knik Arm Crossing, which would provide residents in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla faster access to Anchorage, Knowles added.

“That project is moving right ahead,” said Knowles, who served as governor of Alaska from 1994 to 2002. “The money for that project was not diverted anywhere else. … So (for her) to say she said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks….’ I would say she said, ‘Thanks!'”

A phone call to Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the Alaska office of the McCain-Palin campaign, was not returned Wednesday.

‘Nuff said.

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Lesson on Loving

Not long ago, a friend asked if I truly knew what love felt like.  Of course I do, I blurted. I have children – two beautiful children who I love with all of me and who I would do anything to please. It’s this unconditional love that so many of my generation seem to be incapable of when it comes to relationships of our own because most of us didn’t receive it in a meaningful way from our parents.

Oh sure, Moms and Dads, you loved us. You loved us when it was convenient…when we made you proud. You loved us when we played the perfect tune at the piano recital on those warm summer Sunday afternoons – when all the parents clapped and cooed and commented how much talent they thought we had. You loved us when all we wanted to do was ride in the van with you to work early each day throughout summer vacations and every Saturday so we could sit and stare at you in awe as you performed your job. So we could sweep the shop floor and enjoy an Orange Crush from the pop cooler when you finally locked up for the day. You loved us in your own way. But you missed loving our imperfections.

And now, as parents ourselves, we try to be better than you when it comes to loving our kids for who they are – down to their very last imperfection, which, when you examine it closely is one atom of one cell and barely exists at all. And it’s beautiful because it’s part of us. They’re our daughters and sons and we love them like nothing else.

And while we have this learned ability to love our children, we still hiccup when it comes to our own loving relationships with our girlfriends and spouses. There are two ends of the continuum we find ourselves attempting to balance in our own romantic lives. The first is the overcompensation in which we love completely and fully. The second is the skeptical side that tells us no matter what we do we aren’t worthy – thanks to years of trying to please and never getting the approval.

Finding the proper fulcrum, that balance where loving and being loved results in bliss is reserved for only the handful who strive hard and make the effort…who seek it and find someone who is also seeking (and willing) to risk falling down, getting up and trying again.

It’s one of those imperfections you may not have loved so much Mom and Dad – our awkwardness, our stumbles, our stutters – but it’s one we’re willing to employ so we can love our lives and ourselves and someone else more completely.

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