Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Wishes from Seattle

Robert Reich summed up good wishes for the coming year when he said: "I wish you not just a prosperous new year; on that score, 2009 may be something of a bummer. No, I wish you and your kids and grandkids, and Ella, a good and peaceful and generous new year". As we look forward to 2009, let us dream of increased peace in Iraq, common sense and a sense of a common humanity in Israel and its Palestinian neighbours, a Russia and China that put the lives and concerns of their peoples before their political machinations, a Zimbabwe free of the tyranny of Mugabe, a Darfur free of genocide, a Tibet free from China, an Afghanistan free from the Taliban: may all these hopes not be a delusion and pipe dream.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tumultuous Nature & The After Holiday Malaise

The weather in Seattle and Chicago cannot seem to make up its mind as to season or regional climate zone. After unprecedented snow, ice, thunder, and rain in Seattle, there are now floods and avalanches! Chicago has had record snow in December, but it came, melted, came some more, and then there was freezing rain making the streets like ice rinks, and now thunder, lightning, torrential rain, massive flooding washing away all the above i n 58 degree December...only to face freezing temperatures in the next few days and tornado watches! Shoppers weren't tempted by record price slashing...blame it on the weather!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Story for the Season...may we all do the same

An op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Times by Ted Gup and reprinted in Wednesday's Seattle P-I tells a wonderful story about a very thoughtful, generous example to us all. It does not take much to be of help or service to our fellow humans in need. Extending a hand, giving a hug, sharing some treasure......why be emotionally, financially, or philosophically parsimonious.
One option: give to the Seattle P-I Reader's Care Fund.

Life in the Seattle Lane this holiday week (from the Seattle P-I photo gallery):

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Speak Out!

So the Pope declares humanity's existence is imperiled because 10% of humans have a different sexual orientation to the other 90%. Oh please! Thank goodness there are those speaking out against this idiocy.

Today, Desmond Tutu excoriated South Africa's position in the UN vis-a-vis Mugabe and said that South Africa has lost the moral high ground by not condemning the disgraceful behaviour of Mugabe and his supporters. Earlier, Tutu had said that Mugabe should be removed, by force if necessary.

Monday, December 22, 2008

(Infra-) Structural Issues

Here are some of the frustrations endured by the residents of Seattle, compounding our weather caused problems. 1) There are no obvious criteria for which roads get plowed and sanded first, as even arterials are still now, 5 days later, buried under mounds of slush, ice, snow, and soon to be more snow 2) Our transit gurus have not yet figured out that articulated and electric buses do not fare well in heavy snow conditions 3) Instead of adding MORE buses to help citizens get around, they pull buses off routes that had snow problems, but did not add additional service on the snow routes (see this article in The Stranger) 4) The transit website is more than useless in its information on which buses are running at all, let alone late 5) Who knew that there was a strike at a de-icing plant last month that caused three airlines to cancel flights for lack of enough de-icer; and now de-ice tankers are stuck on the other side of the mountain and on rails with ice-stuck switches 6)Sea-Tac airport needs some sort of concierge service to help stranded passengers not only to assist them in getting food and shelter (especially families with small children), but also to help passengers get themselves is not good enough just to let them flounder and overwhelm already stressed out airline personnel 7) And let us finally get that damn coastal radar system so that weather experts can actually see these systems on their final approach!

And to think I could have been here instead!:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow is tiresome when you have other things to do....

Check out these photos from the Seattle P-I. For people trying to leave town, attend Nutcracker performances, take holiday walks with family members who live across town, frustration is building. For explanations of this snow phenomenon, be sure to check out Cliff Mass' blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Views of Beautiful Buildings in Seattle

Betty Gimarelli designs beautiful ornaments of historic sites and scenes in Seattle and Portland. Her 2008 ornament for Seattle is the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square. Check out the collectors box to see all her past designs. Her Seattle ornaments for 2006 and 2007 are also sold as fundraisers for the Dream Project Scholarships at the University of Washington...beautiful family keepsakes for a great cause.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weather Info for the Pacific Northwest

The best source for weather information around these parts is from Cliff Mass, atmospheric sciences professor at the University of Washington. He has a blog which he updates regularly. So be sure to check it out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowthunder, Snowed In

Seattle and its environs are enduring a series of storms, beginning earlier in the week and expected to continue for days! And the snowthunder and lightning early this morning was amazing! We have had about six inches of snow this morning on Beacon Hill and Snoqualmie Pass has had over 26 inches. Here is a sample of photos taken by Meryl Schenker and other readers of the Seattle P-I.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally, the courage to stand up

The Congress Party of the People (COPE) has finally challenged the totalitarian tendencies of the evolved (or is it devolved) ANC. The ANC has been living off its anti-Apartheid glory days. It has become a corrupt, crony-supporting, self-interested group of people who have lost their right to lead a people in dire need of a reformed government who will create opportunities for genuine improvement. See the article in today's NYT.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Exciting Visions From Artists Largely Unseen

The painting below is Self Portrait, 1941, by Frederick C. Flemister. A story on NPR about Art Basel in Miami gave some great information about African-American artists, collected for many years by the black community but not well represented in galleries.

The painting on the right is called Harlem, 1934, by Edward Burra. This piece is included in a book entitled The History of British Art Edited by David Bindman, reviewed in the Weekend FT by Jackie Wullschlager. The book is in three volumes and sounds like it will caste British art in a new, interesting light.

The Hmmmm Factor

A repeat interview on KUOW with Donald Byrd, artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theatre, made me pause. Byrd arrived at Spectrum at the end of 2002, to mixed feelings and views. There are still many who are unable/unwilling to see past the impression that he does not care for the welfare/health of his dancers inorder that he may implement his vision. Barring the veracity of this information, his goals and ideals for what dance can accomplish are very interesting. In talking about his work with Israeli and Palestinian choreographers, he was musing on how dance can get beyond words when dealing with larger issues such as race and injustice, because dance sucks you into the moment/movement and allows you to feel before you can think and react viscerally.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Items in the local paper of interest to me...

You only find stuff like this if you read the local paper of whichever place you are currently visiting,living,working. And you just cannot make up this stuff. I only hope Rahm Emmanuel is not knee-deep in muck and compromising Obama's reputation. The Chicago Tribune is just relishing, with glee, Blagojevich's undoing because he (Blago) wanted to fire the Trib's editorial staff for writing pieces critical of him! Also in today's Chicago Tribune, a story on the first Jewish President (remember the first black president?). And a nice piece in the real estate section on Hyde Park.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let Us All Salute These Men

A debt of honour no one can deny, let us hope that all these brave heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, can attend this most significant of inaugurations.

Delicious Politics

It is raining cats and dogs in Chicago and people are wringing their hands with glee as they watch the greedy powerful come under scrutiny. Chicago may tout itself as a wunderkind of action and change, but the only spots this chameleon of a city has not changed are those of corruption, graft, greed, and the desire for more. Up and down the social and political scale "everyone" is either on the take or knows someone who is. It is Shakespearean in proportion and complexity. As an outsider, I love it! So many drama kings and queens. The peanut gallery feeling part of the action: this stuff is better than fiction, or perhaps, will mke great fiction

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Snow Leopard Trust

The enterprise discussed below, Kobo H, also supports the Snow Leopard Trust through Snow Leopard Enterprises. What a wonderful effort to encourage economic development in the regions where snow leopards are endangered through poaching. By purchasing from artists in Seattle and elsewhere, you can also support artists and artisans and snow leopards in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.

Crumbling From Within

There has been much discussion over the last several years about the age and crumbling of our infrastructure: bridges falling apart, sewer systems and water delivery systems needing replacement, etc. The cost of maintenance, repair, and rebuild is mind boggling, partly due to the fact that most of these systems are underground. Obama reviewed this problem during his Saturday radio address and offered a plan on the scale FDR's WPA as a source of work and investment for America. Check it out on You Tube. The subject was also a feature on Weekend America: the reporter ventured into the storm drains of Columbia, Missouri.
Photo by J.Tarr.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Creative Entrepreneurs

Some beautiful items are to be found at the on-line shopping marketplace Etsy. Two stores featured here are Blythe By Design and Kobo H. Hiromi is the creator of felted bowls and crocheted hats. Heather makes beaded rings, necklaces, and fabulous prints and cards of photographs of her travels in Egypt.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai and travel

Peter Greenberg (is the travel editor for NBC's Today Show and a contributing editor for Men's Health and Best Life magazine. He's also the travel editor–at–large for AARP and the host of national weekly radio show. His books include "Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective," "The Traveler's Diet," and "The Complete Travel Detective Bible," among others. His newest book is "Don't Go There: The Travel Detective's Essential Guide to the Must–Miss Places of the World.") was a guest on KUOW's Weekday on 1 December 2008. He said he would travel to Mumbai tomorrow if he were not otherwise booked. Read Suketu Mehta's Maximum City:Bombay Lost and Found and his op-ed piece in the NYT on 28 November 2008.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zimbabwe.....people are dying.......where is the outrage

The politicians have failed the people of Zimbabwe. The NGO's are hamstrung. Apart from blogging and venting, what is to be done. Mugabe has to go. South Africa must intervene. Mbeki should be ashamed for defending Mugabe because he was a freedom fighter before he became a dictator and strongman. Something must be done.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Seattle Sampling

Those of you lucky enough to live in Seattle are encouraged to support your local artists by shopping at the Seattle Sampling event 5-7 December. The event takes place in 12 studios around the city. Each studio hosts several artists. These are people who create beauty in our lives through sharing their talents. Visit with them; ooh & aah; purchase a gift locally made for a friend & loved one.