Same job, different uniform.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Difference

We are shut up in this world as in a beleaguered camp. To maintain our courage, the liberal preacher offers us exhortation. Make the best of the situation, he says, look on the bright side of life. But unfortunately, such exhortation cannot change the facts. In particular it cannot remove the dreadful fact of sin. Very different is the message of the Christian evangelist. He offers not reflection on the old but tidings of something new, not exhortation but a gospel . . . news of the atoning death of Christ.

- J. Gresham Machen

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

"Don't you remember the yelling, the shooting? 'Shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out...'"

Julie Neidlinger is participating in Blogathon 2006.

It's 11:44 PM her time and she presses on. More than halfway there.

This year instead of telling new Bob stories, she's writing a Western. Her photographs are black and white, the tiny figures swathed in shadows.

Impressive stuff. If she gives me permission, I'll park a Dove photo on this post and link it to the blog.

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Boise, a Mining Town?

Boise has attracted its fair share of national press, and some of it leaves us more than a little amused at the outdated assumptions about the city and its vibe.

Read this otherwise excellent travel article about Boise to understand what I'm talking about.

The New York Times writer calls Boise a city "once ruled by the bait-and-bullet crowd" and a "mining and farming town at heart."

It's been a long time since Boise was ruled by the so-called bait and bullet crowd, (though we are still proud of our appreciation of and access to the outdoors), and even longer since it was a mining town.

In fact, when exactly was it a mining town? During the Gold Rush of the 1860's?

True, the City is still bounded by farm or ranch land on every side--though both are disappearing in a sea of starter homes; we know we're a short drive from "the country." But calling it a "mining and farming town at heart" betrays a lack of knowledge about the region.

The writer also refers to Boise's "rejuvenated downtown and a budding arts community."

Downtown Boise has been resurrected, but for a long time. And the arts community is far from budding; thriving would be a more fitting choice.

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which was highlighted in the July 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal, just turned 30.

The Boise Art Museum has occupied its space on Julia Davis Drive and Capitol Boulevard for almost two decades. Its founding association is much, much older. The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is 22 years old.

Even "newer" arts organizations are staking their claim and consistently offering powerful and meaningful performances. The New Heritage Theatre Company is an 8 year-old local professional theatre with a resident repertory company and a theatrical training conservatory(yes, you read that correctly) that boasts Sir Anthony Hopkins as its honorary patron.

Boise Contemporary Theater, about the same age, is producing unforgettable contemporary works at its permanent location on Fulton Street.

The list goes on.

We're thrilled the Times writer was here to discover for himself what a rare jewel of a city Boise, Idaho is--and have some fun while he was at it.

But he is advised to double-check his cliches.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

The Dead will rise

Let's face it: HBO is nuts.

And no one knows it like Ian McShane, who is finding plenty of work, including a role in Woody Allen's latest, Scoop.

He was "slightly devastated" by HBO's dump of one of television's rare jewels, Deadwood. "I wasn't finished with Al," McShane says. "I don't think David was finished."

We weren't finished either.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Sound of Silence

The Washington Post wonders why more liberal bloggers aren't writing about Israel and Lebanon.

The article has a fairly comprehensive compilation of lefty bloggers and outsider speculation about why the conflict isn't getting more attention. Some highlights:

"David Adesnik at Oxblog declares:

'Clearly, something else besides complexity is preventing liberal bloggers from writing about Israel. I would suggest that there is a part of the online left which is so viciously anti-Israel that moderates have been intimidated into silence. Let's hope that this kind of viciousness never migrates off line, where it might threaten bipartisan support for Israel.'

Andrew Sullivan is dismissive:

'Are lefties unable to grapple with complex regional wars? Nah. They're just wimping out.'

One liberal voice, The Nation, isn't pulling any punches:

'It makes no sense for Israel to destroy the civil infrastructure of the Palestinians and of Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of its soldiers, or to further weaken the capacity of the governments of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority while at the same trying to hold them accountable for the actions of groups and militias they cannot reasonably control. This collective punishment of the Palestinian and Lebanese people is not only inhumane and should be condemned but also leads to more radicalization and to more chaos.'"

A quick review of left-leaning Idaho blogs reveals...nothing. They're simply not posting about it. Red State Rebels. F-words. Eye on Boise. Liberal Idaho.

girlfriday is not primarily a political blog and when we do enter the fray, we're roundly chastised by Brett or (rightly) overshadowed by our betters. I am in watch and pray mode.

If you know why liberals aren't blogging about the conflict, I'd like to know.

UPDATE: 43rd State Blues has posted about it. The fact that Israel currently has unilateral support from the most pro Israel, pro unilateralist, pro interventionist Administration in history doesn't hurt. Nice.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Catéchisme de Heidelberg

Quelle est ton unique assurancedans la vie comme dans la mort ?

C’est que, dans la vie comme dans la mort, j’appartiens, corps et âme, non pas à moi-même, mais à Jésus-Christ, mon fidèle Sauveur.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Of Things that I Am Not

My sister, who writes under the pseudonym Lois E. Lane, has a keen eye for musical talent.

She is also a musician so she understands what's happening in a song; or more importantly, she can describe it. I never could.

Highlights from her recent review of Keane's Under the Iron Sea:

What isn't different, however, is the quality of the music. Keane is still at the top of its game with even more intricate and layered sonic elements. As usual, that "otherworldly" sound permeates every song and lingers long after.

Where "Hopes and Dreams" was declarative and reflective, "Under the Iron Sea" is decidedly narrative. It's as much a collection of stories as it is a collection of songs.

An early review of David Gray's Life in Slow Motion is here.

I hope there is more to come. You don't know her, but it's hard to overstate her command of contemporary musical styles, appreciation for powerful song writing and ability to recognize true musical talent.

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Let Them [Read About] Cake!

Next week: girlfriday and co. tackle everyone's favorite subject.


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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Your Brush with Greatness

Is happening now.

No lives were changed. Worlds did not collide. Economies did not improve.

But this post landed girlfriday on the Washington Post's sidebar of the Lady in the Water review.

Maybe Oscar will pay attention.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

girlfriday: at the mic

Friday I got up the nerve to sing Karaoke at the local dive.

It strengthens your resolve when the small crowd is cheering for Toby Keith's worst nightmare. It weakens your resolve when you realize most of the performers are regulars who could shame Etta James.

Oh well. If I wouldn't stand up and sing EmmyLou Harris' Two More Bottles of Wine, the terrorists win.
Score one for the good guys.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Solving Everyday Dilemmas

I must be in copy/paste mode. Am I sorry? I'll think about it.

This little gem was tucked unobtrusively into a lengthy post about a cup.

I read a comment in the Atlanta Constitution "Vent" column by a gal who had gotten fed up with the local fast food joint...never getting her order straight. She solved the problem and her sanity by simply driving my the order board without stopping and taking the next sack that came out the delivery window, paying for it, and going on her merry way. She called it the "potluck" method.

This is analogous to my attempts at throwing a baseball. If I aim for the dugout, maybe I'll hit a home run.

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Dude, seriously, you're supposed to use your fake identity as a super-secret government agent to pick up girls, not to get free gun storage.

I mean... "Special Response Department Anti-Terrorism Unit"? Government agency names are stupid, but not that stupid. If you're going to make up a spy agency name, at least give it a good acronym.

This post at The Stupid Shall Be Punished reminds me of a local story where a wanna-be police officer, who had obtained a uniform, badge and (I think) a radar gun online, was monitoring drivers' speed. At one point he pulled a car over and proceeded to call "headquarters" for "backup."

Yes, he did.

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Are you paying attention, Oscar?

At the center of all this is Giamatti, whose performance demands short-list consideration come award time. He seems to grow with every role and, here, you particularly notice the very expressiveness of his eyes, variously furtive, shy, mysterious, observant, even brooding -- and always haunted.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Go Bush.


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Second Floor Living

It is one thing to know there is a stranger living three feet away from you, separated only by wood, plaster and unfamiliarty.

It is something else to stand at your bathroom sink, open the mirror cabinet and hear that stranger open his.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Blognostic Diagnostic

Our friends at Blognostic have taken a blogging leave of absence for their annual Blognostic get-together.

We're anxiously waiting to learn if:

  • They have found a way to worship Andrew Sullivan without actually violating the Second Commandment.
  • They have stamped out Christianism.
  • They have devised a way to introduce ass-hat into American vernacular.
There are other questions. We are waiting.

UPDATE: In an ironic twist, Dallas Boyd waxes philosophical on the English language.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

girlfriday: at the comedy club

Funny is a complicated thing. It is so much temperament, timing and talent.

Vulgarity is not funny. It is just vulgarity. You have to make it funny. (Repetition does not achieve this.)

Insult is not funny. It must be truthful or self-deprecating or it is merely insult. And anyone can insult.

Originality is not a pre-requisite for funny. You may be unoriginal and hilarious if you have mastered delivery and tempered vulgarity and insult. If you are not funny originality is murder on your audience.

Your person occupying the stage of the comedy club does not a comedian make you.

If you are funny we're relieved you posess the magic. Even if your best set is about midgets.

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Ah, the infinite value of a friend who will tell you without reservation that she loves you!

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

What Does it All Mean?

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Friday, July 14, 2006

"The budget is a moral document."

"I thought the left was opposed to 'imposing morality.' Now it turns out that Sen. Clinton thinks the federal budget is $2.7 trillion of moral imposition."

Dr. Schaff has a really remarkable post on religion and politics in response to Barak Obama's speech on the subject. It's hard to know which paragraph to cut and paste so stop reading this and click here to read that.

I will add this: Some Democrats believe they can win elections by insulting their religious constituents and voters who are politically on the fence. (This is a problem in Idaho, too. Left-wing Idaho blogger Julie Fanselow goes so far to suggest in a May post that "radical fundamentalists appear eager to remake the United States into a theocracy" because she thought Christian radio stations may be trying to secure radio frequencies proximate to those where NPR is traditionally found. Ms. Fanslow might think twice before she suggests that Christian radio stations are managed by radical fundamentalists. After all, she is trying to win a race for a candidate in Idaho.)

Has it occured to them that some Americans are actually religious--the kind of religious that gives to the poor, cares for its neighbor, stands up for justice? Not every religious impulse is the means to achieving a political end. Maybe Obama gets it.


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It's incredible how isolated I am from world events. I know something horrible and not altogether unexpected is unfolding between Israel and Lebanon. I don't fully understand it and only know what I read or hear, which has been limited. But thank God Jessica Simpson was one of the featured stories on Yahoo!

Abba Gav is, naturally, posting on the violence with his trademark candor and passion.

I fully expect the trolls to hop on my comment section now and say "you Israelis get so upset about one Israeli civilian, but where is your condemnation of all the civilians killed on the other side?" Read a few of my posts over the last month and you'll see that I do mourn the other side's civilian deaths...But the party responsible, the side violating the Geneva Conventions for the protection of civilians in wartime, is not Israel.

Those who fight camoflauged as civilians and who fire their missiles at our civilians from their own civilian backyards, shooting at soldiers from the middle of crowds of their own children, and then complain when their target fires back, those are the ones responsible.

Not a side to the story you'll hear on the nightly news.

South Dakota Politics is helpful on the topic as well.

God help them.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

girlfriday: in the hallway

The "ladies" bathroom was occupied, so I used the "men's." Keep in mind the bathrooms are adjacent and identical.

The Shoe Salesman was waiting outside the door when I opened it. "You cheated!" he said, blushing I think.

I laughed. "Women will use the men's, but not the other way around," I retorted as I walked away. He took the bait. He couldn't deny it.

I am justified! But why? WHY?

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

girlfriday: is it getting cold in here?

One of the disadvantages of working in a large office is the thermostat.

Adjusting the thermostat to please 300 people must be difficult. Nestled in the far-corner of the building, my co-worker and I bear the weight of this effort.

You see, the air in the hallway informs the badly-designed AC unit that services our wing of the building. Unfortunately the air in the hallway has been manipulated by the air from nearby doors that lead outside. Since Boise has had temperatures in the triple digits, the AC unit believes it needs to keep running to maintain Baltic Sea-level temperatures.

Everyone in adjacent offices knows this. Their only logical remedy? To close their vents of course.

By the time the air reaches us--air that has been priority-shipped from Antarctica; air so cold my officemate has broken out in hives that she only gets in extreme temperatures--it is rushing through the vents at approximately 1 million cubic feet per unit.

Right now for instance (I am off the clock), my right hand is almost immobile.

Consequently we close our vents too and try to bear the angry whistle of the trapped air overhead. We open our windows to move the cold air outside and bring the warm air inside. We wait until the room heats up, our fingers have thawed out and the humidity is at 100%, and we open the vent again. We'll be closing it in a few minutes.

And so it goes. When winter comes, we open our windows, too.

The heat is unbearable.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Hello Paul, Goodbye Tom

Last night I picked up my sister's copy of PARADE magazine. Paul Giamatti is featured.

She doesn't have a copy of PARADE anymore.

There are a fair amount of male celebrities with swagger, air-brushed good looks and enough of the modern equivalent of Dapper Dan to seal the tarmac at LAX. They are handsome but one-dimensional. Their looks betray this.

We would describe Paul Giamatti's looks as average. (Click here for photos from the shoot.) He has to work harder for recognition, though perhaps not for meaningful roles. Everyone knows someone who looks like Paul Giamatti, which makes him easy to cast and difficult to market.

You knew this.

What you didn't know is that Paul is the son of Bart. The Bart. Former baseball commissioner known for giving Pete Rose the boot.

Already Mr. Giamatti is leagues ahead of his peers in the category of Appeal. It gets better.

"I feel like I've constantly been in a state of crisis since I was about 12," said Giamatti in his interview with PARADE. "I could overthink everything. I mean, I just wrestled with myself about mayonnaise or no mayonnaise over here. It was a split second, but it was a titanic struggle: Do I send it back or not send it back?"

Angst. What other actors legitimately lack, Mr. Giamatti has in spades.

And he just signed on to be in the prequel to Bubba Ho-Tep. He was the only possible improvement Coscarelli could have made upon the original.

Rest in Peace, Tom Cruise.

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All Things Bright

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And Beautiful

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All Creatures Great

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And Small

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

"...there are a lot of sincere and true believers out there, trying to work out their faith with fear and trembling, who are regularly lambasted..."

Julie Neidlinger exposes a brand of Christianity that I do not care for.

Ugh. Blogs can be an ugly place.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry

"You are Hulk. You are a wanderer with amazing strength." Yeah, right.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Fantasy League for the Rest of Us, Part Gazillion

Ms. Lane beat me to the punch.

Emmy nominations have been announced.

"Arrested Development"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"The Office"
"Two And A Half Men"

"Grey’s Anatomy"
"The Sopranos"
"The West Wing"

I think the noms for Best Comedy Series are spot-on, but the drama noms are really lacking. Conscipuously missing are Deadwood and anything else Tex adds. Are they really suggesting that Grey's Anatomy, a prime-time soap opera about a bunch of promiscuous, angst-ridden thirty-something docs (sounds familiar) is better television than the cut-throat foundings of an early American town?

Oh, that's right. More people watch Grey.

At least Conan O'Brien will be hosting again.


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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It is so helpful when pretense is stripped away.

"I'm not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth when there are six billion people who have much poorer lives."

-- Warren Buffett, who is against repealing the estate tax, commenting upon the estimated $44 billion donation of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Boston Globe 6/27/06)

The redistribution of wealth. That is the heart of Communism. Perhaps the Snark can improve upon this.

Via The Foundation Center.


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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Here's to One Hell of a Country

And thus be it ever when free men shall stand
between their loved homes and foul war's desolation.

Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a Nation.

Then conquer we must when our cause it is just
and this be our motto, "In God is our Trust."

And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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