Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stephen Colbert--The Sound of One Hand Slapping

Stephen Colbert
Originally uploaded by lovablepeople.

Mention a White House Correspondents Association dinner and even my eyes start to glaze over, but Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report made this year's event memorable. Colbert's typical act, for those who do not know him, consists of him reporting news as an angry Fox-style pundit who ostensibly supports the president and hates the mainstream media.

The uniqueness of Colbert's comedy is that he pokes fun at the administration's fiction presented as truth by presenting truth in the guise of fiction. Like all of the work coming from The Daily Show's stable of comedians, his is a rarely broken facade of feigned sincerity--an increasingly noticeable quality and likely survival tactic of actual news correspondents. The subtelty may have been lost on the crowd in front of him.

Crooks and Liars has the video. Click here to see it. It is hilarious and maybe a little too close to the truth for some of those in the room. I am not surprised that the current mainstream press didn't report on it the following day.

Some people have remarked that Colbert's act failed because there were few laughs heard. Actually there were many laughs, millions of them, but they weren't in that room. They were in the living rooms of America where many people were watching and wincing as Colbert passive-aggressively got things off his chest. He said things to the president and the media that many citizens might fantasize about saying, and he did it while the president sat five seats away. Outside of the late Coretta Scott King's funeral, I cannot remember when one person had such unfettered access to criticize the president on national television while the president was in the room!

Even I was twitching. Though he was sharp-witted and funny, Colbert's speech wasn't really for entertainment purposes. It was a pointed confrontation of the enormous failures of this administration and the media. What I couldn't believe was that Colbert had the nerve to look the president in the eye even as he raked him over the coals. I'm actually a little worried about Stephen's safety.

So don't plan on hearing much about Colbert's performance from the mainstream media. But make no mistake, bloggers like Amato at C and L were watching C-SPAN when it aired. As a result you can count on it entering the public consciousness through blog channels within a week if not sooner.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mike's New Blog--I Call him Preacher Man

If there was ever anyone who needed a blog it is our pastor Mike. The man is loving, smart, and creative, a combination I always admire. And he is a great friend. If you want to see how the church can be relevant in times likes ours, you owe it to yourself to check him out:

Click here to pay him a visit.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

AAM fun--Honee and Kris

Honee and Kris
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
You may remember that last year's American Association of Museums conference was in Indianapolis. We hosted a gathering of museum educators (who almost always happen to be foodies, too) at our house. We had everyone send me a copy of their favorite recipes. I shopped for the ingredients and then everyone came over and cooked them up for a spectacular dinner. We had a blast.

This year at the conference, which is in Boston (where I'm typing this) my friend Peggy hosted the same kind of event at her house. The results were just as great and fun. This may be a tradition in the making.

Here Honee Hess (Worcester Art Museum) and Kris Wetterlund (indepenent museum consultant from Minneapolis) are making their dishes. Honee's is her mother's oven barbecued shrimp and Kris is whipping up wild rice croquettes with a rhubarb chutney.

The other dishes served? A great guacamole, roasted lemons with chicken and capers, a fresh potato salad, farfalle pasta with olive oil, brie cheese, pine nuts, and fresh tomatoes, and a fresh fruit crisp with pear sorbet for dessert.

We had so much fun!

AAM fun--Beth, Honee, Peggy, and Ray

Beth, Honee, Peggy, and Ray
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
Beth Schneider (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and Honee dip the French bread in the butter barbeque shrimp sauce. By the time the shrimp made it to the table there was no sauce left, but we all enjoyed it while it lasted.

Peggy Burchenal (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Art) in the striped shirt and her husband Dan hosted the event at their house. SHE'S the one who did the work of buying everyone's groceries and keeping the kitchen clean.

She also didn't get mad when I broke one of her nice serving platters from Sorento while washing it. Can I blame my clumsiness on the pounds of butter we used in these recipes? Probably not.

Ray Williams (Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem) is behind Peggy. He made this incredibly fresh and tangy potato salad. It had some of the taste of a German potato salad, but none of the heaviness. Very springy. I was fascinated by it.

AAM fun--Vas, Scott, and Beth

Vas, Scott, and Beth
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
Vas Prabhu (Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem), Scott Sayre (Minneapolis-based fellow independent museum consultant and husband of Kris), and Beth didn't really cook, but they were very helpful in the moral support department.

Actually, Scott did help with prepping the wild rice croquettes. And Beth and Vas kept the wine poured. I think Beth might have helped Gail prep for her roasted lemon chicken with capers. Beth will correct me if this is not true. She works over time to keep me in line.

Wednesday Weigh Down-The Jim and Katy Show Continues

Okay, my sister and I are lame ducks. But dad continues to lose, a 1/2 pound this week. Mom gained a tiny bit, but she lost a 4 1/2 pounds last week so that is probably healthy.

My last blog posts will show you why I'm not losing at the moment. But I'm proud of my folks for doing it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Race for the Cure--Clarissa's Crew

Clarissa's Broadway Crew
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
A group from Broadway United Methodist Church took part in Indianapolis's Race for the Cure on Saturday. We walked for Clarissa Parks who passed away last month after a brave battle with cancer.

Clarissa was an amazing woman. She did everything and knew everybody not only at Broadway but throughout Indianapolis. At her funeral there were clerks from the Kroger where she shopped who stood up to speak about how wonderful she was.

Her body struggled with cancer for years, but she never complained. In fact, she didn't just come to church up to the end she actively kept up her duties as head usher and had a good time bossing the more rowdy of us around.

Most of Clarissa's crew walked the "race." Dave (in the middle with dark glasses), a frequent poster here at Growing Sense ran the course--twice! He's like a jack rabbit.

The rest of the Crew, from left to right are Dave F., Pastor Rachel, me, Nancy, Anne D., Carol, and Ann C.
(Thanks Nancy for the picture.)

Here is a picture from the race. Someone said there were 40,000 people there. It was pretty amazing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Heart Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Russ Feingold
Originally uploaded by sam12284.
Russ Feingold (D-WI) rules!

Finally, a pol who isn't afraid to speak openly and unapologetically about his values. Most GLBT people understand politicians' need for "cover" as they work to change the tide of discrimination against gay families. But it gets tiresome listening to senators hem and haw around the truth and the needs of our families. That's why it's so nice to hear a senator essentially say, "Yes I support protection for all families, why don't you?"

From the AP via The Duluth News Tribune. Enjoy!

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Sen. Russ Feingold said Tuesday he supports giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, becoming the fourth U.S. senator to take that position, according to a gay-rights advocacy group.

Feingold, D-Wis., issued a statement saying he was asked about his views on the subject at a listening session with constituents Sunday night in Kenosha, Wis.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, he said he decided to express his support for gay marriage at the session in response to what he called a "mean-spirited" Wisconsin constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions, which will appear on the state ballot in November.

"I will be voting against the harsh amendment that's been proposed in Wisconsin, and I thought it was an appropriate occasion to indicate my feeling that if two people care enough about each other to get married, that it probably is a positive thing for society," he said.

"Gay and lesbian people in our country are fighting a mean-spirited movement to harm them and to discriminate against them," he added. "I stand with them against that movement, and I'm proud to stand with them."...

Feingold said presidential politics had nothing to do with his position on gay rights.

"I recognize that it will have some national implications as well, but what caused me to do it at this time had to do with the Wisconsin proposal that I oppose," he said....

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, praised Feingold.

"This kind of statement is something we have been yearning for - at long last we have a fair-minded progressive leader taking an ethical and moral stance," Foreman said. "No hair splitting, no waffling, no equivocating."...

Feingold said he believes the country will one day support gay marriage, even in the most conservative states.

"It may take some time, but I think in the end the American people will see this as a human right that no one should interfere with," he said.

Why can't this man be our president? I don't think he's interested in running, but a boy can dream can't he?

Wednesday Weigh Down-The Jim and Katy Show

Mom and dad are the biggest losers so far. Mom lost 4.5 pounds this week and dad lost 1.5! Considering that this was Easter week that is pretty impressive. I don't know how much they've lost total, but I think it is a lot.

The rest of us are either in denial or haven't made it to a scale lately (my excuse). Though I feel sure I haven't lost much. Dad, being the nurturing, supportive kind made sure to note when we talked last that he never sees my progress on the blog. Long story short, Dad: your biggest competition is cooking for you!

If this keeps up, we'll be paying mom or dad through the nose in about a month or two! Way to go you two!

Monday, April 17, 2006

For Mike-Happy Easter

As Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother of James, and Salome entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you."

So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Happy Easter
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
Pastor Mike talked in his sermon yesterday about how this part of the Easter story never shows up on Easter cards. So I made one for him.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Daffodils and Grape Hyacinth

Daffodils and Grape Hyacinth
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
These are my new favorite Daffodils. They are a creamy white double flower with lime green tips. I planted them three years ago, but this is the first year they've bloomed.

In fact, last fall I ripped all of them (I thought) out of the ground in frustration because they would put on buds and then die.

The fact that a bunch came back this year and DID bloom tells me I probably planted them too close together in the first place. Whatever, they were worth the wait.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

David, Wade, and baby Talulah

David, Wade, and Talulah
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.
David and Wade sit with us in the "back 40" at Broadway--there are about 40 of us who sit in the back of the church on the right side--I fancy us to be the resident rebels and fun crowd, but we're all pretty tame. Dave and Wade's daughter Talulah is the newest member of the Back 40.

She is fitting in very well and on this Sunday I voted her "best dressed." Check out her very cute handbag. I asked David what a 2 month old carries in her purse. He opened it and there was a little tiny lip gloss.

We LOVE having Talulah in our section. She gets passed around a lot during the service, but she doesn't seem to mind. She usually is either asleep or moving her mouth like she is one of the Peanuts characters looo-ing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Today was Palm Sunday and she really enjoyed all of the palm branches people waved over her.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

America's Reverse Immigration Problem

I’m done with Indiana. I got a letter from Indiana Senator Michael Young this week in response to a note I’d sent that asked him not to support Senate Joint Resolution 7, the “marriage amendment.”

He wrote back that there was no common ground on this issue. He said Indiana is beautiful and full of possibility. He would be sorry if we felt like we needed to leave the state, but he wished us well if we did. Polite, probably sincere, dismissive.

I wrote him back to say that I thought our mutual interest in making sure that minority families were not disadvantaged was surely common ground. But as I put the letter in the mail something hit me.

The most I could realistically hope for from Senator Young, most Americans, and even a few of my own friends and extended family, is that they not write discrimination into our country's and states’ constitutions.

That’s right. I’m not fighting for my family’s rights. Sadly, I’m fighting this hard just to slow the progressive creep of government-sanctioned discrimination. That makes about as much sense as an abused wife staying with her husband because there’s a chance he might not beat her as hard tomorrow. Not to go all barefoot Arkansas, but when it comes to my family, I do not play.

Within minutes my outlook changed. Yes, it was a sad revelation and surprisingly slow in coming, but it was still important. I will never set the bar that low again. John and I contribute positively to our country. We pay our taxes. We keep our property up and support our neighborhood and church. We volunteer in our community and are constantly looking for ways to create positive change in our city. This state and this country can’t seem to figure out a way to say, “This family is good and we should figure out a way to protect it like we do others so they can continue doing more.” Well, that is only my family's problem if we let it be.

Many people came to our country to escape persecution and to pursue the currently out of fashion ideal of liberty. Sad to say it may soon be time for John and I to do the same.

Happily, there are countries out there with welcome mats waiting for us. I'm reading Richard Florida's, The Flight of the Creative Class and according to him these countries are scratching their heads wondering what is taking us so long. They value our education, our ingenuity, and who we are as people. Unlike the U.S., they realize that people with our values and resources have a lot to offer their communities. So they invite us.

Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Dublin (Ireland is set to pass civil union laws), London, and small towns in New Zealand. Countries like Spain, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and even South Africa (yes, South Africa is fast-tracking marriage rights for us). These are not places that “tolerate” us. They value us!

Should I pay tax dollars to support a government and a country that is working overtime to keep a minority of families blowing in the wind? I love the U. S., but I’m not about to sit by and have my family treated as second-class citizens because some people get squirmy about whom I love. I refuse to live in a neighborhood with people who kindly smile while simultaneously hoping John and I split so we can both be “cured” of our homosexuality. Nope, I’m done. I’ll fight our state’s and country’s marriage amendments as hard as I can while we are here. But if the jury comes back with the wrong answer, we are gone.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Weigh Down Wednesday--All's Quiet on the Fat Front

Hey all. Haven't heard from any of the Weigh Downers. I haven't weighed yet (I use the scaele at the gym or at WW and I've been to neither this week). But I can tell you that I'm about 4 Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs heavier this week. YUM! Oh, I forgot. I'm not supposed to be happy about them.

Anyway, I may have an Easter stall out. I hope my peeps are faring better. Since this post is so short, I'm going to post again soon on some interesting news coming out of Ireland.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Say What!? Tom Delay Exterminates Himself

TIME broke the story. Here is the Washington Post version from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), a primary architect of the Republican majority who became one of the most powerful and feared leaders in Washington, told House allies last night that he will give up his seat rather than face a reelection fight that appears increasingly unwinnable.

The decision came three days after Tony C. Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges, telling federal prosecutors of a criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices. Rudy's plea agreement did not implicate DeLay in any illegal activities, but by placing the influence-buying efforts of disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff directly in DeLay's operation, the former aide may have made an already difficult reelection bid all but out of reach.

Okay, first of all, there aren't many diehard politicians (and Delay certainly is that) who would resign a seat they hold until November just to drop out of a politcal race. We'll be hearing more about this I think.

Here's the good news for the religious right, from Time:

DeLay, a Baptist born in the border city of Laredo, said he "spent a lot of time" praying about his decision and that his personal relationship with Jesus drives his day-to-day actions. "My faith is who I am," he said. When DeLay was booked on the Texas charges, he wore his Congressional I.D. pin and flashed a broad smile designed to thwart Democrats who had hoped to make wide use of an image of a glowering DeLay. "I said a little prayer before I actually did the fingerprint thing, and the picture," he said. "My prayer was basically: 'Let people see Christ through me. And let me smile.' Now, when they took the shot, from my side, I thought it was fakiest smile I'd ever given. But through the camera, it was glowing. I mean, it had the right impact. Poor old left couldn't use it at all."

Evidently Jesus isn't just the Great Physician, he's also the Fabulous Cosmetic Dentist. I can see His sign, "Making fakey smiles look real for centuries."

Recently, he said, he has been hearing from many people who want his help on projects outside Congress. He said his decision was cemented by the thunderous response at a conference in Washington last Wednesday decrying the "War on Christianity."

If there is a war on Christianity, it seems to me that cynical politicians like Delay are the ones attacking it. At least he won't be able to do it from a seat in Congress.

Update: So Delay has been packing the House with his brand of Republicans (yes, I do realize not all Republicans are like him), and this is the outcome. I wonder if that "house built on sinking sand" analogy will apply here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Indiana "Embraces" Daylight Savings Times

When I first moved to Indiana I was shocked to realize that the state had decided years ago just to ignore Daylight Savings Time. It was so hard to remember what time it was in other states because even though we didn't change our clocks back and forth twice a year EVERYONE ELSE IN THE U.S. DID! (Except for Arizona I think.)

Well, love 'em or hate 'em, governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana House and Senate finally booted Indiana into the 19th century by forcing the state to observe DST and to commit to being in the Eastern Time Zone. I think there are some counties that are exceptions, but I can't be bothered to learn which ones they are.

I didn't realize what the hubub was about until this weekend. I just thought the whole discussion was so ridiculous I refused to follow it. Evidently,in the spring, summer and fall, the farmers (rural folk) want earlier light to work by and the industrialists (city folk) want later light and to be on a time schedule that doesn't confuse their customers in other states. So I guess this was a choice between being a farm state or an industry state.

Whatever. We all set our clocks up an hour and nobody fell off the edge of the Earth.