Archive for February, 2008

Hillary’s dirty tricks

Posted by mikedaum on February 25th, 2008

In a really despicable turn, the Clinton campaign has started distributing pictures of Obama wearing native Kenyan garb. He was in Kenya at the time, and his dad’s from there. I guess it makes him look a bit like a terrorist muslim. For myself, I have no problems with somebody looking like a muslim, or even looking like a windswept has-been for that matter.

New York Sleeps: I do not

Posted by mikedaum on February 17th, 2008

We’re in NYC this weekend for the wedding of Elena’s lovely college friend Amy Mushlin.  So far it’s been a nice affair, and a good chance to catch up with the Branford crowd, many of whom we have not seen in a long, long time.  In addition, it’s the first time we have travelled without the kids, who are happy as clams back in Toronto under the watchful eye of our excellent friend Imelda.

After spending our first night in town at the home of friends Mari and Sean, we checked into the Barclay hotel yesterday, where Amy had booked a block of rooms.  Our first encounter with the hotel was lovely, and we marveled at the way service can be elevated to a high art in this country as the bellhop ran circles around the lobby grabbing our bags, getting WiFi access codes from the business center, etc.  The room looked great and we had plenty of room to unpack.

Then we heard the baby in the next room.  Not a screamer, just a steady nagging cry.  And then the parents comforting him.  The door between the rooms was paper-thin and I swear the sound was as if they were right there in the room with us.  Ah well, when we got to the lobby, reception was mobbed so we asked the concierge what could be done.  He told us that if the problem continued we should go to reception and get the room changed.  We were rushing to the rehearsal dinner, so we decided to stick it out for the night and re-address in the morning.

Worst.  Call.  Ever.

I don’t think I got more than 2 hours of sleep in a row.  At 5:30 when I was awakened for the 300th time I quickly judged that further sleep was improbable.  I put my coat on and went down to the lobby and complained.  Then back to the room.  Put pants on in silence and headed back out.  As I opened the room door there was a knock.  There was a man in the hall in hotel uniform who I shushed down to a whisper immediately.  Noise complaint he said, but he had been standing there and didn’t hear anything.  So much for the service as an art thing.

So I went down to the lobby and the coffee shop was still closed.  But it’s New York.  I’ve been woken up in the city that never sleeps.  Just cross the street to one of the any number of wide open establishments which will offer me hot coffee and plentiful WiFi for the next 3 or 4 hours.  Nope.  Streets are dark and empty.  Stores are closed.  Alright, over to Times Square.  Surely that place is wide open — centre of the known universe, right.  Mixed results.  Many bright signs and Giant TV’s flashing and telling me things, but still very sparse on the humans.  Hundreds of closed Starbucks.  All stores closed, and have no hours posted on the doors, almost like they’re ashamed to admit it.

Back to the hotel.  Waitaminnit, isn’t that the gold Rockefeller Center thingy they skate in front of in the movies?  Go closer…my god, it is!  But the whole thing’s tiny, like they made some Disney replica of the actual article.  Rink’s so small I don’t think you could even work up a sweat.  But I don’t skate anyway.

Back to the hotel.  Business centre.  Internet.  Power.  Coffee soon.  Nap later.

Library Chronicles on Obama

Posted by mikedaum on February 13th, 2008

Library Chronicles has a long post today which breaks down the landscape of U.S. politics and the current election runup, focusing on the ideas of Obama, hope, and Martin Luther King.  This is a must read!  The essay elegantly puts into words so many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had lately about the players, the process, and the broader society.  I can’t go into even a fraction of the well executed insights presented, so please take the time to read it.  As a teaser, here’s the essay’s summary:

Barack Obama represents a slightly less offensive alternative to Hillary Clinton and, if he becomes the nominee, will similarly represent a slightly better choice than John McCain (whose new video is out, I see). Given the choices, there isn’t necessarily anything horribly wrong with casting a vote his way. But the a-historical cultists would have us believe that there is something inescapably right about doing so. In making their case, the cultists have invited comparisons between their candidate and some of the giants of the 20th century. Such comparisons find their man laughably inadequate.

Because Obama is too timid to speak clearly about poverty and class, because he is not committed to rolling back American imperialism, because he lacks the courage of Martin Luther King who challenged Americans to reexamine their values (even at the expense of his own personal safety and ultimately his life no less), Obama does not deserve to be compared with a leader like King. Democrats need to get their heads out of the clouds and go to war (in multiple senses of the phrase) with the candidate they actually have.

Reared against the southern sky

Posted by mikedaum on February 4th, 2008

How many times have you heard the talking heads about one team or another “wanting it more”?

Well here it is:

We are the ones who make a brighter day

Posted by mikedaum on February 3rd, 2008

Music is so evocative.

So manipulative.

I’m fighting to stay cynical.

Even though I have a lot of practice…it’s hard.