Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old photos

"Bloodstained coat worn by Yugoslav Archduke Franz Ferdinand when he was slain by Gavrilo Prinzip in 1914, assassination triggering World War I"... and 10,000,000 other images from the LIFE magazine archives hosted by Google (most never published). If you are into old photos, this website is very good.

Japanese Americans being despatched to internment camps by Ansel Adams. Click on image for full size.

The photographs are often more detailed than they have ever been displayed. Modern digital impressions of the original negatives are often far better than even the very best prints published at the time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Japanese packed lunch mums for Obama

Photograph lifted from Kasumin. Go look at the links below.

A neglected demographic in the 2008 election were Japanese packed lunch obsessed housewives. Ridiculously ornate packed lunches are a thing among some absurdly underemployed Japanese mums. This photo is from the blog of the woman who helped popularise this fad (she herself seems to have made a profession out it, appearing on all sorts of shows and publishing numerous books). She explains her concept here. Here are some of her more recent creations.

This "bento mania", by the way, is a thoroughly bad thing. A. spent ages this morning hovering over G.'s packed lunch for a trip to the park with his nursery. She was thoroughly intimidated by what elaborations the other mums might come up with. Peanut butter and raisin sandwiches in brown bread and cling film never did me any harm!

True dedication

There are a lot of finely sharpened stilettos, all morning make-up jobs and architectural hairdos in Tokyo ... and that is just among the men. Sometimes, though, one is privileged to witness exceptional dedication to the art. Let's take a closer look at that photo.

I can only speculate what may have injured the ankle but the doctor's orders are clear to see:

Doctor: "That's a nasty sprain you have there. It should be mended in a week or so. But, in the meantime, I want you to use this." [Hands over NHS General issue crutch]

Girl: "Hey, thanks!"

Doctor: "Before you go, it would be a particularly good idea if you went out with those stiletto boots you were wearing at the time of the injury. You know, the ones with a total foot to ground surface area of less than the rubber plunger on the bottom of the crutch."

Girl: "Good thinking, Sensei! Toodle pip!"

She hobbled onto the train, a martyr to medical research.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wonderful photo ...

... of the atmosphere. Vulnerable.

The next Republican candidate

I was interested by this story which, along with many others, is talking about Palin as a possible runner for the next presidential election. Absolutely ridiculous! We need to look closely at who in US politics is actually saying these things: extremist rightwingers and Democrats. The second group are significant. There is nothing the Democrats would like better than to stand against Palin. Barring disasters in this administration, they would definitely win.

Let us just asume that Obama is going to go into this next election as an averagely performing first term President. He has disappointed many but also reassured many. He has not been a great president but not a terrible one either. His message of change somehow feels a little unfinished, as such messages almost always do after one term. The economy has improved a little in the final years of his Presidency. (The health care thing, I am assuming, has not been done because if he has managed to do that he will have rewritten the electoral map). So, like most incumbent Presidents, he is going into the election with a decided advantage. It is not brain science: you can't run the same losing tactic against the same man twice and expect to win, especially when he has a distinct advantage on the second play.

What should the Republicans do? I am going to keep out of questions of what the Republicans can do, because their party may not be capable of following the only strategies that have any hope of putting them into power in 2012, but, assuming they are a functioning political force, they need to look at the nature of the new Obama coalition. It delivered a landslide, remember, so they have to address it, not the crazy notions flitting around in their own heads. If they try to analyse that coalition on an age group basis they are going to end up with their heads in their hands, so I reckon an ethnic breakdown is their only way forward. Boiled down to its bare essentials, Obama's winning formula was this: a 40 per cent or much better split of all the main voting groups plus monolithic (and voting) black loyalism plus a large majority of Latinos. The black group is going to be a little bit less motivated next time but the other groups are going to firm up for Obama, in all likelihood, so, if I was a Republican strategist, the group to aim for are the people from Latino backgrounds. The only thing I am not entirely clear on is the significance of Latinos in terms of the important electoral votes but the way I see it, not that I give two hoots, is that the only hope for the Republicans in 2012 is not Palin at all, but a socially conservative Latino man (?) with a massive dollop of charisma. If they try to do that with a VP pick they will fail. US politics has changed. After Obama, the next Democratic candidate will probably be female. If Obama gets a good health care package for the broad mass of the population through, by the way, the peeling off the Latino vote will not work and Obama will have built a historically enduring electoral coalition (including many of those lost working class whites).

Saturday, November 08, 2008



Friday, November 07, 2008

Smushy but...

Tugged forelock to this site.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Some really good photos...

... of, who else, Obama.