Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar header image 2

Entries from September 2006

Happy 80th birthday to T D Lee!

September 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on Happy 80th birthday to T D Lee!

T D Lee’s 80th birthday party

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.
On September 29, 2006, Columbia threw an 80th birthday party for T D Lee, who won a Nobel Prize in 1957 when he was a mere infant of 31.

Because I’m from NH, rides around Manhattan up on top of a bright-red tourist bus ensued. I even persuaded a few much more sophisticated friends to join me–thanks to Frank, Ellie, and Ellen for going along!

Do you want to know how TD Lee managed to overcome the obvious prejudice in favor of symmetry/parity? (“My left hand looks exactly symmetric to my right hand, and therefore…”, this line of reasoning would go.)

Well, I wanted to know! So, after a glass of very good red wine, I asked him.

He laughed and wiggled his right-hand fingers at me. “Yes, but you see the right hand holds the chopsticks,” he said. “So I knew the two sides are not really the same at all!”

Tags: Science

The tobacco shop next to the organic dry cleaner…

September 28th, 2006 · Comments Off on The tobacco shop next to the organic dry cleaner…

Manhattan, city of contrasts

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.

Do the owners of these two shops ever have lunch together?

I’m in New York City–what a wild ride, and I don’t just mean bouncing around lower Manhattan on top of the Gray Line’s giant red tour bus.

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Breaking news from NH: The phone-jam lives on…

September 28th, 2006 · Comments Off on Breaking news from NH: The phone-jam lives on…

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. So, who’s reporting it? Only John DiStaso:

This week, Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones denied GOP motions to dismiss the Democrats’ civil suit. The judge rejected the GOP’s arguments that the Democrats’ suit was barred by the statute of limitations on Nov. 5, 2002, three years after the date of phone-jam operation.

Mangones noted favorably that Democrats had argued that “critical information regarding the potential involvement of national political figures, and other information, came to light” in June 2004.

Tomorrow, Mangones is scheduled to hear the Democrats’ motion to dismiss a Republican counter-claim alleging the Democrats’ suit is part of a ploy orchestrated from the national level to manipulate the court system and media for political gain.

Yes, you read that right. NH Republicans claim that their behavior should face no legal reprimand–because Democrats nationally made a stink about it. What a great argument–I’m sure it will later get applied to the latest NH Republican telephone hijinks.

In related news, NH Republican Senator Charlie Bass admitted his top policy director Tad Furtado had been trolling liberal blogs from US Government computers in defiance of federal law prohiting use of taxpayer funds for politicking. Using aliases like “IndyNH”, Furtado posed as a Democrat who felt Bass was unbeatable and basically a good guy. He urged others to give up on Bass’s opponent and direct their resources to other elections.

Funny that Charlie Bass’s policy director, after eight years of working for Charlie Bass, didn’t think that the NH GOP had a policy forbidding deceptive campaign tactics…

Maybe Tad Furtado just forgot to sign the famous NH Republican post-phone-jamming ethics pledge forbidding any activity that would “corrupt or degrade the political process.”

Tags: New Hampshire!

Not like little ants!

September 27th, 2006 · Comments Off on Not like little ants!

From the top of the Empire State Building, everyone says, people walking around on the street look like little ants.

I’ve been wandering in Manhattan today, and you know what? The people don’t really look like little ants.

They look like people, who have their own public charms and warts, and private hopes and anguishes, just like the ones that you have, the ones that I have.

But don’t you think that, from the White House, we just look like little ants?

Tags: Editorial

WWJD? Religious Right urged to use telephone trickery

September 25th, 2006 · Comments Off on WWJD? Religious Right urged to use telephone trickery

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. The Christian Right gears up for 2006–but telling the truth isn’t one of their “family values”:

Connie Marshner, a veteran organizer, distributed a step-by-step guide that recommended obtaining church directories and posing as a nonpartisan pollster to ask people how they planned to vote. “Hello, I am with ABC polls,” a suggested script began…

Confronted by reporters about such deception, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, declared himself mildly “upset.” Meanwhile, Ms. Marshner defended phone call deception as “a common campaign tactic,” which indeed it is–for example, in New Hampshire and in Indiana, to quote two examples from September, 2006.

And Connie (Connaught) Marshner is no clueless newbie, ignorant of the way Christian Conservatives like to campaign. She has been plying her trade for “pro-family” policies for thirty-plus years–check out this praise of her work and ponder the mindset behind the compliment that “she even reached out to black churches.” What a gal.

In fact, I’m wondering what role Connie Marshner might have played in the NH State Republican party’s 2004 effort enlisting NH churches to hand out Republican flyers while deceiving reporters about their actions.

You’d think Connie Marshner would have her heart in the right place, considering her stated objections to the church of Sun Myung Moon

“They’re not on our team because they don’t have the same agenda,” said Connaught Marshner, executive vice-president of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation. “They’ve said things suggesting that their goal is to take over the U.S. government.”

Funny, I have exactly the same concern about Connie Marshner and her unscrupulous pals from the Religious Right…

Tags: New Hampshire!

The craziness inspired by four big, big cup holders

September 21st, 2006 · 1 Comment

Just got home from renting a UHaul van–how many times in my life have I driven around in one of those orange-and-white truck-monsters, schlepping my furniture from place to place or (all these years later) my daughters’ furniture…

There’s just something about boosting myself way up into the driver’s seat, turning down the air conditioner’s mighty fan (at rental time, they set it to “nuclear blast strength”)…

I release the parking brake–loud, satisfying thunk! Suddenly, I’m younger than springtime and ten feet tall.

The cup holders are new, but I like them. They fit right in. Four cup holders, though the van seats just two people. And each one is wide and deep enough to hold one of those really, really huge drinks that nobody finishes. Milkshakes for giants, coffee for narcoleptics who’ll drive until dawn.

Something about those cup holders has made me nostalgic tonight for the road, for the many cross-continent road trips our family took in the eighties and nineties–gators and craters and dinosaur bones–the Meramec Caverns (Missouri), the world’s largest hand-dug well (middle of Kansas), the Terre Haute Historical Society (Indiana), and “Questions people ask about Harold Warp” (Nebraska)…

Surely I could go all those places right now if I just filled up four cup holders with Dunkin coffee and drove all night….

Walt Whitman would have loved UHaul, and those cup holders.

Tags: Wide wonderful world

“Puff club” reunion with line-up of seven babies

September 19th, 2006 · Comments Off on “Puff club” reunion with line-up of seven babies

Marijne, Floortje, Milan, Madelief, Karel, Jelmer, Wessel

Originally uploaded by ėtı.

What fun, a pregnancy-class reunion–and the Dutch word for that seems to be “pufclubreünie”!

What fun to stumble across other people’s wonderful photos on Flickr, Bubbleshare, Picasa, etc., etc.

Tags: Blog to Book

Lovely Oxford architecture reflected in lovely architectural window

September 19th, 2006 · Comments Off on Lovely Oxford architecture reflected in lovely architectural window

Oxford window

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.

Picture worth a thousand words?

Then adding more words would just make this blogpost too long.

Tags: Blog to Book

Republican spinners heart “The View” of Rosie

September 19th, 2006 · Comments Off on Republican spinners heart “The View” of Rosie

GOP Trying to Blacklist Rosie O’Donnell“?

Yeah, right–Republican strategists want “The View” to fire its new co-host just the way Republican fundraisers want Hillary Clinton to disappear.

The RNC heads its new anti-Rosie rant with


Cut-And-Run Defeatocrats Across The Country Take Their Cues From Hollywood Friends And Advisors

The RNC perfectly understands that its base can’t get enough trash-talk about uppity women. So, when Hillary-hating gets stale but cheers won’t start for “Down with Nancy Pelosi,” Rosie O’Donnell is a perfect new target.

And commenters over at FreeRepublic are thrilled:

  • The only woman worse than Rosie is Hitlery because Sen. Cankles actually has some power.
  • Someone change Barbara Walters’s underwear. she does own a piece of “The View”, doesn’t she? How’s that decision to hire Rosie working out Babs?
  • Rosie’s presence back in the national spotlight could not have come at a better time for Republicans. She puts quite a face on hatred and meaness towards God and country. Cindy Sheehan is a lightweight, but Rosie is a heavyweight on a broadcast network surrounded by air headed shills like Barbara WaWA. Lots of voters do not know who Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters is, but when Rosie spews her venom, it gets attention.
  • Gee, an outspoken leftist dyke with an eating disorder who hates the President and Christianity. Well, that takes care of the female half of Moveon, ACT, NARAL and the World Workers Party. I would run commercials every day of Rosies rant. At the end, say, “This is todays Democrat Party.”

For RNC spinners, the future looks very “Rosie.”

Tags: Editorial

Another hotel room tonight, another thunderstorm…

September 13th, 2006 · Comments Off on Another hotel room tonight, another thunderstorm…

Is this what getting old is going to feel like? Because I can remember when any hotel room was a new adventure.

And part of me hollers that no thunderstorm should ever be…just another thunderstorm.

But I’m tired tonight. It’s been a good day, a good trip, time with good friends, a lot to look forward to tomorrow. But I miss Frank. And I’m tired.

It occurs to me that this grumpy lassitude is what being tired has always felt like, at every age I’ve been so far.

Good night, thunderstorm. I need some sleep.

Tags: Sister Age