QotD: First Celebrity Crush

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Submitted by Glory.

Buddy Epsen (Jed Clampet) introduces young RAQUEL WELCH
Raquel Welch-"Fathom" Getting Frisked!
Raquel Welch is Hannie Caulder
Raquel Welch-Fathom(Showing Off Her Bikini) 1967
Raquel Welch - This Girl's Back In Town
Raquel Welch-"Fathom" Wearing A  Bikini On A "Pleasure Boat"
Raquel Welch-"Fathom" Bikini On Stairs
Raquel Welch-Fathom(Riding In Boat) Bikini!  1967
Raquel Welch-"100 Rifles" Jim Brown
Muppet show - Woman

I remember being 4 or 5 years old. I was reading something, maybe a newspaper or a magazine, and thinking she was pretty.

Vox Hunt: Overdubbed

Audio: If you could sing like anyone, living or dead, who would you choose to sound like?  Share a song of theirs.
Submitted by aa.

I like my singing voice, but I think of it as a fat crayon and myself as a bit of a toddler.  One day I aspire to pencildom, and perhaps simple line drawings. Not everyone can be Leonardo da Vinci. That's why I'm glad Wacom tablets GarageBand or Pro Tools and autotune came along. (Not everyone should use them on every  Top 40 hit, mind you, but I can appreciate technology without advocating its indiscriminate use.)

When I was a kid? Lou Rawls, Johnnie Wilder Jr. or Bobby Womack. When I was a teenager? Prince, George Michael, Lionel Richie or Sade. When I was twentysomething? Philippe Wynne, N'Dea Davenport or Maxwell. Now? I don't know, someone who could just plant their feet in front of you and saloon-croon or pub-belt it out.

QotD: Happy President’s Day!

Ever run for office?  (School, club, organization, politics, etc.)  Did you get elected?

Our first day of journalism class in high school, I walked out to visit the restroom. When I came back, my classmates had named me editor-in-chief.

Pigmentation itself, ethnicity itself, is not a factor that is going to sway people

[…] "In my district, people are going with Hillary," said state Sen. Robert
Ford, a Democrat from Charleston. "I am sure there will be some young
blacks who will be behind Obama, but elderly blacks are going with
Hillary because they love Bill and they love Hillary for standing
behind him for eight years." […]

[…] "People down here don't know him, and South Carolinians in many ways
are a difficult lot," said Cole Blease Graham, a political scientist at
the University of South Carolina. "They like to see their politicians
up close in the flesh, shake their hand and look them in the eye. "Blacks will determine the winner in South Carolina, and if it came
down to it right now, it would be Clinton because of the lack of
exposure Obama has here," said Graham. "If Obama can win some
attraction from whites and overwhelming support from black voters, he
can beat Clinton." […]

[…] "South Carolina is one of the most racially polarized places in the
country, and black people in South Carolina have never elected a black
candidate statewide," said David Bositis, senior political analyst for
the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington.
"There are places in the South where people don't think anybody black
can be elected to anything. So when they think about the presidential
election, they don't think of Obama as someone with very good

Quotes from Dahleen Glanton's Chicago Tribune article "Obama's Southern support not a cinch"

[…] "He has to campaign. Like any other candidate, he will have to prove
a viability, prove that he’s going to articulate the issues and do so
in a way that proves that he is an authentic Democrat and not a closet
Republican." […]

Rev. Joe Darby,
pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, one of the largest
black churches in the state, quoted in Aaron Gould Sheinin's The State article "Obama campaigning in S.C. today"

[…] "There are some things you can't run away from. He's going to have
to raise between $US50 million ($64 million) and $US100 million,
and that money's not coming from black people. So black people are
going to have to engage with that reality. He gives the impression
that he dances on both sides, but when he gets into the goldfish
bowl of an election campaign, he will be forced to define himself
more concretely." […]

Walters, the director of the African American Leadership Institute
and an expert on black presidential politics, in Gary Younge's Guardian UK (via Sydney Morning Herald) column "The real deal"

"If you're a black man in America today, you're treated
like a black man, every day. […] Toni Morrison called Bill
Clinton our first black president. He was very
comfortable around black people, played the saxophone, went to black
churches. I don't see where Hillary inherits that. She's a whole
different deal."

"If blackness is not consecrated by slavery and
childhood poverty, you're not black enough? That idea is nonsense. Nothing in Obama's
background justifies seeing him as a white guy's black guy. He has
addressed black concerns as a community organizer in Chicago and a
state senator in Springfield. […] Bill went out of his way to make black appointments, court black
voters, and she was at his side when he did it. And
blacks are loyal to people who they think have produced for them."

Quotes from Georgetown law professor Patricia King and her husband, civil rights activist Roger Wilkins, in Ken Bode's Indianapolis Star op-ed "Who will get blacks' votes?"

High human drama, quiet terrifying and dignified

i fucking hate the new breed of docs that seem to be made by cats who
just wanna make indie flicks…i long for the quiet old documentaries…im
talking that PBS 1960s shit…shooting people just being…while the
soundtrack plays a conversation you dont see on the screen…when you
feel privileged to see what yer seeing… instead of smug or superior
like the reality crap and many docs these days want you to feel cooler
than whoever is unlucky enough to be onscreen…

Damn, sure wish I'd found Stew's blog before now.

Timelapse Love

Timelapse Love
George Kelly

(4 bars intro)

Through binoculars or a telescope, you are far away but you seem so close. I am staring up into the nighttime sky at your face looking down from on high. I'm always hitting rewind on our timelapse love, captured on camera with the whole wide world watching on a monitor. I'm always hitting rewind!

I cannot recall when I first zoomed in on your comet eyes or unearthly skin. I am so suffused with astonishment. You appear to me to be heaven-sent. I'm always hitting rewind on our timelapse love, captured on camera with the whole wide world watching on a monitor. I'm always hitting rewind!

(16 bars)

I'm always hitting rewind on a crazy dream only the other night: we were bathing together under the cool moonlight, and the universe accelerated at a blissful clip until I came awake to discover that you'd given me the slip. I'm always hitting rewind on our timelapse love, captured on camera with the whole wide world watching on a monitor. I'm always hitting rewind!

(16 bars reprise)

In other words, black is whatever we say it is

[…] Consider this: Just 40 years ago, one could make certain
assumptions about the average Negro, or black American. She
was probably no more than one generation removed from the
South; whether a Northerner or Southerner, he had first-hand
knowledge of Jim Crow, or segregation; when it came to
religion, he or she was most likely Protestant.
But scholars like Vernellia Randal, a law professor at the
University of Dayton, point out that those assumptions have
fallen in the face of urbanization, migration and
integration. […]

Afi-Odelia Scruggs' Cleveland Plain Dealer op-ed "Obama's identity crisis"

[…] "I think it could very well be generational—that people like myself,
who are older and more established and have these relationships, will
stay with the people that we know. Whereas younger people, who don’t
have these relationships, will say that this fellow seems to be an
outsider too—and so, therefore, they are attracted to him." […]

Ex-New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, quoted in Jason Horowitz's New York Observer article "Clinton, Obama Vying for Black Power-Brokers"


[…] According to Census Bureau figures, in 2004, African-Americans cast
14 million votes nationwide. Now comes this stunner: Because
African-American men not only are fewer in number but also register and
vote at much lower rates, black women cast almost three of every five
of these votes – 59 percent, to be precise. White women also outnumber,
out-register and outvote white men, but the disparity is smaller (53
percent to 47 percent). […]

[…] Senator Obama's allure may be perceived as more
generationally prospective, whereas the appeal of Senator Clinton – the
former first lady married to the man novelist Toni Morrison once called
the "first black president" – is deemed more historically
retrospective. "He brings a lot to our heritage and culture, especially
to our youth," said Victoria Haynes, a 47-year-old Denver native who
worked on the campaign of newly elected Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr.
"She brings a lot of strength as a woman who came from behind her
husband to lead as a woman." […]

Thomas F. Schaller's Baltimore Sun op-ed "Black women face dilemma in Democratic primary"

QotD: Life-Changing Books

What are five books that changed your life? 
Inspired by Ms. Genevieve.

Discusses the characteristics of each of the nine planets and explains the techniques used in the discovery and study of them.

 When I was eight, Franklyn M. Braney's "The Nine Planets" made the planets much more fascinating than my science class and much closer to my future than even "Star Trek" reruns on television.

Now combined in one volume, these two books helped focus national
attention in the early 1980s on the movement for a nuclear freeze. The Fate of the Earth painted a chilling picture of the planet in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, while The Abolition
offered a proposal for full-scale nuclear disarmament. With the recent
tensions in India and Pakistan, and concerns about nuclear
proliferation around the globe, public attention is once again focused
on the worldwide nuclear situation. The author is at the forefront of
the discussion. In February 1998, his lengthy essay constituted the
centerpiece of a special, widely distributed issue of The Nation
dealing with the nuclear arms race. The relevance of his two books for
today’s debates is undeniable, as many experts assert that the nuclear
situation is more dangerous than ever.

When I was 12, Jonathan Schell's "The Fate of the Earth" (a slim blue paperback) accompanied me to New York City, where the rest of my confirmation class at Grace Episcopal Church of Silver Spring, Md., walked around, saw the sights, caught "Dreamgirls" on Broadway and crawled into sleeping bags to doze on the floors of St. John the Unfinished Cathedral. His description of the devastation a nuclear blast over New York City would wreak on the population fried something in my head. It started me off onto Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon" and Nevil Shute's "On the Beach." It's part of the reason I enjoy things like Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake." A taste for apocalypse, I guess. Um, why am I a journalist again?

Charles Keil examines the expressive role of blues bands and performers
and stresses the intense interaction between performer and audience.
Profiling bluesmen Bobby Bland and B. B. Kind, Keil argues that they
are symbols for the black community, embodying important attitudes and
roles—success, strong egos, and close ties to the community. While
writing Urban Blues in the mid-1960s, Keil optimistically saw this
cultural expression as contributing to the rising tide of raised
political consciousness in Afro-America. His new Afterword examines
black music in the context of capitalism and black culture in the
context of worldwide trends toward diversification.

When I was 17, Charles Kiel's "Urban Blues" made social science and anthropology seem as cool as learning how to play guitar.

Paul Beatty's hilarious and scathing debut novel is about Gunnar
Kaufman, an awkward black surfer bum who is moved by his mother from
Santa Monica to urban West Los Angeles. There, he begins to undergo a
startling transformation from neighborhood outcast to basketball
superstar, and eventually to reluctant messiah of a "divided,
downtrodden people."

When I was 24, Paul Beatty's "The White Boy Shuffle" gave me a painfully funny version of myself, a young black man deeply uneasy about the lines of force the society formed around him, a G.K. over whom I could laugh myself sick.

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a delightfully cacophonous tale that
spans 25 years of two families' assimilation in North London. The Joneses
and the Iqbals are an unlikely a pairing of families, but their intertwined
destinies distill the British Empire's history and hopes into a dazzling
multiethnic melange that is a pure joy to read. Smith proves herself to be
a master at drawing fully-realized, vibrant characters, and she demonstrates
an extraordinary ear for dialogue. It is a novel full of humor and empathy
that is as inspiring as it is enjoyable.

Years of Rice and Salt, takes a look at our last 600 years, with the
added twist that the Black Death has wiped out 99% of the European population.
Into that gap step the Chinese, the Islamic nations, the Indians, and the Native
Americans. Robinson is obviously very interested in how history happens, and
The Years of Rice and Salt is the perfect forum.

When I was 30 and 31, Zadie Smith's "White Teeth" was a wild, funny, comforting read and Kim Stanley Campbell's "The Years of Rice and Salt" was deeply inspiring and utopian, pan-theistic but not Panglossian. I'll let you flip a coin as to which one should be the fifth book.