Archive for July, 2008

Today’s Cartoon

Credit: The New Yorker Magazine

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Today’s Quote

You are here like a mystery;
I’m from a world that’s so different from all that you are;
How in the light of one night did we come so far?

   –Alain Boublil, from Miss Saigon

 

To read previous quotes in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Top 10 Shows

NOTE: Updated 10/9/08.

My TOP 10 FAVORITE SHOWS are:

1.  Angels in America (Parts I and II)
2.  Miss Saigon
3.  Sunset Boulevard
4.  Les Miserables
5.  A Chorus Line
6.  Aspects of Love
6.  The Normal Heart
7.  Phantom of the Opera
8.  The Lion King
9.  Billy Elliot (New as of 10/9/08)
10.  Beatles Love, by Cirque du Soleil

 

Note: Shows include theatrical stage productions.

To see other lists in the “TOP 10 FAVORITE” series, click here.

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Today’s Cartoon

Credit: The New Yorker Magazine

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Today’s Quote

 

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

   –Walt Disney

To read previous quotes in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Top 10 Songs

This list changes periodically; however, as of today, my TOP 10 FAVORITE SONGS are:

1.  Over the Rainbow, sung by Judy Garland
2.  What a Wonderful World, sung by Louis Armstrong
3.  Aloha O’e, written by Queen Lili’uokalani
4.  Isn’t it Romantic, sung by Ella Fitzgerald
5.  The Man I Love, sung by Billie Holiday
6.  Dream a Little Dream of Me, sung by Mama Cass
7.  Love Changes Everything, sung by Michael Ball
8.  The Way We Were, sung by Barbra Streisand
9.  A New Life, sung by Linda Eder
10.  My Man, sung by Barbra Streisand
11.  Happy Days are Here Again
12. Too Young, sung by Nat King Cole
13.  Young at Heart, sung by Frank Sinatra
14.  Tears in Heaven, sung by Eric Clapton
15.  Imagine, sung by John Lennon
16.  On My Own, sung by Lea Salonga
17.  Into the West, sung by Annie Lenox

(Okay, I snuck in a few extra songs.)

To see other lists in the “TOP 10 FAVORITE” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

I dream my painting and then paint my dream.

  –Vincent Van Gogh

 

To read previous quotes in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Cartoon

Credit: The New Yorker

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China’s Stolen Children

HBO is currently airing a powerful and heartbreaking 90-minute documentary, called China’s Stolen Children, in a directorial debut by Jezza Neumann, that focuses on child trafficking, a tragic by-product of China’s “one-family, one-child” policy.  According to the film, nearly 70,000 children are abducted and sold each year, perhaps for less than US$1,000.  Although a few children are successfully located and subsequently reunited with their families, most of the abducted children are never found.  In some of the most emotional scenes in the film, a young, distraught married couple turns to a private detective to help them find their abducted 5-1/2 year old son, Chen Jie.  

Check you local program guide for schedules.

Here’s the trailer for the film, which won the 2008 BAFTA Award for Best Current Affairs program.

 

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Where is that Drink?

This expertly-prepared martini of organic Square One Vodka was garnished with a beautifully-cut and hand twisted slice of lemon rind.  Where is that drink?

 

This drink was served at the large, handsome bar at Spruce, located at 3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA.  The drink was accompanied by an order of steamed mussels and french fries with remoulade. 
The large, elegant restaurant features high-ceilings, a warm color palette, stylish and handsome furnishings, and a friendly, efficient staff, and an interesting, inventive menu.

To view previous posts in the “Where is that Drink?” series, click here.

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Walkable San Francisco

WalkScore.com, a service designed to help those seeking a less automobile-dependent life, announced yesterday that San Francisco has been ranked as the Most Walkable City in the USA.  WalkScore evaluated the nation’s 40 largest cities based on residents’ proximity to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other amenities. Hills were not taken into account in the rankings, just distance and concentration. 
After San Francisco, the next top-ranked cities were New York City, Boston and Chicago, in 2nd, 3rd and 4th Place, respectively.

Among San Francisco’s neighborhoods, the following eight areas received the highest scores:
1.  Chinatown
2.  Financial District
3.  
Downtown
4.  
North Beach
5.  Mission
6.  Nob Hill
7.  Pacific Heights
8.  South of Market

Source: WalkScore.com
 

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Four Food Groups

Given all media attention around the current national epidemic of obsesity, I thought it would be helpful to share the “four primary food groups” that were passed along to me some years ago as the critical foundation for a balanced, happy diet– Sugar, Fat, Salt and Alcohol.

 

So… check your daily eating habits to ensure that you’re getting a sufficient supply of these four “pillars” to a satisfying diet and a happy life.  When in doubt regarding proper proportions (among the four food groups), simply increase the amount of alcohol.

And, you can forget everything you were told about that silly food pyramid, shown below.

Acknowledgment:
Four Food Groups courtesy of Colin Correa, Friend and freelance Nutrition Consultant

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JibJab’s Campaignin’

JibJab has done it again.  Earlier today JibJab launched another highly-amusing and extremely well-crafted cartoon, called “Time for Some Campaignin’,”  which pokes fun at the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

It’s a lof fun. Take a look.


 

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Top 10 Cocktails

This list is continuously changing; however, at this moment, my TOP 10 FAVORITE COCKTAILS are:

1.  Vodka Martini
2.  Vesper Martini
3.  Manhattan
4.  Bloody Mary
5.  Old-Fashioned
6.  Cosmopolitan
7.  Champagne Cocktail
8.  Mojito
9.  Margarita
10.  Vodka Negroni

To see other lists in the “TOP 10 FAVORITE” series, click here.

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Top 10 Favorite Sights

LAST UPDATE: 12/3/08


This list continues to evolve; however, my current TOP 10 FAVORITE SIGHTS are:

1.  The temples at Angkor, Cambodia
2.  The Great Wall of China at Simatai
3.  The ruins in Bagan, Myanmar
4.  The mountains along the Li River in Guilin, China
5.  Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
6.  Pompeii, Italy
7.  Venice, Italy
8.  Volcanic eruption at Halemaumau, Kilauea Caldera, Island of Hawaii, circa 1968
9.  Mostar Bridge, Bosnia and Herzegovina, circa 1984 (prior to its destruction and subsequent reconstruction)
10.  Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto, Japan

These places were selected based on their uniqueness, historical, cultural or architectural significance, beauty and/or splendor, and personal meaning.

The runners-up are (in no particular order):

*  View from the 107th Floor Observation Deck at the World Trade Center, New York, NY
*  Taj Mahal, Agra, India
*  Tokyo at night (particularly Shibuya or Ginza areas), Japan
*  Dubrovnik, Croatia
*  Colosseum, Rome, Italy
*  View of Pudong from The Bund, Shanghai, China
*  Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
*  Grand Canyon, AZ
*  The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
*  View of the Mokulua Islands, Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii
*  View of Victoria Harbor and Kong Kong Island from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong, China
*  Terra Cotta Armies at Xian, China
*  Eiffel Tower at night, Paris, France

To see other lists in the “TOP 10 FAVORITE” series, click here.

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Top 10 Favorite Movies

UPDATED: 12/9/08

Although this list changes periodically, here are my TOP 10 FAVORITE MOVIES (which are not necessarily those I consider as the best movies, by the way):

1.   The Wizard of Oz (1939)
2.   The Godfather, Part II (1974)
3.   Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
4.   Annie Hall (1977)
5.   The Godfather, Part 1 (1972)
6.   Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope (1977)
7.   2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
8.   Raging Bull (1980)
9.   Sunset Boulevard (1950)
10.  Chinatown (1974)

And, oh well, I might as well toss in the next ten (11-20):

11.  All About Eve (1950)
12.  Reds (1981)
13.  Days of Heaven (1978)
14.  Barry Lyndon (1975)
15.  Midnight Cowboy (1969)
16.  Manhattan (1979)
17.  The Seven Samurai (1954)
18.  The Day of the Locust (1975)
19.  Sophie’s Choice (1982)
20.  Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Oh, and here’s the next 50 (21-70), as well, without rankings (in alphabetical order):

* The African Queen (1951)
* An Unmarried Woman (1978)
* Apocalypse Now (1979)
*
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
* Bound (1996)
* Cabaret (1972)
* Chris and Don: A Love Story (2007)
* Chuck and Buck (2000)
* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
* The English Patient (1996)
* Fargo (1996)
* The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)
* The Godfather, Part I (1972)
* Goodfellas (1990)
* Gone with the Wind (1939)
* The Great Santini (1979)
* Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
* House of Flying Daggers (2004)
* House of Games (1987)
* Interiors (1978)
* Islands in the Stream (1977)
* Julia (1977)
* The Last Picture Show (1971)
* Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)
* Longtime Companion (1990)
* Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
* Monsoon Wedding (2001)
* My Brilliant Career (1979)
* The Namesake (2006)
* New York, New York (1977)
* No Country for Old Men (2007)
* Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
* Out of Africa (1985)
* Paper Moon (1973)
* Plenty (1985)
* Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
* Saturday Night Fever (1977)
* Silkwood (1983)
* Sin Nobre (2009)

* Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
* Summer of ’42 (1971)
* Slumdog Millionaire (2007)
* Summertime (1955)
* The Thin Red Line (1998)
* The Last Wave (1977)
* WALL-E (2008)
* The Way We Were (1973)
* Wetherby (1985)

To see other lists in the “TOP 10 FAVORITE” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

–Mark Twain

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Where is that Drink?

Here’s a pair of wonderful, classic martinis, served in well-proportioned and generously-sized cocktail glasses, garnished with three (!) cheese-stuffed olives.  Where is that drink?

The drink is being served at the beautiful and expansive bar at The Redwood Room, one of my all-time favorite bars and a cherished San Francisco landmark, located in the Clift Hotel on Geary Street.  Photo taken: 7/2/08.

The martini, pictured below, was served in a classic (albeit somewhat “petite”) cocktail glass, with a beautifully-prepared twist.  Where is that drink?

The cocktail is being served before dinner at Jardiniere, located at 300 Grove St, San Francisco, CA.  Photo taken: 7/5/08.

The champagne, shown below, was poured into a functional, sturdy (but somewhat less than elegant) flute.  Where is that drink?

The drink is being served at the downstairs bar in the beautiful and historic War Memorial Opera House, in San Francisco, CA, during intermission at the San Francisco Opera’s performance of Lucia Di Lamermoor.  Photo taken: 7/5/08.

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Today’s Video

This is a charming short video of a miniature dachshund playing fetch with an automated ball-throwing machine. Who says we can’t make our own fun?!

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Today’s Quote

“Animals are such agreeable friends–they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”

— George Eliot

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Today’s Cartoon

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Peggy-and-Lucy-Mobile

The Peggy-and-Lucy-Mobile is on the road!  Yesterday, Peggy and Lucy were able to take their first major outing in the Peggy-and-Lucy-Mobile (which previously was known as a Volkswagen Eurovan).  The P&LMobile is the official vehicle for Peggy and Lucy, and will be used to transport them to key events and activities across California (and beyond!).

Although the P&L Mobile does not have a lot of advanced gadgetry or high-tech accessories, it is still quite similar to other vechicles in the same category– the Batmobile and the PopeMobile, both shown below.

In the photo below, Peggy and Lucy are inspecting the interior rear seat of the P&LMobile.

And, here, Peggy and Lucy’s official P&LMobile driver is taking a break and enjoying a snack in the spacious interior cabin of the P&LMobile.

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Father Damien of Molokai

There is great jubilation in Hawaii over the news that Rev. Damien de Veuster (1840-1889), or Father Damien, as he is best known, will be named a Catholic Saint, following a declaration on 7/3/08 by Pope Benedict XVI that Father Damien had performed a second miracle, a prerequisite for sainthood. 

Father Damien is a much-beloved and revered figure in Hawaii for his extraordinary work and compassion in caring for Hawaiians who were afflicted with Hansen’s disease (aka leprosy) and quarantined by government order on the remote Kalaupapa peninsula on the Island of Molokai.  The quarantine settlement at Kalaupapa, now a USA National Park, is surrounded by the world’s highest sea cliffs (3,300 feet), which provided a natural barrier to access, except by sea.

For 16 years, Father Damien devoted his life to serving and caring for the residents at Kalaupapa.  Under his leadership, a church was built, basic laws were enforced, shacks became painted houses, working farms were organized and irrigated, and schools were erected.  Prior to his arrival, Kalaupapa was considered a lawless “colony of death,” where people were forced to fight each other to survive.  He contracted the disease in 1884 and died of its effects, at Kalaupapa, in 1889, at the age of 49.

Today, Father Damien holds a unique position in the hearts of the people of Hawaii (and Belgium, his birthplace) and campaigns have been underway for many years to recognize him as a Catholic Saint.  He was beatified by Pope John Paul II as Blessed Damien in 1995.  Statues of Father Damien are on display at the USA Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu.   Damien Memorial School, a private Catholic school in Honolulu, HI, is named in his honor.  Blessed Damien is also the unofficial patron of people with HIV/AIDS.

Canonization is expected to occur in late 2009 in Rome, with celebrations in Hawaii and Belgium.

Mahatma Gandhi claimed that Father Damien was an inspiration for his social campaigns in India that ultimately led to the freedom of his people.  In 1971, Gandhi was quoted in M.S. Mehendale’s account called Gandhi Looks at Leprosy as saying, “The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai.  It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.”

In April, 2005, I visited the Island of Molokai and had an opportunity to go to the Kalaupapa National Park, which has been operated by the National Park Service since 1980.  Access within Kalaupapa is controlled and limited by the National Park Service via guided tours only.  The tour included a visit to the Saint Philomena Church where Father Damien was buried in 1889.  (His remains were subsequently transported to Belgium in 1936, although a relic of Damien’s right hand was returned to the original grave in Kalaupapa in 1995.)

Although the isolation policy at Kalaupapa was officially abolished in 1969, Kalaupapa still serves as home to a small number of residents who chose to remain on the property. 

Kalaupapa is place of exceptional beauty and the National Park now provides an environment well suited to contemplation and quiet reflection.

Photos: Taken April, 2005.

If you want to learn more about the life of Father Damien, check out the following:

1.  Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, 1999 (DVD)
2.  Holy Man: Father Damien of Molokai, by Gavan Daws (paperback)
3.  Leper Priest of Moloka’i: The Father Damien Story, by Richard Stewart (paperback)
4.  The Father Damien Story: An Uncommon Kindness, 2003 (DVD)

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Equality for All

The Equality for All campaign, a coalition comprised of over 50 civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations, is working to defeat the November ballot measure to amend California’s constitution to only recognize marriages between “a man and a woman.” 

In May, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s discriminatory marriage laws banning marriage for lesbian and gay couples.  That landmark decision was a huge victory for all Californians who cherish fairness and opportunity.  The November ballot initiative is attempting to nullify that court decision.

Conservative groups, including ProtectMarriage.com and the National Marriage and Focus on the Family, one of the largest and most well-funded anti-LGBT organizations in the country, are prepared to spend millions of dollars to influence public opinion and enshrine discrimination into the State’s consitution.

Equality for All is committed to helping defeat the ballot initiative and needs your financial support.  To make a donation, click here.

 

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Today’s Quote

In honor of Independence Day, here are two quotes in response to the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision on 5/15/08 which struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstituitional.

“The California Supreme Court’s ruling is a momentous decision for our state and nation that marks a giant step forward in our march toward true equality for all our citizens.  We all owe Mayor Gavin Newsom a debt of gratitude for his visionary leadership on this crucial civil rights issue, along with the courageous plaintiffs in this case.  But our march for justice and equality is far from over.  We now must re-focus our efforts on fighting the divisive and discriminatory proposed constitutional amendment that would take away marriage equality for same-sex couples.  Working together, we can ensure that once again, justice and equality will prevail.”

   –Art Torres, California Democratic Party Chairman

 ”What a day in San Francisco.  What a day in California.  What a day for America.  What a day for equality. This is an extraordinary moment and an extraordinary time.  It’s about human dignity.  It’s about civil rights. It’s about time.  And by the way, as California goes, so goes the rest of the nation.”

   –Gavin Newsom, Mayor, San Francisco

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Today’s Cartoon

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Matt is Still Dancing

Matt Harding, the guy who dances his distinctive (and endearing) dance all around the world, returned in June with an all-new video featuring a compilation of his latest visit to 42 countries, filmed over a period of 14 months.  [Update: As of 8/25/08, this video on YouTube.com has been viewed over 9 million times.]

And, here’s a link to his landmark second video in 2006 which has been viewed over 11 million times on youtube.com, called Where the Hell is Matt?   In 2007, Jawed Karim, one of the founders of Youtube, is reported to have stated that Harding’s video is his favorite video posted to Youtube.

For those of you who love the music from his 2006 video, you can purchase Sweet Lullaby from the Deep Forest CD from amazon.com.

I have been so thoroughly captivated with and moved by Matt Harding’s videos and his worldwide dancing quest, as well the simplicity and purity of the message contained in his videos.  I think we all must dance and see the world!

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A Tribute

As a tribute to Jasmine, the 18-year old cat and beloved companion of our dear friend, Jennifer, here’s a quote attributed to Ariwara no Narihara, 8th Century, Japan.

“I have always known that at last I would take this road; but yesterday, I did not know that it would be today.”

Rest well, Jasmine.

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Aloha, Hawaii

After two weeks in Hawaii, it was time to return to the San Francisco Bay Area.  So… it’s time for a final refreshing beverage and to bid a fond Aloha to Honolulu.  Here’s a nice, very spicy Bloody Mary served at the United Airlines Red Carpet Club at the HNL Airport.  And then, it’s off to SFO via UA74.

 

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ATV Riding in Hawaii

One of the highlights of the visit to the Island of Hawaii was an exciting ATV (all-terrain vehicle) ride with ATV Outfitters Hawaii, located in Hawi, North Kohala, Island of Hawaii.  The 2-hour ride took us through up-country Hawi, on privately-owned properties that afforded spectacular views of the Kohala coastline as well as mountain streams and secluded waterfalls.  The tour concluded with a stop at a swimming hole, located at the foot of a waterfall.  It was a dusty, bumpy and thoroughly exhilarating experience.

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