August 2008 Archives

Here's what Karl Rove had to say on the prospect of Obama McCain picking Tim Kaine Sarah Palin as his running mate:

"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine Palin, she's been a governor for three years twenty months, she's been able but undistinguished. I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that she's done. SHe was mayor of the 105th largest city in America a town with a population of 9,780. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia Wasillia, Alaska, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada, or Richmond, Virgina. It's not a big town."

At least now the McCain camp can say they're not listening to Karl Rove.

Sarah Palin


Sarah Palin has become the foxiest VP candidate since John Nance Garner (but not the world's hottest politician by a damn sight). John McCain selected her in order to woo the dames, right-wingers, and Alaska's massive electorate, and also because he decided that a president doesn't need any experience after all.

My biggest problem with Sarah Palin is her stance on teaching creationism in schools:

"Teach both [creationism and evolution]. You know, don't be afraid of information....Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

The problem isn't that she thinks creationism should be taught in schools. The problem is that she frames the issue dishonestly when saying so. Sarah Palin is in favor of teaching creationism either because she wants to stay friendly to evangelicals, she thinks creationism is a valid theory, or both. It has nothing to do with wanting to expose children to the maximum amount of information for its own sake. If that were true she would advocate teaching the creation myths of all of the world's major religions and then some. I doubt this is her stance, and I doubt that she could justify singling out a particular religious theory of creation beyond the fact that it happens to coincide with the beliefs of a large number of voters.

Posing the question as "Why do you hate debate so much?" as opposed to "Why should I have to justify placing creationism (or anything else) alongside valence theory, photosynthesis, and algebra in the public education system?" is cowardly and dishonest.

As I said, things livened up a bit after my first photoventure. Whereas the 16th Street Mall was dominated by shoddy souvenirs on Monday, as the week wore on people grew less interested in spending money on things and more interested in expressing their opinions in creative and silly ways. So let's take another photographic stroll down the mall, shall we? Yes, we shall.

Okay, so this is kind of a hybrid merch-protest operation. They're selling an anti-Bush book based on a song by the band Shivaree.

I have to say, I don't see the logical connection here, other than the fact that ICE raids, war, and torture are all things that the Bush administration likes to do. And these folks have cleverly tapped in to the marketing power of nudity.

I now wonder if he can see through that mask or if the guy behind him is spotting for him, like that part in Rabbit Hill.

The world continues to not be able to wait.

Here's a woman wearing a patch whose sentiments I heartily endorse. And dig that belt! It's like cheap Final Fantasy armor!

Crowd shot that somehow managed to not capture a single Obama T-shirt, despite the fact that 80% of people on the mall this week were sporting some sort of Probama gear. Go figure.

Some surly ATF dudes guarding a very important alley. I think the guy on the left is saying "Let's kick this guy's ass." It's not clear who the guy on the right is talking to but I'm pretty sure that's not an ATF shirt he's wearing.

I got to this spot just in time for a protest march. I think they were chanting "Global warming, no more warring," again linking two completely unrelated causes. I guess it's efficiency? I don't know, they didn't consult me first.

More mad protesting action. I think those are Atreides flags.

The marchers had a police escort whose main job appeared to be yelling at people to get out of the way of the police escort.

The Pep Boys are watching you!

You may think this guy is trying to be a patriotic cowboy, or that he wanted to be able to walk around during the DNC without having his face plastered on some lame blog, but it turns out he doesn't have a jaw. Eats apple sauce through a hole in his neck. It's tragic, really.

The "Make Out Not War" patch is somehow less compelling this time around. This is my second DNC photo with a small, portable dog looking off to the right.

I don't have anything snarky to say about this nice lady. But check out the goofy idiot behind her.

Wait, I thought the whole thing was that young women were pro-Obama and older women were pro-Hillary, and the older women were all mad because the younger women don't understand what women have had to go through to get this far. Are these girls being ironic? Or have the media somehow oversimplified things at me? Could XX Factor be wrong? How can this be?

McCain and Obama flip-flops. Thank you, 2004 Presidential Election, for making it totally unacceptable for politicians to change their minds about things. Stubborn inflexibility is the hallmark of a true leader! Join me or die!

You'd think at some point I would have lost my fascination with the riot cops, but no. They still scare the hell out of me.


People were really bringing the crazy this week. Again, the connection between a liberal political awakening, Oprah, and a free car seems manifestly tenuous.

Because I am a married man, I won't voice my opinion as to whether that button is being worn descriptively or normatively.

The road leading to the convention. The little green illegible sign points the way to Invesco Field. Exciting!

This van had pictures of aborted fetuses and "This was not MLK's dream" on one side, and a bunch of anti-gay biblical stuff on the other side. I like how he tried to squeeze the E in after mispelling "Hussein" but didn't realize he had also messed up on "Barack."

I like the idea of someone walking into this gallery and saying, "You know what I'd really like is a really large picture of Barack Ob- Hey! The Cat in the Hat!"

Another idiotic tie-in. "The Patriot Pen"? Really?

Here's a shot from my office window. The round, flying saucer-looking thing at the far right is the roof of the Pepsi Center. Invesco field is the clam-shaped stadium in the distance. In the foreground you can see the barricades blocking off Auraria Parkway, a major road that was closed all week.

The big news yesterday was the large protest march that started out as a Rage Against the Machine Concert at the Denver Coliseum. I'm not sure what all went down other than what I could see from my office. But here's what I saw. This is an intersection of the 16th Street Mall that was temporarily blocked off to make way for the protesters, who haven't arrived yet.

Once word got out that the protesters planned on convening at this intersection (the barricaded intersection from above), a crowd started gathering and (you guessed it) riot cops got ready for some beat-down duty. You can see the riot squad in formation off to the right, and a second squad lined up on the grass behind the umbrellas.

The marchers stopped here for a while for reasons that remain unclear.

Then they hung a right toward the rendezvous point...

...and were diverted! The police somehow cajoled them into redirecting their march toward the empty University of Colorado campus, where that kind of garbage belongs. At the top of the photo you can see the lights of the police motorcycles leading the crowd.

This is mainly just showing off the digital zoom function on my camera. 27 floors up and a mile away and I can readily tell that these folks are trying to convince the Democrats not to attack Iran. Mission accomplished, fellas.

After things stabilized there was some kind of press conference, and I decided to head on home.

On the way I saw this enormous dog.

And these patriotic ladies.

With enormous fake missile penises. That's all I have to say about that.

Here's the woman with the "turd vs. paper bag" sign referenced in my previous blog post. When I tried to take her picture she dodged and apologized for being in my way, not realizing that I was trying to take her picture.

Poppycock! Bill Bennett said this would bring down crime rates!

Took me all damn day to get a shot of these folks. They were driving laps up and down the Mall and it was a damn chore to get the whole matzo ball into the frame.

Don't these children realize that they'll get killed by terrorists at three in the morning if Obama is elected? What have their parents done to them? And no, I didn't give them any money, either.

Gay little balloon on the train ride home.

This morning Dr. M came into the city with me so she could experience the Mall Madness first-hand. This is lovely Larimer Street, with a bunch of flags that I mostly don't recognize.

Two great things that go great together.

American flag made of wine corks and sparkling wine corks. Notice I didn't say "champagne corks," because making an American flag out of french wine corks would be blasphemy punishable by banishment.

I really like this for some reason.

Loaded and rich.

Why indeed? Certainly not for my skills as a photographer. The editor in me notices (1) the lack of "ly" after "righteous" and (2) the adjusted kerning in "HEAVEN" for emphasis. Good show, severe-looking black-suit-wearing religious guy!

As I type this, Obama is giving his acceptance speech, and tomorrow the city of Denver will plod through a hazy post-convention hangover as the delegates and other attendees return to their homes and the nation turns its attention to St. Paul and McCain's VP pick. Next week, no doubt, the Mall will return to the hands of vagrants and (pissy, as it turns out) street performers, picked-over Democratic merch will be marked down, and we'll all get on with our simple mountain-folk lives. But I'll always have the missile penis ladies.

Obama as Schroedinger's Cat


Things have gotten more intense on the 16th Street Mall since Monday as the buildup continues toward this evening's big Obamagasm at Invesco Field. I'll have some more pictures posted soon, though at the moment the 74-page contract Dr. M and I are going to sign tomorrow has a superior claim to my immediate attention.

I did, however, want to comment separately about a sign I saw yesterday that struck me as uncharacteristically cynical given the general tenor of Obama's supporters. The sign (which I took a picture of) said: "If you prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty, you must be a Republican."

To begin with, this goes against a great deal of Obama's message, which has consisently attempted to convey the idea that Obama is certain to be a fabulous president, his relative lack of experience, secret devotion to the Twelfth Imam, and possible connections to communist, nazi, kitten-hating scoundrels notwithstanding. The sign basically says, yeah, Obama's a pig in a poke, but he probably won't be shittier than McCain and there's a chance he'll be less shitty.

Assuming you accept the premise that McCain would be a crappy president, the sign makes perfect sense. If you're given a choice between a turd and a paper bag that you know contains either a turd or a chocolate donut, you'll go with the paper bag every time. But it certainly doesn't make one feel very warm and fuzzy about the election, if the choice is between a turd and a maybe-a-turd. That very well may be what we're dealing with, but I doubt the Obama campaign will adopt that as their post-convention theme.

"Barack Obama: He probably won't fuck things up as badly as John McCain will."

I may not give a tinker's cuss about the masturbatory political speeches going on a few miles from where my carcass is currently parked, but God damn it if I don't like taking pictures. So join me on a photographic romp through Denver's 16th Street Mall on the first day of the Democratic Convention. Do it!

Here's a guy wearing a shirt that's funny because John McCain is old.

This operation was set up near my office. They were auctioning off these autographed portraits of various personages of Democratic significance (there was a whole bunch of Kennedy crap on another table) using an elaborate system that I didn't care to understand.

Democrats came from all over the country, from the sinful depths of New York City to the strange, foreign climes of Hawaii. And all points in between, except probably Wyoming, where being a Democrat is illegal.

I saw this guy and thought, "Hmm, there's one of those crazy, giant-sign-carrying churchies," and thought little else of it until later, as you will see.

Not surprisingly the most noticeable effect of the DNC on the 16th Street Mall, apart from the throngs of haggard-looking people in suits with colorful passes hanging from their necks, was the proliferation of Obama merch. Seriously, you couldn't swing a "Hope" button pinned to the end of a "Yes We Can!" lanyard without hitting a merch outpost. At some point I am going to buy myself a T-shirt, not because I'm a huge Obama fan, but because I'll always regret not buying one if I don't.

I'm not entirely sure what "Obama Water" is and I'm not entirely sure I want to find out.

This is vaguely reminiscent of the "Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fan Club" sketch from SNL. I couldn't get a better shot of this thing without standing in traffic.

The actual Obama-in-a-Bottles are much less dramatic.

This woman appeared to be eating lunch, but that didn't stop her from selling buttons, no sir.

"Ah, another crazy giant-sign-carrying churchie. Odd that."


"Ah! What memories! I haven't seen these lunatics since my undergrad days at Berkeley!"

I'm pretty sure this guy was trying to do a Gabriel's Trumpet kind of thing, but he looks like he's squeezing one out. I believe he's playing "The Star Spangled Banner," America's needlessly violent national anthem.

Things actually got a tad physical with this guy (he's the one holding the Homo Sex sign), but this was the most heated shot I could get. Note that things probably aren't that tense given the grinning teenage girls nearby.

Despite the Democratic party's dream of a classless society ("classless" in the good sense, not the "school in the summertime" sense), there were definitely tiers of merch outposts. These guys weren't blessed with any sort of fancy tents or umbrellas and had to get down swap meet style. This is right near a light rail stop.

I'm almost sure that Time Magazine T-shirt is unauthorized.

Even the crappy portrait artists are catching Obama fever. Yes, that's supposed to be Obama.

While I didn't see any McCain merch being peddled, there was a whole God merch stand, with these lovely God hats...

...and this plentiful supply of God shirts. I may have to get myself a "God Gisd Good" shirt to go with my Obama shirt.

The guy with the winery sign was staying close to the guy with the churchie sign, because as we all learned in Sideways, irony sells wine.

Bike cops in tight formation, hoping they don't have to pull anyone over, because that wouldn't work very well (sorry, Kenny, I know that's a version of your joke, but I'm stealing it!).

I took a picture of these two women.

Okay, even with 50,000 flatlanders clogging the streets of my new beloved hometown, these three really stood out. This must be the Paris Hilton delegation. Note the dapper linen suit (with the meticulously positioned handkerchief that had to be just so before I could take the picture), the well-tended hair and makeup, the never-out-of-sight iPhone, the horrible little neckerchiefed dog... These folks were very nice, actually, and were thrilled to have their picture taken.

Tableside merch! Now that's Denver hospitality!

These guys probably would have been here with or without the DNC, but whatever.

These ladies not so much. At least not dressed in unison.

In addition to co-opting the Presidential Seal, that arrogant bastard has bastardized the Rock the Vote logo! The temerity!

Many local business are offering stupid tie-ins, like the ESPN Zone and the luggage store near where I work. God love these intrepid mercantilists.

I thought the donkeys were cute.

This was after work, on my way to the train station, when I got to walk past a punch of police in riot gear. I think Joe Biden had shown up around this spot earlier in the day (seriously), and the cops probably wanted to give him some stick time.

Note the orange butt on the assault rifle, so you can tell it's a squirt gun!

Denver is serious business -- History in the making and a late night burlesque show!

The counter-churchie battalion was less organized but no less offensive.

This fellow was taking advantage of the local ordinance in Denver that forbids juggling except when directed to a non-juggling-related purpose, such as playing a xylophone.

That's it for today. I'll be keeping my camera with me all week, but I'm a hard-working lawyer so I may not be able to stray too far from the Mall, and I get the feeling that I covered most of the bases with these pictures. But we'll see. Oh, and I'm having lunch with some Illinois senator tomorrow.* I'll let you know how it goes.

* Not actually true.

On the Subject of Denver

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Not surprisingly, I've had numerous people over the past several weeks ask me "How's Denver?" I've answered this question as best I can, but I've found a handy dandy online resource to quickly answer all your "How's Denver?" questions: the video posted here. Having lived in Denver for over five weeks, I can safely describe that video as "shockingly accurate."

Speaking of Denver, you may have heard that the Democratic National Convention started here today. Everyone was expecting the city to be crippled by the influx of 50,000 flaming liberals and their accompanying protesters, and that our fair town would quickly descend into a nightmare of smoke plumes, smoldering rubble, and gay marriage. Well, not so. My commute this morning was manifestly unremarkable and the only thing that's different that I can put my foot on at this point is the large number of tents surrounding the Pepsi Center. Also, the Secret Service is inspecting all cars that come into my building, but I don't drive to work so that doesn't affect me. But I'll keep you posted if any crazy shit goes down.

George Orwell Has a Blog


JMV sent me a link to The Orwell Diaries, a site that's posting George Orwell's entries in his diaries exactly seventy years after he wrote them. I consider this to be really cool. At the very least it may save me the trouble of reading Homage to Catalonia, which I was never able to find in college.

The project started this month, and most of the entries so far are pretty short, so you can easily catch up. It's amazing to see the disdain and sarcasm that somehow comes across in his descriptions of the mundane elements of his surroundings. I found the stuff about the snake to be particularly entertaining.

Caption Contest


This photo from a wedding I appeared in earlier this week seems to have a lot of grist for the caption mill. Leave your entries in the comments.

The Olympics are Stupid

If I were an Olympic swimmer and won a gold medal in Olympic swimming, here are a few things I might say when the post-swimming interviewer asked "What was going through your mind during that final lap?"

1. "Chocolate or vanilla? And I'm not referring to ice cream. Baby."
2. "Donkeys. Hundreds and hundreds of donkeys."
3. "I was think how the ending of Crime and Punishment doesn't get the appreciation it deserves."
4. "Not my investment portfolio, that's for sure. Thank you, Paine Webber."
5. "SurehopeIwinthisracesurehopeIwinthisracesurehopeIwinthisrace."
6. "I was trying to figure out whether Hermione really comes back to life at the end of A Winter's Tale or whether she was just in hiding. That's been driving me crazy ever since high school."
7. "Psychotropic chemicals, and a whole lot of them, too."


Dr. M and I made a third effort at Geeks Who Drink this week. After our disappointing first experience and a second salvo in which we got resoundingly clobbered, we took home the gold on Wednesday. And by "gold" I mean "thirty-dollar gift certificate to McCabe's Bistro and Pub." You can see us in all of our gift-certificate-having glory here, though you'll have to get past a possibly not-work-safe photo of a part of a woman's breast to get there.

The host, judging by the blog post, seems to credit our success to a low turnout precipitated by precipitation. However, there were a number of other factors contributing to our triumph. They include, in no particular order:

1. The fact that the answer to "Which goth band...?" happened to be Bauhaus, the only goth band I know of.
2. Dr. M's knowledge of white reggae.
3. My surprising ability to identify porn actors by sight (I -- that's right, "I," not "we" -- got five out of eight on the visual round, a score bested by no one).
4. The fact that we were able to put our rudimentary Spanish skills together and independently derive "Lucha Libre" from its English translation.
5. Magic: The Gathering implausibly showing up as an answer in round seven.
6. Dr. M's recall for state names and my recall for state capitols.
7. The fact that the final round included both a physics question and an astronomy question (though, as the boob picture makes clear, I was not the person most qualified to identify Orion as the constellation that includes Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Rigel).
8. Only one member of our team was drinking (cider!) and he didn't win a single free beer.

And, you know, the fact that there were only seven teams playing.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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