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Keith and Kovacs April 13, 2011

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Politics, Videos.
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Boy, do I miss Keith Olbermann.  Last night, thanks to my sister Terry, we went to the Paley Center (the Museum of Television and Radio) to enjoy 90 minutes of ‘The Life and Legacy of Ernie Kovacs’, moderated by Keith Olbermann.

‘Cerebral and surreal, Ernie Kovacs was one of television’s most daring and subversive originals. From 1950 until his untimely death in 1962, the outrageous comedian used the small screen as his personal comic canvas, challenging the medium’s conventions and assumptions. Moderator Keith Olbermann, himself a master of pop culture references, will lead a discussion about Kovacs’s offbeat sensibility and how it paved the way for future experimentation by Monty Python, David Letterman, and MTV. George Schlatter and his wife Jolene Brand will put their friend’s life in perspective, while two of the most innovative creators of contemporary television, Robert Smigeland Joel Hodgson, will examine why Kovacs remains relevant today. Historian Ben Model will reveal how he curated the definitive box set of Kovacs’s work, which will be released by Shout! Factory on April 19. The evening also will feature exemplary highlights of Ernie’s art, testifying to his personal motto, “Nothing in Moderation’

The evening was funny and entertaining but what I enjoyed most of all was seeing Keith again.  I have missed his Countdown more than I realized.  Yes, I have been distracted these past few months about politics, the world and the demolition of our system of government as we know it, but last night I was energized again.

Contractually, Olbermann is not allowed to speak about his separation with MSNBC so there were vague and subtle references all evening about his estrangement with the network that the crowd enjoyed.  Keith will be back on the air on Current TV sometime soon.  I for one, will tune in.

If you are not familiar with the work of Ernie Kovacs there is a treasure trove of snippets on youtube and the new boxed DVD set is now available.  He was a genius who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 42.  Below are just two of my favorites.

Rally Ho! February 25, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Links, Politics, Supreme Court.
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Get those placards out of mothballs. Join me and the throngs down at Foley Square this Saturday from 1 to 3.  You know where Foley Square is right? It is where you always see the team from Law & Order descend those grand court house steps. In the next week, Congress will hold the fate of Planned Parenthood and family planning in their hands. We must let them know that New Yorkers will not stand for this current assault on women’s access to health care. Join Elected Officials: Senator Charles Schumer, Congressmembers Yvette Clark, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Anthony Weiner, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn! Celebrities and Musical Guests: Kathleen Turner, Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna, the Mountain Goats, Nellie McKay, Toshi Reagon, Maddy Wyatt, oh yes, and me and my gang. Come one – everyone else across this great country of ours is holding a placard for something – how about you?

Something to jump for… February 17, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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Finally, something to jump and shout about.  One of my favorite former Senators, Russ Feingold, has started a movement. I signed up and made a contribution – how about you?  Let us not just watch the rest of the world in revolution mode – let us join the excitement. Progressives United is founded by Former Senator Russ Feingold. Progressives United will lead the movement to curtail corporate influence on politics, and we will never compromise on our integrity in the allies we work with, the candidates we support, or the donations we accept.

Shoot the Messenger September 4, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Links, Photography, Politics.
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The Dreadfulcrats have done it again. We have managed to screw up a huge majority in Congress and have lost our way.  If the Dreadfulcrats could find a messenger that messenger should lose his job.  The Obameter (which I check regularly) salutes Obama’s promises, works in progress, compromises, stalled stuff and things gone awry. This administration has done some terrific things and usually taken the high road at every crosswalk but they have failed miserably in taking their message to the streets.

The Repugnant noise machine has co-opted the message, twisted the language and continued to drive fear into the the dumbed down minds of Americans and seemingly have won the battle. Their message can fit on a bumper sticker.  The Dreadfulcrats’ message is usually in the form of a thesis. Big sigh.

Statistician Nate Silver paints a grim picture of the upcoming midterm elections.

Kirk Johnson in the New York Times writes that Fewer Young Voters See Themselves as Democrats.

Judy Lobo writes that the Blue team is screwed.  Their base (that would be me) is not energized.  Yes, I will go to the polls on both primary day and will vote in November but I sure would like to have that bounce in my step like I did two years ago instead of going to the polls as if I was part of a death march.

Is there time to fix this gloomy picture.  I think there is but the Blue team needs to detour from the high road and start to scream as loudly as possible what we have accomplished and how it effects you,  the individual. The Blue team needs to tell the voting public what it will mean if the Repugnants take control of the House. Remember those subpoenas during the Clinton years?  Remember the Government shut down with Newt Gingrich in power?  Want to see Health Care over turned? (thankfully there is still  Presidential veto power). And on and on.

Stay tuned…

Review: The Girl Who Lost Her E-mail July 22, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Links, This 'n That, Videos.
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Review: The Girl Who Lost Her E-mail

Alternate Title: Road Runner Sucks

Story: After having a Time Warner Road Runner account for oh so many years they finally crossed the Lobo line.

Suddenly two days ago Road Runner stopped sending my mail.  I could receive mail and my computer indicated my mail was sent – but woe is me —it was nowhere to be found.  After hours of telephone misery with too many technical consultants it was decided nothing could be done.

A close relative has a ‘connection’ at Time Warner and an ace consultant was sent to Casa Lobo last night.  Everyone had such good intentions.

After 2.5 hours of mad clicking he accidently hit the REBUILD button on my mac.mail program and everything was LOST (like the TV show)… Gone with the Wind.  All of my in-box mail, all of my drafts with what I considered to be brilliant ideas and all of my sent mail were GONE.  They could not be found, retrieved or willed into being.

The very guilty consultant showed remorse but could do nothing and sulked away into the night.

The bad news is all of the above.  The good news is that my wonderful zoo buddy and faithful technical guru, Mary Schwalm , was able to transfer my gmail account into the aesthetically pleasing mac.mail program and while none of my stuff is retrievable I am now weaning my way off of Road Runner.

Acting: I acted as reasonable as any woman who was about to have her head explode.

Trivia: In the scheme of things, I guess losing all of one’s ‘stuff’ is pretty unimportant.

Predilection: None

Critters: One dog named Benny and one cat named Madison

Food: I had red wine, blueberries and chocolate sorbet after the consultant left

Blatant Product Placement: Apple Laptop Computer (good), Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner Program (bad)

Soundtrack: The sounds of police and fire alarms in the streets of Manhattan and the sounds of screams in my head.

Visual Art: Watching my e-mail vanish into a black hole was not aesthetically pleasing.

Weather: Hot and humid (even with the a/c on)

Squirm Scale: 10

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout the nightmare.

Tissue Usage: 10

Length: Two hours and 30 minutes of misery.

LOBO HOWLS:  0

Remiss, Bothered and Bewildered May 19, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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Thud.  Okay, I said it. I was REMISS. I totally overlooked my usual obsession with the conclusion of the Bernie ‘THUD’ Kerik scenario as he walked the walk and left for a four year term in prison.  He was kicking and screaming along the way.  See ya’ Bernie.  Sadly, he is not going with some of his cronies who should be locked up along with him.

The oil spill has also BOTHERED me to no end but there is so much guilt to go around I could not focus on a target. Ken Salazar’s appearance before the Senate yesterday was a joke.  Go Bernie Sanders.

–  I have been totally BEWILDERED by a number of things these past few weeks. Perhaps being on the road for almost two weeks allowed my brain to lose some of its synapses.

–  In no particular order – the ‘papers, please’ insanity in Arizona is apparently popular with people over 50 (not me) and curious to younger Americans. That seems clear enough.  Young people are not afraid of people who do not look like them and perhaps, just perhaps, they enjoy the diversity rather than the boring homogeneity.

–  The Tea Party still makes me laugh.  Their unfocused, yet loud rage gets too much attention from the media (just like Sarah Palin).  The targets of their focused rage  seems to be Repugnants who do not fit the bill as Uber-Conservatives.  A few did fine in yesterday’s Primaries, but  the general election in November is far away and much can happen.  Those Independent voters are not as radical as the screaming meemies with tea bags hanging from their hats.  Stay tuned.

–  In a head scratching moment, yesterday’s news included the fact that Bristol Palin is hitting the lecture circuit. Her main topic?  Teen pregnancy. ‘The 19-year-old has signed with a firm called Single Source Speakers and is expected to earn between $15,000 and $30,000 per speaking gig’. Good grief.

Just for fun, check out this armadillo:

Movie Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop April 22, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Politics, Videos.
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Movie Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Alternate Title: Takin’ it to the Streets

Story: I loved this movie. It was joyous, funny, interesting, had a spirit of anarchy and I am not quite sure if the whole thing wasn’t a hoax. But I was so entertained I don’t care if I was fooled or not. I am still smiling from this film, a day later.

Street art is about free expression – for all. By street art, I am not talking about those horrific tags that are seen on rooftops and become a visual blight upon the landscape. No, the street art I am talking about are real statements – be they political, satirical or simply visually arresting. This movie is all about the daring artists that mostly work in the dark of night, in dangerous conditions to leave their mark for all of us to see. Art as expression, not commodity – or is it?

We get to meet street artists such as Shepard Fairey (who has his own story to tell over his battle with the Associated Press and his Obama HOPE image), Space Invader, Neckface, Swoon, Cheez, Coma and the most famous of them all, Banksy. We meet these deliberately reclusive artists because of one, Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman living in LA. Guetta is obsessed with filming everything. Through his cousin, Space Invader. he meets these artists of the night and begins his obsession of filming them while they create their art. He films and films and films and explains that he will be making a documentary on the subject. The problem is – he does nothing with his video tapes other them throw them in bins for storage.

Banksy requests that Guetta make his film. When Banksy watches Guetta’s 90 minutes of unwatchable clips he turns the tables on Guetta and Banksy decides to make a documentary about Guetta. I will not reveal more of the plot or else some of the fun will be spoiled. But please, give yourself a treat and go see this film. You will laugh, you will question and most of all – it is great fodder for discussion after the film.

Watch footage of 5 street pieces Banksy put up around Park City to tie-in with the premiere of his film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” at the Sundance film festival in Jan 2010. Music is “Tonight the Streets are Ours” by Richard Hawley, which is used to open and close the film.

Acting: It is hard to tell if anyone was acting or not. It was just fun. The always wonderful, Rhys Ifans was the narrator.

Trivia: Check out Banksy‘s website here. Check out Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) here. Check out Shepard Fairey’s work here.   Check out street art here from the Wooster Collective.

Predilection: I like films about art.

Critters: A pink elephant.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Most of the artists are trying desperately to have their products blatantly presented to the world.

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Visual Art: A visual delight from start to finish.

Theater Audience: About 30 people, mostly men. The ladies room was empty post film, but Sunjit told me the stalls were filled in the men’s room. A rarity for sure. Is street art a testosterone thing?

Weather: Fine weather for street art.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was riveted throughout.

Predictability Level: I had not a clue where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen.

Length: 90 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 9

An Unsettled Base (that would be us) April 1, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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–  President Obama’s base (that would be us) is unsettled. Yes, we are happy that heath care reform was passed, but boy oh boy, it sure was a messy process and we almost gave away the kitchen sink.

It seems that the Obama team, complete with a forest full of olive branches to  offer to the ‘party of NO,’ is confident that no matter what cockamamie idea is offered – we will still vote for the ‘team.’  The sad part of that political position is that they are probably right.  What other choice do we have?  We have seen the other side and it sure ain’t pretty.

So now we are presented with the idea of some offshore drilling. Huh? A big sigh can be heard throughout Blue Land.  I understand what the ‘team’ is doing but it sure is not pretty. The Repugnants are already screaming that it is not enough and it will be interesting to see if any of the Repugnants step out on line when a vote comes to the floor on Energy.

–  Along with the messy upcoming fight on energy we have the ongoing fight on Financial Reform.  This one might be fun to watch as the Repugnants shout from the roof tops in favor of the big banks and against a Consumer Protection Agency and regulatory laws.

I see the Obama team, with all of their olive branches, veering further to the right with each ‘victory.’  Before you know it, President Obama will be the second best Republican President ever (after of course, Bill Clinton).

–  Yesterday’s news about the federal judge’s ruling that government investigators illegally wiretapped the phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant was a BIG thing.  Basically the ruling says that the Bush Administration program of illegal wiretapping (without FISA) was unconstitutional. “The ruling came after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the lawsuit threatened to expose ongoing intelligence work and must be thrown out. In making the argument, the Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration’s position on the case but insisted it came to the decision differently. Holder’s effort to stop the lawsuit marked the first time the administration has tried to invoke the state secrets privilege. Under the strategy, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security. Holder said Judge Walker had been given a classified description of why the case must be dismissed so the court could “conduct its own independent assessment of our claim.” That was a departure from the Bush administration, which resisted providing specifics to judges handling such cases about what the national security concerns were. Holder previously said the administration would respect the outcome of Walker’s review’.

–  And just for fun watch this little Cotton Top Tamarin lick his window clean at the Central Park Zoo.

The Great White Ugly March 28, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Dogs and cats, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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– The great white anger of the day is ugly to watch and baffling to those of us who live in diverse communities. Living in NYC is a bit like living near the Tower of Babel.  I hear different languages, see different colors, races and cultures everyday and like to believe I am richer for that privilege. The anger out there is all about fear. The United States these crazies used to know (or believe they knew) is fading into the distance. You think it is a coincidence that these same angry people do not want to fulfill the Constitutional obligation of a Census?  They are afraid the numbers will be even worse than they think.  Nobody says it better than Frank Rich.  Check out his column today for the real reason those very angry white people are hurling invectives and making overt threats.
‘That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.’

– Yesterday President Obama did what many Presidents do (for the record, when Bush did the same thing it made me crazy)- he made recess appointments. He cleared 15 nominees to assume posts that have remained vacant for months due to insurmountable congressional roadblocks. Among the 15 named just days before the Senate departs for Easter recess are Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, the White House’s two, hotly contested nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.  Check out the article from THE HILL for the other names and details.

–  Check out Antony Gormley’s 31 life size sculptures in the Madison Square Park neighborhood through August 15, 2010. It is a great way to enjoy my neighborhood with its rich history and great architecture. See if you can  find all 31 sculptures and you never know – you might catch me and my dog Benny sniffing around.  Yes, that is Benny in the above photo doing his ‘art critic’ thing once again.

–  My latest video features one minute of the fabulous new penguin feeding regimen at the Central Park Zoo. You can see our new King Penguins along with the Gentoo and the Chinstraps. It’s a fish frenzy of fun!

Here’s to Your Health (with exceptions) March 22, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Links, Photography, Politics, wildlife, Zoos.
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Here’s to your health – unless of course you are a poor woman who gets pregnant.  ‘Oh Judy’, you are saying – ‘can’t you be happy for just one day’?  Yes I can!  I am thrilled that this seemingly impotent Democratic Party (go team, go)  did something that will be in the history books and will ultimately be embraced by all (except those tea partying ass wipes).  (For the record:  I hate Bart Stupak and his holier than thou gang).  Remember when that awful Senator Jim DeMint said that Healthcare would be Obama’s Waterloo?  Guess what, Senator Demint – you got kicked in the ass – Obama turned out to be Wellington.  Health Care Reform passed: 219-212.

So what does this historic legislation do?

– It will provide health insurance to tens of millions of people – this is a good thing.
– It will prevent the insurance companies from denying you coverage for a preexisting condition (is pregnancy a preexisting condition)?
– If you do get sick while insured, the insurance companies cannot drop your coverage (a very good thing).
– The insurance companies cannot cap the amount of money they are willing to pay for your recovery.
– The insurance companies have to grant you insurance – no matter how many arms, head, illnesses or other conditions they do not like.

What is wrong with this legislation?  There are too many things for me to write about in that department today.  Today is a day of celebration (unless of course you are a poor woman who gets pregnant).  If you are an insurance company you should be celebrating too because you have a lot of new customers.

–  From Crooks and Liars here are Ten Immediate Benefits of Heath Care Reform (for those that like lists of 10 things):
1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
4. Free preventative care for all
5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
10. AND no more recisions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.

– For the policy wonks out there here are The health-care vote, by the numbers from the Washington Post By Paul Kane
The House has passed health-care reform, and despite the trials and tribulations along the way, Democrats actually had a slightly wider margin on this vote than on the first go-round on Nov. 7, when the vote was 220-215.

Here’s how the 219-212 vote broke down:

• 219 Democrats voted for the legislation. That’s the exact same number of Democrats who voted yes on Nov. 7, when the House first took up its version of the bill.

• All 178 Republicans voted no. Back in November, only 176 Republicans voted no. On Sunday, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who previously cast the lone GOP vote in either chamber for any version of the legislation, opposed the bill. The GOP also added to its no tally because, since the November vote, Rep. Parker Griffith (Ala.) switched parties to become a Republican. He initially voted against the bill as a Democrat in November.

• 34 Democrats voted no, a drop from the 39 who opposed the first vote.

• Three Democrats who voted yes on Nov. 7 are no longer in office, one having died and two others having retired since that vote. That left just 216 Democrats in office who voted yes Nov. 7.

• Eight Democrats switched from no to yes: Reps. Brian Baird (Wash.), John Boccieri (Ohio), Allen Boyd (Fla.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Betsy Markey (Colo.), and Scott Murphy (N.Y.).

• Of those switchers, four were freshman lawmakers facing likely tough re-elections: Boccieri, Kosmas, Markey and Murphy.

• Five Democrats switched from yes to no: Michael Arcuri (N.Y.), Marion Berry (Ark.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.) and Zack Space (Ohio).

• Of those switchers, two — Arcuri and Space — are from the class of 2006, facing tough reelections.

• Had the other four Democrats who are no longer in office been here Sunday, and had they voted the same as on Nov. 7, the final tally would have been 222-213.