January 25, 2012

The Artist

Just charmed, from start to finish. Beautiful, funny, sweet. I'm not smart or schooled enough to get all the references to old classic films, but I am savvy enough to know they were there.

I usually try to get to see a bunch of the Oscar nominated films prior to the CARC Oscar Night party. Since I have not been inside a mainstream theater in over half a year. I get to Real Art Ways periodically (where the Oscar Night party will be held this year), but that's about it. I suspect I have my work cut out for me. I'm sure a few have hit On Demand / DVD / Amazon by now, so one rainy / snowy day I'll binge - but I still have a bunch to see in the theaters.

January 16, 2012

Unintended Consequences

So, Rick Santorum seems to be the christian right's great last hope against the (choose one unforgiveable sin: moderate, flipflopping, or morman) Romney.

The funny thing is, that Dan Savage's anti-Santorum campaign seems to have strengthened Santorum's bona fides with the conservative right - as the most stridently problematic republican from the GLBT perspective, he's by default the most attractive to the religious right. So in some ways, we (the queer community) have created our own monster.

That being said, anything that drags the Republican primary on longer, that delays Romney's eventual coronation, and pushes him to the right rhetorically has to be a good thing, if one is pulling for a second Obama term.

I remain optimistic. The "anyone but Romney" wing of the Republican party seems to remain pretty adamant. Ron Paul continues to siphon off the libertarian wing. No matter how the next few months play out, I fnd it hard to see an engaged and energized Republican party come November.

Now if only we can dig up some video footage of the former Massachusett's governor helmeted behind the wheel of a tank....

January 11, 2012

Doing my Part

Lopes Wins 24th House District Seat

Yeah, I voted. I always vote. In these small, single candidate, mid-season elections, my vote seems a lot more potent.
Unofficial results show Lopes polling 785 votes, while Republican Peter Steele got 583. Petitioning candidate Thomas Bozek, a hard-line conservative and former state senator, pulled in 404.

Curious that Bozek, the candidate who sent me a comb and railed against low income housing and public assistance in his mailing, seems to have swung the election for Lopes - assuming that most of his support would have gone for Peter Steele had they voted at all.

Compare and Contrast

More signs of long term schisms in the Republican presidential campaign.

This week, Newt Gingrich was quoted:
“They apparently looted the companies, left people unemployed and walked off with millions of dollars,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Today” show. “Look, I’m for capitalism, I’m for people who go in to save a company … if somebody comes in takes all the money out of your company, and then leaves you bankrupt while they go off with millions, that’s not traditional capitalism.”

Compare and contrast to the language of libertarian darling Ayn Rand, from Atlas Shrugged (from Capitalism Magazine):

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

Looters, huh? What I like to call "coded language" - using the word "looter" immediately calls to mind the libertarian nemesis.

Mitt Romney has serious erosion on multiple fronts - the libertarian wing sees him as part of the big government problem, the fundamentalist Christians are suspicious of Mormonism, and the more conservative see him at best as a flip-flopper (on issues such as gay rights, abortion, health care), and at worst as a moderate pretending to be conservative.

Yeah, he's the only candidate who can grab the middle from Obama. But I suspect in doing so, he'll lose a lot of the fire from his base.

January 06, 2012

Right Below the Surface

Here in New Britain, we're getting ready for an election, as Rick Lopes (D), Peter Steele (R), and Tom Bozek (I) vie for now Mayor Tim O'Brien's seat. I'm a registered Democrat so I've been getting calls (thankfully, live persons) from Dem HQ; as well as a fair number of typical campaign mailers. Yesterday, however, I got a real winner.

Tom Bozek sent a letter, in an actual envelope. The envelop was lumpy (my first though; anthrax or letter bomb) - what it contained was a blue comb (hey, I can use that to clean my hair brushes!) and an emory board, both emblazed with his name and political aspirations. However, there was also a flyer, which places Mr. Bozek just to the right of George Wallace, despite his assertion that he is a Registered Democrat.

My favorite parts:

1) Bozek opposes the NB-Hartford busway for the usual reasons (will not work, costs too much), but also IT LEADS TO MORE PUBLIC AND LOW INCOME HOUSING (bold and caps, his).

2) Bozek is pretty clear about his intention to REDUCE ENTITLEMENTS, which he identifies as "Welfare, Medical, Rents, etc.) no mention of those pesky Social Security entitlements though.....

I'm a pretty faithful (some would say, neurotic) participant in the electoral process. But I'm pretty sure I will not be voting for Bozek.

January 04, 2012

Iowa: And the Winner Is.....

Barack Obama. I can't think of a better outcome for the incumbant Democrat than the effective three way tie of Romney, Santorum, and Paul.

First, the Republican participation was reportedly not much different than in 2008 - hardly a groundswell of "anti Obama" fervor. Second, Romney (the presumptive eventual nominee, by all accounts) did not budge from his "25%" poll numbers - continued evidence that the religious right is soft on the moderate Massachusetts governor with the curious religious beliefs. Ron Paul's strong showing bodes well for a potential third party run. And the christian right's coalescing around Santorum (abandoning Bachman and Perry) just means that Romney will not deliver a knockout vote anytime soon.

What's not to like? The longer Romney has to scrap for the nomination, the further right he'll be pushed, and the less palatable he'll be to moderates come November.

And as an added bonus, the Romney rooted PAC negative ads really pissed the hell out of Gingrich, who will, I suspect, remain a potent sniper chipping away at Romney's armor for the next few weeks. Next to Romney, Gingrich is, I think, the candidate who could give Romney a run for the money, so Romney taking him out removed a bit of a wild card that could have caused trouble.

I may be wrong, but the Republicans being equally split across moderate, libertarian, and christian right sectors seems about as good a portent as possible, looking towards the November elections. And if the economy continues to show signs of growth (despite the efforts of the do nothing, obstructionist House of Representatives), I think Obama isn't in too bad shape.

January 03, 2012

New Year, New Energy

Coincidentally, today ended up being a "doctor's appointment" kind of day.

Started off with an appointment with my APRN (closest thing I've had to a doctor for a few years now) over at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. No biggie there - although she did refer me to a PCP doc over in Unionville. I ended up calling and getting an appointment for Thursday. So I'm starting 2012 off right by getting my health back at the top of the list.

While I was over in that neck of the woods, I stopped by the New Britain YMCA. I've been saying "I want to find a place to swim" for a while now (friends go to Cornerstone in West Hartford, a little too far for me) - and I visited the YMCA website over the holidays and it seemed nice. So I took a tour, got a couple of free passes, and plan to get my butt over there a few times this week to use the pool. They waive the "new member" fee in January, so I expect I'll be signing up later this week.

An amusing coincidence - the desk person called a staffer to give me a tour, and when she took my info form, she noted "Oh, D lives on your street". D, at the start of the tour, noted "you've been here before, right, you look familiar" - turns out she lives down the street, and her dog goes bonkers when I walk Elo - we've had a nodding acquaintance for a while but had never met. That seemed like a good omen.

The YMCA facility is nice enough - plenty of cardio machines (with TV screens), nautilus, free weights, a pool and jacuzzi, a gym and an exercise room. Not modern and slick like a health club, but it feels kind of comfortable there. Best of all - five racquetball courts. I played in college, and the first few years out of school, and it would be fun to hit the court now and then for a friendly game.

While I was in that part of town, I stopped bu the New Britain Library, and got a library card. I've only been in town two years. Bout time. Since I plan to be over that way more often, I might actually use it....

Finally, a dental appointment, where I got some not so great news. Two decay areas, in already filled teeth, are begging for crowns. $3200 worth of dental work, and although I've got some insurance now, it does not cover crowns. So.....yuck. Have to see if I can swing that.

But, all in all, not a bad morning. A lot of change bubbling up as 2012 gets underway; I've been feeling stuck for a while now.

January 02, 2012

An Annual Influx

I was playing around with Google Correlate today (prompted by a piece on Morning Edition). While the point of the site is to find sympatico (expected or not) search terms, there is an interesting trending function that is fun by itself.

Of course, I searched for "yoga", and here's the resultant chart:

Not surprising that "yoga" correlates to "vinyasa" - other correlations include "work out world", "bikram", and "lucille roberts"

What stands out is the annual, start of the year, new year's resolution driven interest in yoga. Each January, we see an annual swell in class sizes and students, and the fact that folks are searching for yoga brings that into focus. There is also an interesting upward trend, year over year.

Ah, well. Enough cyber musing. I've got two classes to teach today, and something tells me they will be full ones!

January 01, 2012

Yoga: Year End Wrap Up

I popped over to my studio's online system and pulled out my data for 2011. Some highlights:

Number of Classes Taken: 179. This includes a handful of workshops, and does not include the 6 times (or thereabouts) I practiced with the 2011 teacher trainees. It also does not count classes I've taken out of town, at other studios, or at Kripalu. It works out to about 3.5 classes per week - round it up to 4 including random classes. Not too shabby.

Number of Classes Taught: 142. This includes classes I had subbed out (a handful) but does not include classes I subbed for others (many more). Nor the 10 classes I led up at summer camp or the couple at Falcon Ridge. Right around 3 a week, which is my normal schedule.

Other 2011 yoga highlights:

* Yoga in Times Square
* A 28 hour Restorative Yoga teacher training
* A week at Kripalu
* Assisted the studio's teacher training (6 long weekends, I was there full time)

So yeah, it's been a good year, yoga wise!

2012 Resolution: More Blogging

I have lots of resolutions this year.

* Drink more water
* Join the New Britain YMCA and go swimming (or other aerobic exercise) a few times a week
* Clean up this mess!
* See more live music.
* Hang out with friends more.
* Give Twitter another shot.
* Blog more frequently.

We'll see....life gets busy and in the way. But Happy New Year's, everyone!

Middnight on Main: Middletown's Answer to First Night

I spent a few hours traipsing through downtown Middletown last evening, at thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe first annual (with any luck) celebration. I've spent a number of New Year's Eves in downtown Hartford at First Night, and I have to say, that Middletown has won my heart.

Mostly, it's about the music. Hartford's First Night did not have a single performer or act that could entice me downtown - I looked over the roster and nothing. Middnight on Main, on the other hand, was overspilling in musical goodness. Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams played two packed sets at the First Church Sanctuary; Hartford darlings The Shinolas did not get the nod in the insurance city, so headed down the river to an overflowing room at the Salvation Army, joined onstage by Mark Erelli and Rani Arbo. Susan Forbes Hanson was hosting the Shinolas sets, as good an indication of the bona fides of the musical evening as anything. WNPR's Jeff Cohen and Catie Telarski, also under appreciated by the First Night folks, brought their talents to Middletown.

A somewhat out of focus iPhone pic of Gandalf Murphy from the First Church balcony.

That's who I went to see. But there was also River City Slim (zydeco), John Whelan (Irish), Barefoot Truth (Rock) and a host of others. You can see the schedule here. The only BAD thing about the event was it was perhaps too successful - venues were filled, folks were turned away. Rounding out the more mainstream music, were Brazilian, Taiko Drumming, Wizard Rock, Show Tunes, Rockabilly, Gospel, Salsa - pretty much anything one might choose to hear.

Middletown has a few benefits that Hartford lacks. A compact and vibrant Main Street - with all of the performance venues easily walkable, made for an easy hike around downtown. They set aside a lot for Food Trucks - where one could find a variety of interesting, yummy, and low cost foods. There are a ton of nice restaurants all up and down Main Street - even as the rabble trekked between Middnight on Main events, folks were sitting down to a more upscale new year's celebration. And though we choose not to imbibe, there were a bunch of nightspots where one could fall in for a New Year's toast if one were so inclined.

And Middletown seemed to get the whole First Night sentiment. Less about a big splashy fireworks show, more about entertainment, mixing, and mingling. A great opportunity to have folks come downtown, see the restaurants and shops, feel safe, and maybe plant the seeds for a vibrant 2012.

Sorry Hartford, my heart has been wooed and won by a little city down the river. I hope that Middnight on Main was a success and becomes an annual event - I plan to be there!