October 30, 2010

Jane & Mena’s big adventure: Our recent visit to Hello Kitty!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:30 pm

Sometimes you just gotta take a break from observing the ever-present world stage of human tragedy and go out and have fun! So last week me and my two-year-old granddaughter Mena went over to San Francisco to see Hello Kitty celebrate her 50th birthday. According to a recent 7-Live newscast, this event was to take place on Justin Herman Plaza at 1 pm, and consisted of a mobile Hello Kitty store, some free gift bags and an opportunity to get your photo taken with Hello Kitty herself!

So we popped onto the BART train and took off.

Was the event crowded? Yes it was. We got there two hours early and there were already at least 200 people standing in line. One woman said that she had left her house that morning at 6 am so that she would be sure to get a gift bag. And everyone there was a huge Hello Kitty fan!

Demographics? Most of the fans there were adults — many of whom have loved Hello Kitty since childhood. And why not — what’s not to love? Guilty pleasure — I love Hello Kitty too. Many Japanese-Americans and Japanese turned out for the event. And most fans were women. Me too. And so was Hello Kitty!

The prices of things for sale at the mobile store were a bit on the expensive side. A commemorative T-shirt was $35, a small plastic coin purse was $12. Small stuffed animals were $28. Plus it took forever to get waited on.

However, a good time was had by all and we made lots of instant friends while waiting in line to get our photos taken with Miss Kitty. “But what about the gift bags?” you might ask. Only 50 of them were given out, plus they gave the first 50 arrivals a number (written on their hands) so that there would be no cutting in line. Rats. But I did get a sneak peek at the gift bags even though we had arrived too late to actually score, and they contained stickers, a note pad, a pencil and a small coin purse. I want one!

The Hello Kitty “Small Gifts” 50th-birthday mobile tour was a really fun event, mostly because of all the enthusiastic fans that we met — but also because we got to actually get our photos taken with a real, life-sized Hello Kitty. And she even patted young Mena on the head.

Moral of the story? Even a hardened reporter like myself can still succumb to “cute” — and that advertisers and promoters still have us where they want us.

PS: Mena went as a witch for Halloween this year — which reminds me of all the female Tea Party candidates who have been circling like sharks churning the waters during this election cycle: Sarah Palin, Meg Whitman, Christine O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, Michelle Bachmann, etc. Remember back in the day when we women would have been honored and pleased to have so many female candidates running for federal office? I surely don’t feel that way now.

PPS: Speaking of honor, Glasgow Sunday Herald war correspondent David Pratt has just written a very moving article entitled “There is never an argument to defend the use of torture”. Pratt himself was tortured when he was reporting from Bosnia back in 1995.

“The gunmen who took me prisoner claimed to be Croatian militiamen, but were, in reality, little more than thugs and gangsters,” wrote Pratt. “During my short captivity, along with other civilian prisoners, I was bound and beaten with rifle butts before being singled out one night to be shot. To this day, I’ve never really been able to figure out what then followed – a mock execution or simply a case of my captors, who were drunk at this point – making a cock-up of trying to kill me.

“The last I remember of that night, was kneeling with my hands tied behind my back looking down into a ditch where others lay twisted and lifeless. Then there was the sound of a pistol being cocked before being put to the back of my head. A second later, there was an empty click and some mocking laughter before a thump on the back of my neck sent me to oblivion into the ditch where I later regained consciousness lying alone among a heap of bodies.”

The point that Pratt goes on to make is this: “At the end of the day, real democracies don’t do torture. In today’s war on terror, far from being a necessary evil, torture is plain evil: a morally reprehensible act that is in itself is a form of terrorism.

“No matter how much we try to justify it as a means to an end, in fighting today’s war on terror, it simply can never be so. Those states that advocate its use are little better than those morally bankrupt thugs at whose hands I, along with countless others, suffered in Bosnia all those years ago.

“As the French Algerian author, Albert Camus, eloquently put it: ‘Torture has perhaps saved some, at the expense of honor…even when accepted in the interest of realism and efficacy, such a flouting of honor serves no purpose but to degrade our country in her own eyes and abroad.’”


October 4, 2010

Meg Whitman’s Ego Sampler


October 1, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Toast and Coast Edition

“Lie to me once, shame on you; lie to me twice, shame on me for believing you; lie to me three times – hey, you’re a Republican!”
– Yank Bunger, Ph.D

Who’s Not Ready For Prime Time and who is in some upcoming races, as determined by a dart throw and a peek into the dank tea leaves at the bottom of the barrel. Those seeking alphabetical order will be struck by its absence.

Burnt Toast: Christine O’Donnell, GOP candidate for US Senate from Delaware.
Along with her Jabberwocky bleatings about witchcraft, satanic picnics, evolution, masturbation, and her other hobbies, the Lawd’s Chipmunk Girl has now been found to be brazenly fabricating her educational history. Turns out she didn’t attend Oxford, she didn’t get a degree from Claremont University, and she falsified her record concerning the time of her graduation from Farleigh Dickinson U. Seems she won’t lie to the Nazis to save another human being, but all else is fair game. If this Media Hound had any capacity for embarrassment, she would have dropped out of the race already, but she hasn’t, so she won’t – and she’s shamelessly blaming it all on God for wanting her to stay in the race.
Amusing Sidenote (sort of): Why don’t these Christopublicans like O-Don and Junior Bush ever take the hint? Maybe the Almighty is telling them to run to teach them a lesson in humility (and comedy) they sorely need.
Big Coast: Democrat Chris Coons, who’s no doubt up by a bazillion points in the polls by now, or will be by election day.

Toast:Carl Paladino, GOP candidate for Governor of New York
Scraping up the dregs of the Tea Party teapot, we find Mr. Kiss-My-Ring Carlo, a true Republican family values man who loves family values so much he extended them to a woman to whom he wasn’t married who then had a child a decade ago. Papa P. (for ‘Pot’) is now accusing his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, of conducting extramarital affairs without the wimpy liberal niceties of evidence. Oh, and he’s been physically threatening reporters, too, for asking him to prove his wild charges. Already popular among his friends for sending them emails featuring racist images and bestiality porn, Paladino will no doubt nail down the vote of blacks, women and equestrians, but will the men support him?
Amusing Factoid: Carl says he enjoys being nasty. No shit, Carl?
Coast: Landslide thy name is Cuomo.

Toast: Meg Whitman, GOP candidate for Governor of California
In a state that’s already burned out on Republicans, the revelations Thursday that Megma lied when she said she received no notification from Social Security warning her that her former maid’s SS number was false pours the last coat of KY Jelly on the wealthy ex-eBay CEO’s long greased slide.
Amusing Factoid: Meg’s husband’s name is Griff Harsh. No wonder she doesn’t use her married name in her political campaign – it’s too appropriate.
Coast: Jerry Brown, once and future Dem Gov.

Toast: Carly Fiorina, GOP candidate for US Senate from California.
With C.F.’s debate performances less than stirring, all sitting Dem Sen. Barbara Boxer has to do is keep reminding voters that multi-millionaire Carly, as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, cut 35,000 American jobs and sent them overseas. And leave us not forget her atrociously incompetent record in that position – so bad the H-P board bought out her contract and told her to take a walk.
Amusing Sidenote: You can bet at least one La-La-Lander will vote for Carly because they think she wrote and sang the song, “You’re So Vain.”
Coast: Welcome back, Babs, the Senate needs more like you.

Toast: Rand Paul, GOP candidate for US Senate from Kentucky.
Paul has bounced around on his positions so much he could be a tennis ball. Starting off as a staunch antiwar, pro-drug decriminalization Libertarian, he’s morphed into a desperate, soft-shoe racist, bug-eyed-nuts Teabagger with hidden GOP establishment trimmings. It’s what happens when you nominate an oafish country-club drunk whose Bircher-bitter political opinions are filtered through a martini shaker. His campaign, to his detriment, has been more Rand and less Paul, as in his father Ron.
Amusing Factoid: Dr. Paul is ‘board certified’ by a medical board that he apparently invented and that features his wife as one of its members. He also earns half his keep from Medicare patients, yet wants to get rid of social programs like Medicare – after he’s safely ensconced in the Washington millionaires club that is the GOP side of the Senate, of course.
Coast: It may be a squeaker, but KY AG Jack Conway will pull it out.

Toast: Sharron Angle, GOP Candidate for US Senate from Nevada.
After all of her anti-government fulminations against any social program that might help poor or middle-class folks keep their heads above water, Sharron with the two ‘RRs’ (for Raving Right?) has taken routine Republican hypocrisy to a new and higher angle by living off her husband’s government pension and taking advantage of his sumptuous government-paid health care benefits. She’s another demented ignorant Teabagger who doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about on any subject and just makes things up to suit the moment. Fortunately, Nevadans have gradually become aware of this fact and Harry Reid is now leading by five points in the polls.
Amusing Factoid: How crazy do you have to be to go from thirty points ahead to five points behind to a guy who is disliked by 75 percent of the voters in your state? Sharron has blazed the trail for future Tea Party candidates in this regard.
Coast: The unlikable lamebrain Sen. Reid will prevail, maybe by as much as ten points in the vote.

Toast: Rahm Emanuel’s run for Mayor of Chicago
Although the too-tight Beltway Cocktail Party Media may not realize it, the charming (koff, koff) ferret-faced DLC hatchet man and soon-to-be-former Obama Chief of Staff is not roundly loved in most sections of the Windy City. In fact, one might say he is deeply loathed far and wide, except by a few leftovers of the old Daddy Daley Machine from whence this corporate-money monster grew. Following his flat-on-his-face failure for Obama, and Hizzoner’s son Richie Daley’s steep fall from grace as mayor, who would want Rahm to perform Richard the III by the lake? (The only part he’s really capable of playing.) Nope, he’s toast straight out of the gate.
Amusing Factoid: Rahm is not and never has been a liberal, progressive nor even much of a Democrat. He’s more of a ‘Fuck You’ Republicant who was a DINO because Republicans don’t get elected in Chicago.
Coast: Anyone not named ‘Rahm Emanuel.’

© 2010 RS Janes.

June 10, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Primary Post-Mortem Edition

“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn’t, as you well know. … I’m asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.”
– Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) from the film classic “Election” (1999).

A quick rundown of the five most prominent primaries last Tuesday:



US Senate: Creepy Republican Carly Fiorina is such a dimwit that Dem Sen. Barbara Boxer shouldn’t have much problem with her. All Barb has to do is run ads revealing that Carly’s idea of improving the American economy is shipping 13,000 jobs overseas, her record as one of the 20 worst CEOs in the country when she ran Hewlett-Packard, her flip-flop on cap and trade, and that squirrelly flub she made when supporting McCain for president in 2008 by saying (truthfully) that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin were qualified to run a US corporation. Meanwhile, word is Carly’s gearing up ads to brand Boxer as a – gasp! – liberal Democrat, as if California voters didn’t already know that. Ms. Fiorina can be counted on to make at least one thoroughly ridiculous, out-of-touch, mind-numbingly dumb statement at some time during the campaign – she can’t help herself – and that will seal her fate. (She’s already fired some opening shots in that direction by carping about Barbara Boxer’s hairstyle as if she were in a high school catfight, and dumping on fellow CA Republican Meg Whitman for appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News laugh-a-thon.) Prediction: Bet on Boxer by a KO.

“There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation.”
Carly Fiorina in 2004, telling American workers they should work for less, except herself, of course – she got a $20 million pay-off for resigning from HP after reducing the worth of their stock by half.

Governor: Speaking of Ms. Whitman, here’s what I know about eBay – three separate people I’ve met, unconnected to one another, have all had very bad experiences selling or buying items on eBay and will never use them again, and they were all enraged at the negligent treatment they received from the company in settling their complaints. That doesn’t augur well for any business and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman was in charge when these events happened. Meg just spent a record $80+ million to seize the Republican nomination for governor in the Golden State, which seems like an egregious waste of money since she’s bound to be the GOP sacrifice to Dem Jerry Brown. After years of the Republican Guffernator, whose poll numbers are now lower than Gray Davis’ when he was recalled, it seems Kalifornyuns are plumb tuckered out from the big business-small government-low taxes hoohah that has been Ahnuld Schwarzenfluffer’s theme song and that Whitman is now peddling. It’s worked so well that CA is an economic basket case, suffocating in massive debt and cutting needed services. Time for a change from the regressive buncombe. Prediction: Easy victory for Brown.

“We can’t impede progress in the name of environmental action that yields little for the environment and even less for our people … and we should look at the environment as an economic opportunity.”
Meg Whitman. Yes, what an ‘economic opportunity’ the Gulf of Mexico has become thanks to lax ‘environmental action.’

(Side Note: What is it about these Republican women politicians? They all talk and act like none-too-bright Century 21 reps at a sales seminar. Could it be that all of the smart, accomplished women become Dems and the shiny-eyed Tracy Flicks go GOP? Certainly seems that way.)


US Senate: Okay, there’s no denying Dem Sen. Harry Reid is a horse’s ass, but he’s at least a generally rational horse’s ass, which cannot be said of his newly-minted Republican opponent and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.

Angle has hit all the Stations of the Cross in Wingnut Wackadelphia: She wants to get rid of Social Security, unemployment insurance and Medicare; advocated for more offshore oil drilling and further deregulation even after the BP Gulf disaster; drools to eliminate the EPA, the Dept. of Education, and get out of the U.N.; and she’s even revisited the reactionary-fringe past by opining that booze be banned along with the fluoridation of water. Angle is now desperately trying to play down how many nuts are in her fruitcake, but Reid should have a field day letting her own dopey words drag her to defeat. As lame as Reid may be, Nevadans are sick of Republican shenanigans and corruption – Gov. Jim Gibbons and Sen. John Ensign come to mind, to name just two – and they don’t need another glaring embarrassment like Angle in Washington, competing with Michele Bachmann for the Goofball of the Week prize. Prediction: Reid will coast to victory next November.

“We have oil reserves and petroleum reserves that we should tap into. And that’s a policy that we really need to look at as a nation. How do we deregulate enough to invite our industries to come back into the United States and quit outsourcing their business?”
– Sharron Angle on May 26, 2010, more than a month after the BP Gulf oil disaster began, as quoted by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line.

The DOA Dems


US Senate: Your Tattlesnake called Bill Halter in the runoff by 5 points and was, obviously, wrong. Of course, I didn’t count on most of the polling places in districts friendly to Halter being closed by election officials with ties to his opponent — such as only 2 open out of 36 in Garland County – so that may have affected the final tally. Be that as it may, sitting Blue Dog Dem Sen. Blanche Lincoln is headed for doom in November – her campaign and an anonymous senior idiot at the White House who sounds suspiciously like Rahm Emanuel managed to gratuitously insult unions sufficiently that they will sit out the Arkansas vote. With no massive GOTV ground game, few moderate Dems enthusiastic about her reelection, and unions and progressives turning their backs on her in droves, Blanche is fixing to be blanched by a boiling landslide. No great loss – the Democrats need to shed backstabbers like Lincoln.

“Voters must have faith in the electoral process for our democracy to succeed.”
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, apparently unconcerned about the AR primary runoff chicanery.

South Carolina:

Governor: Unless the lurid charges of hetero extramarital affairs and a lesbian tryst with, say, Wanda Sykes, turn out to be true, Republican Nikki Haley will be the next governor of SC. Maybe by the election cycle after that, the white-bread troglodytes who inhabit much of the state will learn how to read a calendar and realize it’s 2012 and not 1912. Still, a female governor of Sikh Indian ancestry, albeit one endorsed by McCain’s half-term wonder-thinker from Wasilla, is a slight improvement over most of the testicled louts that usually hold civic office in the steaming heap just south of the Tar Heel State, which may soon be known as the Tar Ball State, depending on the strength of the Loop Current from the Gulf.

No quote from Nikki Haley except to say that she agrees with her predecessor and endorser Gov. Mark Sanford’s neocon policies that have brought SC to the brink of ruin. Just guessing, but she probably doesn’t agree with him in the realm of personal conduct or trail hiking in the Appalachians.

© 2010 RS Janes.

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