Friday, April 25, 2008

Pop-Up Double-Talk: McCain/Katrina Edition

Speaking as someone who traveled to New Orleans for a conference and left exactly one week prior to Hurricane Katrina blowing in, McCain's atrocious Double-Talk Maverick Express photo-ops regarding New Orleans and the Hurricane left me speechless. This YouTube video made me furious:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wild Eyed: Nature Calendar in New York City

My friend, Erik Baard, has a new website out that discusses all things of an urban nature sort. I wrote a story for his "Wild Eyed" column that lets people post about their encounters with urban nature. I write about the time I came face to face with a powerful and beautiful, Peregrine falcon.
The Falcon and the Smoker
by Tanya Elder
The Riverside Church is located on Riverside Drive between 122nd and 124th Streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The gothic structure looks ancient, but it was actually built in 1928 with a modern-day steel skeleton under a layer of poured concrete and stone hewed in the gothic style. Thanks to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Church was built as a progressive place of worship, which has continued under influential pastors such as Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Sloane Coffin, and currently, James A. Forbes, Jr.

Head to Nature Calendar for more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's What They Say...

And then Happycat met the Flying Spaghetti Monster...
However, the jury is still out for me on the whole dang thing anyway.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Backstage at the Bridal Show

The Bridal Show at Milk
New York City. iPhoto by Elderta

I occasionally work as a model dresser for high fashion runway shows. It's actually quite fun. The models and staff are usually nice, the designers friendly (though a little wound tight) and the clothes are super fantastic.

Believe it or not, but runway modeling is harder than you think. And don't worry, I know you won't believe it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Six Months and Six Months and Six Months

What where you doing six months ago? What will you be doing six months from now? And six months after that? And afterward?

If you elect Republican John McCain to be the President of the United States, how many excuses will be given for every six months he's in office?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tibet Out Of China Protest

Union Square Park, 6:30PM
New York, NY

A group of about 100+ Tibetans and non-Tibetans gathered in Union Square Park today in Manhattan to protest the Olympic torch being traipsed through Tibet and up to Mt. Everest ahead of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Before the sloganeering began (and it was extremely lively and well-planned), a group of monks (or I think they were monks) ritualistic cut their hair and flung it on the Olympic ring flag. Mind you, I didn't arrive to see this in time, but I saw the hair on the ring banner, and then I saw the group of men with chunks of their hair torn out.

(I tried to post this earlier from my iPhone but had 'issues.' iPhone 'issues.')

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moses Passeth

Charlton Heston has passed.

No matter how I may have disagreed with Mr. Heston on issues, I acknowledge that there are a few great Heston movies.

My favorites:

The Greatest Show on Earth
The Omega Man
Planet of the Apes
The Three Musketeers (But not because of him. See Oliver Reed, Michael York, Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee, and Raquel Welch)
Midway (Ok, I like Toro Toro Toro, too. It's a WWII thing...)

My semi-favorites:
Airport 1975
Soylent Green

Rest in Peace, Mr. Heston. And thank you. For the movies at least.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dreams of the 1960s That Should Never Die

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I just got back from a trip to North Carolina. Of the Southern states I've been to, North Carolina and the city of New Orleans are the only places I'd seriously consider moving to in the South. I love the feeling of the Charlotte/Hickory/Shelby areas, where both sides of my parents families lived while they were growing up. (They are originally from Georgia and Tennessee.) My parents never much liked to talk about their family's roots. I never knew if it was because they didn't really know, wanted to break with the past, or didn't want to delve into it since I didn't find out I was adopted until I was 33. Probably the less questions asked, the better.

I remember always traveling down to North Carolina or Tennessee as a kid. I loved leaving Detroit, getting in the car and heading down home, though at times, when I had to take a wee wee, dad wouldn't stop. He was one of those kinds of "gotta test my limits to see how quickly I can make it to the destination with sleep or stopping" dads. You know the kind of dads I'm talking about!

I was in North Carolina in July visiting my father's relatives; this time, I visited my mother's relatives. July was a family reunion at a hotel, so we only went to visit one relative out of town; this time I saw three or four folks, mostly my mom's age, including one of my mother's grade school friends. At almost every home were photographs, or shrines, of sorts to five individuals: Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. These relatives were older African-Americans, one a Vietnam veteran. I remember during the 1970s and traveling down there that almost everyone had some picture of the Kennedys and King, at least, somewhere in their homes. I was surprised to find that 40 years later, they still do. It might be different relatives, but nonetheless, the same icons.

Mandela was imprisoned in 1963 and freed 27 years later; King and Bobby were killed in 1968; John F. much earlier in 1963; Malcolm in 1965. One by one, these dreams of the 1960s were picked off, as if a bullet or a jail could actually stop a dream. Boy, where the assholes who pulled these triggers and locked that cell door, wrong.

At times, I get pretty sick of the 1960s and the neverending struggle between conservatives and liberals from that decade constantly at war with each other. They never solve any problems, they just outshout and outdo, the other. I'm pretty tired of it. However, there are some dreams from the 1960s that should never die:

The dream of freedom for the oppressed
The dream of the poor being lifted from poverty
The dream that all men and women are created equal
The dream of human dignity
The dream of ending a meaningless war

Some dreams just can't be stopped with bullets. It might slow down the progress for a bit, but never stop it completely.

If you do just one thing to commemorate King's death, let it be this: take time to revisit the 23:00 minute speech that King gave in his opposition to the Vietnam War at my old work stomping grounds, the Riverside Church in the City of New York. It's powerful stuff and an excellent reminder that sometimes the pulpit is the only place to get a dream out (just ask the pro-lifers...). And sometimes, because no one is quite paying attention, you have to shout, "God Damn America" to get anyone to listen.

Of course, King didn't say those exact words, but he came pretty damned close.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Inner Frenchman

On another note, the wonderfully irreverent Jesus's General has asked me to blog occasionally at his website on weekends. So, while last Saturday's post was identical to the one I posted here (Veterans and McCain), I'm going to attempt to write individual content for the General. It won't be every weekend, but keep an eye over there! And thank you, General, for the opportunity!

Charlotte, NC and Family

Charlotte Over the Wing
Photo by Elderta
I had to go to Charlotte, North Carolina over the weekend. My mother's sister passed away, and my mom wanted me to fly down. I like Charlotte. It's spread out, but the people are nice, the downtown is pretty (it's those teeny tiny buildings sticking out from the ground), and it was nice seeing my mother's family. It's the second time in less than a year that I've gone to Charlotte. I was there in July or August for a family reunion on my father's side. Charlotte/Shelby/Hickory North Carolina is the family seat, if you will.

The visit in July also coincided with me seeing my father's sister, Aunt Helen, for the last time. She unfortunately passed away in January. I guess I'm at the stage in life where family passes away. It's very sad.

Africa Update

I read the BBC's Africa Today site occasionally and listen to the Africa Today podcast most every weekday it's on. I am not an expert in African affairs by any means, but I do my best to keep up with the continent. I've blogged recently about the elections in Kenya, but really, I know little of the internal workings of many of Africa's countries.

I brought to your attention during the political upheaval in Kenya, a blogger by the name of the Vigilante Journalist. She filed an update about the peace agreements orchestrated by Kofi Annan, but her analysis is not necessarily rosy. Please take a look at what she filed on March 15.

In other Africa news, the elections in Mugabe-torn Zimbabwe have taken place over the last few days and it seems that Mugabe might be out of power. Here is CNN's take, BBC New's perspective, and