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had a bad day?

ok, so it's official (ish), the democrats now hold power in both houses of the american congress. virginia, that bastion of liberal mores, has fallen, which means that the dems now hold 51 seats in the senate, giving them more of an ability to reign in their cowboy-in-chief. (well, that actually counts the two independents who were elected as well. considering that one of those independents is joe lieberman, i wouldn't be counting on a lot of support for a progressive agenda.)

so should we break out the balloons? well, while gwb is one of my least favourite world leaders ever, i'm not exactly bouncing off the walls. after all, the definitive vote came from a state where the candidates were a republican and a former republican. the choice was not exactly overwhelming. in general the spectrum of american political parties runs from despicable to slightly less despicable, with the people being told by their media that the reason there aren't more parties is because they aren't needed or wanted. what a relief that must be to those struggling to hold their nose and place their vote at the same time.

so why doesn't the vote, excite me? well, it's hard to get too happy when you're looking at the initiatives to ban gay marriage getting approved by margins that make hilary clinton's win seem like a nail-biter. (note: these initiatives were not about allowing gay marriage. they were bills that would expressly forbid it, in case gays and lesbians had been lulled into a sense that they were tolerated.) and voters in that right-wing mecca of california said a resounding "no" to funding alternative energy and taxing oil companies to pay for it. bc hydro should try shutting down their power again to see if that jolts some sense into them. (ok, the fact is that it's a little more complicated than i'm making out. you can find arguments for and against and you can even read a conflicted person's dilemma here.)

on the other hand, california did show some good sense and reject the so-called "eminent domain reform", and voters everywhere endorsed initiatives that would raise the minimum wage above it's current "bad joke" level.

we're finally rid of donald rumsfeld, which can only be a good thing. (i wonder if bush realises that it would have won him votes and possibly the senate if he had done this two weeks ago?) and rick santorum, who apparently thinks that homosexuality and bestiality are synonyms, got is uptight whit ass handed to him.

but throw in the ongoing problems with the paperless voting system they are trying to implement and i have to say that i'm fairly ambivalent about the whole thing.

but considering that watching bush get re-elected in 2004 made me want to throw up on my living room area rug, ambivalent isn't a bad place to be.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…