Saturday, March 27, 2010

For Jesse James or Bill Clinton, Is an Apology Enough?

[Note to Readers: I've tried photomontage for several Fashion Sense fictigraphics. Now I'm going to use fashion croquis for a while -- they do have an obvious connection; click on the image for a larger version.]
The tabloids have been full of the dramatic story of Jesse James cheating on Sandra Bullock. He apologized, but is that enough? Here at Fashion Sense we're also asking the same question about Bill Clinton's apology over trade policies that have devastated Haiti. [Click on the image for a larger version. The text reads: '"I was doing yoga at the end of a long stressful day, but my cat was, like, So will Sandra Bullock leave Jesse James, yes or no? I need an answer, and I said, "I can’t give you an answer. It’s up to her. But sometimes a wife stays with a cheating husband if he apologizes," and my cat was, like, But he did apologize, and she moved out anyway. What would you do? and I said, "Well, the apology might just be a ploy, and the mistress has some Nazi-posing pictures in her background, and that wouldn’t be good for Sandra’s career, and I think he’s cheated before, so since marriage is about trust, I think I’d dump him," and my cat was, like, So should Haiti dump Bill Clinton as U.N. special envoy even though he apologized for making them lower tariffs and accept American rice imports which contributes to their post-earthquake food crisis? After all, he cheated on his wife with other women before Monica? and I said, "Now you’re confusing me. Bill Clinton apologized about cheating with Monica long before he apologized about the Haitian tariff thing, so I don’t get the parallel," and my cat was, like, Well, you said it’s about trust. From what I can see Bill has other issues like this in his background; I mean, he signed NAFTA, which did the same thing in Mexico and caused lots of suffering for small farmers whose corn couldn’t compete with American imports, but this may just be a ploy to avoid sending aid to countries like Haiti and Mexico when they’re badly in need, so it’s a matter of trust like it is for Sandra is all I’m saying, and I said, "I still don’t get what you mean," and went back to my yoga, and my cat was, like, I mean should Sandra keep Jesse and should they keep Bill in Haiti? The connection is that both situations were caused by winning. In Bill’s case, he won the Presidency, which tends to make you do bad things to poor countries. In Sandra’s case, she won an Oscar, and the curse of the Oscars makes people lose their partners, and I yelled, "PLEASE GO AWAY AND LET ME DO MY YOGA,"and then I had to apologize for my outburst, and my cat was, like, Well, I don’t accept your apology, and I’m leaving right now -- for good! but since he’s an indoor cat, I have confidence that our relationship will survive.']

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Short Trip to Red Rock Country

[Click on the images to see larger photos.]

Last week Greg and I went up north to visit red rock country. Because of recent rains the countryside is lush and green:

Among other places, we visited Red Rock State Park, a small and accessible park with a nice visitor center that gives lots of information about the ecology and history of the area. Unfortunately, due to budget problems in the State of Arizona, it's scheduled to close on June 3.

We enjoyed walking along Oak Creek, which rushed and tumbled along like a small river:

Because of Oak Creek, this park is also a riparian habitat with many beautiful trees. Though most of them were not yet in leaf, the sight of so many large deciduous trees is unusual in our dry state.
Red Rock State Park lives up to its name. The colorful red sandstone gives a rich texture to the landscape.
And you can begin to see red rock formations as soon as you get out of your car at the visitor center.
The next day we bought a Red Rock Permit, which allows you to park in the Coconino National Forest and hike closer to some of the big rock formations. We hiked around Bell Rock, along with lots of other people:
And, again, I enjoyed looking at the rock textures,:
as well as looking up at the red sandstone formations against a big blue sky.
I couldn't resist a short film clip of these hard-working red ants in the red, red dirt:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fashion Sense Comments on The Cove

The people who made the Oscar-winning documentary, "The Cove," did another great thing when they exposed a California sushi restaurant that had whale meat on the menu. The cold-blooded disregard displayed by the restaurant for the lives of other intelligent beings left me almost speechless -- but not quite. [Click on the image for a larger version. The text reads: 'My grandmother is a Trekkie (she likes the original series), and my mother is a Trekkie (she likes the Next Generation), and I’m a Trekkie (I like anything Star Trek except the new movie), and today I went over to my grandmother’s house, and we watched Star Trek IV again, and afterward she said, “I can’t help myself. I always cry when the aliens finally hear humpback whales and the earth is saved,” and I said, “I love watching Kirk and Spock and Sulu and all the Enterprise crew working so hard to save whales,” and she said, “Did you hear that the people that did that movie about dolphins being slaughtered -- The Cove -- went undercover to catch a sushi restaurant that was serving whale meat?” and we both shuddered at the thought of eating whales, and my grandmother said, “The Cove got an Oscar, which was excellent, but still it was sucky that no sci-fi movies got best picture,” and I said, “The new Star Trek won the Oscar for best makeup, which was all it deserved,” and my grandmother said, “Don’t tell your mother, but I bet $100 that Avatar would win best picture,” and I said, “Grandma, you should stop throwing your money away like that. You could have made a donation to my whale rescue group instead,” and she said, “Hey! Don’t try to make me feel guilty about my little gambling pleasures. The people that are taking the real gambles are the ones that are destroying our oceans and the animals in them,” and I really couldn’t argue with that, especially after she gave me a new ring-tone for my phone that makes it sound like a Star Trek communicator, and now I feel a little guilty because I so quickly replaced my whalesong ring-tone with the sounds of Star Trek.']

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fashion Sense Comments on the Oscars

Here at Fashion Sense when we watched the Academy Awards we thought about the people who made the fabulous clothes, even as we watched the stars who wore them. [Click on the image for a larger version. The text reads: 'I was at my sister Chloe’s house yesterday, and we started watching the Oscars together, and Chloe is so star-struck she raves about every A-list celeb she sees, and when I said, “What’s with Charlize Theron’s gown? It looks like she has two purple shoulder pads on her chest,” she said, “Don’t be so horrible. She’s a genius!” and when I said, “I wonder if Jeff Bridges is wearing a Hugo Boss tux,” she said, “Of course he is. He’s a genius,” and I said, “No, I mean because Danny Glover asked all the stars to boycott Hugo Boss at the Oscars,” and she said, “But why? Boss is a genius,” and I said, “Because he’s closing a plant in Cleveland and laying off over 300 workers to go and make his clothes somewhere cheaper,” and she said, “That’s just some union making trouble. Nobody should tell these fabulous people how to dress on their special night,” and rather than argue, I went home to watch the rest of the awards with my rats, and when I got there they had the big-screen TV on, and they told me so far they hadn’t seen any of the A-list guys wearing Hugo Boss, and I said, “How can you tell the difference between one tux and another? And what’s with that blue bow tie Robert Downey Jr. is wearing?” but the rats seem to think Downey’s a genius and wouldn’t comment, and this morning my sister called me and she was crying about the fact that Meryl Streep didn’t win best actress, and she said, “How could the Academy do that to her? She’s a genius,” and I said, “I thought you liked Sandra Bullock,” and she said, “Sandra won a Razzie for worst actress on Saturday, and then she won an Oscar for best actress on Sunday, so enough said,” and I said, “Maybe SAG should go out on strike until they give Meryl her Oscar,” and my sister said, “What a great idea,” and I said, “I thought you didn’t like unions,” and my sister said, “SAG isn’t a union! It’s just a way for actors to band together to help them get the money and conditions they deserve,” and I said, “That’s the same thing the union does for those workers in Cleveland,” and she said, “But the people in SAG actually deserve those things,”and then she made an excuse and hung up because it didn’t take a genius to realize how stupid that sounded!']

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chiricahua National Monument and Willcox

[Click on the images for larger versions of these photos]

On February 24, Greg and I took our annual trip to Willcox to see some migrating sandhill cranes and to do a little hiking at Chiricahua National Monument.

At the national monument, we saw Mexican Jays in the parking lot just before we started to hike down the Echo Canyon trail.

Because of the big storm the previous weekend, there was still some snow and ice on the trail.

As usual, the light was beautiful and the rock formations stood out against the blue southern Arizona sky like the ruins of melting castles.

After our hike we went to Twin Lakes Golf Course to try to see some cranes. Though I wasn't able to take any good pictures of the cranes, we did see several large flocks landing. We spent an hour there listening to bird sounds and marvelling at the constantly changing light as it went from this:

to this:

and this:

and finally:
Spring has arrived in southern Arizona, and thousands of tiny ephemeral plants are starting to grow in the desert here in Tucson because of the recent rains. Stay tuned for wildflowers, blooming cacti, and more.

Fashion Sense Asks What Frogs and Lady Gaga Have in Common

Here at Fashion Sense, we deplore the use of unnecessary chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides, and we think organics make the most sense, fashion or otherwise. We've been reading a lot about the effects of atrazine on frogs this week, because it seems to disrupt their sexual development and weaken amphibian immune systems as well. We're not sure what Lady Gaga has to do with any of that, except to say that the world would be a worse place if she or the frogs were no longer around. [Click on the image for a larger version. The text reads: 'This is a special meeting of LOVE, our League of Voting Environmentalists, about the local use of atrazine, an herbicide that disrupts amphibian sexual development, and when I said, “Let’s get started--the frogs depend on us,” Melissa said, “Speaking of sex and frogs, remember when Lady Gaga wore all those Kermit the Frog puppets sewn together into an outfit?” and Clarissa said, “She’s surreal,” and Alissa said, “My boyfriend Anton thinks she’s hot,” and Clarissa said, “How can you think somebody’s hot when they wear fake antlers?” and Melissa said, “How about that see-through outfit she wore the other day? That was pretty sexy,” and Clarissa said, “She just came out and said she’s celibate, so why the sexy posturing?”and Alissa said, “She’s a Madonna wanna-be,” and Melissa said, “Madonna’s 51. Somebody has to take over the bleached blonde material girl torch,” and I said, “Hey! I like Lady Gaga too! She helps AIDS causes, and she doesn’t wear fur, and she doesn’t even own a house, but we have to do something about the atrazine, OK?” and I passed around copies of a report and we read it in silence and then I said, “So what next?” and Melissa said, “My friend Larissa used to have the most cutting edge look I ever saw, kind of like a cross between a punk rocker and a female Elvis with just a touch of hair metal, but Lady Gaga has raised the bar so high, it’s hard to think of yourself as edgy if you don’t look like you’re in a Salvador Dali painting,” and Alissa said, “Yesterday I saw a picture of Gaga wearing a lobster on her head, which is very Dali,” and I said, “Enough with the surrealists! Today I’m a realist, so what about the atrazine?” and we stayed on topic for a while until Clarissa asked my dog if he knows why Lady Gaga uses harlequin Great Danes in so many of her videos, and then I called a time out because the members of LOVE can be really hard to LIKE sometimes.']

A Fifth and Final Ekphrastic Essay About Our 2022 Road Trip: the Prairie and the Dust Bowl

  Erosion No. 2, Mother Earth Laid Bare by Alexandre Hogue When Greg and I were planning our 2022 road trip, our goal was to visit friends a...