Austenprose presents “A Soiree with Lady Susan”

My good friend Laurel Ann is conducting another superb themed event at her Austenprose blog, this time centered upon Jane Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan.  From September 1-14, participate in a group read and enjoy insights from LA and her various guest bloggers.

A Soiree with Lady Susan

PS – I did the title graphics. Go ahead and tell us how wonderful they are. (JK!)


In honor of the 40th anniversary of the NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, I present SPACE!-THEMED FRIVOLITY on a GRAND, SATURN V-SIZED SCALE!

Need a ROCKET EXPERIENCE?  Buzz Aldrin can coach you in much the same way he coached Buzz Lightyear.

Oh, and GReat Images in Nasa has a crudload of really spiffy SPACE! pictures. And many rockets.

Barack Obama records for the Hall of Presidents…

From the White House, Barack Obama’s recording session for the NEW Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World.  His apparent lack of knowledge regarding audio animatronics indicates that Dude needs to get his butt to a Disney theme park, STAT!

Kali does Corona Park…

I’m a huge, huge, huge 1964-65 New York World’s Fair fan. And on May 23, I finally got to visit the Mecca of NYWF fandom – CORONA PARK at Flushing Meadows in Queens! My good-natured friend Dasha accompanied me. In fact, she assisted me greatly by taking a few photos (See a galleryful of my Corona Park images here).

Here are a few pics of the Unisphere, the fair’s official symbol and the embodiment of the fair’s aim:  Peace through [global] understanding.

“It will remain as a permanent reminder of man’s aspirations for peace through understanding, and a symbol of his achievements in an expanding universe. Unisphere is truly the miracle in the meadow.”

~ US Steel Ad

This 900,000 pound stainless steel structure was designed by Gilmore Clark and engineered/constructed by United States Steel’s American Bridge Division.

Kali, the Unisphere, and the NYS Pavilion observation towers.
Kali, the Unisphere, and the New York State Pavilion towers. Photographed by Dasha.
Classic Unisphere.
Classic shot of the Unisphere with USTA-Arthur Ashe Stadium in the background. The tennis stadium sits where the Federal Building (aka the United States Pavilion) sat during the fair (and until 1976, when it was finally removed). Photo by Kali Pappas.
Unisphere + NYS Pavilion.
The Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion observation towers. By Kali Pappas.
NYS Pavilion observation towers, viewed through the "roof" of the Tent of Tomorrow.
NYS Pavilion observation towers, viewed through the "roof" of the Tent of Tomorrow. By Kali Pappas.
New York State Pavilion Observation Towers
More NYS Pavilion observation deck action. By Kali Pappas.

You can learn more about the Unisphere, the NYS Pavilion, and the rest of the fair at, an excellent resource for NYWF enthusiasts.

People take my quiz…for reals!

I discovered today that esteemed author Meg Cabot has taken my Austen Heroines Quiz.  🙂

She’s an Emma.

Bunny Costume, ca. 1966…

From the CBC archives, a look at life in the Playboy Bunny outfit…


Senator Arlen Specter is my current LOLhero.

“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter said in a statement posted by his office on

“Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

I get why you did it, Arlen, and I’m glad you (and so many previous Republican and Republican sympathizer voters) have jettisoned the crap over the last few years to shift to the brighter side . But now who will stay and rally the silent moderate majority in the Republican party (and hell, the whole of America) against the NeoCon Hangerson, the Religious Right, and the elite, conservative-ideology PACs that seek to assassinate the careers of moderate Republican politicians? Not that Arlen Specter was ever a huge maverick, but he did always work in the general spirit of bipartisanship (which is something that people like John McCain do a lot less than they’d like us to think sometimes; after all, “bipartisanship” is not as simple as standing in a corner with Russ Feingold and stomping your feet when you don’t get your way, ha! Okay, okay…I give you both props for BCFRA.). Without moderate appeal, the party is kind of doomed.

I hope the RNC and the Congressional Republicans can get their crud in gear soon. Not because I love the Republican Party, but because we need both majors to be strong and viable if we want the two-party system to maintain stability in our political system. I know people witch and moan about the lack of real third-party alternatives in American politics, but for those to flourish as legitimate electoral alternatives (and not just agenda-fluffers), we’d have to abandon the principles of Majoritarianism, which everyone considers so sacrosanct. There’s also the speed factor. As bewitching as proportional, plurally-elected legislatures may sometimes seem, the results would be issue-by-issue, with-whom-do-we-coalesce-this-time gridlock that’d make the usual aisle-spats look like catfights at kibble time. We talk so much smack about the two majors, calling them big special interests and huge, nasty factions, but the fact of the matter is, they are actually Leviathans – two large vessels containing the chaos of a multitude of mini-factions.

Ken Conrad alludes to this in the CNN article I linked above, saying, “It’s great news. but it means a lot less than some people think. The Democratic caucus is not homogenous. There is a lot of disagreement in the Democratic caucus, so this idea that it’s some great watershed event … I don’t think so.”

It’s true. Plus, there’s the law of political gravity, which provides that those who go up must eventually come down. You stick around long enough after the honeymoon ends, and the electorate will eat you alive eventually. Familiarity breeds contempt – no matter how big a mandate you got when your tenure began. As I frequently tell my students, when the economy is better and traditionally-conservative economic ideas make more sense, I’m sure the GOP will be back in the saddle again. Still, they need to ditch their NeoConnish “fake fiscal conservatism” and get back to their modified freemarket/New Age Federalism/spend less roots if that’s going to mean anything. Costly wars, appropriations free-for-alls, big budget deficits, and uberized debt are not exactly fiscally-responsible ideas – they’re robber-baron, exploit-the-bubble, Ponzi-scheme ideas. As as for the potshots against the Democrats about socialism? Give me a bleeping break. Since the 19th century, the government’s been instigating socialistic economic intervention….from various railroad nationalization schemes to the New Deal to industrial regulation to whatever the hell.

So anyway. Now you know why I don’t like getting into political discussions off the clock. 😛

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