Yesterday I took my older daughter to the annual Cherry Blossoms Festival (Sakura Matsuri) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a beautiful place, well worth a visit even when the cherry blossoms aren't in bloom; they'll probably be in bloom through this weekend so if you get a chance you should try to check them out.
Until yesterday I had no idea that the Cherry Blossom Festival serves as a sort of Renaissance Faire for Japanophiles - there were some older Japanese women in traditional kimonos, and some families had dressed their children up, but if you saw someone walking around in samurai or geisha garb odds are it was a pasty collegian. Anime characters were also well-represented, particularly Sailor Moon and Naruto. One poor guy was there dressed as Malcom Reynolds from Firefly; he must have missed a memo or something.
Highlight of the day: a nearly seven foot tall African-American transvestite, resplendent in geisha fabulousness, hectoring the kimono-wearing, diminutive Japanese authoress of a geisha history. "What do you mean the training is still only open to women? How is that fair? How long will that be allowed to go on?"
This month's Vanity Fair "Green Issue" is chock full of eco-apocalypse goodness, and mercifully free of any scratch and sniff cologne ads. One article in particular stands out for me: Robert F. Kennedy's memoir of becoming an environmentalist via the sport of falconry. (Sadly, it's not available online.) At one point in the article he describes the accepted technique for acquiring a wild peregrine falcon to train as your own personal killing machine: you go to a beach along the peregrine's migration route and bury yourself in the sand up to your neck. One hand is also left free above the sand. Your assistant places a wire cage over your head that's been camoflauged with grass and assorted beach flora, and then places a live pigeon in your free hand. And then you wait. When a peregrine, famished from its migratory exertions, swoops down to eat the aforementioned pigeon you let go of the pigeon and grab the peregrine by its feet. Congratulations! You're now holding a very angry creature with very sharp talons and an equally sharp beak.
Over at The Crack Den, proud home of The Dumbest Trolls on The Internets™, there were a few mouth breathers claiming Rosie O'Donnell's departure from The View as conservatism's "revenge" for Don Imus - which is strange because just last week Imus was a liberal. Anyway, in the interest of clarity I'd just like to point out that we're not happy Imus is off the air because he was a conservative; we're happy he's off the air because he was a douchebag. That's an important distinction, albeit one that has become a bit blurry lately.
If pressed on the issue, if absolutely forced to make a statement one way or the other, I would have to say I’m kind of glad Newt Gingrich seems to have come over to the side of the angels when it comes to the environment. Maybe. I trust Newt Gingrich about as far as I could throw him without the aid of a medieval siege engine and I no more want to see him near the levers of power than I’d want to see him marry one of my daughters, but if he’s going to open his mouth, I guess he might as well say something useful. Although I would appreciate it if he would drop this grating “Republicans are FUN environmentalists” approach Arnold Schwarzenegger has also adopted. That spiel reminds me a bit too keenly of the GOP’s 2000 campaign pledge to “change the tone” in Washington; once again we’re supposed to gloss over their role in creating the problem while accepting them as a pain-free solution to it.
If he really wants to convince us he’s gone green, I suggest he take a cue from his past championing of Internet commerce. Gingrich fought hard to keep e-commerce businesses exempt from most taxes, which helped create the massive, tantalizing profit potential that made them irresistible to investors. Why not fight for a similar exemption for businesses developing the technologies we need to wean ourselves from petroleum dependency and reduce greenhouse emissions? There’s a breathtaking amount of capital floating around out there, much of it being steered towards products designed for rapidly failing business models. Why not steer it to where it’s needed and can actually do some good for the future? And unlike the high burn-rate startups of the dotcom boom, these businesses will have a measurable standard for success and failure: do their products actually work? (Fair warning: if you adopt a talking sock puppet as your company spokesperson, you will be taxed into oblivion just on general principle.)
This is something Gingrich and the new green conservatives can do that I’ll actually buy. I find their rhetoric about saving the world while letting you keep your muscle car disingenuous, and we know how they feel about government regulations. They do love cutting taxes though - why not cut the right taxes for a change?
Going to be quiet around here for the next day or so...I just wrapped up post-production on this and this and now I have got to do some work for paying clients. Although Watertiger did promise me a pie, so there's that.