from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.


self as brand

i often think about the responsibility of public personalities to use their celebrity status toward some greater good ... after years as a nike posterboy, andre agassi has switched to the adidas team. sure it probably doesn't hurt that his wife is an adidas ambassador, and certainly one could come up with reasons why endorsing either company isn't the most noble. but, the primary impetus for the move was the "willingness of adidas to also support agassi's charitable foundation and other initiatives" - something nike was apparently not willing to do. the benefits "underprivileged, abused and abandoned children". right on.


sugar in my tank

among the loudest opponents of the recently passed cafta (central american free trade agreement) was the u.s. sugar industry, which lobbied for provisions including “a program encouraging the use of sugar to produce ethanol”, essentially a larger subsidy. sugar-based ethanol is also addressed in the senate energy bill.

an interesting alternative fuel … sugar ethanol -ethanol can also be made from grains- powers nearly half of the cars in brazil. the country went full steam ahead to expand ethanol use 30 years ago in an effort to become more self-sufficient and stimulate rural economies. surprise, there’s an added environmental benefit (it emits less greenhouse gas and other pollutants), it’s renewable and it’s cheaper (about $20/gallon vs. $60 for oil). flex-fuel cars (which run on petrol, ethanol or a blend) accounted for 17% of car sales in brazil last year (BBC). finding E85 can be tough, but many automakers either already offer flex-fuel cars or intend to in the near future. according to green car congress, gm is the largest producer of flex fuel vehicles in the us. so why are more of us driving them?


sure signs women aren't running the world

1* the average allotment of sick days does not account for (roughly) 13 days of uterine revolt... it's pure cruelty to subject a woman to even greater discomfort on the first day of her menstrual cycle by making her wear decent - generally constricting - clothing, sit at a desk and play nice with co-workers. unless you’re going to equip my chair with a heating mechanism and a midol/st. john’s wort iv, it’s only right to let me spend the day in the comfort of my own home. seriously, i'll even work from home - at least there i can wear my jammies and whimper, cry or scowl as much as necessary. you’d be cranky too if your abdomen had a charlie horse all day.

2* bathroom stall signs reading "do not flush foreign objects" … listen, if it's good enough to chill inside my body for a couple of hours, it damn well better be more than good enough for the toilet. and really, if a commode can handle the load from a 300-lb man (post burrito) surely it can handle a piece of cotton.

check out vinnie's for a little topical fun


happy reading

i got nothin' today, folks (not even good grammar). but other blogs/sites are chock full of interesting tidbits. here are a few:

:: check out the new ipod flea. thanks, kottke.

:: teenage brashness + investigative reporting = two stung army recruiters. thanks, mediabistro.

:: a headline guaranteed to make you giggle. thanks, lauren at feministe.

:: postsecret has been a regular read, ever since i saw it on squirrelly.

:: my favorite part of maureen dowd’s (author of bushworld and a number of ny times columns criticizing w’s administration) piece honoring her mother:

“One of her big thrills came in 1990 when she went to the White House Christmas party with me and President Bush gave her a kiss. On the way home, she said to me in a steely voice, ‘I don't ever want you to be mean to that man again.’ ”


out of africa

right now sand from the sahara that has blown across the atlantic is lingering above so. florida and the caribbean. the cloud is "about 2,500 miles from west to east and 1,500 miles from north to south, or almost as big as the United States". the so. florida dusting won't be this severe, but check out photos from crete where they experienced this phenomena in april. satellite image from wikipedia.


what are you doing right now?

okay, take a photo with your camera phone or digital camera and email it to send it with text that says:

right now [insert your text here]
[insert your name, place of photo, time, date]

see 'rightnow' shots here.


as if the nation has nothing better to talk about

four women visiting the white house as part of a national championship lacrosse team are shown in a picture with the president wearing flip flops ... and it's made the chicago trib (which apparently first got hold of a reprimanding email written to one of the girls by her brother), cnn, boston herald, cbs and usa today, among others.

now the footwear is being auctioned off at ebay to help a young girl with cancer. pair shown belonged to kate darmody

now that's a crafty fundraising scheme ...


foppish, optimistic, or dark and brooding?

i'm only a little embarrassed to admit i had a little crush on officer hanson (21 jump street). fortunately the show didn't end johnny depp's career ... cry baby, edward scissorhands, benny & joon, gilbert grape, don juan demarco, donnie brasco, blow, pirates of the caribbean, finding neverland. take the quiz and tell us - which depp character are you?

i got: ed wood from 'ed wood' -- "you definitely have your name in history, although probably not for the reason you believe. yet you are very accepting, non-judgemental, and optimistic almost to a fault. you also have a thing for angora sweaters. how could anyone not like you?"


pr catch-22

good pr pro's wince a bit at the term 'spin'. and with good reason. public relations sometimes walks a thin line between truth and (at best) sins of omission. good pr is talking up the benefits of brain surgery in every feasible news outlet and in a way that the masses can digest, without omitting all of the potential downsides. good (ethical) pr isn't armstrong williams posing as an objective media source touting 'no child left behind', when he's being paid by the folks he promoting. but, it can include hiring a pr firm to write and place articles that applaud EPA research under a by line that clearly identifies the EPA as the source. (see today's ny times article)

using a pr agency is a little like hiring a plumber to fix your drain - you might be able to fumble through it yourself and get the job done decently, but hiring someone with the right training and experience makes it more likely you'll get a better, quicker fix. so the government is hiring pr agencies ... someone needs to help us decode the bureaucracy, and if some hired communication hands will help, right on. the concern is whether an outside firm will be given sufficient access to people and information to allow them to present an accurate story. and, will an uptick in good publicity that a pr firm might generate go unchecked by the media? that's the rub.

over-the-counter video news reports are an excellent way to get your story on the local evening news. but, this may not be the most honest approach to talking about government activities. there's nothing wrong with hiring a professional to get some good publicity. but, in a world where we are already constantly provoked to question the ethics, objectivity and gumption of the press to dig beyond what they're handed on a silver platter, i guess it's hard to stomach the idea of the government paying for more propaganda.



ever dreamed of being a rock star? just because you aren’t musically inclined doesn’t mean you can’t be … tonight in los angeles, the seven top air guitar performers in the country go neck and neck at the 2005 u.s. air guitar championships for the coveted national air guitar master title. lip-syncing may be for drag queens, but hard core, faux riffs have come out of the bathroom and onto the stage – all over the world. and if you just can’t give up the vocals, there’s aireoke. (photo of david "c-diddy" jung, 2003 us & world air guitar champion; credit: tommi kohonen)


dé la sangre

the woman working in the mobile donation center for community blood centers of south florida told me yesterday that 5 percent of people in the u.s. donate blood, compared to 96 percent of us who will need some form of blood donation in our lifetime. it just doesn’t add up.

depending on one’s answers, i suspect the most uncomfortable part of donating could be answering the 35 or so questions about recent activities (sex, drugs, etc). but that’s all confidential. the whole process took less than 45 minutes and didn’t hurt a bit. my tip: go ahead and act like a total pansy. i did - and the technician (are they nurses?) treated me very delicately. you know, squint really hard when they prick your finger. and then look away dramatically as they impale you with the needle to draw blood. so go on … get a needle stuck in your arm while someone serves you juice. how bad can it be? find out where, here.


reality iraq

while reality tv freaks in the u.s. are riveted by makeovers, matchmaking and millionaires, in iraq reality tv portrays a strange form of justice. i did a bit of research after hearing a report on npr this morning.

according to the international herald tribune, terrorism in the hands of justice airs on al iraqiya, a network run by an 'american contractor hired by occupation officials'

this series shows detained suspects - with bruised, swollen faces and hunched shoulders but no lawyer or any apparent form of due process - confessing to murders, kidnappings, and other acts of terror. some call the it a tool against the insurgency and 'a major turning point in the government's battle for hearts and minds' of iraqis. (christian science monitor) and say it reveals 'those who claim to be jihadists as simple $50 murderers' (washington post).



something about a hotdog (er, veggie dog) cooked in a stadium parking lot before a game, alongside hundreds of other fans, just makes it taste better. these folks did it up right ... full-size grill, blender, canopy, the works ...

but the only thing worse than watching the marlins get sPanKeD by the cubs yesterday, was having to listen to them play 'go cubs go' so many times it was still stuck in my head when i woke up this morning.


this land is our land

i know i’ve daydreamed of living on a remote island to get away from the narrow-minded … maybe we won’t have to if they extradite themselves. is orchestrating the move of thousands of christians to reacquire our constitutional rights by electing state and local officials who will interpose on behalf of the people and refuse to enforce illegal federal acts.


do not try this at home

do not try this at home

originally uploaded by sunshineandbeyond.


far beyond abortion

the sad truth is that all this talk about abortion being the litmus test for the next supreme court appointment will likely land us a socially conservative judge who is more concerned with homeland security than individual rights. while far-right conservatives are easily and passionately mobilized against abortion, too many left-of-center americans find themselves simply apathetic on the issue - either for fear of being labeled radical feminist or because it’s too easy to straddle the fence and imagine the issue doesn’t affect them.

folks, the buck stops at the supreme court. if the abortion debate turns you off, the potential loss of everything you do value should scare you even more.

"this is one of those moments in american history. no matter what side you're on, everything you've believed in, everything you've cared about, everything you've fought for is at stake. it's such a closely divided court.” - ralph g. neas, president of people for the american way to the new york times

the supreme court is where our final battles have been and will be fought. too many issues are potentially up for grabs:
the right to die with dignity
the right to privacy
the right not to be fired for being gay
the right to be considered a family member when your partner in the hospital
the right to reproductive freedom and to adopt
the separation of church and state

sandra day o'connor was a deciding factor in critical decisions for ten years ... now bush gets to give that power to someone else. our senators have a say in this. if you’ve never done it before, now is the time to speak up about what is important to you.
MoveOn and many other groups make the process very speedy and simple. take two seconds, sign the MoveOn petition and sign up to get their alerts.


dirty thirty

we dropped the l-bomb on key west like no girls have before ... these pictures are just the tip of the iceburg. i haven't laughed so hard in all of my thirty years as i did the past four days ... and that wasn't the only first from the weekend.

thanks to all my girls ...