29 June, 2005

Red Vs. Blue--The Musical

At the risk of pulling a South Park Conservatives slash Hank Hill pop culture interpretation of our current politcal climate, I have been struck by a realization.

The encapsulation of the differences between Red Vs. Blue are nicely summed up from both points of view in one tidy little package.

The Music Man

River City-zens are the Red Staters.

But what the heck, you're welcome
Join us at the picnic
You can have your fill
Of all the food you bring yourself.
You really ought to give Iowa a try.


.....

But, we'll give you our shirt
And a back to go with it
If your crops should happen to die


Like Red Staters everywhere (I'm proudly one, a born and bred Hoosier) they believe in hard work, self-respect and minding one's own business. If any one is in truly dire straits, however, a Red Stater will step in, if it means rebuilding your barn or your national infrastructure.

Marian the Librarian is a Blue-Stater. Red-Stater by birth and upbringing she is ashamed of what she sees as the provincial nature of her hometown.

Now, Mama
As long as the Madison Public Library was entrusted
to me for the purpose of improving River City's
cultural level, I can't help my concern that the
ladies of River City kep ignoring all my council and advice


Mayor Shin, with his "Last Days of Pompee-eye" speech is none other than George W. Bush of course.

Then there's Harold Hill. Or, as I like to call him, the MSM. Who else inflates non-issues to work up unsuspeting people into a frenzy for his un-researched flim-flam?

Now one fine night they leave the pool hall
headin' for the dance at the Armory
Libertine men and scarlet women and ragtime
Shameless music that'll grab your son, your daughter
into the arms of a jungle animal instinct- massteria!
Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground, trouble!

Townspeople: Oh, we got trouble


Of course, I won't even touch the issue of the romance between Blue States and MSM...

There you go again with the same old comment
About the low mentality of River City people
And takin' it all too much to heart.



Or perhaps I shouldn't listen to musicals while I play the Sims.

You Kids Keep Off My Lawn

iTunes has just made me feel like the crankiest old beech alive.

A) I don't care about the "Free Download of the Week" and never seem to, because it's always some suburban homeboy krep.

B) Civilization is over. The latest evidence of this is Jessica Simpson's abysmal Suburban Homeboyesque cover of the best Chick's Takin' Out The Trash song of all time. For those who think that "I Will Survive" is the best CTOTTSOAT, I merely have to say this:Would you rather tell your ex that he needs to walk out the door but you'll still be okay or that you are gonna grind your stiletto heels into his liver?

Chickenhawks

The comments on this post (hey, Jason, small world!) have got me riled.

Specifically, this:

My remarks were to point out how many of the pro-war activists are never going to see action. It is much easier to send people to war when you have never seen action yourself.

Easy, huh? Yeah, it's been really easy to just say "eh, so what about your son, Pamela. I know he's the apple of your eye, but I want cheap gas."

I didn't want to go to war. I didn't rejoice at the prospect. But I was glad when we finally acknowledged that there was a need and resolved to fight it properly. I am grateful for the men and women who do go, endlessly so. They are professionals who are doing their duty and I honor them for that. Nevertheless, it is not "easy" to let them go, or hear of their deaths or watch others make light of their service because it suits their own personal agenda vis-a-vis the current administration. I pray daily for an end to this war that brings fair treatment to all. I'm very much in favour of leaving Iraq, but I don't want to err by leaving the Iraqis without support. There has been precedent for world power nations offering fiscal, troop and materiél support and then leaving once an independent democracy is formed.

None of these are easy questions to ask, and the answers aren't easy to give.

Side Note 1 I am in favour of going to my urologist, even though I never had the guts to go to med school myself.

Side Note 2 I really wish they'd stop using the term "Chickenhawk" for non-combatant war supporters. Where I come from this word has much more evil connotations and use of it as a perjorative, while clever, is not promoting rational discourse.

And Each Man Fixed His Eyes Before His Feet

I didn't watch the speech last night. I figured the blogosphere will just tell me what to think about this difficult issue regardless.

Gosh. Geopolitics must be easy when you are a songwriter. Or a journalist at an alternative 'zine.

GWB is not my favourite President by a long shot, but I did vote for him twice because he seemed to grasp the importance of vigilance. I haven't agreed with many decisions he's made recently, but I'm not gloating over the drop in his poll numbers either.

Should we leave Iraq? Yes. When? I don't know, but I certainly don't think we should tell the world in advance. That's taping the world's largest "kick me" sign on the backs of the newly-freed Iraqis.

D I V O R C E

* Phone Rings*'

Me: I knew it would be you!

Tim: How in the **** [word for Biblical Hot Place Sensored so that I don't get the Parental Advisory from Patrick...] does "For Better Or Worse" qualify as the 'U' link?

Me: Because it's at the United Media Comics site.

Tim: That's like the Lord's Prayer coming up under 'V'

Me: Cause it's at Verbal Aramaic or Vocal Aramaic or something like that.

Tim: That's cheap. You're not following the rules

Me: [indignantly] I am SO! The rule is that you clear out your thingyspace and the first letter you type and what comes up is the link. [verbal abilities compromised by indignance]

Tim: I just think you're taking advantage of a loophole. got another call gottagobye

Me: [Hanging up] You're a loophole.


Lacy, I hope you're happy.

These Are The URLs in Your Neighborhood...

The URLs you visit each day. Lacy suggested this activity, and so I'm playing along because it sounds like fun.

What is the first website that comes up automatically with each letter of the alphabet? Well, let's see.


A: Amazon

B: Blogger

C: CBS Marketwatch

Noticing a pattern? I'm apparently a very predictable 56 year old man. Which would be fine. If I weren't a 35 year old woman.

D: Dictionary.com *Whew*. That was close. 3 days ago I was trying to settle an argument with my brother Dave, so I looked something up on Dancing With The Stars. Fortunately that URL is fourth or fifth on the list. Can you imagine what a dork I'd feel like if that was what came up?

E: Excite.com I am the only person in the world who still uses this portal as their homepage.

F: Forums for The Sims Resource Why did my babydaddy die? Why?!?

G: GetReligion.org Great blog on religion.

H: Hard Right Good libertarian blogging. I agree with about 65% of his posts, but he did say that I was funny yesterday, so I like him regardless.

I: Instapundit Like he needs the traffic....

J: Jackson Miller Blogger who thinks it's in the Bible that we should steal music. We've been arguing. Actually, I've been leaving him scathing comments which he ignores. Same difference.

K: Kelly Blue Book Apparently Grover is worth just about the same amount that we put into repairing him.

L: Lileks

M: Mycropht This is actually here. I use my blogroll as a bookmark file, so I bounce back here alot. My name, which I use for my various ventures, comes from Sherlock Holmes.

N: Nashville Is Talking

O: Mac Development Center at O'Reilly Net

P: Patrick and Lydia

Q: Article on split financial decisions between gays and straights at Queery.com This topic fascinates me. I've watched my gay friends and coworkers spend their money totally different than me for years. I thought it was just me, but apparently it's a broader pattern.

R: Relapsed Catholic I got hooked on Kathy Shaidle during the Benedictine Conclave. Great reading for Protestants, too. Although I suspect that, like me, other protestants aren't as invested in the canonization of Karol Wojtyla John Paul II.

S: Lacy

T: The Sims Resource Fine furniture for fake friends.

U: For Better Or Worse I've been reading this comic for more than 10 years now. Enjoy it, but I pretty much hate all the April storylines, and not because Farley died while saving her. She's just a pinhead.

V: Lord's Prayer in Aramaic

W: Nashville Public Library

X: Nothing. Which is good. Most sites beginning with "X" are to boom-chaka-laka-boom for me.

Y: Yahoo

Z: Zoo Blogger Another Nashville blogger with an esoteric interest. She also blogs at The Scottish Blog .

TBR Pile

Just Finished : The Summer Of Us by Holly Chamberlain Genre: Chick Lit Grade : C- Hot Sell Tagline: Sex In The City meets Bridget Jones What I Liked About It: Light summer read. What I Didn't Like About It: Unsympathetic characters who are cruel to one another and the men in their life. Obligatory GLBT Score: 10 out of 10. Lesbian best friend in love with a main character.

Re-reading: Prizes by Erich Segal Genre: Novel Grade : B+ Hot Sell Tagline: Little Man Tate as re-written by the author of Love Story What I Like About It: Great characters and an interesting look at the various types of genius and the toll of being extraordinary. What I Didn't Like About It Last Time: Segal doesn't write intrigue very well. He would do best to stick with interpersonal interplay. Obligatory GLBT Score: 1 out of 10. Possible bi-sexual character whose ambiguity is never resolved.

On Deck:

The Loch by Steve Alten

One Shot by Lee Child

The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books About Jesus Of Nazareth by Marvin Meyer

From the Library of C. S. Lewis : Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey (A Writers' Palette Book) by James Stuart Bell

Wha????

The headline for this article puzzles me.

Rachel Griffiths Said To Give Birth

Who writes these things? At this moment in time I am wondering if I will now miraculously conceive. Darn it, If Rachel Griffiths said it, then I probably should.

Remember That Episode Where Laura Thought She Found Gold?

Dudes, Major TV Moment this weekend.

Although calling three people getting together a "cast reunion" is lame.

Wealth Only

Don't worry, Oprah. I'm pretty sure that Hermes Paris won't let me shop after hours, either. And I'm as white as a fish belly.

I do take comfort in knowing that others have found ingenious ways of thwarting this potential racism:

Emil Wilbekin, former editor of Vibe magazine, said it's not uncommon for black celebrities to receive poor treatment at high-end stores, where there are virtually no minorities in top positions. Sean "P. Diddy" Combs has devised a tactic to avoid poor treatment, he said.
"Puffy sends his people ahead to stores and shuts them down so he can shop privately, so this kind of thing doesn't happen," Wilbekin said. "I've worked with young people who wanted to be stylists and work in fashion and they've never gone into a high-end boutique ... because they were afraid. They didn't think they were allowed. What flashes in my mind are images of water fountains that say 'whites only.'"


That's EXACTLY the image I had in mind when I think of multi-millionaire black shoppers being turned away from high-priced boutiques for late night shopping. I did hear, though, that it is impossible for a black person to get a tuna fish sandwich from Hermes' lunch counter.

28 June, 2005

Harry The Beautiful

The current "discussion" among my Harry Potter For Grownups enthusiasts is that J.K. Rowling has created a World War II analogy in the Harry Potter series.

Everyone is hot to trot for the Voldemort=Hitler analogy. They are both half-breeds who advocate pure blood and they are both crazy murdering sumbeeches. They've further decided that Cornelius Fudge=Neville Chamberlain and Albus Dumbledore=Winston Churchill.

Being a devout Churchillian, I won't go into the scores of points on where the analogy falls down except to say that Chamberlain actually advocated peace with the Germans. Fudge, in all of his stumbumblery never did that.

Following their proposed analogy through to its definite conclusion, I would say that Harry has to be America. The anointed young upstart who survived mostly unscathed after the first battle (WWI).

If Harry is America, the scar is probably Gary, Indiana.

Thursday, The Movie

I TiVo'd The Day After Tomorrow in a thirst for a good disaster movie. Which this wasn't, but I was desperate.

All the good "disaster" takes place within the first third of the movie, and is intercut with long (!) scenes of meetings (!!!). After that the movie turns from a disaster/war pic into a survival movie. The highlight was watching mathletes holed up in the NYC public library and burning books to stay alive. I have a weird inability to watch people burn books, no matter what the reason. (The fact that the movie is written and directed by a German doesn't make the whole book-burning thing go down easier.)

While I had myriad problems with the bad science, bad adventure and geopolitical nonsense by far the most irksome part was the scene where two minor characters discuss the "fact" that Friedrich Nietzsche was the greatest living thinker of the nineteenth century. Please. Nietzsche is the pet philosopher of lonely boys in their mothers' basements and frustrated postcard painters in Vienna. Yeah, yeah, I know that what doesn't kill me makes me look into the abyss or whatever but please. I tend to think that a century which gave us Kierkegaard and Hegel does not deserve to be so maligned.

MINOR SPOILER
The only characters I cared about by the end of the movie--the bum'sstreet person's dog and the Gutenberg Bible--survived.

Bibliophile Side Note: The movie asserts that the copy of the Gutenberg Bible in the Rare Books Room at the NYPL is the "only surviving copy." There are actually 48 in existence presently , with many far south enough to have avoided the cataclysm in the movie.

And the copy in the RBR NYPL has two volumes, not one.

24 June, 2005

That Bill, He Be Breakin' The New Ground ALL The Time!!!

Apparently, Longhorn, the next Windows OS upgrade (what's with the animal names, guys?? Where'd you get that idea?) will have built in RSS functionality.

In the long-delayed Windows upgrade, code-named Longhorn and expected to be released late next year, an RSS icon will appear in the Internet Explorer Web browser to make it easy for people to find, much like Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) has done with its Safari browser.

Shame that Mac 10.4 has already surpassed even that benchmark. And we Mackies don't have to wait until "late next year".

From MARTA to Mammaries

Tim: "Before we go in here, please remember that people like Patrick and Lydia read your blog."

Me: "So you're saying I shouldn't go through with the 'From MARTA to Mammaries post I was going to do?"

Tim: silence.


And so it was that we set foot into Hooters Hermitage for the first time.

Why? Well, hop in the wayback machine....

4 hours earlier we left the house. Today's errands were brought to us by the Letter "L"...Library, Lunch, Lowes, and Let Us Test Your Emissions. In Tennessee we have this policy whereby you cannot renew your tags unless you pass MARTA, which stands for Man, Are you Ready to Take it up the.........tailpipe. We failed a month ago, and spent $900 to have all of the OBD trouble codes fixed. If you know what I'm talking about you either are into cars or have been through this circus yourself. Tim went back yesterday. We failed again because Firestone replaced the wrong oxygen sensor. Again, I'm just reporting...no idea what any of this means. The nice men at Firestone fixed their mistake this morning free of charge and sent us on our way to be retested. Trip #3, for those counting.

We waited in line for a very hot 10 minutes in a car with no A/C. We failed. Why? There is a lightbulb burnt out on our dash. Specifically, the lightbulb which lights up the words "Check Engine". Now, I can appreciate that seeing those words is important, and provides your average driver with some good facts, namely that your engine may need to be checked.


WHAT THE BARNEY DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH EMISSIONS?

Simple question, which no one can answer. The nice lady who tested us explained that "the light there is required to come on". Okay. Personally, I think that since the light's off/on status has NOTHING TO DO WITH CLEANER AIR IN TENNESSEEE the fact that we have to spend $39.95 to get it fixed, plus another 3 hours driving to and fro Firestone and MARTA Hut is ridiculous.

So, since we were dropping our car off to have the bulb replaced, grinding our teeth the whole way (Dentist Bill.....), I had the bright idea to leave Grover with them and have the A/C fixed as well. This means renting a car from Enterprise for the weekend. True to their word, Enterprise will pick you up. However, if they don't have a car right away you have to wait. So, we knocked around the Goodwill store (Book Sale. There goes another chunk o' change) and Hobby Lobby. Christmas Decorations!!! Yay!!! Just In Time For 4th of July!!!

With nothing else to do, and the Golden Goat closed for midday buffet restocking, I encouraged my husband to let us sit down in the only open restaurant in the area. Hooters. It wasn't bad. It was brightly lit and well-paneled. I drew the line at pinning a dollar bill to our waitress' sash, even though that's apparently some Hooter Hostess' Birthday Tradition and Jessica was very excited about it. It made me feel a little too lap-dancy.

Tim (bless his heart) kept his eye on the ESPN tv screens while I watched the waitresses. I felt so Gloria Steinem-y, and pointed out that for waiting tables, their outfits were very comfortable. They get good supportive socks and tennis shoes.

Tim: "If my daughter ever comes to me and says 'Dad, this job is great, I've got comfortable shoes' I'm going to have something to say about it."

The wings are okay, but they charge extra for the celery.

The rental car we finally got, two hours later? A Space Hearse.

Apparently "Ethical Treatment" means "Kill"

Two workers for PETA have been arrested for the improper disposal of animal corpses.

PETA euthanizes. Great. I love that this precedent is set--soon I expect we will be treating the elderly and infirm to ethical treatment.

I Am The Problem With Our Society

I studied Political Science and Philosophy in college, so I should really care a lot more about the whole European Union thing.

The thing is, I just don't. I hear people talk about it and I start to glaze over. Maybe it's from my religious background, with prophecy-junkies insisting that The Beast With 10 Heads in Revelation was some European common union. Maybe it's because I'm still angry about the whole Metric System debacle. [ Damn it, I want my Coke in pint bottles. Fie on your "half-litre" crap!!!!!] Whatever the cause, I find myself wholly unmoved to care about the wacky goings-on. I think when the dust settles, nationalism will win out, as it always has in Western Europe. I just hope that some nutjob doesn't decide to revive the Pagan traditions and start a Nationalist State Party. Again.

Not That Headlines Are Supposed To Grab Attention Or Anything

Through a link from Instapundit I found this article , scathingly headlined.

Are Arab Professors Masterminding Terror?

Now, as Lydia will tell you, I am staunchly pro-Israel. That's why this headline bothers me so much. The article beneath the banner details important facts and chronolgies about the current trial of two instructors at the University of South Florida.

Why, then, is the headline so crude and inflammatory? I'd like to think that those of us Herzlians who find ourselves so outnumbered in popular opinion would not stoop to tactics of the enemy.

Maybe 14 Years Is Long Enough

Tim: That was cool that that guy emailed you about your blog

Me: It was actually a comment in the comment section. I guess that I got linked to by the News 2 woman and by Lacy of Lacy and Steve.


Tim: Yeah, thanks for clearing that up...the "and Steve" part. Like you would have been linked by Lacey of Cagney and Lacey .

23 June, 2005

Depression, Anyone?!

This Nina Simone song is on one of my regular playlists, and it's very pretty. The lyrics are almost so depressing, though, that it's actually funny.

Compassion a/k/a Compensation

Because I have loved so deeply
Because I haved loved so long
God in his great compassion
Gave me the gift of song

Because I have loved so vainly
Sung with such faltering breath
Oh, oh, oh, the master in
His infinite mercy
Offers the boon of death

For Micah Part II

Oh, Micah.

You tried your level best to persuade me to give over a Benjamin for .Mac . Your big selling point was that I would get a free download of Sims 2 Body Shop plus a $10 rebate on Sims 2 for Mac.

Micah!

The Body Shop program is ON THE DVD, me lad.

I am so disappointed in you.

Voldemort: Born Evil or Made Evil?

This is the latest dorm-room-pot-smoker-koan that is being beaten to death discussed by my Harry Potter For Grown Ups list. There is large contingent supporting a Christological interpretation of the Harry Potter series. Their vote is that Voldemort was not made evil and will therefore be redeemed when Harry (presumably) triumphs at the end of Book 7.

While I'm all for allegorical Christian fantasy , and I'm all for using Harry Potter to open the door to evangelical witness is it so wrong for me to want to see the bad guy punished?

I've sat through enough "Have You Hugged Your Sith Lord Today?"

I Went To MIT

My parents will be so proud...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

The wierd thing? In the last section, for professions, I knew 98% of the various professions. I guess it pays to have a big family.

22 June, 2005

Watching Waiting Hoping


Watching Waiting Hoping
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.
Sometimes you just can't wait for your Dad to get home...

For Micah...

Poor Micah at the Apple Green Hills store had to wait on me today. I gave them cash money for Sims 2 Mac version, and the nice young fellow tried to upsell me on .Mac, which I've had and no longer use.

Me: "I think I kind of freaked Micah out back there..."

Tim: " Eh, maybe sorta a little bit."

Me: "I probably shouldn't have said ' Aspyr are bastards'"......

Tim: "Yeah, I think right about there is where you lost him."

So, Micah, wherever you are, I'm sorry for being eccentric in your store.

Flag Burning

I don't like this. It makes it all that harder to spot the idiots, when they aren't just burning the flag right in front of you.

Seriously, I do think that flag-burning should be protected speech. I don't like it when people burn the flag, but I like that they have the freedom to do so.

I also don't like the totemic nature of the amendment. When we removed God from all spheres of public office, we seem to have begun the process of transferring our need for the sacred to State objects. Render under Caeser.....

TennCareless

These folks are trying to save TennCare.

I'm not so sure they should. There's been a lot of talk about people dying without TennCare, but I have yet to see who or have explained to me why in anything other than hyperbolic terms. "Estimates" and "...will surely die..." are different from empirical evidence of Person A being deprived of goods and services, the absence of which directly leads to the death of Person A.

I am fortunate enough to not need TennCare right now, but I do have a chronic health problem so I realize that I'm living in somewhat of a glass house.

I have three anecdotal experiences with TennCare, through people I know. These anecdotes have formed a large basis of my opinion about the program.

1. Single Mom

I worked with a single mother who had a sickly child and couldn't afford the insurance our company offered. The mother worked 40-plus hours a week for a low wage, and our family deductable would have taken more than half her take-home pay. She couldn't afford groceries and insurance for her child.

2. Yuppie In Training

I worked with a woman who got on TennCare when she was a freelancer. As I can attest, freelancers' incomes vary with season and those who don't have ethics do a lot of work under the table. This particular woman was clearing $50K a year in unreported income before coming to work on the books for us. She stayed on TennCare because buying insurance was "just too expensive, and {she'd} already made the cut."

3. Overweight Beautician

This woman cut my hair for years, and owned her own franchise of a nationwide hair salon. Any woman who has had her hair cut and styled knows that beauty operators can talk your ear off. According to her, she purchased the business in part with funds she saved by not declaring her tips and not paying for health insurance. When she had to have her uterus (!) removed, her doctor phonied up some extra paper work so that TennCare would pay for a tummy tuck.

I'm sure that these real people, that I have known and eaten with and shared car rides with are exceptions to the rule, and two out of three people on TennCare aren't cheats. I'd like to think that Single Mom is the best example of who should qualify for social programs--someone working hard and trying to raise a family but just needing help making ends meet. However, the more I hear, the more it seems as though there are many people who are in love with the idea of "beating the system".

Reading through the Myths & Realities page seems to be a schizophrenic experience. On the one hand, proponents of the program are claiming that TennCare is meant to be

the safety net that fills the gaps in the commercial insurance system.

They then go on to say that

The relatively small number of people (around 150,000 of the program’s total enrollment of 1.3 million) on whom the majority of TennCare money is spent have 5 or more simultaneous chronic illnesses. Their care costs a lot, but it is not optional or discretionary, and they are too sick and poor to pay for it themselves.

Okay. I understand. But then why are we chafing at eliminating 300,000 enrollees, on whom we have seen that the majority of monies are not spent?

The mythbusters then claim that

The real money in TennCare is being spent to treat the sickest people. Real savings can only be achieved by reducing the cost of their care. There are clinically sound ways to reduce those costs. But arbitrary limits are not among them, and they certainly are not painless.

It sounds like the 300,000 people who will have to opt into their employers' plans or stop getting free tummy tucks are a drop in the bucket, and once again political operatives are using an entitlement program to jockey for elective office positions.

House Flipping Is Starting To Take Its Toll....

This Nashville Blogger is trying to move house.

I predict we'll see much more of this type of frustration in the upcoming years....

Nobody Got Into Pr0n For The Paperwork

Or...I don't know. Maybe there is some kind of ultra kinky CPA pr0n that involves ledger books and manila folders. Not being a devotee of that side of the universe, I have no idea.

Any way, the Pr0nmaking community is all up in arms about 2257 regulations (SFW) .

The thrust (heh) of these regulations is that producers and purveyors of explicit material are required to

a) maintain detailed records about the true age, true name and cross-referenced aliases of all employees.

b) make said detailed records readily-available at a street address, said address printed on the packaging materials for all videos and paraphinalia.

I'm a libertarian, so I'm supposed to feel righteous anger about the Federal Government interfering in legitimate business. Too bad that I don't. Why? Well, I worked for a company that sells photo albums and paper plates. We had strict Federal labeling guidelines on everything, and spent a truckload of money enforcing them. PAPER FRICKIN PLATES.

I'm finding it very difficult to feel bad for Slee Z. Entrepreneur for actually having to keep business records and follow Federal labeling Guidelines that the rest of the business community have been hampered by since the dawn of time. Those of us in mainstream businesses see our bottom lines bullied into nonexistance, watch our friends get laid off and suffer through hiring freezes that last for eighteen months at a time. It would seem that what has been good for our gander should be sauce for the Goose industry.

Side benefit? All of the extra office space that has gone unrented since the dotcom bubble puncture can now serve as Addresses Of Record for the Adult Industry.

21 June, 2005

Huh. Who Woulda Thunk It?

One of the things the Writers' Workshop people stressed was to write to music. They said to pick songs your characters like. (Writers are scary people. We know this.)

It would appear that, unlike me, neither of my characters at this part of the story like Neil Diamond. While that is fine, if anybody in this book likes Pearl Jam there will be deaths. Ugly, messy, bloody deaths. That is all.

Where did all the posts go?

test....

Tis A Song, A Sigh Of The Weary

Stephen Foster wrote this song in 1854. He had separated from his wife, his dear friend Charles had recently died and his muse was slipping away. He would die 10 years later, alone and broken by sorrow. It is not his most famous or best-loved tune, probably because his heartache is so audible. I first heard it sung by Mare Winningham (of all people) in the movie Georgia . It remains one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, and I'm wearing out Nanci Griffith's cover. If you have 99 cents to spare, pick it up on iTunes. You may be glad you did.

Mulch Day Part III


Mulch1
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.
Apparently mulching and playing in the mulch is a very philosophical pursuit.

Mulch Day Part II


boy1
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.
Quinn rules the mulch pile.....


I'm gonna be in so much trouble when Tim sees this....

Summer Solstice Mulch Day


goshthatlookslikefun
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.
Tim decided to buy 2 loads of mulch today. We were going to ask Patrick for the use of their truck, but thought better of it.

Little did Tim know that he would have a helper.....

Move Toward The Light

Excellent expose on the Kaballah Centre .

20 June, 2005

Kidney Stones Suck

I've lost count of how many I've had. They give a whole new meaning Paul's "thorn in the flesh". I'm trying to manage this latest one as holistically as possible, which means fewer drugs and a lot more self-hypnosis.

I think being freelance makes me more granola......

Nashville Novelists Workshop

A brief post mortem on Saturday's events....

Funnily enough, I wasn't the only person who was disillusioned upon moving here to find that all of the "Writers' Nights" advertised were for song writers. This was actually an event for those of us crazy enough to write fiction, and it went very well. I sat at the front table with the earnest women who've been working their lives in support jobs and would like to do something more fun with their lives than alphabetizing someone else's importance. The nice ladies who wrote for their church newsletters were at the table directly behind ours, while the surly young friendless screenwriters and sci fi novelists hunkered in the back. We also had the requisite elder statesmen who were trying their hands at Larry McMurtry and the teenagers who want to be Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling.

River Jordan wouldn't cop to admitting her name is fake--which reinforces my belief that it is her invention. No female novelist would pass up the chance at a good story about her mother and where she got her name. I should know. My mother named me after the king's whore who became a Christian mystic.

The advice for aspiring writers?

1. Read a lot. (got that one nailed, thanks.)
2. Write a lot. (have more trouble with that one)
3. Watch a lot of movies and plays to get a sense of dialog. (done and done.)
4. Sign up for any workshop you can get your hands on and make the sacrifices to go to conferences. (This one sounds deceptively easy. Since they already pointed out that most writers are introverts I can only imagine what benefits will be derived from an auditorium full of people staring at their shoes.)

I was the only person who held up her hand when "River Jordan" asked which of us were extroverts. Tim later explained to me that I'm really an introvert who is good at playing an extrovert when the situation calls for it. Best description of me I've heard yet. (That' I'll cop to. The kid who mooed at me in Target the other day is being ignored.)

Best discovery of the day? Panelist Eric Wilson, who writes spiritually-driven thrillers. I was so excited about his books that we made a special trip to Barnes and Noble to pick them up.

IN THE RELIGIOUS FICTION SECTION.

Bah. Eric talked about how his goal was to reach people who were disillusioned with The Church (TM Socieity) but were still searching for the Christ experience. He writes thrillers that have spiritual content but are intended for the mainstream audience. Sort of your basic tax-collectors-and-sinners style of writing (which is very similar to my own.) Christians read mainstream fiction, but general readers don't pick up a Christian book for fun. I hope that my works can get shelved outside of the God Ghetto, where they may actually reach more people. I also hope that Eric's publisher can work with B&N to get him some endcap or etegere placement where the books can move. Dude needs the money, and his books need to reach their intended audience.

All in all, it was the most fun I've had in a long time, and has inspired me anew to sit at the keyboard and bang out some pages.

Bonus Eric Wilson Tip : For those of us who are in love with the romance of longhand composition, he suggested using a stylized font and color to make the typewritten word seem less sterile. I've gotten more done in the Lucida Handwriting font than I ever did in Times New Roman. Thanks, Eric!

The Best Show In Town


Dusk at Drive In
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.
Tim and I had the distinct pleasure of going to the drive-in on Friday night. The movie (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) wasn't the greatest, but the experience of a summer evening watching something under the stars was definitely worth the drive.

We didn't stay for the second feature, because nobody has enough money to convince us to sit through Star Wars Episode III again.

17 June, 2005

Where Have You Gone, Mr. Roboto?

Neal Stephenson thinks Americans have lost interest in science.

Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes. The tedious particulars of keeping ourselves alive, comfortable and free are being taken offline to countries where people are happy to sweat the details, as long as we have some foreign exchange left to send their way. Nothing is more seductive than to think that we, like the Jedi, could be masters of the most advanced technologies while living simple lives: to have a geek standard of living and spend our copious leisure time vegging out.

This has been his mantra since the days of SnowCrash , when he predicted that the United States would one day be known chiefly for its rapid response pizza delivery. He's well known as the Prophet of Outsourcing Doom, so I expect nothing less from him in this instance.

I'm not so sure he's right, though. Temporarily clinging to the assumption that nationalism is always a good thing in scientific endeavours, I posit that any country which can cultivate X Prize winners and Nobel Prize winners in Physics and Medicine is still a vibrantly active leader in the scientific community.

Any branch of science is an exacting discipline that requires aptitude and precision. As the firm sciences grow more specialised, I believe it is natural to see fewer people gravitate toward them. Those who do elect to pursue that lifestyle are well-suited for it and will carry their gifts into the future. I find that there are still many of us, myself included, who are very interested in science but appreciate our own limitations. Some of even go as far as getting a college degree in geology before we abandon that for something we enjoy more. Like fiction writing. True, Mr. Stephenson?

I So Badly Want To Make A Joke About Penis Size....

Tom and Katie got engaged atop the Eiffel Tower.

Can anyone explain to me my fascination with this train wreck?

16 June, 2005

Everybody, Let's Go!

Thank the Lord that nothing ever really dies on the Internet. .

The Popcorn Is A Lot Cheaper

Apparently 73% of Americans sat in front of the same kid that we did during Batman Begins

Wow. Just. Wow.

Steve Jobs' commencement address to Stanford is one of the best.

The only problem I've encountered with finding what I love to do is that no one will pay me for eating cheese.

"We're Educated, We're Articulate, We're White...And We're Just Getting By"

Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame has a new program on FX network called 30 Days .

The general idea is that the filmmaker will walk in another person's shoes for 30 days, and film the experience. Last night's episode was an "expose" of living life at minimum wage, and my libertarian head is spinning.

Head Spin #1.

In order to have a full experience of living life at minimum wage, Spurlock and his fiancee, Alex, move to Columbus, Ohio with the equivalent of two week's worth of minimum wages to live and seek employment.

At the end of the 30 days, we see an accounting of their income and their bills. Spurlock is irate that they can't make ends meet and spews angrily

"We're educated, we're articulate, we're white, and we're just getting by."


Isn't that what the point is? The jobs for which they voluntarily qualified did not require education or articulation. Could they have gotten a better job through their education and articulation? Probably. The point of this experiment was that they wouldn't try, though. So, essentially, Spurlock set the artificial paramaters and then is complaining that those very parameters are analogous to society.

The "white" comment doesn't even deserve to be acknowledged. What a bunch of reverse racism that is, as it implies that there is a secret white handshake that passes off the better jobs to the melanin-challanged. I've never encountered it, pale and pasty as I am.

At no point does he make much of the fact that he and his fiancee both found paying work within forty-eight hours of moving to a new city. Neither does he make much of the fact that when he needed more work to make ends meet, he found that additional work within days.

Head Spin #2

Watching this Oscar-nominated filmmaker and his Vegan Chef wife-to-be trip around for the first 3 minutes of the program in diamonds and limos, then take on this life as a cute novelty was gross. Alex brags to the camera in the opening minutes that the earrings she's putting on cost more than her college education. It becomes immediately apparant that we are looking at two people with no sense at all who have been inoculated from self-sufficiency.

Head Spin #3

Spurlock lauds Teddy Kennedy for his repeated attempts to raise the minimum wage, and snidely undercuts the rebuttal points given by the opposition with shots of decaying inner cities.

At another point in the program Spurlock is interviewing a fellow minimum-wage worker who laments the current state of affairs. "I make less now than when I started my first job back in 1976 with General Motors." We then hear the details about his utopian GM job and how his current wages are comparatively slaveish in nature. (The point about slavery is further driven home by the fact that the man is black.)

Why does this man no longer have a well-paid job at GM? We at home are never told. I suspect it's either through his personal choice or because he was laid off. Personal choice is his own business. Laid off--that happens when companies can't afford to keep their employees. Why can't they afford to keep them? Well, one main reason is wage inflation due to union pressure.

Prime example: Roanoke Rapids, NC has seen the loss of its Westpoint Stevens textile mill, and along with it 1,250 jobs Facing bankruptcy, the company has moved a large share of its operations outside the country, where labor is more affordable. This is of course the plant that Crystal Lee "Norma Rae" Sutton fought to unionize. Now, thirty years later there is no more work for these people. Except Crystal Lee Sutton Jordan. She works for the union.

Head Spin #4

Alex is treated at the ER for a urinary tract infection, to the tune of $483.00 (plus approximately $25.00 for medication.) Spurlock is treated at the ER for a "sore wrist" for more than $500.00. They complain that these hospital bills will take them more than three months (!) to pay off at their current wages. At this point in the program it is clear that these are the grievances of two very spoiled people who have become so used to a life of carefree attitude toward money that they lack any common sense whatsoever.

1. Every woman who has had a UTI pities Alex. They also know that you can treat it at home most of the time. If it is really bad, go to the free clinic. There are many other options besides going to the hospital. Those of us who have to regularly be consciencous of money know these things.

2. Any man whose wrist hurts after a day of trenching sod and automatically wants to go the emergency room needs to grow a pair. Seriously. Buy an Ace bandage. Lest you think I'm being callous, please be advised that his treatment at the hospital was......wrapping his wrist in an Ace bandage.

3. Hospitals have staff devoted to working with people at all economic levels to make bill paying arrangements. One of the reasons that hospital bills are so high is because the cover all of the people whose debts are written off due to inability to pay. Medline article, free registration required . They will accept reduced payments, time payments, write-offs, etc. Is this the best system? Hell, no. It is, however, far better than the worst-case scenario painted by Spurlock in his Short Timers At Poverty Teleplay.



I hate that any person should have to live in poverty. For that reason I support free education, public libraries, job training initiatives, free computer training, non-governmental social programs and affordable home loans. I also support tax exempt status for churches and other non-profits who help make this country work in a variety of ways. I simply don't think that Morgan Spurlock and his glib, non-scientific show is designed to do anything more than entertain with a healthy dose of schadenfreude.

Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With TV

Jason and Erin are renouncing TV. It sounds like an interesting challenge, and I'll enjoy reading him blog about the results.

Reasons that I will not be giving up TV:

5. Lilo & Stitch: The Series . Yes, at 35 I need to watch a blue alien monster tear up Hawaii.

4. Without CNN to yell at, I fear that poor Tim will receive more of my tirades.

3. How else will I be brought to tears, if not by watching Deserving Good People (TM ABC) receiving a hastily-constructed new home that far exceeds their means and the current property values of their neighborhood?

2. Dude. SHARK WEEK! Ain't no way I'm missing Shark Week.

1. We are the Cobles. July is Tour De France. July just ain't July without Bobke.


-----

Edited to Add: Jason will miss the new season of BSG. It's not all Dancing With The Stars

Check This Out!

My secret fantasy is that somebody someday will pull my library records. I would just love to see the looks on their faces when they try to figure out what on earth I'm up to.

"Look here, she checked out Helter Skelter on May 8, 2005. Could be she's like these other nuts and has a Manson thing."

"Huh. Same day, she also checked out Sisterhood of the traveling Pants and Bible Archaelogy . "

"What kind of nut is this woman?"

See, I just think that looking at people's library records is going to confuse more than it will help.

In all seriousness, I don't think it's wrong to expect government agents to view records of books checked out at libraries. People are always spewing the meme about trading liberty for security and how that's so bad. Well, for many years now we've had the security of being able to read whatever we want for free. As a person who checks out an average of four books a week, I sincerely appreciate that security. I think it is rather childish indeed to have basked in the largesse of society and then get high-handed about my privacy rights in this particular instance.

Bookstores, on the other hand, I have a problem with. If I chose to buy this book and this book I reserve the right to do so without the government assuming I am having unlawful porcine relations.

In short, how I spend my money should be my business. You have every right to demand an accounting of how I spend yours.

15 June, 2005

Getting What You've Paid For

Interesting article on school vouchers in Milwaukee.

No matter the faith of the school, the long-term goals of the religious schools are to inculcate their students with the values, morals and sometimes the specific practices that the school espouses.

Carrie Miller, principal of Mount Calvary Lutheran School, at N. 53rd and Locust streets, said she emphasizes the school's goal of making the students "Christ-like witnesses" to parents considering sending their children there.

The school wants students to learn how God wants people to act and relate to each other, and wants religion to be an element not only in specific classes on the subject but in everything done in the day, she said.



Both Tim and I are veterans of Christian Schools, so I obviously have a very biased viewpoint. That being said, I can't imagine anyone thinking that the above viewpoint would be anything but beneficial to the community.

Know Thy Enemy

Frank J. breaks down Amnesty International

14 June, 2005

Apparantly I Could Play Batman

Fun article about the new Batman movie. Christian Bale says that he got the edge he needed for the role through a "splitting headache." I've been there, Chris. Hand over the tights.


Perhaps the most unintentionally funny part of the article is Michael Caine pulling a Grandpa Simpson.

"I never saw the comics, because I grew up in the war, and there was no paper for comics," recalls Michael Caine


Give me five bees for a quarter, we'd say.......

Now It's Not Only Gross, But Also Pathetic

Katie "Beard" Holmes has announced that she will be embracing Scientology. According to her boyfriend

She digs it .

What a traffic accident this will turn out to be.

Bad Penny Alert

Jerry Rivers has reupped with Fox News for four more years. What a great day for journalism!

Bob Goes Back To The Well

Did you ever have one of those uncles who made the winning basket in the state championship back in 1956 but still talks about it at every family gathering? "Boy it's a shame that Dad's gone. He had a good run. Remember how thrilled he was when I won the Big Game?"

I get the feeling that Bob Woodward is gonna be the same way. I bet it'll be another 15 years before he stops pulling the teats on that old dead cow.

Dark Days At Villa Gorilla


Quinn Poses
Originally uploaded by Mycropht.

Our neighbors across the street are moving. We don't know them that well and their absence will not be a huge thing for us.

However they are taking their beagle with them, and this will leave behind one very aggreived Quinn The Eskimo.

How can I break it to this little guy that the girl he waits by the window for every day for hours is moving away? The only other things of value he's ever lost are his testicles and he still looks for them every day.

Speaking of The Lord's Prayer

I found this in my perambulations over the weekend and have used it in my devotions this week.

It's The Lord's Prayer as Jesus would have spoken it, in Aramaic. .

There is a wonderful audio file, and a phonetic transliteration. When listening to it and reading along you can see that Jesus was not only praying, but he was doing so poetically . When his followers asked Him to "teach us how to pray", they were very earnest. Prayer was not for the common man. They heard recitations from the priests and rabbis, and learned rote cants as part of ritual.

How wonderful it must have been to have Jesus show them that this simple song and any like it could be said directly to God.

Nashville Writer's Workshop

I'm going to this workshop on Saturday. I'm looking forward to it, but I am experiencing a bit of doubt about the facilitator. Her name is River Jordan .

She either has an overweaning sense of personal drama or a hippie mother she has probably stopped speaking to.

Rider Discretion Advised

A 4-year old boy has died on the Mission: Space ride at Epcot.

All who know me well are quite aware of the grudge I have against this ride. It literally ruined our entire Epcot day this past September. This is the ride that dumps riders well away from the front queuing area, most probably to not dissuade future riders. The exit bay for this ride when we were there in 2004 looked like a scene from a war movie. People were vomiting into trash cans, slumped in heaps against the wall and laying down on benches and concrete planter berms. Keep in mind, this is low season at Walt Disney World during a week between two hurricanes, when every ride was walk-on. There were nearly thirty people in various camouflage shades of green and wan khaki strung out at the back of the building. I had to lie on one of the benches for about half an hour. When I could open my eyes I could see a steady stream of pale people stumbling out of the door. All ages, all sizes and both genders.

I know that Disney is very proud of stressing the fact that there are multiple warnings posted to inform riders of the dangers. I saw the warnings and take full responsibility for having the idiocy to go on it anyway. The shame of it is that these warnings are posted all over the three theme parks we've been to on the resort campus. About the only places that aren't clearly marked with the standard no-pregnant-chicks-no-heart-problems-no-bad-backs warnings are the benches. (A fact that I'm sure is not lost on Dave the Bench Guy. ) By the time the typical Disney Guest has arrived at Mission:Sick he will have been cautioned into a stupor. There's a part of our culture that has actually programmed the basic person to view these various warnings as an enticement. In our house it's a running joke that I celebrate the "Viewer Discretion Advised" announcements preceding racier programming. "It's just like watching HBO, without the bill!" I'm so afraid that the typical Disney guest thinks that "warning" means "wink-wink psst...this one's really cool!!!!" I know I figured that if they said the same thing about the Haunted Mansion then I wasn't in for that bad of a time. I didn't start to think differently until it was well past too late and I was seated in the ride. There is nothing like looking straight ahead at the ride console and seeing a barf bag hanging there.

I spent five minutes begging God for my life, repeating the Lord's Prayer and growing to hate Gary Sinise. I came away with a lust for Phenergan and I vow to tell everyone that this is an experience that they can pass up and live happily.

Unfortunately, I dont' know the parents of this little boy so I couldn't warn them. I don't know why anyone would think that their four-year-old needed to go on this ride. He may well have been the minimum 44 inches tall--and I doubt he was any shorter. That doesn't mean that it was right to put him on a ride that terrified a thirty-five year old woman and left her spending the rest of the day laying down in the hotel room. There are those warnings posted.....



It's a shame that it takes a death for people to realize that "Warning" means "It may not be a good idea".

13 June, 2005

Look at the Funny Crazy Man!

Some of you Gatesophiles will enjoy this.

Fattest Fatty In Fat Town

Orson Scott Card poses the answer to one of our society's biggest questions. Is it bad to be fat?


Yet they are condemned, ridiculed, treated hideously -- often by medical professionals to whom they have come for help. You think fat people don't know how they're despised? You think they don't want to be different?


Speaking from firsthand experience as "fat people", I admit this wholeheartedly. I have tried every sensible diet under the sun, and a few that were just plain nuts (Weigh Down Workshop, anyone?) Nothing works long term. I wish it did. I'm tired of being the New Nigger of society. I've always been a hoarder; ask anyone who has seen my closet full of yarn waiting for "that one project"; my To Be Read stack of books, which now numbers in the hundreds; or the three cases of diet lemonade waiting patiently in the breakfast nook. Apparently my body is a hoarder, too. Mathematically I should drop a pound for every 3,500 calories I spend but don't consume. I have more than 80 weeks of Weight Watchers data that shows this not to be the case. Even accounting for a 30% margin of error in the calculation of food portions and caloric intake, I am still losing about one pound for every 9,200 calories which I spend but don't consume. Yes, that is correct. I lose about one pound to the "normal" person's three.

What I do do well is build muscle, which probably accounts for the discrepancy. I have the body of my Welsh ancestors; burly and buxom, designed to bear and suckle babies in the cold winters with limited food, but strong enough to hew homes out of limestone. Not fashionable in twenty-first century America, despite how innately comforting it is.

What really irritates me, however, is when science becomes the tool of fashion and a rationale for condemning fat people even more because they impose some kind of "burden" on our health care system.

Ah yes. Our beloved Nanny State. First they came for the smokers, and I said nothing.... This is what we get when we ask others to pay our freight. Eventually they start asking "why".

Because one thing that still makes a huge difference in our health and comfort is exercise. Walking vigorously for half an hour, five days a week still confers enormous benefits -- even if you remain somewhat overweight. But if you weigh so much that walking becomes uncomfortable, then it's harder to get that aerobic exercise.

It makes sense to keep weight gain to a reasonable level. But we don't have to struggle, to treat our bodies mercilessly, in order to achieve weight levels that are not natural for our body type.


I agree completely, and I love to exercise. My latest tool in the Tech V. Evolution battle is my trusty iPod. (I'm not linking to Apple's website. If you don't know what an iPod is by now, there is simply no hope for you at all.) So maybe someday I'll move out of the "Morbidly Obese" category, and back into "You'd be so much prettier if you'd just lose 10 lbs." land.

No matter what, I'll always be the girl with a good personality.

12 June, 2005

Revised Opinion: Spoilers for the new Star Wars Movie, which Sucks

The new Star Wars COMPLETELY SUCKS.

We went back on Saturday. I knew we were in trouble when I looked over at Tim during a scene in The House of Five Phalluses--er, Jedi Temple.

[Gaussian Blue Anakin kneels in obeisance to The Gaussian Blue Emperor ]

Obi Wan (noticeably aggrieved) : I can't watch anymore.

Tim (noticeably bored) : That makes three of us.


I was minorly bothered that during the execution of Order 66 (hmmmm.....who's got the other 6? Is the Emperor so evil that he's keeping the third "6" up his sleeve for a rainy day?), the Storm Troopers Mark Orange killed Obi Wan's Lizard Horse Thing with impunity. Dude, that animal did nothing but get Ewan McGregor around the Giant Hole Kingdom in style. Not to mention that he had a really nifty ululation going. I can see killing Obi Wan, because he's kind of smart-ass, and he has encouraged the furtherance of Breck Girl's Pursuit of Glory At Any Price. But the Lizard Horse did nothing wrong.


Tim and I were both majorly bothered that during several quiet (i.e. Natalie Portman "acting") moments, some younger-than-13 year old child kept asking plantively for Darth Vader.

The Villain.

The Bad Man.

The Personification of Evil.

The Guy Who Killed A Bunch Of Children and Strangled His Own Pregnant Wife.

I realize now, upon the second viewing of this Magnum Oprah, that we have effectively sat through 8 hours of Good Will Vader. It's not his fault that he's a bad man, see. He was bound in slavery, and then warped by the whims of a dictator. All he wanted to do was save the women he loved from death. There is no true evil, only pragmatic angles with which to view the various problems of life. The flip side of the coin is that there is no true good, either. The Jedi are all shown in this trilogy as compromised in their abilities and compromising in their values. This Order of Righteousness we viewed with great esteem after the first 3 pictures has now been fleshed out as a leprous body motivated by self-interest and expedience.

At one point, Samuel L. Jackson yells "Yes, they deserve to die, and I hope they burn in hell." No, wait. That was another movie. In this one he says "My loyalty is to the Republic!" This apparently makes him better than someone who's loyalty is to the Empire. Why, we are never clear. What is the great liberty of the Republic, and how has it better served the people than the Empire? No, I am most decidedly not a person who favours empires. My rebellous Hugenot and Welsh ancestors would spin on their pyres. I am, however, someone who believes that there is more to aspire to than systems of government, for there is more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in their philosophy.

That's the problem with the Star Wars World, now fully extant through canon. There is no Higher and there is no Lower. No Satan, no God. When I was 12 I wanted to live in that world. At 35 I am so thankful that I don't.

Another Success For America's #1 College Dropout

As one autodidact (big word meaning "I didn't finish college") to another, I salute Bill Gates on his furtherance of Microsoft World Domination at any price.


Same thing we do every night, pinky......

Well, Duh!

Apparently, some of the newer mortgage options are not a good idea. Gee, and I thought the interest-only mortage (i.e. renting your house forever) was a fine alternative.

My main quibble with this article was this sentence:

Those alternatives, called "exotic" by the Fed chief on Thursday, have played a big role in sustaining the four-year housing boom by making homes more affordable, which in turn stoked demand and drove prices higher and higher.

I don't know that it made homes more affordable as much as it made them more attainable. There are a lot of folks out there in over their heads in homes they can't hope to maintain, simply because they could make the monthly payment "on paper".

My concern, as I've watched new homes spring up in the last 5 years is that there is a highly unrealistic inflation going on in the single-owner real estate market. I foresee a lot of people being upside down in their houses for quite awhile, and that is no good for the home owner who can't build equity. Likewise it is no good for the bank who can't establish surety on the collateral or the next generation who won't be able to afford the most basic of properties.

Worse than that, I think that it has fed into the current American disease of "If I want it, I must have it." Sure, Corian countertops and en suite jacuzzis are lovely. However, if you are earning $50,000 a year, they should probably be further down on your list.

09 June, 2005

No One Will Ever See Me Again

This game was invented for me. It's highly addictive.

Comeback Opportunity Of The Week

If they ever want to make another movie about the life of George Gordon Lord Byron, they should get Macaulay Caulkin for the role.

I personally think it would be a good thing. Yes, they look as though they've been seperated at hatching but think of the esteem boost for Mr. Home Alone. Sure, he may be a mostly-washed up former child star who has a drug problem, abusive parents who tried to steal his money and several questionable liasons with Michael Jackson. However, he's never fathered a child with his half-sister. I say the whole Byron thing is a grand idea!

This Is Just Gross.

Speaking of Humbert....

All Things To All People

I know that they are worth around $80 billion dollars, but does Google really need to offer a Romansch search engine? The day I will be truly impressed is when Google offers a Klingon search engine.


Oh, my gosh. They already do. That's just frickin' SAD! These poor 35,000 Swiss mountain people have had to wait until now to use Google, but IMAGINARY PEOPLE FROM A SPACE TELEVISION SHOW already have it in their language? You just know that some Google progamming geek named Scott thought this would be way cool, and so they did it. Right about now his parents want all of their hard-earned money back from the MIT tuition.

Hey, at least Alec Speers will be a lifelong satisfied customer.

Spam Names

I'm still getting spam, in spite of the fact that I wish it would just go away. Today's was from a "Humbert Aviles". I've never met the man, and I have no idea if he does exist. But now all I can picture is a nattily-dressed Spanish professor who is lusting after his 14 year-old stepdaughter. Why would anyone name their child "Humbert" anymore? Oh, heh. I just read the actual spam. It's for Viagra. Life is full of irony.

And In Other News....

The Pope is still Catholic.

Who woulda thunk??

08 June, 2005

I Guess Now She'll Find Out That Jesus Really DOES Love Her More Than She Would Know


Anne Bancroft Dies at 73

She'll always be a mystery to me, because the fact that she willingly slept with Mel Brooks leaves my head spinning. She does hold a special place in my heart for her performance in the film version of 84 Charing Cross Road .

Look! Over There! It's A Black Kettle!!!!


He's innocent.

Funnily enough, he would like us to know that

he and several other legislators caught in the sting were victims of a setup.

"These are accusations that have been brought on by people in government who are corrupt - people in government who have lied about everything," Ford said as he left the federal courthouse after his arraignment. "They're the ones who spent taxpayers' money doing all this stuff."


It makes you weep with laughter, doesn't it?!?

Republicans--The Other White Meat

By now everyone who lives above ground has probably heard Dr. Dean's latest complaint. What I find most interesting, aside from the fact that he used "White Christian" as a veiled sort of slur, was this:

Challenged on that during the NBC interview, Dean said "unfortunately, by and large it is. And they have the agenda of the conservative Christians."

"This is a diversion from the issues that really matter: Social Security, and adequate job opportunity, strong public schools, a strong defense," Dean said.


I have checked my weekly Aryan Servants Of Jesus newsletter, and was amazed to read that none of us had these issues on our agendas at all. Apparantly Cardinal Law and Dr. Falwell feel that Social Security reform may detract from our drive to have everyone tattoo The Purpose-Driven Prayer of Jabez on their children--both born and unborn.

Christians don't have to be Republican or Democrat (I'm leaning increaslingly libertarian as I get older and more jaded). They don't have to be White, either. They do have a voice, presumably informed by the compassion of Christ. As such, they should be welcomed to the table in any forum.

What My Husband Is Reading


I don't understand how our marriage has worked for 14 years. Really.

What I'm Reading


I don't know why I've put off reading these books for so long, but I have. It seems like this would be a good choice for something to dive into for summer.

07 June, 2005

Now, If It Were A Crucifix In Urine...

Islamists Angered by Germans


This is an old story from Camille Paglia's website; events happened back in 2003. Apparently someone had the gall to use the Bust of Nefrititi in a less than honorable way. The Egyptian government decried this as a lack of respect for their Islamic heritage.

Ironically, Nefrititi was the wife of Akhenaten. Akhenaten (Amenotep IV) has been posited by many as the first Monotheist. There are those who are of the belief that he was actually Moses. So, perhaps these witty Berliners are disrespecting all 3 religious heritages!

I Could Spend All Day Here

Camille Paglia's Break Blow Burn


I agree with her about 70% of the time. Even when we disagree, she is still fascinating and states her position eloquently.

Oh,Say Can You C Average?

He spent a lot of time learning to fly.


I wouldn't care, if the campaign hadn't tried to sell us a "He's The Smart One" bill of goods.

What's The Difference?

The People's Republic of China


The Federal Election Commission



Yes, I know that many say we are blowing this out of proportion, but I would tend to disagree.

They're BACK!

After a lengthy absence, we finally get to delve further into the stories of the 4400. Tim and I watched our TiVo'd episode from Sunday night, and were quite pleased. I wish the creators of this show would take a leaf from The 4400's writers. Each episode gives closure to the mystery of the hour and furthers the viewers' knowledge of the overall schema. That's the way to write a suspense show.

Side Note to Creators of Lost

The pirates can keep the creepy kid.

Bonus Goodie......

All New Episodes of BSG start July 15th. Man, that'll be a busy night for me.

Oh, Sexy Giiirlfriend!

Ringwald Mulls 16 Candles Sequel

They could do a really cool crossover with USA Network, and Anthony Michael Hall could have visions of her death when he holds her panties. I'd give cash money to see that movie.

Look Out, Bono!

Brad's stealing your Africa bit....


"We have the potential to end poverty (in Africa) in our time. ... Man - I mean, what is more exciting than that? The potential's there. We gotta go for it."

Okay, Brad. How much are you sending? I think it's a great idea, I really do. While you're at it, how would you feel if the "fraternity of [warmongering kings] in the world at the moment" were to intervene in Darfur ?

UPDATE:

Maybe Brad & Bono would want to talk to this guy.

06 June, 2005

86% of Us.....

think that Religion is important.


Oddly enough, while religion appears to be "important" to us, more than half don't think that religious leaders should influence policy, according to the same poll.

Overcompartmentilization? I don't understand the mindset that holds something to be important, yet not significant enough for the government of, by and for the people to concern itself with.

Religious leaders certainly don't need to be hammering legislators to legislate a mandatory age for baptism, a State Eucharist or other such nonsense. Americans do need an ethical voice, though, and religious leaders can provide that. I'm afraid it's the distant roar of lions that enforces the Jim Crow for the faithful.

Boy, Did I Have The Wrong Impression of This Story

Hacking Gets 6 Years to Life for Murder


I try to stay away from Missing/Dead Pretty White Lady stories, because, eh, I can't do anything about it, and I'm increasingly of the assumption that were I to be missing or dead that I am neither rich,thin or Aryan enough to make Page C-13. So, anyway, I had no idea that Hacking was a person when I read this headline. My first thought? "Man, the RIAA is really overstepping its bounds, now!"


I'm such a tool.

Just Remeber This When They Mention Socialized Medicine As A Viable Alternative


The right hand apparantly doesn't know that the left has its head up its nethers.


Despite congressional mandates, intelligence agencies still struggle to share information with each other, Gannon said.
"You don't go to work every day in the intelligence community with the idea, 'What can I share?' It's 'What can I protect?'" he said. "And that is the idiom of the business. So if you want information to be shared, it has to be very clear to people what authorities they do have to share."
Relatives of Sept. 11 victims accused the FBI and CIA of intentionally refusing to share intelligence that could have thwarted the attacks.



This is a good look into the minds of bureaucrats. If they are so tightfisted with information about where Farkupistan and Persia Minor are going to plant the next batch of exploding fertilizer, I hardly think that they are going to see to it that Grandma gets to see a specialist in a timely manner.

I'm just sayin'.

Just Don't Put the Ugly-Ass Stickers On The Boxes, Please

Intel Inside


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - After touting its Macintosh computers as superior alternatives for more than 20 years, Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) said Monday that it plans to switch to the very Intel microprocessors that power machines designed to run Microsoft Windows.

The Very ONES!!!!! Heh heh heh! Yeah. The chip is the difference. I can't tell how many times I sit down at my iMac and just marvel at the chip. Never mind the interface. To be honest, one of the things I love about my Mac is that I don't have to sit around worrying about my chip. Dudes, I so don't care. Do I get BSOD? Never. Does my GUI look like it was designed by someone who got a C+ in Photoshop at Community College? No.


The long-rumored move is expected to help Apple compete better against Windows PCs in performance and - potentially - price, though analysts believe the headaches from the transition could further damage its slim 2.3 percent worldwide market share.

Yeah. That's right. Those of us who've been using Macs since the dawn of dirt are going to switch to Windows machines now. Because of their superior user interface. We've just been hanging on by a thread because we love the IBM chips.

It's also not clear whether the move might make Macs more vulnerable to attacks by viruses and other malware. To date, they've been mostly exempt.

Tell me, Mr. Jobs, have you stopped beating your wife? I mean, seriously, people.


Yes, I know that this is big news, and that there are possible compatibility issues, etc.. However, I've been using computers on various levels for the last 25 years. Patrick will say that I've drunk the Kool-Aid, but the fact of the matter is that a Mac is the most user-friendly computer out there, and I don't expect that will change.

There will always be people rooting for the demise of this paradigm, and I'm happy that today they have another pennant to wave in the "Apple Is Doomed" parade. I just don't think they'll ever reach their destination.

Harry Potter and Wizard Menstruation

Harry Potter and Wizard Menstruation



Some people don't know when to shut up.


Geeks and their worlds can be so TRYING at times. I really think that we need to get Book 6 out toute de suite. We natives are getting pretty restless.

Instant Feedback

"Okaaay...." [he sounds afraid of something]

" 'Okaaaay' what?"

"I just didn't expect the legalization of Medical Marijuana to be the first thing you blogged about."

"Why? Are you afraid that now our friends won't talk to me?"

"No, I'm afraid that they'll just talk to you very slowly and use the word 'dude' a lot."

Yeah, That's Sexy!!!!

Dead Ringer


No, Russell, you're supposed to throw the book at people. Besides, didn't you tell us last week that you weren't going to fight anymore ?

I Don't Like Mondays

Reefer Madness


Putting all out on the table from the getgo, I think pot should be as legal as the many opiods used for pain treatment. The stigma that marijuana has encountered over the years has crossed the border into obscene. I have yet to find a reason that controlled THC or cannabis is a bad idea.

What is a bad idea is

Federal authorities may prosecute sick people who smoke pot on doctors' orders, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state medical marijuana laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

Federal laws exist for the health of commonwealth, and make sense when they are probiting traffic of controlled substances across state lines. In this case, if you live in one of the High Times states, you can grow your own cannabis and ingest it following a doctor's orders. However you are still a target for federal raids and seziures. I think that the Federal government is horribly overstepping its bounds here and is in contravention to the very principles upon which our nation was established.

05 June, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) - The jury deliberating the fate of Michael Jackson may have to decide who's weirder: Jackson or the mother of his accuser.



-------

Honestly, this woman would have to be wearing the skins of several hundred small mammals sewn directly onto her body to even approach Michael in the weirdness area.

Harken Unto Glory Pt 2

Jobs Comes to Nashville

or

Take My Money, Please


"Good Morning"

"Good Morning?" (My own mother doesn't believe that I'm up at 8:21 on a Saturday Morning)

"What are you doing?"

"You sound strange in the morning, is this Kathy?" (See what I mean....)

"Yep. Guess where I am? I'm in line in front of the Apple Store."

"Oh, that's nice. How many pounds of apples will you buy?" (Lord, please let her be joking....)

"Yeah. You're funny. The one I have already is about 8 pounds, maybe."

"What are you going to buy? Why are you there?"

"I'm not going to buy. It's the Grand Opening, and Tim and I are Numbers 12 and 13 in line. I made my goal of being the first woman in line." (It's important to set goals for one's self.)

[Dead air]

"They're giving out free t-shirts"

"Oh, okay." (My mother will now explain to her koffee klatsch friends that her 35 year old daughter is a Free Spirit with a free Apple t-shirt)


I kill five minutes on the phone with my mom talking about my Nieceling's European Futbol NonGame. She's four and they don't keep score and the teams are named after foreign countries where the church has missionaries. Thus my parents and sister will stand in 80 degree weather screaming "Go, Algeria!" as a bunch of children aimlessly kick a ball. For this they will not receive a t-shirt. Who's coming out ahead today? Yeah, I thought so!

Anyway, I then listen to London Calling on the iPod (I like to listen to the modern stuff, see....) We are still bored, and tired of watching the hoi polloi trickle in. One girl in an "I love Nerds" t-shirt accompanied by a fellow she apparantly must love for the aforestated reason. One man wearing a t-shirt from our local Cult Mac Reseller as what I can only assume is a subtle Pepsifinger (tm Lileks) to the newbies. Maybe they'll give him an extra t-shirt. The line snakes through the mall under the skylight which is so not fair to all of us who really aren't all that familiar with sunlight. No one in the line pays the slightest attention to the visual merchandising at Victoria's Secret. Few of the women can fit into the clothes, and few of the men appear to know any women at all.

Frankly, I'm torn between pride at being a long long long time Mac Evangelist and wanting all of the people who just got initiated into the cult with their new iPod Shuffle to be forced into some sort of first communion before they call themselves Mac Geeks. I remember when conversations at these gatherings would center around ResEdit. Now all I hear are iTunes questions. I love that we have newbies but I'm a snot.

The doors finally open, and the Advance Team comes to greet us. "Hello, Nashville! Woo HOO!!!" Any thrill we all feel at this Histrionic Moment is dimmed by the woman welcoming us to the new Greenville (?) store. We cheer more feebly after this, and they open the doors.

Before we can see the merchandise, we must brave a gauntlet of black-clad Applets shaking our hands and welcoming us to Nashville. (? We live here. YOU'RE new.....????) I think they mean to say "Apple", but were all really tired from being up since the crack of doom to put up the minimalist decorations. I am claustrophobic and begin to cry at the confusion of people pressing to shake my hand. I then feel like a tool, because all of these people think I'm crying at the sheer joy of having a place to shop for white headphones and 30-inch Cinema Displays. So, of course I tear up even more. Finally I get to prove my further geekitude by admitting to my husband that I want Neverwinter Nights so that I can play D&D (!) by myself (!!!) on my Mac (!!!!) in the basement (!!!!!!!!!!)
Thus the Cobles initiate the Apple Store in Green Hills Mall.

Phase II of my Summer of Geek is complete. Next Up: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. July 16th. Another line, another experience.

We'll buy Neverwinter Nights on payday. Until then , my nieceling isn't the only one who spent her Saturday morning kicking around aimlessly. Go, Algeria!

Harken Unto Glory Pt. I

Revenge of the Sith

or

"Breck Girl Got Her Hair Burned"

My first Star Wars Opening Day was 1983. I was in a Womyn's Group (okay, I kid...it was spelled with an "e") in Jr. High and spent the morning shadowing a psychiatrist to see if that was the career path for me. After drawing pictures of dinosaurs for some troubled boy, I went to lunch with my dad and picked up tickets for me and my best friend, Jaci.

I think that my final Star Wars Opening Day was this year. Times have certainly changed. I became neither a psychiatrist nor an illustrator of dinosaur books, but I did dutifully attend with my current best friend, Tim. Those are really the only differences between the two openings. Both times,first for Jedi and now for Sith, I had waited for three years for resolutions to the story, and both times I rode the coaster with its ups--destroying Jabba and his retinue at the Sarlaac; Yoda with the Wookies--and the downs of dialog, thinking "is this all there is?" I feel like Norma Desmond bemoaning the smallness of the pictures.

Anyone will tell you that even the worst roller coaster is fun, at least for the duration, and Sith did deliver enough corkscrews and gravity drops to make the ride worthwhile. I do know that I will pay another $8.00 at some point for the visceral pleasure of seeing Hayden's head ablaze.

If only I didn't believe that Amanda Lucas will dredge up the rotting corpse of the Star Wars films long about 2010, then I would feel a sense of completeness about this film.